University of Fashion Blog

Category "Festival Season"

Props to Bergdorf

Emerging Designer Showcase Event

No one appreciates, more than I, what it means when a major department store decides to showcase your work, because once upon a time, that designer was me. During the 1980s, I was fortunate enough to have my own business, Francesca Sterlacci Ltd., built on a shoestring. I’m proud to say that for 10 years I had the support of many great stores and was fortunate to have my clothes featured in store windows, at  perrsonal appearances and sold in prestigious NY stores including Saks, Bloomingdales, Barney’s, Bendels, Bergdorf’s and Bonwit’s (known in the day as the 5 ‘Bs’). So you can imagine how special it was for me on Saturday September 8, when I took time out to meet a few emerging designers on Bergdorf’s 6th floor Modernist shop. One of the big questions our University of Fashion subscribers ask us is, “will I be able to market and sell my designs to stores?” Well, after seeing and meeting the designers that you are about to read about, and by talking with Madison Nagy, Assitant Buyer for BG’s Advanced Designer department, the answer is yes, but “You have got to be different.”

Let’s take a look at what that means.

 

BODE

 

Bode luxury unisex brand: Designer Emily Adams Bode

Bode (pronounced Bow-Dee) is a luxury unisex RTW brand created by Atlanta-born designer and Parsons grad, Emily Adams Bode. The brand launched in 2016 and Bode took off! The brand began with one-of-a-kind garments composed entirely of antiques textiles and continues to envigorate American menswear through the art of storytelling. Each piece tells a story and is tailor-made in New York. Her work expresses a sentimentality for the past through the study of personal narratives and historical techniques. Modern workwear silhouettes united with female-centric traditions of quilting, mending, and applique shape the collection. The collection is organized around that single simple rule: slow fashion is better.

Bode was the first female designer to show at NYFW: Men’s and had her first runway show in Paris in June 2019. She was named as a finalist in the LVMH Prize for young fashion designers, was recently the winner of the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund and Emily Bode was even included in Forbes’ 30 under 30 list. Click on the link to see one of Bode’s fashion presentations: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmZk8R7zGn0

BERNADETTE

Bernadette luxury RTW brand: Mother & daughter Bernadette & Charlotte De Geyter

Bernadette is luxury ready-to-wear label based in Antwerp by mother and daughter Bernadette and Charlotte De Geyter. Their collections are defined by easy-to-wear silk dresses and refreshing prints, designed exclusively in-house by Charlotte who graduated with a master’s degree from Antwerp’s Royal Academy of Fine Arts. A love of nature and the arts are leitmotifs that run through Bernadette’s aesthetic. Ultra feminine, metropolitan glamour is juxtaposed with a poetic vision of a life somewhere remote and paradisal. Clean lines add a graceful note to the label’s silhouettes while colorful prints echo a timeless and free-spirited allure. Check out their website at https://www.bernadetteantwerp.com

Deveaux New York

Deveaux New York. Designer: Tommy Ton

Deveaux New York was originally formed as a menswear collection by Matthew Breen and Andrea Tsao. In February 2018, Deveaux launched its womenswear collection and announced the appointment of industry veteran, photographer Tommy Ton as Creative Director. Tommy Ton is a Canadian photographer first known for his fashion blog Jak & Jil and his street style coverage of fashion weeks on Style.com and GQ.com.

With an encyclopedia knowledge of what is being worn in the streets, Tommy Ton brings a keen knowledge of the relationship between the runway and the consumer. Together with Andrea Tsao as Head Designer, as well as Matthew Breen, who heads business development, the team is comprised of a unique set of backgrounds that aspires to re-contextualize classic items in the modern world through fit, fabrication and silhouette. It explores the idea of a ‘uniform’ in an effort to make a truly authentic wardrobe. Bergdorf has the NY exclusive distribution of Deveaux for 3 seasons. Check out Deveaux New York’s website: https://deveauxnewyork.com

LouLou Studio

LouLou Studio: Designer Chloe LouLou De Saison

LouLou Studio is a knitwear brand created by fashion influencer/fashion consultant Chloe LouLou De Saison. Her Instagram is a glimpse into a universe which revolves around her vision of the modern Parisian woman. Chloe says of her brand, “I just wanted what I couldn’t find anywhere else: the perfect basic knit with a twist, but also good quality clothes at affordable prices. Everything revolves around well-being. Our pieces are designed to make life easier for women. Putting on a nice sweater in the morning is comforting and reassuring. We want to arouse this feeling with our knitwear collections.” Bergdorf has the NY exclusive distribution of LouLou for 3 seasons. See more of LouLou Studio at https://louloustudio.fr/en/

Also on BG’s Radar

Although the following designers were not on the selling floor while I was there on Saturday, the following brands were also listed among BG’s emerging designers.

Coperni

Coperni luxury RTW designers: Sébastien Meyer & Arnaud Vaillant (Courtesy Coperni Instagram)

Coperni– a luxury women’s wear collection launched by former Courrèges designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant on Instagram this Fall – check out the interactive display to watch the Choose-Your-Own-Adventure inspired video series! Coperni takes its name from Nicolaus Copernicus. “He revolutionized astronomy and we were inspired by that,” says Sébastien, who met co-designer Arnaud when both were students at Mod’ Art International in Paris. Their fledgling label, which won the 2014 ANDAM Award, is at once innovative and timeless. “The most important thing for us is to make clothes that are perfectly cut and draped and that women enjoy wearing,” explains Vaillant. “We want our clients to have an emotional connection to our pieces, a real feeling, and we won’t achieve that by making collections that fall out of fashion after a season.” Coperni is currently exclusive to BG in NY.

KHAITE

KHAITE. Designer: Catherine Holstein

KHAITE (pronounced Kate) is a women’s RTW collection that reimagines classic American sportswear for the 21st century. Designed to be cherished, each piece proposes a fresh balance of opposing elements – past and future, masculine and feminine strength and softness, structure and fluidity – while embodying a signature sensuality and ease.

 

Founded in 2016 by Catherine Holstein, New York-based KHAITE evolves with each new season, building upon a foundation of robust and polished items distinguished by exceptional materials and subtle yet striking details. The collection takes its name from the Greek word (xaitn) meaning “long, flowing hair.”

Sies Marjan

Sies Marjan. Designer Sander Lak

Sies Marjan (pronounced seez mar-john), is a luxury designer label established in 2016 and based in New York City. Designed by Dutch Creative Director Sander Lak, the brand evokes a narrative of color, proportion and subversive fabrication. The name Seis Marjan, signifies the first names of his father Sies, and his mother Marjan. In 3 short years, Sies Marjan has developed a strong multi-category business to include Women’s RTW, Men’s RTW, footwear and handbags soon to come. The brand has 150+ global luxury stockists including Bergdorf Goodman, MatchesFashion, Sssense and Net-a-Porter.

Sander was nominated for the CFDA Swarovski Award for emerging talent in 2017 and won the prize in 2018. He was also a nominee for the CFDA 2019 Womenswear Designer of the Year. Check out his Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/explore/tags/seismarjan/ 

ROTATE by Birger Christensen

ROTATE by Birger Christensen

ROTATE is a Copenhagen-based brand designed by Danish stylists and influencers Jeanette Madsen and Thors Valdimars. Birger Christensen, the parent company, boasts a 150-year-old history, having opened its doors in the heart of Copenhagen in 1869. Finn Birger Christensen, a third-generation furrier, built the company by offering a well-curated collection of luxury names alongside its own brand of fur and accessories. When Denise Christensen joined the family business as chief executive officer in 2017, she initiated a new chapter in the brand’s history by opening Rotate, featuring bold prints and textiles in 80s inspired silhouettes with an emphasis on party dresses.

Check out Rotate at https://rotatebirgerchristensen.com

As NYFW marches on this week, it is nice to see attention being paid to emerging designers. Stay tuned….

All I want for—fill in the holiday—is the gift of fashion

Screen Shot 2018-12-16 at 9.08.08 PM

If you’ve been keeping up with the U of F blog, you’ll know that the Gen Zers on your holiday lists crave experiences. And when it comes to gift giving in 2018 (and beyond), the University of Fashion has experiences galore for the fashionistas in your life, no matter their age. In fact, we have unique gifts that will inspire year-round learning and making for the fashion lovers you know. Read More

Ball Culture: Inspiration from the LGBTQ Underground Scene

Pride month – there’s no more colorful month of the year. And what better opportunity to acknowledge a part of LGBTQ history that has influenced fashion, music, dance and culture for almost four decades?

Attention, legendary children!

We are about to give you the basics of ball culture.

Since the early 1920s (and possibly even earlier), LGBTQ people have been coming together, often in underground secret spaces, to celebrate the art of dressing a part, dance and creating a safe space for creative expression. In the 1980s, these gatherings, or balls, were where those often cast out from society (many black and Latino) could be whoever they wanted for a night.

And while many equate balls with drag shows, there is much more to ball culture than sequins and feathers. Runway competitions included categories like “Executive Realness” allowing LGBTQ people of color the opportunity to dress the part of a Wall Street executive—an option not available to minorities during the day. And for young LGBTQ kids kicked out of their homes, ball culture offered a family, shelter and safety.

Thanks to the summer’s breakout hit show Pose on FX, a new generation is getting schooled on what life was like for a segment of the LGBTQ community in the early 80s in NYC. Severe shoulder pads and all.

Pose is ground-breaking in that it stars/employs more transgender actors and extras than any other scripted show currently on the air, however, Pose is hardly the first show to document ball culture. In fact, any in-the-know designer should immediately move the documentary Paris is Burning to the top of their must watch Netflix list.

In addition to a primer on late 80s/early 90s fashion, Paris is Burning reveals the roots of voguing as a dance and art form, so named from the model poses seen on the actual pages of Vogue magazine. And as an emerging designer, the deeper your understanding of history, the bigger pool of inspiration you have to draw from for your future collections.

So sit back, children, and learn your ball culture. If you are a fan of RuPaul’s Drag Race (anyone else #TeamAquaria this season?), Mama Ru’s catch phrases are about to make much more sense.

Houses and Families

At a ball, participants walked as houses. Houses were often named after fashion houses or beauty icons, for example, House of Saint Laurent. Each house has a mother who sets the tone/rules for the house and takes in new family members. Family members often adopt the last name of their house, not only showing their loyalty, but also creating a sense of belonging not provided by a biological family. And house mothers refer to their children as legendary.

Walking in a Category

Balls are made up of runway competitions and each competition fits into a theme or category. The emcee of the ball will call out, “Category is….” and all those who are participating will prepare to show off their best super model, evening wear, military, school girl, uptown/downtown, etc. garb.

Serving (Category) Realness

In order to win a runway competition, participants are judged on realness, or how likely they are to actually pass in real life as the individual they are representing on the runway. Serving Park Avenue realness means the participant could fit right in strolling down Park Avenue with the ladies who lunch.

Mopping

Because the ball participants of the 80s had very few resources, some mopped or stole the materials they needed to create their runway looks. We don’t advocate stealing at U of F, however, we know many designers are operating on a shoestring budget and therefore, studying ball culture can be pretty inspiring to see what those who had nothing can create on no budget at all.

Reading and Throwing Shade

To read another participant in ball culture is to ruthlessly insult another’s outfit, look, walk or presentation without breaking a sweat. Reading is in good fun, and thus, the phrase “the library is open,” often clears the floor for a good read. Throwing shade is a more subtle form of reading, saved for the most clever and witty of readers. The library doesn’t necessarily have to be open for shade to be thrown.

From Marc Jacobs to Alexander McQueen to Jeremy Scott to Vivienne Westwood to…the list goes on and on… designers have drawn inspiration from underground club scenes over the course of history. You can, too. Just make sure to learn your history before attempting to throw shade, darling.