University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: Antonia Sardone

Antonia Sardone is a new contributor to the University of Fashion. She is also a freelance fashion consultant, stylist and writer. Antonia Sardone graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a degree in Advertising Communications, Marketing and Fashion Journalism. She is an industry veteran having worked for WWD for over fifteen years and has strong relationships with designers worldwide. Today, Antonia Sardone continues to write reviews for WWD as well as work with many contemporary designers on a variety of projects from helping to re-launch their websites to writing their brand books. She enjoys raising her children to be creative individuals, as well as styling, writing and traveling.

FALL 2019 BRIDAL – BREAKING THE RULES

- - Fashion Shows
Marchesa Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Marchesa Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

 Here comes the bride…and lucky for her, she has so many options to choose from. While Bridal Fashion Week took place earlier this month in New York City, designers offered plenty of show-stopping looks.

For most women around the world, their wedding dress is the most important and most expensive dress they will ever purchase. While following fashion fads may not always be ideal in the bridal market, following the top bridal designers around the world is a great way to interpret what trends to incorporate into your future bridal designs.

Nliss by Monique Lhuillier (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Bliss by Monique Lhuillier (Photo courtesy of the designer)

During Fall 2019 New York Bridal Fashion Week, many designers played it safe with frothy tulle skirts, intricate lace details, romantic 3D floral applique’s and of course, plenty of sleek, minimal dresses courtesy of the Meghan Markle effect. All were beautiful and perfect for the traditional bride.

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Sareh Nouri (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Sareh Nouri (Photo courtesy of the designer)

What was refreshing this season was to see so many bridal designers step out of their comfort zone and offer their brides a variety of options. The runways were filled with chic power suits, youthful crop tops, seductive jumpsuits, romantic capes and even a effortless tracksuit. While these options may be daring for the ceremony itself, they are great options for all the events leading up to the wedding and even the reception.

Ready to take on the fall 2019 bridal trends? Here are the latest wedding dress trends future bridal designers need to know about now.

THE RETURN OF THE CROP TOP

It’s time to tone up those abs as crop tops were all the rage this season. Bridal designers are showing plenty of separates on the runway, such as cropped tops with sleek skirts. The look is a modern and fresh take on traditional bridal.

Laure de Sagazan (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Laure de Sagazan (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Cushnie Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Cushnie Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Willowby by Watters (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Willowby by Watters (Photo courtesy of the designer)

BHLDN  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

BHLDN (Photo courtesy of the designer)

JUMP RIGHT IN

Jumpsuits are here to stay as brides chose to change into seductive jumpsuits to let loose and dance the night away.

Ines di Santo  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Ines di Santo (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Pronovias  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Pronovias (Photo courtesy of the designer)

DB Studio by Davis's Bridal (Photo courtesy of Davis's Bridal)

DB Studio by Davis’s Bridal (Photo courtesy of Davis’s Bridal)

Savannah Miller Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Savannah Miller Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

SHORT AND SWEET

Thanks to social media, a bride’s wedding dress is just not the be-all-end-all. Today, brides are wearing looks for each event leading up to her big day. One perfect alternative is the bridal mini. Here are some of our favorites this season.

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Idan Cohen (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Idan Cohen (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Justine Alexander (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Justine Alexander (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Viktor & Rolf Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Cape Town

With so many sexy and transparent wedding gowns, a dramatic cape is the perfect cover up, especially for religious ceremonies. The added layers are equally exquisite from stunning embroideries to dramatic ruffles.

Naeem Khan Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Naeem Khan Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Berta (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Berta (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Allison Webb (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Allison Webb (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Tadashi Shoji Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Tadashi Shoji Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Zuhair Murad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Zuhair Murad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Breaking Traditions

Not every bride wants to wear a gown on her wedding day. Chic power suits and even athleisure looks are also on the menu. In addition, these relaxed options are perfect alternatives to all of the pre-wedding day events: bridal shower, rehearsal dinner, and the après wedding brunch with family and friends.

Gracy Accad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Gracy Accad (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Theia Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Theia Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Savannah Miller (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Savannah Miller (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Elizabeth Fillmore  (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Elizabeth Fillmore (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Randi Rahm (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Randi Rahm (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Rime Arodaky (Photo courtesy of the designer)

IN LIVING COLOR

Not every girl wants to wear white on her wedding day. It’s refreshing to see more and more bridal designers incorporate color into their collections and still remain true to the romantic bridal aesthetic.

Reem Acra (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Reem Acra (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Vera Wang Bridal Look (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dalaarna (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Dalaarna (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Lazaro (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Lazaro (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Ines di Santo (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Ines di Santo (Photo courtesy of the designer)

L. Wells Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

L. Wells Bridal (Photo courtesy of the designer)

Got a fav?  Tell us, what’s your favorite bridal trend this season.

PARIS FASHION WEEK: A MUCH NEEDED BEAUTIFUL ESCAPE FROM REALITY

- - Fashion Shows
Saint Laurent's spring 2019 Runway (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Saint Laurent’s spring 2019 Runway (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Political unrest, devastating natural disasters, fear of war, the economy, racism, the #me too movement, every day we are all bombarded with negative news, not only from our own backyard, but around the globe. At times, it feels as if we live in a mad, mad world.

So, when friends who are not in the fashion industry ask: “How can you think about fashion during these volatile times?” the answer… it’s not easy. The fashion industry is a Goliath worldwide business. According to Statista, revenue of  the U.S. Apparel Industry in 2018 was estimated at $102,820 million. Globally the retail value of luxury goods is estimated at $339.4 billion (according to Fashion United). But aside from the economic value of the fashion industry, there is also a psychological one – fashion is a great escape from the real world. And, this fashion season delivered!

Not only were the shows theatrical, but the craftsmanship and the use of bold, eye-popping color all contributed to an upbeat and happy escape from reality. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

Let’s take a look at what was happening at the Paris shows, which included debut and controversy at Celine, gender-diversity on the runway, avant-garde escapism and a space age look into a better future.

A NEW DAY AT CELINE

Hedi Slimane’s debut collection for Celine was filled with mixed reviews. Even before his show, Slimane caused controversy by rebranding the company’s logo, removing the accent aigu (Céline). As editors, influencers, buyers and celebrities eagerly awaited Slimane’s collection, many were disappointed that he replicated exactly what he did at Saint Laurent (2012-2016) and his past collections for Dior Homme (2000-2007). Slimane fired back, targeting the American press and charging them with ‘homophobia.’ I mean, really?

For many, the re-branding at the hands of Slimane was the complete and utter destruction of Celine’s house codes and Phoebe Philo’s legacy, whose fan base expects smart, chic, and intellectual collections. Some even called Simane’s debut collection, ‘Saint Celine.’

And here’s why. The collection had a glam-grunge, rock n’ roll sensibility.  There was a nod to the Eighties, with big shoulder silhouettes, exaggerated pouf details, mini lengths and plenty of shine. Maybe perfect for dancing the night away at your favorite trendy hot spot but not what the house is generally known for. Just goes to show that taking over as creative director at a heritage house is no simple task!

Celine's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Celine’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Slimane also introduced menswear to Celine, showing perfectly tailored skinny pantsuits that have become his signature look. But, ladies don’t fret, these looks are unisex as well.

Celine's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Celine’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

On the retail front it will be interesting to see, whether Celine’s customers take to the ‘new vision’ or will Slimane’s consumer be his old Saint Laurent clientele. Only time will tell.

THE AGE OF ANDROGYNY

As the cultural discussion on gender identity keeps moving forward, designers are embracing the shift in acceptance and are positioning their brands to be all inclusive by showing their menswear and womenswear collections together, casting transgender models, and even launching entire unisex collections.

At Givenchy,  Clare Waight Keller took cues from 1930s gender-bending writer and adventurer Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Keller sent her models out with cropped boyish haircuts in leather Perfectos tucked into military pants – a direct homage to a photo of Schwarzenbach. For evening, she showed elegant bias cut asymmetrical gowns. But her daywear was what really stuck out.  There were plenty of chic army trousers paired with fitted jackets, smart suit alternatives and plenty of crisp shirts – all perfect looks for the fashion-forward working girl.

Givenchy's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Givenchy’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Haider Ackermann has been showing androgynist looks for years now, with Tilda Swinton as his muse. This season the designer decided to show both his womenswear and menswear collections on the runway together.  The collections were perfectly intertwined, sending out his models in pairs of three to clearly make his point that his collection is cross-gender.

Ackermann has mastered creative tailoring. For spring, there were plenty of sharp suits in bold colors, boxy shirts with intricate laser-cut details and pajama-inspired pieces. Although the unisex concept has been seen on a number of runways this season, Ackermann’s version was effortless and elegant.

Haider Ackermann's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Haider Ackermann’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE AVANT-GARDE

There are a handful of designers who are truly creative geniuses. Season after season these avant-garde designers take us on a breathtaking journey, their collections are thought provoking, witty and intellectual. Here’s a mash-up of the best!

Comme des Garçons' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Comme des Garçons’
spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Thom Browne's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Thom Browne’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rick Owen's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rick Owen’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Yohji Yamamoto's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Yohji Yamamoto’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Junya Watanabe's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Junya Watanabe’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balenciaga's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balenciaga’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Maison Margiela's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Maison Margiela’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE GREATEST SHOWMEN/WOMAN

Meanwhile, back to reality, well, almost. Karl Lagerfeld created a tropical beach for his Chanel spectacle. Yes, you heard me right. At the Paris Grand Palais, Lagerfeld recreated a beach that included an ocean with gentle waves, blue sky, wooden docks and lifeguards. He completed the scene with none other than former Baywatch actor Pamela Anderson seated in the front row.

Chanel's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Chanel’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Nicolas Ghesquière took us on a futuristic voyage for his Louis Vuitton collection. The perfect escape mechanism to avoid the reality of these times.

Louis Vuitton's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Modern dancers performed during Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Christian Dior Show. It was a nice break from traditional cat walking.

Christian Dior's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Christian Dior’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Anthony Vaccarello’s girls walked on water under the Eiffel Tower for his Saint Laurent show.

Saint Laurent's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Saint Laurent’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

For Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu collection, the concept of  ’deconstructing beauty’ continued by putting her spin on DIY, recycling, and upcycling under a backdrop modern art installations.

Miu Miu's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Miu Miu’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE ROMANTICS

Fashion week season wouldn’t be complete without a ‘romance-inspired’ collection. Beautifully feminine looks, from whimsical tulle confections to vintage floral charm, these saccharine-savy looks had just the right dose of spice.

Giambattista Valli's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Giambattista Valli’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Alexander McQueen's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Alexander McQueen’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ann Demeulemeester's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ann Demeulemeester’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

 

Altuzarra's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Altuzarra’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Valentino's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Valentino’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

 SPACE AGE

In a galaxy far, far away…..some designers looked ahead to the future, creating looks that were out of this world.

Balmain's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balmain’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Gucci's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Gucci’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Isabel Marant's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Isabel Marant’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE REALISTS

Ok, all these fantasy looks are spectacular, but sometimes we need to see some real clothes on the runway, right? But always with a twist!

Sonia Rykiel's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Sonia Rykiel’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Stella McCartney's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Stella McCartney’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Loewe's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Loewe’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Dries Van Noten's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Dries Van Noten’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Hermès' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Hermès’ spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rochas' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rochas’ spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE NEW GUARD

Here at UoF, we love and support new, emerging designers. Here’s a fresh crop who are disrupting the establishment……

Off-White's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Off-White’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ellery's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ellery’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Johanna Ortiz's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Johanna Ortiz’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Beautiful People's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Beautiful People’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Esteban Cortazar's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Esteban Cortazar’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Tell us which collection took you out of reality, even if only for a moment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LONDON CALLING – THE BEST OF LONDON FASHION WEEK SS/2019

- - Fashion Shows
Queen Elizabeth watches Richard Quinn's show with Anna Wintour at London Fashion Week Fall 2018  CREDIT AFP

Queen Elizabeth watches Richard Quinn’s show with Anna Wintour at London Fashion Week Fall 2018 CREDIT AFP

London Fashion Week, founded by the British Fashion Council in 1983, has definitely established itself as one of the most creative and avant-garde fashion cities in the world. Known for showcasing a mixture of emerging designers and established brands – this season was no exception. Who could forget last season when Her Majesty The Queen sat front row at Richard Quinn? While that moment may be hard to top, there were plenty of exciting moments at LFW SS/2019. From Riccardo Tisci’s debut collection for Burberry to Victoria Beckham’s ten year anniversary show and everything in between. Oh, and let’s not forget that all of London’s runways are now fur free! Here are some outstanding moments and trends from the week.

A NEW ERA AT BURBERRY

Riccardo Tisci is ushering a new day at Burberry – his debut show was not only the most anticipated show of London Fashion Week, but possibly of the whole spring season in general. For the past 5 months, ever since Burberry announced Christopher Bailey’s departure and Tisci as his replacement, the fashion industry has been obsessed with how Tisci might put his mark on the brand. Well, just as Hedi Slimane changed the iconic YSL logo and the company name to Saint Laurent, Tisci began by changing the Burberry logo -it is now a “TB” monogram (the initials of founder Thomas Burberry.) And, for the first time ever, Burberry is now fur-free – thanks to Tisci.

Using the tried and true formula for revamping a heritage brand, by hiring new, young, hot talent, (Virgil Abloh and Nicolas Ghesquière/Louis Vuitton, Hedi Slimane/Dior/Saint Laurent/Celine, Raf Simons/Dior/Calvin Klein), Burberry is counting on Tisci to reinvigorate the label and give it the star-studded colt following that he successfully achieved at Givenchy. So, imagine everyone’s surprise when industry insiders took their seats at Monday evening’s show and discovered that there was not a single celebrity in sight (except for Kendall Jenner on the runway). When Samantha Conti of WWD asked Tisci why he opted for a ‘celebrity free zone,’ Tisci replied, “The [guests] are all people I know and they’re very good friends, so for this first season it was very important for me to really work with the people in the business: the fashion journalists, buyers, friends and family. Celebrities can sometimes give the wrong message and I don’t really like using them as windows.”

What a breadth of fresh air! No distractions, just beautiful and wearable fashion. Check out the full show using the link below:

https://youtu.be/qWsz-tvXQXQ

Naming the collection “Kingdom,” Tisci told Vogue’s Sarah Mower, “It’s like a patchwork or a mix of the British lifestyle.” He wants to dress all generations, “The mother and the daughter, the father and the son.” It was Tisci’s vision of British culture from Punk to Establishment. Could he have been channeling Ralph Lauren a bit here?

Tisci opened his show with a Heritage Trench. This time, buttoned-up and cinched at the waist with a thick elasticized belt. He continued to send out versions of trench coats throughout the show, for both men and women. His menswear looks were  polished, with perfectly tailored suits, sleek knits and terrific outerwear. For women, Tisci introduced eveningwear – minimal, simple, long black jersey dresses, with just a hint of sparkle that were oh so chic and refined. For day, Tisci showed smart, sophisticated looks: bow blouses, printed silk dresses, tailored suits and polo shirts. And of course, there were plenty of Burberry’s signature plaid. Let’s not forget, Tisci was one of the first designers to make street-style – high fashion and he didn’t disappoint. In the mix were anoraks, biker-inspired leather skirt suits, rain ponchos, and utility shirts most notably a pop culture print—echoing a Sex Pistols song—that read,  “why did they kill Bambi?”

After all the hype and anticipation, Tisci delivered a smart collection that pushed the boundaries of Burberry just enough, while at the same time was commercially safe. After all, these are clothes that are meant to be worn in the real world, right?

Burberry's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry’s spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.comS

VICTORIA BECKHAM’S 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY

Victoria Beckham Tenth Anniversary T-shirt image (Photo Courtesy of Victoria Beckham)

Victoria Beckham Tenth Anniversary T-shirt image (Photo Courtesy of Victoria Beckham)

Happy Anniversary Victoria Beckham!  To celebrate her 10 years in business, Beckham decided to celebrate in her native country. To kick off the celebration, she recreated the famous  T-shirt that Marc Jacobs masterminded a decade ago, featuring Beckham coming out of a shopping bag, a symbol of her journey as a fashion designer. Juergen Teller shot a brilliant ad campaign for the anniversary and limited edition tees can be found on Beckham’s website.

Beckham opened the show with non-other than 90s fashion icon Stella Tennant – wearing an effortless white pantsuit paired with a silk and lace lingerie-inspired top – the epitome of 90s cool. This look is the perfect example of why Beckham has transitioned so easily from a Spice Girl to a serious designer – her clothes are ageless, timeless, elegant, chic, and yet appeal to Millennials, Gen Zs and fashionable woman of every age.

The 90s theme rang throughout the collection but with a refined hand. There were plenty of ‘dresses-over-trouser’ looks that were polished and that had a posh edge. Beckham showed a variety of perfectly fitting slim trousers, tailored blazers, delicate lace tops and sexy knits with handkerchief hems. These were real clothes that real woman can wear. Beckham is a fashion force to be reckoned with and has definitely hit a chord with fashionable women around the globe.

Victoria Beckham's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Victoria Beckham’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Victoria Beckham's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Victoria Beckham’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

TOP TRENDS OF LONDON FASHION WEEK

VICTORIAN ERA

London is known for its over-the-top fashion and designers here like to have fun on the runway. One of the biggest trends of the week was a modern day take on Victorian-inspired looks. From Erdem’s tapestry floral dress with exaggerated puffed sleeves to Simone Rocha’s ornate collars. Here are some of our favorite interpretations of this trend.

Erdem's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Erdem’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Simone Rocha's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Simone Rocha’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Mary Katrantzo's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Mary Katrantzo’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

LET THERE BE NEON

LFW was a bright and colorful explosion of neon that will surely be insta-worthy hits.

Roksanda's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Roksanda’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Emilia Wickstead's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Emilia Wickstead’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pringle of Scotland's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pringle of Scotland’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ashish's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ashish’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jenny Packham's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jenny Packham’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Julien Macdonald's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Julien Macdonald’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

House of Holland's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

House of Holland’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

EARN YOUR STRIPES

Stripes are always a favorite on the runway for Spring, but this season designers infused them with a refreshingly bold new twist.

JW Anderson's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

JW Anderson’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Halpern's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Halpern’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Temperly London's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Temperly London’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chalayan's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chalayan’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Duro Olowu's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Duro Olowu’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

RUFFLED UP

Romance was in the air as flirty ruffles were found on a variety of sexy dresses.

Molly Goddard's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Molly Goddard’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

David Koma's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

David Koma’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Peter Pilotto's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Peter Pilotto’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Richard Quinn's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Richard Quinn’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Delpozo's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Delpozo’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

COLD SHOULDER

Off-the-shoulder numbers are still going strong as designers show plenty of options on the runway.

Osman's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Osman’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christopher Kane's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christopher Kane’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Delpozo's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Delpozo’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Roland Mouret's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Roland Mouret’s Spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

GOTTA FAV LOOK FROM LFW? Let us know…..

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK: FINALLY CELEBRATING YOUNG DESIGNERS

- - Fashion Shows

New York Fashion Week

New York Fashion Week is in full swing with the Spring 2019 collections and street style stars out in full force.  Just look on your Instagram feed and hundreds of runway images will pop up. From Tom Ford’s show, which kicked off the week to Jeremy Scott’s celebrity heavy front row.

Backstage at Jeremy Scott's spring 2019 show. Left to Right: Offset, Cardi B, Jeremy Scott, Hennessy Carolina and Tiffany Haddish. (Photo Courtesy of WWD.Com)

Backstage at Jeremy Scott’s spring 2019 show. Left to Right: Offset, Cardi B, Jeremy Scott, Hennessy Carolina and Tiffany Haddish. (Photo Courtesy of WWD.Com)

There are literally hundreds of shows that editors, buyers and the general public will get to see during the grueling Spring/Summer 2019 season in New York, London, Paris and Milan. And, while attendance is always high at established designers’ shows, with everyone traditionally looking to those brands for fashion trends and direction, at University of Fashion we feel that it is time to take note of the many new, young, up-and-comers… the future of the fashion industry… and we want to celebrate and promote these new design talents.

Justine Beiber and Hailey Baldwin attend John Elliott's spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Hollywood Life)

Justine Beiber and Hailey Baldwin attend John Elliott’s spring 2019 show (Photo Courtesy of Hollywood Life)

After all, here at UoF  know that breaking into the fashion industry is no easy feat. It not only takes incredible talent, but lots of hard work, time,  and the right team to help put the collection together, let alone the money to be able to show during fashion week.

Here are some of our favorite young designer collections so far:

PH5

Mija Zhang and Wei Lin are the design duo behind the hot, new knitwear label PH5. These young designers experiment with textile technologies in their collections to create effortless pieces with a cool edge. For their Spring 2019 collection, the designers looked to Miami’s Art Deco district for inspiration, which translated into graphic silhouettes in an array of colors. For those who shy away from color, there were plenty of neutral pieces that were both modern and chic.

PH5 Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of PH5)

PH5 Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of PH5)

PH5 Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of PH5)

PH5 Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of PH5)

 WARM

Winnie Beattie is the young designer behind the label Warm. The brand is quickly becoming known for its pretty print dresses with a laid back vibe. For spring, Beattie was inspired by summer vacation mode – but this beach inspired collection looks just as pretty in a beach town as it does in the city. There were plenty of bold pajama looks, romantic floral dresses, bohemian inspired frocks, and playful jumpsuits. While the collection is casual, it is balanced with a sophisticated twist giving the overall collection a charming je ne sais quoi.

Warm Spring 2019 (Photo courtesy of Warm)

Warm Spring 2019 (Photo courtesy of Warm)

Warm Spring 2019 (Photo courtesy of Warm)

Warm Spring 2019 (Photo courtesy of Warm)

MATTHEW ADAMS DOLAN

What do you get when you mix 90s ravers, 80s schoolgirls and 50s couture tailoring? A bold and youthful collection created by Matthew Adam Dolan. This young designer showed both his menswear and womenswear looks on the runway and they were packed with functional-meets-utilitarian references.  Adams Dolan showed plenty of neon bright colors, as well as a nod to Goth kids with all black denim looks. This is a 90s kid dream collection.

Matthew Adams Dolan's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Matthew Adams Dolan’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Matthew Adams Dolan's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Matthew Adams Dolan’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

AMBUSH

Yoon Ahn sure has her hands full. The designer started her label Ambush as a jewelry line, but for spring she expanded her brand to include a full ready-to-wear collection. This designer has also announced her appointment by Kim Jones as the lead jewelry designer for Dior Homme’s jewelry.

Ahn’s spring RTW collection was young and playful. Inspired by Hawaii, the collection had a laid back surfer vibe; she even created functioning wetsuits for both men and women. For girls, the collection included crochet tops, voluminous drawstring trousers, oversized knit sweaters and hoodies with palm tree motifs. Ahn’s menswear included tie-dye tops, boxy shirting, a puffer jacket vest and striped baja shirts. To complete the collection, Ahn also created two metallic surfboards, just perfect for riding her wave of newfound success.

Ambush's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of  Ambush)

Ambush’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Ambush)

Ambush's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Ambush)

Ambush’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Ambush)

COLLINA STRADA

We all need a little zen in our lives and this season, Hillary Taymour, delivered a pure and thought-provoking collection for her label Collina Stada. The opening looks set the tone, a crisp white blouse tied just below the bust paired with a simple slip skirt – it was sophisticated, chic and yet effortless. Key looks ranged from a simple slipdress with a tied hem paired over a sheet mock-neck top, a pony hair skirt, and a muted checkered trouser. To add a pop of color to the collection, Taymour created some alluring tie-dye pieces that ‘tied’ the collection together perfectly.

Collina Strada's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Collina Strada’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Collina Strada's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Collina Strada’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

BANDE NOIR

Mayte Allende started her fashion career as a fashion editor for WWD viewing thousands of young designer collections through her 15 years with the publication. Today, Mayte Allende sits on the other side of editor previews as Creative Director for the label Bande Noir. It’s her second season with the contemporary brand and she is gaining a following within the fashion crowd.

Bande Noir started out as a luxury basics line that was known for its great shirts, but Allende is expanding the line into a well-rounded collection. New looks include floral print dresses, bustier tees, menswear-inspired trousers with ruffled detail, a sequin striped shirt, and an evening trench coat with a pleated back. Allende managed to perfectly balance what buyers are looking for but still managed to keep her clear and focused vision for the brand.

Bande Noir's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Band Noir)

Bande Noir’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Band Noir)

Bande Noir's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Bande Noir)

Bande Noir’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Bande Noir)

ECKHAUSE LATTA

This season, Mike Eckhaus and Zoe Latta, the designers behind the label Echhause Latta presented one of their strongest collections to date with an emphasis on tailoring. The duo struck the perfect balance between whimsical and sales oriented pieces. For women, the designers created beautiful spider web crochet T-shirt dresses, plaid dresses, and a stellar knitted argyle dress that closed the show. Their menswear collection had plenty of terrific jackets, with oversized dropped shoulders and cinched waists. The designers also offered a range of dip-dyed denim and color-blocked knits – all in pretty pastel tones that were youthful yet chic.

Eckhause Latta's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Eckhause Latta’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Eckhause Latta's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Eckhause Latta’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

CHISTIAN COWAN

It’s not often that you see celebrities sitting in the front row of a young designer’s fashion show, but at Christian Cowan’s presentation, his front row was filled with pop stars from Christina Aguilera to Kim Petras. So naturally, Cowen offered plenty of stylish options for these stars. For evening, there were over-the-top black tulle gowns with sheer tops, a sexy sequin zebra print mini dress and a showstopper lilac pantsuit with exaggerated feather trim. The collection had plenty of stage-worthy costumes, such as a checkerboard bodysuit with voluminous sleeves. Cowen also showed some day looks that were anything but basic. Case in point, a black logo hoodie with silver sequin embellishments – perfect for a pop star coffee run.

Christian Cowan's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Cowan’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Cowan's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Cowan’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

PYER MOSS

Jean-Raymond, the young designer behind the label Pyer Moss, has been known to use his platform to stand up to social and unjust causes during his runway shows. This season Raymond looked to the current landscape of African-American life in America. Through his research he found a copy of The Negro Motorist Green Book, published in the 1930’s, as a guidebook citing all of the restaurants and hotels that were safe for African-American travelers. This had Raymond thinking about the racial tension at the time and what life must have been like, and so his collection started to unfold.

Raymond commissioned 10 paintings from Derrick Adams (a rising star in the art world) and incorporated these paintings throughout his collection; portraying everyday life of African-Americans during the 1930’s. Raymond also payed tribute to African-American designers who came before him and this season he focused on the popular 90s streetwear brand FUBU with logo-driven tops. It was a beautiful and powerful tribute to the community as he continues, season after season, to blend social issues and fashion with a sophisticated hand.

Pyer Moss's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pyer Moss’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pyer Moss's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pyer Moss’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

GRETA CONSTANTINE

Studio 54 and all the decadence and glamour of the 80s was the inspiration behind Greta Constantine’s Kirk Pickersgill and Stephen Wong. The designers delved deep into research and were influenced by the silhouettes of Christian Lacoix, Yves Saint Laurent and Halston. While the 80s seem to influence so many designer collections today, Pickersgill and Wong translated the era beautifully. The collection was filled with party looks: flirty puff sleeve minidresses, sultry animal print maxi dresses, a sexy lame jumpsuit, and even a pinstripe look with ruffle trimmed sleeves. Perfect looks for hitting the dance floor.

Greta Contantine's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Greta Constantine)

Greta Contantine’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Greta Constantine)

Greta Contantine's spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Greta Constantine)

Greta Contantine’s spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Greta Constantine)

It’s wonderful to see New York Fashion Week embrace so many young and up-and-coming designers. Tell us, who are the young designer brands that you’re following?

Happy Golden Anniversary: Ralph Lauren Celebrates 50 Years in Business

- - Fashion History
Portrait of Ralph Lauren (Courtesy of WWD)

Portrait of Ralph Lauren (Photo Courtesy of WWD)

Celebrating the big 5-0 in business is no easy feat for any company, let alone the fashion industry, where trends and styles come and go faster than the speed of light. So what is Ralph Lauren’s secret? Many young aspiring designers want to know the answer.

One key element to Ralph Lauren’s success is that he consistently stayed true to his vision. He was the first designer to create the concept of lifestyle dressing by tapping into Old English aristocracy and repackaging it ‘American-style.’ No matter what your social class, Lauren discovered a way to use fashion as a means of identify transformation and marketed that vision through carefully orchestrated advertising campaigns. Throughout the years, his brand has always been synonymous with American heritage, craftsmanship and an eye for detail in the very competitive and ever-changing world of fashion and lifestyle.

For the past 50 years, Ralph Lauren has been a key player in shaping American fashion, as we know it – his classic polo logo is known throughout the world – and can be found in a variety of closets from the preppy consumer to the hip hop crowd.

Ralph Lauren's classic polos (Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren)

Ralph Lauren’s classic polos (Photo courtesy of Ralph Lauren)

“In an industry of hyperbole, Ralph Lauren is a genuine icon,” says Bridget Foley, executive editor of WWD. “He built his company into a global giant on a core belief in living well from the inside out, his designs are the stylistic manifestations of cultural codes of civility and respect.”

The accolades for Ralph Lauren’s major milestone have already begun. In June, at the CFDA Awards, he was the recipient of the first CFDA Members Salute by fellow American designers, including Thom Browne, Michael Kors, Tommy Hilfiger, Jason Wu and Donna Karan, commemorating his incredible career. Last week, Rizzoli published a book in partnership with WWD, entitled “WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren,” a 192-page tome of five decades of stories, photos and illustrations from the publication’s archive. “Some people keep diaries of their daily lives,” said Ralph Lauren. “I never had to, because DNR and WWD have been looking over my shoulder since 1964.”

"WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren", Rizzoli New York, 2018 (Courtesy of WWD)

“WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren”, Rizzoli New York, 2018 (Courtesy of WWD)

 

"WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren", Rizzoli New York, 2018 (Courtesy of WWD)

“WWD: Fifty Years of Ralph Lauren”, Rizzoli New York, 2018 (Courtesy of WWD)

On September 7th, Ralph Lauren will host a fashion show and party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his company at Bethesda Terrace in Central Park during New York Fashion Week. According to WWD, the event will benefit the Central Park Conservancy, a private nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring and maintaining the beloved park. It will no doubt bring a jolt of much-needed glamour and optimism to New York Fashion Week.

Ralph Lauren Resort 2019 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Resort 2019 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren's Menswear Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren’s Menswear Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

It’s therefore only fitting that the historic park serves as the venue for the Ralph Lauren’s 50th celebration (and was the venue for his 40th year anniversary celebration too).  Central Park  became the first public park in America when it was designed by the American architect Frederick Law Olmsted in 1857. Lauren’s love of history and preservation is what makes him so special.

For more on Ralph Lauren, here’s an excerpt from the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry Second Edition, by Francesca Sterlacci (UoF Founder) and Joanne Arbuckle:

 

“Ralph Lauren is a native New Yorker born in 1939. The designer is best known for his ability to create lifestyle dressing. He was born Ralph Rueben Lifshitz, the son of Jewish refugees from Eastern Europe. As a young child, he exhibited a sense of style. Ralph and his brother could often be found thrift-shop hunting; it was here that Ralph discovered fashion as a means of identity transformation. Lauren began his design career with his 1967 tie collection, Polo, a division of Beau Brummel Company. The line was adopted by Bloomingdales. In 1968, Lauren and the name Polo joined forces with Norman Hilton, a men’s suit maker. Never timid to expand, Lauren created full lines of mens and women’s apparel. Possessing a keen sense of fashion marketing, Lauren understood the power of branding early in his career and his “polo player” logo is one of the most recognized logos throughout the world. Inspired by the colors of M&M candies, Lauren offered his famous polo shirts in the same vibrant colors. Today, a visitor to his New York headquarters on Madison Avenue will find bowls of mounded M&M candies, a nostalgic reminder of the company’s past. In the 1970s, when fashion was about flashiness and edge, Lauren was among the first to create a total image of classically-styled casual clothing. His inventive advertising campaigns featured the customer of his “creation,” the American blueblood and, by doing so, was the first to create a total “lifestyle image” as a means of re-creating oneself. In 1986, Lauren made retail history with the opening of his flagship retail store in the Rhinelander Mansion, an historical Madison Avenue mansion that exudes the projected lifestyle of the Ralph Lauren customer. In 2010, Lauren opened an additional location across the street from his flagship to house his womenswear and home collections.

While many consider Lauren more of a stylist than a designer, he has received numerous awards throughout this career beginning with Coty Awards in 1970, 1973, 1974, 1976, 1977, and 1984 and their Hall of Fame Award in 1981. His Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards include one in 1981 and their Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992. In 2016, Lauren was Women’s Wear Daily’s first recipient of the The John B. Fairchild Honor. Lauren is also credited with grooming many notable industry successes. Joseph Abboud and John Varvatos are two of the many menswear designers to train with the king of lifestyle design and merchandising. His former students credit him with an exceptional business sense, as well as a clear vision for the total design process through to the marketing strategy.

Ralph Lauren's Menswear Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren’s Menswear Spring 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Resort 2019 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Resort 2019 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

His company went public in 1997, though he retained a majority of voting rights on the board. By 2013, the Ralph Lauren empire, which included a successful range of accessories, childrenswear, eyewear, fragrances, handbags, home products, jewelry, neckwear and watches, had reached annual sales of $16 billion. In 2014 Lauren launched a ready-to-wear line, Polo Ralph Lauren for Women, in conjunction with the opening of a 38,000 square foot Polo flagship store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and by 2015, the Ralph Lauren Corporation consisted of Polo by Ralph Lauren, Chaps, RRL, Club Monaco, and RLX Ralph Lauren. These collections were available at more than 13,500 retail locations worldwide, including many upscale and mid-tier department stores, in 490 Ralph Lauren and Club Monaco retail stores worldwide, in 580 in-store shops and on 10 e-commerce sites. In 2015, after almost 50 years at the helm, Lauren stepped down as CEO of his company and passed the reins to Stefan Larsson, former head of Old Navy. Lauren stayed on as executive chairman and chief creative officer and continues designing: Polo Ralph Lauren, Purple Label for men and the Ralph Lauren Collection. Forbes magazine reported Lauren’s worth that same year to be nearly $6 billion. In 2016, The Wall Street Journal announced a 50 percent drop in the company’s stock, store closings and lay-offs followed.

After losing close friend Nina Hyde to breast cancer, fashion editor of The Washington Post, Lauren focused on raising money to help fight the disease. In 1989 he co-founded the Nina Hyde Center for Breast Cancer Research at Georgetown University Medical Center. And, in 2003, with a $5 million donation from Lauren, in partnership with New York’s Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention was opened in Harlem, to help the area’s medically underserved African American and Latino population gain access to high quality cancer screening and treatments.

Ralph Lauren is also among the leaders in the wearable technology market. The company unveiled their Polo Tech Shirt at the U.S. Open in 2014, a shirt that reads biological and physical information via silver fibers acting as sensors, woven into the fabric, and connected to a “black box” chip that can be streamed to an iPhone, iwatch or iPod. The company also created a version of their “Ricky Bag” that comes with an LED light and a built-in phone charger. In 2015, Ralph Lauren utilized new technology to create smart dressing rooms, allowing for an interactive experience for his customers.”

Ralph Lauren's Ricky Bag with a chargeable USB cable and an internal LED light  (Photo courtesy of Inhabitat)

Ralph Lauren’s Ricky Bag with a chargeable USB cable and an internal LED light (Photo courtesy of Inhabitat)

So tell us, do you think Ralph Lauren is a true iconic American designer or just a genius at marketing? Let us know your thoughts.

The First Fashion Influencers – Before Social Media Mania

Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Kepburn ( Photo Courtesy of Movieboozer)

Audrey Hepburn and Katherine Hepburn ( Photo Courtesy of Movieboozer)

It’s hard to imagine life before social media became an integrated part of our everyday lives – there is just no escaping it. Our dependence on it has grown tremendously, especially over the last few years. It you are an Insta, Pinterest, Facebook or SnapChat follower, you don’t even realize how much of an ‘influence’ these channels, even subliminally, are having on your fashion choices.

In the not so distant past, however, fashion was presented to the world in an extremely controlled way, by a tight knit group of retailers and publishers whose stores, magazines, editorials and even the advertising that they chose, all projected a certain point of view…theirs. Every image presented was methodically staged and fully orchestrated by them. These carefully curated images usually represented a fantasy of beauty and inclusiveness that many in the ‘real world’ felt very out of touch with. Fast-forward to the digital age. Today, it’s a very different story. Thank goodness.

With platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, consumers have become their own magazine editors, as they share their personal style with millions of users. Fashion savvy customers no longer rely on magazines to tell them what the latest ‘must have’ item of the season is, and Millennials, Gen Zers and iGeners are looking to bloggers, influencers, celebrities and even their own sartorial friends for the latest fashion trends.

But when did the concept of the ‘fashion influencer’ begin? Let’s take a look back in time. The very first fashion influencers were royalty. When Rose Bertin (considered the first fashion designer) started dressing Queen Marie Antoinette during the 1770s, and Charles Frederick Worth (the Father of Haute Couture) became couturier to Empress Eugénie and Queen Victoria in the mid 1800s, these royal ladies became the first fashion influencers. This trend continued until the birth of cinema in the early 1900s, when starlets of the silver screen became the next wave of influencers.

While it appeared that these women wore whatever they wanted, the truth is, that many were dressed by famous designers and signature looks were created just for them (think Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn and designer Gilbert Adrian for Joan Crawford, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich and Carol Lombard). Costume designers, such as Edith Head, also played a role in helping create  looks that accentuated that particular starlet’s figure type (think Dorothy Lamour, Ginger Rogers, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Grace Kelly, Shirley McLaine, and Elizabeth Taylor).

It didn’t take long for socialites to join the royals and starlets and of course, lest we forget…  fashionable FLOTUS and British royalty, who, either with the help of some very talented designers, or by using their personal fashion sense, were added to the list of fashion influencers.

Marlene Dietrich

Marlene Dietrich in a tuxedo (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Marlene Dietrich in a tuxedo (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Marlene Dietrich was the original style chameleon. In the 1930’s, she was the first woman to be photographed wearing a tuxedo and the first to introduce the androgynous look. At that time, women could be, and were, arrested if they wore pants in public and detained for “masquerading as men.” Dietrich’s penchant for menswear became her signature style and yet the look was both elegant and chic.

Babe Paley

Babe Paley  mixes high low fashion (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Babe Paley mixes high low fashion (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

While not a starlet, this society icon was the innovator of the high/low approach to fashion in the 1950s. Babe Paley inspired many women with her eclectic mix of designer clothes mixed with cheap costume jewelry. Who can forget that iconic image of her with a scarf tied around her handbag? This sparked a trend that still remains popular today. Babe dressed purely for her own pleasure, and her style was effortlessly elegant.

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn in her classic cigarette pant look (Photo Courtesy of Pintrest)

Audrey Hepburn in her classic cigarette pant look (Photo Courtesy of Pintrest)

Audrey Hepburn was a major fashion influencer beginning in the early 60s and throughout her long career. In fact, her style lives on even today!  Her classic Holly Golightly look from Breakfast at Tiffany’s is one of the most iconic ‘Old Hollywood’ photos out there. That fabulous little black sheath dress by Givenchy and Edith Head’s straight, black-cropped pants and boatneck top, worn with slip-on loafers, which were designed by none other than Salvatore Ferragamo. Hepburn is arguably the originator of minimalism.

For a lesson in creating the little black dress, check out:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/sheath-dress/

 Grace Kelly

Princess Grace Kelly carrying the Hermes Kelly Bag (Photo Courtesy of Beyond Grace Kelly)

Princess Grace Kelly carrying the Hermes Kelly Bag (Photo Courtesy of Beyond Grace Kelly)

Grace Kelly’s classic, sophisticated style was always impeccable. Her iconic feminine dresses and tailored ensembles made her one of the most influential fashion icons of her time. In fact, Hermès renamed one of their purse designs, the Kelly Bag, after the actress was spotted toting one on numerous occasions. The American actress married Prince Rainier III of Monaco, on April 1956 and her grace and style were inspirational to women all around the world.

Katharine Hepburn

Katharine Hepburn in a scene from the film 'The Philadelphia Story', 1940 (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Katharine Hepburn in a scene from the film ‘The Philadelphia Story’, 1940 (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Katharine Hepburn was one of the most idolized actresses of her generation. On and off screen,  Katharine fashioned her very own personal style that embodied the ‘American look.’ She was not only a Hollywood Star, but an icon that forever changed the landscape of fashion and feminism.

For a lesson in creating the perfect pant, click this link:  https://www.universityoffashion.com/lessons/basic-pant-sloper/

Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Jackie O signature look (Photo Courtesy of Town & Country)

Jackie O signature look (Photo Courtesy of Town & Country)

Jackie O influenced millions of women worldwide with her signature style. In the 1960s, as First Lady of the United States, she became known as the ‘First Lady of Fashion.’ Women everywhere copied her look – simple shifts, pillbox hats, elegant scarves, peacoats and oversized sunglasses. Today, women of all ages still sport the ‘Jackie O’ look. It’s timeless!

Nan Kempner

Nan Kempner in trousers (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Nan Kempner in trousers (Photo Courtesy of Getty Images)

Nan Kempner, a New York socialite, was a clotheshorse, fashion rebel and an avid collector of couture. It was rumored that she never missed a Paris couture show over a span of forty years. In the 1960s, when Nan was refused entrance because she was wearing a pantsuit to La Cote Basque, a chic New York City restaurant, she took off her trousers and walked right into the restaurant wearing only her top. #womensliberation

Bianca Jagger

 Bianca Jagger in a white wedding suit (Photo Courtesy of Glamour)

Bianca Jagger in a white wedding suit (Photo Courtesy of Glamour)

Bianca Jagger had a style all her own. Married to Mick Jagger and a regular at Studio 54, Bianca epitomized the glitz and glamour of the 70’s. She often wore sequined sheaths, fur, high-waisted pants, crisp suits, and unbuttoned blouses. She had the eclectic flare to be able to mix and match old pieces with new in a thoroughly modern and entirely rock and roll kind of way.

Jane Birkin

Jane Birkin in her signature denim style (Photo Courtesy of Marie Claire)

Jane Birkin in her signature denim style (Photo Courtesy of Marie Claire)

Jane Birkin, English actress, singer, songwriter and model, rose to fame when she married Parisian pop poet/songwriter Serge Gainsbourg in the 1980s. Birkin defined a new era of gamine chic. Known for wearing bell-bottom  jeans, simple knits, delicate jewelry, white tees, and short minis – all with effortlessly cool ease – her style is proof that casual can and always will be stylish when done in the right way. In 1984, Hermès created the now iconic ‘Birkin’ bag in her honor. Every influencers dream!

Princess Diana

Princess Diana in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Stylemagazine)

Princess Diana in Versace (Photo Courtesy of Stylemagazine)

Known as the People’s Princess, Princess Diana of Wales was known for her savvy fashion sense just as much as she was known for her humanitarian efforts. When she wed in the ’80s wearing a huge, fluffy white wedding dress with leg-of-mutton sleeves, brides around the globe copied her gown. Women also mimicked her signature style of off-the-shoulder gowns worn with classic pearls. Princess Di helped put British fashion on the map, wearing labels such as Catherine Walker, Bellville Sassoon, and Gina Fratini. She was also known to wear plenty of Gianni Versace’s creations and attended his funeral with her dear friend Sir Elton John.

You can learn more about fashion history and style icons in Francesca Sterlacci’s book: Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry Second Edition. Available on Amazon:   https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1442239085/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=univeoffash00-20&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=as2&creativeASIN=1442239085&linkId=aa3cfeb6a3083b551c5658a3fdff7f05

So tell us, who makes your top 10 list of 21st century fashion icon influencers? And Why?

Future of Textiles: Color-Changing Fabric Controlled with an App?

Color Changing Threads (Photo Courtesy of CNBC.Com)

Color changing threads (Photo Courtesy of CNBC.com)

Imagine the cave man’s reaction going from animal skins to the advent of textiles. Around 5,000 BCE, textiles made from wool, cotton and silk fibers were being woven in Egypt, India and China. Those fibers and methods of weaving were the mainstay of the industry until the advent of man-made textiles like rayon in 1855, viscose 1894 and acetate in 1910. Then, along came the big disruptors…synthetic fibers. These included nylon (1931), polyester (circa 1941), modacrylic (1949) and acrylic (1950). Then there was a trend in creating fabric out of more sustainable fibers and materials such as bamboo, corn, pineapple and even plastic bottles and of course silver nanoparticles used used to impart antimicrobial properties to cotton fibers to aid in the healing of wounds.

Now… enter the 21st century and the latest version of textile disruption …technology. In our blog last week, we discussed the innovative possibilities of 3D and laser printing and the growing list designers who are embracing a futuristic approach to fashion. Let’s check out how technology is affecting and shaping the world of textiles.

This past spring, college researchers in Florida created a temperature-controlled color-changing fabric  known as ChroMorphous. Consumers will now have the ability to change the color and pattern of their handbag or scarf, so that it matches their outfit…all possible with a tap of their smartphone.

This backpack can change its color on demand to match your mood. (Image Courtesy of UCF)

This backpack can change its color on demand to match your mood. (Image Courtesy of UCF)

Dr. Ayman Abouraddy, professor of optics and photonics at the College of Optics & Photonics at the University of Central Florida (CREOL), stated that the age of user-controlled color-changing fabric is here. “Our goal is to bring this technology to the market to make an impact on the textile industry,” he said.

So, how does ChroMorphous work? How can fabric change color and pattern? According to Dr. Abouraddy, “each woven thread is equipped with a micro-wire and a color-altering pigment. You can use your smartphone to change the color or pattern of the fabric on-demand, as the wire can alter the temperature of the fabric in a quick and uniform way. The change in temperature is barely noticeable by touch.”

Abouraddy and Josh Kaufman have been working on optical technology for over a decade at CREOL, but it has only been in the past couple of years that they have veered away from that work, to produce this new kind of fabric. “This is the culmination of our work,” said Kaufman. “We developed different fabrication techniques. This is our first foray in taking those optical fibers into fabric.”

Color Changing Fabric That Can Be Controlled With A Smartphone (Photo Courtesy of CNBC.Com)

Color and pattern changing fabric that can be controlled with a smartphone (Photo Courtesy of CNBC.com)

In the past, color-changing fabrics contained light-emitting diodes, better known as LED’s, that release light in a variety of colors. But ChroMorphous’ technology enables innovative capabilities, in that consumers can control the color as well as the pattern in woven fabrics and cut-and-sewn products.

The threads are made from a synthetic polymer. Within each thread there is a thin metal micro-wire. Electric currents flow through these micro-wires, changing the thread temperature, slightly higher. But don’t worry they do not touch the customer’s skin. Embedded in the thread are special pigments that respond to the change in temperature by changing the thread’s color.

Just think of the infinite possibilities this advanced technology gives designers and consumers. ChroMorphous allows the user to control, both when the color change happens and what pattern they want to appear on the fabric. All this is possible with just a simple press of a button on your smart device.

“Can we expect an ever-expanding range of functionalities from our clothing? These were the questions we asked when creating the ChroMorphous technology that we began developing in 2016,” Abouraddy said. He claims that the technology is scalable at mass-production levels via a process known as fiber-spinning and is currently produced in Melbourne, Florida, with CREOL’s collaborators at Hills Inc. Founded in 1971, Hills Inc. is a well-known innovator in multi-component fiber extrusion technologies.

The CREOL team is working closely with Hills Inc. to minimize the diameter of the threads in order to produce fabrics for the wide-scale market. This innovative fabric can be used in everything from clothing and accessories to furniture and home decor.

So, I’m sure you want to know…how is the fabric charged and how can it be washed? Well, the fabric is powered by a rechargeable battery pack that is hidden inside the clothing. The texture of the fabric is like denim, and it can be washed and ironed.

Abouraddy stated that he expects mass production to begin within the next year. At the moment, the threads are too thick for clothing, but they will work with bags, scarves, and backpacks. “We would reduce the threads in the future to make it more comfortable for a shirt,” Abouraddy said. “It’s not just for things you would wear. It could be used for upholstery, wall decorations for a room … you could change it to darker and more soothing colors.”

Your handbag can change its color thanks to ChroMorphous. (Image Courtesy of UCF)

Your handbag can change its color thanks to ChroMorphous. (Image Courtesy of UCF)

This product is the result of a decade’s worth of research with the past year and a half focused on textiles. It may have taken centuries to get here but wow, the future of textiles has never been more exciting than it has been in just the past decade. Wonder what the future has in store?

So tell us, are you ready to embrace the future of technological textiles?

 

The Magical & Technological World of Couture: Fall 2018

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

Need an escape from a world filled with political unrest, nuclear threats and terrorism? Enter…haute couture. Yeah, we know covering fashion, especially the world of couture, may seem frivolous to many, but couture is about dreaming, escapism and fantasy. Who wouldn’t want to live right now in a world of beautiful handmade gowns while running through a garden in Paris or engaging in a leisurely walk along the Seine?

But the truth is, couture is so much more than fantasy. Costume and fashion history would not be the same without it and let’s face it… couture is the ultimate marketing machine!

We need only look back in time to a publication written between 1751 and 1772 by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert entitled Encyclopédie, ou dictionaire raisonné des sciences, des art et des métiers, to see how this pivotal tome gave instructions to the métiers (trades) in the art of dressmaking, forever placing this trade on equal footing with the arts and sciences of the time.

And of course we owe the ’Father of Couture,’ Englishman Charles Frederick Worth (Paris circa 1856 ), the fashion genius who together with his wife as muse, transformed the world of dressmaking into ‘high fashion’. Over time, the House of Worth, along with other couturières (female) and couturiers (male) were able to take the craft to a whole other level by creating perfumes, shoes, millinery and diffusion lines. These spin-offs planted the seeds which would later become lifestyle branding with lots of marketing hype!

 

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

We know that these one-of-a kind haute creations come with a hefty price tag. On average, one couture gown can take over 800 hours to create and cost several hundred thousand dollars. Even couture daywear starts at around $10,000! It’s estimated that there are only approximately 2,000 couture clients, mostly from Russia, China, the United States and the Middle East, with fewer than 300 that buy regularly.

So, do the numbers. With only a handful of steady customers, you got it…haute couture is not a money maker. Couture houses spend millions of dollars twice a year, by selecting exquisite fabrics, hand-sewing each garment, employing top métiers for beading and embroideries and producing larger-than-life runway shows, using A list models, hair and make-up teams. The profits are negligible, amounting to less than ten per cent of gross profits for some houses, though most operate at a loss. However, their true value is in the selling of the house’s fragrance, make-up line and other less-expensive branded items like shoes and handbags.

Draping Technique (Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Draping Technique (Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

So why do these houses still invest in their haute couture collections, other than pushing their ancillary products? They are selling a dream. Fashion shows attract huge media attention and gain enormous publicity for the couture houses. Think about how many actresses wear couture on the red carpet. These designers are selling a dream of chic cachet, beauty, desirability and exclusiveness, that the ordinary person can ‘buy into.’

Here are some highlights of the Haute Couture Fall 2018 Season:

VALENTINO

Pierpaolo Piccioli has been on a role and his Valentino Couture show closed out Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris with rave reviews. This season Piccioli offered a brilliant line-up of rich saturated hues and swaggering proportions. According to Vogue.com, Piccioli stated, “Couture involves a deeper and more intimate perspective, to go further into your own vision of beauty.”  His vision was a perfect blend of Greek Mythology, 17th- and 18th-century painting, the films of Pasolini and the photographs of Deborah Turbeville, medieval armor, and Ziggy Stardust. Whew, that’s quite a line-up of inspiration, eh?

This translated into intricate embroidered capes, a multiple brocade evening dress adorned with rhinestones, sequins and pearls, a red sculpted jersey gown and a trio of featherweight taffeta dresses that wrapped around the body.

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

FENDI

How does a house known for its use of fur adapt to the changing landscape of the anti-fur movement? After all, major fashion houses such as Gucci, Versace and Michael Kors have all announced they would go fur free and use only faux fur in their collections. Fendi on the other hand, made no such promise, but did abandon their Haute Fur Show in favor of a couture show.

Though Fendi did include some fur pieces, what they also did was produce something much more creative than fur and faux fur (which by the way is also a major earth pollutant). They ingeniously manipulated textiles in such a way as to resemble real fur; case in point, a coat created with fine strips of chiffon that were frayed and stitched together so closely that it could have been easily mistaken for an intarsia’d mink. While there were plenty of real fur looks in the line-up, it was refreshing for a house like Fendi show alternatives. And oh, what a great upcycling concept!

Fendi Haute Couture faux fur Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi Haute Couture faux fur Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

Always known to break with tradition, Jean Paul Gaultier showed his haute couture collection on both male and female models as the versatility of the collection was genderless. With a strong emphasis on tailoring, his suits were oh so chic! Gaultier was able to take the iconic “Le Smoking” and update it for the 21st century.

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

MAISON MARGIELA

John Galliano has now taken to podcasting and for Margiela couture he stated that this is collection is “the raw, raw, undiluted essence, the parfum of the house.” Following in the footsteps of his Artisanal collection for men, Galliano presented a highly innovative, high-concept collection exposing the craftsmanship of haute couture –  literally – by revealing the exquisite stitching that goes into the construction of a hand-tailored jacket. The true genius of Galliano came through by layering garments between tubes of filmy nylon, thus creating what Vogue called “translucent fabric sandwiches.”

“We’re all nomads today,” added Galliano, “. . . we do move in tribes.” Galliano calls it “nomadic glamour.” Reminds us a bit of Yeohlee and her “Urban Nomads” collection, only this time, on steroids!

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

ARMANI PRIVE

Ahhhh, and then there was Armani. Known for his master tailoring and Red Carpet artistry, the fall Armani Privé collection didn’t disappoint.  Armani’s press notes noted “A sculptural, almost regal style.”  The first half of the show (there were almost 100 looks in all), was a sea of black and champagne-colored pantsuits and evening looks, all that captured the chic essence of Armani beautifully. However, in an attempt to keep up with the times, half-way through the show Armani switched gears and sent out electric hues in everything from an ostrich feather cape to a hot pink and turquoise pantsuit that was a complete disconnect to the first half of the show. Go Armani!

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

CHANEL

We fashionistas can always count on Karl Lagerfeld to create a wonderful backdrop for his Chanel collection. And for this collection he did not disappoint by sending his models for stroll along the Seine with its wide sidewalks and low stone walls framing the magnificent Institut de France, built by Louis le Vau for Cardinal Mazarin in the 1660s (and where the Academie Française is housed). Perhaps with age, Lagerfeld is feeling a bit reflective about his first days in Paris as an 18-year old. In an interview with Vogue before the show, Lagerfeld remembered a city still suffering from postwar neglect, with dirty streets and dark, unrestored buildings. “People said to my parents, ‘but he can get lost,’” he added. “My mother knew better: I had a strong survivor instinct!”

The collection was filled with the House’s signature tweeds all in shades of grey. There were plenty of long skirts that unzipped to reveal sexy miniskirts adorned with magnificent embroideries. Lagerfeld also showed a silver foil ball gown skirt, a bevy of chic jackets and plenty of transparent chiffon pleated eveningwear.

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

CHRISTIAN DIOR

After years of over the top glamour and in your face sex appeal at Dior, at the hands of Raf Simons and John Galliano, the tide seems to be turning toward a more minimalistic approach to fashion. At the forefront of this evolutionary change is Maria Grazia Chiuri. Her couture 2018 collection involved some feminist research.  She read up on Leonor Fini, one of the avant-garde artists Christian Dior chose to exhibit in the gallery he was involved with before becoming a couturier. The results were beautiful, somber, sculpted and pleated pieces that were way more complex than what met the eye. These were serious clothes. Only a seasoned designer like Chiuri knows how to design clothes, utilizing the talents of finest ‘hands’ in the business, that will attract the most discerning couture clients. Chiuri showed cashmere suits, simple strapless gowns that grazed the ankle, effortless pleated dresses and demure eveningwear.  This collection is timeless and elegant yet modern and refreshing. A hit!

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

SONIA RYKIEL

For the past 50 years, the name Sonia Rykiel has been associated with fun, lighthearted knitwear. This season, designer Julie de Libran presented the first Sonia Rykiel couture collection. And, staying true to the Rykiel code, presented a collection with the same joie de vivre that the house’s founder was known for.

Gone from this collection were the traditional evening gowns that epitomize the world of couture. Instead, de Libran presented a youthful and edgy line-up. Looks ranged from a striped hand-beaded off the shoulder Marinière sweater to a black sweater dress with a trompe l’oeil bikini embroidery and a bridal corset look with front-lacing, a feathered knit veil and blue jeans. Surely de Libran is a couture disruptor but is this collection really worthy of being called couture?

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Always a fashion renegade, Iris van Herpen decided to show her couture collection at the Galerie de Minérologie et de Géologie, a fitting choice, since the name of this collection was “Ludi Naturae,” translated from Latin, “nature play.”

However, Van Herpen’s idea of nature flirts with synthetic biology through her iconic laser-cutting techniques and 3-D printed illusion fabric innovations, which she has taken to new heights and labels it “syntopia.” To quote van Herpen: “I think we as humans don’t even come close to the intelligence within nature. It’s funny how people think that nature is simple and technology is complex—it’s the opposite; technology is simple and nature is complex.”

Known for her artist collaborations, this time it was Amsterdam-based artist duo Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of Studio Drift who created the backdrop her runway ‘science fantasy. She also partnered with Dutch sculptor Peter Gentenaar who is known for capturing ‘organic memory’ and motion through his delicate, large-scale cellulose sculptures,  and together they created a show that was ‘other-worldly.’

Considered fashion’s ‘futurist-in-residence,’ couture season would be incomplete without Iris van Herpen and her vision.

Iris van Herpen's Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Iris van Herpen's Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

DO YOU THINK THE SONIA RYKIEL COLLECTION MERITS COUTURE STATUS? IF SO, WHY?

 

 

Men’s Spring 2019 Shows: Major Fashion Moments in Menswear

Dior Homme set (Photo courtesy if Footwear News)

Dior Homme set (Photo courtesy if Footwear News)

The whirlwind of Men’s fashion week is coming to a close as its last stretch will be in New York, but there were plenty of dramatic moments.

 Virgil Abloh presented his first collection for Louis Vuitton

Virgil Abloh is an American designer, D.J. and stylist who gained recognition as Kanye West’s creative director. Today he is the designer behind the cult label Off-White and has become the newly minted creative director of Louis Vuitton Menswear collection. This is a major moment for Abloh. Not only is he the artistic director of men’s to one of the most powerful houses in history, but he is also the first African-American designer ever appointed as the artistic director to a heritage brand.

This was the most anticipated show of the season and his front row was a star-studded event with everyone from Kanye West to Rihanna supporting the young designer. Once his first look exited, the world new Abloh was the perfect fit for the job and elevated streetwear to the highest level of lux.

According to Vogue.com, Abloh was inspired by “the idea of white light hitting a prism, and dividing into its component colors,” which translated into an assortment of tailored white suits, most noteworthy was the double breasted blazer paired with pleated trousers. Then Abloh moved to bright, bold colors and plenty of 90’s Helmut Lang references. There were harnesses and a finale with lots of “Wizard of Oz” inspired prints. This collection was truly a magical, over the rainbow moment for Abloh and the giant hug he received from Kanye at the end was a testament to what a milestone moment this was for African-American designers.

 

Louis Vuitton Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Louis Vuitton Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Kanye West and Virgil Abloh cried at the end of his Louis Vuitton show (Photo courtesy of Harpers Bazaar)

Kanye West and Virgil Abloh cried at the end of his Louis Vuitton show (Photo courtesy of Harpers Bazaar)

Kim Jones makes his debut at Dior Homme

Another menswear designer debut was British designer Kim Jones at Dior Homme.  Jones, the former menswear artistic director for Vuitton since 2011, pre-Abloh, helped revitalize the house for a younger generation. His show was also one of the most anticipated of the season with a front row filled with celebrities ranging from Kate Moss to Victoria Beckham. For his Dior Homme collection, Jones announced that is was time for couture values to be imported into menswear, and dubbed his collection “romantic, rather than feminine,” according to Vogue.com. He opened his show in ‘royal fashion’ with Prince Nikolai of Denmark wearing a classic shirting-stripe, turned inside out, and paired the look with sneakers. Looking to the  past with a futuristic eye, Jones recreated many prints that referenced the late Monsieur Dior. For example: beautiful jackets with tiny feathered flower motifs made to replicate the pattern on Dior porcelain dinner plates, toile prints that imitated the walls on the Dior Boutique in 1947 and the bee motif Dior used in 1955. Jones even gave a shout out to John Galliano with his inclusion of tiny saddle bags. Among the sea of toile prints and florals, there were beautifully tailored suits, effortless trousers and terrific outerwear. Jones mastered the balance between fashion fantasy and commercial hits.

Dior Homme Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Dior Homme Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Dior Homme Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Dior Homme Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Maison Margiela

John Galliano, known for his Vionnet -inspired bias cut gowns (among other things) brought couture references to his  Maison Margiela collection that he called ‘Artisanal’ menswear.  An absolute first for menswear! In a category where tailoring is the usual mainstay, Galliano told Vogue.com, “It’s the highest form of dressmaking, but for men . . . I hope it’s going to define a new sensuality, a new sexuality.” In a podcast released to the press, Galliano explained why he decided to  elevate his men’s collection to couture level. Part of it was an epiphany about the shifting codes of formalwear that he had seen at the Met Gala. “Seeing the youth present, and their interpretation of black-tie . . . a seismic change from the last time,” he said. Another part of the decision stemmed from his daily dialogues with interns at the Maison Margiela studio. But possibly the biggest reason was, he was just raring to exercise his dressmaking skills and bring imagination to menswear.

Galliano’s mixed British bespoke tailoring and couture techniques and the end result was a sexy and glamourous menswear collection. There were plenty of iconic Galliano moments, such as his use of corsetry as well as flamenco and bullfighting references from his Gibraltar roots.

Maison Margiela's spring 2019 collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela’s spring 2019 collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela's spring 2019 collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com

Maison Margiela’s spring 2019 collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Raf Simons left New York for Paris

After presenting three collections during New York Fashion Week, Raf Simons decided to return to where it all started for him as a designer, Paris, to show his menswear collection.

After many years of streetwear-inspired looks ruling the menswear runway (think Supreme, Off White, Kim Jones for Vuitton, etc.) and with every fashion-forward boy and girl owning a plethora of designer hoodies and sneakers, Raf Simons is looking to change that. The cult favorite menswear designer showed a highly energized collection of tailored looks with New Wave club references. His collection was a consistent parade of beautifully tailored jackets and coats, mostly in satin, all in bold colors. It was New Wave at its best with references to Stephen Sprouse and elevated glamour that he was responsible for bringing to New York downtown 80s club scene. Simons was quoted as saying: “There are all these references to punk, like  safety pins and studs and black leather, but I was thinking of how to do them in a way that was not that—so you don’t recognize them.”  That’s where it got interesting. There were glimpses of tiny knots of diamanté jewelry and silver D-rings embedded here and there, suggestive of piercings and fetish. And, wittily, a twisted translation of plastic six-pack holders, made into a version of a punk string vest. “Like when kids hang out, carrying their beers,” as Simons put it. “But also, like Paco Rabanne.”

 

Raf Simons Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Raf Simons Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Raf Simons Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Raf Simons Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Saint Laurent takes on New York

Italian-Belgian fashion designer Anthony Vaccarello took us back to 1978 for his spring Saint Laurent collection. How inspiration was a party Yves Saint Laurent hosted to launch his Opium fragrance, which was held on a ship docked at New York’s South Street Seaport and featured a giant bronze Buddha with thousands of orchids flown in from Hawaii. Forty years later, Vaccarello hosted an equally impressive, ultra-modernized version of that event across the Hudson at New Jersey’s Liberty State Park.

Vaccarello said he wanted to represent “the idea of New York, the idea of the icons of New York, in the ’70s.” Parts of that were Studio 54 in verve: a diamanté shirt placket and  a double-breasted blazer with a gold-trimmed peak lapel. But more so, it was the New York’s dive-ier Max’s Kansas City that sprung to mind— the sort of dirty glamour that has proven itself an immortal style, with distressed denim hoodies, patchworked boots, and show-stealing high-waisted, boot-cut trousers with just a slightly amplified flare at the kick. Vaccarello noted that these were new.

The highlight of the spectacle was the finale, when every model made their final walk in silver disco ball body paint – the moment was pure Studio 54 glamour.

 

Saint Laurent Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Saint Laurent Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Saint Laurent Men's Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Saint Laurent Men’s Spring 2019 Show (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 So tell us, what where your favorite moments from Men’s Spring 2019 shows so far?

Spring’s Most Surprising Hot Trend: The Bike Short

- - Trends

Left to right: Nina Ricci and Dion Lee spring 2018 looks (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Left to right: Nina Ricci and Dion Lee’s spring 2018 looks (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

“Ugly-pretty” fashion trends have been making a mark on the runway over the past few seasons, from Balenciaga’s platform Crocs to Miu Miu’s socks with sandals look. Another surprising trend of the spring season was the return of the spandex bike short, and we’re not talking for cycling.

From New York to Paris the bike short took center stage and somehow it looked new again, especially when paired with a tailored jacket, a chunky sweater or… are you ready… for eveningwear!

 

Dolce & Gabbana spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dolce & Gabbana’s spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

This trend has already been spotted on models, celebrities and influencers, who have been pairing their bike shorts with mini-skirts and stilettos. Celebrity stylist Elizabeth Sulcer told Vogue, “bike shorts are flattering because they show off your legs in a different, more discreetly sexy way, and they look great with heels.”

Saint Laurent spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Saint Laurent’s spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

But at UoF, we think the trend has more to do with the industry’s fascination with streetwear, youth culture and ‘looking fit’ (even if you haven’t hit the gym in years)! Just look at the buzz surrounding labels like Supreme and Off White and streetwear newcomers:  LA-based brand BornxRaised, the Japanese brand Doublet, Metropolitan US, MISBHV and Supreme’s ex-Creative Director Brendon Barbenzien’s brand, NOAH. They sell ‘cool’. And who doesn’t want to look cool?

Either way, it’s the latest trend and we’re predicting that it will make its way to the mainstream fashion-loving consumer by the summer. And oh, let’s face it, in our sustainability-conscious world, some of us still have our 80s bike shorts in our closet! What a great way to give them a face lift?

Fenty X Puma spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fenty X Puma’s spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Here are some bike short pairings from MSGM, Nina Ricci and Saint Laurent worn under oversized jackets, dresses, and skirts, which definitely added an extra layer of interest.

MSGM spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

MSGM’s spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Virgil Abloh, the creative director for Off-White, was inspired by Princess Diana’s daily trips to the gym, and interpreted some of her most iconic looks for his spring 2018 collection, most notably, her biker shorts.  So, how did Abloh interpret Diana’s biker short look? Well, it was the show’s finale. Supermodel Naomi Campbell (who once participated in a prank orchestrated by Diana) brought down the house in a pair of white bike shorts under a white double-breasted blazer. Could this look qualify as a runway wedding outfit finale, 21st century style?

 

Princess Diana in biker shorts (Photo courtesy of wellandgood.com)

Princess Diana in biker shorts (Photo courtesy of wellandgood.com)

 

 

Off-White spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Off-White’s spring 2018 look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So tell us, will you give the biker short a test run this summer? Send us pics of your own bike short pairing!