Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 24th June 2017

Daya by Zendaya Collection

Whilst flicking through a magazine earlier this week, I read an interview with Zendaya Coleman, teen-starlet turned fashion designer. In the interview, she mentioned her collection. Naturally, I had to take a look. I went on the website and seen a few pieces that I thought were cute. Of course, it is nothing entirely new (nothing is anymore) but I liked some things nonetheless. I decided to order a velvet blazer that was on sale for $29.99. I placed my order on Monday evening and by Wednesday afternoon I had it in my apartment – super quick delivery. I was amazed to see that the blazer was actually really high quality. The buttons are heavy and feel more like metal than plastic, the fabric is closer to velvet than velour (what you normally get with “velvet” pieces), and the cut is near perfect. Overall I’m really pleased with my purchase & I think I’ll buy more things in the future. I encourage everyone to check the line out!

Two Separate Designers Claim Gucci Stole Their Logos for Its Cruise 2018 Collection – Fashionista

Iv kept this quite for a little while, But its time to speak up and get some attention. Its pretty easy to see that @gucci Has copied not only the combination of elements together that create this logo, but when I overlay my snake illustration on top of the copy, the scales even line up perfectly. Its easy to prove and see whats going on here. Its a shame large corporations "Take" What belongs to us indie artists and use it for their own profit margins. It actually makes me laugh that @lallo25 has so much press wearing this teeshirt around. And the other thing is the tails of the snake don't even connect to anything after they flipped the top half hahaha..! GOLD! #alessandromichele #guccicruise18 #gucci #guccified #copydesign #stuartsmythe #arttheft

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Gucci’s recent collection has been plagued with controversy. First there was the whole Dapper Dan debacle, in which the brand did admit that they had taken inspiration from the Harlem-based designer, and now there are two new artists claiming that Gucci has copied them, and honestly it is clear to see. The first case was from a New Zealand artist who had designed a snake logo for his t-shirt line. All Gucci did in this case was mirror flip the logo and change the text. The second case was from an Australian graphic designer who designed a tiger logo for a tattoo shop (which he owns the rights for). Gucci copied the logo and placement but changed the animal from a tiger to a lion. I think it is very shady that so many elements in this collection have been copied from other artists, all while Alessandro Michele gets the credit and Gucci gets the profits, because we all know that the t-shirts & totes will retail for hundreds of dollars when they cost less than $50 to print…

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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: June 3rd 2017

Can a faded fashion house reclaim its 1970s glory? Inside the effort to save Anne Klein – The Washington Post

Robin Givhan’s latest piece delves into the reinvention of the Anne Klein brand and its latest revival. Speaking with the current creative director, Sharon Lombardo, Givhan delivers an interesting and information-heavy profile of the brand and it’s current challenges. Lombardo took the helm of the brand two years ago and has spent her tenure trying to redefine the brand, asking “who is the Anne Klein woman today?”. Lombardo has made many subtle and strategic changes to the brand in an effort to recapture the brand’s former position in the marketplace as the go-to for working women. She has redesigned the logo, began using fit models who are older and larger than the standard, and has changed the materials used in their products (real leather instead of PVC, for one example).

I personally didn’t know a lot about the Anne Klein brand until reading Givhan’s book The Battle of Versailles which tells the story of the lead-up to and the events revolving around the Battle of Versailles, a fundraising fashion show held in 1970s France that was a “battle” between French and American designers. Anne Klein was one of the most commercially successful designers at the time who made sophisticated, wearable sportswear. Soon after the fashion show, Klein succumbed to cancer, leaving Donna Karan, her longtime assistant, as the co-creative leader of her brand. Reading the article about what the brand is doing now to try to recapture their former glory is interesting as the brand has always survived but it has not thrived. They are now taking measures to modernize. I’ll be interested to see how things turn out.

“The Most Influential Stylist of the ’90s on Building a Cult Brand” – The Business of Fashion

Continuing with the brand building theme, Business of Fashion conducted an interview with Melanie Ward who is the stylist responsible for creating some of the most iconic images of Kate Moss back in the 1990s. Ward still works as a stylist now, taking on other responsibilities like creative direction as well. The biggest takeaway from this interview for me was about branding. Ward emphasizes the importance of having your own personal brand but toning it down when working for a client, realizing that you need to suit their brand and speak to their customer when working for them.

The word ‘brand’ is a bit of a buzzword nowadays anyway, with everyone wanting to curate their own brand via Instagram. Something that Ward mentioned was hiring designers based on their following versus their talent, reiterating the (should-be) common sense fact that talent and technical skill is more important than following. I think this theory should apply for all professions, but especially creative jobs in fashion. Overall, I found the interview super interesting, especially the part where Ward lays out her 6 key points of advice for building a brand. I encourage you to read it!

Gucci versus Dapper Dan controversy – various sources

This past week Gucci showed their Resort 2018 collection. Similar to the previous seasons collections, I spotted quite a few pieces going down the runway that I know are either going to sell out in stores, be worn by celebrities, or be the buzziest pieces all over Instagram. It’s impossible not to fall for the Gucci hype nowadays. Even if you don’t care for the clothing, the strength of the shoes and accessories is undeniable.

For the resort season, the collection got slightly more attention on mainstream social media than it normally would, crossing over from the fashion community into the masses. The reason for this being that Alessandro Michele, the creative head of the brand, paraded a jacket down the runway that was a direct copy of a piece Dapper Dan had made in the 1980s for Olympic medalist Diane Dixon. The jacket in question featured puffy, logo-covered sleeves and a fur vest. Dapper Dan’s version has the Louis Vuitton monogram whereas Michele’s has the Gucci pattern. Rightly so, people are calling out for Dapper Dan to get the credit he deserves. Gucci responded, offering slight credit to Dapper Dan but not really acknowledging the issue at hand and only after countless memes were shared and articles published on various outlets.

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Fashion

Corsetry

Untitled #772

 

Restrictive is the best way to describe a corset. With the lingerie market trending towards lacy bralets and relaxed styles, why are these old-fashioned contraptions so appealing? Seen at Dior, labelled a “boob cage” by many critics, corsets represent females dressing in a way that does not allow movement and activity. A lady of leisure. Not a worker. Therefore, does the new corset, heralded by Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior, mean something different given that this is the same woman who is now selling t-shirts with feminist slogans for hundreds of dollars a pop? Does it represent the unrealistic body standards young women are trying to conform to now, a teeny tiny waist with big hips and breasts (often achieved through surgical augmentations)? Or is it merely a corset? Something pretty to look at? You decide.
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Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: April 15th 2017

Is Gucci’s Pre-Fall Ad Campaign a Step in the Right Direction for Diversity?” – The Fashion Law

I found this article very interesting because it made me stop and think about things. Initially when I heard that Gucci were only using models of color for their ad campaign I thought it was a good idea because in my mind I thought that meant they were recognizing the diverse array of people on the planet and how important representation is. However, I read this article and I also watched Instagram stories by Shiona Turini which gave me another perspective. Basically it boils down to the fact that we are applauding Gucci for using models of color when that it something that should just be standard. I had failed to pick up on this before. As mentioned in the article, fashion is cyclical and it just so happens that using models of color is a “trend” at the moment, just as the Eastern-European wave was huge ten years ago. Furthermore, as mentioned by Turini, the campaign took inspiration from people of color (music, photographers, styles) yet the campaign was photographed by a white male photographer. I have noticed how Gucci has become a staple brand once again in the (predominantly black) hip-hop community, worn by everyone from A$AP Rocky to 2 Chainz, yet the people who are actually dressed by the brand are normally white (Jared Leto, Harry Styles etc.).

I don’t want to knock the campaign as I think the images produced are actually rather striking and represent the first Gucci campaign since Michele took the helm that has been of interest to me. Click the link above for the full Fashion Law article, see below slideshow for Turini’s response and click here for Elle’s take on things.

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“Business of Fashion Student Membership”

Business of Fashion is arguably the greatest resource out there for anyone interested in fashion. They have amazing journalists, quality content, and even do a free daily digest where they pull together all of the news that you need to know from sources around the internet. I love it. Last year the site went into a private, paid-for “professional” mode where you only got limited access unless you paid for a subscription. I was upset when this happened as I love the site and have been reading it daily for years now but I did understand why it happened. For the past few months after hitting my article limit I’ve been using the incognito mode on my browser in an attempt to cheat the system and read unlimited content. This was not only annoying but also probably slightly unethical too. However, I was scrolling through Facebook this week when I spotted an ad from BoF proclaiming free student membership in partnership with Topshop. I rejoyced. I literally took pictures and posted it on my Instagram story and Snapchat. Finally I had access to the site again. It helps not only on a personal level but also when doing projects and essays in school. I love Topshop as a store. It is somewhere that I have worked before and would honestly love to work again. The fact that they have partnered up with BoF to bring this membership to students (for free!) shows that they are genuinely committed to helping the next generation come up and learn on the way. I appreciate this so much as a regular membership costs $20 a month (or $240 a year) which doesn’t seem like much to somebody in the workforce but as a student it is a steep price to pay.

Sign up here using your student email account.

“Designing an Immigration System that works” – CFDA

The CFDA published a 48 page report this week urging for immigration reform that would benefit the fashion industry. The message of the report was that the current system is broken and prohibitive, meaning that the US loses out on talent from all around the world in this particular industry. Nowadays with a focus on globalization and the harmful effects, you would think that America would want to do whatever possible to bring the fashion industry back to the US, even if that meant recruiting talent from around the world. The two main points that the report suggested need addressed are “the access and retention of top talent”, saying employers need to be able to hire the employees and have a visa in place that allows them to stay in the country, and “the difficulty and high cost of navigating [the] existing immigration system”, as it is a costly and complicated process. The following pages break down further, providing statistics and presenting a case for reform. For a professional report, it was refreshingly easy-to-read and not bogged down with boring statistics and legal jargon.

This issue is something that is important to me personally, being an international student in the US, as I may have to try to navigate this system myself at some point depending on where my career takes me. It doesn’t make sense to me that America would not want to retain the talent it has trained, especially if a student attends a US institution. It is almost like brain-drain, training people then allowing them to return home so quickly. I have often worried in the past about getting a work visa as I can’t understand why many employers would care to go through the process given the financial burden and the time spent. On top of that, you can follow all of the processes correctly and still not get a visa as the number of applicants greatly outnumbers the amount of visas available each year. It is a stressful process for all involved. Even if you don’t care to read the entire report I do encourage you to scroll through and look at the infographics as they’re really interesting.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Gucci Spring 2011

When I think of Gucci, I still think of Frida Giannini. I actually miss her designs. It’s so funny to me just how drastically different Gucci is under Alessandro Michele. It seems like a different brand. Frida’s Gucci was always more appealing to me, visually, but it seems that Michele’s designs are working commercially. Gucci is booming right now and has been for the past few years. Not only is it the it accessories brand at the moment but it’s designs are now uber trendy and coveted by all of the celebrities who matter. If you wear Gucci on the red carpet, you’re guaranteed a press mention somewhere (or everywhere). In my opinion, Beyonce and Harry Styles are the only people who wear the new Gucci well. Most people end up looking a little bit too librarian for me liking. Regardless, it’s selling so well.

I do often think of Gucci as an accessories brand, especially because most of the items that I’ve ever wanted from the brand have been in that category. I love their bags, especially the Soho totes, and the classic loafers that I believe everyone should own a pair of at least once in their lives (I’m not there yet). I even loved the fur trimmed loafers that Michele presented, even though they became such blogger bait that it became slightly embarrassing.

Regardless, it is Frida’s Gucci that I actually like. Of course, Tom Ford’s wins in all categories. It was he who made the brand what it is today. He revived it. He made it sexy. He made it shocking. He made it cool. Frida worked on the accessories under him and became creative director a few seasons after his departure. During her tenure at the brand, the sexy styles continued but things became a little bit less overt than what Tom had shown.

For the Spring 2011 season, color was big. The opening looks contrasted with the sleek black looks towards the end and are actually the styles that have endured. Images from this collection are still shared online 6 years later. The second look of the show, the purple twisted top with the orange pencil skirt (actually a dress) and golden belt, was worn by various celebrities at the time and made it into various editorials and even the ad campaign for the season. Jennifer Lawrence wore it on the cover of Flare Magazine and it’s actually my favorite look of hers, ever. You can buy this dress on 1stdibs just now for $3147. It was definitely the standout piece of the season. The reason that I love this piece so much is that it reminds me of the jewel toned outfit worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I have wanted to recreate that look ever since I seen the movie as a child.

 

Looking at the advertising for this season again so many years later, I’m feeling slightly nostalgic. I remember these images, tearing them out of magazines and sticking them up on my bedroom walls. That was my first real foray into fashion. I would collect images and stick them on my wall, eventually moving on to compile binders upon binders of images. I still have them at my parents house and I enjoy looking back on them every so often.

 

The reason that I loved this collection so much was the hark back to 70s glamour. Fashion photography at that time was at its peak, in my opinion. Chris von Wangenheim is my personal favorite and I adore his collection of images of Gia Carangi. Giannini noted his images, along with Guy Bourdin and others as the inspiration behind the collection, along with noting Marrakesh as a key destination. As a result of this, the color palette was vibrant and fun, the materials used were sumptuous and just looked luxurious, and the models just looked so good. Very Yves Saint Laurent but not in a derivative manner. I personally think that elements of this collection have influenced Olivier Rousteing’s work at Balmain. I adore it and I miss it. Long live glamour.

See images below

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Gucci Fall 1996

Tom Ford’s Gucci is associated with sex. That’s the key word that people always use to describe his work at the house, and can you blame them? Button down shirts unbuttoned all the way down, floor length furs, shirts and dresses cut down to the naval were all staples of his era. There were also pant suits with pinstripes and some nice overcoats. However, they were paired with the aforementioned shirts. Everything was sexed up. It worked. In a time where models were critcised for not being sexy, Tom Ford dressed them in a way that may have looked too much on the 80s supers.

Models like Kate Moss, Kirsty Hume, and Jodie Kidd all walked in this show, each wearing multiple looks and looking great in each and every one of them. The most iconic pieces from this collection were the Halston-esque white jersey dresses at the end. They were almost understated with random cut outs that were much more risque at the time than they are now.  The campaign images, on the other hand, are still fairly shocking now because of just how suggestive they are.

I feel like Tom’s Gucci collections have got less and less shocking as time goes by, purely because almost everything has been done now. We are desensitised to nudity and sex because it is commonplace. Fashion has perhaps gone as far as it can. Whilst Tom’s looks were boundary pushing at the time, they’re fairly tame for nowadays. In this collection in particular there are no micro minis and the models are actually covered up. Of course, Tom did do collections that were more like what I just described also (Spring 2003 in particular) but this one was actually fairly tame, despite the shock it caused.

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Fashion, Opinion

Vetements/Gucci

Following my last post about Demna Gvasalia and his work at both Vetements and Balenciaga, I read a fantastic interview by Alexander Fury for T Magazine. He talks with Demna and Alessandro Michele of Gucci, another brand that I am not keen on its new direction, about the similarities between the two designers and how they are changing the industry through their work. The interview could not have come at a better time for me because I really would like to understand these designers and their ideas, even if their aesthetics don’t align with my own. They are perhaps the most talked about people in fashion presently so it would be silly to be dismissive altogether.

One of the biggest things that resonated with me about both of these men was that they were interested in designing clothes as opposed to fashion. To some people there may not be a big difference but I think that in an era of editorials which are really just paid brand advertisements, there is a lot to be said for brands who focus on each individual item of clothing. Realistically, people wont buy the whole runway look. When you see someone dressed in head to toe runway, it is usually a celebrity, a model, or someone looking to get on a street style blog. These men both want their customers to buy something and wear it their own way. That’s important to me. Clothes need to be functional or else they’re just frivolous.

So whilst I still don’t particularly like these designers, I can appreciate where they are coming from more now than I did before. And honestly, there’s probably at least one piece from each of their collections that I’d gladly wear, styled to suit the rest of my wardrobe of course…

READ THE ARTICLE HERE

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Shopping

Things I want to buy (if I came into money…)

I got paid last week and the money is burning a hole in my pocket. There’s so much that I want to buy yet the cash only goes so far. For this reason, I write lists. I have many of them: a to-buy this month, a to-buy at some point in 2016, and a to-buy if I ever manage to save. This post is the last of the three. Realistically I’m not going to be able to afford anything on it because I’m saving for college but it’s nice to dream. I think I could live like a damn King if it weren’t for college savings but it will be so worth it in the end. Any time I think “oh, I wish I had money for [insert item that I don’t really need]”, I then remember that I’m moving to New York in literally a single digit number of months and I no longer care. Fuck. I’m moving to New York. I’m so excited, if you can’t already tell.

Since I’ve started working full time and therefore had a little more disposable income than I was used to having before I’ve been trying to buy nicer, slightly better quality items. Instead of loading a basket full of crap that I don’t actually need from the various online stores (who all seem to have the same clothes bought from the sale wholesaler, but at varying prices), I’ve been planning what I want and trying to source the best quality option in my budget. Of course, I still shop at Zara, Mango, Topshop, and the likes (I consider the quality to be fairly good for the most part but I’ve never experienced true luxury so I can’t really compare) and I struggle to resist a really good bargain on Missguided. However, I find myself increasingly longing for a good quality item that will last me forever. If I ever manage to save up for these items (and I think many are actually manageable), here’s what I would buy:

(I’ve added links to the items in the images, click and it will take you through to the retailer)

 

Gucci Soho Disco – £650 I actually have a bag from Mango which is a wonderful dupe of this (slightly larger though) and is my go-to bag for the weekend. If you ever look at my Polyvore, you’ll notice just how much I use this in sets. I find it very versatile.

Max Mara Manuela camel coat – £1125 This is a coat that I’ve wanted for years. It is a classic and for that reason I feel in no rush to buy it as I know that it will still be there in 10 years time. In the meantime, I have a wool camel coat which is similar (although a slightly different texture) that I know will keep me warm until one day I can afford to buy this.

Paul Andrew suede heels – $675 I first found out about his brand after watching “The Fashion Fund” tv show online where he was a contestant (if you haven’t watched it, let me assure you that it is more a documentary than it is reality tv). I like how his heels have a slight twist on your regular pointed heel styles. However, if I were to buy just your standard heels I think I’d buy either Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo shoes, whatever one is more comfortable.

Dolce & Gabbana summer dress – £750 – 1500 Whilst this wouldn’t be the exact print I’d choose (I’d rather a floral), every season Dolce & Gabbana puts out a range of cotton dresses which I find so delightful. They make me think of a perfect little housewife who is taking the children on a picnic. Maybe I’ll buy myself one when I become a mother.

Emilio Pucci shirt – £460 I’m a real Pucci enthusiast. I go wild for the prints. I love scouring Etsy for vintage finds. However, this shirt from Yoox was a newer alternative. I’m currently looking for a great scarf too.

Altuzarra pencil skirt – £400ish (full price) This particular style is on sale so it’s unlikely that I’ll ever get it, but I’d love an Altuzarra pencil skirt of some description, even in plain black. The thigh slit takes an already sexy style to another level. I love them.

Alexander Wang sandals – £455 These are seemingly some of the most comfortable heels out there and I’m all for comfort plus height. Fortunately, these styles often make it onto the Outnet so I may be able to score a bargain some time in the near future.

Diane Von Furstenberg Julian Two Mini – £202.75 A shorter version of her classic style.

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Fashion, Shopping

Designer Bags Worth Buying

A handbag is really important. So much so that people often pose the question of “are you a shoes or a bags girl?”. To answer it simply, I’m shoes. I’m crazy over them. I have way to many pairs in relation to how many feet I have and also how many occasions I have to wear them too (including a few really impractical ones that I cannot walk more than a few steps in). Bags, on the other hand, are different for me. I usually buy one and keep it until it is completely ruined – straps snapped, material worn, a misshapen mess. I also always have a bag that is way to big, purely because I like to carry a bottle of water with me everywhere I go. I could have some really nice looking smaller bags if only I’d sacrifice my water. Anyway, in the spirit of keeping bags for a long time, I view a high quality bag as an investment. Less likely to get worn out than shoes, a bag can last a lifetime if you treat it well and purchase a high quality one to begin with. I also feel like bags are less vulnerable to trends than shoes are so I’ve compiled a list of what I’d class as good investment bags (basically a bunch of designer bags that I wouldn’t say no to) that I think would actually be worth buying. See below for my picks where I’ve inserted links to the sites where possible:

Prada

I have two from Prada. The first is the nylon backpack – the item that made the brand famous (£705). I feel like this is just an iconic fashion item that would be worth buying if you could. It is functional yet still looks cool, especially if you’re going for a sports-luxe look. Alternatively, I suggest the saffiano tote (yes, the leather that every other designer has copied since) which is known for its durability due to scratches being virtually unable to show up (£1325). I’d probably just buy black in both of these styles.

Gucci

Although Gucci is going through a renaissance at the moment, the brand still sells some classic styles that I think can stand the test of time, regardless of the image that the brand is projecting at that current time. First I’d suggest the Soho Hobo (£1210). This is one that I style looks with on Polyvore all the time because it goes with so much. I really like the Rose Beige leather version but the black is just as nice. What makes it better is that it has a shoulder strap too which is always handy. If you want something a little more interesting, I really like the new Boston bag (£1030). The style is one which they’ve been making for years with the classic monogram print but they have also recently introduced (I think) a black leather style which I like. It has the stripes around the bag which make you realise it is Gucci yet it is a bit more low key than full on patterns.

Altuzarra 

Only making his accessories debut two seasons ago, Altuzarra is offering some really strong saddle bags in various colours. The Ghianda bag is the one I’d buy ($2995, exclusive to Barneys); I’d opt for black just so I could get maximum use out of it and I think I’d go for the smaller size too. I like the braided strap and also the fact that this could perhaps be worn cross-body if you wanted to. I’ve been thinking about the cross-body look a lot more recently and I think I might try it out again. I haven’t worn a bag that way for years but I think given the right size it can look a lot better than just dangling off one shoulder. You just need to make sure that whatever you’re wearing on the top half isn’t too fussy.

Saint Laurent

I love Saint Laurent bags. They’re probably one of my most used on Polyvore and I think I’d carry one every day if I could. I particularly like the matelasse styles with the YSL buckle. I think it looks really slick. There are three bags I like the best and they’re basically just the same one but in different sizes (£885, £1680, and £1590). I’d choose the Powder colour as it is such a pretty nude. Very versatile, non?

Givenchy

Although I like the bag, I feel that the Antigona has become a bit cliche and perhaps overexposed. For that reason I wouldn’t suggest that as a keep forever bag as it has become a trend piece. However, I love the Nightingale tote in all it’s slouchy goodness (£1245). I think it is one of those bags where you can stuff it full of everything you’d ever need to carry and it would still zip up. The calfskin is so soft too. It is just a really nice bag and I feel like I wouldn’t be afraid to carry this around with me in day-to-day life for fear of ruining because it already looks a little lived in when you buy it. Like fine wine and J.Lo, it can only get better with age.

Chanel

Instead of the classic quilted style that I used to dream about as a kid, I’ve really taken a liking to the Boy Bag recently. I think Nicki Minaj sporting one of every possible style has brought them to my attention and I’m now starting to think that the shape is rather interesting. You get it in a lot of different styles, changing every season, but I think to be safe (especially due to the price) I’d just buy a black one. At an eye-watering £2710, it is far too much money to spend on something that risks being passe just a few months later.

 

 

Balenciaga

I don’t really like the infamous Motorcycle bags, they’re too 2000s for me. Iconic, yes, but to me they don’t feel very modern nor do they feel timeless. The image of the likes of Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton (my original heroines) carrying them is very much ingrained in my mind and I associate them with a very specific time period. However, I do really like the Papier A4 tote (£1345). I’ve chosen this black suede version too as I love suede so much (I’ve literally bought three different suede items this month). If you had to push me to buy a motorcycle bag, I’d take the City in suede too (£1035).

That’s my list then. A brand noticeably missing, to me, is Celine. The reason for this being that the bags are quite difficult to come across online. However, I do love the Tie tote and the Belt tote, and I like the Trio cross-body but having seen these in person I feel that they’re both impractical and quite a security risk (the outer sections are just popped on with metal studs so a pick-pocketer could easily just grab an entire section of your bag).

I really like the bags that Donatella showed on the catwalk this fashion week at Versace. It is a brand whose bags I usually ignore but I really liked a few that she showed. If I’d been making this list come March, one of them would’ve likely featured too.

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