ICONIC FASHION DESIGNERS ON THE SILVER SCREEN

An image from the film Saint Laurent. (Photo Courtesy of Mandarin Films/ EuropaCorp)

Let’s face it, it’s been a tough year and a half, between the global pandemic, and all the political and social unjust in the world today, we can all use a break from reality and escape into the magical world of film. So here at UoF, we compiled a list of some of our favorite films based on, you guessed it, fashion designers.  Whether it’s a biopic on Yves Saint Laurent’s life, Gabrielle Chanel’s first steps into the fashion, or a brush up on some fashion history with documentaries covering the glamorous life of Valentino, the rebellious escapades of Vivienne Westwood, or the agony and the ecstasy of Alexander McQueen, one thing is for sure, we LOVE to peer into the secret lives of fashion designers. Just check out the 82% Rotten Tomatoes audience score that the latest Halston biopic series on Netflix got and the 88% score that the 2019 Halston documentary received.

Whether it’s a documentary or a scrumptious little slice of fiction, these films transport us to another world with eccentric stories and extravagant anecdotes that make up the theatrical, glittering and whimsical world of fashion.

START THE POPCORN

Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite films and documentaries based on some of the most innovative designers. I guess you can all them the University of Fashion Oscars!

SAINT LAURENT (2014)

Saint Laurent official trailer. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Saint Laurent is a 2014 French biographical drama film about Yves Saint Laurent. The film was co-written and directed by Bertrand Bonello;  the film stars Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent, Jérémie Renier as Pierre Bergé, and Louis Garrel as Jacques de Bascher. The film centers on Yves Saint Laurent’s life from 1967 to 1976, which was the peak of his career, as he becomes one of the most iconic designers in the history of fashion.

The film examines the mythical and sometime scandalous life of the late Yves Saint Laurent. The director transports the audience into the 1970s, to a time where the designer was known for sporting both innovative and elegant outfits. In a divine journey into Yves Saint Laurent’s mind, the director examines this era, filled with folly and changing tides. Gaspard Ulliel offers an intense portrayal of the designer, who dives into a world of drugs and partying to silence his inner demons and his chronic, acute depression.

Saint Laurent was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.  In January 2015, Saint Laurent received ten César Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. It also received five nominations at the 20th Lumières Awards, winning Best Actor for Gaspard Ulliel.

COCO BEFORE CHANEL (2009)

A preview of Coco Before Chanel. (Courtesy of YouTubeMovies)

Coco Before Chanel is a biographical film based on the start of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s extraordinary career.  The French film was directed by Anne Fontaine and stars Audrey Tautou as she plays a young Coco Chanel. The story of Coco Chanel’s journey from obscure, headstrong orphan to the legendary couturier who represented the modern woman and became an eternal symbol of success, freedom and style.

The French director decided to focus on the designer before her time of glory, to better understand the woman behind the fashion icon, and portrays a wounded woman, bruised by her neglected childhood and her tragic love stories.

By day, young Coco works as a seamstress, but at night, she performs as a cabaret entertainer.  Coco then meets a wealthy heir (Benoît Poelvoorde) and becomes not only his lover, but also his fashion consultant. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel throws herself as passionately into her work as she does into her love life. Audrey Tautou gracefully embodies this great Mademoiselle who liberated women with her sleek, straightforward clothes. Tired of the flowery hats, tight corsets and yards of lace that define women’s fashion, Coco infused her lover’s clothing as a starting point to refine an elegant and sophisticated line of women’s clothing that propels her to the top of Parisian haute couture.

DIOR AND I (2014)

Dior And I official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Dior and I (French: Dior et moi) is a 2014 French documentary film written and directed by Frédéric Tcheng. The film captures the artistic genius of designer Raf Simons as he creates his first haute couture collection as the new artistic director of Christian Dior.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17, 2014. The film focused upon Simons’ debut season at Dior and includes non-speaking cameo appearances by Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sharon Stone. The documentary received positive reviews by critics.

Dior and I brings the audience inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection -a true labor of love created by a loyal group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure-filled elements of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic house’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision.

VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR (2008)

Valentino: The Last Emperor official trailer. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Valentino: The Last Emperor is a documentary film about the life of famed Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani, the designer and founder of the legendary label Valentino. It was produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. The picture documents the dramatic final act of Valentino’s career, tells the story of his life, and delves into the heart of the fashion industry. The documentary also delves into the loving relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti.

Valentino Garavani opened his first fashion house in 1959. In 2007, Valentino shocked the fashion world as he revealed his retirement plans and began preparing for his final fashion show. The documentary follows Valentino during the last two years of his time as a designer, as he gets ready to conclude his fashion career; as well as his worries about the intentions of the corporation buying his namesake label.

The filmmakers shot over 250 hours of footage with exclusive access to Valentino and his entourage. “We were let into the inner circle, but we had to stick it out for a long time, practically move in, to capture the truly great moments,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Italian Living. “Valentino is surrounded by a tight-knit family of friends and employees, but, eventually, their guard came down and they forgot there was a camera crew in the room.”

“Valentino was one of the first designers to make himself the inspirational figure at the center of the story he was telling,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Vanity Fair. “He is a born dreamer and the last true couturier, who let us in on his creative process and also let us in on the life he built around him to sustain this process,” adds Tyrnauer. “He lives as lavishly as his clients and set a standard for the industry. He shuts out all that is not beautiful, and we followed him around the world to capture that special world.”

WESTWOOD: PUNK. ICON. ACTIVIST. (2018)

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Vivienne Westwood has been disrupting British fashion for more than 40 years, using her fashion status fame as a platform for her political, social and environmental activism. In 2018, filmmaker Lorna Tucker releases a feature-length documentary about the designer, Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. chronicling the incredible career of the designer.

Vivienne Westwood ignited the punk movement with ex-partner and Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren, and the iconic designer has been redefining British fashion since 1971. She is responsible for creating many of the most distinctive pieces of recent time. Blending archival footage and insightful interviews a portrait emerges of Vivienne’s fascinating network of collaborators, taking the audience on her journey — from a childhood in postwar Derbyshire to the runways of Paris and Milan.

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. is the first film to embody the extraordinary story of one of the true icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles – and her legacy. The documentary was screened at the Sundance film festival on January 20, 2018, in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

MCQUEEN (2018)

A preview of the MCQUEEN trailer. Courtesy of YouTube.

McQueen is a 2018 biographical documentary film, directed by Ian Bonhôte, written and co-directed by Peter Ettedgui, and produced by Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder, Nick Taussig, and Paul Van Carter under the banner of Misfits Entertainment, and Salon Pictures. The documentary looks into life and career of the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

The life of Alexander McQueen is a rags-to-riches story, a modern-day fairy tale, laced with the gothic, tragic twist. The designer started his career in his teens before gaining notice as designer for Givenchy and launching his own label in 1992, which continues to this day under the creative direction of Sarah Jane Burton. Mirroring the savage beauty, boldness and exuberance of his creations, this documentary is an intimate exposé of McQueen’s own world, both tortured and inspired, which celebrates a radical and hypnotic brilliance of great influence. Sadly the brilliant designer took his life February 11, 2010

The film is a personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, McQueen is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary.

Let us know, which is your favorite film?

LEARN TO DRAFT CASCADING RUFFLES & LET YOUR CREATIVITY RUN WILD!

- - Draping

Draping a Cascade Ruffle Dress by Fiona Liu

Learning how to work with cascade ruffles opens up endless design possibilities that will let your imagination run wild. In this lesson, Fiona Liu demonstrates how to draft circular fabric pieces and then how to apply them onto a sheath dress foundation, which will be sure to inspire you. This design detail is great for creating dramatic eveningwear pieces that are quite easy to achieve.

Whether you choose to create your ruffles out of a crisp or stiff fabric like silk gazar, organdy, taffeta or voile, or you opt for soft cascading ruffles using a silk charmeuse, georgette, chiffon or crepe, you will have fun experimenting with this pattern making technique.

Image credit: Fiona Liu University of Fashion

Fiona has taught more than 13 lessons for the UoF that include pattern making, draping and zero-waste design. Here’s a sample of her many talents:

From UoF’s lesson Creative Draping—2D Draping

 

DRAWING CASCADE RUFFLES

AND…to learn how to draw cascade ruffles, be sure to view these lessons by our very own fashion illustrator extraordinaire, Roberto Calasanz.

From UoF’s lesson Drawing a Cascade Skirt Ruffle by Roberto Calasanz

From UoF’s lesson Drawing a Cascade Neck Ruffle by illustration by Roberto Calasanz

Send us pics of your cascade ruffles designs, we’d love to feature you on our social media platforms!

RESORT 2022 – THE JOY OF DRESSING CONTINUES

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Versace’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Versace)

As we celebrate Father’s Day and our newest U.S. federal holiday, Juneteenth (marking the end of slavery), and as the number of COVID cases continue to drop as vaccination numbers rise, we have a lot to look forward to post-pandemic.

After a year and a half of pandemic fashion, sales are soaring as people are starting to dress up again. What are they  gravitating to? The answer? Happy, colorful fashion. And judging by Resort 2022, the message is loud and clear.

Dior’s Cruise Show (Courtesy of YouTube).

Designers’ all got the memo and Resort 2022 collections were simply great. Just released images of the collections presented to buyers and the press included some fully staged spectacles in exotic locations that resulted in a desire to travel once again. Maria Grazia Chiuri presented her Dior Cruise collection in the birthplace of sports, the Panathenaic Stadium, where Ancient Greeks showed off their athletic capabilities circa 330 BC. Meanwhile, Virginie Viard took her graphic Chanel cruise collection to Provence, a beautiful region in the south of France, considered one of the area’s loveliest villages and the inspiration behind a few of Vincent van Gogh’s landscape masterpieces. Speaking of Van Gogh, have you reserved your tickets yet for the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit touring the country?

Chanel’s Cruise Show. Courtesy of YouTube.

WHAT IS A RESORT COLLECTION?

For those unfamiliar with resort collection or cruise collection, and sometimes referred to as holiday or travel collection (collection croisière, in French), is an inter-season or pre-season line of ready-to-wear clothing produced by a fashion house or fashion brand in addition to the recurrent twice-yearly seasonal collections – spring/summer and autumn (or fall)/winter – heralded at the fashion shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan.

Cruise collections were initially created for affluent customers or “more seasoned jet-setters” going on cruises or vacationing in the warm Mediterranean during the winter months,. Cruise collections are synonymous with light and airy summer clothing and shipped to stores in the middle of the cold winter months. While the idea of cruise wear sounds old fashion and elitist, today’s fashion savvy customers view the season as a chance to spruce up their winter wardrobes as they head into Spring.

A look from No. 21’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: No. 21)

Resort collections typically hit the stores in November, perfect timing for Holiday shopping; the season is an extra opportunity for brands to rack up some extra sales. Resort has become an incredibly important season for vendors, beyond the promise of clothes with mainstream appeal, Resort remains on sales floors longest without ever going on sale, approximately 6 months before hitting the sales rack, which makes it the most profitable season for most brands.

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Brandon Maxwell)

While the season is still in full swing, here are a few key trends of the season so far:

OUT OF CONTROL LOGOMANIA

Designer logos are everywhere this resort season from Gucci’s double G splattered all over suits, outerwear, and accessories, to a more subtle Versace Greek Key logo on dresses, tops and headscarves; one thing is for sure, you will definitely be noticed in these bold looks.

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

A look from Versace’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Versace)

 

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

MARCHING ORDERS

Legions of camouflage, utility pockets, and olive drab marched their way into the resort season, but this time with a chic and refined twist.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

 

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

 

A look from Norma Kamali’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Norma Kamali)

 

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Proenza Schouler)

 

A look from Tod’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tod’s)

YARN IT ALL

Miles beyond your basic knit sweater, Resort 2022 offers wonderfully tactile knit dresses that are as bold and beautiful as they are comfortable and effortless.

A look from Chloe’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chloe)

 

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christopher John Rogers)

 

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gabriela Hearst)

 

A look from Missoni’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Missoni)

WHITE NOISE

Designers wiped the slate clean with an all-white palette that offered plenty of visual intrigue in alluring textures such as lace, eyelet, and crochet details.

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alberta Ferretti)

 

A look from Zimmermann’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Zimmermann)

 

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

 

A look from Ulla Johnson’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ulla Johnson)

SPORTS CENTER

Take to the sporty life with chic riffs on everything from bike shorts to track jackets.

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

 

A look from Hillier Bartley’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hillier Bartley)

 

A look from MM6 Maison Margiela’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MM6 Maison Margiela)

 

A look from MSGM’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

 

A look from Staud’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Staud)

POINT OF HUE

Designers softened their collections with pretty pastels that were a celebration of color, making the season a wonderful rhapsody in hue.

A look from Antonio Marras’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Antonio Marras)

 

A look from Emilio Pucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Emilio Pucci)

 

A look from Tory Burch’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tory Burch)

 

A look from Preen by Thorton Bregazzi’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Preen By Thornton Bregazzi)

 

Looks from Oscar de la Renta’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Oscar de la Renta)

WELL SUITED

As the pandemic restrictions are lifted and a return to the office is in the near future, designers are offering plenty of pantsuits that are oh so chic yet effortlessly fabulous.

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit Gucci)

A look from Nehera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nehera)

 

A look from Khaite’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Khaite)

 

A look from St. John’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: St. John)

A look from Maria McManus’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Maria McManus)

MIX-N-MATCH

More is more. For resort 2022 designers are having fun mixing an array of prints and patterns, creating a visual feast for the eyes.

A look from Thom Browne’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Thom Browne)

 

A look from Sandy Liang’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sandy Liang)

 

A look from Anna Sui’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Anna Sui)

 

A look from Philosopy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini)

 

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

So tell us, what was your favorite trend for the Resort 2022 season?

MEET OUR NEWEST INSTRUCTOR: PABLO V. CAZARES

Pablo V. Cazares newest lesson for UoF

Pablo V. Cazares

As CEO of UoF, the best part of operating the world’s largest fashion education video library for me is meeting and recruiting our many talented instructors. With over 500 videos in 13 different disciplines and with 13 years in business under my belt, I have made a lot of new friends. The fact that these experts are so eager to share their passion makes them all-the-more special.

So, it’s with great pleasure that I introduce the newest addition to our family…Pablo V. Cazares.

Pablo is an apparel designer and visual artist based on the west coast. Splitting time between Portland Oregon and the American Southwest, Pablo has been constructing apparel and art pieces since childhood, following his dauntless curiosity wherever inspiration takes him.

With a background in fine art, he attended The Art Institute of Portland for apparel design. In his first month, one of his pieces was accepted to be shown on the runway at Portland Fashion Week.  He was the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry’s first costume intern, integrating dress-up clothes to augment and enhance children’s learning experiences. Pablo’s broad interests served him well in product development. As lead technical designer for the Boys and Unisex divisions at Hanna Andersson, he had the opportunity to tour factories abroad and delve into the manufacturing process. Inspired, he began pursuing small scale manufacturing techniques such as 3D printing and laser cutting. Technical illustration and the manufacturing process are a realm of play that is heavily explored in his conceptual work as well.An obsessive creator with atypical perspective, throughout his career he has also done art direction for independent films, thematic costuming, and works as a creative illustrator. He is always looking ahead to his next creative project and experimental design. Pablo’s objective in his work is to inspire a sense of wonder in the viewer. For the University of Fashion, Pablo will be creating lessons focused on CAD, illustration, technical design, hand-mending and experimental apparel repair techniques.

 

GETTING TO KNOW PABLO

With today’s launch of Pablo’s first lesson, Creating Custom Brushes in Illustrator, I sat down (virtually of course) to find out more about Pablo and his extraordinary background story.

Francesca: Can you tell me a bit about where you were brought up and how it continues to influence your creativity?

Pablo: I was born in agricultural central California (Salinas, near Monterey). My family has been in commercial agriculture all my life. I moved all over rural California and lived on nearly every type of farm, ranch, dairy, orchard you could think of. I would play in old, abandoned barns and rural junkyards, building forts and wearables and art from things forgotten or thrown away. I’ve been creating things for as long as I can remember.

Right now, I live out on some property in the middle of nowhere in Arizona, helping build what will be a future intentional community (a bit like Arcosanti). I am learning and building with concrete and stone and driving around tractors and gardening. I am definitely a farm boy at heart. I do that in the mornings, then the rest of the day I am in my big cave/office/studio where I draw and design all day. Quarterly, I go to Portland to work on art and film projects, everything from sci fi erotica films to pirate festival design. I drive there every time, visiting friends and ocean views and forests as often as I can along the way.

Francesca: What was behind your motivation to pursue fashion?
Pablo: When I lived in Portland full time and worked in technical design, getting to go to the factories in India and Peru was absolutely incredible. I love seeing the inner workings of things and understanding processes. Friends have told me I get a sort of electricity in my eyes when I have a new idea or am learning something I didn’t know before.

Examples of technical design work by Pablo Cazares for Hanna Andersson

One thing that going to the factories did is make me realize my love of engineering. I actually left Hanna Andersson, to pursue a mechanical engineering degree! I am convinced that my love of apparel combined with a knowledge of engineering could help streamline and create new sustainable processes in apparel manufacturing. But then COVID hit, so I put that on hold and have been re-focusing on my creative pursuits. There’s still time for engineering, and while I don’t have a date in mind, I do intend to go back to it in the next few years.

Experimental work – hand-forged and fiber wrapped primitive electrical circuit

Between my knowledge of agriculture, apparel product development, building construction techniques, and engineering, I have a decent idea of how our world is built. And I am absolutely convinced that we can build a better more sustainable world. I adore the potential of 3D printing and laser cutting, and I am always thinking of more sustainable ways to create new things. (Neri Oxman at the MIT Media Lab is my role model).

I especially have a passion for re-using and upcycling, I feel that repairing things is a virtue. Patching and darning and thrift shopping and hand-me-downs give garments a soul and honor the tremendous amount of design and sewing labor that goes into creating them.

Francesca: What do you like to do when you are not designing or helping build a future intentional community?

Examples of children’s illustration

Pablo: In my spare time I am always drawing or designing or building things. I am kind of a machine, haha. In this next month, I’ll be creating an installation art piece in this great big cave studio I work in. I am also creating a comic book (I find huge inspiration in Phillipe Druillet and Eyvind Earle). In the next couple years, I hope to get accepted into an artist residency somewhere. I love traveling and working on collaborative art pieces. I am always chasing the next project or inspiration, whatever lights that fire in my mind.

I’m delighted to be part of the University of Fashion community!

Learn more about Pablo and his work:

Website: PabloTheKatz.com

Instagram: unnavigableunmade

POST PANDEMIC DRESSING: TIME TO DITCH THE SWEATS AND GET DRESSED UP AGAIN

- - Trends

A spring 2021 look from Prada. (Photo Credit: Prada)

I don’t know about you, but has the past year and a half been mostly a blur? Or more accurately a time warp? You know, the phenomenon that changes the flow of time by speeding it up or making it run more slowly, that physicists have known about for over 100 years?

Well, thanks to the rollout of highly effective vaccines, things are finally starting to look up. As of the writing of this blog, 299 million vaccine doses have been given and 137 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated, that’s roughly 41.9% of our population. As vaccines are slowly being distributed around the world, we have new hope that, in time, this global pandemic will be behind us.

Take a walk-through New York City and you will notice that the streets are beginning to get packed again. Museums are opening (with advanced ticket purchases), customers are onsite shopping, restaurants and bars (both indoor and outdoor) are drawing crowds and people are cautiously stepping out of their cocoons.

As we make our way back into the world and begin to live our lives again, some of us are asking…”is there a new dress code”? Well, judging from fashion influencers, designers, and celebrity Instagram feeds, summer 2021’s biggest trend is “joy dressing!” This translates into happy, boisterous, colorful, over-the-top looks that are the antithesis of what we’ve been wearing for the past year and a half…sweats and pjs.

A spring 2021 look from Halpern. (Photo Credit: Halpern)

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, a Washington, D.C clinical psychologist stated that we humans use clothing to mark significant events. Making it through a global pandemic is one of those events for sure. And as U.S. cities reopen, friends reunite and the world becomes a smidgen less terrifying, women are reaching for exuberant outfits. This year will represent rebirth, and our fashion choices will reflect that.

“We’ve spent the past year in sweatpants, consumed by uncertainty,” said Miami clinical psychologist Dr. Christina Ferrari to the Wall Street Journal. “You’re going to see a lot of people overcompensating for what they couldn’t wear” during lockdown.

According to Libby Page, senior fashion-market editor at luxury e-commerce platform Net-a-Porter, “During the pandemic’s darkest days, customers were buying a sea of very neutral tones and loungewear,” she said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. What she’s witnessing lately is the sale of spirited prints, swishy tiered skirts and jubilant ruffles, as well as very bright, bold, colorful dresses by brands like Zimmermann. Below is a video of Zimmerman’s spring 2021 show.

“With such unbridled style, women are responding to a traumatic year,” said Dr. Baumgartner. “When you face your mortality, it’s like you get a second chance. You’re able to take more risks.… You’re more willing to fully live.” Another factor: We’re craving human interaction. Dr. Baumgartner states, “Exciting fashion elates the wearer but also delights viewers. We see our joy reflected in their eyes, [which] reinforces our joy.”

JOYFUL FASHION HAS ALWAYS COME OUT OF HISTORIES DARKEST DAYS

A Life Magazine cover from the 1920s. (Photo Credit: Fashion History Timeline)

Historically, fashion has always progressed after a devastating, worldwide event. For example, the Roaring Twenties came after the destruction and despair of World War I. It was a decade of economic growth and prosperity with a unique cultural edge that swept major cities throughout the United States and Europe. During the decadence and opulence of the Roaring ‘20s, the ‘flapper’ look redefined the modern dress code for women. Fringe, beads, sequins, dropped waists, short dresses, uncovered shoulders, The Great Gatsby, the Charleston, all contributed to the spirit of the Roaring Twenties. It was a modern revolution that broke from tradition and was a sharp contrast to the conventional, fussy frills that woman once wore.

Christian Dior’s New Look 1947. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

Another great example of a fashion revolution came after World War II. Christian Dior, the rising star of the Parisian Haute Couture, introduced the “New Look” in 1947, featuring ultra-femininity and opulence in women’s fashion. Hour glass silhouettes, rounded shoulders, cinched waists, full skirts were all a sharp contrast after years of military looks, sartorial restrictions and life-essential shortages. Dior offered not merely a new look, but a new outlook.

POST-PANDEMIC FASHION

“People are reevaluating what they want to wear, maybe for the first time ever since they were kids,” states Fashion Psychology Institute founder Dr. Dawnn Karen, who also serves as a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Last March, Dr. Karen released a book, Dress Your Best Life. Referring to the pandemic, she writes, “They don’t have all these Draconian measures and rules to follow, except to wear a mask. People are thinking, ‘Okay, well, what do I want to wear, if I could wear anything I want?'”

Spring 2021 looks from Bottega Veneta. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Ms. Karen has established a theory what she calls ‘dresser-uppers’. These consumers search for ‘mood-enhancement dress’, that is to  say they dress to optimize a mood. Where dressing was once tied to overarching cultural norms (case in point, the exaggerated femininity of the New Look by Dior), we now dress for ‘mood-illustration’ and ‘mood-enhancement’ representing personal satisfaction — nothing more, nothing less.

With this in mind, and out of Covid’s post-traumatic stress effect, we are seeing a rise in individualized sartorial choices. Consumers are once again embracing the joy of fashion and are wearing the clothes they want to wear. And there’s plenty to choose from.

 

JOYFUL TRENDS FOR SUMMER 2021

GET STRAPPY

It’s time to do the floss this season. Strappy bands wrap around the midriff for a sexy update to the crop top.

A spring 2021 look from Stella Jean. (Photo Credit: Stella Jean)

 

A spring 2021 look from Christopher Esber. (Photo Credit: Chistopher Esber)

 

A Spring 2021 look from Michael Kors. (Photo Credit: Michael Kors)

 

A spring 2021 look from Jacquemus. (Photo Credit: Jacquemus)

 

A spring 2021 look from Altuzarra. (Photo Credit: Altuzarra)

IT’S A SWEEP

Romance is in the air as floor-sweeping gowns ruled the spring runways, whether sheer or printed, these floating maxi dresses are the perfect way to make a splash this summer.

A spring 2021 look from Valentino. (Photo Credit: Valentino)

 

A spring 2021 look from Dolce & Gabanna. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabanna)

 

A spring 2021 look from Alberta Ferretti. (Photo Credit: Alberta Ferretti)

 

A spring 2021 look from Etro. (Photo Credit: Etro)

 

A spring 2021 look from Dior. (Photo Credit: Dior)

LOOSE-FIT

After so many (too many?) years of skinny jeans, it’s finally time to cut loose this spring. Designers are offering baggy trousers that are oversized and yet oh-so-chic.

A spring 2021 look from Louis Vuitton. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

 

A spring 2021 look from Schiaparelli. (Photo Credit: Schiaparelli)

 

A spring 2021 look from Chanel. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

 

A spring 2021 look from DSquared. (Photo Credit: DSquared)

 

A spring 2021 look from The Row. (Photo Credit: The Row)

GLAM-SQUAD

Just like when a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, we’re all eager to get out. Some of us will even want to dance the night away. Whether inspired by the Halston film, with so many scenes of Studio 54, this new crop of sparkly numbers is there for the taking.

A spring 2021 look from Elie Saab. (Photo Credit: Elie Saab)

A spring 2021 look from Gucci. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

 

A spring 2021 look from Loewe. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

 

A spring 2021 look from Balmain. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

 

A spring 2021 look from Celine. (Photo Credit: Celine)

 

CUT-IT-OUT

This season’s strategic cut-outs worked their way into gowns, sheath dresses and slippery silks, spicing up conservative looks thanks to peekaboo glimpses of skin.

A spring 2021 look from Givenchy. (Photo Credit: Givenchy)

 

A spring 2021 look from Maximilian. (Photo Credit: Maximilian)

 

A spring 2021 look from Kenzo. (Photo Credit: Kenzo)

 

A spring 2021 look from Gabriela Hearst. (Photo Credit: Gabriela Hearst)

 

A spring 2021 look from Roksanda. (Photo Credit: Roksanda)

 

INNERWEAR AS OUTERWEAR

While we all lived in loungewear this past year, designers are embracing the innerwear as outerwear trend with body sculpting corsets that can be dressed up or paired down.

A spring 2021 look from Moschino . (Photo Credit: Moschino)

 

Spring 2021 looks from Bethany Williams. (Photo Credit: Bethany Williams)

 

A spring 2021 look from David Koma. (Photo Credit: David Koma)

 

A spring 2021 look from Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Christopher John Rogers)

 

A spring 2021 look from Alexander McQueen. (Photo Credit: Alexander McQueen)

So tell us, are you ready to embrace the joyful aesthetic of spring 2021?

Will We Ever Have a First Lady or President like Isabelle d’Estes, Catherine De Medici, or the Uncrowned Queen of France?

François Boucher’s painting of Madame de Pompadour at her Tambour frame (Photo credit: DailyArt Magazine)

U.S. First Ladies were never really promoted for being ‘hands-on craftsy’ and yet women like Madame de Pompadour, the uncrowned Queen of France, was an avid embroiderer and huge patron of the arts. While many U.S. First ladies knew how to sew and sewed their children’s clothing (see Martha Washington’s silk brocade sewing case and Ida McKinley’s handmade slippers), a First Lady’s role was primarily ‘hostess of the White House’. Thankfully, that role would evolve over time.

Martha Washington’s Silk Brocade Sewing Case

Ida McKinley’s slippers

It was reported that Eleanor Roosevelt liked to knit but she was most known as an advocate of art education through the WPA arts program. Jackie Kennedy was a poetry fan and dedicated follower of fashion but her legacy was the White House restoration initiative. Hillary Clinton famously read her WikiLeaks leaked emails at Italy’s 2019 Venice Biennale as part of artist/poet Kenneth Goldsmith’s exhibition entitled, Hillary: The Hillary Clinton Emails. Michele Obama supported the arts by becoming honorary chair of the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and a championed art education through the Reinvesting in Arts Education initiative. Although Betty Ford studied dance with Martha Graham and could have gone on to become a professional dancer, she married Gerald Ford and became an activist for breast cancer awareness and for creating the Betty Ford Center for addiction. Roslyn Carter made an effort to advance the appearance of the White House by accumulating American paintings and took up the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which, sad to say, has still not passed after 98 years of trying. 

Literary contributions by First Ladies are many, beginning with Worthy Partner, the papers of Martha Washington and her Booke of Cookery. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote four books and although memoirs, were not very popular until the 1978 publication of Betty Ford’s The Times of My Life every First Lady since has written one (Melania Trump is said to be considering it). Michele Obama’s book, Becoming, was the #1 best-selling book in 2018, selling more than 10 million copies and Barbara Bush penned an adorable account of what life was like at the White House, ‘told to her’, by her dog Millie.

Barbara Bush’s Millie’s Book – published in 1990

Prior to her marriage to Woodrow Wilson, Ellen Axson, at the age of 18, won a bronze medal at the Paris International Exposition for her art piece School Scene. Funds from her one-woman show of 50 pieces in Philadelphia went to the Berry School in Georgia to help underprivileged children. As First Lady, she began to realize that her social duties took precedence, so she utilized her love of art and created the White House Rose Garden. Ellen Axson Wilson was one of only a few female American Impressionists.

Landscape painting by Ellen Axson Wilson

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s time that we could use a little more hands-on creativity at the White House. We still haven’t gotten our very own Isabella D’Este (1474-1539), considered the First Lady of the Renaissance, nor a Catherine de’ Medici (1519-1589). Catherine was the inventor of women’s knickers and introduced the corset. Ok a corset lined with wood, iron, and whalebone may not be high on the list, since the women who wore her corsets (known as “femme fatales”) were mandated to possess a 45 cm waist (roughly 17”). And, unfortunately, thanks to Catherine, the hour-glass shape became the envy of France with the trend persisting until well until the 19th century. But what a boost to the fashion industry it would be if our First Lady could inspire a new fashion trend or hairdo! Aviator glasses are just not cutting it!

Madame de Pompadour

According to the Daily Art Magazine, Madame de Pompadour, mistress to King Louis XV, (also known as the Queen of the Rococo and Queen of the Arts) was full of good creative endeavors. She founded the famous Sèvres porcelain factory, popularized fresh cut flowers in vases, and trended goldfish in bowls as pets. She was once quoted as saying “Every day, I wish to make the world more beautiful than I found it.”

Her intellectual interests included learning and supporting the works of Age of Enlightenment philosophers Diderot and Voltaire and she reportedly had personal book library consisting of some 3,525 books.    

What did Elvis Presley & Madame de Pompadour Have in Common?

Madame de Pompadour (Wikipedia.com)

Elvis Presley’s ‘Pompadour’ Hairstyle (Image credit: Pinterest)

Elvis Presley’s famous hairstyle was named after Madame. And the pompadour has never gone out of fashion really.

A French champagne glass is believed to have been modelled after her breast and, as legend has it, the ‘marquise cut’ diamond was commissioned to resemble the shape of her mouth, according to DailyArt Magazine.

A modern Pompadour Fade (Image credit: Pinterest)

So, tell us, what creative endeavor would you like to see coming from our country’s leadership?

IN HONOR OF ASIAN AMERICAN & PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH, LET’S CELEBRATE ASIAN DESIGNERS WHO ROCKED THE FASHION WORLD

Clockwise from top left: Joseph Altuzarra, Chris Lebe, Eunice Lee, Jenny Cheng, Gauntlett Cheng, Bibhu Mohapatra, Makié Yahagi, Jade Lai, Creatures of Comfort, Dao-Yi Chow, Public School, Yeohlee Teng, Phillip Lim, Kimora Lee Simmons, Richard Chai, Kevin Kim, Tommy Ton, Thakoon Panichgul, Kim Shui, Rui Zhou, Prabal Gurung, Sandy Liang, Laura Kim, Mary Ping, Snow Sue Gao, Peter Som, Jason Wu, Ji Oh; Dylan Cao, Jin Kay and Huy Luong, and Derek Lam. Photographed at the Morgan Library in New York City Feb. 17, 2020. (Photo Credit: Renee Cox for The New York Times)

In the United States, the month of May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. The University of Fashion would like to take this opportunity to highlight and celebrate some of the most influential Asian fashion designers, both in the U.S and around the globe.

THE HISTORY OF ASIAN AMERICAN AND PACIFIC ISLANDER HERITAGE MONTH

Before we focus on the work of  these multi-talented designers, let’s take a look at how the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) helped shape our history and our identity from the first wave of Asian immigrants in 1763 to the present day.

According to the U.S. Government: the term “Asian American” includes persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent. “Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander” includes persons having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands.

We could easily fill an entire volume listing the contributions made by the AAPI community, from the building of the transcontinental railroad to major breakthroughs in the world of science and technology. According to History.com, “Though the Gold Rush triggered the first major wave of Asian immigrants to the United States in the 1840s, their presence in America predates the country itself. For example, in 1763, facing a life of forced labor and imprisonment during the Spanish galleon trade, a group of Filipinos jumped ship near New Orleans and established the settlement of Saint Malo, forming one of the first documented Asian American communities in North America.”

More than 2.5 million Chinese citizens left their country and were hired in 1864 after a labor shortage threatened the transcontinental railroad’s completion (Chinese immigrants made up 90% of the workforce).

In the field of science, Chinese-born female physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, Ph.D., was instrumental in the developing field of atomic science in the 1940s and 50s, which included the Manhattan Project: the code name for research into atomic weapons during World War II.

Philippine-born Larry Itliong immigrated to the United States in 1929 and began working as a laborer. In 1930, he joined striking lettuce pickers in Washington and eventually became a union leader, forming the Filipino Farm Labor Union in 1956. Together with Delores Huerta and Cesar Chavez from the National Farm Workers Association, they formed the United Farm Workers.

Having spent two years in internment camps during World War II, Japanese American Yuri Kochiyama’s would dedicate her life to  civil rights work that extended to causes impacting Black, Latinx, and Indigenous Peoples, as well as Asian American communities. Together with her husband Jerome, she campaigned for reparations and a formal government apology for Japanese American interned during World War II. Their work became a reality in 1988, when President Ronald Reagan signed the Civil Liberties Act into law.

Indian American computer architect Ajay Bhatt not only had a hand in developing a range of computer-related technologies, but the one he’s best known for is the Universal Serial Bus—better known as the USB.

Taiwanese American Steve Chen and Bangaledeshi-German American Jawed Karim, were among the core team that co-founded YouTube.

And the list goes on and on…

In June of 1977, Representatives Frank Horton, and Norman Y. Mineta, introduced a U.S. House of Representatives resolution to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week in recognition of Asian Pacific Americans. A similar bill was introduced in the Senate a month later by Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga. The month of May was chosen for two reasons: the first, because on May 7, 1843, the first Japanese immigrant arrived in the United States; the second, because on May 10, 1869, the golden spike was driven into the first Transcontinental Railroad. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a joint motion for the celebration. In 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a bill passed by Congress to extend Asian-American Heritage Week to a month and May was officially designated as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month two years later.

Although progress has been made with regard to  Asian American and Pacific Islander communities throughout the United States, sadly, anti-Asian attacks across the America have been on the rise, spurred on by the COVID-19 crisis and hateful speech by some of our nation’s politicians and media.

(Photo credit: CFDA.com)

In solidarity, the fashion industry is using its clout to stand up for the AAPI community, as demonstrated by the CFDA’s statement on their website. Brands like Valentino, Nike, and Adidas have been very outspoken in denouncing the violence and are donating proceeds to AAPI organizations. But, this it is not enough. We all need to do our part to support the AAPI community in any way we can.

Join us in celebrating some of the talented designers who have made innovative and groundbreaking contributions to fashion in the global community.

Yohji Yamamoto

A portrait of Yohji Yammamoto. (Photo Credit: Forbes)

Yohji Yamamoto is a Japanese fashion designer based both in Tokyo and Paris. The 77-year-old designer is considered a master tailor and known for his avant-garde tailoring, featuring Japanese design aesthetics. His fashion continues to influence the way we dress through his deconstructed androgynous pieces since the 70s.

Yamamoto debuted his collection in Tokyo in 1977 and in Paris for the first time in 1981. His first women’s collection under the label Y’s, mirrored typical men’s garments, cut in uncluttered shapes, in washed fabrics and dark colors. In an interview with The New York Times in 1983, Yamamoto said of his designs, “I think that my men’s clothes look as good on women as my women’s clothing […] When I started designing, I wanted to make men’s clothes for women.” More recently he has explained: “When I started making clothes for my line Y’s in 1977, all I wanted was for women to wear men’s clothes. I jumped on the idea of designing coats for women. It meant something to me – the idea of a coat guarding and hiding a woman’s body. I wanted to protect the woman’s body from something – maybe from men’s eyes or a cold wind.”

Yamamoto won notable awards for his work, including the Chevalier/Officier/Commandeur of Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon, the Ordre national du Mérite, the Royal Designer for Industry and the Master of Design award presented by Fashion Group International.

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall 2021 collection. (Photo Credit: Yohji Yamamoto)

 

Rei Kawakubo of Commes des Garçons

A portrait of Rei Kawakubo. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Rei Kawakubo, founder of Comme des Garçons and Dover Street Market, is a Japanese fashion designer who is also based in Tokyo and Paris. Her experimental creations have forever transformed the way women dress and given females the power to explore the boundaries of gender, body, and femininity through vanguard, deconstructed pieces. On May 5, 2017, in tribute to her notable design contributions, Kawakubo was only the second living designer to be honored at the Metropolitan Museum of Art with an exhibition entitled, Rei Kawakubo/Commes des Garçons, Art of the In-Between.

Looks from the MET Exhibit: Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Kawakubo established Comme des Garçons Co. Ltd in Tokyo in 1969 and opened her first boutique there in 1975. She launched menswear in 1978 and presented her collection in Paris in 1981, where she would open a boutique a year later. By 1980, CDG was on the global fashion map, with her signature color palette of black, dark grey and white. The emphasis on black clothing led to the Japanese press describing Kawakubo and her followers as ‘The Crows’. Her fabrics were often draped around the body, with frayed, unfinished edges, some with intentional holes. Kawakubo was part of the ‘decontruction’ movement, popular in the 80s, that followed the traditional Japanese aesthetic known as wabi-sabi, an acceptance of the beauty of imperfection.

Kawakubo continues to be hailed by other major designers for her originality and her impact on fashion. In a broadcast interview with NHK (Japan Broadcasting Company), Alexander McQueen stated: “When Kawakubo designs a collection, it seems kind of absurd, not just to the general public. But when you watch someone’s challenging themselves like she does every season, it makes you understand why you are in fashion in the first place because of people like her.” During the same broadcast, Viktor & Rolf added: “The first time we became aware of Comme de Garçons was in the 80s. I think we were 12 or 13. It made a very strong impression because fashion in general was something that we were starting to discover and Rei Kawakubo was part of this … an enormous outburst of creativity in the beginning of the 80s. So for us she was part of the way we started to think about fashion.”

Two other early supporters of Kawakubo were Jean-Paul Gaultier and Donna Karan. During the NHK broadcast for Kawakubo, Gaultier stated: “I believe that Kawakubo is a woman with extreme courage. She is a person with exceptional strength. Moreover, she has a poetic spirit. When I see her creations, I feel the spirit of a young girl. A young girl who still has innocence and is a bit romantic. Yet she also has an aspect of a fighting woman, one who fears nothing as she thrusts forward.” Donna Karan added: “Rei Kawakubo is a very interesting designer to me as a woman and a female designer. As a person, she is very quiet and rather withdrawn, yet her clothes make such an enormous statement.”

Issey Miyake

A portrait of Issey Miyake. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Japanese designer Issey Miyake began his career working at Givenchy Paris before launching his own brand in the 1980s, Miyake Design Studio. He is most known for his technology-driven clothing designs, such as his signature iconic thinly pleated pieces, that would allow both flexibility of movement for the wearer. His garments are cut and sewn first, then sandwiched between layers of paper and fed into a heat press, where they are pleated. The fabric’s ‘memory’ holds the pleats and when the garments are liberated from their paper cocoon, they are ready-to wear.

As a child, Miyake dreamed of becoming a dancer, and so he extended his talent in creating costumes for Ballett Frankfurt. Made from permanently-pleated ultra feather-polyester jersey, he designed hundreds of garments for dancers to wear, a different one in each performance of  ‘The Last Detail.’ This led to the development of his very popular label Pleats, Please.

A look from the Issey Miyake archives. (Photo Credit: Issey Miyake Archives)

In March 1992 Miyake was quoted in the International Herald Tribune as saying, “Design is not for philosophy—it’s for life.”

In 1994 and 1999, Miyake turned over the design of the men’s and women’s collections respectively, to his associate, Naoki Takizawa, so he could return to research full-time. He was one of the pioneers of creating innovative, technological advanced pieces.

Kenzo Takada

A portrait of Kenzo Takada. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

Japanese-born Kenzo Takada was always inspired by Paris, especially designer Yves Saint Laurent, and moved to the French city in the early 60s. But working in the fashion capital was not easy and he struggled by selling sketches of designs to fashion houses for 25 francs each. After only a few months in Paris he planned to move back home to Japan, but he was determined to open a fashion boutique first.

In 1970 the late designer’s dreams came true and he opened a small shop in the Galerie Vivienne. Takada hardly had any money to work with, so he mixed and matched fabrics from the Saint Pierre market in Montmartre, creating an eclectic and bold first fashion collection. The designer presented his first collection but without any money to afford professional fashion models for the event, let alone hair and makeup professionals, Takada and his friends decided to paint the pimples of an acne-covered model, green. Making quit a splash.

In June 0f 1970, Elle magazine featured one of Takada’s looks on the cover. As his success grew, he moved his shop from the Galerie Vivienne to the Passage Choiseul and presented his collection in New York and in Tokyo in 1971. By 1976 he opened his first flagship store in the Place des Victoires. Kenzo had a flare for the dramatics and has even had shows in circus tents with performers.

Kenzo Takda helped put Asia on the Global Fashion Map. (Photo Credit: WSJ)

Since 1993, the Kenzo brand has been owned by the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH, but in 1999 Kenzo announced his retirement to pursue a career in art. On June 2, 2016 Takada was given the Knight of the Legion of Honour and was also presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 55th Fashion Editors’ Club of Japan Awards in 2017. Sadly, he died of Covid-19 in 202o.

Anna Sui

A photo of Anna Sui. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Anna Sui is a Chinese American designer that hails from Detroit, Michigan. She was named one of the “Top 5 Fashion Icons of the Decade.” In 2009 she earned the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award from the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), joining the ranks of Yves Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren, and Diane von Furstenberg. In addition to her clothing brand, Sui has added footwear, cosmetics, eyewear, accessories, and home goods to her brand portfolio.

Upon graduation from Parsons, Sui began her career designing for several sportswear companies in the NYC garment center. It was at one of these firms, Charlie’s Girls, that she reconnected with fellow friend and classmate Steven Meisel (famous photographer). Sui’s work as a fashion stylist for Meisel’s photo shoots were featured in the Italian magazine Lei, and were very well received.

Shortly after Charlie’s Girls shuttered, Sui began designing and making clothes out of her apartment inspired by a desire to dress rock stars and people who attended their concerts. With an initial investment of only $300, she brought her collection of five pieces to a New York trade show where they caught the attention of Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s. A few weeks later, her clothes were featured in an advertisement in The New York Times.

During the 80s Sui was one of the few designers who distanced themselves from traditional fashion houses and explored the grunge fashion scene, together with designers such as Marc Jacobs, Daryl K and Todd Oldham. Sui managed to carve out a niche for herself that allowed her to break through the noise and as a result, gained a global cult-like following. She expanded her brand in the mid 90s, thanks to a partnership with the Japanese fashion powerhouse, Onward Kashiyama.

Anna Sui’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Anna Sui)

Sui held her first New York Fashion Week show in 1991 at the persuasion of her high-power friends: Steven Meisel, Paul Cavaco (fashion editor/stylist) and supermodels: Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista. The show was the biggest breakthrough of Sui’s career, with The New York Times commenting, “That those beauties [Campbell and Evangelista] were then at the height of their fame helped stoke the reception Sui got from buyers and the news media.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt her career either, when Madonna wore one of her looks in Paris to a Jean Paul Gaultier fashion show and then again wore the same outfit for Meisel’s photoshoot for Vogue.

Anna Sui opened her first boutique in New York City’s Soho neighborhood in 1992 and received the CFDA’s Perry Ellis Award for new talent later that year.

Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra with his models. (Photo Credit Elle)

Bibhu Mohapatra grew up on the East Coast of India in Rourkela, Odisha. In 1996, he moved to America and earned his master’s degree from Utah State University in economics, however, he always had a love for fashion. So in 1999, he moved to New York City and enrolled at the Fashion Institute of Technology where he won the 1997 Critics’ Award for Eveningwear Designer of the Year.

Upon graduation, Mohapatra worked for prestigious brands such as Halston and J. Mendel, but in 2008 he decided to launch his namesake collection of evening dresses and ready-to-wear looks. One of his biggest honors was dressing former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama wore Bibu Mohapatra during a trip to India. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Mohapatra has presented his collection of luxury women’s ready to wear, couture and fur, in New York, Mumbai, Frankfurt, Beijing, and New Delhi. His collections are sold around the world at stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Saks, Nordstrom and in China at Lane Crawford. His work has graced the pages of many fashion magazine’s including Vogue, New York Magazine, Time, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Marie Claire, and Gotham magazine.

In 2010, Mohapatra received the “Young Innovator Award” from the National Arts Club and the same year was inducted into the Council of Fashion Designers of America.

We would also like to applaud the work of other AAPI designers: Hanae Mori, Vera Wang, Jason Wu, Alexander Wang, Prabal Gurung, Naeem Khan and the countless other Asian and Pacific Islander designers who continue to make an impact on the fashion industry!

So tell us, which Asian or Pacific Islander designer do you think had the biggest impact on the fashion industry?

 

ANNOUNCING OUR NEW LESSON: Introduction to Textile Print Design

We are so happy to announce the newest lesson to our fashion education video library: Introduction to Textile Print Design taught by textile design veteran, Lindsay Boehl.

This lesson covers the concept of roller printing, the print engraving process, as well as industry standard print roller sizes and dimensions as they relate to a particular print design.

You will learn about different types of repeats, such as a straight repeat, a drop, and a half drop. In addition, this lesson will get you started making your own print repeat in Adobe Illustrator, using our downloadable dot and rose print design files. Watch for more textile stripe, plaid, print and pattern lessons by Lindsay in the future.

MEET YOUR INSTRUCTOR

Lindsay Boehl is a New York-based textile designer who began her career as a CAD artist at a textile converter, designing men’s shirting stripes, plaids, prints and patterns for major brands such as Ralph Lauren, American Eagle and Wrangler.

Today, Lindsay is the Manager of Customer Advocacy at Aquario Design, a leading provider of fashion, textile, CAD design and printed products solutions for Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator. For the past eight years, she has managed a team of trainers and support specialists who work with users of that software platform. Lindsay’s textile design experience made her a great fit at Aquario, as their software product line helps textile and fashion designers produce their work inside of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop in a more streamlined way. In her role at the Aquario, Lindsay utilizes and shares her knowledge of textile design as it applies to fashion industry requirements. From color matching to knit design, wovens to technical fashion sketching, digital printing on fabric and end-to end-garment manufacturing, Lindsay’s expertise includes every aspect that the textile industry is positioned.

Lindsay considers textile design a wonderful journey, and she hopes to keep learning and exploring innovative and emerging technologies. Aside from her position at Aquario, Lindsay takes on freelance jobs to keep her multiple skill sets active and welcomes every design challenge she’s given, which she feels keeps her sharp and agile in her work.

Having graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a double major in Display & Exhibit Design and Fabric Styling, Lindsay translated those skills into a career in textile design. She is grateful to all the professors who nurtured her talent and is therefore thrilled to be able to pass along her knowledge to students at University of Fashion. Stay tuned for Lindsay’s next lesson: “Researching & Designing a Graphic Printed Textile”.

Find Lindsay on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/lindsay-b-82305356

To learn more about textiles, be sure to view the following UoF lessons:

INTRO TO FIBERS & FABRICS

HIGH-TECH TEXTILES

ECO-TEXTILES

TEXTILE DYEING, PRINTING & FINISHING

AFFORDING LUXURY: THE ART OF DESIGNER AND MASS RETAIL COLLABORATIONS

Looks from Simone Rocha X H&M Collection. (Photo Credit: H&M)

Let’s face it, fashionistas everywhere crave designer clothing, but many cannot afford the hefty price tags that are often associated with luxury fashion brands. So how can luxury houses satisfy the desires of the working-class fashionista? Through collaborations of course! Overall, designer collaborations are well-received, highly sort after, and especially difficult to get your hands on before they sell out. Thanks to marketing and retail success, the number of designer collaborations have hit the roof in recent years, and with the help of celebrity fans, it’s not hard to see why these pieces are in such high demand.

An advertisement for Halston for JCPenney. (Photo Credit: JCPenney)

Collab History

Halston can be attributed to creating the very first mass-market collaboration in 1983 between his namesake label and JCPenney. Halston was a successful, disco-era designer who was known for his minimalist yet glamourous aesthetic; as well as his infamous Studio 54 days where he partied with and dressed close friends Liza Minnelli, Bianca Jagger, and countless others. Halston created the controversial, cheaper Halston III line with department store giant JCPenney but the collaboration was was poorly received by elite department stores, such as Bergdorf Goodman, which stopped carrying the high-end Halston Limited label out of fear that the JCPenney collab would cheapen Halston’s overall appeal.

An advertisement for Isaac Mizrahi for Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

In 2002, Isaac Mizrahi, who was known for his vibrant and playful joie de vie collections, teamed up with Target. The Isaac Mizrahi x Target partnership was the first and longest-running Target designer collaboration (lasting from 2002-2008), and it introduced the designer to mainstream America. The extremely lucrative collaboration bolstered the designer’s own career with the collection eventually including accessories, bedding, housewares and even pet products. This collaboration kick started the luxury designer mass market craze.

An advertisement for Karl Lagerfeld for H&M. (Photo Credit: H&M)

Swiss retail giant H&M jumped on the designer collaboration bandwagon in 2004 with the legendary Karl Lagerfeld. Known for his sleek black suits, skinny jeans and French rock and roll spirit, despite skeptics, the collection sold out within minutes of the launch. This wildly successful partnership opened the door for a plethora of high-end H&M collaborations to follow and set the precedent for numerous future high-street and designer collaborations.

Once the success of these collabs were made known, the flood gates were opened. Here are a few noteworthy mentions:

Giambattista Valli for H&M in 2019

Virgil Abloh, the creative director of Off-White, partnered with multiple brands ranging from Evian and Rimowa to Ikea and Nike.

Christopher Kane X Topshop in 2006 and Crocs x Christopher Kane Spring 2017

Rodarte x Universal Standard in 2019

Lanvin x H&M in 2010

Missoni x Target in 2011

Balmain x H&M in 2015

SOME OF THE COOLEST COLLABORATIONS OF 2021

SIMONE ROCHA X H&M

A video of the Simone Rocha X H&M collaboration.

The Simone Rocha X H&M collection launched on March 11th to  rave reviews. The Swiss retail giant and the Irish designer, collaborated on a collection that was based off Rocha’s archival hits filled with charming and whimsical pieces. Sustainability is said to be a key factor in this new designer collaboration. Rocha told Vogue US that, coming from a much smaller brand, H&M’s footprint was a big consideration, and that together they were able to source organic cotton, recycled polyester and a new compostable yarn.

Simone Rocha’s house codes are strong and were fully incorporated into her collaboration with H&M. There were plenty of neo-classical references, puffed sleeves and babydoll silhouettes, Lurex tweed, Broderie Anglaise, organza and cloqué fabrics, lots of embroidery, beading and even baroque pearls. It was all so delightfully sweet.

TARGET’S TRIO

Just in time for the warmer weather, Target is bringing back the Designer Dress Collection for spring 2021. This season the retailer is collaborating with three diverse designers: Alexis, Christopher John Rogers, and Rixo. The rising stars are adding their signature styles to Target, offering a much-needed boost to a girl’s closet. There will be over 70 styles available, ranging in price from $40-60 in sizes XXS—4X, making this Target’s most size-inclusive designer capsule to date.

A look from ALEXIS’ collaboration with Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

The Miami-based label Alexis, designed by Alexis Barbara Isaias, is known for its relaxed, feminine silhouettes made for the globetrotter, bringing a wanderlust feel to easy dresses and separates. Her Cuban roots and Miami upbringing definitely influence her free-spirited collections. In an interview with The New York Post, Isaias stated, “I never wanted a design office in New York. The vibrant colors, the culture, the feeling … it’s so important that our roots are in Miami.” And while Isaias loves the nightlife, her Miami is also made up of quiet moments in nature. “To me, it’s a place for family, for connections — to be by the water and feel the breeze. There’s just something in the air here.”

A look from Christopher John Roberts collaboration with Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

Christopher John Rogers shot to stardom when Vice President Kamala Harris wore his coat and dress to her and Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20, 2021. The young industry darling is known for his unparalleled eye for color, voluminous silhouettes, and sharp tailoring. In only a few seasons he has already earned a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and a legion of fans, including Zendaya, Lizzo, Tracee Ellis Ross and Michelle Obama.

In an interview with Teen Vogue, Rogers was asked how his background influences his style. Rogers stated, “I’m African-American, and I grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which is basically a large small town. I was fortunate enough to have my parents put me in art classes pretty early on, at the suggestion of my grandmother, and I was always surrounded by people of various backgrounds. My best friends in elementary school were Korean, Jewish, South American, you name it. I’ve always known variety to be standard.”

A look from Rixo’s collaboration with Target. (Photo Credit: Target)

UK-based Rixo, designed by Orlagh McCloskey and Henrietta Rix, bring a modern twist to vintage-inspired wrap dresses and patterns. The contemporary label evokes a Bohemian & free spirit, with easy-to-wear pieces in feminine shapes and high-quality materials.  The young design duo are known for their fusion of original hand-painted prints and timeless silhouettes that flatter all body types.

According to the brand’s profile, Henrietta & Orlagh met at University of Arts London, where on their first day enrolling as students Henrietta complimented Orlagh on her vintage handbag and the rest is history! Imminently discovering a mutual love for vintage, the pair have been best friends ever since and have also lived together through their first 5 years of Rixo – becoming more like sisters than friends.

JW ANDERSON X UNIQLO

Looks from JW Anderson x Uniqlo collaboration. (Photo Credit: Uniqlo)

Jonathan Anderson has been keeping busy the last few months. In addition to designing for his eponymous British label JW Anderson and for Spanish fashion brand Loewe, he has created a capsule collection for the Japanese mega retailer Uniqlo.

For his latest JW Anderson x Uniqlo collab, Anderson focused his attention on designing items that he would like to wear when the world fully opens up again. “I wanted something that was a bit crisp and subtle,” he says in an interview with Refinery 29. “I always think you have to subtly get back into things.” To help shoppers transition out of the sweatpants they’ve been living in for more than a year and into the forthcoming season, he also “wanted [to create] something that felt timeless.”

For the spring capsule he created boxy T-shirts hemmed with chain stitches; oversized, linen polo shirts; and baseball caps made of vintage-looking denim and detailed with embroidered daisies. To fully round out spring’s lineup of essentials, he also included chambray dresses, smocked midi skirts, and rigid denim in light blue and oatmeal.

Anderson says that he’s become “very obsessed with handcraft.” Craftcore-esque chain stitches and embroidery, therefore, became mainstays throughout the collection. “I love the subtlety of detail,” he says. “It doesn’t have to be so loud in the very beginning.”

So tell us, which fashion collaborations would you like to see?

Are you ready to design using Procreate?

(Preview of our Introduction to Procreate for Fashion Design lesson)

Not since the invention of the pencil have creative professionals and aspiring fashion designers been so excited about a tool. Launched on the App Store in 2011, Procreate is a raster graphics editor app for digital painting developed and published by Savage Interactive for iOS and iPadOS. Designed in response to the artistic possibilities of the iPad, fashion designers have taken to this technology as a method of getting their ideas down quickly and conveniently. The software is now offered in English, Arabic, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Spanish, Traditional Chinese and Turkish.

(Preview of our Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate)

It is with great pleasure that we introduce Monica Merino. Monica teaches our three new beginner lessons in Procreate: Introduction Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate, Drawing the Female Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate and Drawing the Male Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate.

(UoF Instructor Monica Merino)

Monica Merino brings her unique professional experience to University of Fashion, as a designer of millinery, dolls, fashion apparel and as a high school and college educator.

Throughout her career as a New Jersey fashion design high school instructor, Monica’s students earned 85 Gold Medals awarded by the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA), including First and Perfect Scores along with 46 Silver Medals at state competitions. In addition, 20 of her students earned scholarships worth more than $100,000 to several fashion colleges and universities, including Centenary University, Johnson and Wales, Berkeley College and LIM.

Monica has worked with high-end hat maker, Christine A. Moore Millinery New York, the official milliner of the Breeders Cup. She has also executed special orders for the famous Kentucky Derby event. Monica’s specialization is in the sculpture and body of a different variety of hat designs.

At Madame Alexander Doll Company, Monica worked full time for nine years. Her primary responsibilities included designing high-end dolls, clothing and accessories, creating production-ready patterns, documenting spec sheets and reviewing product throughout the pre-production stage. She has also worked independently, managing a large quantity of products from concept to production. Monica’s strong skills at knitting and crocheting have added a new dimension to Madame Alexander products. Currently, Monica freelances at MA as a support to the team, creating package specs for overseas production and making samples for their catalog photoshoots.

At Bergen Community College (New Jersey), where Monica is currently teaching, she co-developed a continuing education Certificate Program in Fashion Design, Sewing & Fashion Art along with UoF and FIT professor Barbara Arata-Gavere.

Monica earned a BA in Fine Art from Kean University, a Master’s in Education from St. Peter’s University and a teaching license in Clothing, Apparel and Textiles.

At the outbreak of Covid-19, Monica began designing and creating fashionable and custom design face masks for high-end boutiques, which are featured on her Instagram channel @monicamerinostudio

Monica’s mission is to motivate her students to work to their highest potential as they study the field of fashion design. At the University of Fashion, we are pleased to have Monica teaching our students how to design using Procreate software.

(Preview of our Drawing the Male Frontal Croquis Pose in Procreate)