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Posts Tagged: "Alexander McQueen"

CELEBRATING WOMEN’S HISTORY MONTH: FEMALE DESIGNERS WHO ARE INFLUENCING FASHION

British Fashion Royalty Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood. (Photo Credit: WWD.)

Long before Women’s History Month was put into motion in 1981, female fashion designers were paving their own path, empowering women by providing women fashion options that instilled confidence, helped build careers so that they could support themselves and their families. While many associate fashion with style, these creative geniuses have used their talents to foster an individualistic path to self-expression and to alter old-fashion notions of what a woman ‘should be’. Can you name even one female friend of yours who aspires to be like June Cleaver from the TV series Leave it to Beaver?

Female Italian powerhouses Miuccia Prada and Donatella Versace. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

This year, due to so many female caregivers and frontline workers who have worked tirelessly through the global pandemic, the 2022 Women’s History theme is, “Providing Healing, Promoting Hope,” and is a tribute to the thousands of ways that women of all cultures have provided both healing and hope throughout history.

As we celebrate Woman’s History Month, UoF is exploring some of the most influential female designers today who continue to make an impact not only in fashion but in the world.

MIUCCIA PRADA

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT PRADA & MIU MIU

A photo of Miuccia Prada. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

As a young woman, Miuccia Prada did not dream of a career in fashion. The iconic designer, originally named Maria Bianchi, studied political science and graduated with a PhD from the University of Milan. As part of the Italian Communist Party in the Sixties, Prada is quoted in a Document Journal, “Fashion was the worst place for a feminist in the ’60s.” Thankfully she couldn’t ignore her calling and talent to pursue a career in fashion, and by 1979, she joined the family business.

In 1989, Prada launched her first woman’s ready-to-wear collection, and by the early ‘90s every fashionistas saved their pennies to purchase anything that Prada created. She forever changed fashion. With a swift pivot of her chunky heeled loafer, women everywhere threw their teetering stilettos in the back of their closets, and the “ugly shoe” trend began. For her Spring 1996 collection, Prada transformed ‘ugly’ into the most fashionable and sought after looks, from upholstery prints to putrid, acid colors to square-toed, T-strap shoes. By Ms. Prada’s own admission in an interview with Vogue magazine, “Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer. The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty.”

Throughout the years, Prada has stuck to the DNA of the brand she created. Prada’s “ugly prints” range from geometric prints, lip motifs, and even an ode to Frankenstein, but somehow, she makes it all so desirable. Prada continues to find countless ways to render what is traditionally considered unconventional, attractive. For example, designer has paired midi skirts with lug-soled brogues. She has clashed babydoll tops with board shorts. She has advocated socks with sandals, nubby wool tights, and body-concealing nylon puffas, while simultaneously creating sexy little scarf dresses, miniskirts with trains, and naughty frocks with pointed busts.

Her history as a feminist fighter still shines through in her collections, something that’s obvious in the lack of traditionally sexy pieces. Prada designs intellectual pieces for both her Prada and Miu Miu labels, and her focus is always on what women want and need.  “I want to be more clever, or more difficult, or more complicated, or more interesting, or more new,” she says to Document Journal.

DONATELLA VERSACE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT VERSACE

Leave it to Donatella Versace to create a golden supermodel moment. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

On the opposite side of the Prada spectrum is Donatella Versace, another strong, Italian female designer, who has changed the way women and men around the world dress.

Donatella Versace is known for her platinum blond hair, sun-kissed skin, teetering platform heels, and sexy, second-skin clothing. The designer is having a major moment as Gen Z is obsessed with the ‘90s, and Versace’s golden-tinted fantasyland. Sadly, Donatella’s iconhood  was, in fact, created out of tragedy, following the murder of her brother Gianni (the founder of the house) in 1997.

Gianni Versace’s shocking murder was a huge lose to the world. His bold approach to fashion with loud colors, ostentatious prints, and plenty of sex appeal was epic and up until his death, Gianni and his sister Donatella were always in the fashion limelight. Their zest for life was translated into each collection and every supermodel in the ‘90s wanted to walk Versace’s show.

Donatella had always worked closely with Gianni and was instrumental in forging the house’s heritage status. Donatella was more than Gianni’s muse, she worked tirelessly promoting the brand and was responsible for creating the relationships between the house of Versace and all the rockstars and rappers who loved the label. Donatella amped up the celebrity quotient at the Versace front row and was friends with all the supermodels at the time: Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, and Cindy Crawford – to name a few.

Once Gianni passed away, Donatella took the reins of the house and became creative director for the brand. But the Italian rockstar and non-stop party girl lifestyle took a toll on her. According to Vogue Magazine, “she was one of the first in fashion to find redemption in rehab and yet not suffer public vilification for it. This, too, has contributed to giving her iconography a human and vulnerable aspect. Donatella, the survivor.”

MARIA GRAZIA CHIURI

CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF WOMENSWEAR FOR DIOR

A photo of Maria Grazia Chiuri, Creative Director for Dior’s Women’s Collection. (Photo Credit: Jean-Paul Goude)

Maria Grazia Chiuri rose to fame in 2007 when she became co-creative director of Valentino alongside Pierpaolo Piccioli, her design partner for 26 years. Then, in July of 2016, she went out on her own and was also hired as the creative director of womenswear for the legendary house of Dior. Chiuri became the first-ever female to take on such a prestigious role at the storied house.

Thanks to Chiuri, the brand reinstated its iconic Saddle bag, which has been spotted on countless celebrities and fashion enthusiasts since its return in 2018. Under Chiuri’s leadership, the French house saw a 44% increase in sales in 2021.

Chiuri is an active feminist, and her designs reflect the sociological environment that we live in today. For her debut collection at Dior Spring 2017, she featured message tees that boldly stated, pre-#MeToo, “we should all be feminists,” a literal reference to the writing of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and a sartorial nod to another female design pioneer Katharine Hamnett. Chiuri mixed these tees with a nod to fencers and ballerinas and a new Dior woman materialized: strong yet delicate, with a fighting spirit and a desire for romance.

For her spring ‘18 collection, Chiuri was inspired by Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay “Why Have There Been No Great Women Artists?” handing out copies of the essay and printing its title on T-shirts. For her spring ’20 collection, Chiuri gave a nod to goddesses throughout history, in front of a backdrop that read, “What If Women Ruled The World?”

The designer’s efforts surrounding gender equality have been noticed and taken seriously. In fact, she received the Legion of Honor, France’s highest civilian distinction, from the country’s gender equality minister Marlène Shiappa in 2019.

REI KAWAKUBO

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT COMME DES GARÇONS

A photo of Rei Kawakubo and looks from her MET Exhibit. (Photo Credit: MTV News)

“I work in three shades of black,” Comme des Garçons founder Rei Kawakubo once said, but the throngs of women who have been captivated and inspired by her clothes might beg to differ—she utilizes far more variations of black than a measly three. The revolutionary Kawakubo has been creating avant-garde fashion for over a half century. The elusive designer has been, and still is, hell-bent on toppling conventional ideas of attractiveness, arguing, “for something to be beautiful it doesn’t have to be pretty.… Comme des Garçons is a gift to oneself, not something to appeal or to attract the opposite sex.” (A rare statement Kawakubo has made on record to Vogue Magazine).

The press nicknamed her customers “the crows”, as they are draped in their voluminous deconstructed Comme des Garçons fashions.  But her artsy clients understand the true freedom in wearing Kawakubo’s unique designs. Kawakubo is known for her dramatic designs from her “added lump” collection to her flattened “paper doll” looks. Often Kawakubo uses polyester, leaves seams frayed, and blurs the line between masculine and feminine clichés.

In 2017, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City celebrated Kawakubo with an exhibition entitled, “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons, Art of the In-Between.” The show was designed as an austere, all-white maze and presented approximately 150 Comme des Garçons creations. Andrew Bolton, the curator for the Met show, stated: “I really think her influence is so huge, but sometimes it’s subtle.… It’s the purity of her vision.”

SARAH BURTON

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AT ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

A photo of Sarah Burton, in her studio at Alexander McQueen. (Photo Credit: David Burton)

Another rise to fame came from another tragedy. On February 11, 2010, Lee McQueen, the creative director, and founder of the brand Alexander McQueen, committed suicide, leaving the fashion industry shook to its core. Two months later Sarah Burton was named Lee McQueen’s successor. Burton, who had been working with McQueen since 1996, first as an intern, then as his personal assistant, rose to head of womenswear in 2000, so it was a natural progression for her to replace McQueen.

Through the years since McQueen’s death, Burton stayed true to the brands aesthetic and has been a diligent guardian of the McQueen flame, but… she has also enhanced it. Under Burton’s leadership, many of McQueen’s signature elements —the beautifully dramatic but also the painfully dark juxtaposition that were part of McQueen’s inner demons (that he could not let go of), have been transformed into less radical and significantly more femicentric.

On April 29, 2011, Burton and her label became a household name as she was commissioned to dress Catherine Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, for her wedding to Prince William. The world watched the extravagant wedding and Middleton looked like the perfect princess in every way. Burton created a silk satin gown, tapestried by the Royal School of Needlework, which was a key moment in her new chapter at the house.

Burton’s runway shows are always theatrical, in keeping true to the house’s DNA. Burton told Vogue Runway in an interview: “Lee always said to me, “You have to make things your own, you have to believe in it, and it has to be an emotional thing, what we do.” She has achieved the perfect balance between her creativity and Lee McQueen’s vision, he would be proud.

STELLA McCARTNEY

CREATIVE DIRECTOR AND FOUNDER OF STELLA McCARTNEY

Stella McCartney in her London Studio. (Photo Credit: Jules Esick)

Stella McCartney has been the fashion industry’s conscience for decades. As a leading advocate for sustainability in fashion, she has been a pioneer to reduce the carbon footprint of her namesake collection. For McCartney, sustainability is not a gimmick or a one season effort, she’s been championing the movement before it was the “thing to do,” and she practices what she preaches every season. No green-washing here.

Always ahead of a movement, McCartney debuted her fur and leather free collection in 2001 and faced plenty of criticism: How could a designer possibly build a business without luxury leather goods? Her now-signature Falabella bag proved precisely how. For McCartney’s fall ‘20 collection, the designer sent models dressed as animals down the runway, followed by an Instagram campaign featuring cartoons of animals expressing things like, “My coat looks better on me” and “What the fox?? I’m not fashion.” The collection was cruelty free.

Fast forward to today. McCartney is not only known for her signature non-leather goods and her playful, sporty ready-to-wear, but she’s inspiring a generation of women to think about the environmental impact of what they buy. McCartney believes that fashion shouldn’t just be about how we look; it should be about how our choices relate to the environment and people around us.

In addition to her sustainability efforts, McCartney is also known for her very British and feminine design aesthetic, so much so that she was selected to design the dress Meghan Markle wore to the Royal Wedding reception (which was made of viscose, a fluid material made from wood pulp). Apart from the obvious reasons for accepting the design gig, McCartney said she designed the dress for Markle because she’s “a women’s woman,” according to Harper’s Bazaar UK.

McCartney is not only a successful designer, but she is also a true environmental activist. In a past campaign, she enlisted women from the climate activist group Extinction Rebellion, and she’s still the only designer who has encouraged people to consign their used designer items through the commerce site, The RealReal. In a Vogue.com story, she spoke candidly about the lack of progress from her designer peers: “I just think it’s time to man up and have an element of honesty. I do need a few more colleagues linking my arm and standing shoulder to shoulder with me, because that’s how we can make significant change.”

VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

FOUNDER AND DESIGNER AT VIVIENNE WESTWOOD

Vivienne Westwood modelling in her own show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Since arriving in London in the late 1960s, Vivienne Westwood has captured the many ways women express themselves through fashion—and her collections have often been as cheeky, controversial, and surprising as their creator.

Westwood exploded onto the fashion world when she teamed up with Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren, and together they launched the garments that the world would come to know as punk: “… punk fashion itself was iconographic: rips and dirt, safety pins, zips, slogans, and hairstyles,” she once declared. But Westwood is far from a one-trick-pony, while the creative designer still has many elements of punk within her collection, she also offers clothes that rely on brilliant tailoring made their rebellious points—collections with names like Savages (1981), Buffalo/Nostalgia Of Mud (1982), Punkature (1982), and Worlds End (1984). Successive shows went on to channel young romantics, which offered a twisted homage to the mini-crinis of Christian Lacroix.

For almost a half of a century Westwood dressed generations of women with chic yet rebellious clothes, and even today, Westwood hasn’t lost her ‘punish’ charm.

In 1992, Vivienne Westwood was awarded an OBE (the British Empire award, it is the second highest ranking Order of the British Empire award). Westwood arrived at Buckingham Palace knicker-less, a decision documented by a photographer in the palace courtyard. Westwood later said, “I wished to show off my outfit by twirling the skirt. It did not occur to me that, as the photographers were practically on their knees, the result would be more glamorous than I expected.… I have heard that the picture amused the Queen.”

A true rebel through and through.

DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

FOUNDER AND DESIGNER OF DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

Diane Von Furstengerg in her iconic dress on the cover of Newsweek in 1976. (Photo Credit: Newsweek)

Not many designers are as closely associated with a single garment as Diane von Furstenberg is with the wrap dress. A staple in every woman’s wardrobe, von Furstenberg introduced her iconic dress in 1974. The socialite and former princess came up with the idea when she separated from her then-husband Prince Egon von Furstenberg and wanted something that felt modern and independent, something that was the complete opposite from her former socialite wardrobe. “Usually, the fairytale ends with the girl marrying the prince,” she said in a 2012 issue of British Vogue. “But mine started as soon as the marriage was over.”

The DVF wrap jersey number was more than a dress: It was a quiet feminist symbol. Although women were not familiar with von Furstenberg’s story when she first introduced the wrap dress, they quickly became fans of the dress’s slinky ease and vibrant prints. By 1976, von Furstenberg was selling 25,000 of them a week. DVF’s signature dress was copied by many, and suddenly wrap dresses were everywhere, von Furstenberg’s business experienced a significant lull—but unlike many of her fellow designers, she weathered the storm and made a successful comeback in the early 2000s.

In 2006, the glamourous von Furstenberg was named president of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, a position she held until 2019 when she passed the baton to Tom Ford. Von Furstenberg’s wrap dresses are still selling successfully. Through the years, she experimented with a variety of silhouettes and avant-garde prints, but on the verge of fifty years in business, von Furstenberg’s going back to her roots: clothes with simplicity, ease, and a joyful spirit. “If I have made any contribution, I want it to be that we were the friend in the closet,” she said in a past interview with Vogue Magazine. “We serve women’s needs.”

There are so many other influential female designers in the world today, can you tell us, who are your favorites?

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?

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)

https://youtu.be/cVQVxcK6v3A

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?

STAYING SILENT IS OUT – FASHION ACTIVISM IS IN

Prabal Gurung created political statement T-shirts that were worn by social media influencers and street style stars during NY Fashion Week 2017.  From Left to right: Shea Marie, Caroline Vreeland , Bryanboy, Tina Craig, Irene Kim,  Aimee Song  and Chriselle Lim . (Photo Courtesy of Forbes.com)

The Men’s Spring 2020 shows have just wrapped up, and while the runways were filled with plenty of notable trends, such as soft suiting at Givenchy, gender bending at Comme des Garçons, nautical looks at Prada, and romantic prints at Louis Vuitton  – the one trend that has been gaining momentum is the “designer as activist.” Fashion activism is nothing new. In the 1930s the Keffiyeh became a symbol of political uprising and rebellion. In the 1960s, designers gave us peace symbol T-shirts in protest of the Vietnam war,  and mini-skirts, which became the symbol for women’s rights and sexual liberation. In 2017, Cosmopolitan listed 22 designers who used their runway shows to promote a particular cause or in protest of global injustice. From pussy hats to white bandanas with the hashtag #TiedTogether (a symbol of inclusivity and acceptance), according to designer Talbot Runhof, “If you have a platform to say something and you don’t, then shame on you.” In the age of social media and the internet, where opinions and messages are delivered in lightning speed, designers, actors and other influencers feel duty-bound and a certain responsibility to bring attention to the relationship between fashion, politics and social change.

Here are a few noteworthy designers who have shown more than just clothes on their runways, past & present.

OFF-WHITE

Virgil Abloh has developed a cult following with his collections for Off-White and the brand is worn by street style stars around the globe. For his men’s Spring 2020 show, Abloh focused on the negative effects of plastic and saving the environment. According to Abloh, “Plastic: once hailed as a miracle material, now condemned as a major pollutant — and possibly about to be considered a work of art.” The show’s invite was a clear plastic invitation with the words “plastic” printed on it.  Abloh believes plastic can be recycled and used to create something beautiful, such as art. Plastic even made its way in the collection with plastic rain gear and a hazmat suit.

As for the clothes, Abloh looks to street art for inspiration and tapped Futura, a contemporary of Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, for the prints in this collection, case in point, a hand-painted white coat, top and pant look.To address his environmental concerns, Abloh featured an aquatic theme throughout the collection with shades of blue tie dye prints and amoeba-shaped appliqué motifs on knits.

The show ended with the models stomping through a beautiful field of white carnations that was created for the show. Abloh’s message was load and clear, we must protect our environment.

Virgil Abloh at his men’s Fall 2020 Off-White Collection. (Photo courtesy of theguardian.com)

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney has been one of the biggest advocates of the environment, a pioneer of sustainable fashion and an animal rights activist, since the creation of her namesake label in 2001.  McCartney Men’s 2020 collection was presented in a lush garden in Milan’s city center. According to Vogue.com, McCartney stated, “Let’s just forget fashion for a moment and savor all the natural beauty around us and talk about flowers!”

McCartney focused on playful tailoring, hand-printed silk shirts, ties and shorts with horse motifs, lightweight dusters and loose-fitting jumpsuits with satellite Earth prints and of course a collection that was fur free. McCartney kept the collection light and humorous, but her fight to save the earth is a serious one.

Stella McCartney’s Fall 2020 Men’s Collection. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Pyer Moss

Herby Jean-Raymond launched his menswear label Pyer Moss in 2013 and followed up with a women’s collection shortly thereafter. In the few seasons Jean-Raymond has been presenting, the designer has quickly become known for his social activist stands. Most notably, he is inspired by the heritage of African-Americans, as well as social issues that this community faces today.

Pyer Moss Spring 2019. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dior

In July 2016 Dior announced that Maria Grazia Chiuri would be the first female creative director at Dior. Chiuri has been making political statements ever since.  T-shirts screen printed with “We Should All Be Feminists” and “Dio(R)evolution” were sold with proceeds going to Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, which fights against injustice, inequality & poverty and promotes access to education.

Christian Dior Spring 2017 Collection. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Women’s Rights

Fall 2017 was a big season for designers to speak out about social injustice. Attendees at Missoni’s Fall show each received pink pussy hats (madefamous by the Women’s March on Washington in January 2017). Guests proudly wore the hats, as did the models during the finale.

According to Angela Missoni, creative director for the label, their message for Fall 2017 was all about “femininity in our times, prepared to confront the conflicts and dilemmas of our contemporary society: the conditions, needs, and rights of all women and minorities.”

Missoni’s Fall 2017 Show. (Photo courtesy of DailyNation.com)

Rio Uribe, the designer behind Gypsy Sport, gave a passionate speech before his show which focused on homelessness and refugee tent cities. “I wanted to talk to you guys a little bit about my show,” he said from a mic backstage. “The Fall/Winter ’17 collection was inspired honestly by people who live on the street and just don’t have much fashion in their life or any of the luxuries that we take for granted. … I don’t want anyone who is gay, or Muslim, or disabled, or mentally ill, or a veteran, or a drug addict, or a runaway to have to live on the street just because someone’s not willing to give them a chance.”

Gypsy Sport Fall 2017 Show. (Photo courtesy of cosmopolitan.com)

Prabal Gurung created “The Future is Female” T-shirt for his Fall 2017 show. According to Gurung, “So to me feminism is not just a trending topic. It’s the only way I’ve known, even before I knew what [feminism] was.”

Bella Hadid sporting Prabal Gurung’s feminist T-shirt at his Spring 2017 show. (Photo courtesy of Forbes.com)

“All-inclusive” hit an all-time high in Fall 2017 as Christian Siriano enlisted models of all sizes to walk his runway show, from plus-size & petite to curvy, as well as plenty of racially diverse women. The 2008 Project Runway winner consistently speaks out against fashion magazines’ unrealistic body standards that are set by the modeling industry. He believes designers have the power to change this by adjusting their hiring process and sizing.

A plus sized model walks Christian Siriano’s show during his 2017 fashion show. (Photo courtesy of cosmopolitan.com)

During Tommy Hilfiger’s 2017 extravaganza in Venice Beach, models strutted down the runway wearing white bandanas as part of Business of Fashion’s #TiedTogether initiative. According to Business of Fashion founder and CEO Imran Amed, this campaign encouraged people to wear the colorless handkerchief “to make a clear statement in support of human unity and inclusiveness amidst growing uncertainty and a dangerous narrative peddling division.”

#TiedTogether Bandanas Hit Runway for First Time at Tommy Hilfiger. (Photo courtesy of Hollywoodreporter.com)

Also in 2017,  The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) partnered with Planned Parenthood to launch the “Fashion Stands With Planned Parenthood” campaign to raise awareness about women’s health care during New York Fashion Week.

Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour sporting a Planned Parenthood badge. (Photo courtesy of 14urban.com)

At the New York Spring 2018 shows, a “Get out and Vote” message dominated in advance of the U.S. mid term elections.

Prabal Gurung walks the runway in a Vote T-shirt show during New York Fashion Week Spring 2018. (Photo courtesy of Glamour.com)

Going Fur Free

While Stella McCartney has been creating fur-free and leather-free clothes for years, many designers have now jumped on the bandwagon.

As of September 2018, Burberry announced that it would also be going fur-free, a big move ever since Riccardo Tisci became the creative director for the label. The brand will no longer be using rabbit, fox, mink, and Asiatic raccoon fur, though they will still feature angora, shearling, and leather.

Burberry goes fur free as of Sept. 2018. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

Shockingly, in March 2018, Donatella Versace announced that she would no longer be using fur in her collections. “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right,” she told 1843 magazine.

Versace goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

In June 2017, protesters interrupted a live interview with Michael Kors at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, with signs that read “Michael Kors has blood on his hands.” This prompted Michael Kors to announce that his company would be going fur free as of December 2018.

Michael Kors goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

In October 2017, Gucci announced it would be going fur-free as well. Alessandro Michele is opting for sustainable alternatives to create his “grandma-chic” vibe. Prada also added their name to the fur-free list as of 2020.

Gucci goes fur free. (Photo courtesy of teenvogue.com)

Following in the footsteps of San Francisco and Los Angeles, New York is now considering a ban on fur as well, however, there is a lot of push back. One of the oldest industries in New York City dating back to when Henry Hudson explored the region in 1609 and found French traders bartering for furs with Native Americans. New York became a thriving trading post of beaver and other skins that traveled through New York Harbor and to Europe. In fact, the official New York crest includes beavers, whose valuable pelts helped fuel the early fur trade. Stay tuned!

Designers with a History of Rocking the Boat

English fashion designer Katherine Hamnett is best known for her political T-shirts and ethical business philosophy. In 1983 she stated, “If you want to get the message out there, you should print it in giant letters on a T-shirt.” Celebrities such as George Michael (who was part of Wham at the time) wore one of her “Choose Life” tees in a music video for “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go.” Roger Taylor of Queen, wore her “WORLDWIDE NUCLEAR BAN NOW” T-shirt during Queen’s historic appearance at the first edition of the Rock in Rio festival in Rio de Janeiro.

Political T-shirts by Katharine Hamnett. (Photo courtesy of lovewildlivefree.com)

Vivienne Westwood is another British fashion designer and businesswoman, who was largely responsible for bringing modern punk and new wave fashion into the mainstream. Westwood has retail shops worldwide and sells a variety of merchandise; some of it linked to her many political causes, such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, climate change and civil rights groups.

Vivienne Westwood Red Label SS14 fashion show. (Photo courtesy of Alan Davidson/The Picture Library LTD.)

In 2000, John Galliano created one of the most controversial fashion shows ever. For his Christian Dior Haute Couture collection, Galliano was inspired by the Paris homeless. As a master of shock value, his message rang loud and clear in a city of beauty and glamour. The show created such controversy that homeless activists picketed outside the Dior headquarters and riot police had to be called in to deal with the protesters. As a result, Dior’s flagship was closed for two hours and Galliano had to issue an apology statement,  “I never wanted to make a spectacle of misery.”

Christian Dior by John Galliano, spring/summer 2000 haute couture show. (Photo courtesy of newyorktimes.com)

Alexander McQueen’s inspiring showmanship is greatly missed, ever since his suicide on February 11, 2010. For the late designer’s Fall 2009 collection, McQueen took an environmental stance on the runway as his models dressed in fiercely tailored coats, boxy jackets and airy gazar dresses walked around a heap of trash. McQueen even referenced trash in some of his looks such as aluminum can accessories.  It was all so hauntingly beautiful.

Alexander McQueen’s  Fall 2009 ready-to-wear women’s collection during Paris Fashion Week. (Photo courtesy of REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol)

Karl Lagerfeld is another designer who is greatly missed for his theatrics. The late designer passed away on February 19, 2019 in Paris. For his Spring 2015 collection, Lagerfeld took a feminist stance and created a playful protest for woman’s equality. According to Vogue.com, “ Cara Delevingne and Caroline de Maigret had megaphones in hand as a parade of models including Kendall Jenner, Georgia May Jagger, Edie Campbell, Joan Smalls, and even Gisele Bündchen, brandished signs that read “History is Her Story,” “Feminism Not Masochism,” “We Can Match the Machos” and “Ladies First.” Even male model Baptiste Giabiconi waved a “He For She” banner, which just might be our favorite nod to Emma Watson’s global UN campaign yet. Perhaps the “Free Freedom” sign was a winking nod to Free the Nipple, the cause du jour for models like Delevingne, who opened the show and Kendall Jenner, who Instagrammed about it post show. “I’m Every Woman” blared from the speakers, and everyone danced in their seats.”

Chanel spring 2015 collection. (Photo courtesy of elle.com)

While some fashion critics predicted a worldwide boycott of Nike products after their controversial “Just Do It” campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, they were proven wrong when the company reported a 10 percent jump in income. It turns out that millennials expect companies to take a position on social and political issues.

TELL US, HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO YOU THAT BRANDS TAKE A STAND ON SOCIAL, POLITICAL AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES ?

PARIS FASHION WEEK: A MUCH NEEDED BEAUTIFUL ESCAPE FROM REALITY

- - Fashion Shows
Saint Laurent's spring 2019 Runway (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Saint Laurent’s spring 2019 Runway (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Political unrest, devastating natural disasters, fear of war, the economy, racism, the #me too movement, every day we are all bombarded with negative news, not only from our own backyard, but around the globe. At times, it feels as if we live in a mad, mad world.

So, when friends who are not in the fashion industry ask: “How can you think about fashion during these volatile times?” the answer… it’s not easy. The fashion industry is a Goliath worldwide business. According to Statista, revenue of  the U.S. Apparel Industry in 2018 was estimated at $102,820 million. Globally the retail value of luxury goods is estimated at $339.4 billion (according to Fashion United). But aside from the economic value of the fashion industry, there is also a psychological one – fashion is a great escape from the real world. And, this fashion season delivered!

Not only were the shows theatrical, but the craftsmanship and the use of bold, eye-popping color all contributed to an upbeat and happy escape from reality. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

Let’s take a look at what was happening at the Paris shows, which included debut and controversy at Celine, gender-diversity on the runway, avant-garde escapism and a space age look into a better future.

A NEW DAY AT CELINE

Hedi Slimane’s debut collection for Celine was filled with mixed reviews. Even before his show, Slimane caused controversy by rebranding the company’s logo, removing the accent aigu (Céline). As editors, influencers, buyers and celebrities eagerly awaited Slimane’s collection, many were disappointed that he replicated exactly what he did at Saint Laurent (2012-2016) and his past collections for Dior Homme (2000-2007). Slimane fired back, targeting the American press and charging them with ‘homophobia.’ I mean, really?

For many, the re-branding at the hands of Slimane was the complete and utter destruction of Celine’s house codes and Phoebe Philo’s legacy, whose fan base expects smart, chic, and intellectual collections. Some even called Simane’s debut collection, ‘Saint Celine.’

And here’s why. The collection had a glam-grunge, rock n’ roll sensibility.  There was a nod to the Eighties, with big shoulder silhouettes, exaggerated pouf details, mini lengths and plenty of shine. Maybe perfect for dancing the night away at your favorite trendy hot spot but not what the house is generally known for. Just goes to show that taking over as creative director at a heritage house is no simple task!

Celine's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Celine’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Slimane also introduced menswear to Celine, showing perfectly tailored skinny pantsuits that have become his signature look. But, ladies don’t fret, these looks are unisex as well.

Celine's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Celine’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

On the retail front it will be interesting to see, whether Celine’s customers take to the ‘new vision’ or will Slimane’s consumer be his old Saint Laurent clientele. Only time will tell.

THE AGE OF ANDROGYNY

As the cultural discussion on gender identity keeps moving forward, designers are embracing the shift in acceptance and are positioning their brands to be all inclusive by showing their menswear and womenswear collections together, casting transgender models, and even launching entire unisex collections.

At Givenchy,  Clare Waight Keller took cues from 1930s gender-bending writer and adventurer Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Keller sent her models out with cropped boyish haircuts in leather Perfectos tucked into military pants – a direct homage to a photo of Schwarzenbach. For evening, she showed elegant bias cut asymmetrical gowns. But her daywear was what really stuck out.  There were plenty of chic army trousers paired with fitted jackets, smart suit alternatives and plenty of crisp shirts – all perfect looks for the fashion-forward working girl.

Givenchy's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Givenchy’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Haider Ackermann has been showing androgynist looks for years now, with Tilda Swinton as his muse. This season the designer decided to show both his womenswear and menswear collections on the runway together.  The collections were perfectly intertwined, sending out his models in pairs of three to clearly make his point that his collection is cross-gender.

Ackermann has mastered creative tailoring. For spring, there were plenty of sharp suits in bold colors, boxy shirts with intricate laser-cut details and pajama-inspired pieces. Although the unisex concept has been seen on a number of runways this season, Ackermann’s version was effortless and elegant.

Haider Ackermann's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Haider Ackermann’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE AVANT-GARDE

There are a handful of designers who are truly creative geniuses. Season after season these avant-garde designers take us on a breathtaking journey, their collections are thought provoking, witty and intellectual. Here’s a mash-up of the best!

Comme des Garçons' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Comme des Garçons’
spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Thom Browne's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Thom Browne’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rick Owen's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rick Owen’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Yohji Yamamoto's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Yohji Yamamoto’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Junya Watanabe's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Junya Watanabe’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balenciaga's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balenciaga’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Maison Margiela's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Maison Margiela’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE GREATEST SHOWMEN/WOMAN

Meanwhile, back to reality, well, almost. Karl Lagerfeld created a tropical beach for his Chanel spectacle. Yes, you heard me right. At the Paris Grand Palais, Lagerfeld recreated a beach that included an ocean with gentle waves, blue sky, wooden docks and lifeguards. He completed the scene with none other than former Baywatch actor Pamela Anderson seated in the front row.

Chanel's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Chanel’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Nicolas Ghesquière took us on a futuristic voyage for his Louis Vuitton collection. The perfect escape mechanism to avoid the reality of these times.

Louis Vuitton's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Modern dancers performed during Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Christian Dior Show. It was a nice break from traditional cat walking.

Christian Dior's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Christian Dior’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Anthony Vaccarello’s girls walked on water under the Eiffel Tower for his Saint Laurent show.

Saint Laurent's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Saint Laurent’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

For Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu collection, the concept of  ‘deconstructing beauty’ continued by putting her spin on DIY, recycling, and upcycling under a backdrop modern art installations.

Miu Miu's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Miu Miu’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE ROMANTICS

Fashion week season wouldn’t be complete without a ‘romance-inspired’ collection. Beautifully feminine looks, from whimsical tulle confections to vintage floral charm, these saccharine-savy looks had just the right dose of spice.

Giambattista Valli's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Giambattista Valli’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Alexander McQueen's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Alexander McQueen’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ann Demeulemeester's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ann Demeulemeester’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

 

Altuzarra's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Altuzarra’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Valentino's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Valentino’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

 SPACE AGE

In a galaxy far, far away…..some designers looked ahead to the future, creating looks that were out of this world.

Balmain's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balmain’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Gucci's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Gucci’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Isabel Marant's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Isabel Marant’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE REALISTS

Ok, all these fantasy looks are spectacular, but sometimes we need to see some real clothes on the runway, right? But always with a twist!

Sonia Rykiel's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Sonia Rykiel’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Stella McCartney's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Stella McCartney’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Loewe's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Loewe’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Dries Van Noten's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Dries Van Noten’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Hermès' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Hermès’ spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rochas' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rochas’ spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE NEW GUARD

Here at UoF, we love and support new, emerging designers. Here’s a fresh crop who are disrupting the establishment……

Off-White's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Off-White’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ellery's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ellery’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Johanna Ortiz's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Johanna Ortiz’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Beautiful People's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Beautiful People’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Esteban Cortazar's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Esteban Cortazar’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Tell us which collection took you out of reality, even if only for a moment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Royal Wedding: Meghan Markle Stuns the World in Clare Waight Keller

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

It was the most anticipated wedding of the year; Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tied the knot today (May 19, 2018) at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. It was a ceremony that managed to meld centuries of British tradition with a distinctly contemporary American feel and British and America flags waved gloriously all over England.

As the world watched, Meghan Markle made the trip to St. George’s Chapel with her mother Doria Ragland. The stunning American actress has now become the Duchess of Sussex with a simple “I do” to Prince Harry. There was plenty of speculation on what she would wear on this momentous occasion. Many thought that she would wear a custom gown by Ralph & Russo – after all, she chose an embellished Ralph & Rosso for her engagement portrait. Up until yesterday, many were assumed she would wear a Stella McCartney, since McCartney is an ethical fashion designer and avid animal rights activist.

Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture by Clare Waight Keller (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture by Clare Waight Keller (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

As Prince Charles walked Markle down the aisle, the soon to become Duchess of Sussex succeeded in a making global statement by choosing: a minimalistic gown from a French couture house designed by a British designer (Clare Waight Keller), a diamond tiara on loan from the Queen (once worn by Queen Mary), diamond earrings from French jeweler, Cartier earrings and a veil bearing symbols of the Commonwealth. While Markle respected British heritage and tradition, she has also ushered in a new age of simplicity and global inclusivity.

Meghan Markle's crown (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle’s crown (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

William Hansen, an etiquette coach, said in an interview following the wedding “It’s a more traditional dress, although it does have a very contemporary and up-to-date feel to it. There are the covered shoulders and the veil. There’s a nod to the past with Queen Mary’s diamond bandeau tiara, and a nod to the present, which is seen in her veil and in the embroidered flowers that represent the countries of the Commonwealth and Prince Harry’s role.”

The dress, with its boat neck, clean lines and lack of embroidery, was quiet and demure, a stark contrast to Princess Diana’s wedding dress. The palace said that after meeting Waight Keller in early 2018, Markle chose to work with the designer due to her “timeless and elegant aesthetic, impeccable tailoring,” and relaxed demeanour. The gown was a surprisingly subdued choice compared to her sister-in-law Kate Middleton’s intricate lace wedding dress by Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton.

Left: Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen Righ: Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture

Left: Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen Righ: Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture

The lines of Markel’s dress were achieved using only six seams, and the dress extended towards the back where the train flowed into soft folds cushioned by an underskirt in triple-silk organza. Waight Keller worked with an exclusive double bonded silk cady, which she developed which gave the dress more shape. Both Waight Keller and Markle wanted a “pure white” color to bring a fresh modernity to the dress, the palace said.

Waight Keller described the dress as a close collaboration between her and Markle and said the two had wanted to create a “timeless piece that would emphasize the iconic codes of Givenchy throughout its history (think Audrey Hepburn), as well as convey modernity through sleek lines and sharp cuts.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry (photo courtesy of Shutterstock)

While the gown was relatively simple, the veil, in contrast, had plenty of intricate details. The bride wanted to have a distinctive flower from of each Commonwealth country with her on her journey through the ceremony, according to Kensington Palace.  The veil was five meters long and made of silk tulle trimmed with hand-embroidered flowers in silk thread and organza. Each flower was worked flat and in three dimensions, to create a unique and delicate design. The palace said the workers spent hundreds of hours meticulously sewing and washing their hands every 30 minutes to keep the tulle and threads pristine. In addition to the flora of the Commonwealth, Markle selected two personal favorites: Wintersweet (Chimonanthus praecox), which grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace, in front of Nottingham Cottage where the couple lives, and the California Poppy (Eschscholzia californica) the state flower from Markle’s native California. Symmetrically placed at the very front of the veil, crops of wheat are meant to blend into the flora, to symbolize love and charity.

For those unfamiliar with Clare Waight Keller, here goes: She is a British mother of three and a talented, low-key British designer who is all about femininity, soft edges and beautiful fabrics. She also has a reputation for cutting a killer pair of pants. She attended both Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and the Royal College of Art in London. Waight Keller began her fashion career designing for Calvin Klein, where she worked for four years. She also worked with Polo Ralph Lauren as design director of Purple Label Menswear and was a senior design director with Tom Ford at Gucci. Waight Keller is known for her knitwear and her sleek, tomboyish, yet elegant style. In 2005, she became creative director at Pringle of Scotland and her first menswear collection was presented at Milan Fashion Week 2006. In 2011, she joined Chloé, where she coined the term “sister style,” a look that expresses clothes that are simple, comfortable and romantic. In 2016, Apple Music launched a fashion channel playlist and tapped Waight Keller and designer Alexander Wang to curate the music selections.  On March 16, 2017 she became the first female to become artistic director at the French House of Givenchy.

Clare Waight Keller

Clare Waight Keller

The stunning  couple married at St. George’s Chapel on the Queen’s Windsor estate — not at Westminster Abbey or St. Paul’s Cathedral in London — and invited more than 2,000 members of the public to join them for the ceremony. The wedding wasn’t a state affair, but one filled instead with family — and some famous friends — including Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams, George and Amal Clooney, James Corden, James Blunt and Victoria and David Beckham. There were also a host of former classmates from Meghan’s alma mater Northwestern University were there, as well as the cast from her former TV series “Suits.”

So tell us, whose dress do you think was more fitting for a princess? Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen or Meghan Markle in Givenchy Couture?