Paris Fashion Week: Back to the Future, Female Power & a New Silhouette

- - Fashion Shows

At last, Paris Fashion Week! As we all know, Paris is the ‘birthplace of fashion’ – a la Worth, Poiret, Vionnet, Chanel, Dior, Lanvin, Givenchy- all those great heritage brands that we have come to love and respect. And so, not surprisingly, we saw lots of variety and innovation. Let’s take a look at our favorite looks from Paris Fashion Week Fall Winter 2017-18.

Futuristic Fashion

Some designers have gone from street style to space style. Chanel’s collection was a nod to astronauts and the runway was the launch pad! Lagerfeld created this silver metallic belted coat paired with silver shimmer tights, matching boots and headband – perfect for Astronaut Barbie!

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Chanel (Image Credits: Chanel.com)

In a collection she called “The Future of Silhouette,” Rei Kawakubo stayed true to her design philosophy with this amorphous metallic wearable art piece, a real runway show-stopper! By the way, her work will be on exhibit beginning in June at The Costume Institute at the MET, entitled Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.

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Comme des Garçons (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Dries van Noten brought the future back down to earth with this classic, old-school, oversized, metallic boyfriend jacket. You just have to love it!

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Dries van Noten (Image Credits: DriesvanNoten.com)

Playing it Safe But with Flare

Speaking of playing it safe…While some designers experimented with futuristic fashion, others stuck to practicality. For her first ready-to-wear collection for Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, (by the way, she is the first female creative director ever at Dior- female power!), served up jeans paired with an asymmetric blouse and accessorized them with a beret, for that quintessential ‘French girl’ style.

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Dior (Image Credits: Dior via ShilpaAhuja.com)

Our favorite look from Valentino makes this artsy-print maxi dress wearable yet chic by pairing it with a double-slit coat and a practical handbag.

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Valentino (Image Credits: Valentino.com)

Homage to International Women’s Day- Think Red

Perhaps in anticipation of wearing red for International Women’s Day (March 8) Givenchy’s collection was all about RED! This look is both a statement and wearable – a dramatic sequin ruffle jacket paired with matching cropped leggings (so I guess leggings are not démodé after all?).

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Givenchy (Image Credits: Givenchy.com)

This red look, by Giambattista Valli, featured ruffles and the very boldest sleeve treatment ever; one that epitomized the #BeBoldForChange hashtag that flooded the Web during the month of March.

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Giambattista Valli (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Eveningwear Redefined

Red carpet here we come! Paris Fashion Week is nothing if not the place where we get to see some of the most incredible eveningwear. This stunner, by Thierry Mugler, is a hybrid – a cross between a slip dress and Le Smoking (channel YSL). A pagoda shoulder detail and a daring slit…Angelina is gonna love this one!

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Mugler (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Elie Saab’s best look was this deep amethyst-colored dress with a velvet burn-out sheer skirt, accessorized with a matching belt, fur-trimmed shoes and some very, very, French, point d’esprit hose.

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Elie Saab (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Isabel Marant was thinking more along the lines of casual eveningwear with this look. These charcoal grey embellished jeans were paired with a ruffle-sleeved shimmery top and glitter socks.

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Isabel Marant (Image Credits: IsabelMarant.com)

Embellishments and Couture Details

We all know that the couture serves as a design lab for designers to experiment, with some design details trickling down into their ready-to-wear collections. This was evident at Balenciaga where creative director Demna Gvasalia, not only played with house codes, but brought a couture sensibility to his fall ready-to-wear collection with this strapless evening look complete with oversized bow.

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Balenciaga (Image Credits: balenciaga.com)

At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton designed this evening jumpsuit, reminiscent of those worn by Cher (designed by Bob Mackie). Burton updated the look with a feather sleeve and hem trim.

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Alexander McQueen (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

A Trip to the Zoo

It seems like animal prints never go out of style. This season was no exception. At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing used snake skin to create the most amazing over-the-thigh boots with matching bodice sash. And at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière created a patch-work vest in cheetah printed fur, ooh la-la!

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Balmain (left) (Image Credits: balmain.com) and Louis Vuitton (right) (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Gotta Have a Gimmick

Gypsy Rose Lee, one of America’s legendary entertainers, had a favorite tagline- “you gotta have a gimmick’ and at Maison Margiela, John Galliano was listening. Check out this outfit and tell us just what you think. Is it a pantsuit? Or is Galliano, along with Rei Kawakubo, redefining what ‘is’ a silhouette?

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Maison Margiela (Image Credits: maisonmargiela.com)

Yohji Yamamoto got into the act with this engineered hand-painted belted coat with matching hose. He completes the look with black lipstick, red eyeshadow on one eye and black on the other.

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Yohji Yamamoto (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sheer Love

Whether it’s plastic or georgette, this fashion week cycle certainly showcased transparency. Miu Miu’s piped plastic coat teamed with an all over paillette dress, was then topped off with a fur shawl and a fringed headdress. This is sure to be a fashion magazine editorial favorite!

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Miu Miu (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

How to update a dress you ask? At Stella McCartney, this embroidered tulle overdress was worn over a sheath dress and what a great idea to update your wardrobe?

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Stella McCartney (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Before Claire Waight Keller left Chloé and headed for Givenchy, she created this sheer, puff sleeved, baby doll overdress paired with a slip dress. So feminine.

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Chloe (Image Credits: Chloe.com)

A Sign of the Times

As Paris marked the end of the fashion week cycle (New York, London, Milan & Paris) a resounding theme remained prevalent throughout the shows…female power! Strong shoulders were showcased next to feminine looks, what a great time to be a woman in fashion.

Women Who Inspire: Change-makers in History

The surge of woman-power we’ve witnessed over the past few months is nothing short of inspiring. With an estimated 4 million people (in the US alone) joining the Women’s March on January 22, the impact of girls, women and their supporters working together cannot be denied.

In the fashion industry, the story may be lesser known, but the impact women have made on unfair practices is no different. Read More

15 Best Looks from Milan Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2017-18

- - Fashion Shows

Fashion weeks are the best places to uncover upcoming fashion trends and style inspiration. Some fashion weeks are more interesting than others. This was the case with Milan Fashion Week. Here are our 15 favorite looks and trends from the runway.

Fashion as Art

What began in Couture Fashion Week 2017 (see our blogpost from those shows) is continuing in Milan. Prada, featured fashion glamour girl prints splashed across this pared down silhouette and brought in another Couture Week trend – feathers. Here in the form of feathered ankle strap shoes.

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Prada (Image credits: Prada.com)

Fun Fashion

Milan Fashion Week would be incomplete without a buzz-worth Moschino collection. Jeremy Scott’s Rat-a-Porter collection didn’t disappoint and you just know that up there in fashion heaven, Franco Moschino was smiling. Inspired by trash and rats, the collection featured looks that literally made trash seem chic. Whether this look was a statement about recycling, or was created just for fun, it worked. It is always nice to see a less serious side of fashion.

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Moschino (Image Credits: Vogue.it)

Fashion With A Social Justice Message

Beginning in the 2000s, many designers began to use their runway shows as vehicles for social justice and to call attention to a particular cause. In 2015, Donatella Verace’s 2015 show donated to Equality Now, an NGO (non-government organization) dedicated to ending violence and discrimination against women and girls. And this season was no exception. Her feminine, flirtatious silhouettes in sheer georgette featured colourful floral embroidery, sequin embellishments and her message… ‘courage’ and ‘loyalty’.

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Versace (Image credits: Versace via ShilpaAhuja.com)

Peek-a-Boo Trend

Fendi reinvented sweater dressing with this peek-a-boo cut out oversized crochet sweater dress worn over a black bodysuit, paired with the hottest red patent leather over-the-knee boots and a red fur-strap bag.

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Fendi (Image Credits: Fendi.com)

Redefining the Classics

Classic pant suits, sweaters, trousers, wool coats and pencil skirts were all seen during fashion week. Some were given a unique twist by designers both in the U.S and in London. In Milan, there was no exception. This look by MSGM, took an otherwise classic pinstripe suit and gave it a tweak, with a smattering of sequins and the now infamous ‘pussy bow’ blouse. A baseball cap and white ‘go-go’ boots completed the look.

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MSGM (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Another twist on a classic is this dramatic tweed jacket with an architectural assymetric collar seen on the runway at Salvatore Ferragamo. Designer Fulvio Rigoni, completed the look with a pair of cropped navy trousers.

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Salvatore Ferragamo (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

At Jil Sander, Lucie and Luke Maier served up a clever take on the classic and ubiquitous ‘puffer’ coat for this stylish over-sized copper metallic version, that works perfectly for either day or evening.

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Jil Sander (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Practical Fashion

While some designers tried to redefine the classics and others filled their collection with fun or social messages, other designers, like Max Mara stuck to practical, wearable fashion. Staying close to their roots of beige and a neutral color palette, creative director Ian Griffiths focused on wardrobe staples in mixed fabrics. Here, a beige sleeveless ribbed turtleneck sweater paired with a pale gold pencil skirt and pumps.

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Max Mara (Image Credits: MaxMara.com)

Female Power

At heritage luxury label, Bottega Veneta, 15-year creative director veteran, Tomas Maier, gave his collection a nod to the shoulder pad! Strong shoulder, strong women, that is what this trend is all about. Here, his wool coat is belted, double-breasted and has a sharply defined shoulder.

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Bottega Veneta (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Themed Collections – Asian & Venetian Invasion

With China as a major inspiration for designers through the ages, at Gucci this season, Alessandro Michele created a cacophonous collection of rich brocades and laces. This look is juxtaposed with a stylized cowboy hat, a pair of white embroidered go-go boots and a parasol that adds to its overall eclectic exoticism.

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Gucci (Image Credits: Gucci.com)

At Alberta Ferretti, Venice was the inspiration behind the collection. Here, the show’s final look was a red velvet cape worn over a red sheer gown – the makeup and filigree earrings gave a carnival feel.

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Alberta Ferretti (Image Credits: AlbertaFerretti.com)

Embellishments, Embellishments and More Embellishments

Dolce & Gabbana’s collection was, as always, rich with embellishments. This look is completely bongers. A sequined jacket with a patchwork of playing cards, paired with playful white graffitied jeans, topped off with a kitchy tiara and blue embellished pumps. Now is that not anti-minimal at its best and the antithesis of ‘less is more’, or what?

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Dolce & Gabbana (Image Credits: DolceGabbana.com)

At Marni, creative director Francesco Risso served up some embellishment with his iridescent coin-shaped sequins sewn onto this off the shoulder sheath dress.

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Marni (Image Credits: Marni.com)

Armani goes New-Age

Who would have ever dreamed that Giorgio Armani, known for simple style made from the finest textiles money can buy, would ever show plastic clothing on the runway? Well he did just that at his Emporio Armani show. Here he showed a pair of laminated checkered pants and paired them with a fur ‘chubby’ jacket. Did you ever?

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Emporio Armani (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

And Armani didn’t stop there. In his Giorgio Armani collection, he also played with mixed textures and materials. This look features a beaded top (or is it a necklace or a shrug?) with hassled details, paired with sumptuous velvet trousers and and a very pretty velvet bow-tie belt.

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Giorgio Armani (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

It seems that Milan fashion had something for everyone: the art lover, fun seeker, classically-oriented, practical and new age fashionista, theme-lover and the growing cohort of socially responsible types. Stay tuned for more fashion week coverage and be sure to send us your thoughts on what you liked best and least from the collections!

Cozy Up to London Fashion Week Trends

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

Fashion week in London has wrapped up for another season. Much like many of the wrapped-up models that walked the runways, the trends veered toward cozy, roomy and bundled-up in yards of luxurious fabrics. From stripes to plaids to polka dots and neutrals to neons, London offered a little something for everybody for Fall 2017. Read More

15 Best Looks from Paris Couture Fashion Week SS17

- - Fashion Shows

While we are currently in the throes of international Fashion Week 2017, we thought we would take a look back at 2017 Couture Week, to get a better perspective of what we are seeing on the ready-to-wear runways and to offer a contrast. Couture will never die as long as  as fashion luxury conglomerates like LVMH and Kering need it to hype their handbags and perfumes. Those of us in the fashion community are grateful, because the couture preserves the art and craft of fashion. Where would we be today without the talented petits mains who so skillfully work their magic in designers’ ateliers? However, this past couture season offered up an interesting mix. Sure there was the ‘over the top’ frou frou of ruffles, embroideries and feathers, but a few new-to-couture designers, introduced bold color, cleaner lines and even minimalistic silhouettes. These elements went a long way in creating memorable couture evening wear that we can’t wait to see on starlets at this weekend’s Oscars.

We selected both timeless and avant-garde looks from Paris Couture Fashion Week Spring Summer 2017 . Let’s take a peek:

Sheer, Embellished and Appliqué

Feathers, sequins, beadwork, embroidery and appliqué set the trend as adornments on evening dresses at Paris Fashion Week. Elie Saab showcased embellished sheer gowns in a beige, pale gold and blue color palette. These dresses were accessorized with slim belts, decorated sunglasses and matching hair scarves.

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Elie Saab (Image Credit: ElieSaab.com)

Givenchy’s cream-colored gown with feathered touches

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Givenchy (Image Credit: Givenchy.com)

Leaving pastels behind, Armani Prive’s collection showcased bright orange as its summer color.

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Armani Privé (Image Credit: Vogue.com)

Minimalistic

While some couturiers were committed to showcasing embellishments, in the true couture tradition (let’s face it, who else but fans of the couture can afford these labor intensive clothes?), Valentino’s collection, in contrast, came as a surprise. Valentino designer, Pierpaolo Piccioli’s red column gown with cut-out slit armholes, focused on clean lines and less structure.

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Valentino (Image Credit: Valentino.com)

At Schiaparelli, Bertrand Guyon is also feeling a more modern couture aesthetic. His white gown, devoid of embellishments, adds drama to this clean shape with the addition of cape that hangs from the shoulders giving the appearance of being suspended from nothing!

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Schiaparelli (Image Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

Bridal Gowns

Couture bridal gowns are ‘big’ business. At Paris Fashion Week this selection didn’t disappoint. Zuhair Murad’s offered a peplum-shaped embellished white layered gown with a long sheer veil, something that could also adorn a wedding cake. Victoria’s Secret model, Angel Alessandra Ambrosio, walked the runway wearing Ralph & Russo’s embroidered bridal gown, complete with a full length feathered cape.

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Zuhair Murad (Image Credit: ZuhairMurad.com)

Ralph & Russo : Runway - Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2016-2017

Ralph & Russo (Image Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

The Fantasy Theme

Maria Grazia Chiuri chose a fantasy and fairytale theme for Dior’s new collection, with a pastel color palette, colorful intricate floral appliqués, garden-inspired accessories and tall headdresses.

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Dior (Image Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

True to their ‘over-the-top’ reputation, Viktor & Rolf’s SS17 Couture show featured avant-garde Cinderella-like dresses, embellished with randomly shaped patch-work pieces on voluminous tulle skirts.

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Viktor & Rolf (Image Credit: Viktor-Rolf.com)

The Royal Inspiration

Guo Pei’s Marie Antoinette-inspired collection walked the line between museum-worthy and wearable.

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Guo Pei (Image Credit: Vogue.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier, one of fashion’s original ‘bad boys’ and the designer of Madonna’s iconic Conical Bra (which sold at auction for $52,000  in 2012), served up his unique brand of couture with this sheer dress complete with stand-up ruffle collar, circa 16th century. A successful mix of queenly vintage and modern style.

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Jean Paul Gaultier (Image Credit: Vogue.com)

Art Takes the Runway

At Maison Margiela, John Galliano collaborated with tulle artist Benjamin Shine for his artisanal couture collection, featuring a white floor length coat with Shine’s black tulle portrait of a woman dramatically placed across the front of the coat. Does it get any better than this?

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Maison Margiela (Image Credit: MaisonMargiela.com)

Futuristic Fabrics

Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s couture collection was entitled “Between the Lines.” Van Herpen, known for her artistic collaborations, teamed up with Berlin artist Esther Stocker to explore the design elements of negative and positive spaces, gaps and contours, light and shadow. Laser-cut fabrics and Soft 3D hand-casted PU fabrics were hand-painted in another collaboration with architect Philip Beesley.

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Iris van Harpen (Image Credit: irisvanherpen.com)

Ruffles

At Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld channeled ‘ruffles,’ while attempting to targeting millennials, as his final look was presented on French kid star (Johnny Depp’s) Lily-Rose Depp. A baby pink gown with all over ruffles looked like the perfect prom dress for the wealthy girl whose parents have money to burn.

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Chanel (Image Credit: Chanel.com)

Giambattista Valli’s ruffles adorned the shoulders and hemline. A real show-stopper that is red carpet-worthy, for sure.

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Giambattista Valli (Image Credit: Vogue.com)

Chanel once said, “It is the unseen, unforgettable ultimate accessory of fashion that heralds your arrival and prolongs your departure.” Surely today’s designers are creating couture that can’t be forgotten even after the wearers’ departure.

Long Live Couture!
[Top Cover Image Credit: Chanel.com]

5 It-Accessory Trends for Spring Summer 2017 from the Runways

- - Trends

University of Fashion blog gives readers the latest insight into Spring Summer 2017 accessory trends from both ready-to-wear and couture collections. With bold, chunky and colourful accessories, designers are going for the all-eyes-on-me look for the accessories this year. Take a look at the top 5 styles:

1. Novelty Accessories

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Novelty handbags by Chanel (left) and Dolce & Gabbana (right) (Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

From robot-shaped to animal-inspired, cameras, drums, dragonflies and frogs – all were seen as bags and jewelry in Spring Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collections of Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Chloe and Tory Burch.

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Novelty jewelry by Chloe (left) and Tory Burch (right) (Photo Credits: ShilpaAhuja.com)

2. Three-Dimensional Embellishments

Large studs, three-dimensional floral appliqué and doll charms were seen at Fendi. Dolce & Gabbana had statement metallic embellishments on hair accessories and three-dimensional floral embellishments and rose-shaped patterns on shoes. Gucci had large bows studded with pearl and rhinestones on pumps.

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Embellished accessories by Gucci (left) and Fendi (right) Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

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Dolce & Gabbana accessories (Photo Credits: DolceGabbana.com)

3. Printed and patterned Shoes

Art has been making its way from clothing to accessories this year. Religion, nature and underwater life were some of the themes seen on shoes, printed and hand-painted and even patch worked on boots, wedges and platform heels.

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Printed shoes by Maison Margiela (left) and Michael Kors (right) (Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

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Printed shoes by Alexander McQueen (left) and Balenciaga (right) (Photo Credit: Vogue.com)

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Wedge shoes with underwater pattern by Dolce & Gabbana (Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

4. Matching Visors

Visors get more and more stylish as fashion keeps up with the modern-day woman. With embroidery, embellishments and prints adorning this summer accessory, design houses like Dior, Ralph & Russo and Max Mara made visors an essential part of the feminine outfit for 2017.

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Matching visor on Ralph & Russo model (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

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Embroidered visor on Ralph & Russo model (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

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Dior visor (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

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Look from Dior SS17 RTW (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

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Max Mara models backstage wearing visors (Photo Credit: MaxMara.com)

5. Logo and Branding on Accessories

Designers are taking inspiration from street-wear, classic 90s branded tees and fake clothing sporting luxury logos to create their own proudly branded modern-age versions. Dolce & Gabbana had logo slippers inspired by hotel night slippers to match their logo tees. Dior’s accessories in SS17 RTW collection were all about the logo. From logo rings to clutch handles to chokers to shoe straps, all were emblazoned with the word “J’ADIOR”, a logo-tistic take on the French phrase j’adore. Moschino had its logo sprawled unabashedly across a pair of thigh-high boots and handbag straps.

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Dior accessories (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

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Dior ring & choker (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

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Chanel earring (Photo Credit: Vogue)

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Moschino thigh-high boots with logo print (Photo Credit: Vogue.com)

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Dolce & Gabbana logo slipper (Photo Credit: Dolcegabbana.com)

The trend of wearing more than one statement accessory continues, these styles are here to steal the show, bringing a fresh update to the looks. And as for whether or not these styles continue to be in trend next season, we’ll be sure to let you know!

[Top Cover Image: (left to right) Dior handbag (Image Credits: Dior); backstage models from Chanel  SS17 RTW show (Image Credits: Chanel.com); Maison Margiela printed booties(Image Credits: Vogue.com)]

Japan: Its Influence and Contributions to Global Fashion

- - Fashion History

When you think of Japanese fashion, you think of the kimono. But dig deeper and you’ll find that Japan’s contribution to the world of fashion is much, much, more. In fact, Japan has greatly influenced the western world of fashion, even more than its eastern counterparts; China, India and Southeast Asia!

After World War II, Japan geared up for a revolution in terms art, architecture, fashion and technology, while preserving its historical roots and its aesthetic philosophy of wabi sabi (the art of Imperfection). It was out of this very philosophy that Japan established itself as a creative power house, one that would eventually take the fashion world by storm.

Traditional Japanese Fashion

From Paul Poiret to Eileen Fisher (and hundreds of designers in between), the classic kimono silhouette, with wrapped obi sash, has appeared in numerous designer collections over the years, in one form or other.

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Traditional Japanese Kimonos (Image Credits: japan-zone.com)

Kimonos come in many different styles, each worn for a different occasion. Frequently, they are made in cotton or silk and featured in multi-colored block prints, embroidered or in woven floral patterns.

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Traditional Japanese Kimonos (Image Credits: fotoedu.indire.it)

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Japanese Obi (Image Credits: Wikipedia)

Two of the most widely recognized Japanese patterns are cherry blossoms and butterfly prints. Traditionally, Japanese fabrics also use dyeing techniques and wood block printing to create repetitive patterns.

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A fabric featuring a typical pattern of Bingata, a dyeing technique from Okinawa, Japan

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Popular traditional pattern made with wood block printing (Image Credits: Fabrictales.com)

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Fabric with traditional Japanese butterfly print (Image Credits: fabricandart.com)

Western Fashion Draws Inspiration from Japan

Japan’s rich heritage became inspiration for western designers, such as Marni, Armani and Zuhair Murad.

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Zuhair Murad Fall/Winter 2011-12 Couture (Image Credits: Weddinginspirasi.com)

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Marni Spring Summer 2014 Ready-to-Wear (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Armani Privé Fall/Winter 2011-12 Couture (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Armani Privé Fall/Winter 2011-12 Couture (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler FALL 2012 READY-TO-WEAR (Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler Fall/Winter 2012 Ready to Wear (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

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Prada Spring Summer 2013 Ready to Wear (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Japan’s Contributions to 20th Century Fashion

While Western designers were busy drawing inspiration from traditional costume of Eastern countries such as China, Japan and Indonesia (known as Chinoiserie and Orientalism), Japanese designers were inspired beyond their roots, turning their wabi sabi aesthetic into a major fashion movement that began in the 1970s and continues to the present day.

De-Construction Movement

The De-Construction Movement, which started in 1970s and gained momentum in the 80s, refers to the era of collective avant-garde artistic expression in fashion. Traditional feminine silhouettes were challenged, essentially de-constructed, to give way to a new aesthetic. A group of Japanese designers, led by Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, played with the idea of androgyny and embraced unevenness and imperfection while simultaneously creating beautiful clothing.

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Suit by Comme des Garçons from the De-Construction Era circa 1985 (Image Credits: metmuseum.org)

Rei Kawakubo, founder and designer of Japanese fashion house Comme des Garçons, is regarded as one of the most important names in the fashion today. Blurring the lines between perfect and imperfect, male and female, made and unmade, these designers appealed to the modern woman who preferred comfort and over the body contoured clothes of that period.

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Comme des Garçons photo-shoot circa 1989 (Image Credits: calvertjournal.com)

Zero Waste

The Zero-Waste movement was led by Japanese designer Issey Miyake. With his A-POC collection (A Piece of Cloth) in 1999, Miyake minimized waste by making clothes out of a single piece of fabric, so that excess fabric waste wouldn’t end up in over-crowded landfills.

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A-POC by Issey Miyake (Image Credits: moma.org)

Cosplay

Combining the words “costume” and play”, this term was coined by Nobuyuki Takahashi in 1984, and refers to the trend of wearing costumes of a particular character or theme, such as Japanese anime. Over the last few years, cosplay has extended itself to outside the realm of anime and manga characters and become commonplace, owing to events like FanimeCon and ComicCon with themes from Hollywood movies and American pop culture.

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Cosplay of the Yu-Gi-Oh character “Dark Magician Girl” (Wikipedia)

Japanese Collaborations & Exhibitions

In 2003, Marc Jacobs began a collaboration Japanese artist Takashi Murakami on a series of Louis Vuitton iconic handbags. In addition to his work with Vuitton, which only ended in 2015, Murakami has had numerous exhibitions of his work and has been featured in major magazines. Japanese artist Yayoi Kasama also designed a series of handbags for Vuitton in 2012 and has had her work featured in exhibitions around the world.

For their upcoming spring 2017 exhibition, The Costume Institute of Metropolitan Museum of Art will honor the work of Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons.

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A bag from Takashi Murakami’s Multicolored Monogram collection for Louis Vuitton. Photo: Louis Vuitton

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Kylie Jenner in a photo-shoot for Complex magazine created in collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami who incorporated his trademark anime-graphics (Image Credits: Complex.com)

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Yayoi Kasama handbag for Louis Vuitton 2012 (NY Magazine)

And Now?

The world is still in awe of all things Japanese, from sushi to sumo. Japan’s sartorial legacy, which in addition to Miyake, Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, also includes designers Hanae Mori, Junko Koshino, Kansai Yamamoto, Junko Shimada and Kenzo Takada. Today, a new crop of design talent beginning, with Limi Feu (daughter of Yohji Yamamoto) and Tae Ashida (daughter of legendary designer Jun Ashida) are bursting onto the fashion scene and are being noticed.

Will China, India and other non-western cultures, be able to step up to the plate and make their own unique mark on the global fashion stage, just as Japan has done?

Let us hear your thoughts!

Wedge, column, pear and hourglass: 4 body types to know

- - Trends

The “real woman” challenge on Project Runway draws a distinctive line between designers who are adept at working with actual clients and those who design on a standard size 6 dress form. Often design students, through no fault of their own, spend their design education creating on a dress form, which does not necessarily reflect the “real” woman they will one day dress.

For emerging designers who have yet to make their passion a business, it is important to consider who your client will be and how your designs will fit her body type. Or, if you are designing for only a specific body type, it is important to consider how that might affect your business’ bottom line.

At latest report, the average American woman is 5’4”, 166 pounds and has a waist size of 37.5 inches. This is a stark contrast in size to the typical size 6 or 8 dress form most fashion design students use to design. But these are important statistics to take into account when it comes to selling your designs and making sure the women who want to wear your clothes can.

BodyShapes

Regardless of height and weight, standard sizing or plus size, there are four body types designers should be familiar with: the wedge, column, pear and hourglass. Over the course of fashion history, there are many examples of designers who have been known for specific silhouettes that mirror these four body types. Take a look at the following:

Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler, famed French designers of the 1980s, were well known for their broad-shouldered silhouettes. Notice how this silhouette gives the appearance of the wedge body type and a great silhouette to minimize the waist and hips by broadening the shoulders.

Look no further than the 1920s to find designers who embraced the column silhouette, as in the Paul Poiret illustration above. Other designers to research include Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grés. This silhouette is great for women who don’t have a defined waistline and whose shape is less curvy.

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Yves Saint Laurent’s trapeze silhouette of the late 1950s is a good example of a silhouette that follows the shape of the pear body type. Narrow at the shoulder and more voluminous at the hip, this silhouette was also made popular by Pierre Cardin and Rudi Gernreich in the 1960s. This silhouette is popular with girls whose waists and hips are larger than their bust.

And most famous for the hourglass silhouette is Christian Dior and his New Look, as seen above. Nipped in at the waist, and balanced at the shoulder and the hip, many designers have worked to achieve this ideal including Charles Frederick Worth, Azzedine Alaia and of course, Alexander McQueen. Girls with this body shape, accentuate the appearance of a smaller waistline with belts and body contoured clothing.

Understanding the four body types is just the tip of the iceberg for designers today. As the market shifts to accommodate a growing plus sized industry, many designers are shifting their offerings to support both their clients and their businesses. As recent as 2014, the British design collective of Clements Riberio, Giles Deacon, Hema Kaul, Jamie Wei Huang, Lulu Liu and Vita Gottlieb, were the first plus-size brands to show at London Fashion Week.

There has been a growing body positivity movement for some time. In 2004, Dove created their Campaign for Real Beauty which fostered conversations on female self-confidence and self-esteem issues, no matter her size, shape or race. Dove beauty ads featured plus-size women as the “real beautiful.”

However, as recent as last summer, Leslie Jones, star of SNL and Ghostbusters, struggled to find a designer who would design for her due to her size. She took her story to Twitter and her exchange with Christian Siriano made headline news. Siriano, a long time champion of dressing women with diverse body sizes was honored to step up to the plate. Siriano says of his collection in general, “We want to make sure that the collection feels cohesive, but we want to make sure that the models and the women wearing it are just as different as the women that shop in a store.” In fact, Siriano included plus-sized models in his fashion show last September to prove his point. In addition, many designers including Siriano and Isabel and Ruben Toledo, have partnered with plus-size retailer Lane Bryant as a way to make their designs accessible to all women.

We know this is a lot to consider as you are just learning to drape, draw and sew. However, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the fashion industry and its quickly changing trends. Take a look at our recently posted video for more information on body types and the plus-sized market.

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