Jacqueline Groag 1959 (Photo credit: John Garner/ University of Brighton Design Archives)
Czech-born Jacqueline Groag (1903-1985) was an influential textile designer in Great Britain following World War II. She studied textile design during the 1920s with Franz Cisek and Josef Hoffmann at Wiener Werkstätte, a workshop of applied arts in Vienna. Groag produced and designed fabrics for leading Parisian fashion houses including Chanel, Lanvin, House of Worth, Schiaparelli and Paul Poiret, as well as London textile houses David Whitehead, Grafton, John Lewis and Liberty.
Born as Hilde Pick to Jewish parents on April 6, 1903, she later changed her name to Jacqueline Groag when she married modernist architect and interior designer Jacques Groag in 1937. In 1938, Jacqueline and Jacques fled to Prague due to the annexation of Austria to Nazi Germany and then to London following the Nazi invasion of Czechoslovakia. Once in London, the design duo were invited into the famed British Design Factory, where design greats of the Arts & Crafts and Modernist movements were members, such as Sir Gordon Russell, Sir Charles Reilly and Jack Pritchard.
For over 20 years Groag worked as a freelance designer creating designs for carpets, greetings cards, laminates, plastics, textiles, wallpapers and wrapping paper. In 1984 she became a Fellow of the Faculty of Royal Designers for Industry and is considered a central figure in textile design during the 1950s, along with textile designers Lucienne Day and Marian Mahler.
Palm Springs Art Museum: Pattern Play-The Contemporary Designs of Jacqueline Groag
In 2008, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center launched an exhibition entitled, Designing Women: Art and the Modern Interior from Postwar Britain, featuring the work of Jacqueline Groag, Lucienne Day and Marian Mahler.
And on Wednesday May 11, 2022, in my newly adopted hometown of Palm Springs, California, I was invited to the opening of the Jacqueline Groag exhibition at the Palm Springs Art Museum. Living in Palm Springs is beyond inspirational. Not only is it a great place to live (even if the summers do go up to 120 degrees), it’s the home of some of the greatest Mid-Century Modern architecture created by the likes of Richard Neutra, John Lautner, Albert Frey, A.Quincy Jones, Donald Wexler, Richard Harrison, E. Stewart Williams, William Krisel and William Cody. So in keeping with this love of Modernism, I’d like to share some highlights from the Jacqueline Groag show:
Jacqueline Groag 1946 Printed nylon dress manufactured by Fabricado for F.W. Grafton & Co. Manchester, England
Jacqueline Grog designed a wide range of dress fabrics for F.W. Grafton during the 1940s. One of Groag’s Grafton patterns, a classic tulip motif, was chosen by the British fashion couturier Edward Molyneux for a dress he designed for HRH Princess Elizabeth. The photo below shows the future queen wearing the tulip print dress in September 1946.
Jacqueline Groag’s ‘Tulip Print’ dress worn by HRH Princess Elizabeth 1946
Jacqueline Groag ‘Toy Parade’ dress print on cotton 1955 -Manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists
Jacqueline Groag- Furnishing fabric roller-printed spun rayon Haworth Fabrics England
Jacqueline Groag’s ‘Puppet Ballet’ dress fabric 1953 – printed cotton manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists
Jacqueline Groag textile printed dresses 1953
Jacqueline Groag’s ‘First Night’ dress print 1947 – manufactured by Fabricado for Associated American Artists, New York
Jacqueline Groag originally conceived her “First Night’ dress print in 1938 for Elsa Schiaparelli, who, together with Coco Chanel, dominated fashion between the two World Wars. First Night was based on Groag’s drawing of the audience during opening night at the Paris Opera. The fabric was sold in the United States under the name Gala Night.
For More Info on the Groags & the Viennese Modern Movement
House of Gucci Cast hits the Red Carpet for UK Premiere. Left to right: Salma Hayek, Jared Leto, Adam Driver, and Lady Gaga. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
How does a poor Italian bellhop become the genius behind one of the biggest luxury brands in the world? Meet Guccio Giovanbattista Giacinto Dario Maria Gucci. The rest is history! Read on….
Guccio Gucci (Image credit: Wikipedia)
In the ’70s, the House of Gucci was all about high fashion, intrigue and murder- the fashion industry’s crime of the century (until the unfortunate murder of Gianni Versace). On November 24th (Thanksgiving weekend in the U.S.), the highly anticipated film “House of Gucci” will be released in theaters. The film stars Adam Driver and Lady Gaga, (as they play Mauricio and Patrizia Gucci) and details the rise of Gucci and the real-life murder of Maurizio Gucci at the hand of a hitman – hired by the fashion heir’s ex-wife, Patrizia Reggiani. While fashionistas and Gucci fans eagerly await the Ridley Scott film, members of the Gucci family have expressed disgust over the film. Sorpresa?
Left: A photo of Maurizio Gucci and his ex-wife Patrizia. Right: a photo from the House of Gucci film starring Adam Driver and Lady Gaga. (Photo Credit: The New York Post)
“They are stealing the identity of a family to make a profit, to increase the income of the Hollywood system,” Patrizia Gucci’s, Maurizio’s cousin, complained to Associated Press of director Ridley Scott and his collaborators. She is particularly piqued at Al Pacino playing her grandfather Aldo, son of the fashion house’s founder, Guccio. She claimed that “House of Gucci” based on Sara Forden’s 2000 book “The House of Gucci” — portrays her grandfather as “fat, short, with sideburns, really ugly. Shameful … ”
A poster for the House of Gucci. (Poster art copyright belongs to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Bron Creative, and Scott Free Productions)
But nothing is as shameful as the actual events that inspired the film. A story so wild that not even Hollywood could have imagined. On March 27, 1995, Maurizio Gucci was excited to marry his girlfriend of four years, Paola Franchi, a beautiful artist with whom he shared a luxurious apartment on Milan’s exclusive Corso Venezia. That day was like any other as the fashion heir walked to his office in a designer suit and camel coat. He nodded to his doorman, and then bam, the first bullet hit Maurizio in the back. Another silenced bullet struck him below the waist and a third bullet glanced his arm. He fell to the ground and took the final hit, a fatal shot to the skull by an unseen shooter.
The doorman sat dazed on a step as he had also been hit by a bullet in the arm. Police rushed to the scene, but the killer got away.
“Never before do I remember a murder like that, right in the center of Milan,” Maurizio Manca, owner of the city’s Bozart Jewelry, told The Post. “It would be like seeing the president of Tiffany killed in front of his store on Fifth Avenue.”
THE HISTORY OF THE GUCCI FAMILY
As a young man Guccio Gucci worked as a bellhop at London’s Savoy Hotel. It was there that he was inspired by the elegant suitcases of affluent travelers and so in 1921 he unveiled his own luggage company in Florence. Gucci expanded to handbags and other accessories in the ’30s, followed by clothing with the 1968 opening of his Beverly Hills boutique. By then, Gucci’s infamous double-G logo counted Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren and Princess Grace of Monaco as devotees. A true rags-to-riches story.
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis wearing a black dress, sunglasses, and the Gucci “Jackie” handbag in New York on September 18, 1968. (Photo Credit: Fairchild Archives)
Although Guccio Gucci built himself a fashion empire, throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s family drama would fracture the business. Two of Guccio Gucci’s grandsons tried to introduce spinoff brands to capitalize on the Gucci name. A third grandson, Maurizio, the only child of Rodolfo Gucci (one of Guccio’s five sons), inherited his father’s majority stake in the Gucci company. Naturally, this led to family infighting, resulting in Maurizio’s public legal battle against his uncle, Aldo Gucci, contesting for full control of the company. Then, in the early Eighties, Maurizio gained full control of the Gucci brand.
Maurizio Gucci greets guest during a party for the opening of Gucci’s Worth Ave boutique in Palm Beach on December 5, 1975. (Photo Credit: WWD)
“Maurizio was not a businessman; he was a playboy,” Karen Homer, author of Little Book of Gucci, told The Post. He became known for his excessive spending — buying homes around the world and a wooden yacht once owned by shipping tycoon Stavros Niarchos.
In 1972, Mauricio Gucci married Patrizia Reggiani, who came from a “humble background,” according to Luisa Zargani, the Women’s Wear Daily bureau chief in Milan.
Maurizio Gucci and Patrizia Reggiani married in 1972, had two daughters and divorced in 1985. (Photo Credit: MEGA)
Maurizio’s new bride loved spending as much as he did. Patrizia quickly became known as “Lady Gucci,” embracing her new life and embodied the brand. She became most eccentric as she swanned around in mink coats, dripping with diamonds, and traveling with the jet-set. “She loved jewelry and big furs. You could call her a social climber,” said Zargani. “She attended the big parties but was not sophisticated or refined. It was all about appearances.”
The lavish couple had two daughters together, Alessandra and Allegra. But in 1985, Maurizio left on a business trip, and never came home. He had left Reggiani for a younger woman named Paola Franchi. His ex-wife Patrizia reportedly received a half a million dollars a year in alimony as part of their divorce settlement.
But Maurizio Gucci was not a businessman and soon the Gucci brand was in major financial trouble. In 1988, the Gucci heir sold 48.8% of the company to Bahrain-based Investcorp, which also owned Tiffany & Co. But Mauricio kept up his lavish lifestyle and continued to spend freely on Gucci headquarters in Florence and Milan. By 1993, Maurizio sold the remaining shares to Investcorp — netting himself a payout of $170 million and severing family ties with the company his grandfather founded.
After Maurizio’s assassination on March 27, 1995, gossip circulated around Milan’s high society that perhaps his murder was tied to his financial troubles. “There were thoughts that he had borrowed money from the wrong people,” said Zargani. “They thought that maybe it was a vendetta.”
The murder scene of Maurizio Gucci in 1995. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
Two years later and the search for Maurizio’s killer had hit a dead end. But in 1997, a man named Gabriele Carpanese reached out to detectives with information— and a tale of jealousy, money and murder began to unwind.
Gabriele Carpanese claimed that Patrizia Reggiani wanted revenge on her ex-husband; the man who had catapulted her into Milan’s high society, lavished her with over-the-top gifts and then broke her down through their divorce. The final insult to Patrizia’s ego was when Maurizio sold the Gucci brand. “She was livid when he sold out to Investcorp,” author Homer told The Post. Even as his ex, “it took her crown away. She was not the Gucci Princess anymore.”
Reggiani did not hide her anger towards Maurizio. According to The House of Gucci, she told her maid: “If it’s the last thing I do, I want to see him dead.” She stated similar emotions to an attorney and even blamed her ex for a brain tumor she’d been diagnosed with, which caused crippling headaches and left her afflicted with seizures. She allegedly asked a butcher about killing Maurizio.
According to Carpanese, Reggiani had confided in psychic Pina Auriemma, who was staying at Hotel Adry, the two-star Milan hotel where Carpanese lived.
He claimed the women planned to kill Maurizio and that Auriemma enlisted the help of the building’s doorkeeper, Ivano Savioni, who, in turn, introduced them to a getaway driver (Orazio Cicala, a restaurant manager) and a hitman Benedetto Ceraulo, a cash-strapped pizzeria owner. According to The House of Gucci, Carpanese claimed that Reggiani put up $375,000 for the assassination of Maurizio.
In court, Reggiani admitted to paying Auriemma the money, but contended that it was not for murder; she claimed that Auriemma set up the hit independently and threatened to frame Reggiani if she didn’t pay them. But, Reggiani inconsistently added: “It was worth every lira.”
Even after the murder on her ex-husband, Reggiani resumed living the life of Lady Gucci, and her co-conspirators felt short-changed. When they asked for more money she refused and so a frustrated Savioni complained to Carpanese, who immediately went to the cops.
Carpanese was now involved and offered to introduce the gang to a Medellín drug cartel enforcer who could apply pressure to Reggiani about extra money, the team jumped at the chance. But there was just one problem, the enforcer Capanese introduced them to was really an undercover cop and secretly recorded their confessions.
Thanks to Carpanse, all five collaborators in the Gucci murder were arrested. But Lady Gucci — now nicknamed “Black Widow ” by the Italian dailies — made the biggest splash at police headquarters. According to The House of Gucci, she wore a floor-length mink and glittering diamonds as police escorted her from her home.
Patrizia Reggiani was arrested in 1997. (Photo Credit: Associated Press)
All were found guilty. Reggiani and Cicala were sentenced to 29 years in prison each, while hitman Ceraulo was sentenced to life in prison. Auriemma got 24 years and Savioni received 26.
Patrizia Reggiani served 16 years of her term. Her attorney Danilo Buongiorno attributed the early release in 2014 to “good conduct” and health reasons. Remorse, evidently, had nothing to do with it.
When an Italian televison crew asked Reggiani why she hired a hit man instead of killing Maurizio herself, the feisty Black Widow replied: “My eyesight is not so good. I didn’t want to miss.”
To this day Patrizia Reggiani claims that she is innocent and was set up by the psychic. She even told Buongiorno, “I’m not guilty, but I’m not innocent.”
Buongiorno told The Post: “She thought she had made some mistakes in her life. But she always said she did not kill her husband … She always said she did not pay anyone to commit the murder.”
After prison, Patrizia Reggiani became a design consultant for the jewelry company Bozart. “She was like a queen before she entered jail and she was like a queen when she came out,” Bozart Jewelry owner Manca said of Reggiani. “When we met [in 2014], it was like a flashback to the ’80s.”
Reggiani worked for the jewelry brand until 2017 when she had a falling-out with Manca. “She lives in Milan, in her mother’s house and does not work anymore,” Manca said of Patrizia Reggiani who is now 72 years old. “I miss her a little bit.”
Reggiani told the Guardian that she is estranged from children, Alessandra and Allegra, both now married. In 2017 an Italian court ruled that Reggiani is entitled to some $1 million per year, which Maurizio agreed to provide her in 1993, from his estate.
“She lost everything when she had her husband killed,” Women’s Wear Daily’s Zargani said. “She did everything she could to be part of the jet-set world, and through the killing of her husband, she lost that.”
After all that has transpired between Patrizia Reggiani and the Gucci family and brand, Reggiani had the nerve to say she should be hired by the Gucci brand. “They need me,” she told La Republica. “I still feel like a Gucci — in fact, the most Gucci of them all.”
Designer/Stylist Law Roach and Zendaya in Vera Wang, winner of the Fashion Icon Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
Fashion’s second biggest fashion event (the MET Gala being the first) happened on Wednesday November 10th, the CFDA Awards. Some of the biggest names in fashion attended an in-person extravaganza for industry insiders at the Pool + the Grill, located in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue in Manhattan. The mezzanine, in the back of The Grill, proved the perfect perch from which to ogle the guests. The energy of the night was filled with excitement and awe. All of fashion’s heavy hitters were in attendance, as well as some very well-dressed celebrities.
CFDA Chairman and designer Tom Ford and Dapper Dan, winner of the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award . (Photo Credit: Vogue)
“I’m so happy to be back at a fashion gathering,” said Tom Ford to Vogue Magazine as he stepped away from cocktails for a moment to reflect on the evening. “I’ve been Chairman of the CFDA for almost three years and this is the first CFDA Awards I’ve been able to host.We wanted it to be much more intimate, but still very chic.”
Hostess Emily Blunt in Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
The award ceremony, hosted by British actress Emily Blunt (of Devil Wears Prada fame), was held in front of a live audience and a troupe of celebrity presenters (last year’s ceremony was all digital due to the COVID-19 Pandemic). Some of the honorees were announced ahead of the awards ceremony, such as Zendaya winning the Fashion Icon Award, as well as Anya Taylor-Joy winning the first ever Face of the Year Award.
But, let’s face it, if it weren’t for their fashion stylists, would these gals have won these awards? Case in point, this year’s The Hollywood Reporter Top Stylist of the Year Award went to Law Roach (who also works with Anya Taylor-Joy, Kerry Washington, Tiffany Haddish, Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Aldis Hodge, Tom Holland and Hunter Schafer). Read about the 12 stylists that you should be following on Instagram: https://www.crfashionbook.com/fashion/a36632100/12-stylists-you-should-be-following-on-instagram/
Anya Taylor-Joy in Oscar de la Renta and Gigi Burris hat. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Tom Ford’s mission for the 2021 CFDA Awards was to promote the talent that America has to offer. “I’m excited to show how American fashion has impacted the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world is ready to acknowledge that or not,” he said to Vogue Magazine. “That is my goal, to help the rest of the world understand how much they have taken and how much America has given to fashion globally.”
Demna Gvasalia, the creative director behind Balenciaga, and winner of the International Womenswear Designer of the Year Award couldn’t have agreed more with Ford. “American fashion has had the biggest impact it could have on someone like me. I was a Soviet kid who grew up in a country where people didn’t even know that fashion designer was a profession,” he said, holding his CFDA statuette. “The first time I discovered that you could be a fashion designer was when I discovered Tom Ford, when I was 10 or 11 years old. My dream of fashion actually began with discovering Tom Ford.”
Paloma Elsesser and Demna Gvasalia, winner of the International Womenswear Designer of the Year Award . (Photo Credit: Vogue)
“It’s not something I ever could have dreamt of to be here tonight and to have this kind of award,” Gvasalia continued. “I feel like I’ve been fighting for my place in fashion and to receive this award today, it’s like three years worth of therapy in some way. It’s the most amazing feeling, to feel heard, seen, and understood, and that’s what this award represents to me. It’s amazing. I don’t feel alone anymore.”
Feeling seen and accepted was a common theme throughout the night. Emerging Designer of the Year winner Edvin Thompson of Theophilio stated after his win, “It represents my community, Jamaica, and really carving out a space in the fashion industry to tell our stories.”
Sara Ziff, founder of The Model Alliance, and winner of the Positive Social Influence Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
Sara Ziff, the founder of The Model Alliance, received the Positive Social Influence Award. The award gave the former model the opportunity to continue the discussion around models’ rights. “It’ll be a decade [since I started the Model Alliance] in February so it’s been quite a long road. Of course it’s nice to be recognized, but I wanted it to be meaningful and that’s why I used the opportunity to ask the industry to step up and do better,” she said of the decision to ask Carré Otis and Beverly Johnson to share their stories of abuse in the modeling industry before presenting Ziff with her CFDA trophy. “What keeps me going is I know that we’re on the right side of history,” Ziff stated.
Aurora James received the Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert .(Photo Credit: Vogue)
Aurora James, the Creative Director and Founder of luxury accessories brand Brother Vellies, as well as the founder of the Fifteen Percent Pledge (James became an advocate for Black businesses). After receiving the Founders Award in Honor of Eleanor Lambert from Vogue’s Anna Wintour, James reflected on her award. “I am over the moon to receive this award; it means so much. The amount of emotional capital that I spent over the past 18 months working on the Fifteen Percent Pledge and that my whole organization spent relentlessly day in and day out fighting for economic equality—it just feels so incredible to be acknowledged in this way for all the hard work that we’ve done,” she said.
Iman and Zendaya, the winner of the Fashion Icon Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
The winner on the Fashion Icon Award, Zendaya, was nearly speechless after receiving her award from Iman, listing the model, Cher, Diana Ross, and her grandmothers among her own fashion icons. “I’m speechless,” Zendaya said with a stunned smile. “I just got an award and Iman gave it to me! I’m still not over that.”
Emily Bode Aujla is the winner of the Menswear Designer of the Year Award. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
The final two awards of the night went to Emily Bode Aujla who won for Menswear Designer of the Year and Christopher John Rogers for Womenswear Designer of the Year. “It’s so inspiring to see all of the change that all of the people in this room have created,” said Bode Aujla as she revealed that she will be opening a west coast store. “Something that I’ve bet on is retail. Our New York store is surpassing our online right now by 30%,” she added.
Womenswear Designer of the Year winner Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Vogue)
Rogers is also focusing on the future of his brand, “The sky’s the limit. We’re really about intentionality at CJR and about moving with purpose. Whatever it is next will hopefully be as impactful and full as what we’re doing now.”
Below is a list of all the winners of the most fashionable awards show:
American Womenswear Designer of the Year: Christopher John Rogers for Christopher John Rogers.
American Menswear Designer of the Year: Emily Adams Bode for Bode.
American Accessories Designer of the Year: Telfar Clemens for Telfar.
American Emerging Designer of the Year: Edvin Thompson for Theophilio.
International Women’s Designer of the Year: Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga.
International Men’s Designer of the Year: Grace Wales Bonner for Wales Bonner.
Fashion Icon: Zendaya.
Face of the Year: Anya Taylor-Joy.
Positive Social Influence Award: Model Alliance.
Founder’s Award in honor of Eleanor Lambert: Aurora James for the 15 Percent Pledge.
Andrew Bolton discusses the underlying themes and importance of the upcoming exhibition. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art)
It’s not the first Monday of May, but the Met Gala is back on. And, for the first time in its history, it coincides with New York Fashion Week. and will be presented in two parts, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and In America: An Anthology of Fashion. The first glamorous event will take place on Monday, September 13th, however, this time it will be a smaller and more intimate soirée. (The fashion extravaganza was cancelled last year and postponed due to COVID-19.) While the highly anticipated affair will look a little different this year, there will still be a red carpet filled with magnificent fashion and celebrity sightings. The second part, In America: An Anthology of Fashion will have its red carpet moment on May 2, 2022.
Here is everything you need to know about fashion’s biggest night.
(Watch a video about the exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Film by Sterling Ruby for The Met).
WHAT IS THE MET GALA?
The Met gala is the fashion world’s equivalent of the Oscars. Designers, models, brand ambassadors and Hollywood stars assemble for one night out of the year to wear the most fantastical looks in celebration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute latest show. Most guests dress to fit the theme of the exhibit and the Met Red Carpet is something like the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.
Katy Perry in Atelier Versace in 2018 for the Catholic Imagination theme at the Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
MET THEME 2021
“Veil Flag” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020, courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. (Photo Credit: Melanie Schiff)
This year’s Met gala theme celebrates American fashion. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator-in-Charge of the Costume Institute, felt it was time to reexamine American identity and fashion, especially as it has changed over the last several years due to both political and social justice movements. “I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective,” Andrew Bolton told Vogue. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”
THIS YEAR’S CO-CHAIRS
Left to Right: Met Gala co-chairs Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Timothée Chalamet, and Amanda Gorman. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
The Met gala traditionally has a number of co-chairs that help host the event every year. For this year’s 2021 Met gala it’s a list of the current Who’s Who: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka, while Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour (who has chaired the event since 1995) will serve as honorary chairs.
WILL THERE BE A RED CARPET?
Yes! There will be a red carpet, although the affair will be intimate and will follow New York City’s COVID-19 safety protocols. On the iconic Met steps will be a cast of celebrities and guests in their outré ensembles.
Yes, the Met gala will have a formal dress code. On the 2021 invitation, the dress code is listed as American Independence. We are sure there will be many over-the-top variations on the theme, from bedazzled American flag inspired looks, to classic gowns created by American designers. We can guarantee that looks will be anything but boring.
Kim Kardashian in Mugler with Kanye West in 2019 regularly attend the Met Gala . (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Part of the excitement of the Met gala is not knowing who will show up! Designers typically invite, as their guests, the hottest celebrities of the moment.
The exclusive invite list is always kept closely guarded until right before the event, but rumored guests include TikTok dancer Addison Rae, YouTube vlogger Emma Chamberlain, singer Camila Cabello, sprinter Allyson Felix, and British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.
Met Gala regulars Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian will reportedly be in attendance, but a New York Post Page Six article suggested that some big stars won’t be showing up this year. For example, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen due to Brady’s Buccaneers training schedule. Other Met gala regulars that will have to miss this year’s festivities are Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a scheduling conflict with her filming of the Sex And The City reboot. And Kate Moss and Saoirse Ronan who live overseas and might be unable to attend due to COVID travel restrictions. Some European designers may miss it since they will be prepping for their own fashion shows.
One celebrity agent told the Post: “I think the big actors and the big fashionistas will come next year, when it returns in May. I also don’t think a lot of people feel like dressing up in ridiculously expensive outfits and putting on a mask for this.”
We will wait and see which celebrities make their dramatic red carpet reveal on September 13th.
THE EXHIBITS: Parts 1 & 2
A look from Prabal Gurung’s spring 2020 collection. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Paolo Lanzi for IMAXTREE)
The Met gala event on September 13th, A Lexicon of Fashion, will open to the public on September 18th at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met, marking the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary. The exhibition will be staged to resemble a home, with intersecting walls and rooms that will establish what Bolton calls “a new vocabulary that’s more relevant and more reflective of the times in which we’re living.” Part one of the exhibit will feature looks from Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung, and Andre Walker, to name a few.
The second exhibit, An Anthology of Fashion, will open to the public on May 5, 2022, and will be located in the period rooms of the museum’s American Wing. According to an interview with Vogue, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will work with American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room that depict a different history of American fashion. (On May 2, 2022, a second Met gala will take place to celebrate the opening of An Anthology of Fashion.)
This two-part exhibition is one of the most ambitious that the Costume Institute has ever attempted to date. The exhibitions will explore the question: Who gets to be an American? A red, white, and blue silk sash from the grand finale of Prabal Gurung’s 2020 10th-anniversary collection featured the phrase, and it will greet visitors from the entrance of the Anna Wintour Costume Center. It’s a question every immigrant considers—but wrapped in golden light at the onset of a fashion retrospective, it takes on a new spirit. “It was important to open with that,” says Andrew Bolton, in an interview with Vogue. “It tackles this notion of acceptance and belonging, which recent events have brought to the fore. Of course, these are questions that have always been present—but there are moments in history when they’re more resonant and resounding.”
Ensemble by Christopher John Rogers from his fall 2020 collection. Courtesy Christopher John Rogers. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Christina Fragkou)
In America, the museum’s two-part exploration of all things Made in the U.S.A., is a yearlong celebration spanning three centuries of fashion. The first part, which includes pieces from such American iconic designers such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein alongside the current vanguard of millennial talent, such as Christopher John Rogers, opens to the public on September 18, with part two opening on May 5, 2022.
According to Vogue, In America, echoes the work Bolton has done expanding the Met’s archives to include more contributions from designers of color and marginalized groups—and though it serves as a retrospective, the show’s observations about national identity are rooted in current concerns. “It was almost impossible to do this show without looking at it through the lens of politics,” says Bolton. “There’s no art form that addresses the politics of identity more than fashion.”
Bolton credits 2020’s social justice movements as the prompt for him to reexamine the topic of terminology—particularly when tackling such important issues—since, in the 20 years since the museum’s last overview of American fashion, discussions around style have changed. “American designers are at the forefront of conversations around diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, gender fluidity, and body positivity,” Bolton says in an interview with Vogue, “and the framework of the show enables us to focus on the younger designers who are engaging thoughtfully and deeply with those ideas.”
Cape by Andre Walker using Pendleton Woolen Mills, spring 2018 colection. Courtesy Andre Walker Studio. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Shoji Fujii)
During the height of the pandemic, when New York City was in complete lockdown, Bolton played with the idea of organizing the exhibition as a kind of high-tech house inspired by Witold Rybczynski’s Home: A Short History of an Idea—but wedging designers into categories in different rooms of the house. Bolton’s final inspiration, Reverend Jesse Jackson’s speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. “America is not like a blanket, one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size,” he told the audience at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. “America is more like a quilt: many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread.”
“The act of making a quilt celebrates the notion of community that is so strong in America,” says Bolton, who adds that quilts also connect ideas about family and about repurposing and recycling. “Each square is a different designer, who represents a specific quality of American fashion.”
“Traditionally American fashion has been described in terms of the American tenets of simplicity, practicality, and functionality. Fashion’s more emotional qualities have tended to be reserved for more European fashion,” Bolton says. “In part one we’ll be reconsidering this perception by reestablishing a modern lexicon of fashion based on the emotional qualities of dress.” The many rooms in this part of the exhibit will be titled to reflect the personal and emotional relationship we have to fashion: “Well-Being for the kitchen galleries, Aspiration for the office, and Trust, the living room, for example.”
Bolton is writing a new history of American fashion that focuses less on sportswear and Seventh Avenue dressmakers, and instead presenting American designers as creators, innovators, and artists. “Taken together these qualities will compromise a modern vocabulary of American fashion that prioritizes values, emotions, and sentiments over the sportswear principles of realism, rationalism, and pragmatism,” he says.
The exhibit will feature approximately 100 pieces from about 80 labels, and designers and will range from delightful 1994 Anna Sui dresses to Christian Francis Roth’s 1990 “Rothola” dress. Obviously, the show will feature a number of quilted and handcraft looks, case in point, Hollywood costumer turned designer Adrian’s 1947 dress which references the floral designs found on traditional hand-sewn American quilts. Other noteworthy patchwork pieces include a custom piece from Emily Adams Bode made from a vintage quilt. Sweet floral looks are also part of the exhibit with looks ranging from Adolfo’s silk eveningwear from the early ’70s, to Marc Jacobs’s spring 2020 botanical theme collection.
Florals might be subversively romantic. Two good examples on the Nice Corridor Balcony at left, Adolfo 1973, proper, Marc Jacobs, spring 2020. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)
Part two of the exhibition, An Anthology of Fashion, will be shown in the museum’s period rooms. Themes such as 2004’s Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century will be shown in the French period rooms. And, 2006’s AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion will be set in the English period rooms. “In its conceptualization, part two actually preceded part one and actually inspired and informed it. For many years now we’ve been examining our collection to uncover hidden or untold stories with a view to complicating or problematizing monolithic interpretations of fashion. Our intention for part two is to bring these stories together in an anthology that challenges perceived histories and offers alternative readings of American fashion,” Bolton explains.
By engaging American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will illustrate a different history of American fashion, such as pieces from the midcentury couturier Ann Lowe and the work of African American designer Stephen Burrows. “Key themes will include the emergence of an identifiable American style and the rise of the named designer with an individual aesthetic vision,” says Bolton. The exhibit will run through September 5, 2022 and is made possible by Instagram and with support from Condé Nast.
Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
“For me, this past year confirmed what I’ve been thinking already—that American fashion is undergoing another renaissance,” Bolton says. As a fashion industry veteran, I thrilled to have the opportunity to witness fashion’s rebirth at the Met later this month.
SOME OF OUR FAVORITE MET GALA CELEBRITY LOOKS
Cher in Bob Mackie in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Iman in Calvin Klein, with the designer in 1981. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Naomi Campbell in Versace 1990. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Princess Diana in Dior in 1995. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Donatella Versace in her own design, with Gianni Versace in 1996. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Demi Moore in Donna Karan with the designer in 2000. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen with the late designer in 2006. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)
Kate Moss in Marc Jacobs in 2009. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Rihanna in Guo Pei Couture in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Beyoncé in Givenchy in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Kylie Jenner Balmain in 2016. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda in 2017. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)
So tell us, which celebrities would you like to see on the red carpet?
Every first Monday in May, fashion designers, celebrities and fashion insiders gather to celebrate the fashion event of the year, the Met Gala. Formally called The Costume Institute Gala or The Costume Institute Benefit, it’s also known as the Met Ball. The event is the Met’s annual fundraising gala to benefit their Costume Institute, which boasts a collection of thirty-three thousand objects, representing seven centuries of fashionable dress and accessories for men, women, and children from the fifteenth century to the present. The Met Gala is considered to be the fashion industry’s premier red carpet event, equivalent to the Oscars.
This year however, due to Covid-19, the Met Gala was cancelled and the exhibition was postponed until October, since museums in NYC were closed on March 13th and only opened as of August 29th. Such a shame, especially since 2020 is the year that the Metropolitan Museum of Art celebrates its 150th anniversary. Though we won’t get to oggle, oggle and gawk as celebs climb the Met steps dressed in outrageous outfits, we will get to view this year’s exhibition entitled, About Time: Fashion and Duration when it opens its doors to the public on October 29, 2020 – February 7, 2021.
Before we give you a sneak peek at the exhibition, we thought it would be fun to look at the history of the Met Gala, the people involved in its evolution and how the Met has turned a museum benefit into BIG BUSINESS.
WHAT IS THE MET GALA
The Metropolitan Museum of Art located on Fifth Ave. in New York City. (Photo: Courtesy of The Met)
One of the first questions everyone wants to know is, “who chooses the theme for The Costume Institute’s big exhibition and how far in advance is it planned?
Answer: Head curator Andrew Bolton and his 32 person team research potential themes years in advance though an effort is made to reflect the cultural sensibilities of the times. Once Bolton and his team are happy with a particular theme, they present it to the museum’s director and president for approval and of course to Anna Wintour. Wintour has chaired and co-hosted the event since 1995. The hands-on curation of the show starts as soon as the Met’s spring show opens, giving the team 12 months to make the magic happen all over again.
THE HISTORY OF THE MET GALA
Fashion’s First Lady, Eleanor Lambert. (Photo: Courtesy of The Wall Street Journal)
It all started in 1948 when fashion publicist extraordinaire, Eleanor Lambert (referred to as the first lady of fashion), established the Met Gala as a way to raise money and awareness for the newly-founded Costume Institute. The gala however, was not always the grand event that it is today. For the first few decades, the gala was simply one of many annual benefits held for New York charitable institutions and the attendees of the early galas were almost entirely members of New York high society and the city’s fashion industry. In fact, the very first gala was a midnight dinner with tickets priced at only fifty dollars! In addition, from 1948 to 1971, the event was not held at the Met, as it is today, but at various venues including the Waldorf-Astoria, Central Park, and the Rainbow Room.
Diana Vreeland, the former editor in chief of Vogue, who revolutionized fashion magazines. (Photo: Courtesy of CR Fashion Book)
In 1973, Diana Vreeland, former Vogue Editor-in-Chief, joined the Met as Special Consultant to The Costume Institute. Vreeland turned the Gala into a glamorous affair, although one that was still aimed at the societal set. Under the fashion icon’s tenure, the event became more celebrity-oriented with attendees like Elizabeth Taylor, Andy Warhol, Bianca Jagger, Diana Ross, Elton John, Liza Minnelli and Cher intermixing with the city’s elite. Thanks to Vreeland’s dramatic flair, themes for the event were introduced, beginning with the very first of her legendary exhibitions, The World of Balenciaga. The Costume Institute’s collections swelled with donors’ gifts during Vreeland’s brilliant tenure and her most precious legacy is undoubtedly, the public’s sustained interest in costume and the large audiences that are now attracted to the field.
Anna Wintour at the 2019 Met Gala. (Photo Credit: POPSUGAR)
In 1995, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was named chairwoman of the Gala event (excluding 1996 and 1998). Wintour and her staff, oversee both the benefit committee and the guest list of approximately 700 attendees. According to The New York Times, tickets to the event in 2019 were a whopping $35,000 apiece and tables ranged from $200,000 to $300,000, quite a jump from 1948’s dinner ticket of $50 a piece!
Pre-Covid, the Gala evening consisted of a red-carpet photo opportunity, a cocktail hour and a formal dinner. During the cocktail hour, guests would tour the exhibition before being seated for dinner and entertainment. The theme of the event not only set the tone for the exhibition, but also provided an opportunity for the guests to dress in a way that upheld the exhibition’s theme.
ABOUT TIME: FASHION AND DURATION
A poster of the exhibit. (Left) A dress by Iris Van Herpen from the designers fall 2012–13 haute couture collection. (Right) Ball Gown by Charles James, created in 1951. (Photo Credit: Nicholas Alan Cope)
This year’s exhibit, About Time: Fashion and Duration, was inspired by Virginia Woolf (one of the most important modernist 20th century authors and pioneer in the use of stream of consciousness as a narrative device) and 20th-century French philosopher Henri Bergson (known for his idea of time as la durée, or duration, something which can be measured through images but never perceived as a whole). The exhibit looks back at the timeline of women’s fashion from the last 150 years (dating from 1870 to today), which coincides with the Met’s 150th anniversary. Woolf serves as the “ghost narrator” of the exhibit.
“Fashion is indelibly connected to time, it not only reflects and represents the spirit of the times, but it also changes and develops with the times,” Andrew Bolton, head curator of The Costume Institute, told The New York Times.
Had the Met Gala taken place in May, the co-chairs of the event would have been Meryl Streep, Emma Stone, Lin-Manuel Miranda, and Nicolas Ghesquière of Louis Vuitton (the brand was to serve as a sponsor for the event). It would have marked the first ever Met Gala attendance for Streep.
In February of 2020, Nicolas Ghesquière and Andrew Bolton revealed details of the time-themed exhibition at a news conference before the global pandemic shut down the world. Keeping the 150th anniversary of The Met in mind, they shared that the exhibition would be designed as a clock, constructed by two sets of 60 fashion pieces that signify sartorial moments since 1870 (the year the museum was founded). The first set of garments, a collection in all-black, would tell time linearly. The second set, which would include black-and-white pieces, would tell time in an “alternative timeline” or “interruptions,” per WWD.
“We didn’t want to present them as a straightforward masterworks exhibition, a kind of simplistic overview of styles or an expected A-Z of fashion designers,” said Bolton. “I think fashion history has moved on from this rather reductive approach, and so too, I think, has our fashion audience.”
Looks from About Time: Fashion and Duration. (Photo: Courtesy of The Met)
The exhibition factors in topical issues as well, namely that of “digital capitalism.” Bolton explained, “While companies have benefited from this sped-up, around-the-clock temporality of digital capitalism, designers have often been creatively constrained by its 24/7 continuous functioning, so we thought it might be an opportune moment to explore the temporal character of fashion from a historical perspective.”
The Costume Institute also created a video, lasting nearly 12 minutes. The virtual tour follows the intended format for the exhibition, by showing historical and contemporary designs, side-by-side to reveal similarities. Images of the dresses – which were taken from The Costume Institute’s collection – are shown with the year they were created and details of the designer or era, to gradually explore fashion from 1870 (the year the Met was founded) to the present day. Case in point, a look from Morin Blossier from 1902, next to a 2018 look from Nicolas Ghesquiere for Louis Vuitton.
Throughout the black-and-white movie illustrations of pared-back clock faces, alludes to the exhibit’s time-traveling theme. The moving images are also interspersed with quotations from novels by English writer Virginia Woolf, such as Mrs Dalloway and Orlando. Woolf, who died in 1941, serves as the exhibition’s “ghost narrator.”
(Left) Vintage riding jacket (Right) a jacket from Junya Watanabe. (Photo: Courtesy of The Met)
According to the Met’s press release about the show, the timeline will unfold in two adjacent galleries fabricated as enormous clock faces (the set was designed by Es Devlin) and organized around the principle of 60 minutes of fashion. Each ‘minute’ will feature a pair of garments, with the primary work representing the linear nature of fashion and the secondary work its cyclical character. To illustrate French philosopher Henri Bergson’s concept of duration—of the past co-existing with the present—the works in each pair will be connected through shape, motif, material, pattern, technique, or decoration. For example, a black silk faille princess-line dress from the late 1870s is paired with an Alexander McQueen “Bumster” skirt from 1995. A black silk satin dress with enormous leg o’mutton sleeves from the mid-1890s will be juxtaposed with a Comme des Garçons deconstructed ensemble from 2004.
As we all know, the world has changed dramatically from February to today. So, Bolton spent the last few months tweaking and making changes to the exhibit. In an exclusive interview with Vogue’s Hamish Bowles, Bolton spoke about his process of reflection and re-curation. “I wanted to stage an exhibition that was a meditation on fashion and temporality—drawing out the tensions between change and endurance, transience and permanence, ephemerality and persistence. Originally the idea was to create two timelines: a linear chronology of fashion from 1870 to 2020, celebrating the Met’s 150th anniversary and focusing on the fleeting and fugitive rhythm of fashion. The second timeline—the “interventions”—would represent a series of nonsequential counterchronologies, like knots or folds in time, exploring the interconnectedness of history, the past, and the present.”
The linear timeline focused on all black silhouettes, while the cyclical timeline focused on white. But Bolton felt limited by the curation, so the curator decided to change the exhibit and only present black silhouettes to make the presentation stronger and making the comparisons between the pairings easy to identify.
(Left) A gigot-sleeved raincoat from 1895. Photo Courtesy of The Met. (Right) J.W. Anderson’s fall 2020 collection. (Photo Credit: Gorunway.com)
Another issue Bolton was able to address was his desire to include more designers who weren’t so well known throughout fashion history. So he paired a Frederick Loeser & Co. riding habit circa 1897 with a Victor Joris suit from 1968 that Baby Jane Holzer had donated to The Costume Institute. Victor Joris served as an assistant to both Dior and Balmain before launching his own collection.
But the bigger change to the curation was really a direct response to Black Lives Matter. When Bolton first worked on the curation, he wasn’t focused on issues of race and ethnicity or gender and sexuality. In the interview Bolton stated:
“It was purely aesthetic: I was looking at changes in silhouettes from 1870 through to the present and creating the strongest juxtapositions with the “interventions.” But with the social-justice movements of this spring and summer, I looked at the curation and knew I wanted to include more Black, indigenous, people-of-color designers. BLM has made me reflect on fashion curation more generally and the need to create new, more inclusive definitions. I think that we need to readdress the misperception that fashion is exclusively Western, and we need to construct more diverse fashion histories and narratives. This is something that I’m thinking about for future shows; every decision that I make going forward has to be informed by race and ethnicity and gender and sexuality. The awareness can’t go away; this is a lifelong commitment.”
(Left) An early iteration of the little black dress from the Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, ca. 1927. (Right) Off-White by Virgil Abloh dress, 2018. (Photo Credit: Ethan James Green)In the original exhibit, Bolton paired Chanel’s iconic little black dress, circa 1927, with a rather literal copy by Norman Norell from 1965. “But I’d always had Virgil Abloh’s “Little Black Dress” in the back of my mind: equally as strong but more ironic.” So now Abloh’s dress will be on display rather than the original Norell. Bolton also scoured vintage retailers to find all black silhouettes from designers of color, such as Stephen Burrows, Lamine Kouyate of XULY.Bët, Patrick Kelly, Olivier Rousteing for Balmain and Shayne Oliver from Hood by Air.
According to Bolton, “In light of recent events, it’s important to readdress what traditionally have been fashion’s defining characteristics—luxury, power, class, ephemerality, obsolescence. I hope the show helps us reflect on these encoded ideologies and encourages us to raise important questions for the industry.”
Since all of the garments in the exhibition are black, Bolton decided to end the show with a statement piece – an all white dress from Viktor & Rolf’s spring 2020 haute couture collection. The gown is made from upcycled swatches in a patchwork design—an opposite metaphor for the future of fashion with its emphasis on community and sustainability. According to Bolton,”the dress will be shown floating in an “infinity box” surrounded by a tornado of swatches (inspired by the artist E. V. Day’s “Exploding Couture” series from 1999–2002), like a weather-worn phoenix rising from the ashes.”
This year’s annual International Textile & Apparel Association (ITAA) conference was held in Las Vegas from Oct 25th to Oct 29th. The theme of the conference was “Risk and Reward.” Attendance at the conference reached a record high with over 550 college faculty & students and industry leaders from around the world.
For those unfamiliar with this organization, the International Textile and Apparel Association is a professional, educational association composed of scholars, educators, and students in the textile, apparel, and merchandising disciplines in higher education. ITAA promotes the discovery, dissemination, and application of knowledge and is a primary resource for its members in strengthening leadership and service to society.
The conference provides an opportunity for college undergraduate & graduate students and faculty to deliver research papers, share ideas and network. Among this year’s many lecture topics were: “Visualizing the #VR Network on Twitter – Social Network Analysis,” “A Study on Perceptions & Consumption Values of Ethical Consumption by Using Social Media Big Data,” “Understanding the Effect of Retail Therapy Based on Body-Consciousness: Surveillance, Shame and Social Ostracism,” Synthesis of Craftsmanship and Innovative Technology for Creative Apparel Design Inspired by Optical Art,” as well as other relevant industry topics covering design, sustainability, innovation, technology and retail merchandising & marketing.
The ITAA conference also featured exhibitions by industry leaders. Included among this year’s group: technology companies -EFI Optitex and 3dMd, book publishers – Laurence King, Bloomsbury and Intellect, textile companies- Cotton Incorporated, Textile Fabric Consultants Inc., Atexinc and online fashion education database, University of Fashion.
(UoF Faculty Martha Palaza – UoF Founder Francesca Sterlacci – UoF sales Myrna Dorfman – Image credit: University of Fashion)
Our very own Martha Palaza, (professional patternmaker, University of Fashion & School of Fashion Design faculty) conducted a teaching workshop based on UoF lessons: Knit Fabric Principles, Knit Stretch Ratios and How to Convert Woven Slopers into Knit Slopers, as well as a chapter out of the UoF book, Sewing: Beginner Techniques.
More than 30 faculty from colleges around the globe attended Martha’s workshop, where she lectured on 4 Key Knit Characteristics (Stretch, Recovery, Weight and Shrinkage) and Knit Stretch Principles: 1-way, 2-way and 4-way. Anyone familiar with Martha’s lessons knows that she provides lots of useful handouts and she didn’t disappoint. Her lecture covered how to calculate knit stretch and then, using her handouts, demonstrated how to convert woven slopers to knit slopers for each of the various types of knit stretch. A lively discussion ensued about the perils of knit fabric shrinkage, with attendees sharing their own knit shrinkage horror stories and solutions.
(Martha Palaza – Teaching Workshop @ ITAA- Image credit: University of Fashion)
UNIVERSITY OF FASHION SPONSORED AWARDS
UoF/ALVANON – Sustainability Award
(Designer: Bingyue Wei – Iowa State University – UoF/Alvanon Sustainable Award Winner – Image credit: ITAA)
In partnership with Alvanon dress forms, University of Fashion chose graduate student, Bingyue Wei (Iowa State University) as the recipient of their Sustainablity Award, the prize was a half-scale Alvanon dress form. Bingyue’s jacket was made of upcycled kids’ backpacks combined with the artwork images of Italian Futurist Giacomo Balla.
(Bingyue Wei -graduate student-Iowa State University – UoF Founder Francesca Sterlacci- Image credit: University of Fashion)
UoF/ LAURENCE KING PUBLISHING – Professional Development Award
For the second year in a row, UoF teamed up with Laurence King Publishing to award 5 UoF yearly subscriptions and 5 sets of recently published UoF three-book series: Beginner Techniques: Draping, Pattern making and Sewing. Recipients of this award were chosen based on an essay describing their need for upskilling and personal development. The lucky winners were:
Faculty Winners: Virginia Rolling (Delaware State University), So Young Song (Illinois State University) and Charity Armstead (Brenau University Gainesville).
(Anastasia Scott & Kara Hattersley- Smith 0f Laurence King Publishing- Musfika Tasnim Mica of Oklahoma State) – Francesca Sterlacci of UoF)
ITAA DESIGN EXHIBITION
Additional highlights at the ITAA conference were the juried work of some very talented undergraduate & graduate students and faculty (professional category):
UNIVERSITY OF FASHION RAFFLES OFF A 6 MONTH FULL ACCESS GROUP SUBSCRIPTION.
And the winner is…
At the conference, colleges had the opportunity to enter a UoF raffle drawing, the prize being a 6 month full access subscription for their entire school. We are pleased to announce the winner, Iowa State University. Iowa’s College of Human Sciences offers a Bachelor’s Degree in Apparel, Merchandising and Design. We are thrilled that their students and teachers will be able to supplement their existing curriculum and will be able to use UoF content to create hybrid and flipped classrooms.
And it just wouldn’t be Vegas without an Elvis sighting, right?
(Francesca Sterlacci, Elvis and Myrna Dorfman – Image credit: University of Fashion)
This summer, the rarest, most coveted sneaker collaborations were on view on Park Avenue at the Tongue + Chic, Sneakers X Artists exhibition. The exhibition ran for only about a month and a half, and we were lucky to make it in before the closing date of August 31. Sneakerheads came from near and far (and formed lines around the block) just to get a glimpse of famous collaborations between Nike, Converse, Puma, Reebok and various artists and influencers. Read More
Mike Amiri, Kristopher Brock, Nadja Swarovski, Aurora James, and Kerby Jean-Raymond – Photo courtesy of WWD.com
As fashion educators and bloggers, we have a responsibility to cover important events in our industry—for example, the recent 2018 CFDA Fashion Awards—even when the CFDA honors Kim Kardashian (GASP!) with the CFDA Influencer Award. While we are still a little stumped on that decision, we are thrilled to introduce you to the honored newcomers to the fashion industry – also known as the five nominees for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent. Read More
Retailers and designers alike are taking advantage of the hype that surrounds the newest, hottest drop – or a limited edition release of a product for a short run of time. Most often, one-off drops take place in brick and mortar locations and attract droves of brand fans and devotees.
And in a time when “on the ground” retailers are struggling to stay alive due to online competition, finding creative ways to bring shoppers in is critical.
Last September, Barneys put a drop event to the test when the retailer invited more than 80 brands to release limited-edition goods that could only be found at Barneys. But Barneys didn’t just stop at offering limited edition products by brands with impressive social media followings. The social media savvy retailer also tapped additional influencers—think well-known tattoo artists and DJs—to sweeten the draw for the audience Barneys was trying to attract into its doors.
Add a branded café and a t-shirt bar, and BAM! Drop history was made.
According to WWD, of the 12,000 people that showed up to The Drop @Barneys on Madison Avenue in NYC, half were current customers and the other half brand new customers. The event was held over one weekend and sales increased 35% from the previous year on Saturday and 9% on Sunday. Most importantly, 40% of attendees returned at a later date to make a purchase at Barneys.
The Drop @ Barneys was so successful, a second drop is planned for June 2 and 3 at the Beverly Hills store on the West Coast.
But what can emerging designers pick up from what more established designers are dropping?
1. Use what you know to give the people what they want.
If you’re lacking Barney’s vast resources and connections, not to worry. You can take a lesson from Barneys “mega drop,” and use your knowledge of your own brand and product success to create a “mini drop.” Take a hard look at your best sellers or perhaps your garments/accessories/items that get the most attention on social media.
In other words, many designers recreated their biggest sellers for The Drop @ Barneys, and the crowd flocked to the event. No need to make more work for yourself or reinvent an already popular wheel.
Reincarnate your best seller with a slight twist or alteration in a limited edition run. Set up shop at a local market, arrange for a pop up event at a local boutique or permits permitting, sell on a corner in a shopping area that caters to your audience. Blast your social media following a special date/time and look forward to existing fans of your brand bringing their friends for a peek at your drop!
2. Get creative—think of the long game.
This tip takes a shift in thinking. When your resources are limited, it can be hard to think about putting your time and energy into a “hype” event that may not garner too many sales. However, if you are in it for the long haul as a designer and business person, giving some focus to “getting your name out there” can pay off down the road.
Barneys didn’t just focus on garment sales during their first drop event, they thought beyond sales to provide an environment that would appeal to the demographic they hope to turn into buying customers in the future.
As an emerging designer, consider organizing a panel about fashion, design or owning your own business and invite your local community. Try offering to style customers at a local boutique for one afternoon a week. Seek out networking events in your area—offer to speak, help organize or provide a branded item for attendees’ swag bags.
3. Form like-minded partnerships.
Just like Barneys researched DJs, tattoo artists and other influencers that their desired audience might want to take selfies with, so can you.
Who do you follow and admire on Instagram? How might you partner with them, eventually turning their fans on to your brand? Can you swap a post for a post and somehow bring your like-minded followers together?
Think about your customer’s day, week, month and year. Sure, they might wake up and put on one of your accessories, but considering their 24/7 can give you great insight into who your beneficial partners might be. If your customer spends her weekends at the club, you might consider hosting a party in exchange for a pop up shop during the club’s off hours.
If you design golf shirts, networking with county clubs and offering a unique “meet the designer” buying experience for members during busy brunch times might be an option.
If sustainability is part of your design philosophy, try partnering with a recycling facility or donation organization, giving your customers (and new customers who will be appreciative of your efforts) a literal Drop Off the Old, Shop the New opportunity.
What are other ways you have attracted new customers?
We’d love to hear—and so would our students and followers. Maybe we can get creative and form a like-minded partnership? Drop your comments below.