Royal Wedding: Meghan Markle Stuns the World in Clare Waight Keller

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

It was the most anticipated wedding of the year; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot today (May 19, 2018) at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was a ceremony that managed to meld centuries of British tradition with a distinctly contemporary American feel and British and America flags waved gloriously all over England.

As the world watched, Meghan Markle made the trip to St. George’s Chapel with her mother Doria Ragland. The stunning American actress has now become the Duchess of Sussex with a simple “I do” to Prince Harry. There was plenty of speculation on what she would wear on this momentous occasion. Many thought that she would wear a custom gown by Ralph & Russo – after all, she chose an embellished Ralph & Rosso for her engagement portrait. Up until yesterday, many were assumed she would wear a Stella McCartney, since McCartney is an ethical fashion designer and avid animal rights activist.

Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture by Clare Waight Keller (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture by Clare Waight Keller (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

As Prince Charles walked Markle down the aisle, the soon to become Duchess of Sussex succeeded in a making global statement by choosing: a minimalistic gown from a French couture house designed by a British designer (Clare Waight Keller), a diamond tiara on loan from the Queen (once worn by Queen Mary), diamond earrings from French jeweler, Cartier earrings and a veil bearing symbols of the Commonwealth. While Markle respected British heritage and tradition, she has also ushered in a new age of simplicity and global inclusivity.

Meghan Markle's crown (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle’s crown (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

William Hansen, an etiquette coach, said in an interview following the wedding “It’s a more traditional dress, although it does have a very contemporary and up-to-date feel to it. There are the covered shoulders and the veil. There’s a nod to the past with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, and a nod to the present, which is seen in her veil and in the embroidered flowers that represent the countries of the Commonwealth and Prince Harry’s role.”

The dress, with its boat neck, clean lines and lack of embroidery, was quiet and demure, a stark contrast to Princess Diana’s wedding dress. The palace said that after meeting Waight Keller in early 2018, Markle chose to work with the designer due to her “timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring,” and relaxed demeanour. The gown was a surprisingly subdued choice compared to her sister-in-law Kate Middleton’s intricate lace wedding dress by Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton.

Left: Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen Righ: Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture

Left: Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen Righ: Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture

The lines of Markel’s dress were achieved using only six seams, and the dress extended towards the back where the train flowed into soft folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple-silk organza. Waight Keller worked with an exclusive double bonded silk cady, which she developed which gave the dress more shape. Both Waight Keller and Markle wanted a “pure white” color to bring a fresh modernity to the dress, the palace said.

Waight Keller described the dress as a close collaboration between her and Markle and said the two had wanted to create a “timeless piece that would emphasize the iconic codes of Givenchy throughout its history (think Audrey Hepburn), as well as convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

While the gown was relatively simple, the veil, in contrast, had plenty of intricate details. The bride wanted to have a distinctive flower from of each Commonwealth country with her on her journey through the ceremony, according to Kensington Palace.  The veil was five meters long and made of silk tulle trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers in silk thread and organza. Each flower was worked flat and in three dimensions, to create a unique and delicate design. The palace said the workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every 30 minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine. In addition to the flora of the Commonwealth, Markle selected two personal favorites: Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace, in front of Nottingham Cottage where the couple lives, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the state flower from Markle’s native California. Symmetrically placed at the very front of the veil, crops of wheat are meant to blend into the flora, to symbolize love and charity.

For those unfamiliar with Clare Waight Keller, here goes: She is a British mother of three and a talented, low-key British designer who is all about femininity, soft edges and beautiful fabrics. She also has a reputation for cutting a killer pair of pants. She attended both Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London. Waight Keller began her fashion career designing for Calvin Klein, where she worked for four years. She also worked with Polo Ralph Lauren as design director of Purple Label Menswear and was a senior design director with Tom Ford at Gucci. Waight Keller is known for her knitwear and her sleek, tomboyish, yet elegant style. In 2005, she became creative director at Pringle of Scotland and her first menswear collection was presented at Milan Fashion Week 2006. In 2011, she joined Chloé, where she coined the term “sister style,” a look that expresses clothes that are simple, comfortable and romantic. In 2016, Apple Music launched a fashion channel playlist and tapped Waight Keller and designer Alexander Wang to curate the music selections.  On March 16, 2017 she became the first female to become artistic director at the French House of Givenchy.

Clare Waight Keller

Clare Waight Keller

The stunning  couple married at St. George’s Chapel on the Queen’s Windsor estate — not at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral in London — and invited more than 2,000 members of the public to join them for the ceremony. The wedding wasn’t a state affair, but one filled instead with family — and some famous friends — including Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams, George and Amal Clooney, James Corden, James Blunt and Victoria and David Beckham. There were also a host of former classmates from Meghan’s alma mater Northwestern University were there, as well as the cast from her former TV series “Suits.”

So tell us, whose dress do you think was more fitting for a princess? Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen or Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture?

Stars Shine and Show Some Skin in Cannes

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Photo courtesy of www.standard.co.uk

Last Tuesday marked the start of the 71st Cannes Film Festival which runs through May 18, 2018. The beauty of reviewing fashion at this annual gathering of who’s who in film is that celebrities and attendees are not only wearing red carpet looks for film screenings and events, but also a chic variety of daytime head-to-toe looks for panels, photoshoots, promotional events and interviews.

No matter the time of day, three top trends are emerging as the stars promote their latest works. Read More

Met Gala 2018: Divine Creations on the Red Carpet

Left to right: Kim Kardashian in Versace, Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier, Gigi Hadid in Versace, Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce & Gabbana, and Zendaya in Versace (Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan.com)

Left to right: Kim Kardashian in Versace, Madonna in Jean Paul Gaultier, Gigi Hadid in Versace, Sarah Jessica Parker in Dolce & Gabbana, and Zendaya in Versace (Photo courtesy of Cosmopolitan.com

“Just like a Prayer,” Madonna’s 80s hit came to life at this year’s Met Gala. No matter what your religion, the Met Gala Red Carpet was filled with regal references, courtesy of the Catholic Church. It came as no surprise to fashion industry insiders that the Costume Institute choose such a controversial theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,”  especially considering that their 1983 exhibition, “The Vatican Collections: The Papacy and Art,” was the third most visited exhibit in the museum’s history (#1- Treasures of Tutankhamen-1978-79-1,360,000 visitors, #2-Mona Lisa 1963- 1,077,521 visitors). The Met is hoping that this exhibit will be a big money-maker. It certainly is one of the largest since it includes two locations, the Met Fifth Ave and the Met Cloisters.

(Photo courtesy of the Met)

(Photo courtesy of the Met)

However, this time around, Christianity, as interpreted by the Costume Institute, meant mixing the sacred and the profane. Included in the exhibit are ecclesiastical garments on loan from the Vatican, jostling for attention right next to high fashion from the usual suspects, Dolce & Gabbana, Versace, Chanel, Balenciaga and Valentino.

The Met Gala is fashion’s biggest night. This year the event was hosted by Rihanna, Amal Clooney, Donatella Versace, Anna Wintour and Stephen and Christine Schwarzman. As for the Red Carpet, there were plenty of religious imagery, complete with headpieces and lots of crosses. With no shortage of religious references, the bold and the beautiful competed for attention by feigning controversy, while remaining well within the boundaries of the game. Let’s thank Madonna for getting out Jean Paul Gaultier!

Aman Clooney in Richard Quinn abd George Clooney (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Aman Clooney in Richard Quinn abd George Clooney (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Bee Shaffer in Valentino and Anna Wintour (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Bee Shaffer in Valentino and Anna Wintour (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Some of the most memorable images of the night included Rihanna’s papal crown and cape designed by Margiela; Katy Perry wore 6-foot angel wings; and Cardi B’s jeweled headpiece and plunging beaded gown, this was her first Met Gala red carpet and she did not disappoint.

Katy Perry in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Katy Perry in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Rapper 2 Chainz popped the question to Kesha Ward, with whom he already has three children. She said yes, though it was unclear if this was Epps’ original proposal. Meanwhile, Kim Kardashian walked the carpet solo without her husband Kanye West, which was a surprise considering West’s love of fashion and who has attended the event for the past few years.

2 Chainz Propsed to Kesha Ward at the Met Gala

2 Chainz Propsed to Kesha Ward at the Met Gala

It was no surprise that the accessory that topped all others of the night were over-the-top headpieces. Crowns, veils and even a Pope Mitre hat!

Amazing Headpieces

Rihanna in Maison Margiela  (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Rihanna in Maison Margiela
(Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jeremy Scott and Cardi B in Moschino (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jeremy Scott and Cardi B in Moschino (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Solonge Knowles (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Solonge Knowles (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Joan Smalls (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Joan Smalls (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Priyanka Chopra (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Priyanka Chopra (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Here are some of the best looks of the night:

 

Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Madonna and Jean Paul Gaultier (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jennifer Lopez in Balmain (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Jennifer Lopez in Balmain (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Lana del Ray and Jared Leto, both in Gucci (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Lana del Ray and Jared Leto, both in Gucci (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Ariana Grande in Vera Wang (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Ariana Grande in Vera Wang (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Migos in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Migos in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Nicki Minaj in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Nicki Minaj in Oscar de la Renta (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Chadwick Boseman in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Chadwick Boseman in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images)

Donatella (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images) Versace

Donatella (Photo Courtesy of Shutterstock Images) Versace

Do you think religion has a place in fashion? Let us hear what you think.

 

Wedding Fever – Runway Proposal – Tribute – Meghan Markle Effect

- - Fashion Shows
Chad Stapleton proposes to model girlfriend Nicole Kaspar on the runway of the Watters Show (Photo courtesy of The Knot)

Chad Stapleton proposes to model girlfriend Nicole Kaspar on the runway of the Watters Show (Photo courtesy of The Knot)

New York Bridal Fashion Week has come to a close and what an exciting season it was! From the romantic runway proposal of Chad Stapleton to model girlfriend Nicole Kaspar at the Watters show, to a touching tribute at the Amsale show for Aberra Amsale, founder and creative director of the bridal and ready-to-wear line who passed away at the age of 64, two weeks before her show. Per Aberra’s request, the show must go on.

The first bridal dress Amsale created (Photo courtesy of the designer)

The first bridal dress Amsale created (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Amsale Aberra (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Amsale Aberra
(Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

The Meghan Markle Effect

Royal fever was at an all-time high! Designers, buyers and editors alike, all had Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on their minds as the countdown to the royal nuptials begins. The world will be watching as the Prince takes the beautiful American actress to be his bride on May 19, 2018. All are wondering… will Markle dress in a traditional regal gown or will she break the rules?  In a recent Glamour magazine interview, Markle said, ”I have the luxury of wearing beautiful pieces of clothing every day for work, so my personal style—wedding or not—is very pared down and relaxed.” And so, who and what will she be wearing? Erdem, Mouret, Saab, Beckham or a wedding dress designed by the house of McQueen?

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their engagement photos

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle in their engagement photos

Aside from all the touching moments, the Spring 2019 bridal collections were full of great moments – from the splendid to the surprising. Here is a peek at what bride’s will be wearing next spring:

A Royal Affair

Although Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will be married almost a year before the Spring 2019 bridal collections are available, the regal affair was one of the biggest inspirations of the season. Designers have looked to royal brides for decades. What bride doesn’t want to look and feel like a princess on her wedding day? These delicate yet voluminous gowns were the perfect balance between traditional and fashionable.

Monique Lhuillier's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Monique Lhuillier’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Legends by Romona Keveza's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Legends by Romona Keveza’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Marchesa's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Marchesa’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Pretty In Pink

Pink frothy confections stood out in a sea of white and ivory gowns. These sweet pastels were a fresh and modern approach to bridal.

Vera Wang's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Vera Wang’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Gustavo Gadile's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Gustavo Gadile’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dancing Queen

Calling all brides… it’s your time to shine! Literally. The disco days of Studio 54 became a surprising trend this bridal season as designers played with silver metallic detailing, from full-on fringe party dresses to mirror-embellished gowns.

Jenny Packham's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Jenny Packham’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Galia Lahav's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Galia Lahav’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Mira Zwillinger's spring show (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Mira Zwillinger’s spring show (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Cape Town

With so many bare and sexy and wedding gowns on the runway, a dramatic cape became the perfect cover-up, especially for religious ceremonies. The added layers were equally exquisite, with stunning embroideries and dramatic godet inserts.

Tadashi Shoji's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Tadashi Shoji’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Theia's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Theia’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Elie Saab's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Elie Saab’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dramatic Bows

Norman Norell popularized the bow in the 60s and they have been a bridal staple ever since. For Spring 2019, bows got super-sized. These sculptural versions added a dramatic flair to the simplest of gowns.

Carolina Herrera's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Carolina Herrera’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Gala by Galia Lahav's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Gala by Galia Lahav’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Reem Acra's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Reem Acra’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Breaking Traditions

For the non-traditional bride of the twenty-first century, a gown on her wedding day is just not going to happen! Designers are now offering plenty of options – chic tuxedos, bedazzled jumpsuits, and even sequined tracksuits! These style alternatives are also perfect for pre and post wedding day events – bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and après wedding day brunch.

Danielle Frankel's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Danielle Frankel’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Naeem Khan's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Naeem Khan’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Lela Rose's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Lela Rose’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

In Plume

Feathers were a huge RTW trend for the past few seasons and now the bridal market has followed suit. Check out these spectacular plume-trimmed gowns.

Naeem Khan's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Naeem Khan’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Inbal Dror's spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Inbal Dror’s spring collection (Photo courtesy of the designer)

 So tell us…who do you think is the lucky designer of Meghan’s dress?

 

 

 

 

 

A Designer Dilemma: Staying True to Your Brand as Trends Shift

- - Fashion Tips

 (Photo Courtesy of Refinery29)

In today’s digital age where news and trends are delivered at lightning speed, it is important for fashion designers to remember to stay true to their brand’s vision. With a plethora of influences out there, like Instagram, Pinterest, fashion vlogs and blogs, it’s hard for them not to succumb to current trends and create a plat du jour collection that may ultimately compromise their brand. Successful designers realize the importance of maintaining brand identity and staying connected with their customers’ expectations as trends shift.

But what should a designer do when their brand signature is not the trend of the moment?

Answer: Designers must adapt their signature style to the changing market, while not confusing their customer.

Here are a few designers who, throughout their successful career, have stayed true to themselves and their brand, while adapting to the ever-changing trend churn:

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada surprises her clients season after season and yet one thing remains consistent; Prada always delivers a unique style that skillfully mixes intellectual purity, art, eccentric elegance and futuristic minimalism. Here are two examples of Prada’s love of art through the years.

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren

Although never one to follow trends, Ralph Lauren has built an empire on updating American classics that reflect elegance and sophistication. Here is a preppy nod to nautical chicness.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne

While his ‘shrunken’ grey suits put him on the map, Thom Browne is known for his avant-garde fashion and conceptual fashion shows. In an interview with BoF, designer Thom Browne told of his brand’s ‘conceptual-meets-commercial’ balancing act. Browne stated, “I just knew I needed to stay in business. I’m stubborn, but I’m not foolish. Fashion is a business. As conceptual as you want to be, you do have to make sure that you approach it as a business. There has to be a commercial element to what you do.” Here are some examples of his quirky take on men’s suits through the years.

Thom Brown Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Brown Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have never abandoned their cool, artsy girl customer. At a Fashion at FIAF festival talk, moderated by Vogue’s Sally Singer, the duo stated, “If you do think you have the vision to set out on your own, confidence is key, especially since your designs or ideas might seem crazy and impractical to some. It’s always good to piss some people off. Our teachers at [Parsons] hated us,” Hernandez laughed. “They were like, you guys have to stop making clothes for art girls. Make some easy separates. We were like, What? No!”  That spirit has stayed with us to this day. You can’t cater to every single person. You have to do what makes you feel happy.” Here are Proenza Schoular’s fashion-forward girls.

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang

No one has captured the M.O.D. (Model-off-Duty) look better than Alexander Wang. The eponymous label embodies a cool, slightly disheveled, utilitarian chic, downtown style that is favored by hipsters, rappers, ‘It girls’ and critics alike. Here are some Alexander Wang cool, downtown girls.

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel

Tweed, pearls and quilted bags have been among the ‘codes of the house’ at Chanel for decades. And yet, season after season, Karl Lagerfeld adds a youthful and fashion-forward twist to these iconic classics. Here are some signature Chanel looks through the years.

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So tell us, which designers do you think have best adapted their ‘signature’ to current fashion trends while still maintaining their brand’s identity?

 

ARE INFLUENCERS REALLY INFLUENCING SALES?

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Millennials have become the generation of social media. Life doesn’t happen unless it’s on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the many other digital platforms embraced by today’s society. So naturally, fashion and beauty brands have been shelling out big bucks to engage influencers with the expectation that their followers buy the products that they’re peddling.

Bots have become one of the Internet’s most wanted

Bots have become one of the Internet’s ‘Most Wanted’ (Courtesy of WWD.Com)

But now, in an era that created  ’Fake News’, the fashion and beauty world have come to a realization….that many of these so called influencers are not influencers at all, that is, they have ‘fake followers.’

Ryan Babenzien of Gates (Courtesy of WWD.Com)

Ryan Babenzien of Greats (Courtesy of WWD.Com)

Greats, the premiere sneaker brand, was about to pay an influencer with 10.5 million followers a mid, six-figure sum for a long-term partnership. The influencer, who Gates declined to name, was set to design a capsule collection of woman’s footwear, but the deal never went through. According to a WWD article published on Feb. 13, 2018, Ryan Babenzien, founder and chief executive officer of Greats, discovered that the majority of the influencer’s followers were fake. “In doing due diligence, to get a better understanding of this person’s metrics — largely to make sure her followers aligned with the brand’s target audience — Babenzien was supplied with screenshots containing details about her Facebook and Instagram followings. When we mapped that over the world, we found that it was mathematically impossible for her to be as popular as she was and not have any of the 10 major cities in the 10 major countries be in her top 10 follower cities. It was impossible, Babenzien said. I don’t know if they paid for followers or if they are bots, but there wasn’t the alignment she had in followers from the cities that she was allegedly popular in.”

Fashion, beauty and retail brands around the globe have been allotting sizeable portions of their advertising budgets to influencers to create content for them. But as the industry studies influencers and their followers, they are beginning to understand that many of these numbers are fake. In many cases, inflated follower counts that result in campaigns that generate little return on investment.

According to a WWD article published on Feb. 13, 1018, “The fashion and beauty industries — as well marketing firms, public relations agencies and influencers who have come by their followings honestly — are up in arms about the matter, which they claim is tantamount to stealing from the brands paying them based on false information. Unfortunately, many firms discover this too late and only after shelling out tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Or even worse, many are worried that dishonest content creators and bloggers will ruin it for the rest of the group by giving influencer marketing a bad rap. This means that brands, disappointed when campaigns underperform because influencers fail to generate the traction that someone with a following of their size is expected to, will begin to tighten their belts.”

Chiara Ferragni of The Blond Salad is the face of Pantene, she is a true influencer who has created her own fashion label.

Chiara Ferragni of The Blond Salad is the face of Pantene, she is a true influencer who has also created her own fashion label.

Brands must be savvy and investigate the influencers they chose to work with. For example, there may be some people who are really good at creating brand awareness, and maybe they have a ton of followers, but the exchange isn’t high, but then there may be smaller influencers who are able to push a lot of sales. So, it is important for brands to know who they are collaborating with and who their followers are.  For example, Benefit Cosmetics has made some of the most significant investments in influencers across the entire beauty industry — including spending a reported $10 million on influencer initiatives to support its BadGal Bang Volumizing Mascara launch this month, according to a WWD article published on Feb. 13, 1018. “If Benefit gets credible info on an influencer with a lot of fake followers, we simply stop working with them, Toto Haba, senior vice president global digital at Benefit, told WWD.”

Benefit took 32 influencers to Utah’s luxe resort Amangiri for a three night, all-things-Benefit getaway to launch Badgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara (courtesy of WWD.Com)

Benefit took 32 influencers to Utah’s luxe resort Amangiri for a three night, all-things-Benefit getaway to launch Badgal Bang! Volumizing Mascara (courtesy of WWD.Com)

So, how can a fashion, beauty or retail brand identify fake followers? Well there are a few paid tools that can estimate the percentage of fake followers on an account, including InfluencerDB, SocialBakers, Social Audit Pro and SocialBlade. Therefore, before you shell out a vast amount of your advertising budget on an influencer, don’t forget to do your homework and work with these tools to help identify fake followers.

Amidst the recent Facebook scandal, where millions of people’s identity and privacy were compromised and used to turn several global political elections, and with talk now of government regulation, how long will it take for more transparency on social media when it comes to fake influencers?  We are truly living in the 21st century’s version of the Wild West. Bring on the sheriff and the  cavalry!  A powerful influencer is Man Repeller's Leandra Medine (photo courtesy of Buro 24/7)

A powerful influencer is Man Repeller’s Leandra Medine (photo courtesy of Buro 24/7)

So tell us, who is your favorite influencer? Do you think that social media should be regulated?

 

 

 

HOW THE #METOO MOVEMENT HIT THE FASHION INDUSTRY

- - Fashion Events
Photo Courtesy of The Nation

Photo Courtesy of The Nation

How does an industry that produces some of the sexiest clothes and creates the most provocative ads (think Calvin Klein) deal with the #MeTooMovement without seeming hypocritical? Good question!

Our industry revolves around desirability and seduction. Models are asked to pose provocatively (often times naked), young girls are continually used in ad campaigns and laws had to be passed to keep models with BMI’s under 8.5 from walking the runway. As a result, the industry is struggling with their stand on the MeToo Movement.

Anna Wintour and Harvey Weinstein (Photo courtesy of  The New York Times)

Anna Wintour and Harvey Weinstein (Photo courtesy of The New York Times)

Last October, a few courageous actresses shared their stories of sexual abuse at the hands of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, forcing him out of his company and into rehabilitation. The news hit home for the fashion industry, since Weinstein was a former owner of Halston (2007-2011) and married to Georgina Chapman, designer and co-owner of the brand Marchesa. Amidst the scandal and to save her company, she divorced Weinstein. The flood gates opened!

Terry Richardson on the cover of his 2002 book "Terryworld"

Terry Richardson on the cover of his 2002 book “Terryworld”

Fashion models, who previously felt victimized, were empowered to speak out – both male and female – about sexual assault and harassment that they suffered at the hands of some of the most famous fashion photographers in the business: Terry Richardson, Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier and Bruce Webber. These photographers worked with just about every top model, every fashion publication and countless designer ad campaigns. Of course, all are denying any wrong doing and are vowing to clear their names.

Mario Testino (Photo courtesy of the Telegraph)

Mario Testino (Photo courtesy of the Telegraph)

But you really do have to stop and think…why has it taken our industry so long to pull the plug on this type of behavior? Should modeling agencies take blame for not protecting these young women and men who they represent and knowingly throw them to the wolves? How could this behavior been kept a secret for so long? Is their a ‘bad-boy’ code that makes this acceptable?

Patrick Demarchelier -(Photo courtesy of The NY Daily News)

Patrick Demarchelier -(Photo courtesy of The NY Daily News)

So far, there have been no embarrassing resignations, no contrite statements. Some in the industry seem to be defending these photographers. An article in the February 5, 2018 issue of New York Magazine stated that Condé Nast agreed to institute a “Code of Conduct” that sounded suspiciously like workplace norms (“Recreational drugs are not permitted”). Vogue editor and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour put the company’s relationship with these  photographers “on hold.” Not exactly a firm stand on the issue. And unlike their counterparts in the entertainment industry, who came out in defense of their victims, some of fashion’s celebrities actually leaped to the defense of the accused. Kelly Klein (former wife of Calvin) posted on Weber’s Instagram “#istandbyhim,” and where his denial received 4,692 likes to his main accuser’s of only 846. Donna Karan added “Thank you for being the man friend partner artist photographer u are.” “Bruce is an incredible artist and inspiration,” said model Elaine Irwin. “In my experience he has always been absolutely professional, kind and respectful to everyone on his set.” “For me, working with Bruce has always been a joy,” Isabella Rossellini chimed in. “Bruce Weber is an artist thru and thru,” said Christie Brinkley. When Weber posted a picture of his dog the day after the Times article went up online, former CFDA executive director Fern Mallis responded with “paws,” “heart,” and “thank-you hands” emoji. Vogue editor Lisa Love sent him an “xx.” “It’s getting out of control this going after people saying they have been sexually harassed,” one model scout wrote on Instagram. “What a load of crap. I would be more than happy to send models for Bruce to shoot! Makes me nervous that I’ll get sued next! Ha ha.” Makes you wonder whether industry power-players are helping to cover-up these allegations due to their long-standing friendships or they disbelieve the victims?

Bruce Webber (Photo courtesy of WWD)

Bruce Webber (Photo courtesy of WWD)

In any other industry, heads would roll, but in fashion, people just look the other way. These young models (male and female) are thrown into a world of partying, drugs and sex. Many of them are in their early teen years.  So who is there to watch over and protect models from such predators?

“It’s been well known for decades that sexual abuse of models is a pervasive problem,” says Sarah Ziff, a model,  filmmaker, activist, and executive director of the Model Alliance. “It was always accompanied by this sneering sense of : “‘oh, models, beautiful people, they have it so hard,” she says. “The issue is not just the individuals who’ve abused their power, but also the industry’s enabling culture and lack of accountability, and the sense that this kind of predatory behavior just comes with the territory.” This one, they expected, would just as easily blow over. “No one’s nervous,” one agent at a top firm told me. “Everyone thinks they’re untouchable. Because it has been going on so long.” –   According to the New York Magazine  February 5, 2018 issue.

Sara Ziff, Founder The Model Alliance(Photo courtesy of Into the Gloss)

Sara Ziff, Founder The Model Alliance(Photo courtesy of Into the Gloss)

Models, just like actors, take on a new role for each photo shot. Just because they are getting paid to take sexualized photos doesn’t mean that they should be treated as sex objects. In the face of the #MeToo movement, why are all the allegations of sexual misconduct in the modeling industry not being taken as serious as those in Hollywood? Let’s hope that our industry can step up to the plate and start protecting models from sexual predators and abuse. Nobody’s job should include abuse.

Have you accounted abuse of any kind in the fashion industry? Share your story and help protect others.