Looks from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
By now, every dedicated follower-of-fashion has seen the extraordinary Dior Pre-Fall show images from Mumbai that flooded social media with the iconic Gateway of India as backdrop. Having spent seven years working/designing in India, the Dior show was of particular interest to our founder Francesca Sterlacci (FYI-the Taj Mahal hotel is across the street from the Gateway). Francesca’s love of Indian handicrafts, the preservation of those crafts, and female empowerment within the fashion industry are all missions she shares with Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The March 23rd Dior show was not only a celebration of Indian culture and craft, but of its women and its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Created by women for women, the show reinforced India’s long-standing role in manufacturing European high fashion and the growing power of its luxury consumers. The Dior/India collaboration was a showcase for all the ways the French Maison is interlinked with the artisanship of Mumbai, specifically the Chanakya School of Craft.
Behind the scenes of the Dior and Chanakya School of Craft collaboration. (Photo Credit: WWD)
Originally founded in 1986 by their father Vinod Shah, daughters Karishma Swali and Monica Shah established the Chanakya School of Craft (CSC) in 2016; a foundation and non-profit school dedicated to craft, culture and women’s empowerment and whose mission is to preserve and promote the age-old heritage of hand embroidery.
Today, the school has educated over 700 women providing them with employable skills and autonomy over their lives and their future, making embroideries for international labels such as Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Valentino, Lanvin and Prada. An immersive one-year program on master crafts covering over 300 techniques is taught, while also covering modules on business acumen, basic finance and starting new ventures. The beneﬁt is twofold: ancient techniques and skills are revived while also being rejuvenated by the joy and ambition of those who have ﬁnally been empowered. Women of all communities in India can now create their art safely, transforming not just their own lives but the lives of those around them.
“The highest education is that which does not merely give us information, but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” ~Rabindranath Tagore
Chanakya School of Craft- Mumbai India (Image credit: Chanakya.school)
The show was a testament to Chanakya and Dior’s shared commitment of promoting female empowerment, diversity and inclusivity. In addition to the beautiful embroideries made by women, Dior’s casting of models for the show were a mix of Indian and Western models in a diverse range of body types and skin tones.
Dior’s landmark Pre-Fall 2023 collection was also a celebration of the luxury house’s commitment to sustainability. The brand has been making a concerted effort to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable fashion and the show featured pieces made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton. Dior announced its commitment to using only sustainable cotton by 2025.
A look from from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
The Dior collection was a beautiful tribute to India’s vibrant and colorful culture and its women. It was also a perfect example of how fashion can be a powerful tool for cultural exchange. Models walked down the historic square dressed in sari-inspired drapes, kurta shirts, Nehru jackets, sherwanis and lungi skirts in a color palette of rich reds, blues, greens, and golds, featuring intricate embroidery work created by hand, by female artisans from Mumbai.
Looks from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
Maria Grazia Chiuri took the final bow in the presence of a bevy of movie stars, influencers, royalty and, of course, the Ambanis (children of Mukesh Ambani, the richest person in India and Asia and the world’s ninth richest person). India has officially secured its place on the luxury fashion map!
OTHER LUXURY BRANDS THAT HAVE SHOWN IN INDIA
YSL 1989 show in India. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
While in the past other luxury brands have held shows in India (Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Prada), Dior was the first European luxury brand that held an official calendar show in India with their Pre-Fall 2023 collection.
WHAT DOES THE DIOR SHOW MEAN FOR INDIA’S LUXURY MARKET?
Looks from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)
Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 show in Mumbai was quite a success. The turnout of boldface names across industries was high, including India’s leading celebrity Virat Kohli and Bollywood stars such as Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra Jonas. The event was significant as it signaled India’s growing luxury status.
The Gateway to Mumbai. (Photo Credit: The National)
As luxury brands tap new markets in a hunt for their next billions, Dior became the first fashion house to unveil their latest collection in India. The strategic and symbolic value of Dior’s staging their show at Mumbai’s Gateway of India monument is akin to when Fendi staged a fashion show on the Great Wall of China in 2007, a move that foreshadowed the importance of Chinese consumers to the luxury industry over the next decade.
The event was significant as it marked Dior’s entry into India’s luxury market which has been growing rapidly over the past few years. According to a report by Deloitte, India’s luxury market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10 – 15% over the next five years. This growth is being driven by an increase in disposable income among India’s middle class and a growing appetite for luxury goods among younger consumers.
To learn more about the types of handicrafts used in the Dior collection, view our Tambour beading and hand embroidery lessons taught by Hand & Lock Award winner Silvia Perramon:
The success of University of Fashion has always been about the talent and expertise of our instructors, their lessons and the high level of our video production. Now, in our 14th year as the first and largest online fashion education resource, we thought it would be of interest to share with our subscribers what a few of our very talented instructors are up to these days. Over the next three weeks, we will be spotlighting three of these very talented instructors and how they have continued to expand their creativity as entrepreneurs and artists. First up…Jessica Krupa.
Jessica Krupa is a graduate and former instructor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. With over 15 years of experience creating swimwear and intimate apparel collections for Fortune 500 companies, including Li & Fung, Jessica was awarded a bra design patent for innovation during her tenure at Victoria’s Secret. Needless to say, Jessica has tons of cred.
So, it’s no surprise that Jessica is crushing her new business venture, Panty Promise, the first seamless, certified organic cotton panty imported from Italy.
UoF instructor and designer/founder of Panty Promise (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)
In 2020, Jessica identified the need for better panty options for women without risking their feminine wellness and was driven to solve this; enter Panty Promise. Jessica consulted with top NY Gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck to make her vision come to life and took a year developing the best fabric and design, thus creating the first seamless certified organic cotton panty imported from a high-end mill in Italy.
Jessica’s design eliminates pesky panty lines and uncomfortable seams, like traditional cotton panties, resulting in a smooth and ultra-comfortable look and feel. Her design is Utility Patent Pending in the USA, Canada, EU and UK to keep the innovation and design protected against knockoffs.
Jessica Krupa launched her new brand Panty Promise in 2020 (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)
Jessica Krupa and NY Gynecologist Dr. Alyssa Dweck (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)
Panty Promise packaging/laundry bag (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)
Panty Promise strives to be a leader in the biodegradable and sustainable mission to keep the Earth clean. They’re research and testing proves that their panties will biodegrade back into the earth in just 4-6 months, meanwhile synthetics take over 200 years and breakdown into harmful chemicals.
Jessica Krupa ‘s Panty Promise – the first seamless certified organic cotton panty imported from a high-end mill in Italy (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)
Panty Promise is proud to be an affiliate of Cotton Incorporated, where the brand is a Cotton Leads Partner, ensuring ethical global harvesting of cotton trading and manufacturing through the commitment of Cotton Inc.
Jessica likes to say, “We’re saving the planet one panty at a time.”
Panty Promise panties sized XS-4X and in a variety of skin tones and styles: low, high, and mid-rise both in covered and bare bottoms. (Image courtesy: Panty Promise).
Panty Promise exhibits at the Curve Trade Show – Los Angeles 2023 (Image courtesy: Panty Promise)
In her first year of business Jessica exhibited at the Curve Trade Show, which helped catapult the brand to over 65 retailers after winning the New Brand Audience award during Curve’s Pitch off Competition.
Panty Promise is currently sold throughout the USA, Canada, the Caribbean, South America, Iceland and the Middle East, in body positive sizes XS-4X and in a variety of skin tones. Panty Promise wholesale price points range from $11-$14, with style offerings from low to high rise in both covered and bare bottoms.
Beat the winter blues by immersing yourself in real-life fashion experiences this season as museums around the world are offering plenty of brilliant fashion exhibitions. After all, nothing beats seeing the magic of intricate embroidery, statement-making designs, or avant-garde silhouettes up-close-and-personal. Louise Wallenberg, the author of Art, Life and the Fashion Museum, perfectly stated, “Costume can tell us more than any other type of museum collection about how people looked, felt, and lived at any particular time. A garment can be regarded as the remaining outer shell of a living person and will reflect that person’s taste, position or way of life.”
Fashion exhibits give us a glimpse of history through garments, as well as a desire to escape into a whimsical fantasy that beautiful clothing can conjure up. Over the last decade, museums and fashion houses have created more fashion exhibits then ever before. In 2019, Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams opened at London’s V&A and broke the museum’s attendance records, attracting over 700,000 people across its seven-month tenure (great news: the exhibit is currently showing in Tokyo). Today, at V&A in London, the Africa Fashion exhibition (until April 16, 2023) has proven to be so popular that the museum is looking to hold on to over 70 pieces for its permanent collection. Meanwhile, in 2018, the Heavenly Bodies exhibit at the New York Met, blew past attendance rates out of the water.
Sure, it takes years of work by curators, historians, and creatives, but viewing a curated fashion exhibit can be an eye-opening experience for fashion lovers with people coming from all over the world to see a well curated exhibit. From original sketches to the final result, coming face to face with a designers perfectly lit and positioned creative process is mesmerizing –it’s so rare to have access to these treasures in an industry forever thriving off its exclusivity.
If you’re looking to get educated on the all things fashion industry related, check out the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry Second Edition, co-written by our founder, Francesca Sterlacci.
So, as you make your plans for the year, here’s a list of the shows you should be adding to your calendar:
Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse
Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) International in Melbourne, Australia until April 16, 2023 (Photo Credit: LVH)
Alexander McQueen is one of the most original fashion designers in recent history. Celebrated for his conceptual and technical virtuosity, McQueen’s critically acclaimed collections synthesized his proficiency in tailoring and dressmaking with visual references that spanned time, geography, and media.
Showcasing more than 120 garments and accessories, Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse offers insight into McQueen’s far-reaching sources of inspiration, his creative processes and capacity for storytelling. Displayed alongside McQueen’s innovative designs are more than eighty artworks – spanning painting, sculpture, textiles, prints, photography and decorative arts – that help to illuminate the interdisciplinary impulse that defined his career. Drawn from the collections of the National Gallery of Victoria and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art – the exhibition reveals common themes and visual reference points that connect his practice with that of artists and designers throughout history. McQueen’s designs were always personal and complex responses to the world around him: he once stated, “fashion is just the medium’”. McQueen’s interests were broad and his inspirations both encyclopedic and autobiographical: he was an avid reader of books on subjects that included, art, design, literature and history. His love of fashion was evident from a young age, and was equally influenced by popular culture as by visits to museums. Throughout his career, McQueen distilled a multitude of ideas and experiences, bringing together seemingly disparate references to create collections that pushed far beyond the bounds of conventional fashion design.
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime at the Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York until May 7, 2023 (Photo Credit: The New York Times)
Thierry Mugler: Couturissime is a travelling retrospective that explores the edgy universe of the visionary French designer who created bold silhouettes using unorthodox techniques and materials.
In the 1970s, Mugler defined trends with his acclaimed “glamazon,” a chic, modern woman whose style evolved from the hippie fashions of the 1960s. In the ’80s and ’90s, he galvanized the renaissance of haute couture through his provocative collections and theatrical fashion shows, which involved grandiose locations and the era’s most iconic models.
The exhibition includes an expanded section dedicated to fragrance, centered on Mugler’s scent Angel.
Gianni Versace Retrospective
Gianni Versace Retrospective at the Groninger Museum, in Groningen, Netherlands until May 7, 2023 (Video Credit: YouTube Groninger Museum)
In the Gianni Versace Retrospective, the Groninger Museum brings to life the career of the eccentric Italian fashion designer, one of the most influential couturiers in history. The colorful, daring exhibition takes visitors inside a world of extravagant garments and lavish catwalk shows where clothes, pop music and design come together in spectacular fashion.
Along with couture pieces, the Gianni Versace Retrospective includes books, advertising images, and other objects that show the Italian designer’s versatility and his impact on the fashion world.
Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams
Christian Dior Designer of Dreams at the Museum of Contemporary Art Tokyo until May 28, 2023 (Photo Credit: Luxferity)
The Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams exhibit takes on a new narrative as a tribute to Japanese culture. The major retrospective spotlights more than seventy-five years of the House of Dior, from the artistic influences of the founding couturier to the various artistic directors who have succeeded him: Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré, John Galliano, Raf Simons and Maria Grazia Chiuri.
The exhibition retraces Christian Dior’s fascination with the creative richness of Japan, which inspired his collections from the outset.
Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty
Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City, from May 5–July 16, 2023 (Photo Credit: The New York Times)
A major retrospective of the iconic designer, who passed away in 2019, will examine Lagerfeld’s stylistic vocabulary as expressed through his lines and aesthetic themes that appear time and again.
The exhibition will explore Lagerfeld’s complex working methodology, tracing the evolution of his fashions from the two dimensional to the three dimensional, said Curator Andrew Bolton, “The fluid lines of his sketches found expression in recurring aesthetic themes in his fashions, uniting his designs for Balmain, Patou, Chloé, Fendi, Chanel, and his eponymous label, Karl Lagerfeld, creating a diverse and prolific body of work unparalleled in the history of fashion.”
Andy Warhol: The Textiles
Andy Warhol: The Textiles at The Fashion & Textile Museum, London, until September 10, 2023 (Photo Credit: Texintel)
This exhibit explores the beautiful and fascinating textile designs by the influential pop artist and icon Andy Warhol and his unknown and virtually unrecorded world of textile designs. Dating from his early career as a commercial designer and illustrator in the 1950s and early 1960s, Warhol’s textiles are now considered an important part of his body of work.
The exhibition includes over 45 of Warhol’s textile patterns from the 1950s and early 1960s, depicting an array of colorful objects – ice cream sundaes, delicious toffee apples, colorful buttons, cut lemons, pretzels and jumping clowns exhibited both as fabric lengths, some in multiple colorways, and as garments. Some of the most important manufacturers in American textile history are also represented, such as Stehli Silks, Fuller Fabrics Inc., and M Lowenstein and Sons.
Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto
Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto at V&A Museum, London, September 16, 2023 to February 25, 2024 (Photo Credit: Another Magazine)
Gabrielle Chanel. Fashion Manifesto exhibition will chart the evolution of Coco Chanel’s iconic design style and the establishment of the House of CHANEL, from the opening of her first millinery boutique in Paris in 1910, to the showing of her final collection in 1971.
At a time when Paul Poiret dominated the world of women’s fashion, in 1912 Chanel went to Deauville then to Biarritz and Paris, and subsequently revolutionized the world of Haute Couture, adorning the bodies of her contemporaries with what amounted to a fashion manifesto. The first part of the exhibition is chronological; it recounts her early beginnings with a few emblematic pieces, including the famous 1916 marinière, the sailor blouse, in jersey. The second part of the exhibition is themed around her dress codes: the braided tweed suit, two-tone pumps, the 2.55 quilted bag, black and beige naturally, but also red, white and gold… and, of course, the costume and the fine jewelry that were intrinsic to the Chanel look.
IRIS VAN HERPEN
Iris van Herpen at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, from November 29, 2023 – April 28, 2024 (Photo Credit: Musée des Arts Décoratifs)
Organized as an immersive and sensory exploration into the designer’s universe, this retrospective will merge fashion, contemporary art, design and science, and revolve around eight themes that identify the very essence of one of the most avant-garde creators of her generation.
Founded in 2007, and now a member of the Fédération de la Haute Couture, the Maison of Iris van Herpen is known for fusing technology and traditional couture craftsmanship. Her work contemplates fashion as an interdisciplinary language and dynamic entity, which often results in various collaborations with other creatives and thinkers, such as sculptor Anthony Howe, architect Philip Beesley or even more recently with the artist Casey Curran.
So, if you are a designer, or among the ‘fashion curious’ crowd, these fashion exhibitions are activities that you should be adding to your calendar. Who doesn’t need a little design inspiration once in a while.
So tell us, what fashion exhibits are you excited to see this year?
A dress by Patrick Kelly Fall 1986 Collection. (Photo Credit: The Museum at FIT)
This week’s blog is dedicated to the vast contributions of Africa, Africans and people of African descent to world civilization and in celebration of Black History Month. Many of our UoF readers know how much we love history, so before we honor some of the Black fashion designers that helped shape our industry, we’d like to take a look back at how Black History Month became a global celebration.
The first recorded celebration of Black history in the United States dates back to February 1926, when historian Carter G. Woodson founded “Negro History Week,” to coincide with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass, two important figures in Black American history. The week was later expanded to a month-long celebration and was officially recognized as Black History Month by President Gerald Ford during the celebration of the U.S. Bicentennial in 1976, to bring attention to the contributions of Black Americans and to promote a greater understanding of Black history and culture.
Canada also celebrates Black History Month in February (since 1995) and Belgium celebrates in March (since 2017). In Europe, October is Black History Month and has been celebrated in the U.K. (1987), Germany (1990), Ireland (2010), Netherlands (2010), France (2018) and in Africa (2020).
Black History Month in the U.S. is observed with a theme chosen by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH). The theme is meant to highlight a specific aspect of Black history, such as the Civil Rights Movement, the contributions of Black women, or the role of Black Americans in the arts. Throughout the month there are a variety of events and activities held to celebrate Black history, including parades, cultural festivals, and lectures. The theme for 2023 is “Black Resistance,” and explores how African-Americans have resisted historic and ongoing oppression, in all forms, especially the racial terrorism of lynching, racial pogroms and police killings, since the nation’s earliest days. As recently as Jan. 7, 2023, Tyre Nichols, a young black man in Memphis was brutally beaten and killed during a traffic stop by five Black police officers.
In 2020, the killing of George Floyd led to the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement. This movement led to subsequent protests and forced many fashion brands and designers to re-examine their practices and their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity within the industry. The Black Lives Matter movement has had a significant impact on the fashion industry and so has the pandemic. In fact, according to a recent article in Axios:
“The last couple of years have ushered in a Black entrepreneurship boom.
In 2021, Black-owned businesses were started at the fastest clip in 26 years, The Washington Post reports.
The number of Black business owners was 28% higher in the third quarter of 2021 than it was pre-pandemic, per U.S. News and World Report.
Other groups are starting more businesses, too. The number of white business owners was 5% higher in 2021’s third quarter than pre-pandemic, and the number of Latino entrepreneurs was 19% higher. But the biggest change is in Black communities.”
“What’s happening: Many Black entrepreneurs across the country used federal stimulus checks to start businesses.
The top sector where Black owners are creating businesses is health care, Andre Perry of the Brookings Institution tells NPR. Many of the startups are in home health care, contact tracing, or vaccine distribution.
Reality check: Although many Black entrepreneurs are starting businesses, most of these startups are micro-businesses, where the owner is also the sole employee, Perry tells Axios.
Black people represent 14% of the U.S. population, but just 2% of owners of employer firms, which are businesses that employ people, he says.
“Wealth is the major driver,” Perry says. Employer firms are bigger and require more capital than many Black small business owners have access to due to racial disparities in who gets loans.
But the effect of the stimulus investment in Black communities can be a lesson, he notes. We shouldn’t just say we need to invest in people during a pandemic.”
BLACK LIVES MATTER’S IMPACT ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY
A few Black supermodels who changed the fashion game. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, Collage Hello Beautiful)
One of the most visible impacts of the Black Lives Matter movement has been the increased representation of Black models on the runway and in fashion campaigns. The movement has also focused on the lack of diversity with regard to designers, photographers and stylists. In response, many fashion brands and organizations have made commitments to promoting greater diversity and inclusivity in their hiring practices.
André Leon Talley (1949-2022), editor-at-large for Vogue magazine, speaking to a reporter at the opening of the 2016 “Black Fashion Designers” exhibit at the Fashion Institute of Technology. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)
Edward Enniful editor-in-chief of British Vogue and European editorial director of Condé Nast (Image Credit: The New York Times)
Kerry Washington and CFDA Stylist Award winner Law Roach. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Thanks to the Black Lives Matter movement, there has been an increased focus on supporting Black-owned businesses, including fashion brands and designers. View our lesson by designer Parron Allen and read all about his success story on our blog.
Black-owned brands and designers to know such as, The Brooklyn Circus, Abasi Rosborough, ALLCAPSTUDIO, Albert 1941, Armando Cabral, Blackstock & Weber, Bricks & Wood, Brownstone, Darryl Brown, Denim Tears, Fear of God, G + Co. Apparel, Glenn’s Denim, Golf Wang, Martine Rose, Mifland, Nicholas Daley, Post-Imperial, Public School NYC, Ship John, Southern Gents, Studio 189, Third Crown, Union, and Wales Bonner. (Photo Credit: Gear Patrol)
The movement has also brought attention to the issue of cultural appropriation in the fashion industry. Many designers have been criticized for using elements of Black culture in their designs without giving proper credit or compensation, such as African textiles and handicrafts. In response, many designers have made a commitment to using cultural elements in a more respectful and culturally appropriate way.
In addition, the Black Lives Matter movement has been significant in promoting social justice. Many fashion brands and designers have used their platforms to raise awareness about social justice issues and to promote activism and advocacy. In addition, many brands have made donations to organizations that support Black communities and designers have created collections inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement. UoF has been a supporter of Custom Collaborative and Black Fashion World, offering free access to our lesson library to assist their budding Black designers.
While there is still much work to be done, the Black Lives Matter movement has inspired many in the industry to make positive change and promote greater representation for the Black community.
Michelle Obama often supports young Black designers. At President Joe Biden’s inauguration she wore Sergio Hudson. (Photo Credit: The Cut)
BLACK DESIGNERS WHO’VE MADE A MARK ON THE FASHION INDUSTRY
Beginning with Zelda Barbour Wynn Valdes, considered the first African American fashion and costume designer, as well as the first Black designer to open her own New York City shop in 1948, Black designers have played a significant role in shaping the fashion industry. From creating new styles and techniques, to challenging existing norms and pushing the boundaries of what is considered fashionable, Black designers have made a lasting impact on the world of fashion. Here are a few of our favorites, but of course there are many more.
Patrick Kelly surrounded by models in his looks. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
Patrick Kelly (1954-1990) was the first Black designer to be admitted to the Chambre Syndicale du Prêt-à-Porter in Paris. Kelly was known for his bold use of color, print, and texture in his designs and for his innovative use of buttons as a decorative element, a technique that is still widely used today.
Stephen Burrows’ collection for Henri Bendel in Central Park in 1970.Credit. (Photo Credit: Charles Tracy)
Stephen Burrows was the first Black designer to receive international recognition for his work. He is known as the originator of color-blocking, the Lettuce Edge, rainbow jersey dresses and was included in the Battle of Versailles 1973 (when five French designers were pitted against against five Americans). Burrows was the first Black designer to win a Coty Award. He dressed Michele Obama in a matte jersey pantsuit in 2009 and, in 2014, created his third Barbie®doll, Nisha™. Burrows received the André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award at an exhibition of his work entitled An American Master of Invention at Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD).
Gucci and Dapper Dan’s Collaboration in 2018. (Photo Credit: Gucci X Dapper Dan)
Dapper Dan was a legendary streetwear designer from Harlem, known for his bold and irreverent designs that fused high fashion with streetwear. He was a pioneer of the “Hip Hop Fashion” movement and continues to inspire designers today.
Willi Smith surrounded by models in his fall 1972 Collection. (Photo Credit: Willi Smith Archives)
Willi Smith was a fashion designer who rose to prominence in the late 1970s and early 1980s. He was best known for his colorful and whimsical sportswear designs, which blended elements of streetwear and high fashion. Smith was one of the first African-American designers to achieve mainstream success and his eponymous fashion label, WilliWear, became popular among both celebrities and everyday consumers. Unfortunately, Smith passed away in 1987 at the age of 39.
For famed designer Byron Lars, the Spring 2012 collection was about giving up control! (Photo Credit: Essence)
Byron Lars is an American fashion designer and the creative force behind the Byron Lars Beauty Mark label. He is known for his timeless and sophisticated designs that celebrate the feminine form and his collections often feature structured silhouettes, bold prints, and rich fabrics. Throughout his career, Lars received numerous accolades for his work, including the CFDA Perry Ellis Award for New Talent in 1992 and the DHL Award for Fashion Excellence in 1998. He continues to be an influential figure in the fashion industry and his collections are sold in high-end department stores and boutiques around the world.
In 2017, Virgil Abloh won the British Fashion Award for Urban Luxe Brand for his label Off-White. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Virgil Abloh was a Ghanaian-American designer, artist, and DJ. He was best known for his work as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear collection, as well as for his collaborations with brands such as Nike, IKEA, and Rimowa. Abloh was also the founder and CEO of his own streetwear label, Off-White, which became one of the most influential brands in the industry. He is recognized for his unique creative vision and ability to bridge the gap between streetwear and high fashion. Sadly, the designer passed away on Nov. 28, 2021, of cancer. He was only 41 years old.
Ozwald Boateng celebrates Black excellence during London Fall 2022 Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
Ozwald Boateng is a British fashion designer who has been at the forefront of promoting Black designers in the fashion industry. He was the first Black designer to open a flagship store on London’s prestigious Savile Row.
Tracy Reese returned to her hometown of Detroit to reimagine her approach to making clothes. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)
In business since 1998, Tracy Reese is a prominent American fashion designer who has been praised for her use of color and for her partnerships with Barney’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom and Anthropologie. Throughout her 25 years in the industry, Reese has consistently promoted diversity and inclusivity and is a vocal advocate for greater representation of Black designers.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, wearing a white custom Brother Vellies gown with the words “tax the rich” at the Met Gala with designer Aurora James. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Aurora James is a Canadian-born designer and founder of the slow-fashion brand Brother Vellies. She is known for her commitment to ethical and sustainable fashion and for her use of traditional African techniques in her designs. In 2020, in response to George Floyd’s murder, James initiated a public challenge to retailers to make good on their solidarity promise by dedicating 15 percent of their shelf space — roughly the percentage of the population that is Black in the U.S. — to Black-owned businesses. The 15 Percent Pledge resulted in 400 Black-owned brands added to the inventory of retailers in the U.S.
LaQuan Smith and a model in one of his recent designs. (Photo Credit: Grazia Magazine)
LaQuan Smith is a rising star in the fashion industry and known for his daring and provocative designs. He has been praised for his innovative use of materials and his commitment to promoting inclusivity in the fashion world.
Designer Fe Noel with a few of her designs. (Photo Credit: WhoWhatWear)
Fe Noel is a Brooklyn-based, Grenada-bred designer who has been praised for her use of vibrant colors and has been a vocal advocate for certain causes. For her Spring 2023, in a partnership with financial services organization TIAA, she focused on retirement inequality by creating a corset-bodice gown tiered with $1.6 million in (faux, but entirely real-looking) dollar bills – the amount of potential savings lost for women, per a 30 percent retirement income gap.
Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing is a celebrity favorite. Here he is flanked by Kim Kardashian and Kendall Jenner. (Photo Credit: AP Images)
Oliver Rousteing is a French fashion designer and creative director of heritage brand Balmain. In 2011, he was appointed creative director, making him one of the youngest creative directors in the fashion industry, as well as one of the first Black designers to run a French luxury house. Rousteing is known for his bold, sexy and daring designs that feature a mix of luxurious fabrics, embellishments, and prints. Rousteing has been praised for his ability to merge contemporary and classical elements, creating collections that are both modern and timeless. He has also been recognized for his commitment to promoting diversity and inclusivity in the fashion industry, and for casting a diverse range of models in his fashion shows and campaigns.
Telfar Clemens at home surrounded by his signature handbags, wearing a Telfar track jacket and pants and his own Ugg slippers. (Photo Credit: Harpers Bazaar)
Telfar Clemens is the creative director and the founder of the Telfar Global fashion brand. Born in Liberia and raised in the United States, Clemens began his career in fashion in 2005 and has since become one of the most influential and innovative designers of his generation. Clemens is best known for his unisex and gender-neutral designs that challenge traditional fashion norms and celebrate individuality and diversity. He is also known for his “Bushwick Birkin” bag, which has become a cult favorite among fashion insiders and has been seen on many high-profile celebrities and influencers.
Kerby Jean-Raymond made history with Pyer Moss Couture Debut during the Fall 2021 Couture shows. (Photo Credit: WWD)
Pyer Moss is a New York-based fashion brand founded in 2013 by designer Kerby Jean-Raymond. The brand is known for its socially-conscious collections that address issues of race, politics, and culture. Jean-Raymond has received recognition for his innovative designs and thought-provoking presentations.
CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS
Chistopher John Rogers (center) was the 2019 winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. (Photo Credit: CFDA)
Christopher John Rogers is a fashion designer based in New York City and is known for his use of bright colors and bold silhouettes. The young designer gained recognition for his contributions to the industry through awards such as the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and the Pratt Fashion Visionary Award. His work has been featured in prominent publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and The New York Times.
As the world continues to debate critical race theory (CRT) and the events of the last decade, which have increased public awareness about things like housing segregation, criminal justice policies and the legacy of enslavement on Black Americans, Canadians and Europeans, the fashion industry continues to do its part by becoming a more diverse institution.
Do you think the fashion industry is doing enough to support Black fashion labels? Let us know on our social media channels Instagram and Facebook
A lit kinara – celebrating each day of the 7 guiding principles during Kwanzaa Dec 26-January 1
KWANZAA – is a weeklong celebration held in the United States that honors African heritage in African-American culture and is observed from December 26th to January 1st, culminating in gift giving and a big feast. We’d like to take this opportunity not only to celebrate it and discuss its history and its cultural significance, but also what to wear while celebrating the week long event. We’d also like to remind everyone that our once-yearly subscription discount expires on 1/1/23 and is a subscription to UoF is great gift for yourself or for that fashionista in your life.
The holiday is relatively new, compared to other holidays celebrated in the U.S. Dr. Maulana Karenga, professor and chairman of Africana Studies at California State University, first created Kwanzaa in 1966. He created this holiday in response to the Watts Riots in Los Angeles in 1965 as a way to bring African-Americans together as a community.
The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase matunda ya kwanza, which means first fruits, or harvest in Swahili. Celebrations often include singing and dancing, storytelling, poetry reading, African drumming, and of course, feasting.
The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa
Dr. Karenga created seven guiding principles to be discussed during the week of Kwanzaa. The seven principles represent seven values of African culture that help build and reinforce community among African-Americans. Each day a different principle is discussed, and each day a candle is lit on the kinara (candleholder). On the first night, the center black candle is lit, and the principle of umoja, or unity is discussed. On the final day of Kwanzaa, families enjoy an African feast, called karamu.
7 Kwanzaa Guiding Principles
What to Wear to Karamu
Looks from Tongoro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tongoro)
Looks from Ahluwalia’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)
Naomi Campbell walks Kenneth Ize’s fashion show at Arise Fashion Week in 2019. (Photo Credit: Kenneth Ize)
Have you Watched our African Textiles Series?
In early 2022 we announced our new 5-part lecture series on West African textiles created by Mina Dia-Stevens. We are thrilled to announce the launch of part three,West African Textiles: Senegal-Manjak Cloth. Stay tuned in 2023 for parts 4 and 5: WestAfricanTextiles-Ivory Coast and WestAfricanTextiles-Ghana.
UoF lesson preview- West African Textiles: Senegal-Manjak Cloth
UoF lesson preview – West African Textiles: Bogolanfini of Mali
UoF lesson preview – West African Textiles: Faso Dani Cloth of Burkina Faso
UoF’s once-yearly Holiday Sale is here in time for celebrating Bergdorf Goodman’s 2022 holiday dressmaking window (Photo credit: Carol Bernheim)
Bergdorf Goodman’s holiday 2022 store window theme is a Celebration of Crafts! And, we love it!
What better way to kick off UoF’s once-yearly limited time subscription offer than to get an assist from Bergdorf Goodman? If you happen to find yourself in NYC, then you must visit the windows of Bergdorf Goodman whose theme this year is in celebration of crafts: scrapbooking, paper sculpture, metal craft, paper mache, dressmaking, wood craft and mosaic-making.
We especially love the window that is dedicated to art & craft of dressmaking. This window is filled with tape measures, buttons, irons, pincushions, mannequins and blinged-out sewing machines and scissors. It reinforces what we already know…that fashion is still made with ‘hands’.
Bergdorf’s holiday windows premiered on Nov 17th at 6pm. They are the most anticipated windows of the 5th avenue retailers. Hollywood and Broadway set designers, together with Bergdorf’s own visual merchandisers, plan the windows a full year in advance. For those of you who love the art of visual merchandising, check out this behind the scenes video of how these windows were assembled.
And, to explore how you can become a visual merchandiser yourself – subscribe to UoF and learn from our expert instructor Marcie Cooperman in her 9-part visual merchandising series.
Bergdorf Goodman 2022 Holiday windows behind the scenes video (Video credit: You Tube )
All of the Bergdorf Goodman 2022 Holiday Windows (Video credit: You Tube The Megan Daily)
According to the National Retail Federation – online shoppers outnumbered in-store shoppers 88 million to 67 million on Black Friday 2021 and that number is expected rise exponentially for 2022.
So, why not give the gift of fashion education to both yourself and that fashionista in your life? Full access, 24/7 to more than 500 videos in fashion design and business. Learn from fashion college professors and industry pros in 13 different disciplines.
Our video subscription discount happens ONLY ONCE A YEAR so get going!
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Models holding hands, Lagos, Nigeria, 2019 by Stephen Tayo. Courtesy Lagos Fashion Week Africa. (Photo Credit: Forbes)
African fashion, along with the continent’s music and art, is having an huge impact on the world stage — and at UoF, we’re here to support it.
Did you know that Nigeria ranks in the top 5 countries of UoF subscribers!
International superstars like Naomi Campbell, Zendaya, Tracee Ellis Ross, Angela Bassett, and Beyoncé have helped catapult some of Africa’s talented fashion designers into the limelight. In fact, Queen B wore a number of African designers in the 2020 American musical film and visual album, Black Is King, directed, written, and executive produced by the recording artist. But the African fashion industry has had to jump lots of hurdles to get here.
The Suppression of Africa’s Fashion Industry
According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, Africa, like many other developing countries, has been plagued with the importation of used clothes and shoes from outside the region. This practice created an unfair advantage in local communities and thus stifled industrial growth, especially in Africa’s design and manufacturing sector. Despite imposing high importation customs duty rates in some African countries, used products continued to flood local markets. The textile industry in South Africa all but collapsed as a result of imported second-hand clothing sales and eventually efforts got underway in other African states to prevent the same thing from happening. In 2015, the Zimbabwe government banned the importation of second-hand clothes and shoes and removed the general import license so that future importations were subject to seizure and destruction. In 2016, The East African Council (EAC) Council of Ministers, composed of six countries in the African Great Lakes region, Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda, voted to ban second-hand clothes, handbags and shoes, to promote the region’s textile and leather industries. These measures paved the way for Africa’s fashion industry to succeed.
Beyoncé wearing a look from Loza Maléombho in the singer’s Black Is King film. (Photo Credit: Disney Plus)
Historically, the relationship between the global fashion industry and Africa has been indisputably problematic, filled with disrespect, cultural exploitation, and appropriation. From the exploitation of Ankara textiles — West Africa’s most recognizable fabric — to western fashion houses profiting from the creations of local African artisans and designers, the line between inspiration and plagiarism has become blurred.
According to Dr. Shameem Black, from the Department of Gender, Media and Cultural studies at the Australian National University, “borrowing from other cultures becomes problematic when historical context and cultural sensitivities are ignored.” By calling out designers who exploit another culture’s traditions has enabled African designers to use their rich history, culture and textiles to gain world-wide attention.
Ankara Fabrics. (Photo Credit: Waa Fashion)
Africa’s Fashion Capital
In just the past few years Lagos, Nigeria has become Africa’s fashion capital. Recognized by some of the world’s most renowned fashion editors and industry insiders, Lagos Fashion Week, and Arise Fashion Week in particular, has earned supermodel Naomi Campbell’s seal of approval. The supermodel made her debut walking the Arise Fashion Week runway in 2018 and returned in 2019, taking on a curatorial role. Emerging designers across the continent have also made their way onto the global stage. Nigerian designers Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Kenneth Ize, were both finalists for the LVMH Prize in 2014 and 2019 respectively, as well as South African designer Thebe Magugu, who actually won the Prize in 2019. For those unfamiliar with the LVMH Prize, it is a prestigious award given to young fashion designers by reputable designers in the industry.
Naomi Campbell walks Kenneth Ize’s fashion show at Arise Fashion Week in 2019. (Photo Credit: Kenneth Ize)
African fashion no longer needs the ‘approval’ of the global industry, because they are now a force to be reckoned with on their own. Sparking this evolution are trailblazing young African designers who have taken the initiative to create innovative work that tell stories and break stereotypes, while at the same time preserving age-old techniques, as they simultaneously build viable global fashion businesses.
These creatives not only deserve props for their spectacular work, but they are changemakers in their own right, helping to uplift Africa’s developing economy, standing up for equality, climate action, and setting a new standard for all African designers, thus ensuring their place in the global fashion world.
How to describe African design? African design is audacious and revolutionary. Nigeria’s Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Fola Francis are designers who are pushing boundaries and challenging gender stereotypes. Meanwhile, Congolese designer Anifa Mvuemba is credited as being the first designer to curate a 3D virtual fashion show for her brand, Hanifa, which went viral in 2021.
According to Statista (a German company specializing in market and consumer data), the fashion industry is the fourth largest industry in the world with global revenue in 2021 worth $1.5 trillion. Therefore, the success of the African fashion industry could have a huge impact on that continent’s economy, especially since they have the highest rate of poverty in the world. A robust African fashion industry could exponentially alter their lives.
As the fashion industry thrives in Africa, there will be more employment opportunities, investments in development and increased global recognition, not only for fashion designers, but also for the local tailors, artisans and entrepreneurs. Many fashion brands in Africa are now creating programs to provide resources, support community growth, and empower citizens who want to work in the fashion industry.
UoF is playing a part in their success
Here are just a few globally recognized African fashion brands that are making a difference:
Looks from Ahluwalia’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)
Priye Ahluwalia, founder of the brand Ahluwalia, was born in London to a Nigerian father and an Indian mother. Drawing inspiration from both her Nigerian and Indian heritage, she designs award-winning ready-to-wear menswear.
Ahluwalia was one of the recipients of the prestigious LMVH prize in 2020 and the following year won the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design. Ahluwalia’s label also focuses on being environmentally friendly using vintage and dead-stock (discontinued and vintage items that are no longer in stock) clothing for a number of her creations.
Looks from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)
Thebe Magugu founded his luxury namesake collection in 2016. Through fashion, the South African fashion designer tells the stories of his heritage and culture while bringing important issues into the limelight. In his past collections, he has made commentary on sexism in South Africa, South Africa’s apartheid past, and femicide — with South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa describing gender-based violence as “the second pandemic we are confronting” in November 2020.
Magugu primarily designs exquisite ready-to-wear clothing for women.
In 2018, Magugu won the LVMH prize and has since been featured in a variety of magazines including Vogue.
A look from Orange Culture’s Spring 2022 Show. (Photo Credit: Orange Culture)
Orange Culture was founded in 2011 by Adebayo Oke-Lawal, a Nigerian fashion designer. His beginnings are those of a true millennial, as Oke-Lawal has been designing clothes since he was only eleven years old and is self taught. Today, Oke-Lawal is one of the most prestigious designers in Africa.
The brand Orange Culture is best known for their innovative menswear, which has been worn by African celebrities like Global Citizen advocate Davido, Rita Dominic, and Ice Prince. It was also the first Nigerian brand to sell their clothing at the iconic UK department store, Selfridges.
Through the brand’s Orange Mentorship program, they provide mentorship and resources to young fashion designers throughout Africa to help them build their fashion empire.
Looks from Hanifa’s Spring 2022 Digital Show. (Photo Credit: Hanifa)
Anifa Mvuemba is a Congolese designer best known for her viral 3D fashion show that combined two passions, fashion and technology, in an epic presentation of her brand, Hanifa, during the height of COVID-19 in 2021.
Mvuemba founded Hanifa 10 years ago and the brand has since become known for its mesmerizing size inclusive ready-to-wear. Her debut show was held at the National Portrait Gallery on Nov. 16, 2021 Washington, D.C. with over 20,000 people streaming the show on YouTube.
This talented designer is also the founder of The Hanifa Dream, a program that empowers women-owned organizations that “elevate fashion through passion, purpose, and social impact.”
Looks from Christie Brown’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christie Brown)
Aisha Ayensu is a Ghanaian fashion designer and the creative director for the label Christie Brown, which was founded in March 2008.
The luxury brand, named after Ayensu’s grandmother, creates innovative and exceptional women’s ready-to-wear apparel and accessories. Ayensu reimagines traditional clothing and gives them a modern twist.
Looks from Tongoro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tongoro)
Tongoro is a ready-to-wear womenswear brand that produces playful and unique apparel. The label was founded in 2016 by Sarah Diof, a woman of Senegalese, Central African, and Congolese heritage. The fashion company’s headquarters are in Dakar, Senegal. Tongoro sources their materials from artisans across Africa, and Diof primarily works with local tailors as a way of fostering the economic development of artisans throughout Africa.
A look from Imane Ayissi’s Couture Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Show Studio)
Imane Ayissi is not only a fashion designer but is also a model and a dancer. Pryor to starting his fashion label, Ayissi was a sought-after model who walked for luxury fashion houses like Dior, Givenchy, Valentino, YSL and Lanvin.
The Cameroonian designer draws inspiration from cultures all over the African continent. Ayissi not only creates luxurious ready-to-wear pieces, but he is also an advocate for environmentally friendly fashion and often uses natural and organic materials that make the least amount of impact to the environment.
AFRICA FASHION EXHIBITION
Africa Fashion exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. (Photo Credit: V&A Museum)
If you happen to be ion London between now and April 16, 2023, then be sure to catch the Africa Exhibit at the V & A Museum which spans iconic mid-20th century to contemporary creatives through photographs, textiles, music and the visual arts.
Stella McCartney champions ethical fashion with fur-free collection. (Photo Credit: Stella McCartney)
“Design is not just about product. Design is about responsibility.”
If you haven’t already seen this quote by Dr. Carmen Hijosa of Piñatex, you will, it is ubiquitous on the web. Every eco-friendly brand uses it as its mantra. And, every fashion student in every school on the planet is making sure that they incorporate it into every single one of their classes. After all, if the design process starts at desk of the designer, well then, it’s up to us to be on top of alternative textile and material choices when designing a collection.
In 2021, Google launched a fashion supply chain platform called called Global Fibre Impact Explorer (GFIE) in partnership with Stella McCartney, The Textile Exchange and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), to help fashion brands understand the environmental risk of their raw material sourcing. The tool, which is built on Google Earth Engine and uses Google Cloud computing, assesses the environmental risk of different fibers across regions in terms of environmental factors such as air pollution, biodiversity, climate and greenhouse gases, forestry and water use. In 2022, Google and WWF transitioned GFIE to Textile Exchange, a global non-profit focused on positively impacting climate through accelerating the use of preferred fibers across the global textile industry. Their Friend Level Membership is reserved for small to medium-sized enterprises that generate under $5million in annual revenue, as well as universities, non-profits and NGOs.
Last week we educated our viewers on earth-friendly leather and silk alternatives, that are being created using a variety of materials made from pineapples to coffee grounds, sea shells, cactus, bamboo, mushrooms and spiders, just to name a few. This week we’d like to focus on fur and wool alternatives.
Cruelty-free Fur Alternatives
Last Chance for Animals – Global Ban on Fur (Image credit: lcanimals.com)
The wearing of fur, just like leather and silk, has long been associated with luxury and wealth. However, beginning in the 1980s and after decades of massive pressure from PETA & activists, many designers and retailers announced that they would stop selling fur due to the cruel methods used in killing the animals. In 2019, California became the first state to make it illegal to sell, donate or manufacture new fur products and in 2021, Israel became the first country to ban the sale of fur clothing, although their are several carve-outs, including one for educational reasons and another that permits residents to buy skins and pelts for religious purposes.
Enter…Tencel® and Koba® faux fur
Faux fur was first introduced in 1929 but didn’t become popular until the 1950s. Due to fur’s growing unpopularity since the 1980s and the fact that many countries are now banning fur farms, the use of faux fur increased. Two reports issued by eco experts at Ce Delft, an independent research and consultancy company, found that five faux fur coats have significantly less impact on climate change than that of one mink fur coat.
Since most faux fur is manufactured with non-renewable petroleum-based products and synthetic fabrics it can be toxic to the environment unless it is recycled properly. Today, technologies and innovations offer new ways to design amazing and ethical alternatives to fur and fake fur as well. Popular kinds of faux fur include faux rabbit, faux fox, shearling, sheepskin, and sherpa and luxury faux fur fabrics include chinchilla, sable, beaver, ermine, marten, lynx, and leopard.
KOBA® the first vegan faux fur (Image credit: Ecopel.com)
Ecopel, a leader in the development of high end faux fur, supplies more than 300 top fashion brands that have stopped using real fur. In partnership with Dupont, they launched KOBA® faux fur, integrating DuPont™ Sorona® fibers, creating the first faux fur made with vegetal ingredients.
UGG’s new faux fur shoe brand using Tencel® fiber (Image credit: Tencel.com)
Lenzing, a leader in the field of botanic cellulose fibers and famous for its flagship brand Tencel®, is providing solutions to faux fur production. Their fibers are derived from certified renewable wood sources using an eco-responsible production process that generates up to 50% lower emissions and water impact compared to generic viscose. In 2021, the company partnered with UGG and debuted Plant Power, a collection of shoes made with carbon-neutral, plant-based materials.
Spinnova partners with the outdoor brand The North Face. (Photo Credit: The North Face)
As we have previously reported, controversies surrounding leather and fur are well-known, however there is a common misconception that wool is a ‘gentle’ fabric that simply implies a ‘haircut’ for sheep. Wrong. According to Plant Based News, “One little-known fact about wool production is its environmental impact: sheep, just like cows, emit large quantities of methane gas, which has several times the global warming potential of CO2. The 2017 Pulse of Fashion Industry Report put wool in the fourth place on its list of the fashion materials that had the highest cradle-to-gate environmental impact per kg of material.” And that doesn’t even touch on the undercover reports of the systemic cruelty involved and the abuse the animals suffer.
Wool had its peak in the 1990s and then continued to be replaced by synthetics and cotton blends. Today’s eco-conscious consumers are shunning animal-derived or petroleum-based fabrics and are searching for alternatives. Luckily, there are options. From cotton to wood to coconuts and soybeans, technology is helping drive the movement. As we have already discussed, Tencel is a great replacement and we covered the benefits of organic hemp, cotton, linen and bamboo in a previous blog.
But did you know about Woocoa? This is a material created by a group of university students in Colombia made from a coconut and hemp fiber ‘wool’, treated with enzymes from the oyster mushroom. Keep you eye on this space. Another bio-tech creation is Nullarbor, developed by Australian material innovation company Nanolloose. This fabric is created by using bacteria to ferment liquid coconut waste from the food industry into cellulose. Spinnova
Spinnova® is a fiber made by Spinnova, a Finnish sustainable materials company. They are the only company in the world able to create textile fiber out of cellulose without involving any harmful chemicals, minimal water use and emissions, and zero waste. The company has worked with a number of recognized brands, such as Bestseller, The North Face and Marimekko, in fact, Adidas is one of their investors.
A Pangaia fitted short puffer. (Photo Credit: Pangaia)
A little known fact about the use of down feathers in the production of down jackets, handbags, pillows and comforters is the level of cruelty involved in the extraction of the feathers. According to Gentle World, “while most down and other feathers are removed from ducks and geese during slaughter, birds in breeding flocks and those raised for meat may be plucked repeatedly while they are still alive. This process is repeated every 6-7 weeks before the bird’s eventual slaughter (or death from the trauma of the plucking process itself). For birds that have been killed for their flesh and/or internal organs (foie gras) the process usually involves scalding the birds’ bodies in hot water for one to three minutes so the feathers are easier to pull out. The body feathers can then be plucked (often by hand), after which the down is removed by hand or machine.”
Where using polyester microfiber was once considered a cruelty-free alternative to down comforters and clothing they use a mass-produced petroleum-based polyester, a nonrenewable resource. They are also known to contain chlorinated phenols, formaldehyde and other volatile organic compounds (VOCs), carcinogenic dyes, allergens and irritants. The production of these materials require a lot of energy, are impossible to break down and eventually end up in landfills.
Rather than using a polyester microfiber, try a next-gen down, which uses plants, recycled PET, or other sustainable materials to create the pillowy feeling many brands and customers crave. While many, like H&M and Jack Wolfskin, have incorporated next-gen down into some of their products, Pangaia, a materials science company and Save the Duck are two companies that have set up a ‘business-to-business’ line selling their eco-friendly down alternatives to other brands.
Pangaia’s FLWRDWN™ is a bio-based down-fill material made using a combination of wildflowers, a biopolymer (made from maize (corn) and is fully compostable) and a patented biodegradable aerogel. This warm, breathable and animal-friendly innovation is the first of its kind and is used in their outerwear jackets, vests and accessories.
Save the Duck’s RECYCLED PLUMTECH® is a padding made by polyester fiber entirely coming from recycled materials, including plastic bottles. All the jackets from the RECYCLED collection are distinguished by the green and white logo.
A large part of unsustainable fashion is the result of poor fabric choice. Many materials that make it into our clothes harm humans, animals, and the environment. Not to mention, they release harmful chemicals and microplastics into our environment for hundreds of years. So, all of you designers out there, get onboard the eco-textile train. It starts with YOU!
Are you as excited as we are about material innovation and the exciting developments that are still to come?
Celebrities embracing the Barbiecore trend. NY Post Photo Illustration. (Photo Credit: NY Post)
As we all know, fashion is cyclical. Trends come and go, hemlines rise and fall and each season we await the ‘color’ of the season (last season it was periwinkle). Well, this summer the color is pink and has its roots in the style icon, the Barbie doll. Yes, Barbie is Back! The last time Barbie made it into pop culture was in the ’90s when the Danish/Norwegian band Aqua released their hit song, Barbie Girl, with the ear worm refrain, “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic. You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation!”
The massive publicity push is on, a full year in advance, for the July 2023 release of the Barbie film directed by Greta Gerwig (Little Women and Lady Bird) starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The trends surrounding the film are known as “Barbicore” (the word ‘core’ referring to the aesthetic associated with a film, for example ‘Regencycore’ for the series Bridgerton). The new vibrant pink trend is getting a massive push in the fashion industry and actually began during the fall-winter 2022 shows when Valentino featured it for both their women’s and men’s styles and at Michael Kors, Versace, Act No. 1 and Dolce & Gabbana.
In a world where gender fluidity has been center stage (ex. Harry Styles), Barbicore is definitely bringing gender extremes back to the forefront of fashion. And if Barbicore is not the look for you, well then, grab your baggiest basketball shorts and oversized tees and try “Sandlercore“, a lazy man’s dressing trend made popular by actor Adam Sandler. Fashion has something for everyone, right?
Fashion marketers and influencers have jumped on the Barbicore trend as have celebs, from Megan Fox to Kim Kardashian. In an interview with the New York Post, Kim Culmone, Senior VP at Mattel, Inc. said “BarbieCore is the summer’s latest fashion trend influencing everything from clothing to home decor, and we are here for it. It’s been delightful seeing celebrities decked out in their best pink looks – Barbie would approve.”
Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling filming the new Barbie film. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The iconic Mattel doll has always been an inspiration to young women, even if she has sometimes been given a ‘ dumb blond’ moniker. The original ‘Barbie look’, consists of sexy curves and hot pink, bright neons, feminine makeup, and sparkly accessories, and has taken over TikTok. In fact, the hashtag #Barbiecore has more than 7 million views on TikTok and, according to Google Trends data, interest in Barbie has spiked to new heights as fans await the live-action movie.
In today’s #MeToo environment, director Greta Gerwig has a bold new vision of the iconic doll’s story. She is both writing and directing the movie, with input from her partner Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story). The plot of the story will revolve around a doll leaving Barbieland due to her so-called ‘imperfections’, only to discover along the way, that perfection can truly be found within.
Robbie’s costumes are being designed by Gerwig’s Little Women collaborator Jacqueline Durran (for which she won an Oscar) and are already inspiring street style. The Barbie aesthetic has entered the fashion zeitgeist, inspiring A-listers and fashion lovers worldwide.
Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly have embraced the Barbiecore trend head on. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
One of the most famous quotes from fashion legend Diana Vreeland was “Pink is the navy blue of India.” And for Fall 2022, Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli showcased a pretty in pink collection in partnership with Pantone. The runway, backdrop, floors, and even the seats were the same shade of pink, which created a dazzling impact.
“Pinks are no doubt ‘having a moment.’ In fact, pink is having more than a moment,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, told The Post in an interview. “It is a color family we have seen growing in popularity across the spectrum since 2013, one which sparked the intro of Millennial Pink and with the rise of the ‘gender blur’ became even more prominent. A time where we began doing away with all color rules and breaking down the boundaries.”
Left to Right: Hailey Beiber, Khloe Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian rocking the Barbiecore trend. (Photo Credit: Michigannewstimes)
“The bright pinks and fuchsias we are seeing today are exultant and empowering. They are stand-out statements being worn with confidence,” Pressman continued. “Vibrant and high-energy. they help us to feel uninhibited and free.”
Barbiecore, as a fashion movement, has been building for years. Remember in the early aughts when Tyra Banks took on the doll’s tailored aesthetic as Eve in the 2000 Disney film Life-Size? And, when Reese Witherspoon, as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, (circa 2001) was essentially a Barbie in a lawyer’s world?
Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
In the 2010s, we often saw Nicki Minaj sporting some serious Barbie-inspired looks after her own Barbie doll hit the market in 2011 (to this day the rapper still wears her signature diamond Barbie nameplate necklace). In 2015, Paris Hilton wore a hot pink Barbie one-piece by a pool in Ibiza, and footwear designer Sophia Webster collaborated with Barbie on a collection of limited-edition shoes the same year.
Kacey Musgraves at the Met Gala in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
In 2019, Kacey Musgraves wore a Barbie-inspired outfit for her Met Gala appearance: A floor-length, hot pink motorcycle dress designed by Moschino (a very Barbiecore brand!), complete with a matching hairdryer clutch, sunglasses, chandelier teardrop diamond earrings, and shiny silver pumps. The look was almost an exact replica of the Barbie x Moschino doll, which was being sold in the museum’s gift shop at the time.
Moschino’s Spring 2015 Barbie inspired Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)
Kim Culmone told InStyle that, like the beloved doll, what constitutes Barbiecore is ever evolving. “Barbie is inspired by pop culture and fashion. And like many of us, her style evolves to be reflective of today’s trends and culture. For 2022, as we move past the pandemic and regain our social lives, it’s Barbie’s genuine playfulness and bright, bold color palette that people are trying to incorporate into their daily routines.
Anne Hathaway at the Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2022 fashion show. Right Lizzo. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
HISTORY OF BARBIE
Artist Reinhard Beuthien created Lilli in 1952 for the German tabloid Bild as a comic strip character (Image credit Hobbylark.com).
The Stolen Legacy of Bild Lilli
Barbie was modeled after a comic strip character called Lilli, created by Reinhard Beutheien in 1952 for the German tabloid, Bild. She soon became known as Bild Lilli and was marketed as a racy gag gift doll that men could buy in tobacco shops. The Bild Lilli doll became extremely popular with women and children too and eventually there would plenty of knockoff dolls worldwide.
Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel) discovered the Lilli doll while on vacation in Hamburg, Germany, had her copied and named her Barbie (after her daughter Barbara). Handler’s version, which launched in 1959, was made of vinyl with rooted hair and curly bangs rather than a wig-cap, and included separate shoes and earrings, which were not molded on, as were Lilli’s. Handler acquired the rights to Bild Lilli in 1964, and production of the German doll ceased.
The original Barbie launched in March 1959. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The first Barbie doll came with a black and white striped swimsuit with cat-eye glasses, gold hoops, and her signature ponytail, mimicking the glamour of 1950s divas Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. At the time, many toy buyers were uncertain of the doll’s sexy/curvy appearance as compared with traditional baby dolls, but Barbie took the world by storm with sales of 300,000 dolls in its first year of production. Today, over 90 percent of American girls between the ages of 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie doll.
It didn’t take long for Mattel to see Barbie as a voice for women’s rights. In 1962, before American women were even permitted to open their own bank accounts, Barbie bought her first Dreamhouse, becoming a symbol of independence and empowerment. In 1965, Astronaut Barbie made her debut, two years after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space and four years before Neil Armstrong and his team landed on the moon. Barbie opened the eyes and imagination of young girls to imagine a future in any field they desired. So much for that dumb blonde moniker!
The Oscar de la Renta Barbie Series, 1985. (Photo Credit: Mattel)
Professional & Activist Barbie
In its 63-year history, the American mass-produced Barbie doll has been a colossal success, and over the decades she has assumed many professions, from doctor and archeologist, to rock star and computer engineer. The first Twiggy Barbie was distributed in 1967. Others celeb Barbies include, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Cher, and current young icons like Zendaya and Gigi Hadid.
This year, the Barbie Inspiring Women series added a Maya Angelou doll alongside figures like civil rights activist Rosa Parks, feminist leader Susan B. Anthony and tennis star Billie Jean King. Barbie has also enjoyed stints as a model for major fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, and Burberry, as well as a CEO, a presidential candidate, and a vlogger.
In 2022 Barbie teamed up with heritage house Balmain (Barbie x Balmain) featuring a clothing collection and an NFT! (Image credit: highsnobiety.com)
The Jane Goodall Barbie doll as part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women series (Image credit: Mattel.com)
For decades Barbie has had Black friends – Christie and Francie, but in 1980 Mattel introduced the first Black Barbie. Today, Barbie is an advocate for body inclusivity and diversity on every level, as promoted in Mattel’s WE ARE Barbie video in 2020. The Barbie Fashionista series includes a Barbie in a wheelchair and in 2022 Barbie became a sustainability advocate through a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. The dolls are now made from recycled ocean-bound plastic.
Sales for Mattel’s Barbie brand in 2021 amounted to about 1.68 billion U.S. dollars, up from about 1.35 billion U.S. dollars the year before.
Today Barbie is truly a woke toy, in fact, she is more than just a toy.
Meet Ann Driskill – Barbie Designer
Ann Driskill (Barbie designer at Mattel )
Ann Driskill, a Parsons graduate, had a 20-year career designing for Barbie at Mattel in Pasadena, California. Recently, our founder Francesca Sterlacci had an opportunity to talk with Ann about her experience and what is was like to design for such a style icon.
Francesca: Can you talk about your experience as a Barbie designer for 20 years?
Ann: Mattel designers design the entire doll: the prints, all the accessories, her hair, her makeup – specifically for each doll, plus sometimes new and unique body parts and poses. Mattel has artists specializing in all of these departments.
Francesca:Where is Barbie manufactured?
Ann: The production of the doll and the clothes are done in China, using super narrow seam allowance sewing machine attachments to handle the tiny seam allowances on the clothes.
Francesca: What was the best part of working on Barbie at Mattel?
Ann: The most fun about working at Mattel was collaborating with so many creative people.
Francesca: What were some of the challenges you encountered in the 20 years that you designed for Barbie?
Ann: The hardest part about designing for Barbie was learning how to adjust to her small size. You have to choose thin fabrics that don’t add bulk to Barbie’s slim figure. You also need to design very small prints and patterns that don’t overwhelm her. Otherwise, it’s a lot like designing for real people, except she never complains!
Ann was kind enough to share some of her designs for Barbie over the years
Ann Driskill’s original Barbie sketches (Images courtesy Ann Driskill)
So tell us, in what way has Barbie been an inspiration to you?
The Met’s Costume Institute “In America An Anthology of Fashion” tells the untold stories of American Fashion. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)
Beat the heat this summer and head over to your local museum, you might just find a fascinating fashion exhibit to check out. After all, museums have discovered that fashion brings in “visitors/customers/patrons” and money. With museum closures during the pandemic, what better way to lure visitors back in than to host a fashion exhibition? One only needs to look at the number of fashion exhibits that brought in the BIG bucks and that made the MET’s Top 10 Most Visited Exhibitions: Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination (2018) attracted 1,659,647 visitors; China: Through the Looking Glass (2015) with 815,992; Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology (2016) with 752,995 and the Alexander McQueen Retrospective: Savage Beauty (2011) which brought in 661,509 visitors. Add up all of those ticket sales and there you have it, not to mention the number of new patrons that are drawn to shows like these.
Where once only big city museums staged fashion exhibitions, now pretty much any museum can mount one. For example, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) just announced a partnership with Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in America’s heartland, Bentonville, Arkansas. Joining the celebration of its inaugural fashion exhibit,Fashioning America: Grit to Glamour, the exhibit will feature over 90 designers and iconic American labels from September 10, 2022 to January 30, 2023.
And, if you find yourself in San Diego, be sure to check out the Mengei International Museum, a museum founded in 1974 dedicated to preserving folk art, craft and design. Their current exhibition entitled Fold-Twist-Tie: Paper Bag Hats by moses, features the most incredible hats made from the ubiquitous brown paper bag.
Brown Paper Bag Hat called the Shangri-la, by designer/artist moses, at the Mengei International Museum San Diego.
If you find yourself in Austin, Texas on August 14th, visit the Blanton Museum of Art to view their new show entitled, Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America. According to the museum, the exhibit “addresses the social roles of textiles and their visual representations in different media produced in Bolivia, Mexico, Peru, and Venezuela during the 1600s and 1700s. Beyond emphasizing how aesthetic traditions of European and Indigenous origin were woven together during this period, the exhibition showcases the production, use, and meaning of garments as well as the ways they were experienced both in civil and religious settings.” The show ends on January 8, 2023.
Painted Cloth: Fashion and Ritual in Colonial Latin America at the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas (Image credit: BlantonMuseum.org)
We all know the importance of fashion in the broad context of our civilization. According to Lynda Roscoe Hartigan (PEM Executive Director /CEO):
“Museums offer us an environment in which people, ideas, life experiences, and feelings can come together across time, place, and cultures. We seek out art and creative expression to feel grounded, to feel awe, and, yes, to question and understand who we are and who we can become through our shared humanity.”
In our rapidly changing world, museums use fashion exhibitions as a means of cultural expression and to stimulate conversation. From The Costume Institute’s “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion” at the MET (May 5, 2022 – September 5, 2022), to the upcoming Gianni Versace Retrospective at the Groninger Museum (Netherlands December 3, 2022 – May 7, 2023), UoF has rounded up some of the major exhibitions you should check out now and into 2023. As every fashion designer knows, fashion exhibitions are a treasure trove of inspiration, so be sure to check out the UoF website for our freeFashion Museum Resource List.
VIRGIL ABLOH: “FIGURES OF SPEECH”
Abloh’s extensive fashion collaborations are also on exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. (Photo Credit: Brooklyn Museum)
The Brooklyn Museum has curated some of the strongest fashion exhibitions over the past few years from Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, to Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, and now, the museum just opened its Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” exhibition on July 1, 2022 which runs until January 29, 2023.
Since the beginning of his career, the multidisciplinary work of late creative artist/designer Virgil Abloh (Rockford, Illinois, 1980–2021) has reshaped how we understand the role of fashion, art, design, and music in contemporary culture. Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,” developed by the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, is the first museum exhibition dedicated to Abloh’s work and spans two decades of his practice. The show includes his collaborations with artist Takashi Murakami; musician Kanye West and architect Rem Koolhaas. Designs from his fashion label, Off-White, and items from Louis Vuitton, where he served as the first Black menswear artistic director are also on display.
Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech” video. Video Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum for You Tube
“Figures of Speech” traces the late designer’s exploration of the communicative power of design. His use of language and quotation marks turned his creations, and the people who engage with them, into literal figures of speech.
For the Brooklyn Museum exhibit, they just added never-before-seen objects from the artist’s archives, as well as a “social sculpture,” which draws upon Abloh’s background in architecture. The installation offers a space for gathering and performances, designed to counter the historical lack of space given to Black artists and Black people in cultural institutions.
FASHIONING MASCULINITIES: THE ART OF MENSWEAR
London’s V&A Fashioning Masculinities The Art of Menswear Exhibit. (Photo Credit: Gucci)
The V&A Museum in London has opened its first major menswear exhibition, “Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear”, featuring looks by a multitude of designers such as Harris Reed, Gucci, Grace Wales Bonner, Rick Owens, JW Anderson, Comme des Garçons, Raf Simons, and Craig Green. The exhibit, which opened on March 19th and runs until November 6, 2022, celebrates the power, artistry and diversity of masculine attire and appearance. It features approximately 100 looks from fashion’s legendary designers and rising stars, alongside 100 historical treasures and acclaimed artworks. The presentation is displayed thematically across three galleries, outlining how menswear has been fashioned and re-fashioned over the centuries by designers, tailors and artists, and their clients.
With androgynous fashion ‘au courant’, the exhibit showcases masculinities across the centuries, from Renaissance to global contemporary, with looks worn by familiar faces such as Harry Styles, Billy Porter and Sam Smith to David Bowie and Marlene Dietrich, highlighting and celebrating the diversities of masculine sartorial self-expression.
Co-curators of ‘Fashioning Masculinities: The Art of Menswear,’ Claire Wilcox and Rosalind McKever, said in a statement, “Masculine fashion is enjoying a period of unprecedented creativity. It has long been a powerful mechanism for encouraging conformity or expressing individuality. Rather than a linear or definitive history, this is a journey across time and gender. The exhibition will bring together historical and contemporary looks with art that reveals how masculinity has been performed. This will be a celebration of the masculine wardrobe, and everyone is invited to join in.”
THE ROYAL COLLECTION TO CELEBRATE THE QUEEN’S PLATINUM JUBILEE
Royal Collection Trust; Her Majesty The Queen’s Coronation Dress and Queen Elizabeth II on her Coronation Day by Cecil Beaton. (Photo Credit: The Royal Palace)
If you’re into all things “Royal” then here’s an exhibit for you! This year, the Queen celebrates her historic Platinum Jubilee with three special displays marking significant occasions in Her Majesty’s reign: the Accession, the Coronation and the Jubilees, held at the official royal residences at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
Platinum Jubilee: The Queen’s Accession exhibition will be at the Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace, opening on July 22 and running until October 2, 2022. Here, portraits of The Queen taken by Dorothy Wilding, alongside items of Her Majesty’s personal jewelry worn for the portrait sittings will be on display. The exhibit will also include The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which was a wedding gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future King George V in 1893.
The Queen’s Coronation exhibition is held at Windsor Castle. The exhibit opened on July 7 and will run until September 26, 2022, featuring the Coronation Dress and Robe of Estate designed by British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell and worn by The Queen for her Coronation at Westminster Abbey on June 2, 1953.
The final exhibition will be at the Palace of Holyroodhouse and will run from July to September, featuring looks worn by Her Majesty on occasions to celebrate the Silver, Golden and Diamond Jubilees. This will include the pink silk crepe and chiffon dress, coat and stole by royal couturier Sir Hardy Amies for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, which will be displayed with the matching hat designed by Simone Mirman with flowerheads hanging from silk stems.
Left A look by Chris Seydou. Right A look from Imane Ayissi’s Spring 2020. (Photo Credits: Fashion United)
Africa Fashion, an exhibition curated by Dr Christine Checinska, London’s V&M Museum’s new curator of African and African Diaspora fashion, celebrates the vitality and innovation of Africa’s vibrant fashion scene, as well as explores how music and the visual arts form a key part of Africa’s cultural renaissance. The exhibit, which runs from June 11, 2022 to April 16, 2023, brings together more than 250 objects, drawn from the personal archives of a selection of mid-twentieth century and influential contemporary African fashion creatives such as, Shade Thomas-Fahm, Chris Seydou, Kofi Ansah, and Alphadi, alongside textiles and photographs from the V&A’s collection.
Commenting on the exhibition, Dr Christine Checinska said in a statement, “The exhibit will present African fashions as a self-defining art form that reveals the richness and diversity of African histories and cultures. To showcase all fashions across such a vast region would be to attempt the impossible. Instead, Africa Fashion will celebrate the vitality and innovation of a selection of fashion creatives, exploring the work of the vanguard in the twentieth century and the creatives at the heart of this eclectic and cosmopolitan scene today. We hope this exhibition will spark a renegotiation of the geography of fashion and become a game-changer for the field.”
PART TWO – IN AMERICA: AN ANTHOLOGY OF FASHION
A look by Marguery Bolhagen on display at the Met Museum Costume Institute exhibit, A Lexicon of Fashion. (Photo Credit: AP)
Yes, we had previously covered Part One of The Costume Institute at the MET when it opened on May 7th, but how can we cover some of the best fashion exhibits and not include Part Two? In America: An Anthology of Fashion explores the development of American fashion by presenting narratives that relate to the complex and layered histories of those spaces featuring women’s and men’s historical and contemporary dress dating from the 18th century to the present in vignettes. If you happen to be in New York and would like to see this exhibit, you better hurry because it runs until September 5, 2022.
GIANNI VERSACE RETROSPECTIVE
Groninger Museum Gianni Versace Retrospective. (Photo Credit: Groninger Museum)
The Groninger Museum (Netherlands) will showcase a retrospective on the late designer Gianni Versace and describes Gianni Versace as one of the “most influential couturiers” in fashion. The Gianni Versace Retrospective exhibit, which is scheduled December 2, 2022 to May 7, 2023, promises to be a colorful, daring, and emotional exhibit that will honor Gianni Versace and his trailblazing designs. It will feature his men’s and women’s collections, accessories, fabrics, drawings and interior design, plus footage of the legendary runway shows from the Italian designer’s glory days between 1989 and 1997.
Curated by Versace experts Karl von der Ahé and Saskia Lubnow, all items on display are original pieces sourced from international private collections. The exhibition will highlight how Versace linked fashion with music, photography and graphic design, and led the way in the transformation of fashion shows and advertising campaigns into works of art.
BARBIE: A CULTURAL ICON EXHIBITION
Barbie A Cultural Icon The Exhibition. (Photo Credit: The Shops at Crystals)
Barbie: A Cultural Icon Exhibition celebrates over sixty years of fashion and inspiration, proving that Barbie is more than just a doll, she is a cultural phenomenon. On display will be the very first Barbie doll produced in 1959 and will lead visitors through the decades, paying homage to Barbie and the world around her. The installation also features 150+ vintage dolls, artifacts, and life-sized fashion pieces that come to life through custom-themed displays. Video media and interviews with Barbie designers will expand the narrative. Plus, the Barbie Exhibition Gift Shop offers a select collection of the latest Barbie collector dolls, sets and accessories, exclusive merchandise, and a curated collection of high-end vintage Barbie dolls and accessories.
The exhibit is at The Shops at Crystals, in Las Vegas and runs through December 31, 2022.
LEE ALEXANDER MCQUEEN: MIND, MYTHOS, MUSE
Lee Alexander McQueen Mind, Mythos, Muse at LACMA. (Photo Credit: LACMA)
If you are a fan of Alexander McQueen and weren’t able to catch the Alexander McQueen Retrospective: Savage Beauty at the MET in 2011, well, he’s back! The first McQueen exhibition on the West Coast, Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse contextualizes the designer’s imaginative work within a canon of artmakers who drew upon analogous themes and visual references. The exhibit can be seen at LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) until October 9,2022.
One of the most significant contributors to fashion between 1990 and 2010, Lee Alexander McQueen (London, 1969–2010) was both a conceptual and technical genius. His critically acclaimed collections combined the designer’s proficiency in tailoring and dressmaking with both encyclopedic and autobiographical references that spanned time, geography, media, and technology. The exhibit explores his imagination, artistic process, and innovation in fashion and art, while examining the interdisciplinary impulse that defined McQueen’s career.
LACMA looks to the myriad of cultural inspirations behind more than 70 of Alexander McQueen’s conceptually and aesthetically imaginative dresses.
In conjunction with the exhibition Lee Alexander McQueen: Mind, Mythos, Muse, renowned scholars and artists explore imagination, artistic process, and innovation in fashion and art to further examine the interdisciplinary impulse that defined McQueen’s career, legacy, and sources of inspiration. Video Courtesy of YouTube.
SHOCKING! THE SURREAL WORLD OF ELSA SCHIAPARELLI
Elsa Schiaparelli’s exhibit at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. (Photo Credit: Luxferity)
Earlier this month, on July 6th, the Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris opened its much-anticipated exhibit Shocking! The surreal world of Elsa Schiaparelli. The installation runs until January 22, 2023 and celebrates the creations of Italian couturière Elsa Schiaparelli, bringing together 520 works including 272 silhouettes and accessories by Schiaparelli herself, alongside paintings, sculptures, jewelry, perfumes, ceramics, posters, and photographs by the likes of Schiaparelli’s dear friends and contemporaries, Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau, Meret Oppenheim, and Elsa Triolet. The retrospective will also feature creations designed in honor of Schiaparelli by fashion icons Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaïa, John Galliano and Christian Lacroix. Daniel Roseberry, artistic director of the House of Schiaparelli since 2019, also interprets the heritage of Elsa Schiaparelli with a design of his own.
“Shocking! The surreal world of Elsa Schiaparelli” (Video courtesy of Schiaparelli on Youtube)
The exhibit, displayed on two levels, guides visitors into thematically and chronologically significant points in Elsa Schiaparelli’s career that included various combinations of her collections through the years with the works of friends and contemporaries who inspired her. The installation addresses the artist’s awakening in fashion and modernity along with the critical role that designer Paul Poiret played as a mentor in Schiaparelli’s life beginning in 1922. Although it has been nearly 20 years since the last Schiaparelli retrospective at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, this time the focus is on how she drew inspiration from her close ties to the Parisian avant-garde of the 1920s and 1930s. “Schiap”, as she was known as, was a brilliant designer who exposed her sense of feminine style to the modern public. Her designs were powered by a tongue-in-cheek aesthetic while at the same time a sophistication that was new to the world of fashion.
GUO PEI: COUTURE FANTASY
Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy exhibition. (Photo Credit: Legion of Honor Museum)
Guo Pei, the couturier behind Rihanna‘s viral yellow gown at the 2015 Met Gala, received her very own exhibition at San Francisco’s Legion of Honor that opened on April 16th and will run through September 5th. The installation entitled, Guo Pei: Couture Fantasy, features over 80 of the designer’s creations, including those showcased on runways in Beijing and Paris. Pei spoke of the show, “As a creator and artist, there is no greater honor or privilege than to share my creativity with a wider audience. I am therefore honored and humbled that the prestigious Legion of Honor Museum will be presenting a retrospective of my work. In doing so, I hope that it will bring greater awareness and understanding of my life’s passion, and convey Chinese culture, traditions and show the new face of contemporary China.”
So tell us, did we miss any shows that you want to recommend?