University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Alice + Olivia"

The Americans have landed, or have they?

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For those of us New Yorkers who each day walk past the Lord & Taylor flagship on Fifth Avenue, we are already mourning the shuttering of this retail monument, scheduled for early 2019. While L & T may not have always been every fashionista’s ‘go-to’ destination for the most current fashion trends, this retailer has had a rich history of promoting American designers. Beginning in 1932, Dorothy Shaver (then L & T president), established a program known as the “American Look,” during a period in time when French fashion reigned supreme. This fashion visionary jumped at the chance to promote the work of American designers like Claire McCardell, Tina Lesser, Clare Potter, Vera Maxwell and Bonnie Cashin. It was a defining moment for American fashion designers and put American fashion on the world map. Oh, and by the way…Shaver was also one of the founders of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York!

Lord & Taylor                                                                                                                                                          (Courtesy University of Fashion)
Lord & Taylor (Courtesy University of Fashion)

Well, thankfully, another retailer has finally stepped up to the plate. As of this week and leading up to New York Fashion Week (Sept 6-14), Saks Fifth Avenue is showcasing the work of various American brands. Each of the American-based brands below were invited to create a window (and pay for their installation) that best represents that brand’s identity.

Although not all of the designers at these brands are American-born (Carolina Herrera, Philip Lim, Oscar de la Renta, Alexander Wang, Derek Lam, Jason Wu, Diane von Furstenberg, Naeem Khan and Tanya Taylor), the spotlight is on American-based fashion labels.

Other designers included are: Rosie Assoulin, Alice & Olivia, Coach, Eileen Fisher, Lafayette 148, Leila Rose, Milly, Rag & Bone, Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, Brandon Maxwell, Gabriela Hearst, Jonathan Simkhai, Monse and Proenza Schouler). While the windows are intended to celebrate American style, some brands chose to focus on things such as their heritage, or social justice and sustainability. Here’s a sampling:

Carolina Herrera window for Saks Fifth Avenue                                       (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)
Carolina Herrera window for Saks Fifth Avenue (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)

Carolina Herrera’s window is a take on her iconic eveningwear (white shirt and ball skirt). Whether intentional or not, Herrera’s choice of rainbow-colored mannequins against a rainbow background could easily be interpreted as a nod to the LGBTQ community.

Coach window for Saks Fifth Avenue                                                                                         (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)
Coach window for Saks Fifth Avenue (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)

Coach’s window paid homage to their company roots. Inspired by the suppleness of an old baseball glove, Miles Cahn founded Coach in 1941, in a New York City loft. Artisans hired by the Cahn family handcrafted soft leather into handbags and in 1962, hired American designer Bonnie Cashin, who pioneered the use of brass toggles on handbags and clothing. Coach’s window included ubiquitous New York phone booths and a shout-out to Dreamers, with a decal of an 8-Ball (as in disadvantage) with the words, “Calling All Dreamers.”

Eileen Fisher window at Saks Fifth Ave   (Courtesy University of Fashion)
Eileen Fisher window at Saks Fifth Ave (Courtesy University of Fashion)

Eileen Fisher is known as a pioneer of cotton grown without pesticides and a promoter of California’s Central Valley organic cotton growers since the late 1990s. This brand’s window was less about ‘selling product’ and more about an education in recycling. In 2009, Fisher initiated GREEN EILEEN, a “buy-back policy” whereby customers turn in their gently used Eileen Fisher products, in return for a store gift card. The brand either resells that item or, through their “third lifecycle initiative,” artists get the chance to upcycle these clothes into new designs. Her Saks window featured a recycled garment, a video showing the upcycling process and cages filled with clothes ready for recycling. Thanks Eileen, for thinking responsibility about a circular fashion cycle and less about sell, sell, sell.

Tanya Taylor window for Saks Fifth Avenue                                                                                         (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)
Tanya Taylor window for Saks Fifth Avenue (Courtesy WWD August 17, 2018)

The newest (and youngest designer) brand to get a Saks window is Canadian-born designer Tanya Taylor. After having studied finance at McGill University, taken a course at Central Saint Martins and then attended Parsons School of Design, Taylor launched her brand in 2012. In 2014, she became a finalist in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition. Her quirky fashion is a bit H & M-ish (without the low price tag).

The inclusion of Tanya Taylor, just begs the question…why are aren’t stores like Saks and other major retailers getting behind and supporting more American start-up designers?

Hundreds of American fashion designer entrepreneurs who graduate from fashion schools, or those who learn online at University of Fashion, could greatly benefit from the support that these high-profile windows provide. So…Saks (and other retailers)… if you are listening… and you really want to take on the role of promoting American design talent that Lord & Taylor started in 1932, then do your homework and start showcasing home grown talent who need it the most!

Let us know what you think. Should American retailers start a movement to promote more American fashion design start-ups?

Halloween Inspired Looks Right Off The Runway

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

In Need of a Costume……..

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

We look to Fashion Week for the latest trends and style inspirations, as well as celebrity sightings, street-style stars, and drop-dead gorgeous models, but at times, runway looks can be a great source of originality for Halloween costumes. Forget the creepy, zombie  motifs. The spring/summer 2018 collections offer more feminine and sexy variations to play dress up in. Themes ranged from Disney princess’ to Andy Warhol pop art prints.  So take a look below, and see the most creative styles that’ll have you covered when it comes to costume originality and give you major high-fashion cred.

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Swan Lake

Every little girl dreams of being a ballerina and for spring, Thom Browne created an alternate universe at the Hôtel de Ville with magic wands and pouches full of glittery fairy dust. The possibility of magic and mischief filled the air. This whimsical show was an ode to childhood fantasies – think mermaids, unicorns and ballerinas. Browne’s vision of a ballerina was am encrusted pearl studded bodysuit as they danced down the runway, now that’s what you’d call a fairy-tale beginning.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Scott was also inspired by the ballet, but his version was a tougher girl, for his Moschino show – think biker ballerina. Scott showed a variety of leather jackets, satin bustiers, tulle tutus, and fishnets in a couple dozen variations on the runway.

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Moschino Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Moschino Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fairy-Tale

Fairy Tales do come true – and no one was able to capture the joy of fairytales and princesses better then Walt Disney. For spring, Philipp Plein’s theme was “Good Gone Bad.” His recurrent logo was a ball-gagged and bonded Alice in Wonderland character (or was it Cinderella?). Plein anlo showed a handful of T-shirts that read “Plein Fairytale Crew”. Was it a fairy tale? No. But wouldn’t it make a great costume?

Meanwhile, Alessandro Michele showed an intense, contradictory, and literally dark experience, for his spring 2018 Gucci show. It was full of glitter and glam, ’80s shoulders, English tweeds, Disney and Sega references, with all his recognizable eclectic mix of reworked vintage chic. Who wouldn’t love a Snow White sequin sweatshirt?

 

Philipp Plein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Philipp Plein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 Pop-Art

The fashion and art world go hand in hand as many designers look to artists for inspiration. For Spring, both Raf Simons for Calvin Klein and Donatella Versace where influenced by the works of Andy Warhol and his iconic Pop-Art prints. For Raf Simons’s Calvin Klein, he experimented with American classics but in a subversive way. His new motifs for spring included Andy Warhol prints of Dennis Hopper circa Easy Rider and a 1971 Sandra Brant (is there an art movement more American than Pop?), cheerleaders, and horror movies.

Meanwhile, Donatella Versace gave a tribute to her brother Gianni,  founder of the Versace label, as the 20 year anniversary of his murder just past. It was a tribute celebrating Gianni’s inspirations and creations, and  “a genius . . . an icon . . . my brother” stated Donatella Versace.  She wanted the focus to be on his life, not his violent end, but also his feminist leanings and the eternal relevance of his designs. So of course, among the medusa and baroque motifs, there were plenty of Andy Warhol prints.

Miuccia Prada was also inspired by pop art, but of the comic book variety. Prada presented an empowering show, set among the work of women cartoonists and manga artists whose drawings dominated the company’s huge headquarters. The collection was based on putting her stamp on a blank canvas. Coats, jackets, and cropped pants were screen-printed in the various artists’ works. The result was a strong and feisty collection, with a nod to the early 80’s clubkid; but all with Prada’s sophisticated and chic hand.

Versace Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versace Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Groovy

One of the easiest Halloween costume trends to pull off are the Sixties, think peace, love and happiness. Think Woodstock. And no-one does it better than Anna Sui. She laser-cuts through the past, pulling references together for a beautiful collage that is at once nostalgic, modern, and a bit kooky.

Marc Jacobs showed a happy and upbeat spring collection with giant daisies and other overscale flowers; the collection was filled with Crayola colors, tinsel trimmings, and sequins, sequins, sequins. Jacobs’s idea here was to return to the archives, passing old ideas and former hits through “exaggerated, decadent, and exotic” filters. This is hippy chic in the most lux sense.

Stacey Bendet, the quirky designer behind the Alice + Olivia label, also gave a nod to the sixties with a re-imagined version of the hippy-chic with floral peasant dresses and bohemian inspired tops with bell-bottom denim.

Anna Sui Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Anna Sui Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alice + Olivia Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Alice + Olivia)

Alice + Olivia Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Alice + Olivia)

 

 

Marc Jacobs Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Marc Jacobs Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dynasty

With the remake of the 80’s television series Dynasty, Eighties inspired costumes will be a sure fire hit. Anthony Vaccarello, the young designer behind Saint Laurent had plenty of dresses to choose from – from ostrich feather knee high boots to bubble hem dresses. Vaccarello’s collection was bold and cohesive, a real tribute to the founder Yves Saint Laurent. The show, held under the Eiffel Tower, was a bright and brilliant shot of sexuality, provocation, and the promise of all kinds of fun for a new generation. It was the Eighties in the most fabulous way.

Meanwhile, Waight Keller debut her first collection under the Givenchy label. Keller looked back and was inspired by the founder of the house, Hubert de Givenchy. She looked to his dynamic sketches, and zeroed in on how he started everything with the ‘shoulder;’ also, that he was a fan of graphic prints. So naturally, her runway looks were filled with strong shoulder looks, graphic prints and bold colors – just perfect for an Eighties revival costume theme party.

 

Saint Laurent Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Saint Laurent Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Givenchy Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Givenchy Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

So with all these easy to interpret runway looks, what will you be this Halloween?