Welcome to the Metaverse: How Fashion and Cartoon Avatars Can Build Your Brand

(Image from the Balenciaga-themed episode of The Simpsons released by the brand during Paris Fashion Week Spring 2022)

In a previous UoF blog, we covered how Balenciaga’s creative director, Demna Gvasalia, co-created a bespoke 10-minute episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer tries to learn the correct pronunciation of the brand name, “buh-len-see-aa-guh” and seeks to find the perfect birthday gift for his wife Marge. The episode premiered during Paris Fashion Week 2022 at a red carpet event held at Théâtre de Chatelet, with a star power assist from Isabelle Huppert, Eliot Page, Cardi B and Naomi Campbell. It was a huge success, and the fashion industry took note. Another marketing avenue was paved.

Can I create my own DIY Cartoon Character?

The answer is YES! With computer gaming on the rise, especially among Millennial and Gen Zers, some famous fashion brands have already gotten in on the act, creating fashion outfits for computer game characters. Not only does fashion created for characters add prestige to the games themselves, but they help bring brand awareness to a new cohort of potential customers who wouldn’t ordinarily shop heritage fashion houses, such as Vuitton, Balenciaga and Ralph Lauren.

Today, cartoon generator websites like turnmeyellow.com and getcartoonizer.com instruct you on how to take your photo (2D only) and then create a downloadable digital file of yourself, for example, a Simpson’s “yellow” character, or a character from Comedy Central’s hit series, South Park. However, while these apps will transform your photo to have the “same look” as a Simpson’s or a South Park character, obviously you are not actually a copyrighted character from these shows and therefore they cannot be used for commercial purposes. In the case of Balenciaga, their team worked closely with The Simpsons’ creators directly, and received permission to use their characters (and created new ones) to promote the Balenciaga brand.

Are personalized fashion avatars the next wave?

(Image credits: Ready Player Me)

Yes. The next wave is to create your own personalized fashion avatar and the marketing possibilities are endless. Either way, these new marketing tools have designers jumping for joy.

If you are familiar with 3D design software, such as CLO3D, Browzwear, Optitex, Gerber, and Tukatech, then you know how realistic-looking fashion avatars have become. And so, it comes as no surprise that apps for gaming and fashion-generation are now available to the general public.

One avatar creation app is Ready Player Me by Wolf3D, where you can create an avatar with or without a picture, specify gender (or not), and specify skin tone and hair. By generating a personal avatar from a selfie image, you’re able to use it in different gaming and virtual applications. In a newly announced partnership with metaverse fashion leader RTFKT, you’re able to use their shoes and jackets to customize your avatar and you have access to hundreds of hairstyles, eyebrows, glasses and other options. All of these assets are free for Ready Player Me users. In addition, their avatars can be used with gaming platforms such as, Unity and Unreal Engine and have web and IOS integration.

By the way, the personal plans and/or student plans from the two main game engines are free.

Platform Link
Unity https://store.unity.com/compare-plans
UnReal Engine https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/download

 

(Image credits: Ready Player Me)

How early 2D fashion toys helped build brands, thus paving the way for today’s digital fashion cartoons & avatars

(Image credit: Bunty’s cut-out paper dolls from Pinterest)

If you are of a certain age, then you might just remember a time when ‘cut-out dolls’ were all the rage. Girls would spend hours folding clothes with paper tabs over figures made of paper or thin cardboard (in fact, some of us even designed our own paper clothes!). Paper dolls, dating back to the mid 1600s, were mostly used as children’s toys. However, eventually they found their way into advertising. with movie stars and celebrities as the focus.

Fast forward to the 21st century. Now you can create your own fashion ‘doll’ (avatar) to use for AR experiences on your phone and to bring your own personalized avatar into your favorite computer games.

With some entrepreneurial spirit, some mad computer & design skills, why not create your own computer game or cartoon character to promote your brand?

(Image credit: House of Math)

Let’s take a look at House of Math for inspiration. It’s a good example of using avatars to promote personalized learning. According to House of Math: This gamified platform offers games, the whole curriculum for K12, math drills, boot camps, study techniques and problem solving. You can also create your own 3D-avatar which takes your through all your activities. In addition, we have Mentor-on-Demand: a teaching service where you can either chat, video chat or have a one of our over 140 mentors come and teach at your home.“

(Image credit: Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow on YouTube)

And let’s not forget Demna Gvasalia’s bespoke video game in 2020 entitled, “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow”. 

How would I get my designs to games?

As you may have guessed, creating your own good computer game can cost thousands, and unless you or someone you know has some serious gaming chops, your best bet is to explore existing gaming platforms that allow you to design clothes for a particular game so that you can market your designs through your own social media channels. While there are services and software to make this easier, those may come with a fee.

To all our aspiring tech-savvy designers out there who are interested in promoting their own designs through computer games, let’s look at some popular garment design software and how to get your designs to games.

Remember, for games, you will need to export the garments and the avatar on whom you design the garments. CLO3D and Browzwear will allow you to export certain avatars. Marvelous Designer is similar to CLO3D and is focused on Animation and Gaming, but if you are using CLO3D for clothing design, there may be a different workflow.

Where to get started?

Let’s start with Browzwear and CLO3D. Since in any game, your avatar will want to move, both platforms have avatars that are already rigged and ready to export as FBX file types.

Tutorials on Automation Source
https://browzwear.com/watch-your-designs-come-to-life-with-the-vstitcher-animation-workspace/ Browzwear
https://support.browzwear.com/VStitcher/Export/settings.htm#ExportFBX Browzwear
https://support.clo3d.com/hc/en-us/articles/360055227373-Automatic-Rigging-Converter-ver-6-0- CLO3D
https://support.clo3d.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000526908-3D-File-FBX-Import-Export CLO3D

 

And if you want to use other poses or use other avatars, Mixamo works with Browzwear and this workflow is explained by Browzwear.

https://www.mixamo.com/#/ Mixamo Adobe

 

If your game allows import of your own avatar, they will give detailed instructions.

Game/ Platform Link
VRChat https://www.gameskinny.com/9c6x1/vrchat-guide-how-to-create-custom-avatars
Animaze https://www.animaze.us/manual/gettingstarted3d/animaze3d
Valheimians https://www.valheimians.com/article/how-to-import-custom-avatars-in-valheim-multiplayer-with-valheimvrm-mod/
Roblox https://developer.roblox.com/en-us/articles/using-avatar-importer

 

But what if I want to get my designs into video format instead?

Good news, Browzwear can save to an MP4 and CLO3D can save to an MP4 or MOV file. You can also download garments with movement without the avatars. If you know how to edit MP4 files, this is another method to get your designs visible.

Tutorials on MP4 / MOV files Source
https://browzwear.com/watch-your-designs-come-to-life-with-the-vstitcher-animation-workspace/ Browzwear
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adx8WPVA92o&t=380s Browzwear
https://support.clo3d.com/hc/en-us/articles/115004522187-Animation-Video-Capture CLO3D
https://invideo.io/blog/how-to-merge-videos-in-windows-10/ Invideo.io

 

If you are less tech-savvy but love to draw, why not create your own cartoon character?

(Image credits: Sew Sketchy)

Sew Sketchy

Sew Sketchy is the brainchild of fashion illustrator/influencer/Parsons graduate, Romy Schreiber. Followers of Schreiber’s Sew Sketchy character have a ball as they watch Sew Sketchy explore life as a fashionista. In Schreiber’s own words, “she is a sartirical personification of the fashion girl stereotypes yet what you read is 100% inspired by her real life.”

Image credits: Sew Sketchy

The Most Stylish Cartoon Characters Best Dressed Lists

(Image credit: Cosmopolitan magazine, 2014)

Oh, and did you know? There are several ‘Best Dressed Lists’ when it comes to rating the most stylish cartoon characters (spoiler alert…Olive Oil from Popeye is not one of them). For example, there is Anime Motivation’s “The Best Anime Character Outfits”, 3Dtotal’s “15 Stylized Characters of Spring 2021”, Sara Scoop’s, “The 10 Most Stylish Disney Characters”, Cosmopolitan magazine’s “The Most Stylist Cartoon Characters of All Time”, Attire Club’s “The Most Stylish Male Cartoons Characters on TV”, MsMojo’s “Top 10 Cartoon Characters Who are Totally Fashion Goals”, and Elle magazine’s “Fashionable Cartoon Characters”.

But, in my book, the best of all is Pixar’s character Edna “E” Mode, the half-Japanese, half-German fashion designer from the animated cartoon, The Incredibles. Why? Not only does she have her own personal style, but she also knows how to design for all of the characters in the show.

Design wise, Edna Mode from the start was all about shape and size inclusivity, even before it was popular. She designed to the ‘person’s strengths’ and made personalized clothes just for them.

“I never look back, dahling. It distracts from the now.”

—Edna Mode

Too bad I can’t hire her for any of my own future products!

(Image credit: Pixar)

So, tell us, do you have a fav cartoon or game character and how motivated are you to use gaming to market your brand?

TRICK OR TREAT: HALLOWEEN-INSPIRED RUNWAY LOOKS

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Richard Quinn’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Children of all ages love the traditions of Halloween, from wearing scary costumes to carving out pumpkins, the holiday is a magical time of year filled with fun festivities. This year, Halloween will be extra special considering the bewitching holiday was pretty much cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So, if you are still searching for your epic Halloween costume, just look to the runways for inspiration.

A look from Off-White’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

While Halloween-inspired looks have always been an inspiration on the runways. Here are a few blasts-from-the-past costume looks:

Who could ever forget Prada’s creepy 2019 Frankenstein collection with images of the monster himself and his equally spooky bride?

A look from Prada’s Fall 2019 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

And what about the infamous 1997 Comme des Garçon collection that had distorted body lumps reminiscent of Quasimodo from the classic tale, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Spring 1997 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Dark magic and enchantresses have always been an inspiration on the runway, one of the best witchy looks was from Martin Sitbon’s 1993 collection.

A look from Martine Sitbon’s Spring 1993 Show. (Photo Credit: Daniel Simon)

Clowns are always a favorite, here are some of our favorite clown looks through the years.

From left, Maison Margiela, fall 2015; Dior haute couture, fall 2007; Alexander McQueen, fall 2001. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

But not all Halloween costumes need to be terrifying. There were plenty of sweet, girlie looks, ranging from princess to Barbie, case in point, Moschino’s 2015 Barbie-inspired collection.

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2015 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

As we get closer to Halloween, fashionistas will be showing off their designer costume-inspired looks ranging from crafty witches to NASA astronauts. So, take a look below, and see the most artistic styles from the 2021 and 2022 runways that’ll have you covered when it comes to costume innovation, while giving you major fashion cred. And the best part? These are all looks that are available in time for your costume parties.

THE GHOST OF ELIZA DOOLITTLE

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

One of the most theatrical designers of our time is Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. The avant-garde designer never disappoints. For fall 2021, Kawakubo created a tight line-up of magnificently Edwardian & Victorian-inspired looks consisting of black cloaks with puffy white linings, ballooning crinolines, and frothy layers of whipped white cotton and black tulle. Stovepipe hats completed the look. The collection echoed a modern variation of Cecil Beaton’s My Fair Lady (1964) Ascot scene.

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

A look from Christian Dior’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

We have all been told countless fairytales throughout our lives. For fall 2022, Christian Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri layered the collection with fairytale themes centered around the idea of appearance vs. character: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty and the stories re-recorded by Charles Perrault in Versailles in the 18th century. The tales inspired a whimsical collection suspended between the idea of classic and timeless pieces, juxtaposed against the alluringly dangerous fairytale world.

INTERGALACTIC

A look from Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Marc Jacobs made a bold statement for fall 2021 as he played with dramatic mid-century looks, and yes, Space Age proportions, all filtered through an American sportswear extremism that caught the attention of the Gen Z shopper.

POP PRINCESS

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Throughout the ‘90s designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the geniuses behind the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, dressed a multitude of musicians for various award shows and music videos. Their sexy looks are still rocking the runway today and for their fall 2021 collection, the duo threw-it-back to their nineties heyday.

TRAGIC BEAUTY

A look from Alexander McQueen’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Alexander McQueen’s creative director, Sarah Burton, has kept true to the houses DNA. The talented designer even managed to capture the founders dramatic flare for storytelling in a dramatically beautiful yet haunting way. For fall 2021 she didn’t disappoint. Channeling the healing powers of nature, Burton was inspired by anemones and water as recurring motifs in that collection. Crushing up photographs of anemones, Burton photographed them again, and transferred the images onto gigot-sleeved poly faille gowns, worthy of Empress Sisi ( The Tragic Austrian Empress Who Was Murdered by Anarchists).

INSPECTOR GADGET

A look from Sacai’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The beloved cartoon Inspector Gadget came to life for fall 2021 as Sacai’s creative director, Chitose Abe, reinterpreted the classic trench coat into a cool, must have staple.

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

A look from Saint Laurent’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

It’s time to throw on your leotard and start your aerobics class, as Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello sent out dazzling eighties-inspired looks for fall 2021.

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Never one to go the traditional route, Demna Gvasalia, creative director at Balenciaga, presented his fall 2021 as a working video game. The fashion-turned-game-designer created the electronic game Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, an allegorical adventure that showcased his latest creations, including NASA-inspired outerwear.

LITTLE DEVIL

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Rock on! Junya Watanabe’s “Immortal Rock Spirit” fall 2021 show was inspired by true rock bands including Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Queen and the Who. His classic concert tees were wrapped up, patchworked, and reconstructed into draped shapes, challenging the standard fashion vocabulary. Watanabe was quite brilliant at rocking that aesthetic.

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

A look from Moschino’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Jeremy Scott, creative director at Moschino, really knew how to have fun with fashion; case in point, a giraffe-inspired dress with headpiece and all.

UNITED NATIONS

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Guram Gvasalia, Demna’s younger brother and creative director behind the cultish label Vetements, is always courting controversy.  For fall 2021, the differences between observing, commenting on, and simply mocking real political events for profit has become a dangerously blurred line. Guram exhibited flashes of idealism in passing, case in point, the United Nations flag print suit.

WEDNESDAY ADDAMS

A look from Valentino’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

For fall 2021, Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, added a punk touch to his otherwise chic collection. It was the perfect collection for a modern-day, grown-up Wednesday Addams (circa ’60s TV show The Addams Family and recent animated cartoon movie, The AddamsFamily2) .

WITCHCRAFT

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Yohji Yamamoto is known for his hauntingly beautiful collections. His artistic creations for fall 2021 were rendered entirely in black, with the exception of stitching, piping and a single print. The dark yet romantic looks had a witchy aesthetic that was spellbinding.

BOY MEETS GIRL

A look from Thom Browne’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Thom Browne, the designer behind his namesake collection, created his fall 2021 collection based on extreme scales that were overwhelmingly delightful. Browne fused black-tie clothing with sport apparel and in one look even added a gigantic couture bow. Beneath all those bubble helmets and big-time bows were models of all genders, but Browne insisted that gender really doesn’t matter. His creatively beautiful clothes are for everyone.

ALIEN NATION

A look from Rick Owens’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The global pandemic has undoubtedly affected everyone’s mental health. So it’s no surprise that Rick Owens’ fall 2021 collection had post-apocalyptic vibes. His girls were otherworldly, like a fashionable parade of aliens who came to earth to party.

So tell us, what will you wear for Halloween?

HERE COMES THE BRIDE: FALL 2022 BRIDAL SHOW TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

A look from Reem Acra’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Reem Acra)

And that’s a wrap! The excitement of New York Bridal Fashion Week came to an end as the condensed three-day event took place between October 6th to the 8th and there was so much to see. From over-the-top whimsical gowns to minimalistic slip dresses. The event was a hybrid of live runway shows, private appointments, and of course, digital presentations . With many brides having to postpone their wedding due to the pandemic in 2020 and 2021, all eyes are on the latest bridal trends for 2022.

“With COVID-19, everyone wanted to come together and have an in-person market, but once we took a look at retailers and bridal designers around the globe, we realized so many people couldn’t travel because of the restrictions. So, we decided to offer a hybrid market this season — the last two were virtual,” Michelle Iacovelli, executive director of the council, stated in an interview with WWD. “We’ll have the Bridal Council x PullQuest platform; there are a handful of designers showing in person, with mostly market appointments. Those showing have showrooms in New York City or are closer by and can easily travel. Those options will be available but a majority of the designers will be on PullQuest.”

“With the hybrid model, whether you’re going to be in-person or not, you’re able to see everything online as well. If you can’t go in person, all of the designers are showing their collections right here on the homepage; if you’re going in person, it’s helpful afterward,” echoed Natalie Meyer, founder of PullQuest.

The October 2021 bridal market marks the third season for The Bridal Council x PullQuest, a digital platform selected by The Bridal Council to virtually bring the bridal market to its global audience and marketplace. According to WWD, PullQuest will continue to serve as a one-stop-shop for designers, offering a unified sales and media hub for the industry. It featured a presentation schedule, downloadable press kits, digital showrooms with collection imagery and videos, and more, as well as a continuation of prior seasons’ streamlined tools for sales (the ability to place wholesale orders), media, influencers and stylists.

The Bridal Council x PullQuest went live on October 6th and will live on the site for six months after market week. This will allow designers in the bridal market to update their content, and for retailers to place reorders. The platform will also be used by media, stylists, and influencers to access and pull looks.

A look from Vera Wang Bride’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vera Wang Bride)

Many CFDA members in the bridal market returned this season including Marchesa, Monique Lhuillier, Naeem Khan, Reem Acra and Vera Wang, as well as designer brands Alexandra Grecco, Amsale, David’s Bridal, Kosibah, Odylyne the Ceremony, PatBO, Verdin New York and Zuhair Murad.

While the season offered plenty of beautiful, traditional gowns, some of the emerging trends for fall 2022 bridal were a bit more unconventional, reflecting a new consumer market…Millennials! Here is a round-up of some of our favorite trends.

BOUDOIR

Lingerie-inspired looks ruled the ready-to-wear runways and the bridal market took notice as corseted gowns were one of the biggest trends for fall 2022. These seductive gowns are the perfect balance of naughty and nice.

A look from Lihi Hod’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Lihi Hod)

A look from Galia Lahav’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Galia Lahav)

A look from Ines By Ines Di Santo’s Fall 2022 collection. Photo Credit Ines Di Santo

A look from Marchesa Bridal Couture Collection’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Marchesa Bridal Couture Collection)

A look from Francesca Miranda’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Francesca Miranda)

THE COLD SHOULDER

Off-the-shoulder gowns were one of the most flattering bridal looks. The neckline shows off just a bit of skin. And, think of all the fabulous jewelry that will complement the gown!

A look from Andrew Kwon’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Andrew Kwon)

A look from Galia Lahav’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Galia Lahav)

A look from Verdin Bridal New York’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Verdin Bridal New York)

A look from Grace Loves Lace’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Grace Loves Lace)

A look from Reem Acra’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Reem Acra)

NINETIES MINIMALISM

The Nineties are back and so is the iconic slip dress. For fall 2022, designers in the bridal market offered their own take on the minimalistic classic.

A look from Vera Wang Bride’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vera Wang Bride)

A look from Theia’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Theia)

A look from Alexandra Grecco’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Alexandra Grecco)

A look from Grace Loves Lace’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Grace Loves Lace)

ALL ABOUT SLEEVE

Brides will be sure to make a powerful entrance as they walk down the aisle in these dramatic puff sleeve gowns.

A look from Halfpenny London ‘s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Halfpenny London)

A look from Ines Di Santo’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Ines Di Santo)

A look from Verdin Bridal New York’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Verdin Bridal New York)

A look from Vera Wang Bride’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vera Wang Bride)

A look from Reem Acra’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Reem Acra)

TROUSER BAR

More and more brides are opting for untraditional wedding looks and so designers are creating chic pantsuits, sexy jumpsuits, and a plethora of effortless trouser looks.

A look from Ines Di Santo’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Ines Di Santo)

A look from Kaviar Gauche’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Kaviar Gauche)

A look from Rita Vinieris Rivini’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Rita Vinieris Rivini)

A look from Nadia Manjarrez’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Nadia Manjarrez)

A look from Andrew Kwon’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Andrew Kwon)

GET SHORTY

What bride wouldn’t want to dance the night away in these short bridal dress variations that will bring down the house?

A look from Nadia Manjarrez’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Nadia Manjarrez)

A look by Ines By Ines Di Santo’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Ines Di Santo)

A look from Anne Barge’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Anne Barge)

A look from Houghton’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Houghton)

A look from Vera Wang Bride’s Fall 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vera Wang Bride)

Want to learn how to draft, drape & construct a slip dress, a boned bustier, cascade ruffles. extreme puffed sleeves, tailored pant suits and how to sew lace & sheer fabrics? Let our professionals teach you at UniversityofFashion.com

 

 

 

Gaming & Fashion: Two Aspirational Worlds of Experiences Combine

- - Fashion Innovation

(Image credit: Skinvaders blog post)

To those of you out there who aren’t into computer gaming, listen up, it won’t be long now before that could change.

According to two recent blog posts on Skinvaders (a platform for in-game branded skins and digital clothing) entitled, “How the new gamer generation is driving fashion in gaming” and “Why are people spending money on the branded clothing in-game?” Janne Souza stated that the growing popularity of life simulation and casual games has increased the number of women gamers, in fact, women account for 46% of global gamers! Souza also claims that gaming is now the biggest entertainment industry with $180 billion in revenue, and, that Gen Z and Millennials are the most active gamers (Gen Zers representing almost 40% of all global consumers).

Why now? What is driving fashion brands to work with gaming companies?

Souza posits that fashion is seeing gaming as a crucial marketing channel and a way for brands to sell digital or phygital (both digital and physical) collections, as their consumers do not see a border between the digital and physical worlds. Additionally, people are the same in the physical and digital worlds – they want branded clothing or skins in both environments – for their personal and exclusive identity and that gamers are willing to spend on tools for self-expression. Souza also states that the psychology of brands (the brands’ image that is transferred to us) is the same in the digital world as the physical. We want to be fashionable and 70% of young gamers are interested in branded ‘skins’ (fashion).

BALENCIAGA 

So, it’s no surprise that on September 20, 2021, Balenciaga announced their partnership with Unreal Engine’s game Fortnite to further blur reality. 

Do you want the fashion to be real in your game or real in your physical world?  Alas…now you can have both!

Players in Fortnite can now have Balenciaga fashions (or skins) for their characters. Players can also purchase Fortnite branded items on the Balenciaga store, Tees, caps, leather jackets, shirts, and hoodies (hoodies – are already sold out), sizing in French unisex XS – L.

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

(Image credit: Unreal Engine)

In the blending of the real world and gaming, the same models can now be used for both digital world and real-world interactions.

If you are a follower of the University of Fashion blog, then you know that for the past two years we have been covering technology’s impact on the industry: the rise of fashion video games, our 2019 post covering Riot Games’ collaboration with Louis Vuitton x League of Legends, how the fashion industry is moving into the world of Augmented Reality (AR) retailing, Artificial Intelligence for fashion and the use of 3D design software in the design process and in 3D textiles.

It therefore comes as no surprise that the fashion industry is focused on the buying power of the biggest gaming aficionados, Millennials (born between1981-1996) and Gen Zers (born after 1996), since according to McKinsey & Co, these combined generations wield around $350 billion of spending power in the U.S. alone; around $150 billion by Gen Z and around $200 billion millennials. In 2020, Gen Z accounted for 40% of global consumers. What better way to broaden a brand’s generational reach (especially among heritage brands like Vuitton and Balenciaga) than to meet them in their ‘world’?

RALPH LAUREN

Balenciaga is not alone in their attempt to reach and to recruit new gamers to their brand. Other fashion brands are also bringing fashion to gaming. Late August 2021, Ralph Lauren formed a partnership with Zepeto to create a 50-piece digital apparel collection and virtual world. For those unfamiliar with Zepeto, it is a free social media app that lets you create a 3D digital character (called a Zepeto) from a picture of yourself and then share it on social media. We all have friends who have created a personal Zepeto, right?

The 3D avatars in Zepeto can now have an exclusive Ralph Lauren x Zepeto wardrobe. The Ralph Lauren flagship store, along with two other locations in New York City, form the digital spaces to interact with the Lauren collection. You can get a glimpse of this virtual world on YouTube: in a virtual Central Park and picking out a classic sweater at the Ralph Lauren flagship store.

(Image credit: YouTube)

(Image credit: YouTube)

HOW ARE VIRTUAL OUTFITS CREATED? 

For all the ‘on-the-table’ designers out there, you know, those of you who prefer to actually touch the fabric, and draft, drape and actually sew your designs – you will be happy to know that some of the workflow in creating virtual outfits is somewhat the same.  

Workflow

First, the virtual garments are modeled based on real garments, then the physical materials and textures are matched with a virtual equivalent. Using 3D scans (for already physical items, such as sneakers) and Unreal shaders (algorithms that literally add shading to the skins) for the virtual world are created.

Just like in the real-world, from sketch to final product, there are many steps in the workflow.  The key points are:

  • The artist brings the vision and concept and even for all of the 3D technology – artistry is still the heart of design.
  • Just like in the real world, the digital environment is an important consideration to the final product.
  • Fabrics and grains were not exactly the same as in the real world, but virtual equivalents can be found.
  • Different CAD programs have different strengths. Multiple CAD packages will be used to create the final product, such as Zbrush, Maya, Marmoset Toolbag, Substance Painter, 3D scans, CAD data, and Unreal Shader system.
  • There are 3rd party companies that help with getting 2D/3D assets between fashion and gaming. So, you are not alone in this new metaverse.

(Image credit: Skinvaders.io)

THE NEXT WAVE

A scene from the bespoke Balenciaga episode of The Simpsons (Image credit YouTube)

All eyes in the fashion industry are on another new PR/marketing ploy, namely collaborations with iconic TV cartoon characters. During Balenciaga’s recent spring 2022 collection show, the audience was treated to a bespoke 10-minute episode of The Simpsons, in which Homer treats Marge to a Balenciaga birthday gift that ends with the town of Springfield being flown to Paris by creative director, Demna Gvasalia, to model in his show. Since The Simpsons first aired in 1989 and is the long-running animated comedy on TV, its reach includes Baby Boomers (born between 1946–1964) and Generation X (born between 1965–1980), as well as Millennials.  Between cartoons and computer games, it looks like Balenciaga has nailed every generation from Boomer to Gen Z.

Stay tuned to our blog for more info on how you can create your own DIY avatar fashion and avatars from cartoon characters.

Does anyone out there want to comment on how the fashion industry will reach Gen Alpha (born after 2010)?

JE NE SAIS QUOI – PARIS FASHION WEEK 2022 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

Models strut the runway at Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Masks may be an au courant trend (not without controversy), but thanks to masks, social distancing and vax cards Paris Fashion Week roared back to life. The festivities that began on Monday, September 27th wind down on Tuesday, October 5th with major fashion houses opting for live shows such as Dior, Chanel, Hermes, and Vuitton.

Looks from Dior’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

“We are overjoyed at their return and the presence of the other big brands,” Pascal Morand, head of France’s Federation for Haute Couture and Fashion, told AFP, a news network in France. “We feel this appetite for the physical, for the show,” he added.

But we cannot forget that COVID-19 is not yet over and so just like in New York, London, and Milan, face coverings were compulsory at all the shows this week in the City of Lights.

Of the 97 fashion brands showing at PFW, about two-thirds are continuing with online presentations.

A look from Kenneth Ize’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Nigerian designer, Kenneth Ize, a favorite of supermodel Naomi Campbell, kicked off Paris Fashion Week with a show at the Palais de Tokyo.

Then on Sunday evening, Givenchy held its first IRL catwalk presentation by its new American artistic director Matthew Williams, who brought an element of street style to the historic French brand.

Saint Laurent was also back with a live show on Tuesday evening, despite being the first major house to quit the Paris Fashion official calendar when the deadly pandemic hit in 2020. Today it’s obvious that the brand and it’s creative director, Anthony Vaccarello, made the right choice. The historic French house has been protesting the chaotic pace of the fashion calendar, which has led several major brands to rethink their strategies even before the pandemic.

A video of Saint Laurent’s spring 2022 show. (Video courtesy of Saint Laurent on YouTube)

Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala Balanciaga Look rewrote the Red Carpet’s Rules. (Photo Credit: Elle)

On Saturday night the much-anticipated Balenciaga show took place. All eyes were on the brand’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, especially after making waves at the Met Gala when he dressed Kim Kardashian in a controversial all-black, head-to-toe covering (talk about the ultimate Covid mask!).

Balenciaga, which is under the umbrella of the French global luxury group Kering (Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta to name a few) proved that they are totally committed to the future of fashion. Prior to Paris Fashion Week they announced at their brands would be going entirely fur-free. Balenciaga announced that they had teamed up with the hit cartoon comedy show The Simpsons, and they announced a partnership with Unreal Engine’s popular computer game Fortnite. Keep your eyes on this space and watch for our upcoming blog topic on how the fashion industry is entering the gaming space.

Video about Kering going fur-free. (Video Courtesy of France24 on YouTube)

Although there was plenty of excitement and so many live shows to attend, there were still a few who have opted out of showing during the Paris Fashion Week calendar. Most noteworthy absent brands were Celine, whose artistic director Hedi Slimane has argued that the traditional calendar was “obsolete” in the age of social media. Off-White, the brand of the popular streetwear designer Virgil Abloh, has not appeared for several seasons now, as well as Stella McCartney, although she has not given a reason for skipping out of the fashion calendar.

PFW will end with an homage to Israeli-American designer Alber Elbaz, who died from Covid-related complications in April 2020. The late Elbaz’s company, AZ Factory, planned a tribute show with 44 of the world’s most talented designers, each of whom have created a piece in Elber’s honor. Among the designers participating: Rei Kawakubo, Alessandro Michele, Donatella Versace, and Nicolas Ghesquière, and from the U.S., Ralph Lauren, Virgil Abloh and Daniel Roseberry of Schiaparelli.  The company is calling the event, which will be live streamed on October 5 at 8 pm CET, “Love Brings Love.” I am sure the event will bring many to tears as Alber Elbaz was one of the most beloved and charismatic designers of our time.

While the final stretch of the Spring 2022 shows is still going strong, here are some key trends coming out of Paris so far:

POSH SPLICE

This season, designers in Paris played mix masters with a mélange of luxe and alluring combinations.

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Sarawong’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lutz Huelle’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TWISTER

Twisted halter tops take center stage this season as the sexy neckline can be found on everything from body-con dresses and jumpsuits to barely there tops.

A look from Courrèges’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Issey Miyake’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

JUMP STARTS

No longer the sole domain for dancers and gymnasts, the jumpsuit takes on a racy twist in skintight versions that are oh-so-sexy.

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studios’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SPORTS CENTER

Getting in shape never looked better. Designers are inspired by the sporty life with chic riffs on everything from cool basketball-style shorts to a full-on boxing looks.

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Meryll Rogge’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE BELT WAY

Cinch it in! Designers are opting for belting looks this season to accentuate the waist.

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Patou’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Andrew Gn’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Hermès’ Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BARING CONDITIONS

The French have a flare for sexiness and this spring designers are adding an extra dose of seduction with strategically placed  cut-outs leaving very little to the imagination.

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gauchere’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Coperni’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

YOU’RE A GEM

The collections in Paris were filled with brilliant jewel tone colors – rich magentas, emeralds, and blues – enough to make you sparkle like a gem.

A look from Andrew Gn’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Kenneth Ize’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Issey Miyake’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Patou’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHINE LANGUAGE

Metallic hues take a playful turn for spring 2022 as designers show an array of shiny looks from a gold fringe dress to a silver futuristic topper, one things for sure, it’s time to shine on.

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Courrèges’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lutz Huelle’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Now that we’ve covered each of the major fashion week capitals, which city do you believe has the most creative talent?

 

 

LA BELLA VITA: MILAN SPRING 2022 SHOWS

- - Fashion Shows

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Fashion month has been a whirlwind of excitement as Milan Fashion Week wraps up before it heads over to its final stretch in Paris. While New York and London had a good balance between live shows and digital presentations, the runways in Milan were almost back to pre-pandemic levels. MFW, which kicked off on September 24th and ended on the 27th, was a jam-packed calendar consisting 173 shows that were a combination of physical event presentations, parties and 42 that were IRL shows.

A look from Antonio Marras’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Milan always delivers: craftsmanship, modern sophistication and polished elegance. Italian designers have a unique point of view and a refined hand that sets them apart from the rest.

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE BIG DESIGNER SWAP

The two most anticipated shows during Milan Fashion Week had to be Fendi and Prada. It was the first time a new project was unveiled: A Designer Swap!

Donatella Versace designed a Fendi collection and Kim Jones (Fendi’s artistic director) created a Versace collection. A PR stunt for sure, but one that worked!

At Prada, the brand presented two simultaneous shows, one at home in Milan and the other at Shanghai’s Bund One. At the Fondazione Prada in Milan, large LED screens surrounded the runway, and streamed the live feeds so guests could see different models marching by in the same looks.

A video of Prada’s Spring 2022 collection. Video courtesy of Prada on YouTube.

Rihanna also hosted her third volume for Savage x Fenty, her fierce lingerie line, and was one of the most hyped shows of the season. Fun fact: did you know Rihanna’s full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty?

Other noteworthy shows were TOD’S, Max Mara, Jil Sander, MM6 Maison Margiela and Versace. However, powerhouses Bottega Veneta and Gucci were notably missing. Gucci will head to Los Angeles to present its next collection on Nov. 2, coinciding with the LACMA Art+Film Gala taking place on Nov. 6, for which the fashion house is the founding and presenting sponsor.

In conjunction with the runway shows, the MFW calendar included a succession of not-to-be-missed events. For starters, “The Way We Are”, an exhibition devoted to Emporio Armani in celebration of brand’s 40-year anniversary. The exhibit opened on September 23rd at Armani/Silos, a fashion art space in Milan dedicated to Armani style. The jewelry brand Pomellato, held an exclusive cocktail party that kicked off Milan Fashion Week, and Versace closed out the week with a private dinner at Mysterious Baths to celebrate Italian designer Chiara Boni’s 50-year career, of course this was by invitation only. And there were plenty of festivities in between, case in point, Gucci’s day-long celebration (on September 25th) of its new Gucci Vault (online concept store featuring refurbished vintage Gucci pieces and collections by young designers), which was a far from a low-key return to MFW. Long envisioned by Alessandro Michele, Vault is the new online concept store created by Gucci, dedicated to the endless pursuit of wonders and beautiful things. Part time machine, part archive, part library, part laboratory – the identity of Vault is in continuous evolution.

Here is a link to the site: Edition 01 – VAULT Gucci

Milan Fashion Week also embraced emerging talent as the city hosted The World of Vogue Talents and the Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana’s CNMI Sustainable Fashion Awards, both events celebrated promising, new designers and those who have taken extra steps to curb their impact on the planet.

A look from Del Core’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Here are a few of the hottest trends to come out of Milan Fashion Week:

FRINGE BENEFITS

Life is full of many splendored ‘strings’ as the spring 2022 runways were filled with a myriad of fabulous fringe. From crafty crochet fringe tops to latter day flappers, one thing’s for sure, fringe is in!

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from No. 21’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway.)

A look from Tod’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Salvatore Ferragamo’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

EASY STREET

Ciao, sculptured structure. Tailoring took a more relaxed turn, with a focus on effortless suits in an array of colors. Perfect transitional looks to go back to the office in.

A look from Jil Sander’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Antonio Marras’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Emporio Armani’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

OAT COUTURE

The world has been shut down for over 18 months now, and now that vaccinations are underway, it’s time to start your adventure. Designers are showing safari-inspired looks in neutral shades that would look just as good on a desert getaway as they would on city streets.

A look from Emporio Armani’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Blumarine’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loro Piana’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zanini’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

PALE FIRE

Will dainty hues ever go out of style for spring? Not this season, thanks to an Easter basket’s worth of pretty pastels.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Emporio Armani’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Max Mara’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jil Sander’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Vivetta’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Sportmax’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

CALL OF THE WILD

Animal prints ruled the runways as Italian designers worked the mammal motif in everything from statement-making toppers to effortless maxi skirts.

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jil Sander’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Antonio Marras’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Salvatore Ferragamo’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TOUGH GIRL

Leather ruled the Italian runways as designers worked the material into everything from sexy dresses to cool outerwear and everything in between.

A look from Versace’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tod’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GEOMETRY CLASS

Designers are getting graphic as geometric patterns and prints are making a splash this spring season.

A look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Colville’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Charles Jeffrey Loverboy’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Tod’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

JEANOLOGY

Y2K fashion has made a major comeback thanks to TikTok. For spring 2022, Italian designers are keeping the trend alive with sexy, low-slung denim. It’s time to start working those abs again.

A look from Blumarine’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GET SHORTY

Legs for days! Mini skirts and dresses have made a comeback as designers are baring it all on the runways for spring 2022.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Blumarine’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what trends are inspiring you? And if you didn’t know that Versace and Fendi swapped designers this season, would you have been able to see a difference?

 

HOTTEST TRENDS: LONDON FASHION WEEK SPRING 2022

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Vivienne Westwood’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines have affected every type of business across the globe, and the fashion industry was no exception. As the Delta and new variants continue to spread, governments, scientists, and doctors are constantly changing guidelines to help keep us all safe and healthy. New York Fashion Week wrapped with the Met Gala and the VMA Awards and all of these events followed New York City’s strict COVID guidelines. The dress code at these events included a vaccine card!

London Fashion Week is no exception. Those attending LFW, will need to carry the NHS Covid pass to show their vaccination status, proof of full vaccination with a UK-approved vaccine program or a recognized vaccine in the EU or USA. They will also need a proof of a “negative lateral flow test taken within the past 48 hours”, as per an official document by British Fashion Council. The shows began September 16th and will end Sept. 21st. The last two seasons of London Fashion Week (LFW) were almost entirely digital, but this season, there will be a partial return to physical, in-real-life (IRL) shows.

A look from Halpern’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue RunwayS

British designers are well known for pushing the boundaries in fashion and beyond, so it’s no surprise that London Fashion Week has become an entirely gender-neutral season. Looking at the LFW calendar, there will be approximately 130 designers presenting their Spring 2022 collections. Some of the all time favs are Erdem, Margaret Howell, Charles Jeffrey Loverboy, Tiger Of Sweden, Saul Nash, Stefan Cooke, Labrum London and Steven Stokey-Daley, who will all host live runway shows, while Molly Goddard, Edward Crutchley, and Vivienne Westwood have opted for digital presentations.

In addition to fashion shows, London Fashion Week will also host a number of parties, so throw on your favorite party look as Matches Fashion, Onitsuka Tiger, Dazed, designer Kaushik Velendra and Richard Quinn will each host festive evening events.

The British Fashion Council (BFC) will also host a fashion celebration in partnership with Clearpay. BFC’s CEO, Caroline Rush, said, “The initiative aims to drive footfall back into the capital while reminding consumers of the vibrancy and excitement of London. With involvement from over 100 brands, stores, hospitality venues, and cultural institutions we are looking forward to seeing the whole city come to life.”

Sadiq Khan, London’s Mayor, reiterated Rush’s statement in saying that LFW would be “vital in helping to drive [London’s] social and economic recovery.” The return of fashion shows and industry events around the world will help provide essential business to a market that has suffered immensely during the ongoing global pandemic. Another initiative that the mayor put forth with the BFC is a City-Wide Celebration program that is working with Limited Edition London to stimulate tourism; this program will run until the end of November.

While England is counting on London Fashion Week to generate money for the city, many fashion insiders are disappointed that some of London’s most prominent names are not on the fashion calendar and will not be staging IRL fashion shows, including Burberry, JW Anderson, Victoria Beckham, Christopher Kane and Mary Katrantzou. One must ask, without these powerhouses, can London Fashion Week still generate buzz like its neighbors in Milan and Paris?

But we shouldn’t count London out so quickly. The city nurtures great young talent and this season, there was plenty. Case in point, Nensi Dojaka, the Albanian-born, London-based talent who made her catwalk debut just weeks after being named winner of the LVMH Prize. Her new collection was unveiled to guests through a TikTok show space. Dojaka, a graduate Central Saint Martins, is known for her body-con mesh designs. Her creations have been worn by a variety of fashion ‘it-girls’, including Bella Hadid, Dua Lipa, and Kaia Gerber.

A look from Nensi Dojaka’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Other buzz-worthy newcomers included Supriya Lele, Knwls, and Harris Reed (who attended the Met Gala with Iman) and who plans to host his first physical show, off-schedule, at the Serpentine Gallery on September 21st.

(Left) Designer Harris Reed and (Right) Iman Had One Of The Most Memorable Met Gala Moments. (Photo Credit: Grazia)

While London Fashion Week is still going strong, here are some of the emerging trends coming out of LFW so far:

PRETTY IN PINK

Pink ruled the runway, but for spring 2022, the soft shade was anything but sweet. Designers played with the juxtaposition of the child-like hue in sexy, form-fitting silhouettes. Suddenly, pink is not so innocent.

A look from David Koma’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Mark Fast’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Nensi Dojaka’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TRUE ROMANCE

Channeling the music composed by Richard Rogers with lyrics by Lorenz Hart, Isn’t It Romantic?, romance takes center stage during London Fashion Week as designer’s turn up the frill and thrills. Whether they opt for Victorian charm or feminine flounce, one thing’s for sure, these whimsical looks will brighten up any day.

A look from Yuhan Wang’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Bora Aksu’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Molly Goddard’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Edward-Crutchley’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

PREP SCHOOL

It’s time to break out the “Preppy Handbook” as designers reinterpret the preppy look for spring with cool varsity sweaters, playful gingham suits, color-block trench coats, and oh-so-sweet pastel tweeds.

Looks from Bora Aksu’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Margaret Howell’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Temperley London’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Tiger of Sweden’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Palmer Harding’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

LITTLE BLACK DRESS

Thanks to Audrey Hepburn, the LBD has become a fashion staple in every women’s wardrobe. But for Spring 2022, designers are reinterpreting the iconic dress into sexy body con numbers that every PYT (pretty young thing) will want to wear when hitting the dance floor.

A look from Mark Fast’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from David Koma’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Nensi Dojaka’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Knwls’ Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

MIX MASTERS

As we’ve all known for ages, the Brits love to have fun with fashion. For Spring 2022, designers are mixing prints in the most delightfully charming way.

A look from Matty Bovan’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Edward Crutchley’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Knwls’ Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

FEELING TANGY

Lime-green, bold tangerine, and lemon-yellow are some of the bold colors that came to life this season as designers opted for citrus hues that were mouthwateringly delightful.

A look from Bora Aksu’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Kiko Kostadinov’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Molly Goddard’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Eudon Choi’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

 

A look from Halpern’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

What looks have inspired you?

 

IT’S SHOWTIME: NEW YORK FASHION WEEK SPRING 2022

- - Fashion Shows

Designer Wes Gordon with a look from the Carolina Herrera’s Spring 2022 collection celebrating the brand’s 40th year anniversary. (Photo Credit: Lexie Moreland for WWD)

New York Fashion Week is back and bigger than ever! It has been 18 months since New York hosted it’s last in-person fashion week, pre-COVID, and in an attempt to get back to a new normal, we will certainly be complying with mask mandates and vaccination cards to attend all of the live events.

So, what will be different THIS season you may ask? Well for starters, many American designers who have shown in Europe in the past, will be coming home to show in New York City. A few European imports, such as Moschino, have also opted to show their collection in NYC, adding an exciting energy to the week. And another treat to look forward to…over a dozen emerging Black designers were added  to the fashion calendar, thanks to the Black In Fashion Council.

And another first…NYFW will go out with a bang as the Met will host their annual Met Gala on September 13th. Read our blog from last week to learn more about the Costume Institute’s new exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and their youngest-ever crew of co-chairs: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman. Add in the U.S. Open (tennis championship games) and the VMA Awards (Video Music Awards) to the mix and New York City will be bustling with excitement. Just like pre-Covid days. Almost.

Kate and Laura Mulleavy, the sisters behind the fashion label Rodarte, surrounded by models during their spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

In true NYC fashion, and with the Mario Coumo scandal finally behind us, New York’s newest and first female governor, Kathy Hochul, announced a partnership with NYFW’s IMG, giving designers free access to two show venues, Robert F. Wagner Jr. Park (downtown) and Moynihan Train Hall (in the historic James A. Farley Post Office Building). According to Vogue Runway, Gurung’s show was the first to take the governor up on her offer. Later in the week, Cynthia Rowley will host her show in the same downtown location and Victor Glemaud will present in Moynihan Train Hall. More firsts.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul and Prabal Gurung. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

“We are grateful to Governor Hochul and New York State for their continued partnership,” said IMG’s president of fashion events and properties Leslie Russo. “Through this unique partnership, we are proud to showcase iconic New York City locations as the backdrop to this season’s collections.” 

Although the city will feel alive and energized, there will certainly be somber moments too, as this year marks the 20th anniversary of 9/11. New York City will have to downsize their ceremonies due to COVID and the Delta variant,  which is circulating both locally and across the country.  It’s so hard to believe that 20 years have passed since the September 11th terrorist attacks, the day that not only halted New York Fashion Week, but all of New York City. However, out of the ashes of death and destruction, NYC rebuilt itself stronger than ever. The fashion industry came together and started what has now become the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, an incubator in support of young designers and the program has nurtured numerous talents, from Proenza Schouler to Telfar.

In 2021, the industry had to pivot once again to address the tragedy of COVID-19. Due to the worldwide pandemic, many fashion companies shuttered such as retailer Century 21 and well-established designers such as Carly Cushnie (who created her namesake label Cushnie). In April of this year, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund (CVFF) announced that as an alternative to their usual competition, they would also award grants to 10 independent American brands. It’s a diverse group that ranges from Eckhaus Latta to Batsheva, as well as a few upstart labels.

A look from Batsheva’s spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Another silver lining to emerge from the pandemic was a heightened awareness amongst consumers who are now becoming more discerning shoppers in search of more sustainable brands and individualized pieces. After spending over a year and a half indoors, working from home, we all want to make our grand entrance when entering the workplace but in a more thoughtful way.

Imitation of Christ, Spring 2022 ready-to-wear presentation. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Here are some of our favorite tends from the first few days of the NYFW Spring 2022 season.

READY TO BARE

In keeping with the runways’ newfound desire for nudity, designers are daring consumers to bare just a bit more for Spring 2022 with a multitude of bra tops. Interpretations ran the gamut, from a chic interpretation at Michael Kors to a sportier vibe at Jason Wu.

A look from Michael Kors Collection ‘s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Coach’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jason Wu’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jonathan Simkhai’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bevza’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BLOOMS DAY

Welcome to spring’s splashy garden party, an oh-so-optimistic celebration with bold colors and masses of floral prints. These delicate florals made their way onto everything from sweet mini dresses to edgy one-shoulder frocks.

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Natasha Zinko’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Looks form Libertine’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Libertine)

A look from Monique Lhuillier’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Collina Strada’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Markarian’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHORT STORIES

Bottoms up! Shorts rocked the runways this season, from tiny briefs to Bermuda styles. These looks are a youthful and relaxed alternative to the summer dress.

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Adam Lippes’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from St. John’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Adeam’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Adeam)

A look from Alejandra Alonso Rojas’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

HUE SAID IT

Designers lit up the spring 2022 season with rich and vibrant shades for day and night.

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Badgley Mischka’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from CDLM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from 3.1 Phillip Lim’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Naeem Khan’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

NEUTRAL TERRITORY

Neutral shades are anything but boring. For spring, designers mix it up with a palette that ranges from pale ivory to lovely nudes.

A look from Peter Do’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from The Row’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ulla Johnson’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fredrick Anderson’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BARE CONDITIONING

Seduction is the name of the game as designers add interesting, skin baring, cut-outs to their favorite frocks.

A look from Christian Siriano’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Threeasfour’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Nicole Miller’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bronx and Banco’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from LaQuan Smith’s spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Do you have a  favorite Spring 2022 trend so far?

THE MET GALA: A LEXICON OF FASHION

- - Fashion Events

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.

DRESS CODE

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.

ATTENDING GUESTS

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)

PART 1

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.

PART 2

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?

 

 

 

 

Y2K FASHION COMES ROARING BACK

- - Trends

The 2002 film Hot Chick served up plenty of Y2K fashion inspiration. (Photo Credit: Unpublishedzine)

Stephen King, the famed American author of horror novels, once stated that “Sooner or later, everything old is new again.” And this quote couldn’t be more true when it comes to fashion trends. Fashionistas all know that fashion is cyclical, and, that if you hold onto your favorite fashion piece long enough, it will eventually come back in style. For the most part, these fashion cycles can take decades to come full circle, but in less than 20 years, Y2K fashion has hit the mainstream and is quickly emerging as one of the biggest trends in 2021, thanks to social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram. Gen Zers can’t get enough. Videos tagged “#Y2KAesthetic” and “#Y2Kfashion” on TikTok have a collective 405 million views and counting.

Gen Zers, those born between 1997 and 2012, were just babies when Y2K fashion was popular the first time around, so they are fully embracing the midriff-baring, butt-skimming looks favored in the early 2000s. This period, in fashion, was known for excess and driven by pop culture and ultra-consumerism. Paris Hilton became the face of fashion and trends and “that’s hot” became her trademark catchphrase. Pop culture celebrities like Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan, Cameron Diaz, Beyoncé, and Nicole Richie quickly became fashion trendsetters with their velour Juicy Couture tracksuits, bedazzled Ed Hardy t-shirts, super low-cut denim pants, low slung belts, cropped tops, and Von Dutch trucker hats. Celebrities had lots of fun with fashion. And isn’t a little fun what we all need right now?

Looks from Blumarine Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Blumarine)

Currently, fashion designers around the world are embracing the Y2K fashion trend. Blumarine’s creative director, Nicola Brognano, looked to the early aughts for inspiration. For resort 2022, Brognano debuted his ruffled minidresses, bedazzled belts, and low-slung denim. In an interview with Vogue, the creative director stated, “My Blumarine is more dirty, bitchy, sexier.” And now, the fad is gaining momentum and hitting the streets. Currently, stars like Rihanna, Dua Lipa, Bella Hadid, and others have been sporting their best Y2K looks and giving them a new, modern twist.

WHAT EXACTLY IS Y2K FASHION?

Pop sensation Destiny’s Child proudly wearing cropped tops and low-slung jeans in the early aughts. (Photo Credit: Pintrest)

Over the past few years, ‘90s minimalism was one of the biggest trends that social media influencers gravitated towards. But today, there is an upsurge in Y2K-inspired looks. Y2K fashion is all about making a statement, it’s the “look at me” mentality that contributed to the rise of reality TV stars. Officially, Y2K covers the early-to-mid 2000s and so for Millennials it captures the energy (and shopping habits) of their childhoods and early teens, while for Gen Zers it reminds them of happier and simpler times.

Paris Hilton wearing low-rise jeans in 2002. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The early aughts were undeniably defined by women who ruled pop culture in both music and film. Destiny’s Child, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera, and Missy Elliot topped the music billboard charts. Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie were socialite royalty and film characters such as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde and Regina George of Mean Girls became iconic fashion legends with their hot pink everything, bedazzled logos, teeny-tiny bags, denim on denim, and yes, their Juicy Couture.

While this over-the-top fashion movement is hitting the mainstream, today’s “It” girls and boys are styling these trends in a more modern way.

BIGGEST Y2K TRENDS

TRUCKER HAT

Celebrities loved their trucker hats in the early aughts. From top Left, clockwise: Justin Timberlake, Ashton Kutcher, Rihanna and Lindsay Lohan. (Photo Credit: Today News)

In the early aughts, everyone rocked a trucker hat. It was one of the most popular tacky-chic accessories of that era and one that has made the biggest comeback so far. A trucker hat is much like a baseball cap, except that it has a graphic front and a mesh back. Justin Timberlake helped launch the trend in 2003 when he wore a Von Dutch hat to a Grammy afterparty. Soon thereafter everyone was sporting the trucker hat, from Ashton Kutcher to Lindsay Lohan—especially the Von Dutch version, which was the “It” label of the time.

Rihanna in an Esso trucker hat in the spring of 2021. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Today, celebrities and fashion influencers ranging from Rihanna to Hailey Bieber have all been photographed wearing the beloved cap.

ED HARDY TEES

Britney Spears wearing Ed Hardy in the early aughts. (Photo Credit: Popsugar)

Fashion lovers were obsessed with Ed Hardy tees in the early 2000s. The overpriced tees with printed skulls and tigers, and bedazzled tattoo motifs, were spotted on just about every celebrity. On the fashion marketplace app, Depop, vintage styles are now going for upwards of $200. In fact Ed Hardy merch was in such demand that they even launched an offshoot streetwear line, called By Appointment Only. The idea that these tacky tees would make a comeback was pretty unthinkable until recently when Bella Hadid and Addison Rae both rocked the tops. Rae actually wore her pink Hardy tee as a dress with platform flip-flops for the full Y2K effect.

Bella Hadid in an Ed Hardy tee summer 2021. (Photo Credit: The Image Direct)

LOW-RISE JEANS

Keira Knightley wearing low-rise jeans on the red carpet in 2003. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

One of the sexiest Y2K looks making a splash at the moment is the tricky low-rise styles that were all the rage in the early 2000s. Every young girl rocked the style, even though the denim jean barely covered their butt-cracks). Fashionistas today are ditching their high-rise denim pants for these low-rise looks, which back then were red-carpet staples with celebrities such as Keira Knightly, Lindsay Lohan and Destiny’s Child.

Bella Hadid rocking low slung jeans in 2021. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

VELOUR TRACK SUITS

A few of Paris Hilton’s many Juicy Couture tracksuits. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie, screen queens of the early aughts, made the velour track suit the ‘must have’  Y2K fashion item. But not ‘any’ velour track suit would do, celebrities proudly wore their Juicy Couture track suits to everything from shopping sprees to lunch meetings. And of course, the Juicy Couture track suit came in a plethora of colors, as well as in bejeweled logo versions for a more maximalist aesthetic.

Kylie Jenner is bringing back the Juicy Couture tracksuit. (Photo Credit: CelebSecrets)

KITSCH ACCESSORIES

Another early aught trend was Butterfly Clips. Left to Right: Melissa Joan Hart, Sarah Michelle Geller, and Britney Spears. (Photo Credit: Cosmopolitan Magazine)

Fun and amusing accessories complimented any early aught look, so naturally these child-like nostalgic pieces can be found all over TikTok and Instagram now. Fashion designers, such as Roxanne Assoulin’s Fruit Stripe Enamel Bracelets, Gucci’s Logo Resin Hair Clip, and Ganni’s Scrunchie, have embraced the youthful trend.

Gigi Hadid rocking Y2K hair clips in 2021. (Photo Credit: Buro247)

Sure, these over-the-top statement looks may be a boring rehash for some of us who lived through them the first time around, but when done right and creatively updated these Y2K trends can be new and fresh. This trend will never be a fav of the minimalist, but for the maximalist at heart, a new Y2K fashion mash-up will definitely let the inner 2000s teen in you go wild!

So tell us, what is your favorite Y2K trend?