IT’S SHOWTIME: NEW YORK FASHION WEEK SPRING 2022

- - Fashion Shows

Designer Wes Gordon with a look from the Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2022 collection celebrating the brand’s 40th year anniversary. (Photo Credit: Lexie Moreland for WWD)

New York Fashion Week is back and bigger than ever! It has been 18 months since New York hosted it’s last in-person fashion week, pre-COVID, and in an attempt to get back to a new normal, we will certainly be complying with mask mandates and vaccination cards to attend all of the live events.

So, what will be different THIS season you may ask? Well for starters, many American designers who have shown in Europe in the past, will be coming home to show in New York City. A few European imports, such as Moschino, have also opted to show their collection in NYC, adding an exciting energy to the week. And another treat to look forward to…over a dozen emerging Black designers were added  to the fashion calendar, thanks to the Black In Fashion Council.

And another first…NYFW will go out with a bang as the Met will host their annual Met Gala on September 13th. Read our blog from last week to learn more about the Costume Institute’s new exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and their youngest-ever crew of co-chairs: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman. Add in the U.S. Open (tennis championship games) and the VMA Awards (Video Music Awards) to the mix and New York City will be bustling with excitement. Just like pre-Covid days. Almost.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind the fashion label Rodarte, surrounded by models during their spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

In true NYC fashion, and with the Mario Coumo scandal finally behind us, New York’s newest and first female governor, Kathy Hochul, announced a partnership with NYFW’s IMG, giving designers free access to two show venues, Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park (downtown) and Moynihan Train Hall (in the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building). According to Vogue Runway, Gurung’s show was the first to take the governor up on her offer. Later in the week, Cynthia Rowley will host her show in the same downtown location and Victor Glemaud will present in Moynihan Train Hall. More firsts.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Prabal Gurung. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

“We are grateful to Governor Hochul and New York State for their continued partnership,” said IMG’s president of fashion events and properties Leslie Russo. “Through this unique partnership, we are proud to showcase iconic New York City locations as the backdrop to this season’s collections.” 

Although the city will feel alive and energized, there will certainly be somber moments too, as this year marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. New York City will have to downsize their ceremonies due to COVID and the Delta variant,  which is circulating both locally and across the country.  It’s so hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the September 11th terrorist attacks, the day that not only halted New York Fashion Week, but all of New York City. However, out of the ashes of death and destruction, NYC rebuilt itself stronger than ever. The fashion industry came together and started what has now become the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, an incubator in support of young designers and the program has nurtured numerous talents, from Proenza Schouler to Telfar.

In 2021, the industry had to pivot once again to address the tragedy of COVID-19. Due to the worldwide pandemic, many fashion companies shuttered such as retailer Century 21 and well-established designers such as Carly Cushnie (who created her namesake label Cushnie). In April of this year, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (CVFF) announced that as an alternative to their usual competition, they would also award grants to 10 independent American brands. It’s a diverse group that ranges from Eckhaus Latta to Batsheva, as well as a few upstart labels.

A look from Batsheva’s spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Another silver lining to emerge from the pandemic was a heightened awareness amongst consumers who are now becoming more discerning shoppers in search of more sustainable brands and individualized pieces. After spending over a year and a half indoors, working from home, we all want to make our grand entrance when entering the workplace but in a more thoughtful way.

Imitation of Christ, Spring 2022 ready-to-wear presentation. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Here are some of our favorite tends from the first few days of the NYFW Spring 2022 season.

READY TO BARE

In keeping with the runways’ newfound desire for nudity, designers are daring consumers to bare just a bit more for Spring 2022 with a multitude of bra tops. Interpretations ran the gamut, from a chic interpretation at Michael Kors to a sportier vibe at Jason Wu.

A look from Michael Kors Collection ‘s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Coach’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jason Wu’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jonathan Simkhai’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bevza’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BLOOMS DAY

Welcome to spring’s splashy garden party, an oh-so-optimistic celebration with bold colors and masses of floral prints. These delicate florals made their way onto everything from sweet mini dresses to edgy one-shoulder frocks.

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Natasha Zinko’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Looks form Libertine’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Libertine)

A look from Monique Lhuillier’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Collina Strada’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Markarian’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHORT STORIES

Bottoms up! Shorts rocked the runways this season, from tiny briefs to Bermuda styles. These looks are a youthful and relaxed alternative to the summer dress.

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Adam Lippes’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from St. John’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Adeam’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Adeam)

A look from Alejandra Alonso Rojas’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

HUE SAID IT

Designers lit up the spring 2022 season with rich and vibrant shades for day and night.

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Badgley Mischka’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from CDLM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Naeem Khan’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

NEUTRAL TERRITORY

Neutral shades are anything but boring. For spring, designers mix it up with a palette that ranges from pale ivory to lovely nudes.

A look from Peter Do’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from The Row’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ulla Johnson’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fredrick Anderson’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BARE CONDITIONING

Seduction is the name of the game as designers add interesting, skin baring, cut-outs to their favorite frocks.

A look from Christian Siriano’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Threeasfour’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Nicole Miller’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from LaQuan Smith’s spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Do you have a  favorite Spring 2022 trend so far?

THE MET GALA: A LEXICON OF FASHION

- - Fashion Events

Andrew Bolton discusses the underlying themes and importance of the upcoming exhibition. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art)

It’s not the first Monday of May, but the Met Gala is back on. And, for the first time in its history, it coincides with New York Fashion Week. and will be presented in two parts, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and In America: An Anthology of Fashion. The first glamorous event will take place on Monday, September 13th, however, this time it will be a smaller and more intimate soirée. (The fashion extravaganza was cancelled last year and postponed due to COVID-19.) While the highly anticipated affair will look a little different this year, there will still be a red carpet filled with magnificent fashion and celebrity sightings. The second part, In America: An Anthology of Fashion will have its red carpet moment on May 2, 2022.

Here is everything you need to know about fashion’s biggest night.

(Watch a video about the exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Film by Sterling Ruby for The Met).

WHAT IS THE MET GALA?

The Met gala is the fashion world’s equivalent of the Oscars. Designers, models, brand ambassadors and Hollywood stars assemble for one night out of the year to wear the most fantastical looks in celebration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute latest show. Most guests dress to fit the theme of the exhibit and the Met Red Carpet is something like the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.

Katy Perry in Atelier Versace in 2018 for the Catholic Imagination theme at the Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

MET THEME 2021

“Veil Flag” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020, courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. (Photo Credit: Melanie Schiff)

This year’s Met gala theme celebrates American fashion. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator-in-Charge of the Costume Institute, felt it was time to reexamine American identity and fashion, especially as it has changed over the last several years due to both political and social justice movements. “I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective,” Andrew Bolton told Vogue. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”

THIS YEAR’S CO-CHAIRS

Left to Right: Met Gala co-chairs Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Timothée Chalamet, and Amanda Gorman. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The Met gala traditionally has a number of co-chairs that help host the event every year. For this year’s 2021 Met gala it’s a list of the current Who’s Who: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka, while Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour (who has chaired the event since 1995) will serve as honorary chairs.

WILL THERE BE A RED CARPET?

Yes! There will be a red carpet, although the affair will be intimate and will follow New York City’s COVID-19 safety protocols. On the iconic Met steps will be a cast of celebrities and guests in their outré ensembles.

DRESS CODE

Yes, the Met gala will have a formal dress code. On the 2021 invitation, the dress code is listed as American Independence. We are sure there will be many over-the-top variations on the theme, from bedazzled American flag inspired looks, to classic gowns created by American designers. We can guarantee that looks will be anything but boring.

ATTENDING GUESTS

Kim Kardashian in Mugler with Kanye West in 2019 regularly attend the Met Gala . (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Part of the excitement of the Met gala is not knowing who will show up! Designers typically invite, as their guests, the hottest celebrities of the moment.

The exclusive invite list is always kept closely guarded until right before the event, but rumored guests include TikTok dancer Addison Rae, YouTube vlogger Emma Chamberlain, singer Camila Cabello, sprinter Allyson Felix, and British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.

Met Gala regulars Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian will reportedly be in attendance, but a New York Post Page Six article suggested that some big stars won’t be showing up this year. For example, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen due to Brady’s Buccaneers training schedule. Other Met gala regulars that will have to miss this year’s festivities are Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a scheduling conflict with her filming of the Sex And The City reboot. And Kate Moss and Saoirse Ronan who live overseas and might be unable to attend due to COVID travel restrictions. Some European designers may miss it since they will be prepping for their own fashion shows.

One celebrity agent told the Post: “I think the big actors and the big fashionistas will come next year, when it returns in May. I also don’t think a lot of people feel like dressing up in ridiculously expensive outfits and putting on a mask for this.”

We will wait and see which celebrities make their dramatic red carpet reveal on September 13th.

THE EXHIBITS: Parts 1 & 2

A look from Prabal Gurung’s spring 2020 collection. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Paolo Lanzi for IMAXTREE)

PART 1

The Met gala event on September 13th, A Lexicon of Fashion, will open to the public on September 18th at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met, marking the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary. The exhibition will be staged to resemble a home, with intersecting walls and rooms that will establish what Bolton calls “a new vocabulary that’s more relevant and more reflective of the times in which we’re living.” Part one of the exhibit will feature looks from Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung, and Andre Walker, to name a few.

PART 2

The second exhibit, An Anthology of Fashion, will open to the public on May 5, 2022, and will be located in the period rooms of the museum’s American Wing. According to an interview with Vogue, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will work with American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room that depict a different history of American fashion. (On May 2, 2022, a second Met gala will take place to celebrate the opening of An Anthology of Fashion.)

This two-part exhibition is one of the most ambitious that the Costume Institute has ever attempted to date. The exhibitions will explore the  question: Who gets to be an American? A red, white, and blue silk sash from the grand finale of Prabal Gurung’s 2020 10th-anniversary collection featured the phrase, and it will greet visitors from the entrance of the Anna Wintour Costume Center. It’s a question every immigrant considers—but wrapped in golden light at the onset of a fashion retrospective, it takes on a new spirit. “It was important to open with that,” says Andrew Bolton, in an interview with Vogue. “It tackles this notion of acceptance and belonging, which recent events have brought to the fore. Of course, these are questions that have always been present—but there are moments in history when they’re more resonant and resounding.”

Ensemble by Christopher John Rogers from his fall 2020 collection. Courtesy Christopher John Rogers. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Christina Fragkou)

In America, the museum’s two-part exploration of all things Made in the U.S.A., is a yearlong celebration spanning three centuries of fashion. The first part, which includes pieces from such American iconic designers such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein alongside the current vanguard of millennial talent, such as Christopher John Rogers, opens to the public on September 18, with part two opening on May 5, 2022.

According to Vogue, In America, echoes the work Bolton has done expanding the Met’s archives to include more contributions from designers of color and marginalized groups—and though it serves as a retrospective, the show’s observations about national identity are rooted in current concerns. “It was almost impossible to do this show without looking at it through the lens of politics,” says Bolton. “There’s no art form that addresses the politics of identity more than fashion.”

Bolton credits 2020’s social ­justice movements as the prompt for him to reexamine the topic of terminology—​particularly when tackling such important issues—since, in the 20 years since the museum’s last overview of American fashion, discussions around style have changed. “American designers are at the forefront of conversations around diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, gender fluidity, and body positivity,” Bolton says in an interview with Vogue, “and the framework of the show enables us to focus on the younger designers who are engaging thoughtfully and deeply with those ideas.”

Cape by Andre Walker using Pendleton Woolen Mills, spring 2018 colection. Courtesy Andre Walker Studio. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Shoji Fujii)

During the height of the pandemic, when New York City was in complete lockdown, Bolton played with the idea of organizing the exhibition as a kind of high-tech house inspired by Witold Rybczynski’s Home: A Short History of an Idea—but wedging designers into categories in different rooms of the house. Bolton’s final inspiration, Reverend Jesse Jackson’s speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. “America is not like a blanket, one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size,” he told the audience at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. “America is more like a quilt: many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread.”

“The act of making a quilt celebrates the notion of community that is so strong in America,” says Bolton, who adds that quilts also connect ideas about family and about repurposing and recycling. “Each square is a different designer, who represents a specific quality of American fashion.”

“Traditionally American fashion has been described in terms of the American tenets of simplicity, practicality, and functionality. Fashion’s more emotional qualities have tended to be reserved for more European fashion,” Bolton says. “In part one we’ll be reconsidering this perception by reestablishing a modern lexicon of fashion based on the emotional qualities of dress.” The many rooms in this part of the exhibit will be titled to reflect the personal and emotional relationship we have to fashion: “Well-Being for the kitchen galleries, Aspiration for the office, and Trust, the living room, for example.”

Bolton is writing a new history of American fashion that focuses less on sportswear and Seventh Avenue dressmakers, and instead presenting American designers as creators, innovators, and artists. “Taken together these qualities will compromise a modern vocabulary of American fashion that prioritizes values, emotions, and sentiments over the sportswear principles of realism, rationalism, and pragmatism,” he says.

The exhibit will feature approximately 100 pieces from about 80 labels, and designers and will range from delightful 1994 Anna Sui dresses to Christian Francis Roth’s 1990 “Rothola” dress. Obviously, the show will feature a number of quilted and handcraft looks, case in point, Hollywood costumer turned designer Adrian’s 1947 dress which references the floral designs found on traditional hand-sewn American quilts. Other noteworthy patchwork pieces include a custom piece from Emily Adams Bode made from a vintage quilt. Sweet floral looks are also part of the exhibit with looks ranging from Adolfo’s silk evening­wear from the early ’70s, to Marc Jacobs’s spring 2020 botanical theme collection.

Florals might be subversively romantic. Two good examples on the Nice Corridor Balcony at left, Adolfo 1973, proper, Marc Jacobs, spring 2020. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Part two of the exhibition, An Anthology of Fashion, will be shown in the museum’s period rooms. Themes such as 2004’s Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century will be shown in the French period rooms. And, 2006’s AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion will be set in the English period rooms. “In its conceptualization, part two actually preceded part one and actually inspired and informed it. For many years now we’ve been examining our collection to uncover hidden or untold stories with a view to complicating or problematizing monolithic interpretations of fashion. Our intention for part two is to bring these stories together in an anthology that challenges perceived histories and offers alternative readings of American fashion,” Bolton explains.

By engaging American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will illustrate a different history of American fashion, such as pieces from the midcentury couturier Ann Lowe and the work of African American designer Stephen Burrows. “Key themes will include the emergence of an identifiable American style and the rise of the named designer with an individual aesthetic vision,” says Bolton.  The exhibit will run through September 5, 2022 and is made possible by Instagram and with support from Condé Nast.

Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“For me, this past year confirmed what I’ve been thinking already—that American fashion is undergoing another renaissance,” Bolton says. As a fashion industry veteran, I thrilled to have the opportunity to witness fashion’s rebirth at the Met later this month.

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE MET GALA CELEBRITY LOOKS

Cher in Bob Mackie in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Iman in Calvin Klein, with the designer in 1981. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Naomi Campbell in Versace 1990. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Princess Diana in Dior in 1995. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Donatella Versace in her own design, with Gianni Versace in 1996. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Demi Moore in Donna Karan with the designer in 2000. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen with the late designer in 2006. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Kate Moss in Marc Jacobs in 2009. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Rihanna in Guo Pei Couture in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beyoncé in Givenchy in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Kylie Jenner Balmain in 2016. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda in 2017. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

So tell us, which celebrities would you like to see on the red carpet?

 

 

 

 

Y2K FASHION COMES ROARING BACK

- - Trends

The 2002 film Hot Chick served up plenty of Y2K fashion inspiration. (Photo Credit: Unpublishedzine)

Stephen King, the famed American author of horror novels, once stated that “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” And this quote couldn’t be more true when it comes to fashion trends. Fashionistas all know that fashion is cyclical, and, that if you hold onto your favorite fashion piece long enough, it will eventually come back in style. For the most part, these fashion cycles can take decades to come full circle, but in less than 20 years, Y2K fashion has hit the mainstream and is quickly emerging as one of the biggest trends in 2021, thanks to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Gen Zers can’t get enough. Videos tagged “#Y2KAesthetic” and “#Y2Kfashion” on TikTok have a collective 405 million views and counting.

Gen Zers, those born between 1997 and 2012, were just babies when Y2K fashion was popular the first time around, so they are fully embracing the midriff-baring, butt-skimming looks favored in the early 2000s. This period, in fashion, was known for excess and driven by pop culture and ultra-consumerism. Paris Hilton became the face of fashion and trends and “that’s hot” became her trademark catchphrase. Pop culture celebrities like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Cameron Diaz, Beyoncé, and Nicole Richie quickly became fashion trendsetters with their velour Juicy Couture tracksuits, bedazzled Ed Hardy t-shirts, super low-cut denim pants, low slung belts, cropped tops, and Von Dutch trucker hats. Celebrities had lots of fun with fashion. And isn’t a little fun what we all need right now?

Looks from Blumarine Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Blumarine)

Currently, fashion designers around the world are embracing the Y2K fashion trend. Blumarine’s creative director, Nicola Brognano, looked to the early aughts for inspiration. For resort 2022, Brognano debuted his ruffled minidresses, bedazzled belts, and low-slung denim. In an interview with Vogue, the creative director stated, “My Blumarine is more dirty, bitchy, sexier.” And now, the fad is gaining momentum and hitting the streets. Currently, stars like Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Bella Hadid, and others have been sporting their best Y2K looks and giving them a new, modern twist.

WHAT EXACTLY IS Y2K FASHION?

Pop sensation Destiny’s Child proudly wearing cropped tops and low-slung jeans in the early aughts. (Photo Credit: Pintrest)

Over the past few years, ‘90s minimalism was one of the biggest trends that social media influencers gravitated towards. But today, there is an upsurge in Y2K-inspired looks. Y2K fashion is all about making a statement, it’s the “look at me” mentality that contributed to the rise of reality TV stars. Officially, Y2K covers the early-to-mid 2000s and so for Millennials it captures the energy (and shopping habits) of their childhoods and early teens, while for Gen Zers it reminds them of happier and simpler times.

Paris Hilton wearing low-rise jeans in 2002. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The early aughts were undeniably defined by women who ruled pop culture in both music and film. Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliot topped the music billboard charts. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were socialite royalty and film characters such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Regina George of Mean Girls became iconic fashion legends with their hot pink everything, bedazzled logos, teeny-tiny bags, denim on denim, and yes, their Juicy Couture.

While this over-the-top fashion movement is hitting the mainstream, today’s “It” girls and boys are styling these trends in a more modern way.

BIGGEST Y2K TRENDS

TRUCKER HAT

Celebrities loved their trucker hats in the early aughts. From top Left, clockwise: Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, Rihanna and Lindsay Lohan. (Photo Credit: Today News)

In the early aughts, everyone rocked a trucker hat. It was one of the most popular tacky-chic accessories of that era and one that has made the biggest comeback so far. A trucker hat is much like a baseball cap, except that it has a graphic front and a mesh back. Justin Timberlake helped launch the trend in 2003 when he wore a Von Dutch hat to a Grammy afterparty. Soon thereafter everyone was sporting the trucker hat, from Ashton Kutcher to Lindsay Lohan—especially the Von Dutch version, which was the “It” label of the time.

Rihanna in an Esso trucker hat in the spring of 2021. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Today, celebrities and fashion influencers ranging from Rihanna to Hailey Bieber have all been photographed wearing the beloved cap.

ED HARDY TEES

Britney Spears wearing Ed Hardy in the early aughts. (Photo Credit: Popsugar)

Fashion lovers were obsessed with Ed Hardy tees in the early 2000s. The overpriced tees with printed skulls and tigers, and bedazzled tattoo motifs, were spotted on just about every celebrity. On the fashion marketplace app, Depop, vintage styles are now going for upwards of $200. In fact Ed Hardy merch was in such demand that they even launched an offshoot streetwear line, called By Appointment Only. The idea that these tacky tees would make a comeback was pretty unthinkable until recently when Bella Hadid and Addison Rae both rocked the tops. Rae actually wore her pink Hardy tee as a dress with platform flip-flops for the full Y2K effect.

Bella Hadid in an Ed Hardy tee summer 2021. (Photo Credit: The Image Direct)

LOW-RISE JEANS

Keira Knightley wearing low-rise jeans on the red carpet in 2003. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

One of the sexiest Y2K looks making a splash at the moment is the tricky low-rise styles that were all the rage in the early 2000s. Every young girl rocked the style, even though the denim jean barely covered their butt-cracks). Fashionistas today are ditching their high-rise denim pants for these low-rise looks, which back then were red-carpet staples with celebrities such as Keira Knightly, Lindsay Lohan and Destiny’s Child.

Bella Hadid rocking low slung jeans in 2021. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

VELOUR TRACK SUITS

A few of Paris Hilton’s many Juicy Couture tracksuits. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, screen queens of the early aughts, made the velour track suit the ‘must have’  Y2K fashion item. But not ‘any’ velour track suit would do, celebrities proudly wore their Juicy Couture track suits to everything from shopping sprees to lunch meetings. And of course, the Juicy Couture track suit came in a plethora of colors, as well as in bejeweled logo versions for a more maximalist aesthetic.

Kylie Jenner is bringing back the Juicy Couture tracksuit. (Photo Credit: CelebSecrets)

KITSCH ACCESSORIES

Another early aught trend was Butterfly Clips. Left to Right: Melissa Joan Hart, Sarah Michelle Geller, and Britney Spears. (Photo Credit: Cosmopolitan Magazine)

Fun and amusing accessories complimented any early aught look, so naturally these child-like nostalgic pieces can be found all over TikTok and Instagram now. Fashion designers, such as Roxanne Assoulin’s Fruit Stripe Enamel Bracelets, Gucci’s Logo Resin Hair Clip, and Ganni’s Scrunchie, have embraced the youthful trend.

Gigi Hadid rocking Y2K hair clips in 2021. (Photo Credit: Buro247)

Sure, these over-the-top statement looks may be a boring rehash for some of us who lived through them the first time around, but when done right and creatively updated these Y2K trends can be new and fresh. This trend will never be a fav of the minimalist, but for the maximalist at heart, a new Y2K fashion mash-up will definitely let the inner 2000s teen in you go wild!

So tell us, what is your favorite Y2K trend?

CELEBRITY FASHION BRANDS – THEN & NOW

Nicole Richie’s House of Harlow 1960, Revolve Team on New Collection. (Photo Credit: House of Harlow 1960 x Revolve)

For decades, citizens of the world have looked up to their favorite celebrities and tried to emulate their sartorial choices. With the rise of the internet and social media it has only amplified the public’s celebrity obsession. Celebs are not only praised for their talent as musicians and/or actors, but also as tastemakers, which, more often than not, involves finding the right stylist. These stylist/celeb collaborations even have the power to make or break a trend, as we learned in last week’s blog post about Clark Gable’s ditching of his undershirt in the movie It happened One Night that sent the men’s underwear industry into chaos. And so, it’s no surprise that many celebrities decided to add ‘designer’ to their resume by creating brands that reflect their (and their stylist’s) personal style.

But alas! Celebrity fashion branding is nothing new, in fact, it actually dates back to the 1800s when renowned opera singers and dancers helped set the trends. One of the first celebrity fashion lines was created by Jenny Lind, a Swedish opera singer, who in 1850, became a cultural phenomenon in the United States. As a result of positive reviews and off the chart ticket sales generated from her first American tour with P.T. Barnum, Lind began to produce a range of Jenny Lind-branded merchandise that consisted of gloves, shawls, bonnets, and other fashionable pieces. While no one could confirm if Lind had any actual design input on the products baring her name, it became apparent that celebrity idolization and branding were here to stay.

Pamphlet advertising Irene Castle Corticelli Fashions, 1925. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Hagley Museum and Library)

With the introduction of cinema in the early 1920s, celebrity infatuation really began to soar. Ballroom dancer and silent film star Irene Castle, started the first true celebrity fashion brand circa 1917. Thie starlet was named the “Best-dressed Woman in America” at the time and was credited with designing her own collection in partnership with textile manufacturer, Corticelli Silks under the label, Irene Castle Corticelli Fashions. The high-end ready-to-wear collection was filled with glamorous gowns that Castle not only helped design, but also promote. Her role as designer/model/promoter helped create the rubric for celebrity driven brands of the future. Fun fact: Castle is also credited with popularizing the ‘bob’ haircut.

Earhart, putting finishing touches on a sleeve. (Photo Credit: Bettmann/ Getty Images)

Amelia Earhart became a household name in 1934 as the first woman pilot to successfully complete a trans-Atlantic flight. Married to George Putnam, whose family ran the successful publishing firm, G.P. Putnam & Sons Inc., her husband helped pay for her flying by coordinating Earhart’s press tours and endorsements, including lending her name to a luggage collection under the Baltimore Luggage Company. The Amelia Earhart luggage collection was produced from 1933 up until the 1970s. In addition, Earhart lent her name to a clothing collection in 1934 that was launched in 30 major cities, consisting of affordable clothes for active women. While it is recorded that Earhart’s designs themselves did not stand out from others at the time, it is believed that hers was the first collection sold as separates, meaning, women were able to buy a differently sized top to accompany their skirts.

For decades, the concept of celebrity fashion lines only increased and prospered with brands by socialite Gloria Vanderbilt, tennis star René Lacoste, super-model Twiggy, and Charlie’s Angels actress Jaclyn Smith  who found success with her women’s fashion collection for Kmart. Countless others would follow list is dizzying.

By the 2000s, celebrity fashion exploded, mostly due to the effect of influencer marketing and the internet. An insatiable public just couldn’t get enough of what their fav celebs were wearing or promoting on the red carpet, on their social media channels, or on TV. In the early 2000s, you weren’t a big star unless you launched a fashion line.

Jennifer Lopez Center with her models all dressed in her brand Sweetface which launced in 2001 but shuttered in 2009. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Early adopters of the celebrity fashion brand craze were celebs with mega star power such as Jennifer Lopez, Eve, Beyoncé’s House of Deréon, Gwen Stefani, and Lindsay Lohan’s short-lived stint for Emanuel Ungaro, which was a total disaster. While many celebrity fashion lines have come and gone, there are a number of them that have stood the test of time.

Here are a few of the most successful celebrity lines:

The Row

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen at the 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards. (Photo Credit: Angela Weiss/ Getty Images)

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have been in the spotlight since they were babies. The twins made their acting debut as infants (they were only 9 months old when they began filming) on the television series Full House. By the time they were six, Mary-Kate and Ashley were starring together in TV, film, and video projects, which they continued throughout their teenage years. Thanks to their company Dualstar, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen are ranked as two of the wealthiest women in the entertainment industry at a young age.

A Spring 2022 look from The Row. (Photo Credit: The Row)

As the Olsen twins became young adults, their effortless, cool-girl style began evolving and they became fashion icons. The Olsen’s quietly launched The Row in 2006, and insisted on not giving any interviews about the label for three years, as they wanted to be taken seriously as luxury designers and not be seen as a ‘celebrity brand’. The collection is filled with luxurious, chic, minimalistic pieces, all at a high-end designer price-point. The Row can be found at Bergdorf Goodman, Net-A-Porter, Saks Fifth Avenue, as well as in their own boutiques. By 2012, they won their first CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award, strengthening their status in the American fashion scene.

Victoria Beckham

Victoria Beckham channels a chic, minimalistic style. (Photo Credit: Karim Jaafar/AFP)

Who would have ever believed that pop star Victoria Beckham (of the British band Spice Girls) would turn out to be one of the most well-known fashion designers worldwide? Married to soccer star David Beckham, the singer-turned-designer was determined to shed her pop star image and be taken seriously as a luxury designer.

A Resort 2022 look from Victoria Beckham. (Photo Credit: Victoria Beckham)

Victoria Beckham launched her namesake label in 2008 with a low-key presentation but soon became a fixture at New York Fashion Week. Beckham’s collection is always filled with elegant and sophisticated ready-to-wear looks focusing on clothes that real women want to wear, all in luxurious fabrics. Beckham also offers lavish leather bags that are handmade in Italy as well as shoes and sunglasses. Her collection can be purchased on Net-A-Porter, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and a number of other high-end boutiques.

In 2011, Victoria Beckham launched a diffusion line, Victoria By Victoria Beckham. By 2014, she opened her first brick and mortar store on Dover Street and in 2017, designed an affordable Victoria Beckham range for the American retailer Target.

Beckham was awarded an OBE for her services to fashion and was honored by Prince William at an awards ceremony in Buckingham Palace. When she received her award from the Duke of Cambridge, she naturally wore her own creation.

Jessica Simpson

Jessica Simpson in her namesake label’s spring 2021 campaign. (Photo Credit: Jessica Simpson)

In terms of dollars and cents, one of the most successful fashion brands is The Jessica Simpson Collection. The singer and reality television star may not be as fashion forward and stylish as her counterparts, but her name and personality resonate with many consumers. Love her or hate her, Simpson is laughing her way to the bank.

Launched in 2006 as a shoe collection with business partner Vince Camuto,  Simpson rapidly expanded her brand to include clothing, sunglasses, handbags, accessories, and jewelry. Every year since 2010, the Jessica Simpson label has reportedly pulled in about $1 billion in annual sales and is the first clothing company owned by a celebrity ever to break this figure. The label now sells pieces in 30 different product categories in major department stores across America.

“I want to make every woman feel confident in what they’re wearing,” Simpson said in 2014, in an interview with Forbes. “I do feel like we’re very fashion-forward, but we also listen to the consumer.”

Fenty

Rihanna in center surrounded by her models for her 2020 Savage X Fenty show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Everything Rihanna touches turns to gold. Not only has the pop queen received 9 Grammy Awards, 8 Billboard Awards, and 13 American Music Awards throughout her career, but she also has a number of successful designer collaborations under her belt. In 2014, she collaborated with Puma. Her Fenty X Puma collection not only had cool sneakers with ribbon laces, but Rihanna also had several fashion shows with cool athletic-inspired pieces under the Puma label.

In 2017, Rihanna launched Fenty Beauty, which helped to revolutionize the beauty industry. A year later she expanded her Fenty label to include a lingerie line Savage X Fenty and made waves as she presented her first size-inclusive lingerie collection. Her star-studded Savage X Fenty fashion show has become a must-watch pop culture event —even earning an Emmy nod.

“Before she was BadGalRiRi: music, fashion and beauty icon, Robyn Rihanna Fenty was a little girl in Barbados transfixed by her mother’s lipstick,” Fenty Beauty’s About page reads.

In 2019, Rihanna became the first black female designer at LVMH, the parent company of luxury design houses Dior, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton. However, in February of 2021, LVMH announced that their partnership with Rihanna was put on hold.

 

Ivy Park

Beyoncé in her ADIDAS X IVY PARK collection. (Photo Credit: Ivy Park)

Pop diva Beyoncé is no stranger to the world of business ventures. Her first shot out of the box was the House of Deréon that she ran with her mom. In 2016 the singer launched an activewear line with Topshop. The popular activewear line labeled Ivy Park was a huge success. On November 14, 2018, Beyoncé and Parkwood Entertainment acquired total ownership of the Ivy Park brand away from co-founder Sir Phillip Green following allegations of sexual harassment and racial abuse.

The recording artist has been expanding her Ivy Park line and subsequently entered into a partnership with Adidas in 2019. In a statement released on the official Ivy Park website, Beyoncé stated, “This is the partnership of a lifetime for me… Adidas has had tremendous success in pushing creative boundaries. We share a philosophy that puts creativity, growth and social responsibility at the forefront of business. I look forward to re-launching and expanding Ivy Park on a truly global scale with a proven, dynamic leader.”

On January 17, 2020 the collaboration between Ivy Park and Adidas launched. In only six minutes the collection sold out on Adidas’s website. The line is available in select Adidas stores worldwide, as well as at Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom, Foot Locker, and Finish Line locations in the United States. The collaboration also plans to debut a children’s line soon.

So…it looks like celebrity brands are still the rage, even in a pandemic.

So tell us, who is your favorite celebrity fashion brand?

HOLLYWOOD’S INFLUENCE ON FASHION

- - Trends

The 1970s tragic film Love Story became a cult classic for its fashionable take on Ivy League preppy fashion. (Photo Credit: Classiq.me)

In last week’s blog, I talked about the music industry’s influence on fashion. So, this week I decided to explore the role the film industry plays in our industy. Let’s face it, films have always been a great escape for people around the globe. We can all get lost in the amazing characters, the scenery, the music, and, of course, the fashion. No matter what genre of movies you prefer, each cinematic experience can have an impact on our every day lives.

For decades, films have given us that “I must have it” fashion moment. Who can ever forget Julia Roberts in “Pretty Woman” (1990) as she radiates onscreen in her glamorous off-the-shoulder red gown created by Marilyn Vance. Shortly afterwards, every teenage girl wanted the knock-off version to wear to her prom.

The necklace scene from Pretty Woman. (Video courtesy of YouTube)

While not every film is able to create a trend, occasionally a movie or a particular character will come along and trigger a fashion trend or movement.

Since the early 1920s, when Hollywood first began producing films, society became obsessed with movie stars, especially their sartorial choices both on screen and off. In the early days of the film industry, costumes were chosen to recreate what people were sporting at the time. However, the ‘big 5′ film studios, RKO Radio Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer soon recognized the importance hiring fashion and costume designers to create their stars’ costumes. By the 1920s and 1930s, screen idols became public role models, largely due to the the right ‘package’: fashion, hairstyle and make up.

Today, movies and celebrities continue to influence fashion, some even becoming designers themselves. As every fashion designer knows, it is crucial to keep an eye on trends, especially in film. Think the movie Annie Hall and the Boho look, for example. What celebrities wear, both on and off screen, can either increase sales of a specific item or destroy an entire market. Case in point, in the film It Happened One Night, Clark Gable was seen without an undershirt and as a result, sales of undershirts plunged almost overnight.

Clark Gable in It Happened One Night. (Photo Credit: Immortalephemera.com)

Between 1928 and 1941, Hollywood costume designers played a critical role in shaping fashion trends. Gilbert Adrian (1903–1959) headed the costume department at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM Studios). Adrian was responsible for creating the signature styles of many of MGM Studio’s top actresses, and somewhat unknowingly, launched a variety of fashion crazes. Adriene was responsible for the popularity of gingham after he dressed Judy Garland in the pattern for the film The Wizard of Oz in 1939.

Another prominent Hollywood designer was Hubert de Givenchy (1927–2018), a favorite of influential actress Audrey Hepburn. He dressed her in such movies as Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), Sabrina (1954), and Funny Face (1957). Chanel may have been credited as the originator of the Little Black Dress (LBD), but it was Givenchy and Hepburn who reinvented it in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The LBD continues to be an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe in every price point from couture to mass market.

The iconic black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in the opening of the 1961 romantic comedy film Breakfast At Tiffany’s. Photo Credit: PurpleClover.com

In the 1930s, movie stars such as Katharine Hepburn, Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich pioneered the wearing of trousers, at a time when women were expected to express their womanliness by wearing dresses and skirts. These Hollywood legends proved to society that women could be just as sexy and feminine in pants as they were in dresses and skirts.

Katharine Hepburn was one of the first actresses to frequently wear pants. (Photo Credit: The Life Picture Collection/Getty images)

Here are some additional cinematic masterpieces that have influenced our fashion choices through the years.

And God Created Woman (1957)

Brigitte Bardot wowed in a bikini- from And God Created Woman. (Photo Credit: capitalpictures.com)

In the French romantic drama,  And God Created Woman, Brigitte Bardot made every woman run out and buy a bikini.

Rebel Without A Cause (1955)

James Dean, with fellow actor Sal Mineo, in a scene from Rebel Without a Cause. (Photo Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Thanks to James Dean’s character Jim Stark, in Rebel Without A Cause, it became oh-so-cool to become a high school rebel, as teens across the United States began to wear leather jackets over white t-shirts and jeans.

The Seven-Year Itch (1955)

Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell in The Seven Year Itch. (Photo Credit: Rex Features)

Marilyn Monroe, one of the sexiest and most popular Hollywood platinum blonde starlets, made this white dress famous. In the film, The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn stands over a subway grate and as her dress billows up, she seductively tries to hold it down. The dress launched a thousand variations and became one of the most iconic images of Marilyn Monroe.

Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961)

Audrey Hepburns in Breakfast At Tiffany’s. (Photo Credit: Classiq.me)

Breakfast At Tiffany’s, another iconic classic, stars the ever-fashionable Audrey Hepburn. Almost every sartorial aspect of Audrey Hepburn’s character, Holly Golightly, guided by the sharp eyes of fashion designer Hubert de Givenchy and legendary costume designer Edith Head, launched a trend. Case in point: Hepburn’s blonde streaked hair, the oversized white men’s shirt, her effortless denim and sweater look, the way she paired her oversized sunglasses and trench coat, and let’s not forget the little black dress – all looks that women across the globe still embrace today.

Annie Hall (1977)

Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in Annie Hall. (Photo Credit: Sportsphoto Ltd Allstar)

The sartorial choices in the film Annie Hall broke down the barriers between feminine and masculine dressing. Believe it or not, main character Diane Keaton wore all her own clothes for the iconic Woody Allen flick. Her wardrobe consisted largely of men’s clothing, such as slacks, suspenders, vests, ties and business shirts – a fashion phenomenon which is still being imitated today.

Flashdance (1983)

Jennifer Beals cut up her sweater in Flashdance. (Photo Credit: Paramount)

Jennifer Beals danced her way into everyone’s heart in Flashdance, resulting in every teenage girl reaching for their scissors to cut up their sweatshirts to achieve her look.

Pretty In Pink (1986)

Andi’s new wave style in Pretty In Pink. (Photo Credit: Collegefashion.net)

Molly Ringwald was the eighties teen queen whose effortless style, both on and off the screen, inspired a generation of American girls. As the character Andie Walsh in Pretty In Pink, her flair for changing thrift store clothes into cool fashion helped launch the DIY movement.

Clueless (1995)

The plaid suits in the cult favorite film Clueless. (Photo Credit: Popsugar.com)

Cher (played by Alicia Silverstone) and Dionne (played by Stacey Dash) rocked schoolgirl looks in the film Clueless. They were so trendy then, and are still making headlines today. This nineties cult classic brought us crop tops layered over floaty shirts, flirty plaid skirts, and over-the-knee socks. All looks that trendy teens are still wearing today.

The Matrix (1999)

The fashion forward looks in The Matrix. (Photo Credit: Warner Brothers)

The sci-fi thriller The Matrix was a real trendsetter. Keaanu Reeves and Laurence Fishburne’s black nylon trench coats, tactical belts, and tiny sunglasses are still the inspiration behind many designer collections.

The Great Gatsby (2013)

Prada and Brooks Brothers create the fashion in The Great Gatsby. (Photo Credit: Warner Brothers)

Director Baz Luhrmann brought the classic novel The Great Gatsby to life. Luhrmann enlisted Miuccia Prada to collaborate with costume designer Catherine Martin on a whopping 40 costumes. While Prada insisted “it was not about glamour for me”, her designs epitomize opulence. The 1920s fashion was decadent and whimsical and just like that, woman were opting for art deco-inspired dresses and men began wearing dapper suits again.

So tell us, do you know of other films that started a trend?

 

 

 

 

A TIMELINE OF MUSIC’S INFLUENCE OVER FASHION

- - Fashion History

Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day performing at the Hella Mega Tour. (Photo Credit: AP)

It’s almost impossible to envision a world where music and fashion do not go hand in hand. Music affects our lives greatly and speaks volumes to the times we are living in. On August 4th, I attended my first concert post-pandemic, and it was one of the most exhilarating and liberating experiences that I’ve had in years. My teenage daughter and I went to see Green Day and Weezer at the “Hella Mega Tour”, sadly Fall Out Boy had to cancel due to one of its members testing positive for Covid. As soon as I walked into the stadium, I noticed that the punk movement is alive and well in NYC and Green Day fans at every age were rocking their leather jackets, colorful hair, corsets and plaid. It was thrilling to see all these teens and adults rocking out and having the best time. So naturally, it inspired this post on how music influences fashion.

The influence music has on fashion has been evident throughout history. Music, much like fashion, has always been used as a way of self-expression and both are also emotional and obtainable forms of art that the masses can enjoy and partake in. Fashion, like music, is one of the clearest signs of the times, and it says more about our culture than we give it credit for. We can easily distinguish the difference between the bell-bottom jean’s hippies wore in 1969 versus the skin-tight denim worn by emo teens in 2005.

Sean Diddy Combs, the Hip-Hop Legend and fashion designer was featured in an Vogue editorial with Kate Moss in the October, 1999 issue of Vogue Magazine. (Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz)

The reason why fashion and music became so intricately linked is because music became a method of demonstrating individuality, political beliefs, and ideas rather than just homogenized entertainment. The way music influenced fashion (and vice versa) can be witnessed in almost every decade of last century. The following decades demonstrated how music trends truly affected fashion.

1920’s FLAPPERS

Benny Krueger’s band plays at Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach as a flapper girl dances on the piano. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In today’s day and age jazz music may seem squeaky clean and innocent, but it was extremely scandalous during its early years because it was the first form of music that was played almost exclusively at nightclubs and speakeasies that hosted people of all races. Jazz music also tended to have strong feminist undertones, which changed the way women behaved and dressed.

A flapper in London models an evening frock of lilac tulle with a beaded tunic in 1922. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Many women who were fans of jazz music dressed in flapper fashion. These feminists broke out of the traditional roles that society had placed on them and opted instead for short dresses, no bras, and loose clothing that gave them movement and freedom to dance the night away.

1950’s TEEN POP

Rock musician Elvis Presley enthralled teens and scandalized adults with his suggestive lyrics and dance moves. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Despite the impact the Roaring Twenties had on flapper fashion, most fashion houses ignored teens and only catered to adult tastes. Thankfully, this all changed in the 1950s, with advent of  television and movies, and of course, as music became more widely available to the public. With the rising visibility of movie stars and rock and roll artists, such as Elvis Presley, a new demand began to arise. Teenagers craved clothes that bore a resemblance to the fashion that their favorite idols wore. The teen market grew to the point that designers no longer could ignore it, and so, the teen fashion industry was born.

1960’s MODS

Photographed in London in February of 1964, just days before their performance on The Ed Sullivan Show which would set off a global wave of Beatlemania. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The ‘60s were a swinging time in London as a more modern version of jazz began to evolve and the “modernists” movement was born. This ‘60s subculture also embraced the musical styles of ska, R&B, and soul.

The “modernists” embraced the bohemian lifestyle of the ‘50s Beatnik generation, so it came as no surprise that many chose to mimic that look as part of their lifestyle. Eventually, this extremely fashion-conscious clique of clubkids became known as Mods.

Models in Mod British designer Mary Quant looks as the designer launches her footwear collection in 1967. (Photo Credit: Instagram Dress Historians)

By the middle of the ‘60s, the Mod subculture’s brand of beatnik-meets-modern fashion became one of the biggest trends in high fashion history. Even today, both the music and the stylistic aesthetic of Mod fashion continues to be a joyful and youthful source of inspiration for top designers.

1960’s HIPPIES

Singer Janis Joplin embodied psychedelic in an entirely tie-dyed outfit. (Photo Credit: Pintrest)

While London teens embraced the Mod movement, teens in America had a very different fashion revolution. During the Sixties, many American teenage boys were being drafted to fight during the Vietnam War, and as a result, musicians began to write music that reflected those anti-establishment times.

Flared jeans and fringe, iconic hippies trends. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

During this period, many musicians and fans began to experiment with psychedelic drugs like LSD and peyote. As a result, both music and fashion turned trippy, in the form of tie-dye motifs, bold floral prints, crafty accessories, crochet, fringe, and bell bottom jeans among the biggest trends of the time.

1970’s PUNK

SEX PISTOLS; Group photo on the set of the Pretty Vacant video shoot L-R Sid Vicious, Paul Cook, Johnny Rotten (John Lydon) and Steve Jones (Photo Credit: Virginia Turbett/Redferns)

Much like Mods, many early punks also enjoyed the musical genre of ska, reggae, and soul. However, this music Punk scene quickly became known for aggressive rock music with just very light ska elements tossed into the mix.

The punk movement quickly evolved to become a social one. Due to punk music’s deep focus on individuality and freedom, many people joined the punk scene as a way to raise their middle finger to the establishment. So their sartorial choices were always been geared towards hand made items like leather jackets, brightly colored hair, piercings and anything that looked different from typical mainstream.

Punks sitting on the floor of London’s Roxy club in Covent Garden, one of the key venues in 1976. (Photo Credit: Derek Ridgers)

In the early seventies, Vivienne Westwood, along with then partner Malcolm McLaren, orchestrated the stylistic revolution of Punk. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Punk is generally considered to be the first real music subculture out there, with Glam Rock being a close second.

1970’s GLAM ROCK

Jan. 1, 1970 – DAVID BOWIE LIVE IN CONCERT IN 1970 (Credit Image: © UPPA/ZUMAPRESS.com)

As special effects during the Seventies were being used in television and films, and Star Wars became one of the first movies to involve so many of these effects, it made sense for musicians to sign on. The ‘70s were one of the first decades that truly embraced science fiction as it became a major focal point in pop culture.

Musicians such as David Bowie, Marc Bolan, and bands like Kiss, began to draw inspiration from sci-fi as they ramped up their showmanship by adding sci-fi “backstories” to their performances, resulting in the birth of Glam Rock.

Rocker Marc Bolan in London in the mid 70s. (Photo Credit: Alamy)

So, it should come as no surprise that many underground shops began to carry items that fit the Glam Rock aesthetic, although, many people loved the music but didn’t buy into the glam rock fashion movement. As a result, many consider glam rock to be one of the first actual pop subcultures out there.

1980’s GOTH

Members of the Goth Eighties band The Cure. (Photo Credit: Rolling Stones)

One of the most eminent spinoffs of glam rock was goth music. Originally, goth music started off as death rock, which is just about as dark and gloomy as one would expect it to be. Death rock progressed into synthpop, new wave, and several other similar genres.

Goth kids. (Photo Credit: Museum of Youth Culture Rebecca Lewis)

Most of these sullen music genres became tied to quite a few other habits, such as wearing all black, a love of  horror movies, pale make-up, dark burgundy lipstick, and just enjoying the darker side of life. Gothic fashion’s beginnings often mimicked the spookier elements with ‘witch-like’ fashion, much like many of Tim Burton’s characters.

1990’s GRUNGE

Seattle band Nirvana was one of the biggest influential grunge style of music. (Photo Credit: Rolling Stones)

In the nineties, a new sound was born out of teenage angst, known as Grunge music. These young, garage band musicians rebelled against their very commercialized way that life of living in suburbia, and the anger they had against the world. Artists like Kurt Cobain ended up venting it via music…and it resonated with a whole generation of teens.

Naomi Campbell and Kristen McMenamy in a Vogue editorial. (Photo Credit: Steven Meisel, Vogue, December 1992)

The gritty, unkept look of those style clothing quickly attracted those who liked the music’s edgy appeal. Marc Jacobs was an early adopter of this look. Today, the 90s grunge movement still remains a identifiable fashion trend.

1990’s HIP-HOP

TLC’s Tionne T-Boz Watkins, Lisa Left Eye Lopes, and Rozonda Chilli Thomas owned the 90s as the best selling American girl group of all time. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

By the late eighties and early nineties, hip-hop exploded and became one of the most popular forms of music. Hip-hop culture was born on the streets of urban neighborhoods like New York, Los Angeles, and Detroit, where rap battles, breakdancing, and turntablism became a way of life for teens.

Aaliyah’s famed ’90s Hilfiger ad. (Photo Credit: Tommy Hilfiger Archives)

It was just a matter of time that the influence of hip hop began to spread outside of urban areas and embraced by teens all across America. People began to emulate the fashion of rappers, and by the time that hip hop became mainstream, it became synonymous with a specific style of clothing. Some of the most popular hip hop trends were baggy pants with your underwear logo peaking through, Adidas tracksuits, oversized sports jerseys, bucket hats, bold colors, and plenty of gold chain necklaces.

2010’s EDM: ELECTRIC DANCE MUSIC

Marshmellow is one of the most famous EDM artists. (Photo Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

During the nineties, the underground world of electronica boomed, as warehouses hosted Radical Audio-Visual Experiences, which would eventually be known as raves. These parties were about promoting Peace, Love, Unity, and Respect through heavy beats, turntable matches, and of course, heavy drug usage.

Ravers at an EDM Festival. (Photo Credit: IEDM.com)

This underground Electric Dance Music (EDM) movement never really left but in the early 2000’s the rave culture had a resurgence that morphed to include tiny bikinis, glowing wings, UFO pants, and of course, leg fuzzies,

2020’s GENDER-BENDING FASHION

Harry Styles-gender-bending fashionista

As we have now entered a new decade, the 2020s, pop music artists like Dua Lipa, Arianna Grande, Lil Nas and Harry Styles mix music with gender-bending fashion, So stay tuned…….

Pop culture influences music, and music influences fashion. So what type of music and fashion influences you?

 

 

The Future of Textiles – Digital Realm

Image Credit: Sharon McCutcheon

Textiles are the most essential element in the making of garments. Whether they’re made of silk or cotton, wool or linen, poly or some other man-made fiber, the future of textiles is headed in the digital direction. The subject of this post will explore the digital realm of textiles and other materials and where they’re headed.

If you’ve been following our blog, then you will remember that I first covered this topic in a September 2020 post entitled,  TECHNOLOGY: Big News in 3D Design & Fabrics. And, recently, at the July 2021 PI Apparel conference (Product Innovators), I am happy to report that the world of digital textiles is still on the move!

Just how important are digital materials?

Image credit: PI Apparel

PI Apparel is a membership community for apparel and footwear professionals. Their July 15, 2021 Spotlight session, focused on Digitalizing Materials, and was the most attended Spotlight to date. Panelists for the session included representatives from Browzwear, CLO, Optitex, Vizoo, Substance by Adobe, Seddi, swatchbook, Studio Lupas and Tong Hong Tannery. Brands such as Nike, Ralph Lauren, Old Navy, Perry Ellis, New Balance and Target, as well as research organizations, such as AMFI (Amsterdam University of Apparel Science) were also represented.

Image credit: PI Apparel

The fact, that Browzwear, CLO and Optitex were together in a session on How & Why to Make the Most of Existing Digital Libraries, shows a willingness to work with competitors to foster the goal of using 3D, at scale, to accurately represent materials virtually.

The two aspects of both visual and physical must be combined in a way for the virtual material to reflect the physical material. For suppliers who are providing virtual materials, they are now able to compare the physical material by draping a particular textile over a ball in a controlled lightbox with the virtual material modeled in the same lighting conditions so that it can compare to the quality of the visual model. The physical aspects need the raw data for stretching, bending and other physical properties of the material to model the proper soft physics. This technique helps the designer get a feeling for how a textile will drape, bend and react to a particular design when using 3D design software.

Goals Versus Scanning

Image credit: Susan Wilkinson

One of the issues with scanning materials is the level of detail that is needed for each requirement. As part of  Web 3D Nov 2020 Conference Workshop #3, these challenges were discussed between me (co-owner of Gneiss Concept) and Dejan Zvekic – CPO of Geng Geng (3D Expert of Material Exchange). Scan requirements can vary from good-enough-for-artists to use, as a base for their designs – to accurate, very time-consuming scans that are obtained in multiple file formats.

The type of information stored from the scans can include textures, e.g., color (base or diffuse), roughness, metalness, transparency, specular, normal, and displacement. Scanners or scanning software will define these terms per their device. So far, inroads have been made in digitizing materials, but there are still some materials that present challenges.

Note that there are many materials that remain difficult to scan as stated below:

Image credit: Material Exchange

Another challenge is that material properties also need to be stored for proper modeling in 3D digital software. Sharing data in the commercial environment requires common attributes such as: name, price, country of origin, description, lead times, minimum order quantity (MOQ), perhaps collection/season, and color family. Each material type will then have its specific attributes. In addition, certifications for the materials, such as a Restricted Substances list, Zero Discharge Harmful Chemicals and other data may be required.

Permission granted by Material Exchange.

Digital Realm – An interview with Jason Eric Brown

Image credit: Tong Hong Tannery

In an interview with Jason Eric Brown of Tong Hong Tannery, a self-described CMF (color, material, finish) nerd, he described material scanning and what is required. Since the apparel and footwear industries would like their suppliers to generate digital materials, my interview with Jason shed light on the process of material scanning and digital materials, which was helpful in understanding the scope of work. I learned that Tong Hong Tannery uses Vizoo scanners and X-Rite Tac7 scanners, Substance by Adobe and swatchbook.

According to Jason, one of the challenges of having a large database of materials is searching for a specific material in the library. For example, if you want a 28-gauge cotton material of a certain color, how do you to set up the database so that it is easy to find?

In his opinion, the Vizoo and X-Rite Tac7 scanners both have their purposes depending on your goals and the materials themselves. The Vizoo is a quick scanner but not able to scan everything and the X-Rite Tac7 can handle more complex materials, but it can take a up to a day to scan. If one has a large collection of materials, one will need to use both types of scanners, depending on the material and the business needs.

Tong Hong Tannery starts with scanning the physical materials on a flatbed or roll printer (depending on material) to find the normal, height, and mask, while adjusting for the gloss of the material. It is important to start with a physical item. He uses Substance by Adobe to assemble the “packages”. The scans consist of layers – 1) textures 2) pigments and 3) processes. Jason finds scanning in black and white helpful to build the layers. This way, the color of the material can be added easier for different colorways and will not be impacted by the physical scanning.  These are also rendered using Octane Render or Modo software for the final product presentation.

As Jason’s materials are mostly used for footwear, he is focused more on the appearance of the material rather than having to include the soft physics. Garments are more dependent on the soft physics.

Future Skill Sets

Image credit: swatchbook

Understanding the creation of digital materials will be important in the future, since the new fashion industry mantra is Less Samples, Less Waste, Less time. For the CMF nerds among us, the future is here and becoming scalable. Stay tuned…

So, tell us, are you a CMF nerd?

IS RENTING CLOTHING REALLY BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

Renting a pair of denim pants. (Photo Credit: wabeno/iStock, cumhurkaplan/iStock)

After decades of scientists and environmentalists warning us of the affects of global warming, we are sadly starting to see the result of our inaction. In North America, the northwestern region is literally on fire as Oregon and parts of California are battling blazing flames that are contributed to record breaking heat waves and extreme drought. This past week devastating floods hit West Germany and over 150 people have died due to the rapid flooding. And in many countries, June hit record high temperatures, which is a great cause of concern as the arctic is slowly melting and sea levels are rising. So, as governments from around the world continue to try and find solutions, such as electric cars and recycling programs, we can all try to do our part.

The fashion industry is a big contributor to global warming A report by the World Economic Forum this year indicated that our industry generates 5 percent of global emissions. It has taken decades to convince its major industry players to look for ways to go greener by using sustainable materials. But the high cost of using these types of fabrics and limitations on how to scale production presented challenges. So, in 2009, Rent The Runway was born, a concept that seemed like the perfect answer for fashionistas who wanted to replenish their wardrobes daily but still wanted to be environmentally responsible. Soon, renting designer looks became the craze and rental platforms were popping up around the world. Brands got in the act too, by launching their own rental services. According to GlobalData, the clothing rental business is predicted to be worth nearly $3.2 billion by 2029, and is being hyped as a possible solution to fashion’s environmental crisis. Not so fast…

An image of Rent The Runway. (Photo Credit: Getty Images for Rent the Runway)

Some in the industry believe that by renting clothes they were doing something positive for the environment; brands were creating less and therefore, less waste was being produced. But today, research has found that renting clothes could actually be worse for the environment. According to a scientific study recently released by Lahti University of Technology (LUT) in Finland, which was published in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters and reported on in The Guardian, renting clothes produces higher greenhouse gas emissions generated by shipping items back and forth from consumers to warehouses. And let’s not forget about the constant dry cleaning of the clothing.  The study found that in terms of environmental impact, the fashion rental process could actually be worse than buying and throwing away new pieces of clothing.

According to the Finnish study, researchers analyzed the environmental impact of five different scenarios for textile “ownership” and “end-of-life,” including clothing rental, recycling, re-selling, or wearing items for more or less time before throwing them away. This was something that had not previously been considered.

The results were surprising. Renting clothes was found to have the highest climate impact (specifically higher greenhouse gas emissions). Researchers concluded that this could be even worse than throwing out clothes after one wear. These findings are especially shocking as many of these fashion rental services present themselves as an eco-conscious alternative to conventional shopping.

According to research, renting clothes was found to have higher climate impact compared to throwing them away. (Photo Credit: Angela Bailey/Unsplash)

Specifically, the study implies that the numerous round trips between renters and warehouses, and therefore the substantial amount of transportation involved, play a key role in driving up greenhouse gas emissions. Correspondingly, the excessive dry cleaning of these rented articles of clothing also have a significant impact on the environment.

Ultimately, fashion rental companies would have to transform their logistics to make their services eco-friendlier. If they can achieve this, then the environmental impact of renting apparel would be on par with clothing resale, although this does not appear to be the most eco-friendly option either, according to the findings in the Finnish study. However, rather than trying to solve fashion’s environmental crisis, renting should be recategorized. “We should think of renting like second-hand shopping,” said Dana Thomas, author of Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes. “It’s not something we do all the time, instead of buying our clothes and swapping out outfits nonstop, but on occasion, when the need arises, like proms or weddings.”

This new study also found many fashion rental brands misuse the phrase “circular economy” (the system of sharing, leasing, reusing, repairing, refurbishing and recycling existing materials and products as long as possible), as a form of greenwashing. “No executive wants to overhaul their business, and that’s what ‘going green’ will require, not tweaks but an entire overhaul,” said Thomas. “They are too focused on short-term gains to invest in long-term benefits. Only regulation will solve that problem. No company, in any industry, will volunteer to take a loss for the sake of the planet. They’ll do so when it’s the law. The biggest obstacle is greed.”

The Recycling Logo. (Photo Credit: Elle Magazine)

In the end, the Finnish researchers concluded that the greatest solution is to purchase fewer articles of clothing and to wear them as much as possible before reselling or donating them. And. according to Dana Thomas, “You want to be sustainable? Buy less, buy better.”

So tell us, as an aspiring designer, how are you reducing your carbon footprint to become a more sustainable brand?

MEN’S FASHION WEEK SPRING 2022 – THE BIGGEST TRENDS FROM MILAN AND PARIS

A look from Walter Van Beirendonck’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Walter Van Beirendonck)

After a very tough year and a half, life is starting to get back to normal as more and more countries are distributing the various vaccines which have been proven to work. And so, the Euro Cup Championships had soccer enthusiasts in their stadiums (Italy one after a very tough game against England), Wimbledon had tennis fanatics in the stands, singers are performing live in stadiums packed with fans, Broadway shows are back on, and everything is starting to open-up at full capacity.

This is extremely exciting news for fashion insiders, as more and more shows can go live for the spring season. Milan and Paris just wrapped up the Men’s Spring 2022 collections, and there were plenty of in-real-life runway shows and presentations and let us not forget that with IRL shows comes great street style opportunities.

Riccardo Tisci finds himself at Burberry. (Photo Credit: Burberry)

The spring 2022 men’s collections were optimistic and joyful, the designers behind the labels demonstrated a renewed creative energy that was exciting to see. In Milan, designers approached the season with unrestrained enthusiasm fueled by dreams of happier days ahead. They struck the perfect balance between nostalgic and cutting edge. Designers in Paris also embraced a playful side in their collections, as they welcomed summer 2022 with lighthearted and cheeky collections. These joyful collections are the perfect way to re-enter the world post covid and bring some delight back into our lives.

BIGGEST TRENDS OUT OF MILAN

HOW TO WEAR A CARDIGAN

“It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood” and so Mr. Rogers sang in his beloved cardigan sweater. And the popular knit style is still going strong. For Spring 2022, the cardigan gains traction as they could be found all over the Milan runways, from Moschino’s varsity style to Missoni’s signature zig-zag motif. The cardigan is the perfect layering piece for all year round.

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Moschino)

A look from Jil Sander’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Jil Sander)

A look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Missoni)

A look from Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Bruno Cucinelli)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

TAILOR MADE

After a year and a half of working from home, the suit is making a major comeback this season. But forget the traditional business suit, for spring designers are offering the tailored classic in an array of bold colors to brighten your day.

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo: Credit Etro)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

A look from Jil Sander’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Jil Sander)

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Moschino)

SHORT STORIES

Short shorts are not only for women, for spring designers offered heaps of micro shorts to show of those tone legs. There’s no limit to how short you can go.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Prada)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

A look from Ermenegildo Zegna’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ermenegildo Zegna)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

BLUE JEAN BABY

Double up on your denim, as the Canadian tuxedo trend has hit the pinnacle of fashion.

A look from Brioni’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Brioni)

A look from Diesel’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Diesel)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

A look from Tod’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tod’s)

MAXIMIST REVIVAL

The Milan runways were filled with humor. Designers had fun mixing and matching prints and patterns in an array of colors. The outcome, delightfully fun collection that will be sure to lift our spirits post-pandemic.

A look from Etro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Etro)

A look from Giorgio Armani’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Giorgio Armani)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Missoni)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana.)

BIGGEST TRENDS OUT OF PARIS

SKIRTING THE ISSUE

Parisian designers are pushing the boundaries of gender norms by showing an abundance of men in skirts on the runway. These gender bending looks ranged from Kurt Cobain-inspired grunge vibes at Dries Van Noten to cool goth boy vibes at Yohji Yamamoto.

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dries Van Noten)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Yohji Yamamoto)

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Junya Watanabe)

A look from Comme des Garcons Homme Plus’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Comme des Garcons Homme Plus)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

RAIN ON ME

Rain, rain, go away…. Designers are fighting away the spring shower blues with these terrific raincoats. These practical outerwear looks are cool yet classic.

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dries Van Noten)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dior Men)

A look from Hermès’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hermès)

A look from Undercover’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Undercover)

HOLY FASHION

Cut-it-out. Sexy, skin baring looks are a big trend in woman’s wear and now the creative cut-out pieces have hit the men’s runways in Paris.

A look from Burberry’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Burberry)

A look from Rick Owens’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Rick Owens)

A look from Y Project’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Y Project)

A look from Courreges’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courreges)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

IN-VEST

The vest is making a major comeback for spring 2022 and they are anything but traditional, from Rick Owens’ galactic version to Isabel Marant’s bohemian floral motif, these trendy vests are a great way to add a dramatic flair to any look.

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Isabel Marant)

A look from Acne Studio’s Spring 2022 Collection. (hoto Credit: Acne Studio)

A look from Rick Owens’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Rick Owens)

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Junya Watanabe)

A look from Courreges’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courreges)

PRINTS CHARMING

Joie de vie filled the runways in Paris as designers opted for bold, head-to-toe printed ensembles.  From Louis Vuitton’s landscape motif suit to JW Anderson’s quirky strawberry leisure-look, these show-stopping outfits are the perfect way to re-enter the world post-pandemic.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

A look from Comme des Garcons Homme Plus’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Comme des Garcons Homme Plus)

A look from Lanvin’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Lanvin)

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: JW Anderson)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Yohji Yamamoto)

Did you know our menswear lessons will give you a solid foundation so that you can draft any of these looks?

GOING LIVE IN PARIS: HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2021 SHOWS

- - Fashion Shows

The grand finale of Chanel’s fall 2021 couture show, featuring the actress Margaret Qualley. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Exciting news for fashion insiders, most of the Haute Couture 2021 shows in Paris were IRL (in real life) this season, as runway events began on Monday, July 5th. Haute couture shows are where the most whimsical and fanciful looks are to be found. They are the experimental breeding ground for designers to try out new ideas and design concepts.

These one-of-a-kind custom looks are constructed mostly by hand from start to finish. Each piece is made from high-quality, expensive and often unique fabric and then sewn together with extreme attention to detail, and then finished by THE most experienced and capable of artisans—often using hand-executed techniques.

An haute couture garment is a garment created for an individual client, tailored specifically to that customer’s measurements and will compensate for any body challenges (for example, one shoulder higher than the other, a rounded back, etc.). Considering the amount of time, money and skill allocated to each completed creation, these one-of-a-kind garments have an out-of-sight price tag. If you need to ask the price, you are considered tres gauche.

Haute couture in France, is a protected name that may not be used except by firms that meet certain well-defined standards. Only a select handful of labels can join the French couture calendar and enjoy the privilege of being considered an haute couture house.

A model walks the runway during the Christian Dior Haute Couture Fall 2021. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

For the first time since the global pandemic began, brands were able to host their shows in real life. As a result there was plenty of excitement, beginning with Jean Paul Gaultier’s special collaboration with Chitose Abe, the Artistic Director of the Japanese brand Sacai. These type of designer collabs aren’t new and you can’t help wonder if they weren’t inspired by the music industry who have been engaging in this type of  ‘talent/co-marketing’ for years, such as Micheal Jackson + Paul McCartney, Nelly + Tim McGraw, Rihanna + Eminem and Lil NAS X + Billy Ray. It’s a great way to broaden the fan base.

Models appear on a balcony at Jean-Paul Gaultier’s fashion house after the presentation of his Haute Couture Fall 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Lewis Joly for AP)

Another anticipated show of this couture season was the welcoming of Pyer Moss to the calendar. The brand’s creative director Kerby Jean-Raymond, is the first Black American fashion designer to be welcomed into the couture fold. Jean-Raymond was officially invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (sadly, the outdoor show was postponed due to the Hurricane Elsa), but the runway extravaganza took place on Saturday in Flatbush, Brooklyn. The show was a fabulous lesson in black invention, black joy and black revolution.

A look from Pyer Moss’ first couture show. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

Fashionistas were also anxiously waiting the return of Balenciaga Couture under the helm of Demna Gvasalia. Gvasalia surprised his audience when he chose Ella Emhoff, 21-year-old daughter of U.S.’s Second Gentleman, Doug Emhoff, and budding Bushwick fashion designer and model, to walk his runway.

Ella Emhoff modeling for the fall 2021 Balenciaga Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Balenciaga)

Below, are some of the highlights of most anticipated collections from the haute couture fall 2021 season:

BALENCIAGA

Balenciaga’s Couture Fall 2021 show. Courtesy of Balenciaga on YouTube.

It has been 53 years since the house of Balenciaga presented an haute couture collection, so the anticipation was at an all-time high for followers of the fashion-forward label. Demna Gvasalia showcased his first couture collection at Cristóbal Balenciaga’s original couture salon, which today is fully restored to the original version. Aside from press and couture clients, Kanye West and Bella Hadid were seated in the much sought-after front row.

The collection was a balanced combination of men’s and women’s made-to-measure pieces, and paid tribute to Balenciaga’s respected couture history with a slew of direct references to the house’s founder, case-in-point, the initials ‘C.B.’ were hand-embroidered on silk ties, poplin shirts, and leather gloves. Another heritage look was included in the grand finale; a veiled bridal look which was inspired by one of Cristóbal Balenciaga’s creations, last shown 54 years ago.

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER BY SACAI

Jean Paul Gaultier by Sacai’s Couture Fall 2021 Video. Courtesy of Fashion Feed on YouTube.

Right before COVID-19 brought the world to a halt, the elusive designer Jean Paul Gaultier announced that he would be collaborating with Chitose Abe of Sacai for his fall 2021 couture collection. This genius collaboration will be part of a new and exciting tactic where Jean Paul Gaultier will team-up with a different designer each season. The outcome was met with great success.

This was Chitose Abe’s first time working in the world of couture and she brought her unique and avant garde aesthetic into Gaultier’s archives, breathing new life into some of his most iconic looks. Case-in-point, a corseted trench coat-inspired dress.

FENDI

 

Fendi’s Couture Fall 2021 film. Courtesy of Fendi on YouTube.

Kim Jones’ second couture collection for Fendi was presented through a beautiful fashion film directed by Luca Guadagnino. The film starred supermodel Kate Moss and was a celebration of “the eternal beauty of Rome”. The designer described the collection as “a contemporary connection between eras, cultures and aesthetics“.

Connecting eras, a meeting of the old with the new, the past with the present. The eternal beauty of Rome and its composite history are the protagonists of this haute couture show,” Fendi said.” A collection where nothing is quite as it seems.

ALAIA

Azzedine Alaïa’s Couture Fall 2021 and 2022 Show. Courtesy of Bayoucool2 on YouTube.

For his debut collection for Alaïa, Pieter Mulier – who is known for being Raf Simons’ right-hand man for years – presented a hybrid of couture and ready-to-wear. The collection paid homage to the house’s namesake designer and his original creations, but with a modern twist, turning the houses signature staples into something new and exciting.

The homage to the founder was a roll out of the houses signature pieces including body-sculpting knitwear, multi-strap corset belts, and hooded silhouettes. Mulier also transformed Alaïa staples like the white poplin shirt paired with his showstopping corsets, into his own translation of flowing tops cut away to reveal a triangle of solar plexus and were paired with bubble-hem maxi skirts or pleated minis.

Nine of the looks — including the cutaway tops — were couture, while most of the collection was ready to wear. Although Mulier presented during couture fashion week, the newly minted creative director prefers the two collections co-exist side by side as women might wear it, “without rules or boundaries“.

SCHIAPARELLI

Schiaparelli’s Couture fall 2021 show. Courtesy of FF Channel on YouTube.

For two years, I’ve been saying that I didn’t care about nostalgia,” creative director Daniel Roseberry said ahead of the reveal of Schiaparelli’s new couture collection in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar. “This season, though, it’s where it all started. I found myself wondering, again and again: What if you combined a little Manet; a little Lacroix; a little 1980s; a little 1880s; a little matador; a little space alien; a little Ingres; a little shimmer; a lot of colour? Could I do it? And what would it look like? The answer is this, my fourth couture collection, ‘The Matador’.”

With his haute couture collection – which was presented in a video and lookbook format– Roseberry wanted to pay tribute to the house’s founder, and to celebrate the history, the beauty and the joy of fashion.

The young American couturier for Schiaparelli is the first American designer to hold the helm at a French couture house and is known for creating Surrealist fashion for the modern era.

Here’s what I want: No more cookie-cutter fashion,” he added in his show notes. “No more pieces that look like they could have been made by anyone. No more cynicism. No more irony. No more timidity. No more coolness. Give me more beauty, more earnestness, more romance, more effort. I hope this collection reminds everyone who encounters it of the sheer delight that fashion can bring us in hard times, and with it, the promise of more joy when the clouds part. Give me more fashion. Give me more hope.”

So tell us, what was your favorite couture collection?

ICONIC FASHION DESIGNERS ON THE SILVER SCREEN

An image from the film Saint Laurent. (Photo Courtesy of Mandarin Films/ EuropaCorp)

Let’s face it, it’s been a tough year and a half, between the global pandemic, and all the political and social unjust in the world today, we can all use a break from reality and escape into the magical world of film. So here at UoF, we compiled a list of some of our favorite films based on, you guessed it, fashion designers.  Whether it’s a biopic on Yves Saint Laurent’s life, Gabrielle Chanel’s first steps into the fashion, or a brush up on some fashion history with documentaries covering the glamorous life of Valentino, the rebellious escapades of Vivienne Westwood, or the agony and the ecstasy of Alexander McQueen, one thing is for sure, we LOVE to peer into the secret lives of fashion designers. Just check out the 82% Rotten Tomatoes audience score that the latest Halston biopic series on Netflix got and the 88% score that the 2019 Halston documentary received.

Whether it’s a documentary or a scrumptious little slice of fiction, these films transport us to another world with eccentric stories and extravagant anecdotes that make up the theatrical, glittering and whimsical world of fashion.

START THE POPCORN

Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite films and documentaries based on some of the most innovative designers. I guess you can all them the University of Fashion Oscars!

SAINT LAURENT (2014)

Saint Laurent official trailer. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Saint Laurent is a 2014 French biographical drama film about Yves Saint Laurent. The film was co-written and directed by Bertrand Bonello;  the film stars Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent, Jérémie Renier as Pierre Bergé, and Louis Garrel as Jacques de Bascher. The film centers on Yves Saint Laurent’s life from 1967 to 1976, which was the peak of his career, as he becomes one of the most iconic designers in the history of fashion.

The film examines the mythical and sometime scandalous life of the late Yves Saint Laurent. The director transports the audience into the 1970s, to a time where the designer was known for sporting both innovative and elegant outfits. In a divine journey into Yves Saint Laurent’s mind, the director examines this era, filled with folly and changing tides. Gaspard Ulliel offers an intense portrayal of the designer, who dives into a world of drugs and partying to silence his inner demons and his chronic, acute depression.

Saint Laurent was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.  In January 2015, Saint Laurent received ten César Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. It also received five nominations at the 20th Lumières Awards, winning Best Actor for Gaspard Ulliel.

COCO BEFORE CHANEL (2009)

A preview of Coco Before Chanel. (Courtesy of YouTubeMovies)

Coco Before Chanel is a biographical film based on the start of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s extraordinary career.  The French film was directed by Anne Fontaine and stars Audrey Tautou as she plays a young Coco Chanel. The story of Coco Chanel’s journey from obscure, headstrong orphan to the legendary couturier who represented the modern woman and became an eternal symbol of success, freedom and style.

The French director decided to focus on the designer before her time of glory, to better understand the woman behind the fashion icon, and portrays a wounded woman, bruised by her neglected childhood and her tragic love stories.

By day, young Coco works as a seamstress, but at night, she performs as a cabaret entertainer.  Coco then meets a wealthy heir (Benoît Poelvoorde) and becomes not only his lover, but also his fashion consultant. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel throws herself as passionately into her work as she does into her love life. Audrey Tautou gracefully embodies this great Mademoiselle who liberated women with her sleek, straightforward clothes. Tired of the flowery hats, tight corsets and yards of lace that define women’s fashion, Coco infused her lover’s clothing as a starting point to refine an elegant and sophisticated line of women’s clothing that propels her to the top of Parisian haute couture.

DIOR AND I (2014)

Dior And I official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Dior and I (French: Dior et moi) is a 2014 French documentary film written and directed by Frédéric Tcheng. The film captures the artistic genius of designer Raf Simons as he creates his first haute couture collection as the new artistic director of Christian Dior.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17, 2014. The film focused upon Simons’ debut season at Dior and includes non-speaking cameo appearances by Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sharon Stone. The documentary received positive reviews by critics.

Dior and I brings the audience inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection -a true labor of love created by a loyal group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure-filled elements of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic house’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision.

VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR (2008)

Valentino: The Last Emperor official trailer. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Valentino: The Last Emperor is a documentary film about the life of famed Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani, the designer and founder of the legendary label Valentino. It was produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. The picture documents the dramatic final act of Valentino’s career, tells the story of his life, and delves into the heart of the fashion industry. The documentary also delves into the loving relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti.

Valentino Garavani opened his first fashion house in 1959. In 2007, Valentino shocked the fashion world as he revealed his retirement plans and began preparing for his final fashion show. The documentary follows Valentino during the last two years of his time as a designer, as he gets ready to conclude his fashion career; as well as his worries about the intentions of the corporation buying his namesake label.

The filmmakers shot over 250 hours of footage with exclusive access to Valentino and his entourage. “We were let into the inner circle, but we had to stick it out for a long time, practically move in, to capture the truly great moments,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Italian Living. “Valentino is surrounded by a tight-knit family of friends and employees, but, eventually, their guard came down and they forgot there was a camera crew in the room.”

“Valentino was one of the first designers to make himself the inspirational figure at the center of the story he was telling,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Vanity Fair. “He is a born dreamer and the last true couturier, who let us in on his creative process and also let us in on the life he built around him to sustain this process,” adds Tyrnauer. “He lives as lavishly as his clients and set a standard for the industry. He shuts out all that is not beautiful, and we followed him around the world to capture that special world.”

WESTWOOD: PUNK. ICON. ACTIVIST. (2018)

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Vivienne Westwood has been disrupting British fashion for more than 40 years, using her fashion status fame as a platform for her political, social and environmental activism. In 2018, filmmaker Lorna Tucker releases a feature-length documentary about the designer, Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. chronicling the incredible career of the designer.

Vivienne Westwood ignited the punk movement with ex-partner and Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren, and the iconic designer has been redefining British fashion since 1971. She is responsible for creating many of the most distinctive pieces of recent time. Blending archival footage and insightful interviews a portrait emerges of Vivienne’s fascinating network of collaborators, taking the audience on her journey — from a childhood in postwar Derbyshire to the runways of Paris and Milan.

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. is the first film to embody the extraordinary story of one of the true icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles – and her legacy. The documentary was screened at the Sundance film festival on January 20, 2018, in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

MCQUEEN (2018)

A preview of the MCQUEEN trailer. Courtesy of YouTube.

McQueen is a 2018 biographical documentary film, directed by Ian Bonhôte, written and co-directed by Peter Ettedgui, and produced by Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder, Nick Taussig, and Paul Van Carter under the banner of Misfits Entertainment, and Salon Pictures. The documentary looks into life and career of the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

The life of Alexander McQueen is a rags-to-riches story, a modern-day fairy tale, laced with the gothic, tragic twist. The designer started his career in his teens before gaining notice as designer for Givenchy and launching his own label in 1992, which continues to this day under the creative direction of Sarah Jane Burton. Mirroring the savage beauty, boldness and exuberance of his creations, this documentary is an intimate exposé of McQueen’s own world, both tortured and inspired, which celebrates a radical and hypnotic brilliance of great influence. Sadly the brilliant designer took his life February 11, 2010

The film is a personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, McQueen is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary.

Let us know, which is your favorite film?

LEARN TO DRAFT CASCADING RUFFLES & LET YOUR CREATIVITY RUN WILD!

- - Draping

Draping a Cascade Ruffle Dress by Fiona Liu

Learning how to work with cascade ruffles opens up endless design possibilities that will let your imagination run wild. In this lesson, Fiona Liu demonstrates how to draft circular fabric pieces and then how to apply them onto a sheath dress foundation, which will be sure to inspire you. This design detail is great for creating dramatic eveningwear pieces that are quite easy to achieve.

Whether you choose to create your ruffles out of a crisp or stiff fabric like silk gazar, organdy, taffeta or voile, or you opt for soft cascading ruffles using a silk charmeuse, georgette, chiffon or crepe, you will have fun experimenting with this pattern making technique.

Image credit: Fiona Liu University of Fashion

Fiona has taught more than 13 lessons for the UoF that include pattern making, draping and zero-waste design. Here’s a sample of her many talents:

From UoF’s lesson Creative Draping—2D Draping

 

DRAWING CASCADE RUFFLES

AND…to learn how to draw cascade ruffles, be sure to view these lessons by our very own fashion illustrator extraordinaire, Roberto Calasanz.

From UoF’s lesson Drawing a Cascade Skirt Ruffle by Roberto Calasanz

From UoF’s lesson Drawing a Cascade Neck Ruffle by illustration by Roberto Calasanz

Send us pics of your cascade ruffles designs, we’d love to feature you on our social media platforms!

RESORT 2022 – THE JOY OF DRESSING CONTINUES

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Versace’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Versace)

As we celebrate Father’s Day and our newest U.S. federal holiday, Juneteenth (marking the end of slavery), and as the number of COVID cases continue to drop as vaccination numbers rise, we have a lot to look forward to post-pandemic.

After a year and a half of pandemic fashion, sales are soaring as people are starting to dress up again. What are they  gravitating to? The answer? Happy, colorful fashion. And judging by Resort 2022, the message is loud and clear.

Dior’s Cruise Show (Courtesy of YouTube).

Designers’ all got the memo and Resort 2022 collections were simply great. Just released images of the collections presented to buyers and the press included some fully staged spectacles in exotic locations that resulted in a desire to travel once again. Maria Grazia Chiuri presented her Dior Cruise collection in the birthplace of sports, the Panathenaic Stadium, where Ancient Greeks showed off their athletic capabilities circa 330 BC. Meanwhile, Virginie Viard took her graphic Chanel cruise collection to Provence, a beautiful region in the south of France, considered one of the area’s loveliest villages and the inspiration behind a few of Vincent van Gogh’s landscape masterpieces. Speaking of Van Gogh, have you reserved your tickets yet for the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit touring the country?

Chanel’s Cruise Show. Courtesy of YouTube.

WHAT IS A RESORT COLLECTION?

For those unfamiliar with resort collection or cruise collection, and sometimes referred to as holiday or travel collection (collection croisière, in French), is an inter-season or pre-season line of ready-to-wear clothing produced by a fashion house or fashion brand in addition to the recurrent twice-yearly seasonal collections – spring/summer and autumn (or fall)/winter – heralded at the fashion shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan.

Cruise collections were initially created for affluent customers or “more seasoned jet-setters” going on cruises or vacationing in the warm Mediterranean during the winter months,. Cruise collections are synonymous with light and airy summer clothing and shipped to stores in the middle of the cold winter months. While the idea of cruise wear sounds old fashion and elitist, today’s fashion savvy customers view the season as a chance to spruce up their winter wardrobes as they head into Spring.

A look from No. 21’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: No. 21)

Resort collections typically hit the stores in November, perfect timing for Holiday shopping; the season is an extra opportunity for brands to rack up some extra sales. Resort has become an incredibly important season for vendors, beyond the promise of clothes with mainstream appeal, Resort remains on sales floors longest without ever going on sale, approximately 6 months before hitting the sales rack, which makes it the most profitable season for most brands.

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Brandon Maxwell)

While the season is still in full swing, here are a few key trends of the season so far:

OUT OF CONTROL LOGOMANIA

Designer logos are everywhere this resort season from Gucci’s double G splattered all over suits, outerwear, and accessories, to a more subtle Versace Greek Key logo on dresses, tops and headscarves; one thing is for sure, you will definitely be noticed in these bold looks.

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

A look from Versace’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Versace)

 

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

MARCHING ORDERS

Legions of camouflage, utility pockets, and olive drab marched their way into the resort season, but this time with a chic and refined twist.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

 

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

 

A look from Norma Kamali’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Norma Kamali)

 

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Proenza Schouler)

 

A look from Tod’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tod’s)

YARN IT ALL

Miles beyond your basic knit sweater, Resort 2022 offers wonderfully tactile knit dresses that are as bold and beautiful as they are comfortable and effortless.

A look from Chloe’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chloe)

 

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christopher John Rogers)

 

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gabriela Hearst)

 

A look from Missoni’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Missoni)

WHITE NOISE

Designers wiped the slate clean with an all-white palette that offered plenty of visual intrigue in alluring textures such as lace, eyelet, and crochet details.

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alberta Ferretti)

 

A look from Zimmermann’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Zimmermann)

 

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

 

A look from Ulla Johnson’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ulla Johnson)

SPORTS CENTER

Take to the sporty life with chic riffs on everything from bike shorts to track jackets.

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

 

A look from Hillier Bartley’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hillier Bartley)

 

A look from MM6 Maison Margiela’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MM6 Maison Margiela)

 

A look from MSGM’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

 

A look from Staud’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Staud)

POINT OF HUE

Designers softened their collections with pretty pastels that were a celebration of color, making the season a wonderful rhapsody in hue.

A look from Antonio Marras’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Antonio Marras)

 

A look from Emilio Pucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Emilio Pucci)

 

A look from Tory Burch’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tory Burch)

 

A look from Preen by Thorton Bregazzi’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Preen By Thornton Bregazzi)

 

Looks from Oscar de la Renta’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Oscar de la Renta)

WELL SUITED

As the pandemic restrictions are lifted and a return to the office is in the near future, designers are offering plenty of pantsuits that are oh so chic yet effortlessly fabulous.

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit Gucci)

A look from Nehera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nehera)

 

A look from Khaite’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Khaite)

 

A look from St. John’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: St. John)

A look from Maria McManus’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Maria McManus)

MIX-N-MATCH

More is more. For resort 2022 designers are having fun mixing an array of prints and patterns, creating a visual feast for the eyes.

A look from Thom Browne’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Thom Browne)

 

A look from Sandy Liang’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sandy Liang)

 

A look from Anna Sui’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Anna Sui)

 

A look from Philosopy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini)

 

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

So tell us, what was your favorite trend for the Resort 2022 season?

MEET OUR NEWEST INSTRUCTOR: PABLO V. CAZARES

Pablo V. Cazares newest lesson for UoF

Pablo V. Cazares

As CEO of UoF, the best part of operating the world’s largest fashion education video library for me is meeting and recruiting our many talented instructors. With over 500 videos in 13 different disciplines and with 13 years in business under my belt, I have made a lot of new friends. The fact that these experts are so eager to share their passion makes them all-the-more special.

So, it’s with great pleasure that I introduce the newest addition to our family…Pablo V. Cazares.

Pablo is an apparel designer and visual artist based on the west coast. Splitting time between Portland Oregon and the American Southwest, Pablo has been constructing apparel and art pieces since childhood, following his dauntless curiosity wherever inspiration takes him.

With a background in fine art, he attended The Art Institute of Portland for apparel design. In his first month, one of his pieces was accepted to be shown on the runway at Portland Fashion Week.  He was the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s first costume intern, integrating dress-up clothes to augment and enhance children’s learning experiences. Pablo’s broad interests served him well in product development. As lead technical designer for the Boys and Unisex divisions at Hanna Andersson, he had the opportunity to tour factories abroad and delve into the manufacturing process. Inspired, he began pursuing small scale manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting. Technical illustration and the manufacturing process are a realm of play that is heavily explored in his conceptual work as well.An obsessive creator with atypical perspective, throughout his career he has also done art direction for independent films, thematic costuming, and works as a creative illustrator. He is always looking ahead to his next creative project and experimental design. Pablo’s objective in his work is to inspire a sense of wonder in the viewer. For the University of Fashion, Pablo will be creating lessons focused on CAD, illustration, technical design, hand-mending and experimental apparel repair techniques.

 

GETTING TO KNOW PABLO

With today’s launch of Pablo’s first lesson, Creating Custom Brushes in Illustrator, I sat down (virtually of course) to find out more about Pablo and his extraordinary background story.

Francesca: Can you tell me a bit about where you were brought up and how it continues to influence your creativity?

Pablo: I was born in agricultural central California (Salinas, near Monterey). My family has been in commercial agriculture all my life. I moved all over rural California and lived on nearly every type of farm, ranch, dairy, orchard you could think of. I would play in old, abandoned barns and rural junkyards, building forts and wearables and art from things forgotten or thrown away. I’ve been creating things for as long as I can remember.

Right now, I live out on some property in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, helping build what will be a future intentional community (a bit like Arcosanti). I am learning and building with concrete and stone and driving around tractors and gardening. I am definitely a farm boy at heart. I do that in the mornings, then the rest of the day I am in my big cave/office/studio where I draw and design all day. Quarterly, I go to Portland to work on art and film projects, everything from sci fi erotica films to pirate festival design. I drive there every time, visiting friends and ocean views and forests as often as I can along the way.

Francesca: What was behind your motivation to pursue fashion?
Pablo: When I lived in Portland full time and worked in technical design, getting to go to the factories in India and Peru was absolutely incredible. I love seeing the inner workings of things and understanding processes. Friends have told me I get a sort of electricity in my eyes when I have a new idea or am learning something I didn’t know before.

Examples of technical design work by Pablo Cazares for Hanna Andersson

One thing that going to the factories did is make me realize my love of engineering. I actually left Hanna Andersson, to pursue a mechanical engineering degree! I am convinced that my love of apparel combined with a knowledge of engineering could help streamline and create new sustainable processes in apparel manufacturing. But then COVID hit, so I put that on hold and have been re-focusing on my creative pursuits. There’s still time for engineering, and while I don’t have a date in mind, I do intend to go back to it in the next few years.

Experimental work – hand-forged and fiber wrapped primitive electrical circuit

Between my knowledge of agriculture, apparel product development, building construction techniques, and engineering, I have a decent idea of how our world is built. And I am absolutely convinced that we can build a better more sustainable world. I adore the potential of 3D printing and laser cutting, and I am always thinking of more sustainable ways to create new things. (Neri Oxman at the MIT Media Lab is my role model).

I especially have a passion for re-using and upcycling, I feel that repairing things is a virtue. Patching and darning and thrift shopping and hand-me-downs give garments a soul and honor the tremendous amount of design and sewing labor that goes into creating them.

Francesca: What do you like to do when you are not designing or helping build a future intentional community?

Examples of children’s illustration

Pablo: In my spare time I am always drawing or designing or building things. I am kind of a machine, haha. In this next month, I’ll be creating an installation art piece in this great big cave studio I work in. I am also creating a comic book (I find huge inspiration in Phillipe Druillet and Eyvind Earle). In the next couple years, I hope to get accepted into an artist residency somewhere. I love traveling and working on collaborative art pieces. I am always chasing the next project or inspiration, whatever lights that fire in my mind.

I’m delighted to be part of the University of Fashion community!

Learn more about Pablo and his work:

Website: PabloTheKatz.com

Instagram: unnavigableunmade

POST PANDEMIC DRESSING: TIME TO DITCH THE SWEATS AND GET DRESSED UP AGAIN

- - Trends

A spring 2021 look from Prada. (Photo Credit: Prada)

I don’t know about you, but has the past year and a half been mostly a blur? Or more accurately a time warp? You know, the phenomenon that changes the flow of time by speeding it up or making it run more slowly, that physicists have known about for over 100 years?

Well, thanks to the rollout of highly effective vaccines, things are finally starting to look up. As of the writing of this blog, 299 million vaccine doses have been given and 137 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated, that’s roughly 41.9% of our population. As vaccines are slowly being distributed around the world, we have new hope that, in time, this global pandemic will be behind us.

Take a walk-through New York City and you will notice that the streets are beginning to get packed again. Museums are opening (with advanced ticket purchases), customers are onsite shopping, restaurants and bars (both indoor and outdoor) are drawing crowds and people are cautiously stepping out of their cocoons.

As we make our way back into the world and begin to live our lives again, some of us are asking…”is there a new dress code”? Well, judging from fashion influencers, designers, and celebrity Instagram feeds, summer 2021’s biggest trend is “joy dressing!” This translates into happy, boisterous, colorful, over-the-top looks that are the antithesis of what we’ve been wearing for the past year and a half…sweats and pjs.

A spring 2021 look from Halpern. (Photo Credit: Halpern)

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, a Washington, D.C clinical psychologist stated that we humans use clothing to mark significant events. Making it through a global pandemic is one of those events for sure. And as U.S. cities reopen, friends reunite and the world becomes a smidgen less terrifying, women are reaching for exuberant outfits. This year will represent rebirth, and our fashion choices will reflect that.

“We’ve spent the past year in sweatpants, consumed by uncertainty,” said Miami clinical psychologist Dr. Christina Ferrari to the Wall Street Journal. “You’re going to see a lot of people overcompensating for what they couldn’t wear” during lockdown.

According to Libby Page, senior fashion-market editor at luxury e-commerce platform Net-a-Porter, “During the pandemic’s darkest days, customers were buying a sea of very neutral tones and loungewear,” she said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. What she’s witnessing lately is the sale of spirited prints, swishy tiered skirts and jubilant ruffles, as well as very bright, bold, colorful dresses by brands like Zimmermann. Below is a video of Zimmerman’s spring 2021 show.

“With such unbridled style, women are responding to a traumatic year,” said Dr. Baumgartner. “When you face your mortality, it’s like you get a second chance. You’re able to take more risks.… You’re more willing to fully live.” Another factor: We’re craving human interaction. Dr. Baumgartner states, “Exciting fashion elates the wearer but also delights viewers. We see our joy reflected in their eyes, [which] reinforces our joy.”

JOYFUL FASHION HAS ALWAYS COME OUT OF HISTORIES DARKEST DAYS

A Life Magazine cover from the 1920s. (Photo Credit: Fashion History Timeline)

Historically, fashion has always progressed after a devastating, worldwide event. For example, the Roaring Twenties came after the destruction and despair of World War I. It was a decade of economic growth and prosperity with a unique cultural edge that swept major cities throughout the United States and Europe. During the decadence and opulence of the Roaring ‘20s, the ‘flapper’ look redefined the modern dress code for women. Fringe, beads, sequins, dropped waists, short dresses, uncovered shoulders, The Great Gatsby, the Charleston, all contributed to the spirit of the Roaring Twenties. It was a modern revolution that broke from tradition and was a sharp contrast to the conventional, fussy frills that woman once wore.

Christian Dior’s New Look 1947. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

Another great example of a fashion revolution came after World War II. Christian Dior, the rising star of the Parisian Haute Couture, introduced the “New Look” in 1947, featuring ultra-femininity and opulence in women’s fashion. Hour glass silhouettes, rounded shoulders, cinched waists, full skirts were all a sharp contrast after years of military looks, sartorial restrictions and life-essential shortages. Dior offered not merely a new look, but a new outlook.

POST-PANDEMIC FASHION

“People are reevaluating what they want to wear, maybe for the first time ever since they were kids,” states Fashion Psychology Institute founder Dr. Dawnn Karen, who also serves as a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Last March, Dr. Karen released a book, Dress Your Best Life. Referring to the pandemic, she writes, “They don’t have all these Draconian measures and rules to follow, except to wear a mask. People are thinking, ‘Okay, well, what do I want to wear, if I could wear anything I want?'”

Spring 2021 looks from Bottega Veneta. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Ms. Karen has established a theory what she calls ‘dresser-uppers’. These consumers search for ‘mood-enhancement dress’, that is to  say they dress to optimize a mood. Where dressing was once tied to overarching cultural norms (case in point, the exaggerated femininity of the New Look by Dior), we now dress for ‘mood-illustration’ and ‘mood-enhancement’ representing personal satisfaction — nothing more, nothing less.

With this in mind, and out of Covid’s post-traumatic stress effect, we are seeing a rise in individualized sartorial choices. Consumers are once again embracing the joy of fashion and are wearing the clothes they want to wear. And there’s plenty to choose from.

 

JOYFUL TRENDS FOR SUMMER 2021

GET STRAPPY

It’s time to do the floss this season. Strappy bands wrap around the midriff for a sexy update to the crop top.

A spring 2021 look from Stella Jean. (Photo Credit: Stella Jean)

 

A spring 2021 look from Christopher Esber. (Photo Credit: Chistopher Esber)

 

A Spring 2021 look from Michael Kors. (Photo Credit: Michael Kors)

 

A spring 2021 look from Jacquemus. (Photo Credit: Jacquemus)

 

A spring 2021 look from Altuzarra. (Photo Credit: Altuzarra)

IT’S A SWEEP

Romance is in the air as floor-sweeping gowns ruled the spring runways, whether sheer or printed, these floating maxi dresses are the perfect way to make a splash this summer.

A spring 2021 look from Valentino. (Photo Credit: Valentino)

 

A spring 2021 look from Dolce & Gabanna. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabanna)

 

A spring 2021 look from Alberta Ferretti. (Photo Credit: Alberta Ferretti)

 

A spring 2021 look from Etro. (Photo Credit: Etro)

 

A spring 2021 look from Dior. (Photo Credit: Dior)

LOOSE-FIT

After so many (too many?) years of skinny jeans, it’s finally time to cut loose this spring. Designers are offering baggy trousers that are oversized and yet oh-so-chic.

A spring 2021 look from Louis Vuitton. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

 

A spring 2021 look from Schiaparelli. (Photo Credit: Schiaparelli)

 

A spring 2021 look from Chanel. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

 

A spring 2021 look from DSquared. (Photo Credit: DSquared)

 

A spring 2021 look from The Row. (Photo Credit: The Row)

GLAM-SQUAD

Just like when a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, we’re all eager to get out. Some of us will even want to dance the night away. Whether inspired by the Halston film, with so many scenes of Studio 54, this new crop of sparkly numbers is there for the taking.

A spring 2021 look from Elie Saab. (Photo Credit: Elie Saab)

A spring 2021 look from Gucci. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

 

A spring 2021 look from Loewe. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

 

A spring 2021 look from Balmain. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

 

A spring 2021 look from Celine. (Photo Credit: Celine)

 

CUT-IT-OUT

This season’s strategic cut-outs worked their way into gowns, sheath dresses and slippery silks, spicing up conservative looks thanks to peekaboo glimpses of skin.

A spring 2021 look from Givenchy. (Photo Credit: Givenchy)

 

A spring 2021 look from Maximilian. (Photo Credit: Maximilian)

 

A spring 2021 look from Kenzo. (Photo Credit: Kenzo)

 

A spring 2021 look from Gabriela Hearst. (Photo Credit: Gabriela Hearst)

 

A spring 2021 look from Roksanda. (Photo Credit: Roksanda)

 

INNERWEAR AS OUTERWEAR

While we all lived in loungewear this past year, designers are embracing the innerwear as outerwear trend with body sculpting corsets that can be dressed up or paired down.

A spring 2021 look from Moschino . (Photo Credit: Moschino)

 

Spring 2021 looks from Bethany Williams. (Photo Credit: Bethany Williams)

 

A spring 2021 look from David Koma. (Photo Credit: David Koma)

 

A spring 2021 look from Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Christopher John Rogers)

 

A spring 2021 look from Alexander McQueen. (Photo Credit: Alexander McQueen)

So tell us, are you ready to embrace the joyful aesthetic of spring 2021?

Will We Ever Have a First Lady or President like Isabelle d’Estes, Catherine De Medici, or the Uncrowned Queen of France?

François Boucher’s painting of Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour frame (Photo credit: DailyArt Magazine)

U.S. First Ladies were never really promoted for being ‘hands-on craftsy’ and yet women like Madame de Pompadour, the uncrowned Queen of France, was an avid embroiderer and huge patron of the arts. While many U.S. First ladies knew how to sew and sewed their children’s clothing (see Martha Washington’s silk brocade sewing case and Ida McKinley’s handmade slippers), a First Lady’s role was primarily ‘hostess of the White House’. Thankfully, that role would evolve over time.

Martha Washington’s Silk Brocade Sewing Case

Ida McKinley’s slippers

It was reported that Eleanor Roosevelt liked to knit but she was most known as an advocate of art education through the WPA arts program. Jackie Kennedy was a poetry fan and dedicated follower of fashion but her legacy was the White House restoration initiative. Hillary Clinton famously read her WikiLeaks leaked emails at Italy’s 2019 Venice Biennale as part of artist/poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s exhibition entitled, Hillary: The Hillary Clinton Emails. Michele Obama supported the arts by becoming honorary chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and a championed art education through the Reinvesting in Arts Education initiative. Although Betty Ford studied dance with Martha Graham and could have gone on to become a professional dancer, she married Gerald Ford and became an activist for breast cancer awareness and for creating the Betty Ford Center for addiction. Roslyn Carter made an effort to advance the appearance of the White House by accumulating American paintings and took up the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which, sad to say, has still not passed after 98 years of trying. 

Literary contributions by First Ladies are many, beginning with Worthy Partner, the papers of Martha Washington and her Booke of Cookery. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote four books and although memoirs, were not very popular until the 1978 publication of Betty Ford’s The Times of My Life every First Lady since has written one (Melania Trump is said to be considering it). Michele Obama’s book, Becoming, was the #1 best-selling book in 2018, selling more than 10 million copies and Barbara Bush penned an adorable account of what life was like at the White House, ‘told to her’, by her dog Millie.

Barbara Bush’s Millie’s Book – published in 1990

Prior to her marriage to Woodrow Wilson, Ellen Axson, at the age of 18, won a bronze medal at the Paris International Exposition for her art piece School Scene. Funds from her one-woman show of 50 pieces in Philadelphia went to the Berry School in Georgia to help underprivileged children. As First Lady, she began to realize that her social duties took precedence, so she utilized her love of art and created the White House Rose Garden. Ellen Axson Wilson was one of only a few female American Impressionists.

Landscape painting by Ellen Axson Wilson

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time that we could use a little more hands-on creativity at the White House. We still haven’t gotten our very own Isabella D’Este (1474-1539), considered the First Lady of the Renaissance, nor a Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589). Catherine was the inventor of women’s knickers and introduced the corset. Ok a corset lined with wood, iron, and whalebone may not be high on the list, since the women who wore her corsets (known as “femme fatales”) were mandated to possess a 45 cm waist (roughly 17”). And, unfortunately, thanks to Catherine, the hour-glass shape became the envy of France with the trend persisting until well until the 19th century. But what a boost to the fashion industry it would be if our First Lady could inspire a new fashion trend or hairdo! Aviator glasses are just not cutting it!

Madame de Pompadour

According to the Daily Art Magazine, Madame de Pompadour, mistress to King Louis XV, (also known as the Queen of the Rococo and Queen of the Arts) was full of good creative endeavors. She founded the famous Sèvres porcelain factory, popularized fresh cut flowers in vases, and trended goldfish in bowls as pets. She was once quoted as saying “Every day, I wish to make the world more beautiful than I found it.”

Her intellectual interests included learning and supporting the works of Age of Enlightenment philosophers Diderot and Voltaire and she reportedly had personal book library consisting of some 3,525 books.    

What did Elvis Presley & Madame de Pompadour Have in Common?

Madame de Pompadour (Wikipedia.com)

Elvis Presley’s ‘Pompadour’ Hairstyle (Image credit: Pinterest)

Elvis Presley’s famous hairstyle was named after Madame. And the pompadour has never gone out of fashion really.

A French champagne glass is believed to have been modelled after her breast and, as legend has it, the ‘marquise cut’ diamond was commissioned to resemble the shape of her mouth, according to DailyArt Magazine.

A modern Pompadour Fade (Image credit: Pinterest)

So, tell us, what creative endeavor would you like to see coming from our country’s leadership?

IN HONOR OF ASIAN AMERICAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH, LET’S CELEBRATE ASIAN DESIGNERS WHO ROCKED THE FASHION WORLD

Clockwise from top left: Joseph Altuzarra, Chris Lebe, Eunice Lee, Jenny Cheng, Gauntlett Cheng, Bibhu Mohapatra, Makié Yahagi, Jade Lai, Creatures of Comfort, Dao-Yi Chow, Public School, Yeohlee Teng, Phillip Lim, Kimora Lee Simmons, Richard Chai, Kevin Kim, Tommy Ton, Thakoon Panichgul, Kim Shui, Rui Zhou, Prabal Gurung, Sandy Liang, Laura Kim, Mary Ping, Snow Sue Gao, Peter Som, Jason Wu, Ji Oh; Dylan Cao, Jin Kay and Huy Luong, and Derek Lam. Photographed at the Morgan Library in New York City Feb. 17, 2020. (Photo Credit: Renee Cox for The New York Times)

In the United States, the month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The University of Fashion would like to take this opportunity to highlight and celebrate some of the most influential Asian fashion designers, both in the U.S and around the globe.

THE HISTORY OF ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH

Before we focus on the work of  these multi-talented designers, let’s take a look at how the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) helped shape our history and our identity from the first wave of Asian immigrants in 1763 to the present day.

According to the U.S. Government: the term “Asian American” includes persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander” includes persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

We could easily fill an entire volume listing the contributions made by the AAPI community, from the building of the transcontinental railroad to major breakthroughs in the world of science and technology. According to History.com, “Though the Gold Rush triggered the first major wave of Asian immigrants to the United States in the 1840s, their presence in America predates the country itself. For example, in 1763, facing a life of forced labor and imprisonment during the Spanish galleon trade, a group of Filipinos jumped ship near New Orleans and established the settlement of Saint Malo, forming one of the first documented Asian American communities in North America.”

More than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the transcontinental railroad’s completion (Chinese immigrants made up 90% of the workforce).

In the field of science, Chinese-born female physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, Ph.D., was instrumental in the developing field of atomic science in the 1940s and 50s, which included the Manhattan Project: the code name for research into atomic weapons during World War II.

Philippine-born Larry Itliong immigrated to the United States in 1929 and began working as a laborer. In 1930, he joined striking lettuce pickers in Washington and eventually became a union leader, forming the Filipino Farm Labor Union in 1956. Together with Delores Huerta and Cesar Chavez from the National Farm Workers Association, they formed the United Farm Workers.

Having spent two years in internment camps during World War II, Japanese American Yuri Kochiyama’s would dedicate her life to  civil rights work that extended to causes impacting Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Peoples, as well as Asian American communities. Together with her husband Jerome, she campaigned for reparations and a formal government apology for Japanese American interned during World War II. Their work became a reality in 1988, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act into law.

Indian American computer architect Ajay Bhatt not only had a hand in developing a range of computer-related technologies, but the one he’s best known for is the Universal Serial Bus—better known as the USB.

Taiwanese American Steve Chen and Bangaledeshi-German American Jawed Karim, were among the core team that co-founded YouTube.

And the list goes on and on…

In June of 1977, Representatives Frank Horton, and Norman Y. Mineta, introduced a U.S. House of Representatives resolution to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week in recognition of Asian Pacific Americans. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate a month later by Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga. The month of May was chosen for two reasons: the first, because on May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States; the second, because on May 10, 1869, the golden spike was driven into the first Transcontinental Railroad. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint motion for the celebration. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend Asian-American Heritage Week to a month and May was officially designated as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month two years later.

Although progress has been made with regard to  Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout the United States, sadly, anti-Asian attacks across the America have been on the rise, spurred on by the COVID-19 crisis and hateful speech by some of our nation’s politicians and media.

(Photo credit: CFDA.com)

In solidarity, the fashion industry is using its clout to stand up for the AAPI community, as demonstrated by the CFDA’s statement on their website. Brands like Valentino, Nike, and Adidas have been very outspoken in denouncing the violence and are donating proceeds to AAPI organizations. But, this it is not enough. We all need to do our part to support the AAPI community in any way we can.

Join us in celebrating some of the talented designers who have made innovative and groundbreaking contributions to fashion in the global community.

Yohji Yamamoto

A portrait of Yohji Yammamoto. (Photo Credit: Forbes)

Yohji Yamamoto is a Japanese fashion designer based both in Tokyo and Paris. The 77-year-old designer is considered a master tailor and known for his avant-garde tailoring, featuring Japanese design aesthetics. His fashion continues to influence the way we dress through his deconstructed androgynous pieces since the 70s.

Yamamoto debuted his collection in Tokyo in 1977 and in Paris for the first time in 1981. His first women’s collection under the label Y’s, mirrored typical men’s garments, cut in uncluttered shapes, in washed fabrics and dark colors. In an interview with The New York Times in 1983, Yamamoto said of his designs, “I think that my men’s clothes look as good on women as my women’s clothing […] When I started designing, I wanted to make men’s clothes for women.” More recently he has explained: “When I started making clothes for my line Y’s in 1977, all I wanted was for women to wear men’s clothes. I jumped on the idea of designing coats for women. It meant something to me – the idea of a coat guarding and hiding a woman’s body. I wanted to protect the woman’s body from something – maybe from men’s eyes or a cold wind.”

Yamamoto won notable awards for his work, including the Chevalier/Officier/Commandeur of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon, the Ordre national du Mérite, the Royal Designer for Industry and the Master of Design award presented by Fashion Group International.

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Yohji Yamamoto)

 

Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garçons

A portrait of Rei Kawakubo. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market, is a Japanese fashion designer who is also based in Tokyo and Paris. Her experimental creations have forever transformed the way women dress and given females the power to explore the boundaries of gender, body, and femininity through vanguard, deconstructed pieces. On May 5, 2017, in tribute to her notable design contributions, Kawakubo was only the second living designer to be honored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with an exhibition entitled, Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons, Art of the In-Between.

Looks from the MET Exhibit: Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Kawakubo established Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo in 1969 and opened her first boutique there in 1975. She launched menswear in 1978 and presented her collection in Paris in 1981, where she would open a boutique a year later. By 1980, CDG was on the global fashion map, with her signature color palette of black, dark grey and white. The emphasis on black clothing led to the Japanese press describing Kawakubo and her followers as ‘The Crows’. Her fabrics were often draped around the body, with frayed, unfinished edges, some with intentional holes. Kawakubo was part of the ‘decontruction’ movement, popular in the 80s, that followed the traditional Japanese aesthetic known as wabi-sabi, an acceptance of the beauty of imperfection.

Kawakubo continues to be hailed by other major designers for her originality and her impact on fashion. In a broadcast interview with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Company), Alexander McQueen stated: “When Kawakubo designs a collection, it seems kind of absurd, not just to the general public. But when you watch someone’s challenging themselves like she does every season, it makes you understand why you are in fashion in the first place because of people like her.” During the same broadcast, Viktor & Rolf added: “The first time we became aware of Comme de Garçons was in the 80s. I think we were 12 or 13. It made a very strong impression because fashion in general was something that we were starting to discover and Rei Kawakubo was part of this … an enormous outburst of creativity in the beginning of the 80s. So for us she was part of the way we started to think about fashion.”

Two other early supporters of Kawakubo were Jean-Paul Gaultier and Donna Karan. During the NHK broadcast for Kawakubo, Gaultier stated: “I believe that Kawakubo is a woman with extreme courage. She is a person with exceptional strength. Moreover, she has a poetic spirit. When I see her creations, I feel the spirit of a young girl. A young girl who still has innocence and is a bit romantic. Yet she also has an aspect of a fighting woman, one who fears nothing as she thrusts forward.” Donna Karan added: “Rei Kawakubo is a very interesting designer to me as a woman and a female designer. As a person, she is very quiet and rather withdrawn, yet her clothes make such an enormous statement.”

Issey Miyake

A portrait of Issey Miyake. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Japanese designer Issey Miyake began his career working at Givenchy Paris before launching his own brand in the 1980s, Miyake Design Studio. He is most known for his technology-driven clothing designs, such as his signature iconic thinly pleated pieces, that would allow both flexibility of movement for the wearer. His garments are cut and sewn first, then sandwiched between layers of paper and fed into a heat press, where they are pleated. The fabric’s ‘memory’ holds the pleats and when the garments are liberated from their paper cocoon, they are ready-to wear.

As a child, Miyake dreamed of becoming a dancer, and so he extended his talent in creating costumes for Ballett Frankfurt. Made from permanently-pleated ultra feather-polyester jersey, he designed hundreds of garments for dancers to wear, a different one in each performance of  ‘The Last Detail.’ This led to the development of his very popular label Pleats, Please.

A look from the Issey Miyake archives. (Photo Credit: Issey Miyake Archives)

In March 1992 Miyake was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying, “Design is not for philosophy—it’s for life.”

In 1994 and 1999, Miyake turned over the design of the men’s and women’s collections respectively, to his associate, Naoki Takizawa, so he could return to research full-time. He was one of the pioneers of creating innovative, technological advanced pieces.

Kenzo Takada

A portrait of Kenzo Takada. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

Japanese-born Kenzo Takada was always inspired by Paris, especially designer Yves Saint Laurent, and moved to the French city in the early 60s. But working in the fashion capital was not easy and he struggled by selling sketches of designs to fashion houses for 25 francs each. After only a few months in Paris he planned to move back home to Japan, but he was determined to open a fashion boutique first.

In 1970 the late designer’s dreams came true and he opened a small shop in the Galerie Vivienne. Takada hardly had any money to work with, so he mixed and matched fabrics from the Saint Pierre market in Montmartre, creating an eclectic and bold first fashion collection. The designer presented his first collection but without any money to afford professional fashion models for the event, let alone hair and makeup professionals, Takada and his friends decided to paint the pimples of an acne-covered model, green. Making quit a splash.

In June 0f 1970, Elle magazine featured one of Takada’s looks on the cover. As his success grew, he moved his shop from the Galerie Vivienne to the Passage Choiseul and presented his collection in New York and in Tokyo in 1971. By 1976 he opened his first flagship store in the Place des Victoires. Kenzo had a flare for the dramatics and has even had shows in circus tents with performers.

Kenzo Takda helped put Asia on the Global Fashion Map. (Photo Credit: WSJ)

Since 1993, the Kenzo brand has been owned by the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, but in 1999 Kenzo announced his retirement to pursue a career in art. On June 2, 2016 Takada was given the Knight of the Legion of Honour and was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 55th Fashion Editors’ Club of Japan Awards in 2017. Sadly, he died of Covid-19 in 202o.

Anna Sui

A photo of Anna Sui. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Anna Sui is a Chinese American designer that hails from Detroit, Michigan. She was named one of the “Top 5 Fashion Icons of the Decade.” In 2009 she earned the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), joining the ranks of Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, and Diane von Furstenberg. In addition to her clothing brand, Sui has added footwear, cosmetics, eyewear, accessories, and home goods to her brand portfolio.

Upon graduation from Parsons, Sui began her career designing for several sportswear companies in the NYC garment center. It was at one of these firms, Charlie’s Girls, that she reconnected with fellow friend and classmate Steven Meisel (famous photographer). Sui’s work as a fashion stylist for Meisel’s photo shoots were featured in the Italian magazine Lei, and were very well received.

Shortly after Charlie’s Girls shuttered, Sui began designing and making clothes out of her apartment inspired by a desire to dress rock stars and people who attended their concerts. With an initial investment of only $300, she brought her collection of five pieces to a New York trade show where they caught the attention of Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. A few weeks later, her clothes were featured in an advertisement in The New York Times.

During the 80s Sui was one of the few designers who distanced themselves from traditional fashion houses and explored the grunge fashion scene, together with designers such as Marc Jacobs, Daryl K and Todd Oldham. Sui managed to carve out a niche for herself that allowed her to break through the noise and as a result, gained a global cult-like following. She expanded her brand in the mid 90s, thanks to a partnership with the Japanese fashion powerhouse, Onward Kashiyama.

Anna Sui’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Anna Sui)

Sui held her first New York Fashion Week show in 1991 at the persuasion of her high-power friends: Steven Meisel, Paul Cavaco (fashion editor/stylist) and supermodels: Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista. The show was the biggest breakthrough of Sui’s career, with The New York Times commenting, “That those beauties [Campbell and Evangelista] were then at the height of their fame helped stoke the reception Sui got from buyers and the news media.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt her career either, when Madonna wore one of her looks in Paris to a Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show and then again wore the same outfit for Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue.

Anna Sui opened her first boutique in New York City’s Soho neighborhood in 1992 and received the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award for new talent later that year.

Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra with his models. (Photo Credit Elle)

Bibhu Mohapatra grew up on the East Coast of India in Rourkela, Odisha. In 1996, he moved to America and earned his master’s degree from Utah State University in economics, however, he always had a love for fashion. So in 1999, he moved to New York City and enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology where he won the 1997 Critics’ Award for Eveningwear Designer of the Year.

Upon graduation, Mohapatra worked for prestigious brands such as Halston and J. Mendel, but in 2008 he decided to launch his namesake collection of evening dresses and ready-to-wear looks. One of his biggest honors was dressing former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama wore Bibu Mohapatra during a trip to India. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Mohapatra has presented his collection of luxury women’s ready to wear, couture and fur, in New York, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Beijing, and New Delhi. His collections are sold around the world at stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom and in China at Lane Crawford. His work has graced the pages of many fashion magazine’s including Vogue, New York Magazine, Time, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, and Gotham magazine.

In 2010, Mohapatra received the “Young Innovator Award” from the National Arts Club and the same year was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

We would also like to applaud the work of other AAPI designers: Hanae Mori, Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Naeem Khan and the countless other Asian and Pacific Islander designers who continue to make an impact on the fashion industry!

So tell us, which Asian or Pacific Islander designer do you think had the biggest impact on the fashion industry?

 

ANNOUNCING OUR NEW LESSON: Introduction to Textile Print Design

We are so happy to announce the newest lesson to our fashion education video library: Introduction to Textile Print Design taught by textile design veteran, Lindsay Boehl.

This lesson covers the concept of roller printing, the print engraving process, as well as industry standard print roller sizes and dimensions as they relate to a particular print design.

You will learn about different types of repeats, such as a straight repeat, a drop, and a half drop. In addition, this lesson will get you started making your own print repeat in Adobe Illustrator, using our downloadable dot and rose print design files. Watch for more textile stripe, plaid, print and pattern lessons by Lindsay in the future.

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Lindsay Boehl is a New York-based textile designer who began her career as a CAD artist at a textile converter, designing men’s shirting stripes, plaids, prints and patterns for major brands such as Ralph Lauren, American Eagle and Wrangler.

Today, Lindsay is the Manager of Customer Advocacy at Aquario Design, a leading provider of fashion, textile, CAD design and printed products solutions for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. For the past eight years, she has managed a team of trainers and support specialists who work with users of that software platform. Lindsay’s textile design experience made her a great fit at Aquario, as their software product line helps textile and fashion designers produce their work inside of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in a more streamlined way. In her role at the Aquario, Lindsay utilizes and shares her knowledge of textile design as it applies to fashion industry requirements. From color matching to knit design, wovens to technical fashion sketching, digital printing on fabric and end-to end-garment manufacturing, Lindsay’s expertise includes every aspect that the textile industry is positioned.

Lindsay considers textile design a wonderful journey, and she hopes to keep learning and exploring innovative and emerging technologies. Aside from her position at Aquario, Lindsay takes on freelance jobs to keep her multiple skill sets active and welcomes every design challenge she’s given, which she feels keeps her sharp and agile in her work.

Having graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a double major in Display & Exhibit Design and Fabric Styling, Lindsay translated those skills into a career in textile design. She is grateful to all the professors who nurtured her talent and is therefore thrilled to be able to pass along her knowledge to students at University of Fashion. Stay tuned for Lindsay’s next lesson: “Researching & Designing a Graphic Printed Textile”.

Find Lindsay on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lindsay-b-82305356

To learn more about textiles, be sure to view the following UoF lessons:

INTRO TO FIBERS & FABRICS

HIGH-TECH TEXTILES

ECO-TEXTILES

TEXTILE DYEING, PRINTING & FINISHING

AFFORDING LUXURY: THE ART OF DESIGNER AND MASS RETAIL COLLABORATIONS

Looks from Simone Rocha X H&M Collection. (Photo Credit: H&M)

Let’s face it, fashionistas everywhere crave designer clothing, but many cannot afford the hefty price tags that are often associated with luxury fashion brands. So how can luxury houses satisfy the desires of the working-class fashionista? Through collaborations of course! Overall, designer collaborations are well-received, highly sort after, and especially difficult to get your hands on before they sell out. Thanks to marketing and retail success, the number of designer collaborations have hit the roof in recent years, and with the help of celebrity fans, it’s not hard to see why these pieces are in such high demand.

An advertisement for Halston for JCPenney. (Photo Credit: JCPenney)

Collab History

Halston can be attributed to creating the very first mass-market collaboration in 1983 between his namesake label and JCPenney. Halston was a successful, disco-era designer who was known for his minimalist yet glamourous aesthetic; as well as his infamous Studio 54 days where he partied with and dressed close friends Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, and countless others. Halston created the controversial, cheaper Halston III line with department store giant JCPenney but the collaboration was was poorly received by elite department stores, such as Bergdorf Goodman, which stopped carrying the high-end Halston Limited label out of fear that the JCPenney collab would cheapen Halston’s overall appeal.

An advertisement for Isaac Mizrahi for Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

In 2002, Isaac Mizrahi, who was known for his vibrant and playful joie de vie collections, teamed up with Target. The Isaac Mizrahi x Target partnership was the first and longest-running Target designer collaboration (lasting from 2002-2008), and it introduced the designer to mainstream America. The extremely lucrative collaboration bolstered the designer’s own career with the collection eventually including accessories, bedding, housewares and even pet products. This collaboration kick started the luxury designer mass market craze.

An advertisement for Karl Lagerfeld for H&M. (Photo Credit: H&M)

Swiss retail giant H&M jumped on the designer collaboration bandwagon in 2004 with the legendary Karl Lagerfeld. Known for his sleek black suits, skinny jeans and French rock and roll spirit, despite skeptics, the collection sold out within minutes of the launch. This wildly successful partnership opened the door for a plethora of high-end H&M collaborations to follow and set the precedent for numerous future high-street and designer collaborations.

Once the success of these collabs were made known, the flood gates were opened. Here are a few noteworthy mentions:

Giambattista Valli for H&M in 2019

Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Off-White, partnered with multiple brands ranging from Evian and Rimowa to Ikea and Nike.

Christopher Kane X Topshop in 2006 and Crocs x Christopher Kane Spring 2017

Rodarte x Universal Standard in 2019

Lanvin x H&M in 2010

Missoni x Target in 2011

Balmain x H&M in 2015

SOME OF THE COOLEST COLLABORATIONS OF 2021

SIMONE ROCHA X H&M

A video of the Simone Rocha X H&M collaboration.

The Simone Rocha X H&M collection launched on March 11th to  rave reviews. The Swiss retail giant and the Irish designer, collaborated on a collection that was based off Rocha’s archival hits filled with charming and whimsical pieces. Sustainability is said to be a key factor in this new designer collaboration. Rocha told Vogue US that, coming from a much smaller brand, H&M’s footprint was a big consideration, and that together they were able to source organic cotton, recycled polyester and a new compostable yarn.

Simone Rocha’s house codes are strong and were fully incorporated into her collaboration with H&M. There were plenty of neo-classical references, puffed sleeves and babydoll silhouettes, Lurex tweed, Broderie Anglaise, organza and cloqué fabrics, lots of embroidery, beading and even baroque pearls. It was all so delightfully sweet.

TARGET’S TRIO

Just in time for the warmer weather, Target is bringing back the Designer Dress Collection for spring 2021. This season the retailer is collaborating with three diverse designers: Alexis, Christopher John Rogers, and Rixo. The rising stars are adding their signature styles to Target, offering a much-needed boost to a girl’s closet. There will be over 70 styles available, ranging in price from $40-60 in sizes XXS—4X, making this Target’s most size-inclusive designer capsule to date.

A look from ALEXIS’ collaboration with Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

The Miami-based label Alexis, designed by Alexis Barbara Isaias, is known for its relaxed, feminine silhouettes made for the globetrotter, bringing a wanderlust feel to easy dresses and separates. Her Cuban roots and Miami upbringing definitely influence her free-spirited collections. In an interview with The New York Post, Isaias stated, “I never wanted a design office in New York. The vibrant colors, the culture, the feeling … it’s so important that our roots are in Miami.” And while Isaias loves the nightlife, her Miami is also made up of quiet moments in nature. “To me, it’s a place for family, for connections — to be by the water and feel the breeze. There’s just something in the air here.”

A look from Christopher John Roberts collaboration with Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

Christopher John Rogers shot to stardom when Vice President Kamala Harris wore his coat and dress to her and Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021. The young industry darling is known for his unparalleled eye for color, voluminous silhouettes, and sharp tailoring. In only a few seasons he has already earned a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and a legion of fans, including Zendaya, Lizzo, Tracee Ellis Ross and Michelle Obama.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Rogers was asked how his background influences his style. Rogers stated, “I’m African-American, and I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is basically a large small town. I was fortunate enough to have my parents put me in art classes pretty early on, at the suggestion of my grandmother, and I was always surrounded by people of various backgrounds. My best friends in elementary school were Korean, Jewish, South American, you name it. I’ve always known variety to be standard.”

A look from Rixo’s collaboration with Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

UK-based Rixo, designed by Orlagh McCloskey and Henrietta Rix, bring a modern twist to vintage-inspired wrap dresses and patterns. The contemporary label evokes a Bohemian & free spirit, with easy-to-wear pieces in feminine shapes and high-quality materials.  The young design duo are known for their fusion of original hand-painted prints and timeless silhouettes that flatter all body types.

According to the brand’s profile, Henrietta & Orlagh met at University of Arts London, where on their first day enrolling as students Henrietta complimented Orlagh on her vintage handbag and the rest is history! Imminently discovering a mutual love for vintage, the pair have been best friends ever since and have also lived together through their first 5 years of Rixo – becoming more like sisters than friends.

JW ANDERSON X UNIQLO

Looks from JW Anderson x Uniqlo collaboration. (Photo Credit: Uniqlo)

Jonathan Anderson has been keeping busy the last few months. In addition to designing for his eponymous British label JW Anderson and for Spanish fashion brand Loewe, he has created a capsule collection for the Japanese mega retailer Uniqlo.

For his latest JW Anderson x Uniqlo collab, Anderson focused his attention on designing items that he would like to wear when the world fully opens up again. “I wanted something that was a bit crisp and subtle,” he says in an interview with Refinery 29. “I always think you have to subtly get back into things.” To help shoppers transition out of the sweatpants they’ve been living in for more than a year and into the forthcoming season, he also “wanted [to create] something that felt timeless.”

For the spring capsule he created boxy T-shirts hemmed with chain stitches; oversized, linen polo shirts; and baseball caps made of vintage-looking denim and detailed with embroidered daisies. To fully round out spring’s lineup of essentials, he also included chambray dresses, smocked midi skirts, and rigid denim in light blue and oatmeal.

Anderson says that he’s become “very obsessed with handcraft.” Craftcore-esque chain stitches and embroidery, therefore, became mainstays throughout the collection. “I love the subtlety of detail,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be so loud in the very beginning.”

So tell us, which fashion collaborations would you like to see?

Are you ready to design using Procreate?

(Preview of our Introduction to Procreate for Fashion Design lesson)

Not since the invention of the pencil have creative professionals and aspiring fashion designers been so excited about a tool. Launched on the App Store in 2011, Procreate is a raster graphics editor app for digital painting developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS. Designed in response to the artistic possibilities of the iPad, fashion designers have taken to this technology as a method of getting their ideas down quickly and conveniently. The software is now offered in English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Turkish.

(Preview of our Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate)

It is with great pleasure that we introduce Monica Merino. Monica teaches our three new beginner lessons in Procreate: Introduction Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate, Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate and Drawing the Male Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate.

(UoF Instructor Monica Merino)

Monica Merino brings her unique professional experience to University of Fashion, as a designer of millinery, dolls, fashion apparel and as a high school and college educator.

Throughout her career as a New Jersey fashion design high school instructor, Monica’s students earned 85 Gold Medals awarded by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), including First and Perfect Scores along with 46 Silver Medals at state competitions. In addition, 20 of her students earned scholarships worth more than $100,000 to several fashion colleges and universities, including Centenary University, Johnson and Wales, Berkeley College and LIM.

Monica has worked with high-end hat maker, Christine A. Moore Millinery New York, the official milliner of the Breeders Cup. She has also executed special orders for the famous Kentucky Derby event. Monica’s specialization is in the sculpture and body of a different variety of hat designs.

At Madame Alexander Doll Company, Monica worked full time for nine years. Her primary responsibilities included designing high-end dolls, clothing and accessories, creating production-ready patterns, documenting spec sheets and reviewing product throughout the pre-production stage. She has also worked independently, managing a large quantity of products from concept to production. Monica’s strong skills at knitting and crocheting have added a new dimension to Madame Alexander products. Currently, Monica freelances at MA as a support to the team, creating package specs for overseas production and making samples for their catalog photoshoots.

At Bergen Community College (New Jersey), where Monica is currently teaching, she co-developed a continuing education Certificate Program in Fashion Design, Sewing & Fashion Art along with UoF and FIT professor Barbara Arata-Gavere.

Monica earned a BA in Fine Art from Kean University, a Master’s in Education from St. Peter’s University and a teaching license in Clothing, Apparel and Textiles.

At the outbreak of Covid-19, Monica began designing and creating fashionable and custom design face masks for high-end boutiques, which are featured on her Instagram channel @monicamerinostudio

Monica’s mission is to motivate her students to work to their highest potential as they study the field of fashion design. At the University of Fashion, we are pleased to have Monica teaching our students how to design using Procreate software.

(Preview of our Drawing the Male Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate)

Our SECOND Visual Merchandising lesson has launched!


(UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

Visual merchandising is one of those design disciplines that benefit both retailers AND fashion designers alike. How do we know? Well, with more than 13+ years in the fashion education biz under our belt, we’ve learned a thing or two from our experts. From retailers we learned that knowing more about the design process is an asset, especially when it comes to developing product for their stores. Designers have shared with us how they’d like to know more about retailing, especially as it pertains to store planning and merchandising.

This is why we’ve been hard at work creating our new 9-part visual merchandising series. Whether you’ve created your own brand and are lucky enough to afford your own retail store OR you are a brand who plans on selling to retail stores, our new visual merchandising lessons will provide valuable information to help you succeed.

 

DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S THE BIGGEST SELLING COLOR IN FASHION TODAY?

Achromatic hues value scale (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

It’s fascinating. There’s definitely a disconnect between the color that people say they like the best… versus what they actually buy. People don’t usually say their favorite color is black, but research shows that although consumers might say they like red and purple, truth is, they mostly buy black, gray, and white. And this is true for both womenswear and menswear. Our lesson contains more in-depth data about which colors command the most market share, and they aren’t necessarily what you might think!

 

DO YOU KNOW ABOUT COLOR THEORY?

Color wheel & color relationships (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

In our newest visual merchandising lesson, Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising, instructor Marcie Cooperman starts out by teaching you how to describe color, using the concepts of color theory and the three elements of color:  hue, value, and intensity. Those three elements are the way we describe colors. Click here to learn more about Marcie and her stellar credentials:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/marcie-cooperman/

And, if you haven’t viewed Marcie’s first lesson, Introduction to Visual Merchandising, check it out here: https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/introduction-to-visual-merchandising/

 

ARE YOU FAMILIAR WITH COLOR RELATIONSHIPS?

Example of a complementary color merchandise display (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman)

The lesson moves on to color relationships on the color wheel. Color relationships can guide you in putting colors together to create excitement and organization in the retail setting, both for the garments in the store, as well as the interior design of the store itself.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS COLOR INTENSITY IN STORE DISPLAY?

Example of alternating intense color with non-intense color (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

Intensity of a color is important in the garments hanging in the store, because it might make the difference between a customer loving or hating a garment. For example, we might love pink, but not be very happy about how strong a pink sweater looks. However, if that pink were a low intensity pink, we might love it.

 

HOW IMPORTANT IS COLOR & TEXTURE IN VISUAL MERCHANDISING?

Example of window using complementary color & texture (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

When you put wonderful colors and textures together in a display, it sends customers the feeling that this brand is organized and beautiful, that makes the customer feel positive about the brand and makes her want to shop there. The customer needs to feel that she will find the clothing she desires and will leave the store happy and satisfied. Hopefully, she will be so happy that she will tell her friends about her wonderful experience in the store, and finally, she will be a loyal customer who returns often.

 

WHY IS REPETITION A VISUAL MERCHANDISING STRATEGY?

Example of retail color & repetition strategy (UoF lesson Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising)

To learn more about color & texture, how color is used in creating a merchandising strategy and how to use repetition as a strategy in visual merchandising, subscribe to UoF and watch the full lesson. You will learn the dos and don’ts of how visual merchandisers work with retailers and fashion designers to create exciting in-store displays and store windows that attract us all!

 

Stay tuned for Marcie’s next lesson: Using Line and Composition in Visual Merchandising

BREAKING TRADITION: BRIDAL SPRING 2022

- - Fashion Shows

Naeem Khan’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Naeem Khan)

Oh, how I miss attending New York Bridal Fashion Week. The atmosphere was always full of joy and excitement and the presentations were always beautifully executed. While COVID-19 has dramatically changed everyone’s lives, the U.S. is vaccinating its citizens as quickly as possible and hopefully other countries will be able to do so rapidly as well, maybe then we can get back to a “new normal”.

New York Bridal Fashion Week shows twice a year, April and October. Traditionally, the industry event is when bridal brands showcase their latest collections to retailers and the press. Events traditionally range from small intimate appointments and presentations to over-the-top runway extravaganzas. But today, thanks to the pandemic and the virtual nature of fashion shows, we ALL get to have front-row access to the latest bridal collections.

This season, New York Bridal Fashion Week took place from April 6-8, 2021. Established bridal designers like Monique Lhullier, Marchesa, Amsale, and Anne Barge all presented beautiful collections, alongside smaller, indie brands, during a packed three-day virtual affair. The season was coordinated by the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), the sole owner and organizer of Fashion Week schedule in collaboration with The Bridal Council.

In a statement to Brides Magazine, Michele Iacovelli, the executive director of The Bridal Council, advised that anyone could watch this year’s collections through The Bridal Council’s website and access the full bridal show schedule, designer videos, and their look books. This is truly exciting news for brides-to-be who are  interested in getting an exclusive look into these coveted events. In addition, for the first time ever, everyone and anyone could access pre-recorded films and video look books via RUNWAY360 on the CFDA’s website.Talk  about transparency!

Leigh King, CFDA’s associate director of special projects and experiences, told Brides Magazine, “As for a return to in-person, we are optimistic for a mix of in-person and virtual presentations in the fall.”

While this bridal season was filled with classic, traditional gowns, fairytale feminism and plenty of sexy numbers – there was also a plethora of fashion-forward looks for the bride who wants to stand out on her wedding day. Here are some of the strongest ‘non-traditional’ trends of the season:

FINE PRINTS

Who says you have to wear white on your wedding day? For Spring 2022, designers are offering whimsical gowns in an assortment of colorful prints and embroideries, such as those from Naeem Khan’s collection of pastel floral confections and Amelia Casablanca’s bright roses. And, did you know that luxury footwear pioneer, Jimmy Choo at age 72, opened the doors of his own JCA | London Fashion Academy in Mayfair in 202o. Hence the addition of the word ‘professor’ to his bridal collection’s company name: The Atelier Couture Prof. Jimmy Choo, OBE Bridal Collection. For those who wonder what OBE means – OBE refers to an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.

 

Here’s to making a vibrant splash on your big day!

A look from The Atelier Couture Prof. Jimmy Choo, OBE Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: The Atelier Couture by Prof. Jimmy Choo, OBE)

 

Naeem Khan’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Naeem Khan)

 

Amelia Casablanca’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Amelia Casablanca)

SHORT AND SWEET

Bye-Bye ballgowns and say hello to the bridal mini dress. This season designers are offering perfect little bridal dresses from Sareh Nouri’s textured strapless frock to Gracy Accad’s chic off-the-shoulder number. Have fun dancing the night away – sexy style.

Sareh Nouri’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Sareh Nouri)

Francesca Miranda’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Francesca Miranda)

 

Gracy Accad’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Gracy Accad)

 

Edem’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Edem)

IN A SLIP OF A MOMENT

The slip dress was a huge trend in ready-to-wear and has now trickled down to the bridal market. For Spring 2022, the 90’s showed up in these chic bridal alternatives.

Savannah Miller’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Savannah Miller)

 

Markarian’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Markarian)

 

Morilee Madeline Gardner’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Morilee Madeline Gardner)

 

Rita Vinieris’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Rita Vinieries)

THE COLD SHOULDER

While broad shoulders played a big role in ready-to-wear this season, with lots of puffy sleeves and shoulder-padded jackets all the rage, for bridal, the focus was on ‘off-the-shoulder’, adding just the right amount of sexiness but in a demure way. From Lihi Hod’s romantic interpretation to Anne Barge’s elegant version, these glamourous gowns will surely have all eyes on the bride.

Anne Barge’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Anne Barge)

Eisen-Stein’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Eisen-Stein)

 

Kelly Faetanini Redux Collection’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Kelly Faetanini Redux)

 

Lihi Hod’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Lihi Hod)

3D & HANDCRAFTY

Bridal collections are predictably full of rich embroideries and intricate beadwork, but for spring 2022, designers are taking these traditional techniques a step further with 3D appliqués that create texture and drama.

Rita Vinieris Rivini’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Rita Vinieris)

 

Mira Zwilinger’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Mira Zwilinger)

 

Eisen-Stein’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Eisen-Stein)

LINGERIE-INSPIRED

A bridal corset worn on the outside of a bridal dress? Yes, and in a major way! This season, several designers made a bold statement between their lingerie-inspired gowns and now the corset dress. The results are the perfect combination of sensual yet sophisticated.

Wiederhoeft’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Wiederhoeft)

 

Dana Harel Silver Lining’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Dana Harel Silver Lining)

 

Rita Vinieris Rivini’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Rita Vinieris)

 

Justin Alexander Signature’s Spring 2022 Bridal Collection. (Photo Credit: Justine Alexander)

 

With so many brides having to postpone their wedding due to Covid, this bridal season offers lots of inspiration and choices to the make that ‘special day’ all the more special.

So tell us, what was your favorite bridal trend this season?

IN CELEBRATION OF WORLD ART DAY
MEET INSTRUCTOR FIONA LIU
THE ART OF THE RUFFLE

(From UoF lesson –  Draping a Cascade Ruffle Skirt)

In the U.S. April 15th is known as Tax Day, the day when Americans need to file their income taxes. But did you know that April 15th is also World Art Day?

World Art Day is an international celebration of the fine arts, which was declared by the International Association of Art (IAA/AIAP), a partner of UNESCO, to promote awareness of creative activity worldwide.

(Image credit: IAA International Association of Art)

The first World Art Day was held on April 15th, 2012, a date chosen in honor of Leonardo da Vinci’s birthday. DaVinci was chosen as a symbol of world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance, brotherhood and multiculturism and his work is testament to the influence of the Fine Arts on other fields. In the United States, World Art Day was officially held for the first time in the City of Los Angeles on April 15th, 2015. In 2017, IAA USA, the official U.S.-based chapter of the IAA, was formed. Pre-pandemic, art events were held locally, nationwide and on a global scale. Check them out on Instagram #iaasua

In the spirit of World Art Day, we would like to take this opportunity to celebrate all of our extremely talented instructors who continue to share their art and expertise, making the University of Fashion the first and largest online fashion education video resource library. With over 500 videos and by streaming our lessons in 177 countries, we are completely dedicated to the art & craft of fashion.

(From UoF lesson –  Creative Draping—2D Draping)

It is therefore with great pleasure that we are showcasing the talents of sustainable fashion designer/artist/entrepreneur Fiona Liu. View her new lesson, Draping a Cascade Ruffle Skirt and check out her many other lessons for University of Fashion.

Fiona is a lifelong student of fashion and her passion is to create. Ever since she was a young girl at the foot of her grandmother’s sewing machine in rural China, Fiona has had an instinct for fashion. Her interest was amplified by her rich experience in sales, marketing, and management – a fusion of business skills, professional maturity and a sense of entrepreneurship while working with  internationally-focused companies and clients in China. Originally self-taught in the areas of sewing, draping, drawing, illustrating, pattern making and portfolio, Fiona’s mission to professionally pursue fashion led her to Parsons for formal training. Upon graduating with a fashion design degree in 2017, she has been developing her own brand, dedicated to no-waste sustainable design.

(Fiona won The Twelfth Independent Handbag Designers Award in The Most  Green Handbag category, presented by Handbag Designer 101 in 2019)

At University of Fashion, Fiona shares her knowledge in more than 13 lessons in the areas of pattern making, draping and zero-waste design. To learn more about Fiona, check out her Instagram fionafangyuliu

Here’s a sampling of Fiona’s most popular lessons:

(From UoF lesson –  Drafting a Kimono Bodice with Gusset)

 

(From UoF lesson –  Draping a Pleated Raglan Sleeve)

(From UoF lesson – Drafting a Princess Puff Short Sleeve)

 

(From UoF lesson  –  Drafting a Portrait Collar Jacket)

(From UoF  lesson – Drafting a Leg O’Mutton Sleeve)

LEARN HOW TO DRAW CASCADE RUFFLES

View these lessons by our very own fashion illustrator extraordinaire, Roberto Calasanz.

(From UoF lesson – Drawing a Cascade Skirt Ruffle by Roberto Calasanz)

 

(From UoF lesson – Drawing a Cascade Neck Ruffle by Roberto Calasanz)

Let us know how you’ve creatively used cascade ruffles in your designs!

EMBRACING GENDERLESS FASHION

Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele help celebrities embrace the gender-neutral trend. (Photo Credit: GQ)

Trends come and go, but we believe that the androgynous trend is here to stay, at least for now. As a fashion movement, genderless dressing is gradually making its way into mainstream culture as the trend is hitting the major fashion capitals of the world. Thanks to many young celebrities and fashion designers, people of all genders are breaking convention with what they choose to wear. 0

UoF was the first to offer a lesson in androgynous fashion illustration in 2017 and it’s been one of our most popular lessons for the past four years.

Acceptance, inclusivity and an openness to change are fashion’s gift to 2021. This year is predicted to be all about reinvention and the gender-fluid movement. Think recording artist, Harry Styles, the poster child for androgyny. His gender-bending looks have been puzzling his fans for the past few years. The movement is now picking up  steam with many non-gender collections being launched by established brands such as Marc Jacobs and Gucci.

 

Harry Styles (Photo Credit: theguardian.com)

Although one could argue that celebrity androgyny can be traced as far back as the ‘30s with Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn, and in the ‘70s with Dianne Keaton and David Bowie, today’s celebs like Harry Styles, Tilda Swinton and Jared Leto are really pushing the envelope. In fact, some celebrity stylists are moving their clients away from a masculine-feminine divide to more ‘inclusive’ dressing choices. After all, inclusivity is the new buzzword.

Marlene Dietrich, genuinely loved wearing trouser suits, and said she felt more alluring in traditionally masculine clothes. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

Katharine Hepburn epitomized the independent American woman, and she was one of the first to popularize pants. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

Actor and singer Jared Leto’s style has grown more and more daring. Leto has claimed that there is no singular definition of masculinity. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

While the majority of retailers, brands and designers have reacted slowly to the movement, many are starting to come around. The cashmere knit collection Inhabit launched its first genderless collection in the fall of 2020, Norma Kamali reformed her storied brand to a unisex label in 2019, Umit Benan launched unisex line B+ and Equipment launched a gender-neutral collection in 2020.

There are also a number of brands who are strictly genderless labels such as Telfar, Aries, Les Tien, Gypsy Sport and Charles Jeffrey Loverboy. In 2018, Stefano Pilati introduced a fluid men’s wear label Random Identities. Even global giant retailers like H&M and Zara have incorporated genderless collections in their stores.

According to Rob Smith, the founder of Phluid Project (which launched in March of 2018 in NYC and online for access worldwide as a gender-free fashion brand), “Consumers are ready for genderless fashion, especially Gen Z consumers”  Smith said, at a WWD Culture Conference in November 2020, “that 56 percent of Generation Z consumers shop outside their assigned gendered area.”

For merchants to adapt to gender-neutral fashions, retailers must re-evaluate their merchandising strategies, designers must reexamine what a genderless collection actually is, and the industry must learn the language and terminology.

During the WWD Cultural Conference Smith used a character called the “Gender Unicorn” to demonstrate the proper way to address gender and sexuality. According to WWD, Smith spoke of five things related to identity, including the sex one is assigned at birth, gender identity, gender expression, who one is intimately attracted to and then who one is emotionally attracted to.

According to Smith, the parts that are pertain to fashion are gender identity and gender expression. To begin, a person can be assigned one of three sexes at birth: male, female, or intersex. Then comes gender identity, which is what one identifies themselves as and gender expression, which is how one dresses to express themselves. Smith started his speech identifying himself as a “cis man,” meaning he was assigned male at birth and identifies as male.

Smith explained at the conference that when he was young, sexuality and expression were lumped together, “but now it’s all about separating your sexual orientation with your gender identity.”

In an interview with WWD, Christina Zervanos, head of public relations at Phluid Project, said the non-binary consumer “combats the word unisex, because it has the word sex in it. For a lot of people, it speaks to sexuality when it’s about how you identify yourself.”

“Gen Z is begging for the non-binary language,” Zervanos said. “It takes a lot of learning and unlearning.” According to Pew Research Center, 35 percent of Gen Z is familiar with gender-neutral pronouns, followed by Millennials at 25 percent. Throw in Gen X at 16 percent and the total number of people familiar with gender-neutral pronouns reaches 76 percent.

Smith also said at the conference, “If I was going to represent a young community, especially a gender-expansive young community, I need to learn the language.”

Many brands are implementing the language, refer to their gender-neutral collections as genderless, like Official Rebrand, the genderless label from non-binary designer and creative MI Leggett. They coined the term “gender-free.”

“Gender is not a fixed thing,” said Leggett in an interview with WWD, whose pronouns are they/them. “I’d never heard people use the term gender-free when I started the brand. It’s kind of a play on gluten-free. If you don’t tolerate gluten, you don’t have to consume it, so I thought it was a funny play. A lot of people use gender-neutral. That feels a little stale to me. Free implies more freedom. Agender, genderless, there’s so many ways to describe your ideology as a brand. It all depends on what you actually mean. So to me it’s gender-free.”

Fashion companies are falling into the trap of creating looks and calling them “genderless” even though a piece may lean more toward men’s wear or women’s wear. Typically, genderless clothes are either oversize, formless, and shapeless. For years women have worn men’s wear as well as men’s inspired looks that today, it became mainstream.

Kanye West in a Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci leather kilt for his “Watch the Throne” tour. (Photo Credit: The Telegraph)

Unfortunately, men embracing woman’s garments did not translate as easily. In 2010, Kanye West wore a Givenchy by Riccardo Tisci leather kilt for his “Watch the Throne” tour, unfortunately his fashion choice received mixed reviews. In 2016, Louis Vuitton cast Jaden Smith (Actor Will Smith’s son) for its woman’s spring campaign, this was the first time the luxury house had a male modeling in their woman’s advertisements. There were many mixed reactions as celebrity men started wearing more fluid fashion choices. But Harry Styles changed the conception in 2019 when the singer wore a sheer Gucci blouse to the Met Gala and genderless fashion quickly started to move into the cultural mainstream.

Harry Styles cemented himself as a fashion icon in 2019, in his frilled Gucci shirt and pearl earrings at the Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Toda, the category of genderless fashion is growing. One of the first designers to launch a unisex, gender-neutral brand is Rad Hourani in 2007. The designer created his label after he held an art exhibit for neutral clothes, which he described in an interview with WWD as “a tornado success where I started selling to department stores around the world.” Hourani noticed after moving to Paris at age 23 that all things were categorized according to “race, gender, age,” including fashion.

Rad Hourani surrounded by models in his looks. (Photo Credit: Elle Canada)

“When I speak of neutrality, I speak of any gender or non-gender,” he said. “Unisex is free of any gender categorization or limitation. Clothing is a discipline in which I can express myself and my vision around neutrality in general. Expressing gender neutrality is a big part of what I do. There have been unisex pieces like sneakers, jeans, T-shirts, but to create a full high-end collection for 13 years now, I needed to create my own base and sizes.”

“In the past two years, [genderless fashion] became a bigger subject, but what I notice the most is they use designs that are loose-fitting, but I think it’s a much deeper look at unisex morphology. There’s nothing new about making a woman masculine or a man feminine. That’s not unisex, that’s making one the other,” Hourani said. “For androgynous, you can’t tell, but it’s not unisex. Unisex is free of any gender categorization or limitation.”

He also sees genderless fashion as less restrictive than gendered fashion. “If you only give a man a dress, you’re only limiting him to a dress. But if you give a human a neutral garment, they will wear it any way they want.”

POPULAR GENDER-FLUID DESIGNERS

Gender-neutral looks from Entireworld. (Photo Credit: Entireworld)

Entireworld offers all of the basics you need to build a solid gender-neutral wardrobe.

Bode’s unisex one of a kind reworked quilt pastel jacket. (Photo Credit: Bode)

Emily Bode utilizes vintage textiles to create one of a kind jackets and shirts you’ll want to keep forever.

A look from Telfar. (Photo Credit: @slamjammilano)

The Telfar shopping bag has created so much buzz, but Telfar Clemens doesn’t only create sought after accessories, he also has some great fashion pieces too.

A look from Wales Bonner. (Photo Credit: Wales Bonner)

Grace Wales Bonner is the designer behind the gender neural label Wales Bonner. The brand is known for its impeccably tailored blazers and trousers, all with an unexpected sartorial edge. Wales Bonner also teamed up with Adidas for a limited collab, offering up a range of sporty spice looks.

A look from Wildfang. (Photo Credit: Wildfang)

Two Nike executives created the label Wildfang which offers a range of workwear, suits, tees, and more, all of which offer the pared-down, structured look that’s often found in the men’s department.

 

SO TELL US, WILL YOU EMBRACE THE GENDER-FLUID TREND?

Big News! UoF has added a new learning category
Visual Merchandising

Preview of UoF lesson Introduction to Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman

Now in its 13th year of the fashion education business, the University of Fashion is expanding. As many of you already know, we have hundreds of lessons in the fashion design disciplines of draping, pattern making, sewing, fashion drawing, menswear, knitwear, childrenswear, swimwear, accessories, CAD fashion art and CAD pattern making, as well as product development lessons that include how to create tech packs and how to start your own brand.

Our fashion lecture series focuses on topics such as costume history, textiles, trend forecasting, sustainable fashion, licensing, branding, plus sizes, influencer marketing, fashion law and explores assorted careers within the fashion industry.

Our fashion business discipline concentrates on the retail segment of the industry with lessons on retail math, marketing and merchandising, understanding retail profit and loss and now…visual merchandising.

UoF instructor Marcie Cooperman – (Image credit: Marcie Cooperman)

We are thrilled to announce that our new visual merchandising series will be taught by none other than Marcie Cooperman. If the name sounds familiar it’s because Marcie is the author of Color: How to Use It , has been an instructor at Parsons for more than 20 years and has already created nine very popular lessons for UoF on the topics of color theory and knitwear. Marcie is truly a Renaissance woman. She is an artist (oils & watercolors are her passion), an author, a professor and has had an eponymous fashion design custom service in hand knits since the late 1980s.

Dolce & Gabbana floor plan (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

In her new series for UoF, Marcie explores the world of visual merchandising and the tools that retailers use in their store to create excitement and interest for their target market, via the store’s exterior and store window, to the store’s interior merchandising presentation. You’ll learn the planogram, the organizational system of the products in the store, and how visual merchandising uses the display, an important tool in showing how the clothing will look on the body. Whether you plan to open your own retail store or not, the information you’ll glean from Marcie’s new series will inspire both designers and retailers alike.

With today’s launch of the first lesson in the series, Introduction to Visual Merchandising, I thought I’d sit down (virtually of course) to find out more about Marcie and the important role visual merchandising plays in our industry.

Example of messy store (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: What sparked your interest in Visual Merchandising?

Marcie:  I have always thought about art, design, fashion, color and composition, certainly since I was a little girl. When I was about seven, I started painting with oil paints, and I designed my own embroidery projects.  I had strong ideas about what colors to use.  And I had opinions about store windows in those days, too, long before I knew there was something called visual merchandising.

In those days, my Mom and I designed dresses for her to make for me, and I fashioned scraps of fabric into clothing for dolls that I made myself.  And I used whatever scraps I had to design and make furniture for room interiors.  My passion for color took root when Mom took me to buy yarns in a store that was like a dreamscape: it was in a barn, and skeins of colored yarns were hanging from the rafters all around me.  Going into a yarn shop today to buy knitting yarns still makes me feel like that.

As I became a teenager, my career ideas always included interior design, retail design, and fashion design.  I loved it all, and it wasn’t possible for me to choose a career in just one of those areas.  For me, color and composition were the central concept, and all types of design were visual expressions of them.  Why limit myself?  So, I went to school for both fashion design and interior design.

When I received my MBA in Marketing at Stern School of Business at NYU, it all came together in a business sense.  Visual Merchandising is the ultimate combination of everything I love:  color and design, composition, retailing and marketing, all pointed toward creating an emotional connection with the customer.  And I’ve always taught it with a focus on color and composition.

Coach store featuring Mickey Mouse & Keith Haring (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: Which store interiors & windows do you think are the most successful?

Marcie:  I am very impressed with Coach. They are always creative and unusual, and successful in appealing to the customer through very directive use of color and design.  They use lines and shapes skillfully to direct the eye to the product, and easily convey what the brand is all about.  And yet it all seems so simple, as if their choices were the only ones to make.  I always stand in front of Coach windows for a while, digesting the beauty of the products and display elements; I think it’s a real strength that it inspires me do that.

Hermes windows are also incredibly innovative, especially in their use of color.  They are intense and cheery, and clearly, the designer is proficient in using color relationships.  There is always a sense of whimsy in Hermes windows, and that makes them stand out.  They are essentially Hermes.  We see the same sensibility in the website design, too, so the message is coordinated; that is crucial in brand messaging to the world.

And there is a wonderful store down in the Flatiron district in NYC called ABC Carpet and Home, and nobody beats their windows!  They are just full of amazing things, with gorgeous products and with their own spectacular style!  It’s worth a visit just to see the windows.  Of course, when you go into the store, you can really feel how it’s also amazingly designed.  How exciting it is!  It’s impossible not to buy something there.

These are all brands with designers who know how to use color and composition in their displays, and their work is on another level.  We can all learn from them.

Printemps, Paris-Use of color, textures, lines and shapes for a successful store window (Image: from UoF’s Introduction to Visual Merchandising lesson by Marcie Cooperman)

Francesca: What do you think are the top 5 visuals that make a successful store window?

Marcie:  Successful store windows can be designed by students and professionals who have an understanding of how to use color and textures, and lines and shapes, in the most creative way in their work.  These are tools that designers must have.  How can you design without learning about them?  Store displays and windows are an art, an expression of the designer’s creativity based on these tools.  Students who know how to use them can go anywhere in their work.

Color relationships actually reach us emotionally and connect with us; we can even feel that we love a brand just because we saw the right colors and textures in a store window display!  We can fall in love with what we see, and never forget that feeling because it will bother us until we buy the product that we saw there.

In all of my classes, and these lessons on visual merchandising, I really want to teach every student how to use these tools, so that they can achieve their personal artistic goals and their store’s goals.  In those lessons I am devoted to explaining every detail clearly, and to illustrate every concept with great images of window displays.  And I evaluate each image, too, to explain what’s happening in those displays and why they work or why they don’t work.  It’s always great to see the ones that don’t quite work, so we can understand and learn from them.

The highest goal a store can achieve with an amazing window display is to create an emotional connection with the customers, one so strong that they must come inside to see what the store is selling.  Did you ever feel that way?  Not only that you must go inside the store, but once you are inside, you feel that it’s so wonderful you cannot go home without buying something there.  That’s the power of a great window display, and great visual merchandising that continues inside the store.

 

Francesca: How important do you think a brand’s store windows should relate to their website presence?

Marcie:  Of course, both the store windows and the website, as well as other owned online assets, must be unified and cohesive so that they send the same message about the brand.  They should include the same colors and shapes.  All signage must relate to the text on the websites in terms of fonts, colors and design.

Every brand needs to have a set of core values and a mission, and those must always be the basis for every display decision it makes – the guide for all design decisions.  That’s the way to keep everything unified.

It’s very important for the brand to clearly position itself to the customer in just one very special and differentiated way, and to explain that positioning through all of its visuals:  its displays and windows, its clothing, labels and ads, and all other visual materials.  Everything has to send the same visual message.  Otherwise, the customer could get confused about what this brand is saying, and what it’s all about.  And that confused customer won’t see the reason that she must shop at this brand before all others.

Coming soon to UoF: Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising by Marcie Cooperman

Francesca: What other lessons should we expect to see from you in the future?

Marcie:  I’m fascinated with fashion design and interior design as they relate to color and composition; I can always tell which designers in both industries know how to use color and which ones have no idea.  My point of view in teaching design is always to create from a basis of understanding of color, line and shape – to have an arsenal of shapes to explore for every line of creative thinking.  You could take just one shape and go on from there knowing the infinite ways to vary it for a garment.

Imagine using your understanding of those concepts to help you create your fashion design lines!  What confidence you can have.  How deeply you can dive into the possibilities and come up with a cohesive collection of unique styles that connect with each other and express the brand’s sensibilities.

 

Francesca: Do you have certain career goals?

Marcie: I have devoted my career to teaching students how to use color and composition in their design work, so that they understand that these are the most precious tools they can have.  I want every student to have the confidence of knowing how to use these tools.  Color and composition provide a structural framework for students’ imagination, an understanding that allows them to follow their infinite sense of creativity, a skill that frees them to take their ingenuity farther than they can imagine.  This is how I feel when I do my fashion and interior design work, and I want all students to feel the same way.

To learn more about Marcie and her blog about color in interior design and fashion design:  http://fashionclassroom.com/blog . Also view her LinkedIn page https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcie-cooperman-03613511/

Stay tuned for Marcie’s next lesson: Using Color and Texture in Visual Merchandising

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH-IMPORTANT CONTRIBUTIONS BY FEMALE DESIGNERS THROUGHOUT HISTORY

Coco Chanel with model friends during her show in 1959. (Photo Credit: Willy Rizzo)

Women in every industry have been chipping away at the glass ceiling for decades. Do you know who was the first female prime minister? Answer: Sirimavo Bandaranaike of Sri Lanka in 1960. She was followed by a series of other competent women who held high office, such as Indira Gandhi (India-1966) and a slew of other women who you would have never known about unless you googled Women Prime Ministers many of whom are from Asia Pacific countries. Therefore it is quite astonishing that it took decades for the U.S. to elect its first female to hold high office with the election of V.P. Kamala Harris. Perhaps her being a part of the AAPI community is prescient? In any case, finally…the glass ceiling in the U.S. has been broken, proving once again that girls really can run the world!

As we celebrate Woman’s History Month, and because you know how much we love history…UoF is celebrating the origin of Woman’s History Month and some of the most influential female designers who have made significant contributions to the world of fashion. Oh, and did we mention that the fashion industry accounted for 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars in 2020 and is projected to do about 2.25 trillion dollars by 2025? And women helped get them there.

 

HISTORY OF WOMAN’S HISTORY MONTH

There is much info to be found online about how the celebration of women began. What started out as a one day celebration would later become a month long celebration. According to Britannica.com, “In 1908 a branch of the New York City Social Democratic Women’s Society declared that the last Sunday in February would be celebrated as National Woman’s Day. The observance was first held on February 23, 1909, in New York City. However, the better-known precursor to Women’s History Month was International Women’s Day, which was created in 1910 at the Second International Socialist Women’s Conference and first observed on March 19, 1911. Led by German social democratic activist Clara Zetkin, the women of the conference intended International Women’s Day to focus on the struggles of working women—in contrast to the mainstream feminist movement, which the socialists associated with the bourgeoisie. The March 8 date became official in 1921 when Zetkin, by then a communist, proposed it in honour of a strike led by women workers in Petrograd (now St. Petersburg) on March 8 (February 23, Old Style), 1917, that marked the beginning of the Russian Revolution.”

The International Women’s Day (IWD) website states that “International Women’s Day was honoured for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.  More than one million women and men attended IWD rallies campaigning for women’s rights to work, vote, be trained, to hold public office and end discrimination. However less than a week later on March 25, the tragic ‘Triangle Fire’ in New York City took the lives of more than 140 working women, most of them Italian and Jewish immigrants. This disastrous event drew significant attention to working conditions and labour legislation in the United States that became a focus of subsequent International Women’s Day events. 1911 also saw women’s Bread and Roses campaign.”

On the eve of World War I campaigning for peace, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on February 23, the last Sunday in February. Following discussions, International Women’s Day was agreed to be marked annually on March 8 that translated in the widely adopted Gregorian calendar from February 23 – and this day has remained the global date for International Women’s Day ever since. In 1914, further women across Europe held rallies to campaign against the war and to express women’s solidarity. For example, in London in the United Kingdom there was a march from Bow to Trafalgar Square in support of women’s suffrage on March 8, 1914. Sylvia Pankhurst was arrested in front of Charing Cross station on her way to speak in Trafalgar Square.” On the last Sunday of February, Russian women began a strike for “bread and peace” in response to the death of over 2 million Russian soldiers in World War 1. Opposed by political leaders, the women continued to strike until four days later the Czar was forced to abdicate and the provisional Government granted women the right to vote. The date the women’s strike commenced was Sunday February 23 on the Julian calendar then in use in Russia. This day on the Gregorian calendar in use elsewhere was March 8.”

Fast forward to 1978 when Women’s History Week was championed by Austrian-born, Gerda Lerner, the single most influential figure in the development of women’s and African American women’s gender history and whose development of an MA program at Sarah Lawrence College further promoted the National Women’s History Alliance. The following year, in 1979, a fifteen-day conference held at Sarah Lawrence College from July 13 – July 29, focused on women’s history. The event, led by Lerner and co-sponsored by Sarah Lawrence College, the Women’s Action Alliance and the Smithsonian Institution. Celebrating Woman’s History Week quickly grew nationwide, although it was not recognized as a national week until 1980.

Then, in February 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a presidential proclamation declaring the week of March 8, 1980, as National Women’s History Week. The proclamation stated, “From the first settlers who came to our shores, from the first American Indian families who befriended them, men and women have worked together to build this nation. Too often the women were unsung and sometimes their contributions went unnoticed. But the achievements, leadership, courage, strength and love of the women who built America was as vital as that of the men whose names we know so well. As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, ‘Women’s History is Women’s Right.’ It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision. I ask my fellow Americans to recognize this heritage with appropriate activities during National Women’s History Week, March 2–8, 1980. I urge libraries, schools, and community organizations to focus their observances on the leaders who struggled for equality –Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Lucy Stone, Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Harriet Tubman, and Alice Paul. Understanding the true history of our country will help us to comprehend the need for full equality under the law for all our people. This goal can be achieved by ratifying the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which states that ‘Equality of Rights under the Law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.'” Carter was referring to the Equal Rights Amendment, which was never ratified as a amendment, but did become the 27th Amendment to the United States Constitution after his presidency.

Woman’s History Week was quickly growing in popularity. In 1981, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and Rep Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland) co-sponsored the first Joint Congressional Resolution proclaiming a Women’s History Week. Congress passed their resolution as Pub. L. 97-28, which authorized and requested the President to proclaim the week beginning March 7, 1982 as Women’s History Week. Schools across the country also began to have their own local celebrations of Women’s History Week and even Women’s History Month. And finally in 1986, fourteen states  declared March as Women’s History Month. Between 1988 and 1994, Congress passed additional resolutions requesting and authorizing the President to proclaim March of each year as Women’s History Month. Since 1988, U.S. presidents have issued annual proclamations designating the month of March as Women’s History Month.

What colors symbolize International Women’s Day?

Purple, green and white are the colors of International Women’s Day. Purple signifies justice and dignity. Green symbolizes hope. White represents purity and the colors originated from the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in the UK in 1908.

FEMALE PIONEERS OF FASHION

Long before Woman’s History Month came into existence, female designers were breaking the fashion industry’d glass ceiling. These designing women carved out their own paths toward empowering women through fashion by instilling confidence through dress and by creating jobs so that women could support themselves and their families.

The list is thankfully long and growing, but here’s some of our favs whose groundbreaking creative genius still influences fashion today. We will be  covering more female designers in subsequent posts so stay tuned.

Madame Grès

Madame Grès draping a dress, c. 1945 (Photo Credit: credit unknown)

Madame Grès was born Germaine Emilie Krebs in Paris France.  She took her first pseudonym, Alix Barton, while a milliner. In 1936, she made her mark on couture under the name Alix, and by 1942, she dropped Barton and assumed the surname Grès from her only marriage in 1942.

This creative intellect experimented with fabric and form to achieve perfection. A trained sculptor, Madame Grès used mathematical precision as she draped her pieces to perfection. Madame Grès was known for draping right on a female figure, no flat patterns or muslin for her. She let the fabric help dictate the design and sculpted her dresses on the form using a needle and thread.

From the beginning…I didn’t have the knowledge. I took the material and worked directly on it. I used the knowledge I had, which was sculpture,” the couturier told WWD in 1963.

Madame Grès is most famous for her 1930s Grecian-influenced column gowns made of silk, rayon and later, polyester jersey. Because the dresses were sculpted and sewn on the body, selvedge to selvedge, no two dresses were alike. And, she used an average of 13 to 23 meters of uncut fabric, which remained weightless. Grès continued to be influenced by multicultural costumes throughout her career.

Madame Grès gown. c1958. Silk. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York)

The designer’s house thrived through the 1950s and 1960s with her couture business. In 1959, Madame Grès introduced her first perfume, Cabochard, to much success. In 1981 the designer created her first ready-to-wear collection, which ultimately limited the house’s growth.

Grès’ approach to her art informed the originality of her genius. But her death, as in life, was shrouded in mystery. In 1994, it was announced to the fashion press that Grès had passed away, but her actual passing was a year earlier. Her death was kept a secret by her daughter.

Appreciation for Grès’ work has permitted her most essential pieces to be preserved by time, allowing her devotion to the couture she loved and her legacy to stay alive.

Coco Chanel

Coco Chanel in her Parisian Apartment. (Photo Credit: Architectural Digest)

Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel was born in Saumur, France on August 19, 1883. This designer had such a passion for her creations that she worked right up until her death in 1971 at the age of 87. The majority of industry insiders consider Coco Chanel to be the greatest fashion force who ever lived, she created a fashion spirit, as well as a look. The late designer not only influenced young designers of her time, but she still has an enduring impact on global fashion today, having created some of the most iconic looks that are still in fashion today: the Chanel suit, the Little Black Dress (LBD), costume jewelry, then trench coat, the quilted leather purse, turtlenecks, pants, the peacoat and her signature fragrance, Chanel No.5.

 

Coco Chanel works on tailoring a piece on a model in 1962. (Photo Credit: of Daily Mail UK)

Her career began around 1912 (though she said it was 1914) with the opening of a small hat shop in Deauville, France. With her fiancé at war, she was looking for something to pass the time. According to WWD, After borrowing a sweater from a jockey at the races one day to fend off the chill, Chanel sparked a sweater trend with all “the smart Deauville ladies” within a week. Provocative and scandalous, Chanel was criticized by many for her romantic ties to a German diplomat during WWII and the years that followed. The designer returned to Paris in 1954 and reopened her couture house. And Chanel’s business boomed, and she became one of the most iconic female designer in history.

Bonnie Cashin

Bonnie Cashin in her studio. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Modern clothing is only valid if it works…and going into history for gimmicky ideas is not modern,” Bonnie Cashin told WWD in 1968.

According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry:

Bonnie Cashin – “Born in California in 1908, Cashin began her career as an apprentice in her mother’s dressmaking shops. From there she went onto work as a Hollywood costume designer and during 1943 to 1949, she was costumer for more than 60 Hollywood films. Cashin did not devote herself to ready-to-wear until the early 1950s. It was fashion editor Carmel Snow who encouraged Cashin to go to New York’s Seventh Avenue to design for the company Adler & Adler. Cashin, who developed an interest in clothing styles from various cultures, built her collections based on timeless favorites such as ponchos, tunics, and kimonos. Additionally, Cashin was commissioned to design World War II civilian-defense uniforms which would later be the inspiration for her concept of lifestyle dressing; combining ease of dress without compromising look. Cashin developed the layering system of dress that played a key role in setting the tone for American fashion. In 1953, Cashin designed leather clothing for the company Philip Sills and brought the use of leather into the world of serious fashion. In 1962, she became the first designer for Coach and pioneered the use of the brass toggle on her handbag carriers, which she later used on clothing. Her carriers fit perfectly into the Coach philosophy; the bags packed flat, were utilitarian, and maintained a timeless sense of style.”

 

A look from Bonnie Cashin. (Photo Credit: Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Cashin continued to run her design studio until the mid-’80s and passed away in 2000, having largely kept her distance from the grips of fashion’s standards. “I didn’t want to be boxed in by any one company or any one design problem,” she once said

Anne Klein

A photo of Anne Klein. (Photo Credit: Harpers Bazaar)

Anne Klein was born August 3, 1923, in Brooklyn, New York, as Hannah Golofski. The Anne Klein label is synonymous with American sportswear. The company she created in 1968, Anne Klein & Co., grew out of a concept; chic, comfortable, uncomplicated fashion that fits well and is wearable from season to season. “No fads,” the designer once declared to WWD. By the mid-1970s, she changed the concept of American sportswear into what is known as ‘designer ready-to-wear’.

Even today, many of the pieces in our wardrobe can be attributed to Anne Klein. She steadily introduced new silhouettes to women at the right time. A few Anne Klein signature pieces include the button front A-line dress, the leather midi skirt, the long sweater vest cardigan and pants that fit perfectly. These and many more were a part of what WWD called Anne’s “separate into togetherness” concept. While women had long been buying sets, Klein introduced coordinated separates that would allow women to mix and match their wardrobe, a concept that was met with great success throughout department stores.

Versailles show in 1973, Anne Klein was the only female designer to represent the United States. (Photo Credit: Anne Klein Archives)

Anne Klein was such an influential force in the American fashion world that she was the only woman from the American fashion industry invited to participate in the Battle of Versailles extravaganza. In 1968, she introduced the concept of group design when she launched Anne Klein Studios. The studio mentored and helped catapult the careers of many Seventh Avenue designers, such as Donna Karan. Klein died from cancer in 1974, but her legacy lives on.

Liz Claiborne

A photo pf Liz Claiborne in her design studio. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Liz Claiborne was not only a successful designer, but a savvy businesswoman as well. Launching her namesake label at the age of 47, Claiborne ‘s groundbreaking success was certainly connected to how she wanted to live in her own clothing.

Anne “Liz” Claiborne was born in Brussels to American parents who came from a prominent Louisiana family. She began her career working as a design assistant and model. Her concept for creating effortlessly chic clothes for working women came from her own experience. As a working mother, she knew that time was precious and that fussing over a wardrobe you couldn’t afford was pointless. So, in 1976, Claiborne, along with her husband Art Ortenberg, Leonard Boxer and Jerome Chazen, founded her namesake brand, Liz Claiborne Inc. While her partners focused on sales and operations, Claiborne focused on design.

Liz Claiborne and her models. (Photo Credit: Liz Claiborne archives)

Claiborne bypassed trends and fads and instead followed her gut on what she liked and wanted to wear to fit her lifestyle. Her instincts were spot on, as she attracted a consumer, much like herself, who wanted to fill the void in their work wardrobes. She built a brand that leaned into comfort, with a focus on quality, style, and value. Claiborne was also commitment to interacting with her consumer, which naturally drove the brand’s success.

This concept worked so well for Liz Claiborne that she went from one to more than 10 successful brands. In 1981 the company went public and by 1989 Claiborne and her partners turned the better-priced sportswear market into a multibillion-dollar industry.

Shortly after Claiborne and her husband retired from Seventh Avenue to focus on humanitarian efforts and travel, they left behind, in just under two decades, a portfolio of 40 labels including Dana Buchman, Ellen Tracy, Juicy Couture and Kate Spade, among others. According to WWD, Liz Claiborne was an award-winning designer and the first female CEO and chairwoman of a Fortune 500 company. She passed away from cancer in 2007 at the age of 78.

TEST YOUR KNOWLEDGE

In honor of Women’s History Month why not take our short quiz to test your knowledge of  how women helped make the fashion industry what it is today:

1. Who is considered the first known fashion designer and the couturier to Queen Marie
Antoinette?
a. Joséphine Chantrell
b. Marie Cremon
c. Rose Bertin

2. Male designers throughout history often engaged a female ‘muse’ for inspiration,
beginning with Marie Augustine Vernet, wife of designer Charles Frederick Worth. Do you
know who was Yves Saint Laurent’s muse? She also went on to create her own brand.
a. Loulou de la Falaise
b. Ava Gabor
c. Ariana Rockefeller

3. Which French couturier began her career as head seamstress at Maison Callot Souers?
a. Jeanne Lavin
b. Madeleine Vionnet
c. Jeanne Paquin

4. Which French designer is known as the “Sculptor of Couture”?
a. Madame Grès
b. Madame Agnès
c. Nina Ricci

5. French designer Paul Poiret is often credited for freeing women from the corset, but it was
actually this female designer who showed her first collection of lingerie-inspired pieces while
working at Maison Doucet.
a. Jeanne Paquin
b. Madeleine Vionnet
c. Coco Chanel

6. Claire McCardle is known as the pioneer of the “American Look”. In the 1940s she created
the pop-over dress and the concept philosophy of “5 easy pieces”. Her wrap and tie dress was later popularized by this designer.
a. Donna Karan
b. Diane von Furstenberg
c. Donatella Versace

7. This designer was the first to make the Little Black Dress (LBD) famous.
a. Hanae Mori
b. Elsa Schiaparelli
c. Coco Chanel

8. This American designer began her career as a Hollywood costume designer. She went on to
design for Coach where she created her famous metal turnkey closure that she later added to
clothing.
a. Vera Maxwell
b. Tina Lesser
c. Bonnie Cashin

9. This designer is considered the inventor of the miniskirt.
a. Hattie Carnegie
b. Mary Quant
c. Twiggy

10. This American designer patented her own pleating technique in 1975, based on a pleating
technique known as Marii.
a. Mary McFadden
b. Donna Karan
c. Norma Kamali

11. This designer was the first to use shoulder pads, animal and trompe l’oeil prints and known
for her whimsical “tongue-in-cheek” approach to fashion.
a. Coco Chanel
b. Elsa Schiaparelli
c. Jeanne Paquin

12. Which designer is known for her fashion innovation known as the “three sleeve-hole”?
a. Adeline André
b. Liz Claiborne
c. Anne Klein

13. Who created the original push-up bra called the Wonderbra in 1964?
a. Diane von Furstenberg
b. Louise Poirier
c. Donatella Versace

14. Who is credited with creating the robe de style, a dress silhouette that flatters all body types.
a. Jeanne Lanvin
b. Madame Gres
c. Vionnet

15. Who is considered the first female African-American designer in the U.S.?
a. Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes
b. Elizabeth Keckley
c. Ruby Bailey

———————————————————————————————————————————————————————–

ANSWERS TO OUR QUIZZ

1) Rose Bertin, 2) Loulou de la Falaise, 3) Madeleine Vionnet, 4) Madame Grès, 5)

Madeleine Vionnet, 6) Diane von Furstenberg, 7) Coco Chanel, 8) Bonnie Cashin, 9) Mary

Quant, 10) Mary McFadden, 11) Elsa Schiaparelli, 12) Adeline André, 13) Louise Poirier, 14)

Jeanne Lanvin, 15) Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes

For more on fashion history read Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry c0-authored by our founder Francesca Sterlacci

HOW WELL DID YOU DO ON OUR QUIZ?

LOOKING FOR A HOT INVESTMENT TIP? TRY COLLECTING FASHION ILLUSTRATIONS

Fashion Illustration by Roberto Calasanz

It has long been debated whether fashion illustration should be considered art. Through the decades, the value and appreciation of fashion illustration has risen and fallen with societal shifts. However, according to fashion curator Connie Gray of London’s Gray M.C.A. gallery, “there seems to be a heightened interest with anything that is associated with the great designers, particularly of the 20th century like Dior, Balenciaga or Chanel in Europe, or in America, anyone from Donna Karan, to Bill Blass, to Halston,” as reported by WWD. (read our February 7th blog).

In that same article, Gray proclaimed that she “expects American fashion illustrators from the latter half of the 20th century to be the next group to begin to increase their prices. At the moment, the focus continues to be on work from the Forties, Fifties and Sixties,” she said, adding that “work by René Gruau could garner anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.”

A Sotheby’s spokeswoman said “she didn’t think the company has the right specialists to discuss the subject.

And yet, the work of famed illustrator Antonio Lopez, arguably the most important fashion illustrator of the 20th century, currently commands from $16,100 to nearly $27,000 per illustration, and Kenneth Paul Block’s work has sold in the $12,000 to $15,000 range.

Here at UoF, we not only believe that fashion illustration IS fine art, but we encourage, feature and promote the best fashion illustrators in the industry. It is therefore with great pleasure that I dedicate this blogpost to Roberto Calasanz, who has generously shared his fashion illustration techniques and his many talents with our students in 38 video lessons.

Roberto Calasanz in his studio with his illustration of Valentino S/S 2018 for Amazing Magazine

Left: Valentino Runway Spring/Summer 2018
Right: Illustration by Roberto Calasanz for Amazing Magazine

To all of the aspiring fashion illustrators out there, I thought you might like to hear from Roberto himself on his personal journey into the world of fashion illustration. Enjoy:

 

Francesca: At what age did you know you wanted to be a fashion illustrator?  

Roberto: As far back as I can remember, I knew I wanted to be an artist, a painter, a maker. I would spend hours sketching when I was a kid.  The heyday of fashion illustration was the 1980s; there was so much amazing talent out there, and I was influenced by a lot of illustrators. But the one that stood out, who guided my hand and shaped my aesthetic the most, was the Puerto Rican illustrator, Antonio Lopez. By the time I reached my late teens, I started to think seriously about pursuing a career in fine arts and design. I knew that fashion design was a great discipline to develop my skills, so I submitted my portfolio to Altos de Chavon School of Design in the Dominican Republican affiliate of Parsons, here in New York—and the next thing      I knew, I had a scholarship and was studying with some of the best artists in the country.   And this led to being awarded a grant to finish my studies at Parsons, which is how I ended up in New York, and eventually working as a designer on Seventh Avenue, in the New York Garment District.

(Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz)

(Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz)

(Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz (Méndez) for B & J Fabrics)

Francesca: Who encouraged you to pursue your dream?

Roberto: First my mother, who had an eye for fabrics, and who was an avid reader of fashion magazines—an interest in fashion runs in the family; I come from a long line of tailors on my mother’s side. And once I began my studies at Altos de Chavón, I was surrounded with support from fellow students, and especially from my teachers—one of whom, Julia Santos Salomon, by the way, was a good friend of Antonio Lopez. The school has an amazing collection of Antonio originals, because for several years he would come and teach illustration workshops at the school. In fact, when Antonio passed of AIDS in 1987, the head of the fashion program at the time, James Miller, entrusted me with helping to preserve his personal collection of Antonio’s work. The opportunity to handle these originals was a huge inspiration for me. From there, I was rewarded a subsequent grant to finish my studies at Parsons in New York. And I’ve been here pretty much ever since!

(Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz)

Francesca: You worked for many fashion houses, which one gave you the most creative freedom?

Roberto: I got my first job as an illustrator when I was still a student at Parsons. Roberta Freymann hired me to render her legendary knitwear, those novelty sweaters with all that cable work, ribs, pom poms, and intricate stitch patterns. So that was a challenge!  Over the years, I worked for designers across the board, like Randy Kemper, Nili Lotan, Harvé Benard, Ralph Lauren RLX, Calvin Klein, Liz Claiborne, and Rogelio Velasco Couture—but I’ve also illustrated interiors, linens, and home décor for companies like Donghia and Waterford Beds.  Collaborating with different designers is always a learning experience— I love the challenge of capturing a designer’s personal vision in a medium such as marker or gouache. This is best achieved when the signature style of the illustrator—silhouette, line, gesture, technique—resonates with the particular attitude and mood that the designer envisions. At RLX, for example the mood was rugged outdoors, but the challenge was to infuse the low-tech lumberjack look with high-tech finishes and forward-thinking design.

(Roberto Calasanz for Ralph Lauren RLX)

(Roberto Calasanz for Calvin Klein)

(Roberto Calasanz for Calvin Klein)

(Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz for Rogelio Velasco Couture)

Francesca: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion illustrators?

Roberto: The advice I offer my students and young designer/illustrators I mentor, is that fashion illustration is a language, and to become fluent in this language requires training.  You need to train not only your hand, but also your eye and your mind. Refining your hand, line, technical skill takes practice, and as an illustrator you will be expected to render any fabric and to capture its unique properties. Each fabric embodies its own particular movement, qualities and character, whether it’s stiff like silk taffeta, or liquid, like silk charmeuse. In the beginning it is helpful to practice by imitating the work of other illustrators or artists that inspire you. Which is why I believe it is essential to simultaneously train your eye by familiarizing yourself with a wide range of artists, designers and illustrators, to know and be inspired by what has been done, as well as to be on the pulse of what is being done in the field right now. Knowledge of the history of fashion and aesthetic developments in the world of art trains your mind and prepares you to develop a unique and refined personal style.

Left: Valentino S/S 2018 Runway
Right: Fashion Illustration by Roberto Calasanz for Amazing Magazine

Fashion Illustration by Roberto Calasanz of Valentino S/S 2018 Collection for Amazing Magazine

Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz of Rick Owens F/W 2018 Collection for Amazing Magazine

Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz of Rick Owens 2018 Collection for Amazing Magazine

Fashion illustration by Roberto Calasanz of Rick Owens F/W 2018 Collection for Amazing Magazine

(Fashion line sketches by Roberto Calasanz)

(Roberto Calasanz illustrations for Norman Norell)

(Roberto Calasanz, Rendering Demo for students)

Click on this link to see a list of Roberto’s lessons on the University of Fashion website https://www.universityoffashion.com/instructor/roberto-calasanz/

Check out Roberto’s IG @demainny

MILAN & PARIS: FALL 2021 COLLECTIONS PART 2

MILAN

Gigi Hadid is officially back on the runway. Here she is backstage at the Versace show with her sister Bella. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Ciao! Milan Fashion Week ended on a high note as designers looked to the promise of la vita bella (a beautiful life) as COVID-19 vaccines were being distributed throughout Europe as well as the world.

With the possibility of ‘back-to-normal’ in the not too distant future, Italian and French designers created energetically charged pieces at MFW and PFW with the hope that we will all be making a big splash when we return to a life of  normalcy.

(Video credit: Valentino’s live show)

Like New York and London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week shows were digitally-focused with one exception, namely, Valentino’s intimate runway show. The Milan schedule was packed with established designers such as Missoni, Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Max Mara, Marni, and Dolce & Gabbana but the highlight of MFW was Kim Jones’ highly anticipated ready-to-wear debut for Fendi, which definitely delivered. Another show of note was Team Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada, who presented their second Prada collab women’s collection to raves. In addition to the traditional line-up of veteran designers, there were a few new names in the mix (finally), such as former Gucci designer Daniel Del Core.

(Video credit: Daniel Del Core’s debut collection)

Daniel Del Core’s debut collection was a socially distance IRL (in real life) show. It’s definitely every aspiring designer’s dream to climb the ladder, gathering experience on someone else’s dime and then ultimately launch their own brand. The proof of the pudding comes when you finally get to ‘strut-your-stuff’ with a runway show. This designer not only succeeded but did it during a pandemic! Check out Daniel’s show video. So, what do you think? Definitely rocking the 80s shoulder, right?

Covid is still wreaking havoc on the fashion show schedule and a few designers presented their digital collections after Milan Fashion Week, such as Versace’s Donatella Versace and Luke and Lucie Meier at Jil Sander. Dates for Bottega Veneta and Gucci are still up in the air.

A look from Prada’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Nonetheless, MFW was full of bold trends, thanks to Italian designers’ flare for dramatics. For them, life after lockdown will be anything but boring. Here are our top five trends:

ALL BUNDLED UP

Baby it’s cold outside! For Fall 2021, designers in Milan showed plenty of terrific outerwear to keep you warm, yet oh so fashionable. Brands such as Fendi and Prada featured fabulous big, furry coats, while Valentino focused on charming capes that offer effortless glamour to any look. Meanwhile, the basic puffer got a makeover with unique shapes and bold colors, case in point, Marni.

A look from Marni’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

 

A look from Prada’s Fall 2021 Collection and the accessory of the season, the zip pouch glove. (Photo Credit: Prada)

 

A look from Valentino’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Salvatore Dragone)

 

A look from MSGM’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

METALLICA

Glitz and glamour ruled the runways from futuristic silver suits at Annakiki to chainmail gowns at Salvatore Ferragamo, these glistening looks will rule the return of the red carpet.

A look from Annakiki’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

 

A look from Moschino’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Moschino)

 

A look from Salvatore Ferragamo’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

THE PREPPY HANDBOOK

Leave it to the Italians to give the classic Preppy look a much-needed update. For fall, designers like Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Etro are giving the otherwise conservative styles a cool makeover. Relaxed shapes, vibrant hues and edgy styling take preppy away from the country club to and onto the backs of our favorite fashion influencers.

A look from Etro’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Etro)

 

A look from Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini)

 

A look from Andrea Pompilio’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Andrea Pompilio)

BRIGHT OF WAY

Italian designers lit up the season with fantastically bright hues — pink, lavender, yellow, and teal were particularly popular on the runways. Brands like MSGM and Emilio Pucci clashed hues in the most creative and vibrant ways.

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

 

A look from MSGM’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

 

A look from Emilio Pucci’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Emilio Pucci)

GREEN DAY

Olive has become the new neutral, giving the nod to military-inspired looks that marched down runways by the legion and received uniform salutes. From Ports 1961’s belted coat to Sportmax’s utility shirt, today’s military trend is chic and polished.

A look from Sportmax’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sportmax)

 

A look from Max Mara’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Max Mara)

 

A look from Ports 1961’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ports 1961)

PARIS

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Casper Sejersen)

As of the writing of this blog, Paris Fashion Week is still going strong. The fashion show season officially ends on March 10th, but in the City of Lights, the Fall 2021 collections started out with a bang! PFW never disappoints by offering collections that reflect the climate of today, but also gives us the possibilities of dreams and fantasies. Even during the turmoil we are all facing due to the global pandemic, the tremendous loss of life, economic uncertainty and political and social upheaval – designers are still pushing forward creating beautiful collections that offer an escape from the real world and that envision better days ahead.

The most anticipated show of the season was Gabriela Hearst’s debut collection for Chloé. It was an IRL outdoor fashion show and Hearst lived up to the hype.

(Video Credit: Chloé’s Fall 2021 Show)

Gabriela Hearst stayed true to the heritage of Chloé as she offered a collection filled with rich bohemian inspired looks. Hearst, a designer known to incorporate sustainable practices in her own collection, brought that sensibility to Chloé. She integrated lower-impact raw materials and put a plan in place to lower carbon emissions by 2025.  The collection was filled with Boho pieces that you will want to hold on to forever, such as a series of ponchos in stripes and solids, along with knit maxi dresses. Heart showed terrific outerwear from spliced trench coats to a cut-away shearling coat, as well as plenty of patchwork looks, including a leather patchwork jacket and skirt set. In a fashion season dominated by 80s shoulders, Hearst’s bohemian vibe had a ‘70s aesthetic that was fresh and modern.

OTHER TRENDS

SPACE AGE

Futuristic fashion was all over the runways of Paris, from Rick Owens’ sharp shoulders and shimmering bodysuits, to Courrèges’ mod high neck jacket. These looks will have you standing out in any crowd.

A look from Rick Owens’ Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Carlo Scarpato)

 

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alexandre Vauthier)

 

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gio Staiano)

 

A look from Courrèges’ Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Thomas de Cruz Media)

PRETTY IN PINK

Pink has been a favorite among the millennial set, so for fall, designers showed a range of pretty pink looks from Patou’s belted jacket with feathered trim to Coperni’s zippered dress. Pink is here to stay.

A look from Patou’s Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Patou)

 

A look from Coperni’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fillippo Fior)

 

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acne Studios)

 

A look from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nina Ricci)

 

THE COLD SHOULDER

Designers adopted a chic asymmetry with interesting bare shoulder effects.

A look from Coperni’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fillippo Fior)

 

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acne Studios)

 

A look from Ellery’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Kym Ellery)

 

A look from Alaïa’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Piere-Ange Carlotti)

 

HERELD SQUARES

Check this out: windowpane, tartan, houndstooth and more. This fall, designers have gone mad for plaid.

A look fromVivienne Westwood’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alice Dellal)

 

Looks from Marine Serre’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Marine Serre)

 

A look from Courrèges’ Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Thomas de Cruz Media)

 

WELL SUITED

Pantsuits were all over the runways, but in Paris, they were anything but business-like. Designers took the office staple to new heights by injecting them with the boldest of hues.

A look from Thebe Magugu’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Thebe Magugu)

 

A look from Loewe’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

 

A look from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nina Ricci)

 

A look from Isabel Marant’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Isabel Marant)

So tell us, do you have a favorite trend?

 

FASHION MARCHES ON: FALL 2021 COLLECTIONS PART ONE

- - Fashion Shows

Prabal Gurung and looks from his Fall 2021 collection modeled by members of POSE. (Photo Credit: Lexie Moreland for WWD)

The Fall 2021 season is shaping up to be a promising one. In the United States the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have dropped significantly, and many experts predict that by the fall, thanks to the vaccines, increased testing, masks, and social distancing, we should reach herd immunity. So, with the promise of normalcy on the horizon, designers are embracing a joyful and vibrant approach to their fall 2021 collections.

NEW YORK, THE CITY THAT NEVER SLEEPS

(Video credit: Jason Wu)

New York Fashion Week kicked off on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14th with Jason Wu’s live, in-person show, and ended on the 17th as per the American Collections Calendar released by the CFDA (formally known as the New York Fashion Week schedule). So, after all this time, why did CFDA chairman Tom Ford rename the official New York Fashion Week schedule to the “American Collections Calendar”? Ford stated it was to reflect the growing number of American designers showing later in the season or in locations outside of New York. Tom Ford was suppose to close out the New York season, but his digital show date was pushed back due to unforeseen circumstances related to the pandemic.

Like the spring 2021 season, many fashion designers are debuting their fall collections by means of livestreams, lookbooks, presentations and other digital methods including the CFDA’s digital platform Runway360; a stark contrast from the large-scale, in-person productions that had been the norm prior to the deadly pandemic. The designers who have opted to show this season are an array of young designers, contemporary brands, and high-end designers that included: Prabal Gurung,  Veronica Beard, Alice + Olivia, Markarian, Tadashi Shoji, Badgley Mischka, Anna Sui, Monse, Adeam, Victor Glemaud, Rodarte, Tanya Taylor, Anne Klein, Dennis Basso, Cinq à Sept, Jonathan Simkhai, Bibhu Mohapatra, Nicole Miller, Rebecca Minkoff and Christian Cowan. As you can see, there were many established brands who decided not to participate in NYFW including: Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Marc Jacobs, Brandon Maxwell, Tommy Hilfiger, Christopher John Rogers, Pyer Moss and Tory Burch.

According to WWD, IMG is furthering its alliance with the Black in Fashion Council by supporting Black fashion designers during New York Fashion Week. The two organizations are setting up showrooms in New York City and Los Angeles to showcase designs from Black fashion designers, which can be viewed in person, by-appointment throughout fashion week. Brands featured in the showrooms include Beads Byaree, Chelsea Paris, Chuks Collins, EDAS, House of Aama, Kendra DuPlantier, Maris Wilson, Michel Men, Nicole Benefield, Third Crown, Theophilio and Whensmokeclears.

Looks from Maris Wilson’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Marissa Wilson)

Even TikTok is getting in on Fashion Month as the social media platform teamed up with IMG Fashion and provided editorial content to the TikTok community. The initiative will run through New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks, where TikTok users will be able to view live fashion shows and previously recorded videos on the TikTok accounts @FashionWeek, @NYFW and @MADE.

From Left to Right: Lazaro Hernandez, Ella Emhoff, and Jack McCollough, backstage at the Proenza Schouler Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hunter Abrams)

But the biggest news that came out of New York Fashion Week, was the emergence of Ella Emhoff, the stepdaughter of Vice President Kamala Harris, making her debut on the Proenza Schouler runway.  Ella Emhoff, the curly-haired, bespectacled grad student/model made a bigger splash than any fall 2021 trend, though there were a few of those, most noteworthy chunky knitwear and slouchy suiting. According to a New York Times article, the designers behind the Proenza Schoular label, Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough, liked Ella’s look, they told her during a Zoom preview; but they also liked that Ella was a student at New York City’s Parsons, the duo were notable alumni of the fashion school. Ella is a crafty knitwear designer and just created several one-of-a-kind pieces which she introduced to the fashion world.

(Video credit: Proenza Schouler)

As for the Proenza Schouler collection, the design duo raised the bar as they combined their effortlessly cool tailoring in jersey, wool, and leather with tactile details such as macramé and crochet inserts, silk fringe, and dip-dyed hems. There was also a nod to effortless layering – so everything was off-centered and unexpected – such as layers of slip dresses that were actually a single garment. The collection also had plenty of terrific jackets that can be either uncinched or cinched to create a cocooning shape that was oh so chic.

BREAKOUT STARS

As for the few high-profile designers who presented during New York Fashion Week there were plenty of young designers and brands who really stood out this season. Here are a few:

BATSHEVA

The singer Adeline in her kitchen, wearing a dress from the Batsheva fall 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Alexei Hay)

Coming up with innovative ways to digitally present your brand can be a challenging one. But Batsheva Hay, the designer behind her namesake label Batsheva, found a solution that her audience can relate to. The designer and her photographer husband, Alexei Hay, began to photograph people cooking their favorite meals in their kitchen wearing Batsheva’s designs. The concept is so simple yet it really connected and stands out in a sea of lookbook images. Muses included Ego Nwodim, Nicky Hilton, Amy Fine Collins, and Maude Apatow, each offering a distinct take on clothing and cooking.

Hay’s concept of allowing women to wear her creations in their own world is a perfect recipe for the brand. As for the clothes, there were plenty of looks that are appropriate for today’s reality – pretty, yet comfortable. Hay’s effortless prairie dresses have plenty of girlie options with sweet ruffles, rocker crushed velvet, and dainty bow motifs.

Hay also introduced denim for the first time, as she created two options with ruffled trim and elastic waists, perfect to pair back to her crafty knitwear collection.

COLLINA STRADA

Collina Strada’s morphing collection. (Photo Courtesy of Collina Strada)

Having a sense of humor definitely lifts spirits during troubling times, especially during a global pandemic. So props to Hillary Taymour, the designer behind the buzz-worthy label Collina Strada, as she presents one of the most playful and fun digital presentations to date. For her fall 2021 collection, Taymour had the idea of turning humans into animals to offer a sense of relief and joy. The young and creative designer partnered with the illustrator of the Animorphs book series, David Burroughs Mattingly, and collaborators Charlie Engman and Freeka Tet, to make graphics that transform her cast of star models like Aaron Philip, Ruby Aldridge, Jeremy O. Harris, and Kathleen McCain Engman into cats, peacocks, praying mantises, and even a balloon dog. The lightheartedness is hard earned; throughout the year-long pandemic, Taymour has not only continued to push herself to create environmentally-minded collections using leftover materials and recycled fabrics, but she was also one of the first to create masks for sale and for healthcare workers.

MARKARIAN

A look from Markarian’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Markarian)

Every designer dreams of having their creations worn by a celebrity and gaining instant fame and sales along the way. Well on January 20, 2021, that dream became a reality for Alexandra O’Neill, as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden wore the young designer’s label Markarian on inauguration day. The First Lady of the United States wore a full look from Markarian: a custom cerulean tweed dress and matching coat trimmed with pearls and velvet cuffs. On a Zoom call with Vogue Runway, O’Neill said her social media following doubled instantly, and the e-tailer Moda Operandi reported a 570 percent spike in traffic to Markarian pieces within 24 hours. Overnight the label went from relative obscurity to international news. It was a reminder of how deeply women care about what First Ladies wear—and how influential their choices can be. Michelle Obama boosted the profile of many young American designers in her day.

The label Markarian is anything but casual. O’Neill is known to create beautiful wedding dresses and red-carpet worthy gowns. So the challenge for the creative young designer has been how to merge elegant clothing and work-from-home wear. For fall 2021, O’Neill struck the perfect balance of glamourous at home looks, case in point, a brocade robe dress. She also showcased recycled cashmere knits that were oh so glam with attached shawls that you can effortlessly toss over your shoulder, as well as a darling pointelle stitch midi-dress.

But O’Neill’s customers are feeling optimistic and are shopping on Moda for her more fanciful pieces such as an LBD with “firework” crystal embellishments and full skirts with built in corsets. Let the good times begin!

A.POTTS

Looks from A. Potts Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gregory Wilkstrom)

Aaron Potts, the designer behind his namesake label A. Potts, offers a chic, genderless collection that captures the essence of approachable elegance. Although Potts’s silhouettes veer towards couture —cocooning shapes, layered coats, and full-skirted gowns—they are joyous and fun. According to Potts, the secret has to do with the fabrics and colors he chose for the season: yellow and gray pieces rendered in tissue-weight jersey; wool; faux foil leather; and a fluffy ‘mauxhair,’ as he calls his faux mohair. In an interview with Vogue Runway, he described a need for optimism and creativity. “The light at the end of the tunnel isn’t cliché,” he said. “It’s necessary.”

To bring his vision to life, Potts cold-emailed Yannick Lebrun, a dancer at Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, who helped cast fellow dancers Khalia Campbell, Fana Tesfagiorgis, and James Gilmer in the lookbook and film. The performers are the perfect complement to the clothing, showing its brilliance without obscuring their own. Looks ranged from a horsehair-trimmed gown to  ombré plaid outerwear. Overall, the collection was effortlessly chic and modern.

BEVZA

A look from Bevza’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Bevza)

Svetlana Bevza is the Ukranian designer behind her namesake label Bevza. The indie label is known for its take of sexy ‘90s minimalism and has gained a celebrity fan base which include Emily Ratajkowski and Gigi Hadid. But for Fall 2021 the designer switched decades and was inspired by the ‘70s aesthetic. Beva worked her minimal aesthetic into fringed capes, flared jeans, and bohemian inspired headbands worn across the forehead; it’s a bit on a rebel spirit in the most polished way.

Bevza also paid homage to her native Ukraine as she looked to Olga of Kyiv, who ruled in the 10th century, for inspiration. The knit balaclavas were inspired by Olga, but the designer paired the traditional headwear with matching blazers and over the knee boots for a modern edge. Bevza also included an image of the ‘spikelet,’ a symbol of good harvest and an optimistic year, and let’s face it, after living through a global pandemic for a year now, we can all use some optimism.

LONDON’S CALLING

Molly Goddard is well known for her daring otherworldly confections. Here is a look from her Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ben Broomfield)

London Fashion Week took place from Feb. 19th – 23rd. The Fall 2021 season was entirely digital as Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a third national lockdown for England amid a surging Covid-19 outbreak driven by a U.K. variant in early January.

This further lockdown is incredibly challenging for businesses, freelancers and individuals,” Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, said in a statement. “Our industry is one of amazing creativity and this is more true in the U.K. than any other country. The majority of businesses and individuals we work with are independent businesses and creatives who contribute significantly to the cultural and creative reputation of our country.”

The BFC continues to ask Government to engage in support of the fashion industry,” Rush said. “One of the main active requests is to allow key creative and model talent to travel to and from the U.K. with a phased introduction of quarantine exemptions for the fashion industry, in order to carry out essential business, to protect the competitiveness of the British fashion industry.”

London Fashion Week took place on www.londonfashionweek.com, a digital platform, where people could access not just the collections that would typically debut on a runway or at a presentation, but also additional multi-media content, including interviews with designers, podcasts and e-commerce.

The season was billed as the first “gender-neutral” digital fashion week, but it turned out to be more like a mixed-gender than gender-neutral.

THE NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Kudos to London Fashion Week for always embracing young designers and Indie brands. Here are a few of our favorites.

EDELINE LEE

For her digital premiere, Edeline Lee opened with an introduction in her own voice: “Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the meaning that lives in our clothes, the nostalgia and memories that we attach to our clothing,” she said, before sharing a short story and urging her listeners to put on their headphones and close their eyes. It was a great attempt at storytelling, but with so many digital presentations to view, the video ran on a tad too long.

The piece tells the story of Georgia, a woman downloading her memory bank to a ‘program’ without a name but a model number, and an option to name her—Georgia calls her Lynne after a friend who is a good listener. The story centers around a memory of her mother twirling in front of the mirror in her favorite malachite-colored dress, how it was intended to be worn to Georgia’s wedding, but instead her mother was buried in it, but she would have found it fun wearing ‘a great dress to a terrible party.’ “I wanted to explore how digitally we can touch people,” said Lee in an interview with Vogue Runway. “How do you give someone an experience online—a human experience? We are always separated by a screen, and it made me think about how clothes are on the surface, too, but what do they really mean… this storytelling touched that nerve at a deeper level… I don’t know, maybe lockdown is getting to me!” She laughed, but she had a point.

Lee built her brand on real clothes that women can live their lives in: drop off the kids, head to work, sit through a working lunch, and so on, but the best part is, nothing will wrinkle. Her best-selling piece is her flattering wrap dress that can be worn either loose or fitted. She had plenty of these effortless dresses, but she also added a series of separates for our new Work-from-Home lifestyle. Lee created tapered track pants, brush stroked jacquard tops, and a short sleeve dressing gown coat in piqué GOTS certified organic cotton (to that end, Lee has been working on more sustainable practices; all of her linings, trims, and packaging are sustainably sourced). “My pattern cutting is loosening up, I’m needing that comfort more and more,” she says. “My customers still need that great top for Zoom, but many of them are working from home, so they’re asking for this too.”

COLVILLE

A look from Colville’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Colville)

Molly Molloy and Lucinda Chambers, the duo behind the Colville label, were inspired by vases for their fall 2021 collection. But not just any vase, more specifically Murano glass vases that appeared in their lookbook, each one handmade by glassblowers in Italy. Molloy and Chambers launched their label in 2018. They stated that they work with feelings rather than strategy. Maybe this is why they instantly became insider favorites, with their sculptural earrings and handwoven wayuu bags.

The organic swirls of the Murano glass vases were echoed in the psychedelic marble print that emerged on silk sculpted dresses and matching leggings. Key looks ranged from a color-block piqué twinset to a hoodie spliced together from Nike sports gear. The duo also created wonderful vests patchworked from upcycled down puffer jackets. Molloy and Chambers also gave a nod to romance with a dress that was nipped and ruched at the waist in a style that was both sexy and forgiving. The duo also created plenty of ruffled detail tops and, for the first time, they introduced a lace top that was worn under a peplum bustier.

The collection had some neutrals but overall, there were plenty of bursts of color and prints, which will surely have their customers stand out during their next Zoom call.

YUHAN WANG

Looks from Yuhan Wang’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Courtesy of Yuhan Wang)

Bridgerton has become an extremely popular Netflix series especially among the fashion crowd, which is no surprise given the beautiful costumes and setting of the show. The costume designer, Ellen Mirojnick,  has done a phenomenal job recreating 18th century looks that are so regal and rich they are fit for a princess. So it should come as no surprise that many designers found themselves creating looks that would be perfect for the series, most noteworthy, Yuhan Wang. The designer created a pastel-hued, romantic, floral collection that you can picture in a Regency drawing room.

Before graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2018, Wang studied art in her homeland China.  “I paint landscapes,” she said on a Zoom call from her studio in London in an interview with Vogue Runway. “The painters created these fantasy-nature landscapes for noblemen to escape from the ordinary world. It was always done by men for men. So this season I wanted to make my own, for women and girls.”

Wang created charming watercolor landscape prints and embroideries for her collections, such as sika deer, pine trees, and delicate florals. These delightful patterns made their way onto her signature fluid draped dresses, as well as flared trousers and some peplum jackets trimmed with raw-edge fringe. Beautiful pieces for when we can all emerge back into normalcy. Soon, soon soon.

To quote poet, performer, model, and trans visibility activist Kai Isaiah Jamal, “We know anywhere can be a runway if your mind has something to walk down it.”

SO TELL US, DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FALL 2021 SHOW THUS FAR?

Pandemicwear…a new fashion category?

Image credit: Naploungewear.com, Gentleherd.com and Onecozyday.com

We are thrilled to hear the news that Covid numbers are diminishing and vaccinations are on the rise. However, knowing that we’ll still need to take precautions, i.e. working from home, washing hands frequently and wearing masks until we reach herd immunity, possibly until sometime next fall, has some of us fashionistas thinking about what to add to our wardrobe in the interim.

Remember athleisurewear? That was the classification of merchandise that burst onto the fashion scene in the double aughts, that was a cross between sportswear and activewear. According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry (authored by me, Francesca Sterlacci, and former FIT Dean, Joanne Arbuckle):

Athleisure became popular as a result of the yoga pant and leggings craze. This type of clothing, originally designed for working out, became suitable for wearing outside of the gym too. Brands like Lululemon popularized the look and other brands and retailers took notice. Cashmere sweatsuits and luxury workout gear soon found their way into both men’s and women’s wardrobes. An added benefit of wearing athleisurewear is that even if you don’t go to the gym, you can still look like you do. By 2016, athleisurewear entered the bespoke arena with Saville Row tailors showcasing items such as track suits.”

(Image credit: Cozy Earth)

But what about the merch category that preceded athleisurewear called ‘loungewear’? Those of a certain age will remember loungewear being worn around the house at a time when women had lots of leisure time (1950s), that is, before they got to have careers and were liberated in the 1970s.

Well, ‘loungewear’ as a category no longer seemed appropriate thanks to COVID-19. The fact is …home lockdown consists of remote working, teaching & learning, shopping and even Zoom socializing. There’s absolutely nothing ‘leisure’ about that, right?

Some of us have been wearing our PJs all day long, or sweatshirts and sweatpants. And we only feel the need to dress up, do our hair and our makeup if we have a Zoom business call. So, where’s the incentive to care about fashion?

(Image credit: Sew Sketchy)

Sew Sketchy, an illustrated New York fashion influencer created by artist Romy Schrieber, gets her quarantine-look right with her fashion preference for pajama-wearing, but will absolutely never forego her lavish painted nails and iconic sunglasses.

 

Pandemicwear Looks

(Image credit: Atritz.com)

After hours trolling the Internet, I am now seeing a new trend/category emerge that I’m calling, ‘pandemicwear’. When I Googled the word pandemicwear, the first thing that pops up was “Slob-Style Chic” (what to wear when there’s nobody to dress up for except your cat – and Zoom).

I don’t know about you but just knowing that there’ll be at least 5 more months of lockdown until we can all get vaccinated to achieve heard immunity, I’m needing a ‘fashion’ shot in the arm right about now. What I’ve researched is a trove of two-piece sets that are offered in a variety of fibers from cashmere and bamboo to silk blends, that can make you feel dressed up while you are still in lock down.

What I’ve laid out here is not to be considered influencer marketing, it’s just my personal opinion of what I might want to wear around my home to ‘feel’ dressed up without ‘being’ dressed up!

(Image credit: naploungewear.com)

Cashmere… how luxe can you get? I’ve been finding cashmere sets that are casual and chic and great for having to jump on a Zoom call.

(Image credit: Lellyan.com)

(Image credit: Tenmorden.com)

(Image credit: Tenmorden.com)

(Image credit: The Frankie Shop)

And let’s not forget about footwear…. like these comfy slippers from The Frankie Shop that come in a variety of chic neutrals.  And the feather pom-pom slip-ons from Nap.

(Image credit: The Frankie Shop)

(Image credit: Nap.com)

Let’s all hope that we can all get vaccinated within the next few months because, let’s face it, there are so many other clothes in our closets that are feeling pretty neglected right about now.

Got a fav pandemicwear outfit that you’d like to share?

FORGET POLITICS…MADAM VP IS A STYLE ICON IN THE MAKING

(Left to Right) U.S. second gentleman Doug Emhoff, U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, and President Joe Biden at their Inauguration.
(Photo Credit: Getty Images)

U.S. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris just completed their first weeks in office. While the dynamic duo has already brought about plenty of positive changes, they also amped-up the fashion quotient in D.C. Thanks to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and VP Kamala Harris, and finally, American young designers are once again at the forefront of the world fashion stage.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama was a true champion of young American designers and during her eight years as First Lady she has worn everything from Jason Wu to Narciso Rodriguez, turning American designers into household names. American Designers created custom looks for the former First Lady and when she wore a young designer’s creation, the publicity was a dream-come-true. In 2016 when former President Trump took office, many designers disagreed with Trumps’ political stance, and declined to dress the former First Lady Melania Trump, so many of Melania Trump’s outfits were purchased, as opposed to being custom-created or gifted, as is tradition. While this was great for retailers, American designers suffered not being in the political limelight.

Doug Emhoff and Kamala Harris, in Altuzarra, as she accepted the nomination for the vice presidency at the Democratic National Convention. (Photo Credit: Win Mcnamee for Getty Images)

Thankfully, this will all change as the United States moves into a new era of leadership, all eyes will be on Vice President Harris to see what subtle statements she will make with her wardrobe choices. Throughout the campaign trail, Kamala Harris’ wardrobe remained consistent: a business-ready pantsuit or blazer worn with jeans; her shoe choices were also limited to her signature Converse sneakers or a classic pointed-toe pump. The VP also consistently wore her beloved accessory, a string of pearls, a sentimental tribute to her Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority at Howard University. Kamala Harris has broken down many barriers as she is the first female, Black, and South Asian-American Vice President of the United States.

AMERICA’S VP COVERGIRL

Vice President Kamala Harris appears on the February print Vogue cover. (Photo Credit: Tyler Mitchell)

VP Harris’ style has evolved greatly since the early days of her campaign trail. She has even graced the covers of prestigious fashion magazines, including Elle in November 2020 and the Vogue February 2021 cover that stirred up plenty of controversy involving the most powerful woman in fashion and the most powerful woman in the White House. Social media ran ramped with many accusing the Vogue cover as being “disrespectful”, but Ann Wintour originally described the cover as “joyful, casual, and accessible.”

On the print Vogue cover the VP is dressed in a dark brown jacket by Donald Deal, narrow black jeans, a white t-shirt, her signature Irene Neuwirth pearl necklaces, and trusty Converse sneakers. But the second Vogue cover which was digital, featured a closer-cropped photo of the VP wore a pale blue suit by Michael Kors.

Vice President Kamala Harris wears Michael Kors on the February digital Vogue cover. (Photo Credit: Tyler Mitchell)

Many social media users argued that the Vice President should have been dresses more inspirational than casual.  When Kamala appeared on the cover of “Elle” in November, they captured her strength, warmth, intelligence, and beauty. She looked completely Vice Presidential. Sad that Vogue did not achieve those results in such a momentous moment in American history.

Vice President Kamala Harris appears on the November 2020 Elle cover. (Photo Credit: Inez & Vinoodh)

According to Sway, people familiar with the matter on both sides said that there had been no contractual cover approval agreement in place, the cover image was not what the vice president’s team had expected. The day after the first photo leaked, a second — more formal — digital exclusive cover was also released. Ms. Wintour said in a follow-up statement to Sway, “Obviously we have heard and understood the reaction to the print cover and I just want to reiterate that it was absolutely not our intention to, in any way, diminish the importance of the vice president-elect’s incredible victory.” In an exclusive interview on this episode of “Sway,” Ms. Wintour discusses the magazine cover, diversity concerns at Condé Nast, the future of the fashion industry.

Listen on Apple Podcasts: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/sway/id1528594034?i=1000505058648

VICE PRESIDENT KAMALA HARRIS’ STYLE EVOLUTION

Vice President Kamala Harris’ fashion choices. (Photo Credit: Town & Country all Getty Images)

Through the years as a senator in California and on the campaign trail, VP Kamala Harris shied away from fashion. Her uniform consisted of muted pantsuits, blazers, skinny jeans, and her signature Converse sneakers and pearl necklaces. Her sartorial choices were meant to blend into the background while she fought for political change and policies that were dear to her heart.

Then Senator Kamala Harris grilling a Trump administration official in June, 2020. (Photo Credit: Pool for Getty Images)

But once Biden chose her as her running mate, Kamala Harris’ style began to evolve. For starters, Vice President Harris began to collaborate with Hollywood stylist Karla Welch, who is especially known for the perfectly imperfect off-duty looks she creates for her clients, a diverse crew that includes Oprah Winfrey, Justin Bieber, Karlie Kloss, Tracee Ellis Ross, and even Anita Hill. According to Town & Country, “Harris and Welch’s professional partnership is something of a secret—kinda open, kinda not. And neither camp returned emails requesting confirmation.”

During inauguration week, VP Harris’ sartorial choices where on point and rich with meaning, the most powerful woman in the United States wore looks create by designers of color, including Sergio Hudson, Prabal Gurung, Pyer Moss’s Kerby Jean-Raymond and Christopher John Rogers, whose brilliant purple coat and dress was accessorized with pearls by Puerto Rican designer Wilfredo Rosado on the day she was sworn in as Vice President of the U.S.

In a Town & Country interview with Robin Givhan, the only journalist to receive a Pulitzer Prize for fashion criticism, and who is now the Washington Post’s senior critic-at-large, chronicling politics, race and the arts stated, “On one hand, Harris’s clothes are straightforward and professional, especially while she was on the campaign trail. She looks like she could be walking into any major law firm, any Fortune 500 company. But I think there’s also this sort of inability to not discuss her clothes because of the historical nature of her position.”

Fashion is a way for people to get a little slice of Harris’s life and symbolism for themselves. It’s aspirational fashion in a new way. “I also just sort of worry to some degree that we are muddling the line between Vice President and First Lady,” says Givhan.

A First Lady she is not, but she is a first of so many achievements—first woman, first woman of color, first woman of South Asian descent, first daughter of immigrants to hold the office of vice president. So as the most powerful woman of the United States, should the public scrutinize over her sartorial choices? Naturally, her policies and what she does for the nation comes first, but there is nothing wrong with adding a little panache along the way.

Vice President Kamala Harris in Carolina Herrera (Left) and President Joe Biden (Right) on the night they accepted their victory. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Her rise to fashion stardom began in November, the night she took the stage alongside President Joe Biden and they accepted their victory as the newly elected President and Vice President of the United States. VP Harris carefully selected a creamy Carolina Herrera pantsuit and white silk pussy bow blouse, a nod to the suffragist movement, this look was analyzed across every form of media and many approved the look as it stood for how far women have come and she embodied power and beauty in her suit.  The public is watching what VP Harris wears so closely that there is already a useful website, WhatKamalaWore.com, by the journalist Susan E. Kelley, who also curates similar sites about Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton’s sartorial choices.

“I don’t think she needs to make a stand verbally, but I do think there are going to be expectations of her in her position as a woman,” says Peju Famojure, a stylist and fashion consultant who has styled Solange Knowles and consulted with Beyoncé in a Town & Country interview. “There are always expectations tied into women’s fashion choices. People would be happy to see her support brands that are made in America, but also Black-owned brands, giving them representation, not only from a visual standpoint, but also helping to drive monetary success.”

While VP Harris will want people to focus on her politics and not her clothes, as a history-making public figure, her sartorial choices are a part of the picture that many will focus on. So far, Harris’ outfits have been a lesson in a new form of power dressing: her suits and pointed-toe pumps convey an authoritative mindset, while the more casual Converse and jeans signify a relatable casualness, accessible and familiar to the average American.

U.S. second gentleman Doug Emhoff and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, in Pyer Moss, at the COVID Memorial. (Photo Credit: Patrick T. Fallon via Getty Images)

On January 19th, the eve before the historic inauguration, President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden, along with Vice President Kamala Harris and her husband Doug Emhoff, gathered on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., for a COVID memorial honoring and remembering the more than 400,000 American lives lost to the pandemic so far.

Arranged along both sides of the Mall’s pool of reflection were hundreds of rectangles of light. “To heal we must remember. It’s hard sometimes to remember,” Biden said, “but that’s how we heal. It’s important to do that as a nation…Let us shine the lights in the darkness…and remember all whom we lost.” His words were followed by a moment of silence. While the moment was somber and full of sorrow, there was also a sense of hope.

There is no doubt that the Biden administration will set a completely different tone than the Trump administration, it will also be a breath of fresh air on the fashion front as First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris have both been championing young American designers and their sartorial choices have been polished, sophisticated, empowering, and bold.  The VP opted to wear a chic camel cashmere coat by Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, which, appeared as a more traditional silhouette from the front, but the back turned revealed a curved shoulder seam that gave way to a flowing, pleated back. Kerby Jean-Raymond is a young Black designer who is likewise weaving purpose into his mission. On his runways, Jean-Raymond has addressed African American narratives in popular culture. In September of last year, he gathered PPE for hospital workers and provided $50,000 in grants for small businesses affected by the COVID crisis.

A back look of U.S. second gentleman Doug Emhoff and U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris, in Pyer Moss, at the COVID Memorial. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Harris also took to the podium the night of the COVID Memorial and said, “Tonight we grieve and begin healing together. Though we may be physically separated, we the American people are united in spirit. And my abiding hope, my abiding prayer, is that we emerge from this ordeal with a new wisdom: to cherish simple moments, to imagine new possibilities, and to open our hearts just a little bit more to one another.”

The Vice President chose Prabal Gurung the morning Inaugural Prayer Service. (Photo Credit: @SecondGentleman Instagram)

On January 20th, Inauguration Day, Vice President Kamala Harris began the day at a church service alongside President Biden and his family. Here she chose a look from Prabal Gurung, an American designer who was born in Singapore and grew up in Nepal. She looked stunning in a garnet-hued double-faced wool crepe dress with a matching coat.

As Kamala Harris was sworn in as the Vice President, she wore a pearl necklace by Wilfredo Rosado. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Shortly after Kamala Harris was sworn in as the Vice President of the United States by Sonia Sotomayor, America’s first Latina Supreme Court justice. Our first female VP wore a stellar coat and dress by Christopher John Rogers, a young Black designer, who’s known for his love of bold and vibrant colors and shapes, as well as her signature strand of pearls. Her coat and dress were elegant and chic, while purple symbolizes strength, royalty, hope, and a call for unity at a time of political division; after all, when you mix blue (democrat) and red (republican) together, the color purple is created. A fitting chose for our Vice President.

Wearing Sergio Hudson, VP Kamala Harris continued to show support for black designers at the Inaugural Concert. (Photo Credit: The New York Post)

Later that night, at the Celebrating America event, Vice President Kamala Harris championed another young black designer, Sergio Hudson, as she wore an elegant liquid sequin cocktail dress with a floor-length silk tuxedo overcoat, both in inky black—and topped off the look with Irene Neuwirth earrings.

Since winning the election Vice President Kamala Harris’ fashion game has been strong, but we would love to see her step out of her comfort zone, but still be appropriate for her many meetings as VP.

So tell us, what looks would you like to see Vice President Kamala Harris wear?

The Power & Beauty of Fashion Illustration

- - Fashion Art

University of Fashion’s mission, from day one, has always been, ‘to preserve the art and craft of fashion design.’ In fact, since the company’s founding in 2008 our tagline has never changed, “Master Design One Step at a Time.”  Sure, we’ve added computer-generated fashion art and computerized pattern making lessons over the years, but at our core, we’re all about promoting a strong foundation, both ‘on-the-table’ pattern making and in ‘hand-drawn art’ before we recommend moving to anything computer-generated.

In this blogpost, we’d like to celebrate fashion illustration and its continued contribution to the world of fashion. We are extremely proud to share that our founder, Francesca Sterlacci, who owned and operated her eponymous brand in the 1980s, was lucky enough to have her work illustrated by THE most prolific WWD illustrators in what is now known as the ‘Golden Age of Fashion Illustration’ (1960s to the early 1990s).

As you admire the work of these illustrators, we’d like you to pay particular attention to the individual illustrative style of each and join us in celebrating their individual and unique talents.

Enjoy,

Francesca Sterlacci
Founder/CEO
University of Fashion

You can only imagine how over-the-moon excited we were when Women’s Wear Daily recently dedicated a week to the most prolific fashion illustrators who brought fashion to life on their pages before they replaced illustration with photography in the early 1990s. Although WWD incorporated fashion illustration from its inception in 1910, it was the 60s thru the early 90s that best describes the paper’s Golden Era of Illustration. WWD provided a showcase for some of the best illustrators in the fashion business and this blogpost is dedicated to those wonderful artists. Included in this group: Kenneth Paul Block, Antonio Lopez, Joe Eula, Richard Rosenfeld, Steven Stipelman, Robert Melendez, Robert Passantino, Glenn Tunstull, Kichisaburro Ogawa, Charles Boone, Steven Meisel and Catherine Clayton Purnell.

Kenneth Paul Block

(Image credit: Kenneth Paul Block illustration of a lace bodysuit and silk organza pants by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1988)

As a designer in the 1980s, having your designs chosen for WWD’s Best of New York issue was always a big deal, no matter how many times you were lucky enough to be included. And, if your work was illustrated by Kenneth Paul Block, well, that was an even bigger deal!

By far, Kenneth Paul Block (1925-2009) was the undisputed star of WWD’s roster of fashion illustrators. From all accounts, he was in a league of his own. Joining the paper in the 50s, Block’s legacy lasted into the early 90s when the illustration department at WWD was unceremoniously disbanded to make way for photography. Block’s style was uncomplicated, modern and fresh. A master of the graceful gesture, his style was a complete departure from the rigid illustrative style popularized in the 1940s.

(Image credit: archival image from 1940s illustrations)

According to WWD, Block was “known for his well turned-out, gentlemanly style, with his Dorian Gray-like youthfulness, Block dressed impeccably, favoring an ascot, fresh-pressed shirt, pinpoint perfect jackets and cigarette holders for his workdays at the easel. The artist, who died at age 84 in 2009, spent nearly four decades working at Women’s Wear Daily.”

Towards the end of his life, Block was very concerned that his body of work

be kept together and therefore gave approximately 1,700 drawings to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. His work is also a part of the Frances Neady collection at the Fashion Institute of Technology which contains over 300 illustrations by the most prominent 20th-century illustrators. The Frances Neady collection is named for an inspiring and dedicated teacher of fashion illustration, who served on the faculties of FIT and Parsons for 40 years.

Upon his death, the Kenneth Paul Block Foundation was established and is devoted to collecting, preserving, exhibiting and interpreting the wealth of Kenneth Paul Block’s art, in order to highlight his contributions to the art form.

Robert Young

(Image credit: Robert Young illustration of a tiger print top and skirt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1985)

Another favorite among New York designers was Robert Young. His style always brought out the best in your design. Today, Robert Young is an Assistant Professor of Illustration at Pennsylvania College of Art & Design in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As is the case with most artists, Robert Young’s style and breadth of work has expanded with the times.

Be sure to check out his “Hello, Young Illustrators” portfolio series. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGDfewj-V6Q which is especially helpful during the pandemic.

Robert Passantino

(Image credit: Robert Passantino illustration of a peplum blouse and pleated skirt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1987)

As a fashion illustrator, Robert Passantino knew the value of actually learning the basics of clothing design and construction and how that would benefit his career when he started his career at Pratt Institute. He would later take illustration classes under Steven Stipelman at the Fashion Institute of Technology, who later would recommend him for a position at WWD in 1969.

In the recent article, Passantino told WWDI developed my style on the job. It was a fashion art boot camp. As an artist, the more you work on your art, the better you become.”

Charles Boone

(Image credit: Charles Boone illustration of a suede pants and leather tube top by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1987)

Kichisaburo Ogawa

(Image credit: Kichisaburo Ogawa illustration of a wool doubleknit dress and wide cinch belt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1987)

Three days after graduating from FIT, Kichisaburo Ogawa went to work for WWD where he would spend the next 31 years illustrating fashion both at the paper and for numerous international magazines. In discussing what it was like to be an illustrator at WWD in those days Ogawa said, “Depending on the assignment, work was either due by the 2 p.m. deadline or the 6 p.m. deadline. After the daily editorial meeting, an editor would provide a designer’s sketch to draw from and the work would be due that same day. On some occasions the illustrator would be given a few extra days contingent on the article or the subject matter. A cosmetics cover, for example, was used for supplements, which allowed for more leeway with a longer deadline. Most of the time we had to finish within a few hours.” He also claimed that “You had to create your individual style. Otherwise, they would think, ‘Why are you doing the same type of illustration? You don’t need to work here.”

Later in his career Ogawa connected with another WWD fashion illustrator, Richard Rosenfeld, who was his office mate when they both taught at FIT. Today, Ogawa is an assistant professor at Parsons.

Steven Meisel

(Image credit: Steven Meisel illustration of a leather T-shirt by Francesca Sterlacci-WWD 1982)

Steven Meisel started out as a WWD fashion illustrator in the 80s but made the move to photography when he saw a shift away from illustration coming. In fact, famed fashion illustrator Bil Donovan took an illustration class at Parsons taught by Meisel in the Eighties right before Meisel embarked on his very successful photography career.

(Image credit: Bil Donovan illustration of a leather coat trimmed in tapestry by Francesca Sterlacci for Siena- 1991)

Catherine Clayton Purnell

(Image credit: Catherine Clayton Purnell illustration of a metallic leather trimmed linen shirt paired with a leather skirt by Francesca Sterlacci WWD 1985)

One of only a handful of females in a sea of male fashion illustrators at WWD, Purnell was most known for her colorful fantasy-filled intimate, children’s and swimwear illustrations in the 80s.

(Image credit: Catherine Clayton Purnell from the book WWD Illustrated: 1960s-1990s by Michele Wessen Bryant)

Steven Stipelman

(Image credit: Steven Stipelman illustration of draped back blouse and leather skirt by Francesca Sterlacci 1985)

With a passion for illustration that began at Music & Art high school in Manhattan and continued awhile a student at FIT, Stipelmen would land a plumb job alongside Kenneth Paul Block at WWD in 1965. While most artists at WWD worked from a designer’s sketch when illustrating for the paper, Block and Stipelman would mostly work from live models and were sent to Paris to draw from the runways. Today, Steven Stipelman is a full professor at FIT.

Richard Rosenfeld

(Image credit: Richard Rosenfeld for WWD)

(Image credit: Richard Rosenfeld)

While UoF founder Francesca never had the honor of having Richard Rosenfeld sketch her designs during his tenure at WWD, we are fortunate in that he is one of our very own instructors on the UoF site, Congratulations to Richard for being included among this elite WWD group.

Richard Rosenfeld found his way to WWD as a student at Parsons in 1967. His illustration style has always been contemporary, graphic and modern and is most famous for his beauty and bridal illustrations. His illustrations often made the gowns more beautiful than they actually were in real life!

(Image credit: Richard Rosenfeld for WWD)

Today, Richard focuses on portraits and male figurative art and exhibits his work at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art in New York’s SoHo neighborhood, which showcases gay, transsexual and lesbian art. According to Richard, the art featured at the gallery is “political, it’s photography — it’s all of that.”