University of Fashion Blog

Category "Trends"

Remembering Gianni Versace

Remembering Gianni Versace

It’s been twenty years since the senseless murder of Gianni Versace, a day that will always be etched in the minds of the fashion community. The late designer revolutionized fashion with his hybrid blend of  ‘high glamour meets rock and roll.’

Gianni Versace in 1991 (Courtesy of Herbie Knott/Rex/ShutterStock)

Gianni Versace in 1991 (Courtesy of Herbie Knott/Rex/ShutterStock)

Gianni Versace passed away on July 15, 1997 outside of his mansion, Casa Casuarina, in South Beach, Miami. He was shot to death by deranged killer Andrew Cunanan. The fashion world was in shock as the infamous party boy, always flocked by his super-model crew, died in such a tragic and horrific way. Fashion lost its playful innocence and the fantasy world of fashion was shattered.

Gianni Versace's South Beach Miami Home (Courtesy of NY Daily News.com)

Gianni Versace’s South Beach Miami Home (Courtesy of NY Daily News)

Gianni’s impact on fashion and pop culture is undeniable. He was at the forefront of reinventing fashion as a glamorous feast on a global scale. He surrounded himself with celebrity royalty – Madonna, Sting, Bon Jovi, George Michael and Hugh Grant – they all attended his extravaganza runway shows. Supermodels fought to walk his shows – he had all the greats – Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford, to name a few.

Naomi Campbell, Gianni Versace and Christy Turlington in 1991 (Courtesy of Gevril.com)

Naomi Campbell, Gianni Versace and Christy Turlington in 1991 (Courtesy of Gevril.com)

Gianni’s looks were sexy and seductive. His body hugging creations were worn by his supermodel friends and celebrities as they partied the night away. Gianni’s skill was to connect raunchy sex with couture audacity – like his iconic safety pin dress, which was catapulted into fashion history by Liz Hurley.

Elizabeth Hurley in the Safety Pin dress in 1994 (Courtesy of Dave Benett/Getty))

Elizabeth Hurley in the Safety Pin dress in 1994 (Courtesy of Dave Benett/Getty)

Gianni was born on December 2, 1946, in Reggio Calabria, the toe of Italy’s boot. Like many of the great designers, Gianni came from a modest background. His father Antonio was a local coal merchant, his  mother Francesca sewed dresses for the elite townswomen, and Gianni made his first dress – a blue one-shoulder evening gown – at the age of nine. Some forty years later, Princess Diana wore a version of that creation.

Princess Dianna (Courtesy of Pintrest)

Princess Dianna (Courtesy of Pintrest)

After studying architecture, Gianni moved to Milan and spent 10 years working  for a variety of mainstream labels, before he came to attention in the late 1970’s when he staged his first signature show in the Palazzo della Permanente in Milan.

From the start, Gianni’s clothes were ground-breaking ; his mix of fabrics were unique and cutting edge – he was known for pairing leather and lace with metal, studs and Swarovski crystals. At the time, mixing all these elements was inconceivable. Gianni also had a keen eye for color and worked with rich sherbet colors. He was a master draper and often referenced the Grecian goddess gowns of Madame Grès as well as Madeleine Vionnet’s bias cut designs that accentuated the body to perfection.

Versace Girls in 1994 (Courtesy of Dazed.com))

Versace Girls in 1994 (Courtesy of Dazed.com))

Gianni’s true genius was in the form of branding. His logo – the Medusa head and the Grecian frieze – became his trademark. Everyone knew the Versace symbol. It was everywhere from his clothing to his lingerie from his bedding to his fine China.

His business grew incredibly fast, creating a fortune large enough to afford his private palazzo on Via Gesù and his magnificent Villa Fontanelle on Lake Como – all containing his eclectic mix of ancient Greek and Roman statuary, Renaissance furniture and modern art.

Gianni Versace and His Super Models in Milan, 1991(Courtesy of Vittoriano Rastelli/Getty)

Gianni Versace and His Super Models in Milan, 1991(Courtesy of Vittoriano Rastelli/Getty)

Gianni was openly gay, living publicly with loyal partner Antonio D’Amico, during a time 20 years ago when many homosexuals were still in the closet. He greatly valued family, which appealed to traditional Italian famiglia ideas. Gianni’s brother Santo ran the commercial side, while little sister Donatello designed the diffusion line, Versus.

At his infamous Miami mansion, friends like Anna Wintour would come to stay with her family and picnic on the beach. But also party animals like Whitney Huston and Bobby Brown would attend Gianni’s  legendary parties  –  and boy did Gianni and his elite friends know how to party! Gianni transitioned from designer to celebrity and attracted the world of Hollywood and music. Being a celebrity comes with a price; you are a target. On the tragic morning of July 15, 1997, Gianni was off on a coffee run and regrettably met his death, shot down by Andrew Cunanan, a failed dreamer who had met Gianni seven years before – when the designer dressed the San Francisco Opera – and felt deep resentment towards him.

His funeral packed out Milan’s great cathedral, Il Duomo. Princess Diana arrived to pay her respects and the entire fashion industry came to pay homage, as well as Hollywood and musical royalty. Within just six weeks, Princess Diana would die in a fatal car accident. Two fashion icons gone in the summer of 1997.

Princess Diana and Elton John at Gianni Versace's funeral in 1997  (Courtesy of Gevril Group)

Princess Diana and Elton John at Gianni Versace’s funeral in 1997 (Courtesy of Gevril Group)

After Gianni was murdered, it was announced that Donatella would become creative director, with a 20 per cent share of the business, and Santo was appointed CEO, with a 30 percent share. (Donatella’ daughter Allegra, who was eleven at the time, was left a 50 percent stake, which she assumed control over on her 18th birthday).

The Versace brand has had its many ups and downs, but today, Gianni’s aesthetic is apparent every season in fashion – with a new generation of creative directors as diverse as Christopher Kane, Riccardo Tisci, Fausto Puglisi and Olivier Rousteing all openly admitting the Versace inspiration, while a new wave of contemporary music icons, including Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj have fallen for the brand all over again.

Donatella has been busy designing the brand while watching her children grow. Her daughter Allegra  has caught the fashion bug as she is working on Versus, which has been reborn as a hothouse of fledgling talent, bringing in young design stars like Christopher Kane, Jonathan Anderson and Anthony Vaccarello, each of whom has gone on to achieve international success in their own right.

This past February, Donatella announced that she has lured Riccardo Tisci as creative director for Versace, a very smart move; after all, Tisci is responsible for all the great success at Givenchy. Retailers, fashion editors and bloggers everywhere are holding their breath waiting to see what Tisci brings to the legendary house of Versace.

Ricardo Tisci and Donatella Versace  (Courtesy of Harper's Bazaar Singapore)

Ricardo Tisci and Donatella Versace (Courtesy of Harper’s Bazaar Singapore)

 

Patriotic Fashion

To The Red, White and Blue: The American Flag in Fashion

American Flag in Fashion (Courtesy of  Quora.Com)

American Flag in Fashion (Courtesy of Quora.Com)

Happy Memorial Day! It’s the official kickoff weekend to the summer in the United States.  It’s time to hit the beach and enjoy some fun barbeque smoked food parties. With Independence Day right around the corner, what better way to show national pride than by wearing the iconic red, white and blue flag print.

The first official flag of the United States was introduced on June 14, 1777 and represented our founding 13 colonies with thirteen stripes in red and white and thirteen stars.  The American flag as we know it today has only been around since 1960 (July 4th, 1960, to be exact). It was introduced shortly after Hawaii became the nation’s fiftieth state, and in its long and tricolored history, there have been a grand total of 27 official, government approved versions: As states were added, so were the stars. What has remained consistent, the flags thirteen red and white alternating stripes—representing our original thirteen colonies. Citizens proudly hung their flags in front of their homes, schools and government buildings. They had great respect for their nation.

America was seen as the land of economic prosperity and enabling dreams – “The American Dream”.  This slogan was made popular through intense marketing. The goal was singular: to project America to be the best place in the world to be living in. And it paid off. America became an attractive destination for some of the world’s smartest immigrants and global investment.

Through the years, the American flag has become a fixture in the fashion world all across the United States and even overseas. The fashion world’s homages to the flag over the years have been a little more abstract. It’s most definitely a popular motif, but the banner’s many variations run the gamut from straight-up remodeled – case in point, Givenchy’s spring 2014 men’s tech-y colored jumpers – to Catherine Malandrino’s gauzy iconic flag dress  (which featured heavily in FIT’s 2009 “Fashion & Politics” exhibition).

Catherine Malandrino 2001 (Courtesy of Pintrest)

Catherine Malandrino
2001 (Courtesy of Pintrest)

 

Givenchy Men's Spring 2014 (Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Givenchy Men’s Spring 2014 (Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Most often it’s a bankable subject – look at Ralph Lauren. The designer has been printing the American Flag image on many variations on his t-shirts for years. You cannot attend a 4th of July party without someone in the crowd wearing a Ralph Lauren iconic flag tee (they can be found in his men’s, woman’s and children’s collections). Tommy Hilfiger is another sportswear giant who incorporated the iconic American symbol as a logo for his collection.

Tommy Hilfiger X Gigi Hadid spring 2017 (Courtesy of  Tommy Hilfiger)

Tommy Hilfiger X Gigi Hadid spring 2017 (Courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger)

 

Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren (Courtesy of Lyst.Com)

Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren (Courtesy of Lyst.Com)

 

On the runway, Thom Browne has become famous for his signature red, white, and-blue grosgrain trims, let alone his unconventional runway collections that, somehow, blend country-strong iconoclasm with theatricality and excitement. Meanwhile, Chanel’s pre-fall 2014 rodeo in Dallas extravaganza, Karl Lagerfeld embraced the motto “Everything is bigger in Texas.” The show was a barn-burner of a star-spangled spectacle in all its glory.

 

Thom Browne Spring 2017 (Courtesy of ssense.com)

Thom Browne Spring 2017 (Courtesy of ssense.com)

 

Chanel pre-fall2014 (Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Chanel pre-fall2014 (Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

So in honor of Memorial Day, Independence Day and the start to summer, wear your Flag motif proudly. No matter what your political party is, we should all be patriots.

Miu Miu Spring 2011 (Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Miu Miu Spring 2011 (Courtesy of Vogue.Com

Bridal Fashion Show Round Up

Wedding Bells

Oscar de la Renta Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Here comes the bride…..As bridal fashion shows wrapped up in New York City this week, one thing is for certain, brides have plenty of options for the Spring 2018 season. Trends ran the gamut from traditional, frothy confections to modern minimalist gowns and let’s not forget about pantsuits and jumpsuits. Here is a round-up of the five most influential shows of the bridal season.

OSCAR DE LA RENTA

The most anticipated show of the bridal season was Oscar de la Renta, as Fernando Garcia and Laura Kim (the design duo behind the trendy label Monse) presented their first bridal collection for the house.  The duo lived up to the hype as they delivered a stellar collection. The designers showed traditional house pieces that the de la Renta customer craves such as romantic garden theme embroideries, case in point, a fern foliage motif as well as plenty of delicate floral frocks. For the non-traditional bride, there was a chic pantsuit and a Carrie Bradshaw moment with a denim jacket paired over a logo tulle confection with Oscar de la Renta’s signature, topped off  with a “Just Married” statement necklace. Overall the collection struck the perfect balance between the traditions of the house and an infused freshness that Garcia and Kim have injected.

 

Oscar de la Renta Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

VERA WANG

Vera Wang knows a thing or two about wedding dresses. The designer is celebrating thirty years in the bridal business and this spring she is pushing her customer’s further. Inspired by her recent ready-to-wear collection, Wang is offering edgy and cool wedding dresses. The collection ranged from floaty bohemian frocks with a Gothic vibe to chic minimal gowns with architectural silhouettes. Vera Wang’s collection is for the fashion-forward bride.

Vera Wang Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Vera Wang Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Vera Wang Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Vera Wang Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

CAROLINA HERRERA

Timeless beauty is in Carolina Herrera’s DNA and for her spring bridal collection she showcased her natural flare for elegance. Her signature bow appeared on a number of pieces ranging from a dramatic, over-sized shoulder bow to a simple ribbon bow on a lace column gown. Carolina Herrera also played with separates this season as she paired beaded knit top with a tulle ballskirt and a romantic blouse was worn with tuxedo trousers. Overall, Carolina Herrera’s collection was effortlessly romantic.

Carolina Herrera Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Carolina Herrera Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Carolina Herrera Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Carolina Herrera Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

NAEEM KHAN

Naeem Khan is known for his glamorous, over-the-top eveningwear, and for his spring bridal show he did not disappoint. Naeem showed plenty of luxurious gowns from fanciful feathered confections to pastel floral embroideries – there were plenty of rich options for his global clientele. Naeem Khan’s dresses come with a hefty price-tag but these looks are perfect for the bride who flaunts has wealth.

Naeem Khan Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Naeem Khan Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Naeem Khan Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Naeem Khan Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

MONIQUE LHUILLER

Ethereal, fanciful, gowns is what Monique Lhuillier does best and for her spring bridal collection she delivered. The gowns struck a perfect balance between traditional and au currant. She showed plenty of delicate lace dresses, glamorous cascading ruffles and romantic layers of tulle. These are statement gowns that are timeless and forever.

 

Monique Lhuillier Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Monique Lhuillier Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Monique Lhuillier Bridal (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Monique Lhuillier Bridal
(Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Top Ten 2017 Millennial Fashion Trends

- - Trends

10 Top 2017 Millennial Fashion Trends

Spring is in the air and as the temperatures heat up, so do the fashion trends. Here is a look at the top ten fashion trends that millennials will embrace for spring and beyond.

Tickled Pink

Diana Vreeland once said “pink is the navy blue of India” and this spring designers from New York to Paris have embraced the femininely sweet shade. But don’t be fooled, although the hue is chock-full-of-saccharine, these looks are anything but girlie. The color palette runs the gamut from soft pastel tones to bold vibrant shades and can be found on everything from chic dresses and suits to the “It Bag” of the moment.

 

Céline (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Céline (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Making A Statement

Forget logomania. Millennials are embracing statement tees as they take a political stance against the unjust. In a throwback to Katharine Hamnett’s political slogan tees of the late 80’s and early 90’s, today’s variety can already be found all over Instagram and on celebrity “It Girls”.  From Christian Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” version to Sacai’s “Horror Show” motto, these tees are already street-style approved.

Christian Dior (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sacai (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sacai (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Sporty Spice

Millennials are creatures of comfort as they continue to embrace the athleisure trend. Oversized Vetements sweatshirts were street-style approved this past fashion week and were worn by every fashion “It-Girl and Boy” proving this trend has staying power.

Vetements (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Vetements (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Philipp Plein (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Philipp Plein (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Get Graphic

These stripes are not for the board room. For spring, designers are focusing on graphic, striped patterns that can be found on cool separates for day or night. These bold looks are selfie approved by fashionistas on both sides of the Atlantic.

Proenza Schoular (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Marni (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Marni (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Jean Therapy

Who doesn’t love denim? Denim is the uniform for millennials, but for spring, the durable fabric is anything but basic. There are so many choices in the denim market from mom jeans to skinny; to wide-leg to cut-offs; anything goes. Celebrities and models off duty have also taken to wearing intricate embellished denim from day to night.

 

Junya Watanabe (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Junya Watanabe (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Dsquared2 (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Dsquared2 (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

80’s

Everyone loves a good throwback, and for spring, designers are looking to the Eighties for inspiration. From Gucci’s one shouldered ruffled number to Balmain’s electric blue suit; these bold looks are dramatic and daring.

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Balmain (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Balmain (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

 

Armed Forces

It’s become the uniform trend for millennials as military inspired and utility pockets are all the rage. For spring, the trend gets a chic update from  Marc Jacob’s flirty take on camouflage to Dries Van Noten’s urban outerwear– these looks have plenty of charm.

Marc Jacobs (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Marc Jacobs (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Dries Van Noten (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Dries Van Noten (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Boudoir

Inner-wear as outerwear is all the rage as designers look to the boudoir for inspiration. Touches of lingerie references can be found on flirty bra tops, seductive slipdresses and sexy briefs.

Alexander Wang (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Moschino (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Moschino (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sheer Delight

You’re so transparent. Designers are making a case for sheer clothing as the transparent trend continues to go strong for spring thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian who wears the trend with such confidence and bravado.

Chistopher Kane  (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Chistopher Kane (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Ann Demeulemeester (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Ann Demeulemeester (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Outerwear

This year has been the year of great outerwear, from cool embroidered bombers to oversized puffers. For spring, the trend continues with Balenciaga’s bright puffer vest as well as quirky silk bombers.

Balenciaga (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Balenciaga (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Cozy Up to London Fashion Week Trends

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

Fashion week in London has wrapped up for another season. Much like many of the wrapped-up models that walked the runways, the trends veered toward cozy, roomy and bundled-up in yards of luxurious fabrics. From stripes to plaids to polka dots and neutrals to neons, London offered a little something for everybody for Fall 2017. Read More

5 It-Accessory Trends for Spring Summer 2017 from the Runways

- - Trends

University of Fashion blog gives readers the latest insight into Spring Summer 2017 accessory trends from both ready-to-wear and couture collections. With bold, chunky and colourful accessories, designers are going for the all-eyes-on-me look for the accessories this year. Take a look at the top 5 styles:

1. Novelty Accessories

chanel dolce gabbana novelty bags

Novelty handbags by Chanel (left) and Dolce & Gabbana (right) (Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

From robot-shaped to animal-inspired, cameras, drums, dragonflies and frogs – all were seen as bags and jewelry in Spring Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collections of Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Chloe and Tory Burch.

novelty jewelry tory burch

Novelty jewelry by Chloe (left) and Tory Burch (right) (Photo Credits: ShilpaAhuja.com)

2. Three-Dimensional Embellishments

Large studs, three-dimensional floral appliqué and doll charms were seen at Fendi. Dolce & Gabbana had statement metallic embellishments on hair accessories and three-dimensional floral embellishments and rose-shaped patterns on shoes. Gucci had large bows studded with pearl and rhinestones on pumps.

fendi gucci accessories ss17

Embellished accessories by Gucci (left) and Fendi (right) Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

dolce acessories ss17

Dolce & Gabbana accessories (Photo Credits: DolceGabbana.com)

3. Printed and patterned Shoes

Art has been making its way from clothing to accessories this year. Religion, nature and underwater life were some of the themes seen on shoes, printed and hand-painted and even patch worked on boots, wedges and platform heels.

latest shoes ss17

Printed shoes by Maison Margiela (left) and Michael Kors (right) (Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

latest printed shoes ss17

Printed shoes by Alexander McQueen (left) and Balenciaga (right) (Photo Credit: Vogue.com)

dolce shoe

Wedge shoes with underwater pattern by Dolce & Gabbana (Photo Credits: Vogue.com)

4. Matching Visors

Visors get more and more stylish as fashion keeps up with the modern-day woman. With embroidery, embellishments and prints adorning this summer accessory, design houses like Dior, Ralph & Russo and Max Mara made visors an essential part of the feminine outfit for 2017.

ralph russo

Matching visor on Ralph & Russo model (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

ralph & russo

Embroidered visor on Ralph & Russo model (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

dior visor

Dior visor (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

dior visors ss17

Look from Dior SS17 RTW (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

max mara visor

Max Mara models backstage wearing visors (Photo Credit: MaxMara.com)

5. Logo and Branding on Accessories

Designers are taking inspiration from street-wear, classic 90s branded tees and fake clothing sporting luxury logos to create their own proudly branded modern-age versions. Dolce & Gabbana had logo slippers inspired by hotel night slippers to match their logo tees. Dior’s accessories in SS17 RTW collection were all about the logo. From logo rings to clutch handles to chokers to shoe straps, all were emblazoned with the word “J’ADIOR”, a logo-tistic take on the French phrase j’adore. Moschino had its logo sprawled unabashedly across a pair of thigh-high boots and handbag straps.

dior acessories ss17

Dior accessories (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

dior ring

Dior ring & choker (Photo Credit: ShilpaAhuja.com)

chanel earring

Chanel earring (Photo Credit: Vogue)

moschino

Moschino thigh-high boots with logo print (Photo Credit: Vogue.com)

dolce slipper

Dolce & Gabbana logo slipper (Photo Credit: Dolcegabbana.com)

The trend of wearing more than one statement accessory continues, these styles are here to steal the show, bringing a fresh update to the looks. And as for whether or not these styles continue to be in trend next season, we’ll be sure to let you know!

[Top Cover Image: (left to right) Dior handbag (Image Credits: Dior); backstage models from Chanel  SS17 RTW show (Image Credits: Chanel.com); Maison Margiela printed booties(Image Credits: Vogue.com)]

Wedge, column, pear and hourglass: 4 body types to know

- - Trends

The “real woman” challenge on Project Runway draws a distinctive line between designers who are adept at working with actual clients and those who design on a standard size 6 dress form. Often design students, through no fault of their own, spend their design education creating on a dress form, which does not necessarily reflect the “real” woman they will one day dress.

For emerging designers who have yet to make their passion a business, it is important to consider who your client will be and how your designs will fit her body type. Or, if you are designing for only a specific body type, it is important to consider how that might affect your business’ bottom line.

At latest report, the average American woman is 5’4”, 166 pounds and has a waist size of 37.5 inches. This is a stark contrast in size to the typical size 6 or 8 dress form most fashion design students use to design. But these are important statistics to take into account when it comes to selling your designs and making sure the women who want to wear your clothes can.

BodyShapes

Regardless of height and weight, standard sizing or plus size, there are four body types designers should be familiar with: the wedge, column, pear and hourglass. Over the course of fashion history, there are many examples of designers who have been known for specific silhouettes that mirror these four body types. Take a look at the following:

Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler, famed French designers of the 1980s, were well known for their broad-shouldered silhouettes. Notice how this silhouette gives the appearance of the wedge body type and a great silhouette to minimize the waist and hips by broadening the shoulders.

Look no further than the 1920s to find designers who embraced the column silhouette, as in the Paul Poiret illustration above. Other designers to research include Madeleine Vionnet and Madame Grés. This silhouette is great for women who don’t have a defined waistline and whose shape is less curvy.

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 12.04.54 PM

Yves Saint Laurent’s trapeze silhouette of the late 1950s is a good example of a silhouette that follows the shape of the pear body type. Narrow at the shoulder and more voluminous at the hip, this silhouette was also made popular by Pierre Cardin and Rudi Gernreich in the 1960s. This silhouette is popular with girls whose waists and hips are larger than their bust.

And most famous for the hourglass silhouette is Christian Dior and his New Look, as seen above. Nipped in at the waist, and balanced at the shoulder and the hip, many designers have worked to achieve this ideal including Charles Frederick Worth, Azzedine Alaia and of course, Alexander McQueen. Girls with this body shape, accentuate the appearance of a smaller waistline with belts and body contoured clothing.

Understanding the four body types is just the tip of the iceberg for designers today. As the market shifts to accommodate a growing plus sized industry, many designers are shifting their offerings to support both their clients and their businesses. As recent as 2014, the British design collective of Clements Riberio, Giles Deacon, Hema Kaul, Jamie Wei Huang, Lulu Liu and Vita Gottlieb, were the first plus-size brands to show at London Fashion Week.

There has been a growing body positivity movement for some time. In 2004, Dove created their Campaign for Real Beauty which fostered conversations on female self-confidence and self-esteem issues, no matter her size, shape or race. Dove beauty ads featured plus-size women as the “real beautiful.”

However, as recent as last summer, Leslie Jones, star of SNL and Ghostbusters, struggled to find a designer who would design for her due to her size. She took her story to Twitter and her exchange with Christian Siriano made headline news. Siriano, a long time champion of dressing women with diverse body sizes was honored to step up to the plate. Siriano says of his collection in general, “We want to make sure that the collection feels cohesive, but we want to make sure that the models and the women wearing it are just as different as the women that shop in a store.” In fact, Siriano included plus-sized models in his fashion show last September to prove his point. In addition, many designers including Siriano and Isabel and Ruben Toledo, have partnered with plus-size retailer Lane Bryant as a way to make their designs accessible to all women.

We know this is a lot to consider as you are just learning to drape, draw and sew. However, we are dedicated to helping you navigate the fashion industry and its quickly changing trends. Take a look at our recently posted video for more information on body types and the plus-sized market.

Screen Shot 2017-01-15 at 2.22.31 PM

Personalization or Narcissism? The New Age of Customization

- - Trends

Everyone loves a little personal touch. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that as dominant animals, we humans like marking our territory. Or, perhaps it’s our need to differentiate ourselves from the pack, as evidenced by a male skeleton discovered in 26,000 B.C.E Northern Russia wearing a highly decorated beaded garment. Is it a subconscious demonstration of power and status or simply a touch of narcissism? Either way, it’s in our DNA.

In Medieval Europe, aristocrats were granted the right to use a coat of arms. Today the family crest is a modern day use of a coat of arms with lots of snob appeal when embroidered and worn on a blazer pocket. Tattoos, from their tribal beginnings, to their use as modern day body art, are also forms of personalization, as were tribal ankle bracelets, bangles and necklaces that have since morphed into namesake jewelry.

Customization in fashion is in the air!

Today we are taking personalization to the max. Keychains with personalized letters, letter namesake bracelets and pendant necklaces bearing the wearer’s name are all the rage. We can even customize our own sneakers!

carrie-bradshaw-sex-and-the-city-necklace-sjp

Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City wearing her namesake necklace: the “Carrie necklace.”

Printed T-shirts, once prime real estate for company logos, are now shamelessly emboldened with the name of the wearer, like the one below worn by Cindy Crawford. Everyone can enjoy a bit of narcissism, as online print shops print customers’ names and graphics on tees and hoodies.

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Cindy Crawford wearing her namesake sweatshirt by Reformation on the cover of Muse magazine.

Name-mania was in full swing when Burberry debuted a monogrammed poncho for Fall 2014 with model/actress Cara Delevingne wearing her initials. Celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Palermo followed suit.

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Burberry’s personalized poncho worn by-Cara Delevingne, Sarah Jessica Parker & Olivia Palermo; Source: Popsugar

In 2015, model Gigi Hadid made the rounds on social media & in fashion magazines when she wore a cropped jacket to the American Music Awards with her #HADID, sprawled across her back.

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Gigi Hadid at American Music Awards wearing #HADID jacket; Source: Popsugar

Earlier last month Victoria’s Secret model, Angel Alessandra Ambrosio, got into the act by posting a photo on Instagram wearing a personalized training tank top.

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Model & VS Angel Alessandra Ambrosio’s personalized tank

And customization also got political

Some celebs like Rihanna, in a patriotic nod even though she couldn’t vote, opted to share her T-shirt real estate with Hillary Clinton during the November 2016 election with the message “I’m with her. And her.”

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Rihanna’s “Hillary T-shirt”

Hey, do I smell a marketing opportunity?

By Fall/Winter 2016/2017, fashion forward houses like Christian Dior, Fendi and Marc Jacobs recognized the enormous marketing opportunity of customization, by offering products whereby the end-user could add their own personal touch to a slew of designer products.

Dior introduced charms for the straps of their iconic Lady Dior bag.

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Lady Dior bag with customizable pins

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Dior charms for the straps of their iconic Lady Dior bag

Fendi introduced mini-bags with detachable straps, sold separately, which range from fur-trimmed to colourful leather ruffles. The house has also introduced letter charms that can be used to spell out messages or names.

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Fendi’s mini-bags with detachable customizable straps

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Some of Fendi’s bag straps

Marc Jacobs offered pins and badges for his Fall/Winter 2016 collection that can be bought separately along with fashion staples like tees and denim jackets. The user can then stitch or affix the pins & badges to clothes from Cow Boy Hardware or to write messages and names.

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Marc Jacobs’ customization campaign

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Marc Jacobs’ pins and badges used to personalize clothes

Getting creative or just another marketing ploy?

As these new designer toys surface, are we lead to believe that this is an outlet for our own creativity? Or are these pins and badges another set of status symbols and marketing ploy?

Just as social media has empowered us to become our own stylist, could designers be joining hands to mark a new movement in fashion whereby the wearer is empowered to become his or her own designer? Let us know what you think!

Is Fashion Art? You Bet it is!

For decades, fashion scholars have debated whether fashion should be considered an art form or whether it is solely a craft. Some believe that due to the utilitarian aspect of fashion, it should not be considered art. However, much like famous Impressionist artists of the 19th century, such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh, fashion designers also use their creativity as a form of self expression. This becomes even more apparent when fashion designers collaborate with artists. A glance back into fashion history reveals many collaborations between artists and fashion designers, beginning in the early 1900s. Paul Poiret, the first couturier to fuse art and fashion, worked with with prominent artists and illustrators including Georges Lepage, Erté, Georges Barbier and Raoul Duffy. In the 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli collaborated with surrealist artists Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Christian Bérard.

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Evening jacket designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Jean Cocteau (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

During the 1960s, pop artist Andy Warhol joined with Yves Saint Laurent who used Warhol’s Campbell soup can imagery from his paintings to create a series of A-line paper dresses, one called “The Souper Dress.”

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The Souper Dress featuring Andy Warhol’s soup can graphics (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

Fast forward to the 21st century. Marc Jacobs, while creative director at Louis Vuitton, collaborated with artists to reinvent the iconic LV logo handbag: Stephen Sprouse’s scrawled silver graffiti (2000), Takashi Murakami’s animated motifs (2004), Richard Prince’s “nurse” prints (2008) and Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots (2012).

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Takashi Murakami

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Stephen Sprouse

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Yayoi Kusama’s polka dotted Louis Vuitton bag
(Image source: NY Times)

In 2016, designer Nicolas Ghesquière channeled California and continued the trend of artistic bags with the LV Petite Malle (small truck) for Cruise ’16.

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Louis Vuitton Petite Malle clutch

For the past couple of seasons, the trend of marrying art and fashion has become even stronger. Christopher Kane’s gown with nude figure patterns was amongst the most talked about at Met Gala 2015 when worn by FKA Twigs.

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FKA twigs wearing a Christopher Kane gown at Met gala 2015 (Image source: Daily Mail)

Moschino introduced pop culture and graffiti-inspired art in its Fall Winter 2015 collection. The graffiti gown and matching gloves from this collection was later worn by Katy Perry, also at the MET gala.

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Katy Perry in Moschino gown at Met gala 2015 (Image Source: US Weekly)

For their Spring Summer 2016 collection, Dolce & Gabbana paid tribute to Italy with dresses featuring imagery depicting different cities and their names – Roma, Venezia, Portofino amongst others.

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Featured above: Dolce & Gabbana dress with artwork depicting Roma and Venezia

Pierpaolo Piccioli collaborated with Zandra Rhodes for Valentino’s Spring Summer 2017 collection, creating gowns with prints of the Hieronymus Bosch painting, the Garden of Earthly Delights.

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Valentino Spring Summer 2017

A maxi dress from Alice+Olivia’s Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection depicts a caricature of CEO/designer Stacey Bendet, sporting red lips and round sunglasses.

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Alice+Olivia Spring Summer 2017 (Image Credits: Vogue)

Marques’ Almeida added intricate floral art on their dresses, shorts, blouses and trousers.

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Marques’ Almeida Spring Summer 2017

At Dior, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri introduced feminine gowns and embroidered tulle dresses with tarot cards, cosmic and floral-inspired art with names like “Le Monde”, “La Lune” and “Le Soleil.”

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

Scholars will continue to debate whether fashion is really art, but we at the University of Fashion believe it is, especially when created in collaboration with artists!

Learn more about fashion history, past and present, with our costume history lessons: 100 Years of Fashion Rebels & Revolutionaries, Parts 1 & 2, Keeping Up With the Jones and Wheels Reels & Automobiles.