University of Fashion Blog

Posts by: Antonia Sardone

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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.

ANNE LOWE: CELEBRATING THE LEGACY OF AN AMERICAN COURTIER

In the hushed corridors of high fashion, Ann Lowe stands as a beacon of timeless elegance and innovation. Her creations, woven with meticulous craftsmanship and a touch of magic, have graced the shoulders of First Ladies and socialites alike. Now, a new exhibit at the Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library, which is located in Delaware, promises to unveil the secrets behind Lowe’s enduring influence on American couture.

The exhibit is titled “Ann Lowe: Threads of Elegance,” the exhibition transports visitors into the enchanting world of this unsung fashion genius. As the doors swing open, the ethereal presence of Lowe’s designs beckons from the pedestals, drawing admirers into a realm where every stitch tells a story.

Anne Lowe’s whimsical creations. (Photo Credit: Winterthur Museum)

Ann Lowe’s journey to becoming a couturier extraordinaire was marked by resilience and passion. Born in rural Clayton, Alabama in 1898, Lowe’s early fascination with fabrics and design was nurtured by her mother and grandmother, a former slave and skilled dressmaker. Lowe was only a teenager when she developed not only her expert technical skills, but also her distinctive style—feminine, graceful, and elegant. Her beautiful creations often incorporated her signature hand-made floral elements which society women adored.

Her remarkable career took her through the Jim Crow South, from Montgomery, Alabama, to Tampa, Florida, and in 1928 to New York City, the fashion capital of the United States. Although Lowe’s work made her an asset to wealthy society women around the country, as a young black woman she also experienced the chaotic hardships of the fashion business and segregated America in a period of dramatic change.

Lowe’s creations place her amongst America’s exceptional fashion designers, and her life illustrates a legacy of Black women’s knowledge and skills that began as enslaved labor. With the odds against woman of color at the time, Lowe fought hard and positioned herself as a creative designer, a fashion insider, and a vital contributor to American culture. This legacy of creativity and determination set the stage for Lowe’s rise in the fashion world.

The Winterthur exhibit expertly curates Lowe’s life’s work, showcasing her evolution from an apprentice to a trailblazer who challenged racial and gender barriers in the early 20th century. Each garment on display is a testament to Lowe’s ability to blend sophistication with simplicity, creating pieces that resonate with grace and charm.

Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress when she married John F. Kennedy in 1953. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A highlight of the exhibit is Lowe’s groundbreaking creation for Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding in 1953. Despite the prevailing racial prejudices of the time, the First Lady’s iconic wedding dress was a testament to Lowe’s unparalleled talent. The Winterthur Museum has spared no expense in recreating the magic of that historic gown, allowing visitors to marvel at the intricate details that captivated the nation.

Jacqueline Kennedy in her Ann Lowe-designed wedding dress. (Photo Credit: Elle Magazine)

In 1964, The Saturday Evening Post referred to couturier Ann Lowe as “Society’s Best-Kept Secret.” Although Lowe had been creating couture-quality gowns for America’s most prominent debutantes, heiresses, actresses, and society brides—including Jacqueline Kennedy, Olivia de Havilland, and Marjorie Merriweather Post—for years, Lowe remained practically unknown to the public. The designer has been given far too little recognition for her influence on American fashion, but this exhibit will surely breath new life into Lowe’s whimsical creations.

Elizabeth Mance wears an Ann Lowe design in a wedding photograph circa 1968. Lowe can be seen behind the bride and her father being escorted into the church. (Photo Credit: Elle Magazine)

As you wander through the exhibit, it’s impossible to ignore the influence Ann Lowe had on shaping American fashion. Her designs were a symphony of elegance, transcending the trends of the moment and becoming timeless classics. From glamorous ball gowns to chic day dresses, each piece is a masterclass in the art of couture.

The Winterthur Museum, Garden, and Library have gone above and beyond to create an immersive experience. The exhibit space is adorned with floral arrangements reminiscent of Lowe’s favorite blooms, creating an ambiance that mirrors the grace and beauty of her designs.

Ann Lowe, photographed for the December 1966 edition of Ebony magazine. (Photo Credit: Elle Magazine)

Beyond the couture, the exhibit delves into Lowe’s personal life, offering glimpses into the challenges she faced as a woman of color in a predominantly white, male industry. It’s a poignant reminder that her success was not only measured in the stitches and seams but also in the resilience that defined her journey.

Ann Lowe: Threads of Elegance” is not just an exhibition; it’s a celebration of an artist who broke barriers and left an indelible mark on American fashion. As you step into the Winterthur Museum, be prepared to be transported into the world of Ann Lowe—a world where elegance knows no bounds, and creativity is truly timeless.

Ann Lowe: American Couturier can be purchased at the Wintherur Store online. (Photo Credit: Wintherur Museum.)

If you cannot make it to the exhibit, you can purchase her book which features vivid new photographs of Lowe’s creations—including intricate details of her exquisite handwork and signature floral embellishments. The book also includes essays that explore the trials and achievements of Lowe’s life, contextualize her work, as well as profile Black designers whose work reflects her influence. There are also behind-the-scenes looks at the astonishing efforts to preserve Lowe’s gowns.

Lowe, photographed for the December 1966 edition of Ebony magazine. (Photo Credit: Elle Magazine)

So tell us, which historic designers have had the greatest influence on your designs?

THIS COULD GET UGLY:  THE HISTORY OF THE UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATER

Friends wearing Christmas sweaters. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

‘Tis the season to be jolly, and what better way to express that festive cheer than by donning the most outrageous, garish, and downright ugly Christmas sweater you can find? The ugly Christmas sweater trend has become a beloved tradition, transforming from fashion faux pas to a global phenomenon that brings joy and laughter to holiday celebrations. Let’s unravel the colorful history of this quirky trend and explore its meteoric rise to popularity.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS

Early Christmas sweaters. :Photo Credit: Britain Does Vintage)

The ugly Christmas sweater began in the post-war era, where hand-knit woolens were cherished for their warmth, not their style. Families gathered around the fireplace, sipping cocoa, adorned in sweaters with quaint reindeer and modest snowflakes. Little did they know these simple garments would lay the foundation for a future fashion phenomenon.

As the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s unfolded, so did a shift in the perception of fashion. Bold patterns, psychedelic colors, and unconventional designs became the norm, and the Christmas sweater was not exempt from this vibrant revolution. Suddenly, Santa’s donned sunglasses, Christmas trees twinkled in psychedelic hues, and the humble sweater was no longer just a winter necessity but a canvas of holiday expression.

Matching mother and daughter candy cane sweaters from Leisure Arts, 1989. (Photo Credit: Smithsonian Magazine)

Enter the era of excess—the 1980s. As shoulder pads grew larger and hair higher, so did the embellishments on Christmas sweaters. Glitter, sequins and pom-poms adorned every imaginable surface. The once-modest snowman became bedazzled, and the simple snowflake transformed into a dazzling disco ball of knitwear. It was a time of unapologetic extravagance and the Christmas sweater was no exception.

Authors of “The Ugly Christmas Sweater Party Book”. (Photo Credit :Getty Images)

As the world entered a new millennium, a wave of nostalgia and irony swept through pop culture. Vintage finds and thrift store treasures became the epitome of coolness and the ugly Christmas sweater found itself thrust into the spotlight once again. Ugly sweater parties began to emerge, inviting revelers to celebrate the holiday season by embracing the kitsch of yesteryear.

UGLY CHRISTMAS SWEATERS ON THE SILVER SCREEN

Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’s Diary film. (Photo Credit: Miramax)

The trend’s popularity soared to new heights when it made its way into the world of cinema. Films like Bridget Jones’s Diary, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, and The Night Before featured characters sporting these festive eyesores, further solidifying the ugly Christmas sweater as a cultural phenomenon. Iconic moments on the big screen, coupled with social media’s ability to showcase these quirky fashion choices, catapulted the trend into the mainstream.

Chevy Chase in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation film. (Photo Credit: Warner Brothers)

THE SOCIAL MEDIA AGE: UGLY IS THE NEW CHIC

Young woman taking a selfie in her Christmas sweater, (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

With the advent of social media, the ugly Christmas sweater tradition received a global platform. People shared their most outrageous finds and DIY creations, turning the act of finding or making the ugliest sweater into a sport. Instagram, Twitter (X) and Facebook became virtual runways for festive fashionistas showcasing their holiday knitwear masterpieces.

TRADITION MEETS TREND

Comedian Jimmy Fallon embraces the ugly Christmas sweater trend. (Photo Credit: CNN)

In the present day, the ugly Christmas sweater has solidified its place as a cherished holiday tradition. It’s no longer just about embracing the tackiness; it’s a cultural phenomenon that unites people in laughter and joy. Major retailers offer an array of intentionally garish sweaters, and the tradition has expanded to include festive 5K runs, charitable events, and even formal gatherings dedicated to the art of the ugly Christmas sweater.

A young couple with Christmas sweaters. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

As we navigate the wintry landscapes of the 21st century, let’s tip our festive hats to the ugly Christmas sweater—a humble garment that has withstood the test of time, transforming from knitted oddity to a cherished symbol of holiday cheer. So, this holiday season, let your fashion sense be as bright and bold as your Christmas sweater, and may your festivities be as vibrant as the knits that have woven their way into our hearts.

Holiday Wishes From UOF. (Graphic Credit: UOF)

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Give the Gift of UoF Books that Compliment our Videos

University of Fashion beginner book covers- draping, pattern making and sewing

University of Fashion’s step-by-step Beginner Techniques: Sewing, Draping and Pattern Making

Our 3- part book series is the perfect gift for anyone interested in learning how to become a fashion designer. Techniques for Beginners: Sewing, Techniques for Beginners: Draping and Techniques for Beginners: Pattern Making are all step-by-step, frame-by-frame, compliments to our video lessons. Each book contains additional industry tips & tricks and tons of historical information. Our inspirational fashion runway images reinforce techniques used in the industry and at the best fashion colleges.

Click the links on the book titles above to the Amazon pages where the books can be purchased.

So, tell us, will you be creating your own ugly Christmas sweater this season?

Unleashing the Future: The Second AI Fashion Week

A look from Kübra Karasu’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

In a dazzling display of innovation and elegance, the second edition of AI Fashion Week took place from November 30 to December 1, 2023, captivating the world with a mesmerizing fusion of technology and fashion. As fashionistas and tech aficionados excitedly tuned in, the virtual runway showcased a symphony of artificial intelligence and creative genius that left viewers in awe.

The event marked a pivotal moment in the fashion industry’s evolution, proving that the intersection of artificial intelligence and fashion design is not only a trend, but a transformational force shaping the future of style. From virtual front rows to holographic models, AI Fashion Week 2 pushed the boundaries of imagination and reinvented the traditional runway experience. With AI Fashion Week, the exclusive world of attending fashion events and shows becomes accessible to everyone around the world. Click the link if you haven’t already read our coverage of AI Fashion Week 1 in June 2023, where we covered the artificial intelligence computer programs and prompts that generate images from natural text: Midjourney and Stable Diffusion. 

A good start in learning how to create AI-generated images is to get a solid digital design foundation. Learn and/or brush up on your digital skills with UoF’s  CAD Fashion Art lessons in Photoshop, Illustrator, CLO 3D and 3D Browzwear software.

A look from Marloes Ratten’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

One of the highlights of the event was the collaboration between renowned fashion designers and cutting-edge AI algorithms. Designers partnered with AI systems to co-create unique pieces that seamlessly blended the human touch with the precision of machine learning. The result? A stunning collection that challenged preconceived notions of fashion, with garments that seemed to go beyond the limits of creativity.

AI-generated fabrics took center stage, showcasing the versatility and innovation that machine learning brings to the fashion palette. From color-changing textiles to materials that responded to environmental stimuli, the fabrics of the future were on full display. Designers embraced the challenge of incorporating these futuristic textiles into their collections, resulting in garments that not only looked stunning but also told a story of sustainability and technological progress.

A look from Annatarian’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

The virtual catwalk featured holographic models that brought a surreal and hypnotic quality to the showcase. These digital beings, crafted through advanced AI modeling, moved with grace and captivated the audience. Each model was a testament to the limitless possibilities when the worlds of fashion and artificial intelligence collide.

A look from Chie Kamijo’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

The fusion of fashion and technology extended beyond the runway, as AI-powered virtual stylists and fashion assistants took center stage. Attendees could interact with virtual assistants that provided personalized style recommendations based on individual preferences and body types. This immersive experience allowed fashion enthusiasts to explore and experiment with styles in a virtual space, revolutionizing the way we approach personal style.

A look from Catalina Arango’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

REVOLVE BRINGS AI GENERATED CLOTHES TO LIFE

The debut collection from Ope featured extravagant ruffling and body-conscious sequined pieces. (Photo Credit: Revolve)

Last season, fashion online retailer Revolve and Maison Meta, an AI-centric creative agency, teamed up for the first AI Fashion Week.  Revolve promised to create the collections from the top three collections submitted to a design competition that ran during the fashion week’s events into physical products — and sell them in their online boutique. All the looks were designed with generative artificial intelligence and manufactured by Revolve.

The first-place winner was an architect with no fashion background, José Sabral, who calls his new brand Paatiff. The second-place winner was Matilde Mariano, whose brand is called Molnm, also with no fashion design experience. The third-place winner goes by the name Opé Stylestar — which is also the name of their brand, Opé, and was the only winner with a fashion background, having previously worked at Betsey Johnson before becoming a stylist.

A look from José Sabral’s collection which bridges the world of architecture, fashion design, and technology. (Photo Credit: Revolve)

According to Cyril Foiret, founder and creative director of Maison Meta, the goal is to allow the winners to set up brands they can run independently if they choose.

Why would Revolve manufacture and sell garments created by AI Fashion Week? According to a press release, Michael Mente, the company’s co-founder and co-chief executive, said “Technology is a big competitive edge for Revolve. Through AI, we’re able to explore new emerging designers, brands, and trends that we are known for delivering in unique ways.”

Fashion is rushing to discover ways generative-AI tools could be useful. Thanks to technology’s ability to immediately create high-quality imagery, fashion is one of the applications where it could have a great impact. Designers Collina Strada and Heliot Emil are already testing the tools.

For the second AI Fashion Week, Revolve will again produce physical garments from the winning collections of the design competition, though there will be five winners chosen rather than just three, according to Maison Meta.

INCLUSIVITY AND DIVERSITY

AI Fashion Week also addressed the industry’s commitment to inclusivity and diversity. Virtual models represented a spectrum of body types, ethnicities, and gender identities, challenging traditional norms and fostering a more inclusive vision of beauty. This commitment to diversity echoed throughout the designs, sending a powerful message that the future of fashion is one that embraces and celebrates individuality.

COULD AI FASHION WEEK BE THE FUTURE OF FASHION SHOWS

A look from Somm_bird’s AI Fashion Week 2. (Photo Credit: AI Fashion Week)

As the curtain closed on the second AI Fashion Week, the fashion world was left buzzing with excitement and anticipation for what lies ahead. The event showcased not only the technical prowess of artificial intelligence but also its ability to inspire, challenge, and redefine the very essence of fashion. The runway of the future is no longer confined to physical spaces; it is a dynamic and ever-evolving intersection of creativity and technology, where the possibilities are as limitless as the human imagination. AI Fashion Week has firmly established itself as a trailblazer, guiding the industry toward a future where innovation and style coexist in perfect harmony.

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So, tell us, do you think AI Fashion Week will replace IRL fashion shows?

CELEBRATING NATIONAL NATIVE HERITAGE MONTH

Looks from B. Yellowtail. (Photo Credit: American Craft Council)

As November unfurls its autumnal tapestry, we find ourselves immersed in the rich hues of National Native Heritage Month—a time to celebrate and honor the diverse cultures, histories, and contributions of Native American peoples. This month offers an opportunity not only to delve into the vibrant traditions of indigenous communities, but also to reflect on the complex relationship between fashion and cultural appropriation.

For decades, the fashion industry has drawn inspiration from indigenous designs, textiles, and embroideries. Renowned designers such as Ralph Lauren and Isabel Marant have woven the intricate threads of Native American aesthetics into their collections, creating garments that pay homage to the beauty of indigenous cultures. The allure of tribal patterns, beading techniques, and earthy color palettes has undeniably left an indelible mark on the world of haute couture.

Ralph Lauren built an empire on his vision of ‘Americana’. Not only have his  collections included the American flag, but throughout the years he has incorporated elements inspired by Native American dress. From Navajo prints to fringe details reminiscent of traditional Native attire, his collections have been a testament to the timeless beauty of indigenous craftsmanship. Similarly, Isabel Marant, a French fashion luminary, has skillfully blended bohemian chic with Native American influences, creating pieces that resonate with a global audience.

A Ralph Lauren Native American inspired look from 1981. Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

However, as the fashion industry navigates the complex waters of cultural sensitivity, a spotlight is being cast on the issue of cultural appropriation. What was once seen as homage, is now under scrutiny, prompting a shift in perspective. The borrowing of elements from Native American cultures has given rise to an “appropriation” uproar, challenging the industry to reassess its practices.

In recent years, discussions surrounding cultural appropriation have gained momentum, urging designers to reconsider their approach to incorporating indigenous motifs. The line between ‘appreciation’ and ‘appropriation’ has become increasingly blurred, prompting a call for greater respect and understanding. Native communities argue that using sacred symbols, traditional patterns, or religious attire without context or proper acknowledgment perpetuates harmful stereotypes and commodifies their heritage.

As fashion enthusiasts, it’s crucial to engage in conversations about cultural sensitivity and the impact of our clothing choices. Designers are now encouraged to collaborate with indigenous artists and craftspeople, ensuring that the cultural context is preserved and respected. The emphasis is shifting towards appreciation rather than appropriation, promoting a more inclusive and respectful approach to fashion that celebrates diversity without erasing the roots of inspiration.

National Native Heritage Month serves as a poignant reminder to celebrate and learn from indigenous cultures rather than commodify them. While fashion has been a powerful medium for cultural expression, the industry is evolving towards a more conscious and respectful future—one that honors the rich tapestry of traditions without unraveling the fabric of cultural identity. As we admire the beauty of Native American influences in fashion, let us do so with open hearts, listening to the voices of those whose heritage we celebrate and ensuring that our appreciation is a bridge rather than a barrier.

WEAVING TRADITIONS

Looks from EMME Studio. (Photo Credit: EMME Studios)

National Native Heritage Month is not just a time to admire the tapestry of indigenous cultures, but also an opportunity to celebrate the incredible talents of Native American fashion designers who are reshaping the landscape of fashion. Here are eight designers whose work not only captivates the runway but also pays homage to their rich heritage.

JENNIFER YOUNGER

Jewelry by Jennifer Younger. (Photo Credit: Jasper Soloff)

Jennifer Younger effortlessly fuses traditional Native aesthetics with contemporary silhouettes. Her designs, inspired by her Navajo heritage, are a testament to the enduring beauty of indigenous artistry.

JAMIE OKUMA

A look from Jamie Okuma. (Photo Credit: Jamie Okuma)

Jamie Okuma, a Luiseno and Shoshone-Bannock artist, brings beadwork to life in ways that defy expectations. Her intricate bead designs tell stories, capturing the essence of Native American narratives with each carefully chosen hue.

EMME STUDIO

Models display Korina Emmerich’s Drugstore Rodeo 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Two Hawks Young)

Korina Emmerich, of the Puyallup Tribe, blends her Native roots with a modern edge in EMME Studio. Her pieces are a dynamic fusion of bold patterns and innovative designs that transcend cultural boundaries.

TANIA LARSSON

Jewelry by Tania Larsson. (Photo Credit: Jamie Stevenson Photography)

Hailing from the Gwich’in and Kaska Dena nations, Tania Larsson’s creations are a dance of color and texture. Her work reflects the vast beauty of the Canadian North, echoing the Northern Lights in every stitch.

B. YELLOWTAIL

A look from B. Yellowtail. (Photo Credit: B. Yellowtail)

Bethany Yellowtail, a member of the Crow and Northern Cheyenne tribes, empowers through fashion. Her brand, B. Yellowtail, blends cultural motifs with elegant simplicity, creating clothing that embodies strength and grace.

EVAN DUCHARME

Looks from Evan Ducharme. (Photo Credit: Evan Ducharme)

Evan Ducharme, a designer of Metis heritage, weaves his cultural identity into every garment. His creations tell the story of the Metis people, combining historical reverence with a contemporary flair.

GINEW

Looks from Ginew. (Photo Credit: Ginew)

Dyani White Hawk, a member of the Rosebud Sioux Tribe, breathes life into denim through her brand Ginew. Her designs honor her Native roots with intricate details, showcasing the spirit of heritage in every stitch.

4KINSHIP

A look from 4Kninship. (Photo Credit: 4Kinship)

Amy Denet Deal, a Chickasaw designer, explores the intersection of elegance and tradition in 4Kinship. Her creations embody the spirit of Native American aesthetics, offering a harmonious blend of the past and present.

NAVIGATING THE THREADS OF CULTURAL SENSITIVITY

As we celebrate National Native Heritage Month, let us not only appreciate the breathtaking designs but also recognize the profound stories woven into each thread. These eight designers stand as living testaments to the resilience, creativity, and cultural pride of indigenous communities. In a world where fashion often transcends borders, their work serves as a powerful reminder that diversity is not just a trend but a celebration of the rich tapestry of human experience.

So, tell us, when designers are influenced by a culture that is not their own, do you believe it is cultural appropriation, or do you believe its an homage to?

Veteran’s Day: Saluting Style & Strength

- - Fashion History

A look from Sacai’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

As we celebrated Veterans Day on November 11th, we honor the brave men and women who have served in the armed forces. It’s a day to express gratitude, admiration, and respect for the sacrifices made by our veterans. But beyond parades and solemn ceremonies, it’s also a moment to celebrate the influence of military history on the world of fashion. We will explore how military-inspired fashion has made its mark on runways and especially acknowledge the remarkable women who played a crucial role during World War II – the era that ignited a fashion revolution.

COMMANDING STYLE

A look from The Attico’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Military-inspired fashion has a long history of making a bold statement on runways worldwide. Drawing from the uniform designs of various armed forces, designers have incorporated elements such as epaulettes, camouflage patterns, trench coats, and combat boots into their collections. These garments, often imbued with a sense of authority and structure, have been embraced by fashion enthusiasts seeking to make a powerful fashion statement.

During and after World War II, the military look permeated the fashion world. The iconic trench coat, originally designed for British soldiers, found its place in civilian wardrobes. The “bomber jacket” was adapted from aviation uniforms, becoming a symbol of cool rebellion and youthful style. Even the classic sailor stripe and sailor collar, inspired by naval uniforms, continue to be timeless fashion staples. Join us on a sartorial journey as we explore the chic, commanding and timeless world of military-inspired fashion.

THE TIMELESS TRENCH COAT

A look from Maison Margiela’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The trench coat, born on the battlefields of World War I, has become a symbol of sophistication and versatility. Its distinctive double-breasted design, epaulettes, and weather-resistant fabric exude an air of authority and practicality. Whether cinched at the waist with a belt or left open for a relaxed look, the trench coat is a must-have for every fashion-forward fashionista.

MARCHING ORDERS

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Camouflage patterns, designed to help soldiers blend into their surroundings, have become a high-impact fashion statement. From cargo pants to jackets, the camo trend makes a bold and unapologetic impression. Celebrities, models, and street-style aficionados have all embraced this print, effortlessly fusing military precision with urban street style.

THE BOMBER

A look from Undercover’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Originally designed for aviators, the bomber jacket has transcended its utilitarian roots to become a symbol of rebellion and youth culture. Its ribbed cuffs, waist, and collar, give it an iconic silhouette that exudes a sense of edginess. Today, bomber jackets come in various materials and colors, making them a versatile addition to any wardrobe.

REGAL IN OFFICER’S ATTIRE

A look from Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Military-style blazers with gold buttons, brass details, and sharp tailoring, lend an air of formality and elegance. Inspired by officer’s uniforms, these garments exude authority and sophistication. Paired with jeans for a casual look or a sleek pencil skirt for a professional ensemble, military blazers are a timeless choice for those who ‘command’ attention.

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TIME FOR COMBAT

Prada’s iconic combat boots. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Combat boots, initially crafted for soldiers to withstand the rigors of the battlefield, have become a staple in fashion. With their rugged, no-nonsense appearance, they effortlessly juxtapose with dresses, skirts, and denim, adding a dash of punk rock attitude to any outfit.

EARNING YOUR STRIPES

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The classic sailor stripe, inspired by naval uniforms, continues to be a timeless fashion staple. Breton stripes bring a nautical charm to any outfit and can be effortlessly incorporated into both casual and formal looks. Whether it’s a striped tee or a striped dress, this pattern always ‘anchors’ your style.

WOMAN OF VALOR

Women in the Army during WW2. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army)

On Veterans Day, we should also celebrate the unsung heroines who played pivotal roles during World War II, reshaping history and leaving an indelible mark. We’s like to honor those women of valor – the Rosie the Riveters, the Pin-up girls on the sides of warplanes, the nurses, the secretaries, and all the women who raised their children solo, while their men were off at war. We appreciate their wartime contributions through the ages and the heightened role they play in military service today.

ROSIE THE RIVETER

Rosie the Riveter Poster. (Photo Credit: U.S. Department Of Defense)

Rosie the Riveter, a symbol of female empowerment during World War II, became an icon of resilience and determination. With her rolled-up sleeves, red bandana, and a strong, confident demeanor, Rosie represented the countless women who stepped into factory roles to support the war effort. She inspired not only women in the workforce but also fashion trends with her practical yet stylish jumpsuit, the modern boiler suit, and the fashionable reimagining of the iconic polka-dotted bandana.

PIN-UP GIRLS

World War II,  U.S. Army Vintage Print Pin-up. (Photo Credit: Etsy)

In the midst of wartime uncertainty, pin-up girls adorned the sides of warplanes, bringing both beauty and morale to the frontlines. These alluring images, often featuring glamorous women in patriotic poses, became symbols of hope and inspiration for the troops. Today, the pin-up girl aesthetic continues to influence fashion, from high-waisted bikinis to retro-inspired dresses, capturing the playful and vintage appeal of that era.

ANGELS OF MERCY: NURSES

Navy nurses dressed in new uniforms, in the nurses quarters at Aiea Naval Hospital, Honolulu, Hawaii, early March 1945 after liberation. (Photo Credit: Navel History and Heritage Command)

The nurses of World War II, often referred to as “angels of mercy,” played a vital role in caring to the wounded soldiers. Their courage, compassion, and dedication continue to be an inspiration. While their uniforms were functional and practical, their commitment to duty remains unmatched. Today, their spirit lives on in the clean lines and crisp whites of medical-inspired fashion, reflecting an air of professionalism and compassion.

SECRETARIAL DUTY

Women’s Army Corps during WWII. (Photo Credit: Britannica)

The secretaries, typists, and administrative assistants of the wartime era were the backbone of military logistics. They were tasked with managing the ever-growing volumes of paperwork and correspondence. Their contributions paved the way for modern office attire, with pencil skirts, tailored blouses, and sleek accessories. These outfits exemplify the blend of professionalism and elegance that marked the wartime working woman.

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE

The Women’s Army Corps (WAC)  in WWII. (Photo Credit: National Woman’s History Museum)

So, this Veterans Day, as we remember and honor those who served, let’s also celebrate the intersection of style and strength – a legacy that endures through military-inspired fashion. These designs connect us to the past and continue to inspire us in the present, reminding us of the remarkable women and men who shaped history during wartime.

So, tell us, are you a fan of military-inspired fashion?

50 YEARS OF HIP HOP: A FASHION REVOLUTION

In their kente cloth kufi hats, custom varsity jackets, tights and dookie chains, Salt-N-Pepa were committed hip-hop style maximalists. (Photo Credit: Janette Beckman)

In the chronicles of pop culture history, few movements have had a lasting impact as profound as Hip Hop. Emerging from the streets of New York City’s South Bronx in the 1970s, Hip Hop transcended its musical origins to become a cultural juggernaut. Its influence on fashion, in particular, has been nothing short of revolutionary. As we celebrate 50 years of Hip Hop, it’s a fitting time to explore how this dynamic art form shaped and continues to inspire the world of fashion.

To truly understand the relationship between Hip Hop and fashion, we must first take a journey back to where it all began. In the early 1970s, the South Bronx was a hotbed of creative energy, despite its struggling socio-economic conditions. It was here that Hip Hop first sprouted its roots, encompassing not only music but also dance, graffiti art, and fashion. It was a form of self-expression and empowerment for the marginalized youth of the area.

Accessorized with a boombox the size of a tombstone, LL Cool J could afford to dress down. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The street fashion that emerged in the early Hip Hop scene was rooted in resourcefulness, borrowing elements from sportswear and urban street style. Oversized shirts, tracksuits, sneakers, and prominent logos became the signature look. But it wasn’t just about the clothes; it was about how they were worn and the attitude that came with it. This was the beginning of what would become the Hip Hop fashion revolution.

THE EVOLUTION OF HIP HOP

Video: 50 Years of Hip Hop & High Fashion: The Evolution from Streetwear to Runways. Video Credit REVOLT on YouTube.

Hip Hop fashion evolved in tandem with the music, artists, and the culture surrounding it. It quickly became a means of asserting individuality and challenging norms. Baggy pants, hoodies, baseball caps, and Timberland boots became iconic pieces in the Hip Hop wardrobe. Gold chains, large hoop earrings, and accessories became essential for making a statement.

In the late ’80s and early ’90s, the emergence of high-end luxury fashion brands in Hip Hop was pivotal. Artists like Run-DMC were at the forefront of incorporating brands like Adidas into their style, while others embraced designer labels like Gucci, Versace, and Fendi. This fusion of high fashion and street style was groundbreaking and set the stage for a new era of Hip Hop fashion.

PIONEERS OF HIP HOP FASHION

Jason Mizell (also known as Jam Master Jay), Darryl McDaniels and Joseph Simmons of Run DMC attend the WWDMagic tradeshow, 1998. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Several designers have played significant roles in shaping Hip Hop fashion over the years. They understood the unique blend of street and luxury, and their creations reflected the culture of the movement. Here are a few standout names:

DAPPER DAN

Dapper Dan in the front row at Gucci RTW Spring 2018 show. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Dapper Dan is known as the “father of Hip Hop fashion,” Dapper Dan was a trailblazer in Harlem who created custom, high-end clothing inspired by luxury brands. His designs were worn by legendary artists like LL Cool J, Salt-N-Pepa, and Eric B. & Rakim.

KARL KANI

A Karl Kani advertisement in 1995 of 2Pac and his crew. (Photo Credit: The Source Magazine)

Karl Kani is credited with popularizing baggy jeans and bringing streetwear to the forefront of Hip Hop fashion. His brand became synonymous with the West Coast Hip Hop scene and the rise of gangsta rap.

Tupac Shakur in a Karl Kani denim suit and t-shirt attends the premiere of Poetic Justice in Beverly Hills, 1993. (Photo Credit: WWD)

SEAN JOHN

Jennifer Lopez (wearing Sean John) and Sean John at the Video Music Awards in 2001. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

When we talk about Sean John, we’re talking about the undeniable influence of Sean “Diddy” Combs in the world of fashion. Launched in 1998, Sean John became an instant sensation by fusing urban style with luxury. The brand’s runway shows were events in their own right, showcasing the marriage of streetwear and high-end fashion. Sean John’s signature velour tracksuits, puffy vests, and blinged-out accessories epitomized the early 2000s Hip Hop style.

A look from Sean John’s Fall 2000 Collection. (Photo Credit: WWD)

BABY PHAT

Alicia Keys in Baby Phat in New York City, 2003. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

If there’s a brand that defined early 2000s Hip Hop femininity, it’s Baby Phat. Launched in 1999 by the inimitable Kimora Lee Simmons, this fashion house embodied both style and empowerment. Baby Phat’s logo-laden, glam-meets-streetwear aesthetic was a favorite among female artists, including Missy Elliott, Lil’ Kim, and Alicia Keys. Kimora’s influence extended beyond design; she was a pioneering figure in the movement towards body positivity and diversity in fashion.

TOMMY HILFIGER

Kidada Jones in Tommy Jeans at the Tommy Tour bus wrap up party at Morton’s Restaurant in Los Angeles, 1997. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Tommy Hilfiger’s brand achieved iconic status in the ’90s thanks to endorsements from artists like Aaliyah and Snoop Dogg, solidifying its place in Hip Hop fashion history.

VIRGIL ABLOH

Kanye West and Virgil Abloh were powerful bridges between rap and luxury fashion. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The late Virgil Abloh’s work with Off-White and Louis Vuitton was instrumental in bridging the gap between luxury fashion and streetwear in the 21st century. His impact on Hip Hop fashion cannot be overstated.

PHARRELL WILLIAMS

Pharrell WIlliams changed the culture of fashion & music. (Photo Credit: Snobhop)

Pharrell Williams is a multifaceted visionary known for his versatility as a musician, producer, and fashion icon, has left an indelible mark on Hip Hop fashion. His brand, Billionaire Boys Club (BBC), and its subsidiary, Ice Cream, have blended streetwear with a futuristic, space-age aesthetic. He has collaborated with iconic brands such as Adidas and Chanel, and his ability to blur the lines between high fashion and streetwear has made him a true pioneer in the industry. Pharrell’s vision continues to push boundaries and inspire a new generation of fashion enthusiasts as the Creative Director for Louis Vuitton Menswear.

SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST MUSIC…..

Rozonda “Chili” Thomas, Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez and Tionne “T Boz” Watkins attend Clive Davis pre-grammy party in New York, 1992. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Over the past 50 years, Hip Hop has transcended music to become a cultural phenomenon that’s influenced the world in ways few could have predicted. Its impact on fashion has been profound, giving rise to a vibrant and dynamic fusion of street and luxury wear that continues to shape the industry. The pioneers of Hip Hop fashion, from Dapper Dan to Virgil Abloh, have created enduring legacies that celebrate the essence of self-expression and defiance. As we look back on this half-century journey, we see that Hip Hop’s unique style and swagger are here to stay, leaving an indelible mark on the world of fashion. Hip Hop fashion is more than just clothing; it’s a reflection of a movement that changed the world.

So, tell us, what music genre influences your style most?

Fashion Unites Against Terrorism

A woman lights candles in honor of victims of the Hamas attacks during a vigil. The sign reads Out of Words. (Photo Credit: AP)

October 7th was a grim reminder for those of us who witnessed the terror and horror of 9/11 first hand and its impact, not only on New York City’s fashion industry, but the world at large. The recent attack on Israeli civilians by Hamas that involved rockets, drones, ground infiltrations and the taking of hostages, was an act of pure evil. Retaliation was swift and continues to result in pain and sorrow for both Israelis and Palestinians.

Depending on a country’s political interests, historical ties and moral values, they have responded to Hamas’ October attack on Israel – and Israel’s response –  in different ways. Some countries stand with Israel, some stand with Palestine, while some try to mediate or remain neutral. Most though are in agreement that a release of the hostages, a ceasefire and humanitarian aid to Gaza are critical. As we process the complexity of the situation with empathy, we are reminded how fashion, as a form of self-expression, has always tried to unite. Past runway shows are evidence of this and the perfect vehicle to support or condemn social issues, whether it be animal rights, gay rights, women’s rights, size inclusivity, political oppression or other causes. So, you can be sure that the upcoming Fall 2025 shows will feature a combination of condemnation and/or support for one side or the other, but most probably there will be a rallying cry for “give peace a chance”. Let’s all hope it works. We want to see a just and lasting agreement between Israelis and Palestinians that will bring an end to the occupation, and peace, security and prosperity for Israelis and Palestinians alike.

The Global Fashion Industry Takes a Stand Against Terrorism

The fashion industry is a global enterprise and therefore a majority of fashion houses, rather than take sides, have taken a stand by denouncing terrorism and calling for an end to violence and hatred. Brands have expressed solidarity and support for the victims of the conflict, on both sides. For example, Stella McCartney posted a message on her Instagram saying: “My heart breaks for the people and families who are being senselessly killed and brutalised right now. This is terrorism. You do not need to be Israeli or Palestinian to see that this is wrong. I stand with those around the world who seek peace and justice for all.” She also shared a link to a petition by Avaaz, a global civic movement, that urges world leaders to intervene and stop the bloodshed.

British fashion designer Victoria Beckham also took to social media to share her thoughts on the situation at hand. Her statement read: “In this time of crisis, my thoughts are with the innocent victims of the recent unjust and barbaric attacks. These acts of brutal terrorism have left both Israeli and Palestinian civilians suffering. As human beings, we can’t help but be deeply affected by these harrowing acts. As a mother and as a woman, seeing the pain, suffering and loss of life on both sides is truly horrific. I stand with those around the world who seek an end to the violence and hatred. I stand for peace.”

The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) issued its own statement, noting that it “stands with those determined to fight terrorism”. The organization added: “We mourn the loss of life and pray for the cycle of violence to end for a lasting peace.”

Zara store in Jerusalem. (Photo Credit: AFP)

One of the most immediate actions taken by some global fashion and beauty brands was to close their stores in Israel temporarily, to protect their employees and customers. For instance, Inditex, the owner of Zara, announced the closing of its 84 stores in Israel until further notice. Other brands that followed suit included H&M, Mango, Sephora, and L’Oréal. These brands have also expressed their hope for a swift end to the conflict and a return to normalcy.

American Eagle’s billboard in Times Square supporting Israel. (Photo Credit: American Eagle)

Other brands decided to take a stand with Israel. American Eagle made a bold statement of its own, replacing its flagship billboard in New York City’s Times Square with an image of the Israeli flag. A picture of the billboard was shared by the company’s chief marketing officer Craig Brommers in a post on LinkedIn.

One of many posts from Shoshanna Gruss. (Photo Credit: @Shoshanna via Instagram)

Shoshanna Gruss, the designer behind her contemporary namesake label Shoshanna, posted her support to Israel and condemned the brutal attacks. On October 12th, Shoshanna donated 100% of her online sales to Magen David Adom, Israel’s national medical emergency, disaster, ambulance and blood service. The designer also posted, “The silence from the fashion industry is deafening, We stand with Israel now & forever”.

Tory Burch, the executive chairman and chief creative officer of the eponymous brand, and Pierre-Yves Roussel, the brand’s CEO, addressed employees in an internal letter last week. “We condemn terrorism and hatred in all their forms. The heart-wrenching reports and brutal images of the terrorist attack in Israel last weekend have deeply affected us,” they wrote. The Tory Buch brand will support those affected through two organizations: the International Committee of the Red Cross, dedicated to humanitarian aid, and the Alliance for Middle East Peace (ALLMEP), an organization focused on promoting peace in the region. “We will make a personal donation of $100,000 and a $150,000 donation on behalf of the company. Additionally, Tory Burch LLC will match any employee donations to ALLMEP.”

Chanel’s executive chairman, Alain Wertheimer, and CEO Leena Nair shared an internal note that was circulated on social media last week. “We have all been horrified and deeply saddened by the terrorist attacks against Israeli citizens. The war and resulting humanitarian crisis are a tragedy.” The internal note also stated that Chanel was donating $4 million to organizations engaged in providing humanitarian assistance.

A spokesperson for Capri Holdings Ltd., the parent company of Michael Kors, Jimmy Choo, and Versace, said, “We are deeply saddened by the recent attacks in Israel. Capri Holdings is currently exploring various organizations to which we can contribute to provide humanitarian assistance to those affected.”

Hearst, the parent company of Harper’s Bazaar, pledged $300,000 to various organizations, including UNICEF, Save the Children, and Doctors Without Borders. These organizations are working on the ground to deliver essential supplies and services, such as food, water, medicine, shelter, and education, to the people in need.

Other fashion companies that have made donations include PVH Corp., the owner of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger; Tapestry Inc., the owner of Coach and Kate Spade; Ralph Lauren Corp.; Levi Strauss & Co.; Gap Inc.; and VF Corp., the owner of Vans and The North Face. These companies have also encouraged their employees and customers to join them in supporting these causes.

(Left to Right) Galia Lahav and Pnina Tornai both announced they are not showing their collections amid the harrowing attacks in Israel. (Photo Credits: Getty Images)

Some Israeli designers have been active in raising awareness and funds for their country. For example, Galia Lahav, a bridal and eveningwear designer, launched a campaign called #StandWithIsrael, and donated 10 percent of her online sales to Magen David Adom. Pnina Tornai, another bridal designer, also donated 10 percent of her sales to Magen David Adom, and posted a video on Instagram urging her followers to do the same. Both designers canceled their Bridal Fashion Week Runway Shows in New York as a sign of solidarity with their country. “Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts are with all those affected by this devastating conflict,” said Lahav. “We hope for a future where we can come together to celebrate the beauty and creativity that define our brand.”

Other Israeli designers who have also shown their support include Alon Livne, Nili Lotan, Ronen Chen, Dorit Bar Or, Maya Reik, Shani Zimmerman, Yael Sonia, Kobi Halperin, Nili Ben Simon, Shai Shalom, Maya Bash, Yael Cohen Arissohn. Some of them have shared their personal stories and experiences of living under rocket fire and sirens.

Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa Bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, chairperson of Qatar Museums, speaks at the Fashion Trust Arabia Prize Gala in 2021. (Photo Credit: WWD)

A number of fashion-related events have been canceled or postponed throughout the Middle East. Vogue Arabia, Chopard, and Italian jeweler Pomellato have canceled upcoming events in the Middle East. We Design Beirut, a four-day design festival scheduled for late October in Lebanon, has been postponed for the safety of all participants.

The Fashion Trust of Arabia Awards 2023, which was originally planned for October 25 in Dubai, has also been postponed. “At FTA, our goal has always been to support the talents of designers in the MENA region,” the organization stated in a release. “However, given the current situation in the region, it would be ill-considered to continue with our event.”

designer Nirmeen Hourani

Nirmeen Hourani – the first female owner of a fashion house in Gaza (Photo credit: middleeasteye.com)

Lebanese designers Elie Saab, Tony Ward, Georges Hobeika, Zuhair Murad, Emirati-Palestinian designer Reema Al Banna, as well as Syrian couturier Rami Al Ali and French-Moroccan designer Charaf Tajer, all Arab designers who show their collections during Paris Fashion Week, are all highly regarded on the world stage. Instagram has been the vehicle for designers to show their support, solidarity or opposition to the Israel/Hamas conflict. Sadly, with the exception of @Reema Al Banna, none of these designers have taken a stand publicly against the atrocities of this war.

For Gazan designers, it has been much harder to make it onto the global fashion stage due to geo-political circumstances that began in 2006 with the terrorist group Hamas winning the parliamentary election and then the subsequent blockade of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Nirmeen Hourani, the first female owner of a fashion house in Gaza, has had to overcome many challenges to make her dreams come true. According to MiddleEastEye.com, “her journey in fashion has not always been straightforward, mainly due to the 15-year-old Israeli blockade on Gaza and the fact that there are no fashion schools to attend.” 

 

This shirt / jacket / dress plays on the dishdasheh silhouette worn traditionally by men in the Middle East.

A shirt by Taita Leila based on the dishdasheh silhouette worn traditionally by men in the Middle East. (Photo credit: Taita Leila)

Taita Leila, a Palestinian brand inspired by the tradition of Palestinian embroidery, or tatreez, reinterprets the techniques “in a way that would make your grandmother proud”. According to their website: “Since last year’s uprising [2022], we have been having difficulty in reaching our audience via social media, and especially Instagram. We are tired of being shadowbanned simply because we’re Palestinian. What’s it like being shadowbanned?  Your exposure on a given social media platform is restricted and your direct followers infrequently see your posts. Even supermodel Bella Hadid has called out the platform for silencing her whenever she posts anything about Palestine, her stories drop by over 1 MILLION views! ”  Recently however, in response to the Israel/Hamas War, Taita Leila has raised over $1.8 million on Instagram to help ensure that hospitals and emergency responders have the supplies they need in Gaza.

Nol Collective works with family owned businesses, artisan workshops, and women’s cooperatives from villages in the hills of Jerusalam to Gaza, Ramallah, and Bethlehem, producing traditional Palestinian crafts such as tatreez (hand embroidery) and weaving touched by a history of political struggle and resistance. They too have been raising funds on their Instagram channel to help the innocent victims of the war.

Nol Collective (Photo credit: NolCollective.com)

Other Palestinian brands and determined to keep fashion alive as a form of cultural pride, self expression and resistance to oppression. Neel (which means generation in Arabic), is another multidisciplinary design house that specializes in old Palestinian embroidery with a 1970s aesthetic. “We preserve and repurpose so Palestine is never forgotten and passed on to generations that follow,” reads its bio on Instagram.

WISHING FOR PEACE

John Lennon's Give Peace a Chance poster

John Lennon’s Give Peace a Chance

The fashion industry must continue to do its part to help the victims of this war. Whether it is by closing stores for safety, speaking out for peace, taking the time to understand the complexities of this conflict or by donating to charities, we must all work toward seeking a just and lasting agreement between Israelis and Palestinians. John Lennon said it best in 1969, “Give Peace a Chance”.

Milan & Paris Fashion Weeks: A Tale of Two Cities & A Fashion Industry First

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

If you are an ardent follower of fashion, then you know that each fashion week city has its own personality. This year, the contrast between Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week was especially evident, as the former offered sexy and glamorous looks, while the latter went all in on avant-garde and experimentalism. Here are some of the differences (and similarities) between the two fashion cities for the Spring 2024 season.

MILAN FASHION WEEK SS24

Milan Fashion Week may be over, but the memory of  stunning collections and star-studded front rows linger on. The six-day event, which ran from September 19th to September 25th, showcased some of the most influential and creative designers in the world. One of the main themes that emerged from MFW was a return to glamour, sensuality and sophistication, but…with a modern twist. Some of the highlights included:

THE NEW TOM FORD

Backstage looks from Tom Ford’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

Peter Hawkings, the British designer who replaced Tom Ford as the creative director of his namesake brand, made his debut with a collection that stayed true to Ford’s signature style of sleek minimalism and hedonistic elegance. The show featured velvet suits, silk blouses, leather coats, evening sandals and crystal-embellished dresses in a palette of black, white, red and metallics. Hawkings also added some playful touches, such as asymmetrical jackets, cropped tuxedos and satin knickers, worn over pantyhose. The collection was a tribute to Ford’s legacy and a statement of Hawkings’ own vision for the future of Tom Ford. Some might even call Hawkings, Ford’s mini-me.

CHANGING OF THE GUARD

Looks from Gucci’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

Sabato De Sarno, the former Valentino designer who took over as Gucci’s creative director after Alessandro Michele’s departure, also made his first appearance on the Milan runway with a collection that aimed to make people fall in love with Gucci again. De Sarno focused on fluidity, lightness, and freedom, creating dresses in sheer fabrics that contrasted with tailored suits and coats in Gucci’s iconic materials. He also introduced a new “it color”, Gucci Rosso, a deep oxblood hue that evoked a sense of retro sophistication. The collection was a celebration of Gucci’s heritage and a reflection of De Sarno’s personal style.

YOU’VE BEEN SLIMED

Looks from Prada’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: The Impression)

Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons continued their Prada collaboration with a collection that explored the concept of craft and technique. The show was set in a space filled with slime that dripped from the ceiling, creating a contrast between the organic and the artificial. The clothes were equally juxtaposed, mixing formal silhouettes with floaty fabrics, printed fringe with floral patterns, and metallic accessories with delicate materials. The collection also featured some nods to Prada’s past, such as Peter Pan collars, glossy trenches and hand-carved bag clasps that reproduced a design from 1913. The collection was a demonstration of Prada’s innovation and excellence.

THE ART OF SEDUCTION

Naomi Campbell wows at Dolce & Gabbana as the supermodel closes the Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the design duo behind Dolce & Gabbana, delivered a collection that was all about seduction and glamour. The show was filled with corset dresses, tulle slips, lingerie sets, barn jackets and flapper dresses in satin, velvet, leather and lace. The colors were rich and vibrant, ranging from black and white to red, pink, purple and gold. The accessories were equally eye-catching, featuring crystal embellishments, metal fringe and vintage baubles. The collection was a tribute to Dolce & Gabbana’s signature aesthetic and a celebration of femininity.

‘90s GLAMOUR

Supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Gigi Hadid backstage at Versace’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Style Du Monde)

Versace is one of the world’s most iconic and influential fashion houses, known for its bold, sexy and glamorous style. For Spring 2024, the House paid tribute to its founder Gianni Versace and his legendary designs from the early ’90s. The collection was inspired by the autumn 1995 Versace and spring 1995 Atelier Versace collections, which were marked by a ladylike elegance and sophistication.

One of the highlights of the show was the return of Claudia Schiffer to the runway, who modeled for Versace in the ’90s and became one of fashion’s original supermodels. Schiffer wore a pale-yellow lace embroidered metal mesh slipdress that evoked the sensuality and glamour of Versace’s signature material. The collection also reflected the current trends of the season, such as short and shorter shorts and skirts, checkerboard prints, pastel colors and flat ballerina shoes. Versace also updated its classic Medusa-patterned silks into boxer short and shirt sets for men and women, adding a touch of playfulness and comfort to the collection.

ROMAN ELEGANCE

Looks from Fendi’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: The Impression)

Fendi celebrated its Roman roots and its contemporary vision for Spring 2024. Kim Jones, the artistic director for couture and womenswear, said he was inspired by Rome and the women who live there. “In Rome, there is an elegance in ease and not caring what anybody else thinks—that is real luxury. In this collection, I wanted to reflect that,” Jones wrote in the show notes.

The show featured models wearing fluid dresses, tailored suits, knitwear separates and leather coats in a palette of black, white, red, yellow and blue. The collection also featured some references to Fendi’s past, such as the double-F logo, the puzzle print and the metal mesh fabric. The collection was influenced by Karl Lagerfeld’s spring 1999 show for the house and his minimalist approach.

A FASHION INDUSTRY FIRST!

The closing of Moschino’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Up until now we thought we had seen all the ‘firsts’ there were to see in the fashion industry, e.g., Black and ethic models appearing on magazine covers and racial & ethnic diversity, size inclusivity, the physically handicapped and transgender models on the runway. We witnessed high-end designers like Karl Lagerfeld collaborating with H&M and other famous designer collaborations with Target. Then came the ‘designer for the designer’ trend, John Galiano at Maison Margiela and Raf Simmons at Jil Sander, followed by the ‘guest designer’ phenomenon, such as Simone Rocha for Jean Paul Gaultier Couture and Colm Dillane for Louis Vuitton. And of course the ‘celebrity’ creative director craze, the most recent being Pharrell Williams at Louis Vuitton and Balmain x Beyoncé.

The Moschino brand has always been the industry’s most playful fashion house, known for its witty, colorful and irreverent style. After founder Franco Moschino’s death in 1994, Rossella Jardini took the helm, followed by Jeremy Scott who, for ten years, elevated the brand’s status. With the exit of Scott in March 2023, everyone wondered who would replace him, especially since this year marks the brand’s 40th anniversary. Well, enter the era of ‘guest stylist”.

Every fashionista knows that the role of ‘stylist’ has been given a big boost, thanks in part to the first ever CFDA “Stylist of the Year” award that went to Law Roach in 2022. So, in a bold first move for the fashion industry, the Moschino brand invited four prominent stylists to reinterpret its archive to create the Spring 2024 Moschino collection. Whether the brand couldn’t get it together to hire a new creative director in time for their Spring 2024 season or…perhaps it’s a signal that stylists are now the new act in town. Whatever the reason, the house reached out to four stylists who paid tribute to the late Franco Moschino and his legacy of satire, subversion and joy. Stylists Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele, Katie Grand, Gabriella Karefa-Johnson, and Lucia Liu each created 10 looks that reflected their own personal style and injected some of Moschino’s signature elements.

The finale of the show featured 40 models wearing T-shirts with Moschino’s logo, and raised funds for the Elton John AIDS Foundation in memory of Franco Moschino who died from AIDS in 1994.

PARIS FASHION WEEK

A look from Undercover’s Spring 2024 Collection. Glowing terrariums filled with roses & butterflies. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Paris Fashion Week, which ran from Sep 25th to Oct 3rd is the grand finale of  fashion month.  This year the Parisian runways were full of surprises, as many designers experimented with avant-garde concepts, materials, and silhouettes, challenging the conventional notions of beauty and style. Here are some of the highlights from the Paris Fashion Week Spring 2024.

A BALL OF FUN

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Rei Kawakubo, the founder and creative director of Comme des Garçons, is one of the pioneers of avant-garde fashion, and her latest collection was no exception. Overcome by the state of the world today, and the feeling of gloom and doom, Rei Kawakubo’s counterintuitive reaction was to roll out a collection filled with huge balls of fun.

For Spring 2024, Kawakubo showed off her playful side with multi-colored, bubbly fabric sculptured looks. Patterns ranged from neon graphics to Hawaiian hibiscus prints. The collection was a stunning display of Kawakubo’s artistic vision and craftsmanship.

FINDING THE LIGHT

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Rick Owens is another designer who is known for his avant-garde and edgy style, often inspired by subcultures and dystopian themes. But for Spring 2024, Owens showed his softer side by playing with colors ranging from deep reds and mauve-ish pinks. It was a refreshing take on Owens’ usual goth-like aesthetic.

Looks ranged from peak-shouldered shrunken leather motorcycle jackets to billowing parachute like capes. Owens also featured plenty of slim, long skirts with ultra-high waists,  as well as circular pouf dresses which were oh so whimsical.

THE GREAT TRANSFORMER

A look from Maison Margiela’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Maison Margiela is one of the most avant-garde and influential fashion houses in the world, known for its deconstructed and reconstructed garments, often playing with the notions of identity and anonymity. Its spring 2024 collection was a daring exploration of dualities and transformation, creating a stunning visual impact and a profound emotional expression. The collection was designed by John Galliano, who is also the creative director of the house, and who is widely regarded as one of the most original and visionary designers of our time.

Galliano is a master of playing with the juxtaposition of vintage inspired pieces, such as bodices, linings, and petticoats and deconstructing them up to create his beloved avant-garde looks.

REMIXING THE CODES

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Yohji Yamamoto is another one of the pioneers of avant-garde fashion, and his latest collection was no exception. The designer has been creating his experimental fashions for over 40 years and recently stated in an interview with Vogue that “he hates looking back to his own work.”

For Spring 2024 Yamamoto looks to the great designers of the past for inspiration, citing Chanel, Givenchy, and Balenciaga. He said he wanted to examine and remix their codes in his distinct way. Looks ranged from restrained black dresses over white shirts to deconstructed frocks. Yamamoto’s collection was entirely in black with a pop of white sprinkled throughout. But the darkness showcased Yamamoto’s creations brilliantly, as looks were layered with pleats and tucks creating origami-like volume that was a stunning display of Yamamoto’s artistic vision and craftsmanship.

SARAH BURTON TAKES HER FINAL BOW

A look from Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alexander McQueen)

The house of Alexander McQueen has always been known for its innovative and futuristic designs, often pushing the boundaries of fashion and technology. Its spring 2024 show was creative director Sarah Burton’s final collection for the house. “This collection is inspired by female anatomy, Queen Elizabeth I, the blood red rose, and Magdalena Abakanowicz, a transgressive and powerful artist who refused ever to compromise her vision,” she wrote in the press statement. “The show is dedicated to Lee Alexander McQueen, whose wish was always to empower women, and to the passion, talent, and loyalty of my team.”

Burton also paid tribute to Britain and the national flower of England, the red rose. The flower motif made its mark on several dresses. The creative director was also inspired by textile sculptures of Abakanowicz, a feminist artist from Poland, whose forms suggest the embrace of motherhood, vaginas, comfort, and protection.

From armored leather corsetry to gowns that celebrated the female body, the collection was a remarkable demonstration of Burton’s vision and skill. We are all wondering what Burton will do next. Stay tuned.

So, tell us, do your creations lean on the side of sultry and seductive, or do they lean towards avant-garde?

 

 

A RIOT OF EXPERIMENTAL ELEGANCE: LONDON FASHION WEEK SS/2024

- - Fashion Shows

Backstage at Susan Fang’s Spring 2024 Show. This dress was made from 600 handcrafted bead trees. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

While quiet luxury ruled the New York runways, London Fashion Week offered the exact opposite – eccentric elegance and avant-garde fun. London Fashion Week has always been a playground for designers who dare to defy convention and LFW Spring 2024 was no exception. In fact, we witnessed a sensational surge in experimental fashion that pushed the limits of imagination. The London shows took place from September 15th to the 19th and it was clear from the start that this season was going to be all about taking risks, celebrating the bizarre, and embracing the unconventional. Runways came alive with avant-garde designs, pushing the boundaries of what’s considered fashion. Leading the charge were some of the industry’s most iconic names. Let’s dive in:

BREAKING THE MOLD

The genesis of JW Anderson’s Spring 2024 collection was inspired by the humble yet powerful medium of clay. Yes, I said clay. Jonathan Anderson, found himself captivated by the malleability of clay, its capacity for transformation, and the inherent connection it bears to the human touch. In his collection, Anderson endeavored to capture the essence of clay, showcasing its versatility, sensuousness, and raw beauty through every piece. Case in point, a variety of looks that looked as though they were molded from Play-Doh — and they sort of were. Created out of plasticine, a British label of modelling clay, Anderson’s creations were stiff, lumpy, and totally camp. Almost like looking at a model wearing a cartoon.

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

ETHEREAL ROMANCE MEETS THE AVANT-GARDE

Simone Rocha’s Spring 2024 collection was a triumph of ethereal romanticism intertwined with experimental fashion. The runway was a dreamscape of whimsical silhouettes and intricate detailing. Rocha merged bold fabrics and textures, combining lace, tulle, and leather in unexpected ways.

One unforgettable piece was a voluminous tulle gown adorned with cascading floral appliqués. It was as if the models had stepped out of a fairytale and onto the runway. Simone Rocha reminded us that experimental fashion can be soft, romantic, and utterly enchanting – embellished Crocs and all.

A look from Simone Rocha’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

THE CLASH OF HERITAGE AND FUTURISM

At Burberry, Creative Director Daniel Lee (this is his sophomore collection for the heritage brand) took the concept of experimental fashion to a new level. The collection was a vibrant blend of heritage and futurism, as models walked down the runway in reimagined trench coats. Models strutted tailored coats with low slung belts and Lee’s updated Burberry Prorsum ‘knight on horseback’ logo, one that is deconstructed and taken apart – the pattern consists of images of metal carabiner clips in the shape of the knight’s horse and heavy-duty silver chains. The Spring 2024 collection was a perfect balance of elevated grunge and classic Brit appeal that is the signature of Burberry.

A look from Burberry’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

ELEGANCE REDFINED

Richard Quinn’s Spring 2024 collection was an extravaganza of excess and opulence. The show, held at the Grand London Ballroom, was an ode to the designer’s late father and stayed true to Quinn’s signature creations, as models walked the runway draped in lush fabrics, feathers, and sequins, creating an atmosphere of grandeur. The collection took a pensive tone with regal opera gloves, exaggerated collars, and cage dresses in both mourning blacks and angelic off-whites. Supermodel Jessica Stam closed the show in an embellished bridal jumpsuit, signaling that even in grief, there is love. Quinn’s collection proved that experimental fashion can be a celebration of the extraordinary.

A look from Richard Quinn’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

HERITAGE MEETS SUBVERSION

Chopova Lowena’s Spring 2024 collection was a masterful blend of heritage and subversion. Models wore garments that juxtaposed traditional textiles with unconventional design elements. The design duo, Emma Chopova and Laura Lowena-Irons, merged tough skate culture with frilly folkloric dreams creating a gothic girlie look that was superb. Case in point, a delicate lace collared jacket paired with a black lace dress and leather studded accessories, symbolizing the collision of old-world charm and modern edge. Chopova Lowena’s collection was a testament to the beauty of contrasts in fashion.

A look from Chopova Lowena’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

THAT’S A WRAP

As the curtain fell on London Fashion Week Spring 2024, these British designers left an indelible mark on the fashion world. Their experimental creations challenged norms, pushed boundaries, and celebrated the art of self-expression through clothing. In the grand tapestry of fashion, they remind us that it’s the rule-breakers and innovators who propel the industry into exciting new territories, ensuring that fashion remains a vibrant, ever-evolving art form. Oh, and it looked like they were having lots of fun doing it!

Looks from KWK by Kay Kwok’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

So tell us, are you embracing the NY quiet luxury trend or London’s experimental fashion?

QUIET LUXURY STOLE THE SHOW AT NY FASHION WEEK SPRING 2024

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Michael Kors’ Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the dazzling whirlwind that is the fashion world, where fantastical runway creations often seem more suited for the pages of a sci-fi novel than our daily lives, New York Fashion Week Spring 2024, which ran from September 7th to September 13, 2023, came as a breath of fresh air. This Spring 2024 season, designers decided to take a step back from the avant-garde and embrace a much-needed return to the realm of “real clothes for the real world.” The result? Runway shows that felt more relatable, relevant, and refreshing than ever before. Are we all ready for some reality?

Fashion enthusiasts worldwide seemed to have been yearning for authenticity in recent years. Haven’t we all  grown tired of feeling like mere spectators of fashion, unable to find any common ground between the eccentric runway fantasies and our everyday wardrobes? Well, finally, New York’s designers are offering a solution to this dilemma by delivering collections that spoke to the modern woman, the urban man, and the fashion-conscious non-binary individual. The collections presented us with pieces that felt not only wearable but desirable.

Backstage at Altuzarra’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Hunter Abrams)

This season wasn’t about who could make the biggest statement; it was about the designers who showcased the art of quiet luxury, proving that sometimes, less truly is more.

THE HISTORY OF MINIMALISM

If you Google “minimalist fashion designers”, up pops Coco Chanel, Halston, Helmut Lang, Calvin Klein and Martin Margiela. Clothes known in the 90s as sleek, elegant and understated, would go on to become one of design’s most enduring ‘less is more’ trends and not just in the fashion world, but also in art, architecture and furniture design,  One could argue that American designer Michael Kors has always been a minimalist.

Fast forward to 2018 and the 5 season hit TV series Succession, which gave us Shiv Roy. Her wardrobe perfected the “Art of Quiet Luxury”, with its elite high-end aesthetic comprised of toned-down, tailored designer pieces in color codes of gray, black, brown and beige, over noisy opulence full of obvious branding and loud logos.

By 2022, the trend-setting powers of social media and growing pressure on the fashion industry to create collections that could stand the test of time, saw the list of brands embracing a more stripped-back approach continue to grow. Brands like The Row, Cos, Totême, Peter Do, Jim Sander and Khaite are some examples that brought minimalist dressing back.

And now, for Spring 2024, designers Proenza Schouler and Tory Burch brought minimalism back, with clean lines, simple silhouettes and muted color palettes. Their respective collections spoke volumes, without the need for excessive embellishments or flashy prints. The focus was on impeccable tailoring, high-quality materials, and timeless pieces that transcended seasons. What was once called “Investment Dressing”, now goes by the name “Minimalistic Quiet Luxury”.

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Proenza Schouler)

A look from Tory Burch’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

MONOCHROMATIC MASTERY

Another piece of the Minimalistic Quiet Luxury trend is monochromatic looks. The collections of Gabriela Hearst and Willy Chavarria showcased the power of a single color. These designers demonstrated that dressing in one color from head to toe can be incredibly chic and sophisticated. It’s a testament to the idea that true luxury doesn’t need to scream; it can whisper.

Looks from Willy Chavarria’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

RETURN OF TAILORING

Tailoring made a triumphant comeback at NYFW Spring 2024. Designers like Helmut Lang and Ralph Lauren displayed a mastery of the art of tailoring, by creating perfectly fitted suits, blazers, and trousers that exuded sophistication and confidence. The attention to detail was unparalleled, with impeccable stitching and precise cuts.

A look from Helmut Lang’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A look from Ralph Lauren’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

SUBTLE DETAILS THAT SPEAK VOLUMES

Quiet luxury is all about the little things that make a big impact. Designers like Jason Wu and Catherine Holstein of Khaite incorporated subtle details like delicate embroidery, discreet logos, and elegant draping to elevate their pieces. These subtle touches added an air of exclusivity without resorting to ostentation.

Looks from Jason Wu’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

A look from Khaite’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Khaite)

SUSTAINABLE ELEGANCE

A significant component of quiet luxury in 2024 was its commitment to sustainability. Designers such as Stella McCartney and Eileen Fisher were in the forefront of the environmental movement and for Spring 2024, designers Gabriela Hearst and Collina Strada demonstrated that luxury and eco-consciousness can coexist. They used eco-friendly materials and production processes, showcasing that a responsible approach to fashion can be a luxury in itself.

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Collina Strada’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

TIMELESSNESS

Perhaps the most captivating aspect of quiet luxury is its timelessness. Designers like Carolina Herrera and Ralph Lauren created pieces that will remain relevant and stylish for years to come. These collections weren’t about chasing fleeting trends but rather celebrating enduring elegance.

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Supermodel Christy Turlington walks in Ralph Lauren’s Spring-Summer 2024 show at an artfully-transformed warehouse in the Brooklyn Naval Yard. (Photo Credit: AP Press)

In a world that often values excess and extravagance, NYFW Spring 2024 reminded us of the beauty of restraint. Quiet luxury is a celebration of craftsmanship, quality, minimalism, and the subtle art of making a statement without shouting. It’s about embracing the idea that true luxury is in the details, in the craftsmanship, and in the enduring appeal of a well-made garment.

As we step into this new era of understated elegance, we applaud the designers who have embraced quiet luxury and redefined the standards of opulence. NYFW Spring 2024 has given us a fresh perspective on what it means to be truly luxurious in an increasingly noisy world. In the end, it’s not about how loudly you proclaim your status; it’s about the quiet confidence that comes from knowing you’re wearing the best.

So tell us, do you believe quiet luxury is just a trend or is the understated movement here to stay?