The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Best Dressed – How Fashion Got So Crazy: A Brief History of Dressing for ‘Likes’ – The Company Making Luxury Stretch Pants Feel Indispensable

The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Best Dressed – At Instagram’s Favourite Hotel, the Other Guests Are Part of the Draw – How Fashion Got So Crazy: A Brief History of Dressing for ‘Likes’ – The Company Making Luxury Stretch Pants Feel Indispensable

Dear Reader,

Today we propose for your personal reading four features.

The first feature is entitled “The White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner Best Dressed”. It is nicely garnered with captions and well written by a guest author from the New York Times.

The second item bears the title “At Instagram’s Favourite Hotel, the Other Guests Are Part of the Draw”

The third is entitled How Fashion Got So Crazy: A Brief History of Dressing for ‘Likes’

The fourth and last feature today is entitled “The Company Making Luxury Stretch Pants Feel Indispensable”

 We hope that you will read all of the four stories. All are well written and the second, third and fourth feature were published firstly in the Wall Street Journal Magazine.

Should you like to find next Tuesday directly in your inbox of your email, then do subscribe free of any cost to TextileFuture’s Newsletter. Thank you!

Have a pleasant week ahead and don’t forget to return next Tuesday for the new edition of the TextileFuture Newsletter.

The best wishes are accompanying you during this time.

Sincerely yours,

The Editorial Team of Textile Future


Here is the start of the first feature:


By guest author Vanessa Friedman from the New York Times.Vanessa Friedman has been the fashion director and chief fashion critic for The Times since 2014. In this role she covers global fashion for both The New York Times and International New York Times.

Who were they? The answers may surprise you.

April 30, 2023

Vice President Kamala Harris, with Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News and Eugene Daniels of Politico, at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday.Credit…Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

No one calls it the nerd prom anymore. Like every other event involving a red carpet these days, the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner has become yet another opportunity to use a moment of image-making to generate conversation and influence public opinion. It only stands to reason.

Press Wash gen  0001  Vice President Kamala Harris, with Kelly O’Donnell of NBC News and Eugene Daniels of Politico, at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner on Saturday.Credit…Saul Loeb/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

  Chrissy Teigen and John Legend.Credit…Stefani Reynolds/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

After all, who understands the point of the photo op and the way it attracts eyeballs in the chaos of the mass social media-sphere better than those who helped to create it and the politicians they cover? They know that while we may come for the celebrities who gravitate toward the warm glow of power and substance — last year, it was Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson making their official debut as a couple; this year, it’s Chrissy Teigen and John Legend — what lingers is the way the real stars of the evening use their moment in the spotlight. The most interesting choices are about a lot more than pretty clothes.

Tamara Keith, the NPR White House correspondent and president of the White House Correspondents’ Association.Credit…Yuri Gripas for The New York Times

(See, for example, the decision by Tamara Keith, the president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, to use her dress to pay homage to the polka-dot dress Holly Hunter’s character wore to the W.H.C.D. in “Broadcast News,” a film that sparked her own desire to go into journalism.)

Who did it best this time around? The answers may surprise you.

Senator John Fetterman and his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman.Credit…Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press


John Fetterman

The senator from Pennsylvania continues his streak as one of the most notable dressers in Washington. Given that he only recently returned to the capital after being treated for depression, joining the melee on the red carpet at the W.H.C.D. with his wife, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, was a deliberate statement about his recovery, his willingness to be open about his experience and his resilience. “Got him in a tux,” his wife tweeted, referring to Mr. Fetterman’s penchant for shorts, Dickies and Carhartt hoodies — and the way, since he was sworn in at the capital, he has played by the rules of the institution.

Still, he didn’t entirely abandon the just-a-regular-guy wardrobe that helped get him elected and that has been part of his signature even in Washington. Note the black sneakers on his feet. They are a sign that he knows what he stands for — and in. Which is why his style matters.

The White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre.Credit…Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press


Karine Jean-Pierre

The White House press secretary chose a white dress by Emily Adams Bode for the dinner, demonstrating her facility with the game of fashion diplomacy. Ms. Bode is not only an independent designer in New York, but also one who made her name working with upcycled fabrics and other castoff materials, allowing Ms. Jean-Pierre to underscore the Biden administration’s oft-touted efforts toward local manufacturing and sustainability.

Not to mention the American fashion industry, which hasn’t had quite the same love from the current West and East Wing regimes from some previous administrations. (Ms. Bode is something of a poster child for American fashion success, having won the Council of Fashion Designers of America award for best American men’s wear designer for the last three years and recently branching out into women’s wear, which she unveiled to acclaim in Paris.)

All of which suggests this may be a foreshadowing of a deeper relationship to come.

Julia Fox.Credit…Jose Luis Magana/Associated Press


Julia Fox

The “Uncut Gems” star and former object of Kanye West’s affection and Svengali tendencies fully embraced her role as the evening’s so-unexpected-it’s-cool guest. She won the red carpet by showing up in a black bustier and feathered gown with rubber opera gloves, a handbag shaped like a leather jacket on a hanger, and a face painted Kabuki white with exaggerated black eye makeup.

The look, not surprisingly, set off a flurry of fevered speculation: Was this her high-fashion way of implying that Washington was a clown town? Was she getting ready to punish someone? The most interesting possibility was that her look was an implicit reference to “Black Swan.” Not just the 2010 Natalie Portman movie, but also the 2007 book by Nassim Nicholas Taleb in which the author introduced the black swan theory of unexpected events. Arguably it pretty much describes the last six years in Washington, not to mention the upcoming presidential campaign. That might be overthinking the outfit, but it’s still a pretty intriguing idea.

Vice President Kamala Harris.Credit…Carolyn Kaster/Associated Press


Kamala Harris

Finally, the vice president had a moment to shine. Literally, in a dusty blue sequined column dress by Sergio Hudson, the Black designer who also made her inauguration gown. It was a jolt not to see Ms. Harris in her usual understated dark suit — and notable that she wasn’t taking the fade-into-the-background route by simply wearing a tux like the men around her. Even though the vice president, like the president and the first lady, skipped the step-and-repeat, she was impossible to miss from her seat on the dais, suggesting that this may be the beginning of a more visible role in the campaign.

If so, it’s about time. She’s the first woman vice president and the first woman of color to hold the seat. She might as well use her clothes to remind everyone of just how pioneering she is — and to pave the way to more interesting, evocative dressing for all the women who may come after.


Here is the beginning of the second item:

At Instagram’s Favourite Hotel, the Other Guests Are Part of the Draw

Palm Heights, a boutique hotel in the Cayman Islands, has become a haven for a certain niche celebrity set, leaving a trail of yellow-umbrella Instagram posts in its wake

By guest author Lane Florsheim from the Wall Street Journal Magazine / Photography by Daniel Arnold for WSJ. Magazine

May 3, 2023

The beachfront at Palm Heights, a boutique hotel on Grand Cayman.

GRAND CAYMAN—At a sunny beachside lunch earlier this month, concierge Bambi Grimotes was sketching an itinerary for a short stay at Palm Heights, a boutique hotel here in the Cayman Islands. Bambi—whom guests refer to mononymously, as they would Madonna—is the hotel’s master of ceremonies, whose job it is to hang out with vacationers, host monthly dinner parties and MC its increasingly packed Saturday karaoke night.

“You would probably need some sort of massage,” he said, estimating that most guests need two days for their nervous systems to submit to the slowed-down pace of Palm Heights. “My goal is for you to feel rich. That’s how I feel. Rich.”

Leaving the restaurant, one guest posed against some of the hotel’s greenery while her friend used an iPhone tripod to photograph her. “When you’re a guest, you think the staff is the cast,” Mr. Grimotes said, “but really, the guests are the cast.”

With that cast comes the set. Los Angeles’s Sunset Tower has its gauzy pink curtains, and the deep red exterior of Positano’s Le Sirenuse is a social-media staple. But in the case of Palm Heights, it’s the hotel’s yellow beach umbrellas and matching striped towels. They take center stage in actress Chloë Sevigny’s New Year’s Instagram post, Bella Hadid’s post-jet ski selfies, and even in paparazzi shots of model Emily Ratajkowski and comedian Eric André at the beach. When stars go on vacation, they often don’t want people to know where they are, but posting from Palm Heights seems almost obligatory for those who stay. (Representatives for Ms. Hadid, Ms. Ratajkowski and Mr. André declined to comment.)

The hotel’s signature yellow beach umbrellas and striped towels have become standard fare on the Instagram grids of actors, artists, influencers and more.


Beverly Nguyen, a stylist and store owner in New York, started seeing the posts in early 2022. “When you see things happening on the internet or on Instagram, there’s always the photo everybody takes,” she said.

“I kept seeing those yellow stripes on Instagram,” said Ms. Sevigny. “I was like, what is this chic place? Why is everybody going there?”

The hotel’s ascent to Instagram ubiquity started about three years ago. Palm Heights opened in October 2019 but was closed to the public from March 2020 to late 2021, in keeping with the Caymans’ strict Covid protocols. A small group of people, including designer Raul Lopez of the cult brand Luar and Pierre Serrão, co-founder of the culinary collective Ghetto Gastro, spent months isolating at the hotel during that time, posting throughout.

Palm Heights is the first hotel project of its founder, Gabriella Khalil, a stylish and well-connected designer and creative director who lives between New York, London and the Caymans and whose family works in property development. She and her family own the hotel. “I have the biggest girl crush on her,” said Mélanie Masarin, the founder of nonalcoholic aperitif Ghia, which the hotel offers. “She looks like Princess Jasmine and she is so elegant.”

At the end of 2021, Ms. Masarin went to Palm Heights for a weekend celebrating New Year’s and the island’s reopening. She was pleasantly surprised to find that about 20 of her friends—most of whom, like Ms. Masarin, have significant social-media followings—were also there. Two of them, Sky Ting yoga instructor Krissy Jones and Nike trainer Kirsty Godso, taught workout classes. Another, Amrit Tietz, DJ’d. Ms. Masarin provided drinks. “Everything is perfect and everyone knows your name,” said Ms. Masarin, who is a supplier of the hotel and received a free stay. 

Gabriella Khalil, the hotel’s founder.


Hotels the world over invite influencer guests for discounted or free stays. But the invite list curated by Ms. Khalil and her staff is dominated by those who can play a role: a high-profile chef to host a lamb roast on the beach, or a musician to perform at the Halloween ball. These “friends of the property,” as Palm Heights calls them, receive preferred rates. The result is a revolving door of artists, entrepreneurs and creative types posting yellow-umbrella-dotted photos—helping make an island better known for its mega-resorts and tax laws into a see-and-be-seen enclave for millennials and Gen Z.

“I really took it personally that I hadn’t been invited yet,” said the model Paloma Elsesser. “I was like, ‘What am I, chopped liver?’” Ms. Elsesser has now been three times, including to shoot a campaign for the fashion label Marni.

Ms. Nguyen, the New York stylist, finally went too, as part of a trip in 2022 hosted by the swimwear brand Matteau and beauty line Costa Brazil. (Ms. Elsesser was also part of that trip, which was paid for by the two brands and the hotel.) When she got back, she tried to book a trip on her own dime, but rooms were sold out. She has plans to return in May.

In comparison to upscale hotel chains like the Four Seasons and Ritz-Carlton, Palm Heights offers a less stuffy version of hospitality that appeals to millennials who like luxury travel, Ms. Nguyen said. Prices for a one-bedroom suite start at around USD 550 and reach an excess of USD 3000; two beds start in the low to mid USD 2000s and can top USD 10000. Each of the 52 rooms in the hotel—part of a former Hyatt that was damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004—is a suite.

“I didn’t feel like we were totally cool enough to be there,” said Chloe Rose Schwartz, a wardrobe stylist in Vero Beach, Fla., who went to Palm Heights with her husband last year. But they found that the staff was welcoming despite their lack of influencer status.

Ms. Khalil said she wants the hotel to evoke the feeling of being at a friend’s beach house in a fabulous locale. A listening room on the ground floor has Ojas speakers, a custom Lucite piano by Edelweiss and a de Sede modular sofa wrapping around the space. Decades-old issues of magazines like Interview and Architectural Digest are available in a nearby library.

There are also elements that wouldn’t be found at any friend’s home, including four restaurant and bar spaces overseen by chef Jake Tyler Brodsky, an Eleven Madison Park alum in a logo-patterned Gucci cap and nose ring. A planned expansion will add a spa inspired by ancient gardens, an over 20,000-square-foot gym complex and a nightclub. And a “Pillow Menu” in each room offers pillows of varying shapes and firmness, including a coconut aromatherapy memory foam option.

The hotel, part of a former Hyatt that was damaged by Hurricane Ivan in 2004, opened in October 2019.

A rotating group of artists and athletes lead retreats and do residencies at the hotel. An exercise class might be led by an Olympian or a celebrity Pilates instructor like Liana Levi. Lying on their striped towel, guests could spot an artist like Gab Bois at work, making a beach umbrella from fallen palm fronds.

Even the in-room extras send a signal to a certain type of in-the-know consumer. For a time, the staff uniforms were made by luxury fashion brand Bode before Ms. Khalil realized how frequently they needed to be replaced and how expensive that would be. (The hotel also sent its old beach towels to Bode, which recycled them into $800 terry jackets, currently sold out online.)

Ms. Levi was teaching Pilates at Palm Heights while the second season of HBO’s resort satire “The White Lotus” was airing. “I wouldn’t say it was ‘White Lotus’ vibes, but they’re living on an island, you know?” said Ms. Levi. “There are a lot of really fabulous gay men, you want to be best friends with them.”

“There’s this sense that you can be yourself here,” Ms. Khalil said. “You can be a little extra, you can go dance on the beach.”

At sunset, no one danced. But one guest played a singing bowl, while others posed for photos against a purple-hued, Instagram-ready sunset.


Here starts the third feature:

How Fashion Got So Crazy: A Brief History of Dressing for ‘Likes’

Outrageous outfits attract attention on Instagram and TikTok, but when did people start styling themselves for phone screens? Here, a look back at the rise of street style, bloggers and getting dressed to get digital love.

By guest author Faran Krentcil from the Wall Street Journal Magazine

May 5, 2023

THE LOUD CROWD Guests in blinding-bright outfits at Copenhagen fashion week in 2021. Photo: Getty Images


IN SEPTEMBER of 2009, Laurel Pantin, then 24, was late to a show during New York fashion week. “I’d been out the night before at the Alexander Wang party,” said Ms. Pantin, now a 37-year-old consultant and stylist in Los Angeles. In a hurry, she’d opened her closet, thrown on anything within grabbing reach—a Forever 21 mini dress, a men’s button-down shirt, flat sandals—and ran out the door. “I looked up, and a man was taking my photograph,” she recalled with a laugh. The man was Scott Schuman, the photographer who ran the Sartorialist, a famed street-style blog. When his site posted Ms. Pantin’s photo, she was flooded with messages from friends and acquaintances—many of whom had no connection to fashion at all. “I was shocked,” she said. “I was like, ‘Is everyone obsessed with street-style websites?’”

In a word, yes. In the early 2000s, street-style blogs became a new way of looking at modern fashion and offered an alternative to the highly curated imagery of magazines and ad campaigns: candid shots of people walking (or running, or chatting or snacking). The photos featured eye-popping ensembles that merged the fantasy of high style with the reality of women rushing to work. Ms. Pantin compared the effect of being photographed on the street to “being the heroine in a movie, except it’s your real life,” she said. “The rush from being photographed was so flattering, so of course I started shopping at sales, trying to find designer pieces that would help me dress to be seen.

Lots more people began pumping up their own style for both street-style photographers’ cameras and their own. Around the world, professional fashion editors and DIY bloggers alike posted daily streams of their increasingly wild outfits on blogs and social media, gaining thousands—sometimes millions—of fans in the process. Some street-style stars took photographs of themselves, like Filipino blogger Bryanboy (Bryan Grey Yambao) and London fashion writer Susanna Lau, whose blog was called Style Bubble. Many, like the Italian stylist (and former model) Giovanna Battaglia  Engelbert, were photographed as they attended fashion weeks around the globe, the shots plastered across the homepage of the widely read (but now defunct) fashion website

Even teenagers in their bedrooms were becoming Internet style stars. Witness Jane Dashley (née Jane Aldridge), whose blog Sea of Shoes chronicled her outlet-shopping scores in Dallas, as if they were hunting trophies. “It was crazy how I could go online and have thousands of likes for a pair of Balenciaga shoes,” said Ms. Dashley, now 31. “Meanwhile, at school, I was kind of a freak.”

Fashion writer Susanna Lau, founder of the blog Style Bubble, at Paris fashion week in 2015. Photo: Getty Images


The new relevance of this alternative fashion royalty was established not by a Vogue spread or designer campaign, but by photographers like Mr. Schuman, Phil Oh and Tommy Ton. The trio was inspired by Japanese street-style magazines like Fruits and Popeye, along with earlier work from Bill Cunningham, whose famous “On The Street” spreads in the New York Times documented the candid, chaotic beauty of urban life. Armed with digital cameras and with an audience hungry for daily fashion content, the trio and their ilk began sharing their imagery on blogs and helped build a new pantheon of style superheroes for the online age.

“In a way, it started with the models,” said Kirstin Sinclair, one of the few female photographers on the original street-style scene. “Agyness Deyn, Anja Rubik, Lily Cole. They’d take designer pieces and mix them with their everyday clothes from Topshop and Primark, and it looked so cool.” The early “classic” street-style shots featured a knowing mix of designer must-haves—a Balenciaga City bag, or a pair of high-heel Chloé Paddington boots—paired with everyday items like denim jackets or vintage concert t-shirts. But as street-style newbies like Danielle Bernstein and Julia Frakes began winning brand sponsorship deals and front-row access, and Instagram allowed them to gain followers and advertising dollars on a global scale, the competition for “likes” increased. “It became clear that getting photographed could really help your career,” explained Ms. Pantin. Also clear: Viral fashion was now driving actual fashion trends. By the mid-2010s, subdued peacoats were out. Full-on peacocking was in.

What was once a steady drip-drip of maximalist style on the street soon flooded the runways, as Alessandro Michele, who took over as creative director at Gucci in 2014, crafted graphic looks with logos the color of traffic lights and embellishments visible from yards away. Jeremy Scott’s Moschino confections bridged a similar gap between kook and chic, with dresses shaped like chandeliers and handbags that functioned as eye candy by looking like actual candy. Meanwhile, runway-show statement pieces like tulle-piled skirts by London designer Molly Goddard and even Chanel’s novelty bags became coveted streetwear staples, and the line between performative fashion and everyday style (regardless of whether you were wearing Hermès or H&M) basically dissolved.

At the same time, many fashion-magazine editors and well-connected bloggers and Instagram stars were signing their own covert deals to wear certain brands to shows, ensuring that fashion houses—not aspiring fashion obsessives—determined what clothes appeared in “candid” street-style shots. “We used to dictate the designer trends to the brands,” said Mr. Oh, who currently shoots for Vogue. “Now we document them for the brands. It can still be very cool,” he said. “Just not as often.”


Three OG street-style photographers on their favourite early snaps

Phil Oh, Brooklyn, N.Y.


“I started taking street-style photographs in 2006. I was obsessed with this blog called Hel Looks, which was based in Helsinki. I was like, ‘If these crazy looks exist in Finland, what can I find in London, New York, Paris?’ I set up [the blog] Mr. Street Peeper because I figured it would be an excuse to travel, and when I uploaded photos, I’d tag the clothes. I thought maybe I could sell trend reports to retailers or brands. It wasn’t until 2008 when Puma asked to run ads on my site that I realized trend reports weren’t the business—the photos were the business. They offered me $30,000 for a campaign, and I thought they made a mistake. I was expecting a check for $3,000. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that extra zero. I thought, ‘Wow, okay, I guess I have a career.’” Find his photos on

   Photo: Phil Oh/Art Partner Licensing

“This is Michelle Elie, who’s a fashion editor in Germany. I saw her at a Louis Vuitton show in Paris in 2016 and she was in head-to-toe Comme des Garçons. She’s always so gregarious and fun! She loves the attention, and I don’t mean that in a negative way. If you love fashion, why not celebrate it and wear the stuff you love? She started running down the street to make it in time, and this driver slowed down just to watch her. My favorite moments are when the fashion world and real world intersect. We live in such a bubble, you know? Seeing the driver’s reaction to what’s going on—the shock, the befuddlement—it reflects 95% of the world’s reaction to fashion. But the rest of us? We’re like, ‘Oh, okay. Just another day in the office.’ And I think that’s amazing.”


Tommy Ton, New York City




“When I set up my blog, Jack & Jill, in 2005. I was living vicariously through Japanese street-style magazines and my boss—the owner of a boutique in Toronto— let me go to Paris fashion week one season to trend-scout and take street-style photos. I waited outside the Tuileries and the Louvre, where a lot of the big shows were, and I saw these people—models like Freja Beha and Raquel Zimmermann, editors like Carine Roitfeld—who were superheroes to me. I knew I had to figure out how to do it for the rest of my life. I think I really got my groove when I stopped over-analyzing every photo, and asking every person what they were wearing. Instead, I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to treat this as if I’m in nature photographing wildlife. I’m going to be super quiet and photograph what’s happening around me.’ That was 2008, and that’s when I got my first big ad campaign.” Find his photos on


About the shot


   Photo: Tommy Ton

“This is a group of Teen Vogue editors, and I love it because it’s very symbolic of the direction of fashion around 2008. You can see they’re colorful, playful and accessorized. Coming out of the recession of 2008, and then seeing images of these editors dressing, I think it told the world that the new generation was more optimistic and excited about glamour. To me, this photo is great because it [reflects] that people were excited to get dressed up again.”


Kirstin Sinclair, London




“When I was first sent to London fashion week, I never felt out of sorts being one of the only women, but I did get knocked around a bit because I am smaller and shorter than most [of the other photographers]. But then I found if I waited until everyone else had gotten their shot and I very politely asked people if I could photograph them, they’d almost always say yes and I’d get a more unique angle. When I was first working, editors [I worked for] would want shots of the front row. I realized the shift when suddenly all they’d want was street style. Soon after that, I got commissioned for my first book.” Find her photos on

About the shot

Photo: Kirstin Sinclair


“This is Anna Dello Russo, who was then an editor at Vogue Japan. She’s got such a huge personality, and of course her clothes are outrageous and fabulous, but also, you can tell she’s having so much fun. She loves fashion and she wants to look like the star of her own movie, in a sense. She’s just fearless and joyful, and you can’t help but feel it when you shoot her. I thought the contrast of the colors and the black car was quite funny. We think of fashion as being so serious and severe, and here she is just smiling like she’s on holiday.”

The Wall Street Journal is not compensated by retailers listed in its articles as outlets for products. Listed retailers frequently are not the sole retail outlets.


Here begins the fourth feature:

The Company Making Luxury Stretch Pants Feel Indispensable

High Sport—designed by the Row alumna Alissa Zachary—has made its stretchy cropped flares a must-have. Why they’re so in-demand


By guest author Rory Satran from the Wall Street Magazine

May 6, 2023

The women’s work-pants hall of fame has its first postpandemic inductee: High Sport’s “Kick” cropped knit pants. The independent New York and Los Angeles brand was aunched in 2021, but its luxurious, smoothing, stretchy trousers already have a zealous following. For the fashionable and well-resourced women who whisper brand names to each other in line for desk salads, or at school pickups from Pasadena’s Polytechnic to Manhattan’s Spence, these cult pants are apparently worth their USD 860 price tag.

“Every chic person on social media wears them,” said Kristen Fealy, a 55-year-old New York City stay-at-home mom, who began chasing the pants after she first spotted them on designer (and Grey Gardens resident) Liz Lange’s Instagram in 2022. They’re favorites of fashion-obsessive types like Laurel Pantin and Leandra Medine Cohen, who extol their virtues in their respective newsletters. (High Sport says it very rarely gifts influencers.)

“These pants were the answer to all of my fashion woes, but I couldn’t get them,” said Ms. Fealy, a frequent refrain. Although they are now available at about 25 retailers, including Net-a-Porter, they quickly sell out. In November, Ms. Fealy finally ordered a pair from retailer Moda Operandi, and they arrived in March. “They are worth waiting for,” she said, noting that she often wears them three days in a row.

How did these unassuming, budget-breaking, cotton-Lycra knit stretchy pants become such a thing without any of the usual trappings of viral fashion (social-media paid advertising; influencer partnerships; advertising; marketing budgets; celebrity endorsements)?

It might be as simple as the right product at the right time: comfy-yet-polished pants for a return to normal life. They’re luxuriously elastic, like an Alaïa piece; they feature a crisp seam down the center; they are, improbably, machine washable. An investment in the new you, with a concession to the old you: pants for sipping a hotel-bar martini after the office, but also for cooking Alison Roman’s shallot pasta at home.

Outfits from High Sport’s fall 2023 look book. Tanya and Zhenya Posternak


High Sport was not an entirely accidental hit. “I never had any doubt about what I was making,” said the brand’s founder, Alissa Zachary, when we met in a quiet room at the San Vicente Bungalows club in Los Angeles.

Ms. Zachary, a former merchandiser who worked for nearly 10 years at the Row and consulted for brands including Khaite, spent over four years developing High Sport after she moved from New York to Los Angeles with her family in 2017. Merchandising, which she describes as “taking the art of fashion and translating it to commerce,” is at the heart of High Sport.

Ms. Zachary, who inherited the press-shy reticence of her former bosses at the Row, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, likes to keep the focus on the product. She doesn’t have public social-media accounts, and she doesn’t spotlight herself in the manner of most founder-forward startups and diva-forward fashion brands. When we were scheduled to meet I had no idea what she looked like, but quickly spotted a beaming, enthusiastic woman laden with tote bags and wearing head-to-toe High Sport.

From conversations with buyers, she knew that pants were a “pain point” for women that she was eager to solve. So she set about creating pants made in Italy that would be flattering and polished but also easy. “I knew it was going to be perfect, because I was focused on making it perfect,” said Ms. Zachary. “I knew that it would resonate with women because I’m a woman, and it resonated with me.”

For fashionable women who work, non-denim pants are crucial, but hard to come by. In the 1990s, perhaps the golden era of flattering pants, brands like Chaiken and Capone, Joseph, Daryl K and Katayone Adeli offered flat-front, often boot-cut pants for the “Sex and the City” era of working women. The early 2000s brought options including Phoebe Philo for Chloé and Nicolas Ghesquière for Balenciaga, and on the more accessible end, Theory. But recently, no clear heir to these pant-purveyors had emerged.

‘I knew it was going to be perfect, because I was focused on making it perfect.’ — High Sport founder Alissa Zachary on her brand’s success.

As for the price, Ms. Zachary would rather not dwell on it, but said, “it is an honest luxury product, in the sense that we’re manufactured in Italy. We use, at this point, all European components. And one pair of pants takes six hours to make from start to finish.”

Perhaps more to the point, women are willing to pay for it.

“It’s crazy town,” said Emily Holt, founder of Marin County boutique Hero Shop, who has stocked High Sport since its first season, selling out continually ever since. In High Sport’s first year, it was among the top 10 designers in the store, “unheard of for a new brand,” she said. Today, it’s in the top five. The black and navy pants often sell out before they hit the floor. One woman, Ms. Holt said, bought six pieces without coming in, sight unseen, and kept them all: “It’s bananas.”

Ms. Holt said that when she first discovered High Sport, she was “skeptical of the price, especially as a new brand, and thinking, ‘OK, are our clients really going to pay [nearly] $900 for these pants?’ Then I tried them on and I was like… ‘Yeah, here’s all my money and I’m in.’” Three of Hero Shop’s four salespeople own the pants (a considerable investment on a retail salary), so they’re able to authentically coach shoppers through questions of fit and wearability.

The brand’s instant cachet was still a bit of a mystery to Ms. Holt. She wondered who “patient zero” was in the fashionista whisper network. She mused that it might have been stylist—and romance novelist Danielle Steel’s daughter—Vanessa Traina, who has influence in the social circles of the Bay Area. In micro-influencer networks, if one ultra-discerning person gives their stamp of approval, an item can take off instantly.

Retail consultant Ramya Giangola in a pair of her High Sports. Photo: Tommy Ton


Ramya Giangola, a retail consultant in Los Angeles, was also an early adopter. She first bought her High Sport pants at Los Angeles shop Just One Eye, one of its original retailers. Since then, she has posted several photos of herself in the pants in different colors to her more than 100,000 Instagram followers, each inciting a flurry of comments and questions. They range from simple pictures at home to more dressed-up fashion-week looks. She’s even worn them hiking in Scotland.

“I guess this is something we’ve all been looking for, especially postpandemic sweatpant fatigue,” she said.

Ms. Giangola, whose first job in fashion was working for the cult pants company Chaiken and Capone in the 1990s, instantly recognized a similar quality in the High Sport pants, calling them an “insider thing.” They are only recognised by other women who “know about them and understand them,” she said.

Upper East Side mom Ms. Fealy mused that the pants were part of the “quiet luxury” movement, although they’re so quiet, they’re whispering. “They’re navy, so I get zero comments,” she said. “No one notices.” And that doesn’t bother her one bit.





Newsletter of Last Week

How to Psych Out Your Adversary, According to ‘Succession’ – Elizabeth Olsen Starts the Day Shoveling Coyote Poop – Elizabeth Olsen Starts the Day Shoveling Coyote Poop – The Fashion Power Plays of the ‘Succession’ Women

Highlights of News of Last Week, for your convenience just click on the item



Staying one step ahead together KARL MAYER North America becomes a member of the United States Footwear Manufacturers Association


Bank Safra-Sarasin’s Cross-Asset Weekly – Don’t give up on Chinese equities

UBS white paper: The Rise of the Impact Economy


Chemicals: The EU acts to protect people and the environment from the negative effects of lead in in PVC


Report: Commissioning cuts will create content shortage


Interview: How Pandora has kept its shine – and is still opening UK stores

Karl Mayer Group: Direct approach in Indonesia

Lenzing on track for recovery after anticipated difficult start to the financial year

Oerlikon: First Quarter 2023 Results – Continued Strategy Execution; Successfully Closed Acquisition of Riri

Nestlé inaugurates new research institute aimed at supporting sustainable food systems

Nielsen debuts Nielsen ONE Content Alpha

Avalon expands resource potential at Separation Rapids Lithium Project, Kenora ON


ICAC: A Deep Dive into the Indian Cotton Industry — Arrivals Are up!


Intra-EU trade 2022: top partners & export shares

EU trade in agricultural products hit EUR 424.7 billion

EU Natural gas demand down 13 % in 2022 in cutback efforts


Sweden – SOCKSSS found in Japan the perfect customer and business partner

EU Exporters’ stories

EU Commission proposes simplified, clearer and digital rules for detergents in the Single Market

Digital Markets Act: EU rules for digital gatekeepers to ensure open markets start to apply

Anti-corruption: Stronger rules to fight corruption in the EU and worldwide

Decrease of data roaming fees between the Western Balkans and the EU

Defence: EUR 500 million and new measures to urgently boost EU defence industry capacities in ammunition production

EU Commission recommends actions to combat online piracy of sports and other live events


BTMA: At the forefront from fibres to finishing at ITMA 2023

Colorjet Group at NECC June 18 -2, 2023 in Shanghai (China)

Ready to Show Italy – International Clothing Sourcing Show July 11-13,2023

Eco attitude by Santex Rimar Group proves its green ambitions with environmental-friendly machinery at ITMA 2023

Groz Beckert Ticker May 2023 – Seminar in May: Shorter run-in phase and consistently high web quality due to powerful card clothing


In 24 Hours, My AI Clone Fooled My Bank and My Family :


McKinsey: How to ace collaborative problem solving

New York City

What it’s like to live and work in New York


Sharp resigns as BBC Chairman


Next to cut jobs at Joules

Sainsbury’s profits slip as it reveals cost of ‘keeping prices low’ for customers

Primark sales soar as it expands click-and-collect trial to London

Shelly Palmer

ShellyPalmer’s Blog on AI Voice cloning danger


Visit of the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Eric Keabetswe Masisi in Switzerland

Meeting of Joint Swiss-British Committee for Science and Innovation

SECO – Publication note: FTA Monitor: Swiss Residential Companies save CHF 2.4 billion thanks to free trade agreements

UN Security Council: Swiss Federal Councillor Cassis calls for mutual trust for peace and security

First meeting between Federal Councillor Guy Parmelin and new ILO Director-General


Fed Says It Failed to Act on Problems That Led to Silicon Valley Bank Collapse

Workplace Fairness

If you’re looking to speak with an expert for your next labour rights or employment story, Edgar Ndjatou is available and eager to speak with you on hot button workers’ rights topics


World Bank Group Launches Business Ready Project


WIPO: ADR Webinar on Standard Essential Patents (SEP) / FRAND Disputes: How SMEs can utilise Mediation

WIPO at 2023 INTA Annual Meeting


WTO, FIFA event highlights role of football as a tool for trade and women’s empowerment

Botswana President: Inclusive, sustainable trade will allow Africa to realise full potential