University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: Antonia Sardone

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.

IS RENTING CLOTHING REALLY BETTER FOR THE ENVIRONMENT?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Recycling Logo. (Photo Credit: Elle Magazine)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIGGEST TRENDS OUT OF MILAN

HOW TO WEAR A CARDIGAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

TAILOR MADE

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

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

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

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

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

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

SHORT STORIES

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

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

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

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

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

BLUE JEAN BABY

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

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

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

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

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

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

MAXIMIST REVIVAL

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

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

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

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

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

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

BIGGEST TRENDS OUT OF PARIS

SKIRTING THE ISSUE

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

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

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

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

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

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

RAIN ON ME

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

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

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

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

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

HOLY FASHION

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN-VEST

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRINTS CHARMING

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOING LIVE IN PARIS: HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2021 SHOWS

- - Fashion Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BALENCIAGA

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

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

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

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER BY SACAI

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

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

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

FENDI

 

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

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

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

ALAIA

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

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

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

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

SCHIAPARELLI

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

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

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

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

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

So tell us, what was your favorite couture collection?

ICONIC FASHION DESIGNERS ON THE SILVER SCREEN

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

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

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

START THE POPCORN

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

SAINT LAURENT (2014)

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

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

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

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

COCO BEFORE CHANEL (2009)

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

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

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

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

DIOR AND I (2014)

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

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

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

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

VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR (2008)

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

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

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

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

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

WESTWOOD: PUNK. ICON. ACTIVIST. (2018)

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

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

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

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

MCQUEEN (2018)

A preview of the MCQUEEN trailer. Courtesy of YouTube.

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

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

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

Let us know, which is your favorite film?

RESORT 2022 – THE JOY OF DRESSING CONTINUES

- - Fashion Shows

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

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

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

Dior’s Cruise Show (Courtesy of YouTube).

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

Chanel’s Cruise Show. Courtesy of YouTube.

WHAT IS A RESORT COLLECTION?

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

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

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

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

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

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

OUT OF CONTROL LOGOMANIA

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

MARCHING ORDERS

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

YARN IT ALL

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

WHITE NOISE

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

SPORTS CENTER

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

POINT OF HUE

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

WELL SUITED

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

MIX-N-MATCH

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

- - Trends

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JOYFUL FASHION HAS ALWAYS COME OUT OF HISTORIES DARKEST DAYS

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

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

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

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

POST-PANDEMIC FASHION

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

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

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

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

 

JOYFUL TRENDS FOR SUMMER 2021

GET STRAPPY

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

IT’S A SWEEP

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

LOOSE-FIT

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

GLAM-SQUAD

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CUT-IT-OUT

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

INNERWEAR AS OUTERWEAR

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

THE HISTORY OF ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And the list goes on and on…

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

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

(Photo credit: CFDA.com)

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

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

Yohji Yamamoto

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

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

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

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

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

 

Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garçons

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

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

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

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

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

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

Issey Miyake

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kenzo Takada

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anna Sui

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra with his models. (Photo Credit Elle)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

AFFORDING LUXURY: THE ART OF DESIGNER AND MASS RETAIL COLLABORATIONS

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

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

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

Collab History

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

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

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

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

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

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

Giambattista Valli for H&M in 2019

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

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

Rodarte x Universal Standard in 2019

Lanvin x H&M in 2010

Missoni x Target in 2011

Balmain x H&M in 2015

SOME OF THE COOLEST COLLABORATIONS OF 2021

SIMONE ROCHA X H&M

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

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

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

TARGET’S TRIO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

JW ANDERSON X UNIQLO

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

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

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

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

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

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

BREAKING TRADITION: BRIDAL SPRING 2022

- - Fashion Shows

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FINE PRINTS

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

SHORT AND SWEET

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

IN A SLIP OF A MOMENT

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

THE COLD SHOULDER

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

3D & HANDCRAFTY

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

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

 

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

 

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

LINGERIE-INSPIRED

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

EMBRACING GENDERLESS FASHION

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

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

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

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

 

Harry Styles (Photo Credit: theguardian.com)

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

POPULAR GENDER-FLUID DESIGNERS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A look from Wildfang. (Photo Credit: Wildfang)

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

 

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