University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Dior"

MENSWEAR FASHION MONTH: HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SPRING 2024 SHOWS

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Dior Men’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Dior)

The Menswear Spring 2024 season has set the stage for a groundbreaking revolution in men’s fashion. Embracing fluidity, inclusivity, sustainability, and innovation, designers have created a mesmerizing symphony of sartorial liberation. The runway serves as a canvas where traditional notions of masculinity are reimagined and reshaped. As the seasons change and fashion evolves, these groundbreaking trends remind us that menswear is not just clothing; it’s an ever-evolving expression of identity, freedom, and creativity.

Throughout Europe, the runways were a playground of limitless possibilities. The season kicked off in London with shows running from June 10 -12th. Then the dapper set were off to Italy, first stop, Pitti Uomo in Florence from June 13-16th and then the excitement of Milan revved up from June 16-20th. Paris of course closed out the season with a bang from June 20-25th. What about New York? The city that never sleeps will show menswear along with Woman’s Fashion Week in early September.

Jacquemus’ Spring 2024 showcase at the Lake Versailles was a sight to behold. (Photo Credit: Lifestyle Asia)

Many designers at Men’s Fashion Week Spring 2024 pulled out all the stops for their show creating over-the-top viral moments that left industry insiders in awe, which is no easy fete. From closed down bridges (Louis Vuitton, Kenzo) to moving floors (Dior Men), and palace-side boat rides (Jacquemus), this season was a spectacle and display of power, wealth, and access reached new heights. So it’s no surprise that according to a tally of the most-viewed men’s shows of SS24 on Vogue Runway, Louis Vuitton came in first place. The show was a star-studded event as everyone anxiously awaited to see Pharrell Williams’s debut for Louis Vuitton. The show was an instant hit and Williams featured “Damoflage” which in Pharrell’s show notes was a fusion between Louis Vuitton’s iconic checkered Damier pattern and traditional camouflage fabric. “Damoflage” appeared across the collection, and truly capsulates Pharrell’s personal avant garde style.

A video of Pharell William’s debut Louis Vuitton Spring 2024 Show. (Video Courtesy of YouTube FF Chanel)

Before we delve into the trends for the Spring 2024 season, here is a brief history on Menswear Fashion Week.

HISTORY

In the realm of fashion, one event stands as a bastion of style and innovation – Men’s Fashion Week. Spanning across four fashion capitals – Milan, Paris, London, and New York – this bi-annual celebration of masculinity has a rich history that weaves together creativity, culture, and couture. Join UoF on a journey through time, as we explore the origins and evolution of Men’s Fashion Week in these iconic cities.

Milan – The Birth of Dapper Debonair

The year was 1971 when Milan hosted its first-ever Men’s Fashion Week, a pioneering moment that brought Italian elegance to the forefront. Spearheaded by visionaries like Giorgio Armani and Nino Cerruti, the Milanese runway showcased sharp tailoring, luxurious fabrics, and a newfound emphasis on minimalistic sophistication. Men’s fashion was no longer relegated to the shadows; it was a statement of confidence and poise.

Paris – The Haute Heritage

Stepping into the elegant city of Paris, we travel back to the origins of Haute Couture. In 1973, Paris welcomed its inaugural Men’s Fashion Week, further solidifying the city’s reputation as a timeless fashion capital. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Pierre Cardin, and Jean-Paul Gaultier infused traditional French savoir-faire with a contemporary flair. Paris became synonymous with avant-garde and artistic expressions that transcended the ordinary.

London – Punks to Peacocks

Across the Channel, London’s Men’s Fashion Week story took a different turn. Emerging in 1984, it began as an edgy, rebellious movement with punk influences, thanks to designers like Vivienne Westwood. Over time, it evolved into a melting pot of diverse styles, from tailored Savile Row classics to eccentric, bold streetwear. London became a playground for experimentation, paving the way for a new generation of men’s fashion designers.

New York – American Dreams and Diversity

Crossing the Atlantic, we find ourselves in the bustling streets of New York. In 1995, the Big Apple hosted its inaugural Men’s Fashion Week, showcasing American dreams and diversity. Designers like Ralph Lauren, Tom Ford, and Calvin Klein celebrated masculinity in all its forms – from rugged to refined. New York’s fashion week spotlighted the fusion of traditional American sportswear with cutting-edge contemporary designs.

As the years passed, Men’s Fashion Week in Milan, Paris, London, and New York transformed into a global phenomenon. The event expanded its reach beyond the fashion elite, with social media turning every spectator into a front-row participant. This democratization of fashion allowed designers to connect directly with their audience and opened doors for emerging talents from diverse backgrounds.

In recent years, a profound shift occurred in men’s fashion. Sustainability and ethical practices took center stage. Designers increasingly embraced eco-friendly materials, responsible manufacturing, and gender-neutral designs. Men’s Fashion Week became a platform to promote conscious consumption, making a positive impact on both the planet and society.

TRENDS

SCHOOL DAZE

Designers are feeling nostalgic this season as the schoolboy uniform trend makes its mark on the runway where you will find plenty of oversized blazers paired with tiny shorts.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Neil Barrett’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Paul Smith’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

VARSITY BLUES

Athletic inspired looks have come back this spring with a collegiate twist.

A look from Kenzo’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Wales Bonner’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Vetements’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dsquared2’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saul Mash’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Fashionista)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FLORAL DELIGHT

“Florals for spring? Groundbreaking” is one of the most famous quotes from Miranda Priestly, the notoriously difficult boss in The Devil Wears Prada, but this season the motif is truly fashion forward as 3-D floral appliques made there way onto the menswear runways from a quirky hat to a tailored shirt.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2024 Show. )(Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexander McQueen’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

DEEP POCKETS

It’s time to get to work. Cargo pockets and utilitarian looks are making a splash both on the runway and off.

A look from Études’ Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Li-Ning’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE GOING OUT TOP

The halter top gets a refresh as the androgynous look gives a 70s meets Y2K vibe.

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studio’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ludovic de Saint Sernin’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Egonlab’s Spring 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what is your favorite menswear trend for the spring 2024 season?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fashion’s Resort 2024 Collections: A Gateway to Style

- - Trends

Looks from Chanel’s Resort 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Hollywood Reporter)

The world of fashion never rests. It’s constantly evolving and embracing new trends to captivate the hearts of fashionistas worldwide. Amidst this perpetual cycle, the Resort season emerges as a crucial milestone in the industry, providing designers with a unique opportunity to showcase their creativity and unlock significant sales potential. As we delve into Fashion’s Resort 2024 collections, we will embark on a journey through enchanting designs while exploring the undeniable importance of the resort season in driving fashion sales.

Unlike the more widely known fashion seasons like Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, Resort collections offer a refreshing break from the traditional fashion calendar. Launched between seasons, typically during the winter months, Resort collections cater to jet-setters seeking stylish ensembles for their warm-weather getaways. Resort collections epitomize the essence of escapism, transporting us to sun-soaked destinations and inspiring dreams of far-off shores.

Liberated from the constraints of thematic consistency, they can explore innovative silhouettes, patterns, and fabrics, resulting often in breathtaking creations. Designers often draw inspiration from diverse sources, such as exotic locales, art movements and cultural heritage, infusing their collections with a captivating mix of tradition and contemporary flair.

Looks from Roberto Cavalli’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue).   

A look from Phillip Plein’s Resort 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: The Impression)

One of the key reasons why the resort season is essential to fashion sales lies in the extended retail window it creates. Unlike other collections that quickly give way to seasonal discounts, Resort collections maintain their relevance for an extended period. This longevity is particularly advantageous for retailers, allowing them to stock and sell these exclusive pieces for an extended period, thus maximizing their profitability.

The resort season caters to a broad range of consumer needs, making it a lucrative segment for fashion sales. From tropical beachgoers and urban vacationers to those living in climates that enjoy year-round warmth, the resort collections offer versatile designs suitable for various occasions. This inclusivity ensures that designers and retailers can tap into a diverse customer base, expanding their market reach and ultimately boosting sales.

In today’s digital age, the resort season’s impact extends far beyond traditional runways. Influencers and fashion enthusiasts flock to picturesque resort locations where collections are unveiled, generating a powerful synergy of style and social media. The visual splendor of these backdrops combined with the inherent allure of new fashion trends generates considerable online buzz, catapulting resort collections into the spotlight and increasing their desirability. This Resort 2024 season was no exception as Chanel showcased their collection in sunny Los Angeles, as a Santa Monica airplane hangar was used as a runway. Gucci showed in Seoul, the capital of South Korea while hundreds of labor union protested in the city’s streets. Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Resort 2024 collection was an ode to Mexico, so it was only natural that the French luxury house showed in Mexico City. Meanwhile, Wes Gordon took his Resort 2024 Carolina Herrera show to Rio, Brazil. Not to be outdone by exotic locations, Nicolas Ghesquière’s Louis Vuitton show was held in the terraced gardens of Isola Bella, a tiny private island in Lake Maggiore, Italy.

Looks from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2024 Show. (Photo Credit: Town & Country)

The resort season acts as a bridge between the more substantial Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter collections, ensuring a smooth transition for fashion aficionados. By offering a taste of upcoming trends and introducing transitional pieces, designers create anticipation for the next season, enabling customers to plan their wardrobes ahead of time. This strategy not only keeps consumers engaged but also bolsters brand loyalty, driving sales throughout the year.

A look from Tory Burch’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Here are some of Resort’s hottest trends so far:

Barbiecore

Barbiecore, inspired by the iconic Barbie doll, as well as the release of the Barbie Movie on July 21, is a major trend characterized by its playful and feminine aesthetic.

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Diesel’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Anna Sui’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Givenchy’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Floral Fantasies

Florals continue to reign supreme, with an array of exquisite botanical prints and patterns. From oversized blooms to delicate blossoms, these vibrant and romantic motifs grace dresses, skirts and blouses, adding a touch of femininity to every ensemble.

A look from Stella McCartney’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Etro’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Artisanal Craftsmanship

Resort 2024 pays homage to artisanal craftsmanship, celebrating traditional techniques and intricate details. Expect to see beautifully handcrafted embroidery, delicate lacework, and intricate beadwork adorning garments.

A look from The Row’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Sophisticated Crochet

Crochet takes center stage for Resort 2024, with designers embracing this versatile and timeless technique. From dresses and tops to swimwear and accessories, crochet pieces evoke a sense of bohemian elegance and laid-back charm.

A look from Chloé’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Etro’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Frederick Anderson’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Playful Ruffles

Ruffles make a spirited comeback, infusing Resort 2024 collections with a sense of whimsy and movement. Cascading down skirts, sleeves, and necklines, ruffles create a romantic and playful aesthetic.

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Diesel’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Earthy Tones

Resort 2024 embraces the beauty of the natural world through earthy tones and natural textures. From sandy neutrals to mossy greens, these colors evoke a sense of serenity and connection to nature. Designers incorporate natural textures, such as linen, jute, and woven fabrics, bringing a tactile and organic element to the collections. Expect to see relaxed silhouettes and flowy garments that exude a sense of effortless elegance.

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Tory Burch’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Stella McCartney’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Chloé’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Abstract Prints

Abstract prints make a bold statement in Resort 2024, injecting a burst of energy and creativity into the collections. Geometric shapes, bold strokes, and unexpected color combinations create eye-catching designs that demand attention.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Givenchy’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Stella McCartney’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Tailoring with a Twist

Resort 2024 redefines traditional tailoring with modern twists and unexpected details. Blazers feature oversized shoulders and nipped-in waists, offering a feminine take on structured silhouettes. Pants are cropped and wide-legged, providing comfort and sophistication. Look out for asymmetrical cuts, unique button placements, and unexpected fabric combinations that breathe new life into classic tailoring.

A look from Balenciaga’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Givenchy’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2024 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

So tell us, what is your favorite trend for Resort 2024?

CELEBRATING KARL LAGERFELD: AS BOTH ILLUSTRATOR & DESIGNER

 

Karl Lagerfeld Sketches His Life video (Video Link:  You Tube)

In honor of the upcoming MET exhibit entitled “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,”  we would like to celebrate Lagerfeld’s work as an accomplished fashion illustrator, as well as a prolific fashion designer. It is a common myth that all fashion designers are able to conceptualize their fashion designs via fashion illustration. The truth is that very few designers know how to ‘illustrate‘. It is much more common for designers to execute a quick fashion ‘sketch‘ to get their design idea across.

Another misconception is that all fashion illustrators can ‘design’. Well, just because one can illustrate fashion doesn’t mean that they can also design fashion. In fact, it is quite rare when a fashion designer can do both. As many of our subscribers know, there are other skills including draping, pattern making and sewing that should be honed to become a successful designer.

Therefore, in lieu of the upcoming MET show, this week’s blog post will highlight Lagerfeld’s work as both a designer and illustrator. And, since we just celebrated World Creativity Day on April 20th, we will also be highlighting other famous designers/illustrators whose illustrations are fast becoming collector’s items, that are either sold at auction houses or on their websites for thousands of dollars.

KARL LAGERFELD: THE ILLUSTRATOR

The upcoming Lagerfeld MET exhibit, which runs from May 5 to July 16, is expected to draw fashion enthusiasts and industry insiders from around the world eager to experience the life and work of one of fashion’s most influential designers. It will feature Lagerfeld’s most iconic designs, including his re-imagined Chanel jackets, Fendi fur pieces and his signature accessories. The exhibit will also include a variety of personal items belonging to Lagerfeld, such as his sketchbooks, personal correspondence and photographs. This is definitely a designers’s dream show come true!

Karl Lagerfeld and his treasured cat Choupette in Paris 2018. (Photo Credit: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue)

Throughout his career, Lagerfeld created a wealth of fashion illustrations that captured the essence of his designs and his unique creative vision. His illustrations were often used to promote his collections and even today, they continue to inspire and captivate fashion enthusiasts.

In Lagerfeld’s early illustration work, you can see that he had a much tighter hand as shown in the images below that he did for the House of Tiziani before he joined Chanel in 1983.  His illustrations were characterized by their bold, graphic style and attention to detail. Over time however, Lagerfeld’s hand became looser and less rigid and therefore was able to capture the movement and flow of fabrics, often highly stylized, with exaggerated proportions and abstracted shapes. Despite their abstract nature, Lagerfeld’s illustrations always conveyed a sense of elegance and sophistication.

Four of the fashion illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld auctioned on April 18, 2019 (Image Credit wwd.com)

Whether Lagerfeld was illustrating a Chanel jacket or a Fendi gown, he always managed to convey the unique character and style of each piece. Used as promotional materials, Lagerfeld’s illustrations helped build anticipation and excitement for each of his upcoming shows.

Illustration of Chanel coat, fall 2017. (Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Lagerfeld’s work was also a reflection of his larger creative vision. He was known for his love of art, literature and culture, and his illustrations often incorporated elements from these fields. For example, he frequently incorporated references to classical art, such as Greek statues, Renaissance paintings or iconic monuments such as the Statue of Liberty. These references added an extra layer of depth and meaning to his work and helped to establish Lagerfeld as a true visionary in the fashion industry.

Lagerfeld’s illustration – Anna Piaggi for Liberty of Fashion, Barney’s New York
1986 (Image Credit: 1stDibs.com)

The work of some fashion designers and fashion illustrators are now highly collectable and are sold on websites like 1stDibs.com, iCanvas.com and Artsy.net or in auction houses around the world.

Lagerfeld illustration

A Karl Lagerfeld illustration circa 1960-1970: original yellow and white coat colored pencil fashion sketch – 10k Appraisal 
Includes a Certificate of Authenticity – sold for US$6,950 (Photo Credit: artsy.net)

In addition to illustrating his collections, Lagerfeld also created a number of illustrations for other purposes, such as books, magazines and even a calendar, showcasing his diverse talents and his ability to adapt his style to different contexts. Lagerfeld’s illustrations were always imbued with his signature style and creativity, making them instantly recognizable as his own.

A Chanel illustration for Lady Gaga created by Karl Lagerfeld. (Photo Credit: Facebook.com)

KARL LAGERFELD: THE DESIGNER

The MET’s Lagerfeld exhibit will consist of approximately 150 designs and according to the MET, it will “explore the artistic methodology and stylistic vocabulary of Karl Lagerfeld’s designs through recurring themes across more than 65 years, from the 1950s to his final collection in 2019”. The Costume Institute Benefit (also known as The Met Gala) will take place on Monday, May 1, 2023.

In addition to showcasing Lagerfeld’s designs, the exhibit will explore the designer’s life and legacy. Lagerfeld was known for his larger-than-life personality, his love of art and literature, and his tireless work ethic. The exhibit will delve into Lagerfeld’s background, including his early life in Germany and his rise to fame in the fashion industry. Visitors will gain insight into Lagerfeld’s creative process, his inspirations, and his collaborations with other artists and designers.

One of the most exciting aspects of the exhibit is the opportunity to see Lagerfeld’s designs up close and personal. Visitors will be able to study the intricate details and craftsmanship that went into creating each piece. From the impeccable tailoring of his jackets to the intricate embroidery on his gowns, Lagerfeld’s designs are a testament to his skill as a designer. Here’s a sample of what will be featured in the exhibition:

Wedding dress by Chanel Haute Couture from the Fall 2005 Collection. (Photo Credit: Julia Hetta. Courtesy of the MET)

A Fendi coat from the fall 2000 Collection. (Photo Credit: Julia Hetta for the MET)

The exhibit will also feature interactive elements, including virtual reality experiences and interactive displays. Visitors will be able to explore Lagerfeld’s designs in a variety of ways, from 3D projections to virtual runway shows. The exhibit will provide a truly immersive experience, giving visitors a chance to step into Lagerfeld’s world and see the fashion industry through his eyes.

KARL LAGERFELD’S INFLUENCE IS STILL FELT TODAY

A vintage photo of Karl Lagerfeld. (Photo Credit Getty Images)

Lagerfeld served as the creative director for Chanel for over three decades, before his passing on February 19, 2019.

Perhaps one of Lagerfeld’s greatest contributions to fashion was his ability to keep Chanel relevant. When he took over as creative director in 1983, the brand was struggling to remain fresh. However, Lagerfeld breathed new life into the heritage brand, infusing it with his own unique style and vision. He was unafraid to take risks and experiment with new ideas, while still remaining true to the brand’s classic aesthetic.

Lagerfeld’s re-invention of the Chanel jacket, which he introduced in the 1980s, was a modern update of the classic silhouette. The jacket became an instant classic and remains a staple of the Chanel collection, in various iterations, today. Although he is no longer with us, Lagerfeld’s influence on fashion will continue to be felt for years to come.

Some of Karl Lagerfeld’s best moments at Chanel. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

OTHER GREAT FASHION DESIGNERS/ILLUSTRATORS

Most designers working in the fashion industry today have little time to sit down and illustrate their ideas. Most execute quick, rough sketches that they hand off to their assistant or to their pattern maker. But there are fashion designers who prefer to  illustrate their creations and who possess a special talent that enables them to better communicate their vision in a unique and creative way. Most designers will hire a professional fashion illustrator to showcase their work for press purposes, for example, the illustration below is by fashion illustrator Janka Letková for Marc Jacobs. See the illustrator’s signature in small script along the vertical sash.

 

Janka Letková fashion illustration

Fashion illustrator Janka Letková for Marc Jacobs (Image Credit: iCanvas.com)

Other designers are more inclined to promote their work using their own unique style of illustration. Here a a few of the talented fashion designers who illustrate their own creations.

DIOR’S MARIA GRAZIA CHIURI

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director for Dior, creates exquisite illustrations that are characterized by their romantic, ethereal quality. Her illustrations showcase the details and exquisite craftsmanship of her designs which adds an extra layer of depth and meaning to her work.

 

Maria Grazia Chiuri fashion illustration for Dior for Georgia tour

Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri fashion illustration for recording artist Georgia  for her 2019 tour (Image Credit: fashion press.it.com)

CHRISTIAN LACROIX

French fashion designer Christian Lacroix is also known for his illustration skills, which are characterized by their whimsical, and fantastical style. Lacroix’s illustrations often incorporate elements from art history, such as Rococo motifs and Baroque ornamentation. His illustrations showcase his unique creative vision and his ability to blend different styles and influences into his designs.

Fashion Illustrations by Christian Lacroix (Image Credit: Pinterest.com)

ALBER ELBAZ

Alber Elbaz, the former creative director of Lanvin who sadly passed away on April 24, 2021, was known for his playful and  cartoonish style. His illustrations often featured exaggerated proportions with bright, bold colors and were used to promote his collections. His illustrations were considered artwork in their own right.

A fashion illustration by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin (Image Credit: Pinterest.com) 

CHRISTIAN SIRANO

Christian Siriano is a designer who has built a successful career by creating clothing that celebrates diversity and inclusivity. He is also an accomplished illustrator whose illustrations are playful, yet with a sense of drama and impact. Siriano is one of the designers who sells his limited-edition illustrations, ranging from $75-$1,200, on his website ChristianSiriano.com.

Christian Siriano showing his limited edition fashion illustrations

Christian Siriano showing his limited edition fashion illustrations (Photo Credit: ChristianSiriano.com)

JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER

Jean-Paul Gaultier is a designer known for his daring, unconventional designs. He is also an accomplished illustrator. Gaultier’s illustrations often feature precise, graphic lines, like the one below that he did for Madonna’s MDNA 2012 tour.

fashion illustration by Jean Paul Gaultier 2012

Fashion illustration by Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna’s MDNA Tour 2012

Looking for more info on fashion illustration as collectable items, view our blog from March 14, 21, entitled Looking For a Hot Investment Tip? Try Collectioning Fashion Illustrations.

With the advent of computer-assisted design, fashion illustration has become a luxury for most fashion designers these days. However, at UoF we still promote hand drawn fashion through our Fashion Art discipline consisting of 27 Beginner, 39 Intermediate and 17 Advanced lessons. We teach how to draw, render and illustrate fashion design and accessories and so it’s no wonder that we are head-over-heels excited to see the Lagerfeld show at the MET. Viva La Fashion Illustration!  Viva Lagerfeld!

SO TELL US, DO YOU KNOW OF OTHER FASHION DESIGNERS THAT CAN ILLUSTRATE?

 

 

 

 

 

HOW INDIA IS BECOMING THE NEXT BIG LUXURY MARKET

Looks from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

By now, every dedicated follower-of-fashion has seen the extraordinary Dior Pre-Fall show images from Mumbai that flooded social media with the iconic Gateway of India as backdrop. Having spent seven years working/designing in India, the Dior show was of particular interest to our founder Francesca Sterlacci (FYI-the Taj Mahal hotel is across the street from the Gateway). Francesca’s love of Indian handicrafts, the preservation of those crafts, and female empowerment within the fashion industry are all missions she shares with Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri.

The March 23rd Dior show was not only a celebration of Indian culture and craft, but of its women and its commitment to diversity and inclusivity. Created by women for women, the show reinforced India’s long-standing role in manufacturing European high fashion and the growing power of its luxury consumers. The Dior/India collaboration was a showcase for all the ways the French Maison is interlinked with the artisanship of Mumbai, specifically the Chanakya School of Craft.

Behind the scenes of the Dior and Chanakya School of Craft collaboration. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Originally founded in 1986 by their father Vinod Shah, daughters Karishma Swali and Monica Shah established the Chanakya School of Craft (CSC) in 2016; a foundation and non-profit school dedicated to craft, culture and women’s empowerment and whose mission is to preserve and promote the age-old heritage of hand embroidery.

Today, the school has educated over 700 women providing them with employable skills and autonomy over their lives and their future, making embroideries for international labels such as Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Valentino, Lanvin and Prada. An immersive one-year program on master crafts covering over 300 techniques is taught, while also covering modules on business acumen, basic finance and starting new ventures. The benefit is twofold: ancient techniques and skills are revived while also being rejuvenated by the joy and ambition of those who have finally been empowered. Women of all communities in India can now create their art safely, transforming not just their own lives but the lives of those around them.

The highest education is that which does not merely give us information, but makes our life in harmony with all existence.” ~Rabindranath Tagore

Chanakya School of Craft- Mumbai India (Image credit: Chanakya.school)

The show was a testament to Chanakya and Dior’s shared commitment of promoting female empowerment, diversity and inclusivity. In addition to the beautiful embroideries made by women, Dior’s casting of models for the show were a mix of Indian and Western models in a diverse range of body types and skin tones.

Dior’s landmark Pre-Fall 2023 collection was also a celebration of the luxury house’s commitment to sustainability. The brand has been making a concerted effort to reduce its carbon footprint and promote sustainable fashion and the show featured pieces made from sustainable materials such as organic cotton. Dior announced its commitment to using only sustainable cotton by 2025.

 

A look from from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

The Dior collection was a beautiful tribute to India’s vibrant and colorful culture and its women. It was also a perfect example of how fashion can be a powerful tool for cultural exchange. Models walked down the historic square dressed in sari-inspired drapes, kurta shirts, Nehru jackets, sherwanis and lungi skirts in a color palette of rich reds, blues, greens, and golds, featuring intricate embroidery work created by hand, by female artisans from Mumbai.

Looks from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Maria Grazia Chiuri took the final bow in the presence of a bevy of movie stars, influencers, royalty and, of course, the Ambanis (children of Mukesh Ambani, the richest person in India and Asia and the world’s ninth richest person). India has officially secured its place on the luxury fashion map!

 

OTHER LUXURY BRANDS THAT HAVE SHOWN IN INDIA

YSL 1989 show in India. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

While in the past other luxury brands have held shows in India (Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Pierre Cardin, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino and Prada), Dior was the first European luxury brand that held an official calendar show in India with their Pre-Fall 2023 collection.

WHAT DOES THE DIOR SHOW MEAN FOR INDIA’S LUXURY MARKET?

Looks from Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Collection in Mumbai. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 show in Mumbai was quite a success. The turnout of boldface names across industries was high, including India’s leading celebrity Virat Kohli and Bollywood stars such as Deepika Padukone and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.  The event was significant as it signaled India’s growing luxury status.

The Gateway to Mumbai. (Photo Credit: The National)

As luxury brands tap new markets in a hunt for their next billions, Dior became the first fashion house to unveil their latest collection in India.  The strategic and symbolic value of Dior’s staging their show at Mumbai’s Gateway of India monument is akin to when Fendi staged a fashion show on the Great Wall of China in 2007, a move that foreshadowed the importance of Chinese consumers to the luxury industry over the next decade.

The event was significant as it marked Dior’s entry into India’s luxury market which has been growing rapidly over the past few years. According to a report by Deloitte, India’s luxury market is expected to grow at a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 10 – 15% over the next five years. This growth is being driven by an increase in disposable income among India’s middle class and a growing appetite for luxury goods among younger consumers.

To learn more about the types of handicrafts used in the Dior collection, view our Tambour beading and hand embroidery lessons taught by Hand & Lock Award winner Silvia Perramon:

DO YOU BELIEVE INDIA WILL BE THE NEXT LUXURY MARKET HOT SPOT?

 

 

VIRAL MOMENTS AT PARIS FASHION WEEK FALL 2023

- - Fashion Shows

Nicolas Ghesquière presents the women’s Louis Vuitton Fall 2023 Collection inspired by French style. (Photo Credit: Rain Magazine)

Au Revoir! Paris Fashion Week wrapped up this week but not before the controversy over whether designers saw fashion shows as an opportunity to stage theatrical spectacles, while others chose to focus on craftsmanship and the clothing itself. In a recent UoF social media post, we asked our followers what they thought and it came as no surprise that all but one commented that the art & craft wins over hype. With over 500 UoF lessons on ‘how-to’ create fashion, our social media followers and subscribers have a mature respect for how clothes are created and the skill, technique and talent involved in doing so, which is why ‘we’ (the collective we) loved to see Balenciaga and Saint Laurent strip back the theatrics to focus on craftsmanship. Not that we don’t love a bit of whimsy, techno fashion and sustainability thrown in, but for us purists, we like to know that someone cares about the craft.

Paris Fashion Week Fall 2023 was the longest running Fashion Week out of all the cities. The 8-day extravaganza (shows began on Monday, February 27th to Tuesday, March 7) was yet another fashion viral sensation with everyone’s social media feeds blowing up.

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Before we dive into Paris’ most viral moments, let’s take a look back at Paris Fashion Week, one of the most important events in the fashion industry. And, of all the global fashion weeks, has the longest and richest history that spans over a century:

  • The first Paris Fashion Week took place in 1910 and was organized by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, the governing body for the French fashion industry. At that time the event was known as the “Fashion Show” and held in the salons of the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré.
  • The event grew in popularity over the years and in the 1950s it became known as the “Paris Collections.” During this time, it was the only fashion event in the world that featured the latest collections of the most prestigious fashion houses.
  • In the 1970s, the event underwent a major transformation when ready-to-wear collections were added to the lineup. This brought a new audience to the event and helped to democratize fashion.
  • Since then, Paris Fashion Week has continued to evolve and adapt to changing times. It now showcases both haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, and has expanded to include menswear and accessories. The event is now held twice a year and it attracts thousands of visitors from around the world.
  • In February 2020, when the pandemic hit, Chinese buyers and journalists were unable to attend due to travel restrictions. However, the event continued as planned, however, later that year fashion brands got creative. Some presented their collections digitally, through films or lookbooks, held shows without audiences or to a limited audience and some shows were held outdoors.
  • Because the French and the fashion show are synonymous, it didn’t take long before live Paris shows were back. In 2022, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Dior, Saint Laurent, Balenciaga, Off-White, Stella McCartney, Miu Miu, Chloe, Givenchy, Valentino, Balmain, Vivienne Westwood and The Row were among the 45 houses set to host in-person runway shows.

Looks from Loewe’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: L’Officiel)

Today, Paris Fashion Week is back to pre-pandemic levels with a full-on schedule, packed venues, and street style stars peacocking throughout the streets of Paris. Paris Fashion Week is considered one of the most important events in the fashion industry and it continues to set the standard for creativity and innovation in design. Yes, fashion is all about being noticed, we get it, and and stand-out moments in a designer’s shows gets them lots of social media buzz. But, hey designers, remember those of us who value craftsmanship and who actually buy and wear your clothes. It’s what keeps you in business!

VIRAL MOMENTS DURING PARIS FASHION WEEK

A look from Dior’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

For the past few seasons, Maria Grazia Chiuri looked to various forms of art for inspiration. In her Fall 2023 Dior Collection, Chiuri enlisted Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos to create a larger-than-life fabric installation that served as a contrasting backdrop to her sober collection.

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

The camellia is the signature flower at Chanel, and this season, creative director Virginie Viard focused on the flower literally, in prints, embroideries and as a massive sculpture at the start of the runway.

Looks from Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Re-Edition)

Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Fall 2023 collection was a tribute to the great Dame. Westwood’s widower and collaborator, Kronthaler, paid tribute to the late designer by recreating some of Westwood’s signature looks: Crinoline skirts, corsets, towering platforms, buckles, chokers, vintage fabrics, and plenty of plaids. The result, a beautiful love letter to the woman who shook up the fashion world.

Looks from Anrealage’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Imagine having a dress that can change colors. Using a moving UV light, Anrealage’s Fall 2023 collection transformed from basic to breathtaking, revealing vibrant colors and patterns hidden under plain white looks.

Looks from Acne Studio’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Acne Studios transported its runway into a fantastical forest, as the brands creative director Jonny Johansson showcased form-fitting dresses with crocheted flowers sprouting from the fabric and a patchwork of leaf cutouts. “I’ve always enjoyed the contrast between urban life and nature, the idea that an infinite forest is just around the corner,” explained Johansson on Instagram.

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Balenciaga’s Fall 2023 show was Demna Gvasalia’s return to the runway after the fallout that followed a series of controversial campaigns involving children. Gvasalia revealed that the new direction of Balenciaga isn’t one that will rely on shock and spectacle, but rather one that goes back to Balenciaga’s roots – craftsmanship above everything else.

A look from Stella McCartney’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: The Impression)

Stella McCartney took fashion insiders to the rodeo. The designer has been at the forefront of vegan alternatives to animal materials, and so it was in a Paris horse stable that Stella made her latest political statement about the place of animals in the fashion industry.

Looks from Miu Miu’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

No pants required at Miu Miu. Miuccia Prada sent out jeweled encrusted briefs that stole the show. Start getting those legs in shape everyone!

Looks from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nina Ricci)

Twenty-six year old Harris Reed debuted his highly anticipated Nina Ricci collection to rave reviews. The collection was dramatic and included oversized hats, bows and silhouettes in an assortment that was clearly made for the Red Carpet.

A look from Saint Laurent’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Speaking of oversized, working 9-5 never looked so chic as Saint Laurent’s creative director ,Anthony Vaccarello, looked to the Eighties for inspiration through the viewpoint of the glitzy, dolled-up corporate women of the decade. Think Sigourney Weaver and Melanie Griffith in Working Girl.

But the real pièce de résistance came with Vaccarello’s ability deliver a playful element to this otherwise serious collection.

A look from Coperni’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Always pushing the boundaries between fashion as art and fashion as performance art (who can forget when Coperni employed technicians to spray a fabric dress onto Bella Hadid for its spring 2023 back in September 2022?). This season designers Sébastien Meyer and Arnaud Vaillant explored the relationship between fashion and technology through a theatrical show involving Spot robots from the American company Boston Dynamics.

So tell us, do you think designers should focus on great clothes and leave all the gimmicks behind?

 

THE MAGIC OF COUTURE: FALL 2022-2023 SHOWS

 

Looks from Valentino’s Fall 2022 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Tired of a world gone mad? Can’t watch the news or scroll down your phone for fear you’ll see one more upsetting thing? Well, get ready to enter the land of dreams, Haute Couture to the rescue! In one of the best couture seasons in recent memory, designers answered the call by delivering the very best in fantasy, feathers and the phantasmagorical.

For years, fashion followers have asked the question, “is Haute Couture still relevant in today’s day and age”? And, while many articles have been written about the ‘imminent death’ of couture, today, nothing could be further from the truth. Haute Couture is alive, well and thriving as it now appeals to a new generation of clients. The one-of-a-kind creations are no longer exclusively for the aristocratic old-moneyed doyennes, even if the cost of buying these clothes lies within reach of the extremely wealthy ‘one- percenters’.

Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and Dua Lipa Walked The Runway At Balenciaga’s Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Balenciaga)

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (the regulating commission that determines which fashion houses are eligible to be true haute couture houses) sets strict criteria for its classifications of couture, counting just 14 members alongside a host of guest designers each season. As of 2022, there are only 14 fashion houses that are considered couture, such as Dior, Chanel, and Givenchy. Although a lot has changed in the fashion world since the establishment of the House of Worth and La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the qualifications of a couture fashion house have not changed. Despite the old rules, designers like Daniel Roseberry of Maison Schiaparelli and Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, who showed for the first-time last season, are bringing a fresh point of view to couture.

Looks from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

Truth is, there are only a handful of individuals around the world that could afford the couture level hyper-luxury price tag. And, it’s also a fact that most houses shy away from publishing their prices. For example, a gown from Valentino’s Haute Couture runway show can cost approximately $95,000, and that is one without intricate embroidery or beading. As the old saying goes…”“If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” ~ U.S. financier J.P. Morgan (1837 – 1913).

While the cost may be out of reach for most of us, one can at least appreciate Haute Couture, which at its best, is fashion where true artistry and craft are allowed to shine without the restrictions of commercialism. Haute Couture is a celebration those rare skills that we at the University of Fashion LOVE so much. We hope that the couture will be preserved for generations to come, as the ateliers employ thousands of specialists, tailors and seamstresses, all of whom are master craftsmen and without the couture would be considered a dying art form.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

For Jean-Noël Kapferer, a professor at the leading French business school HEC (Hautes Etudes Commerciales) and the author of several books about management in the luxury market, Haute Couture is definitely still relevant today. “It’s the sign of absolute luxury,” he explains. In a sector where differentiation is essential, it “offers luxury brands an additional means of influence. A Couture show is art. By extending the limits of what is and isn’t feasible, Couture gives Houses a way of creating emotion, and of reawakening desire and the ability to dream – which is essential, as the latter inevitably starts to fade in the face of commercial success.” The challenge is to transform desire into action, and want into purchases, particularly for the benefit of other product categories. “The aura of Haute Couture brings a glow to other activities and transforms the perception of a brand. If there is one area where the ‘trickle down’ effect actually works, it’s in Haute Couture! Its daring and creativity will benefit the ready-to-wear segment, as it allows Houses to set high prices and thereby increase their symbolic authority.”

Didier Grumbach, honorary president of France’s Haute Couture Federation (FHC) and a leading figure in the sector for over 50 years, recognizes this effect, having witnessed its impact from a close proximity. “Even if they never actually get worn, Haute Couture pieces increase the status of the House presenting them. In particular, Couture is a real help when it comes to launching a perfume offering.”

Couture’s ability to be in touch with its era is, of course, at the heart of its ability to create value. Claudia D’Arpizio, a luxury sector expert at consultants Bain & Co. points out, it is “in synch with today’s lifestyles. There is a desire for exquisite pieces that are no longer reserved for special occasions but can be worn for any occasion when that person wants to feel special, which might be in the daytime and not just the evening.” Moreover, Haute Couture embodies the very highest level of “the human touch, which can sometimes be lacking in the luxury sector.” Her point is shared by Jean-Noël Kapferer, who emphasizes how Haute Couture’s characteristics are modern, and a reflection of the aspirations of the younger generation: ultra-creative, ultra-personalized, sustainable, timeless, and experimental, with new forms, new materials, and new volumes.

Looks from Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Laure Sciacovelli)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

Haute Couture dates back to 1858, when designer Charles Frederick Worth, an English couturier based in Paris, created his “special House of new confections” at number 7, rue de la Paix. Worth was the first to create collections under his own signature, to see himself as a creator, and to present his collections by having the clothes worn by models who sauntered the floors of his luxurious salons. Worth was the first to offer new collections each season, he invented today’s fashion cycle: spring-summer and fall-winter. Within a few years, the foundations for Couture were laid, with the help of other pioneers such as Paul Poiret, the first to launch his own perfume House in 1911, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou, Madeleine Vionnet and Gabrielle Chanel, who notably introduced the concepts of boutiques, accessories, and marketing. It was the start of a golden age of unprecedented creativity with exceptional know-how. However, the arrival of ‘ready-to-wear’ in the 1960s and 1970s challenged both the business model of Couture and its place in the world of fashion.

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2022-2023 TRENDS

THE JEANPOOL

Haute Couture designers played with denim this season, as the “all American” favorite was found on everything from a feathered strapless dress to corseted suit.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GREENDAY

Couture designers are seeing green this season as the hue made its mark all over the Paris runways. From emerald suits, to pistachio gowns, one thing is for sure, you’ll be going green this season.

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE ROMANTICS

Frothy confections made their way into the Haute Couture collections as these dreamy numbers will make us all feel like royalty.

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHEER LEADERS

Designers had nothing to hide as they played up the transparency trend from utterly see-through to subtly sheer.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Threeasfour’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHIRT STORIES

The classic white button shirt gets a glamorous yet phantasmagorical make-over this season.

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BROAD WAY

Power babes stalked the runways as they flaunted strong shoulder silhouettes on everything from mini dresses to jackets.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FRINGE BENEFITS

Fringe was all over the couture runways, from Seventies inspired to futuristic motifs, these stringy looks are playful yet chic.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BOUDOIR FAIRE

Innerwear-as-outerwear continues to intrigue designers as corset-inspired looks were found all over the couture runways.

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHINE LANGUAGE

Silver and gold ruled the Fall 2022-2023 Couture runways. The metallic hues could be found on everything from dramatic evening dresses to bold jackets, and even sexy minidresses.

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Julie de Libran’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. Photo (Credit Vogue: Runway)

GREEK REVIVAL

Calling all post-modern goddesses! The return of the elegant, draped gown is back and they are even more glamorous than ever.

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, in today’s political, social, and economical climate, has couture lifted your spirits?

MENSWEAR 2023 SHOWS: THE MOST COLORFUL EVER

Looks from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Runway Show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

One thing was for sure during Men’s Fashion Week 2023 – Color is KING. The shows were back on and better then ever! In response to a lighting up of Covid restrictions, designers reacted in a splash of color in their collections.

The spring 2023 season was full of groundbreaking moments, from a celebration of Ann Demeulemeester at Pitti Uomo in Florence,  to JW Anderson’s much-anticipated debut at Milan Fashion Week.

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LONDON

The Menswear Spring 2023 season began in London and ran from June 11-13th. The three-day event was a combination of both physical and digital events happening throughout the city. London is famous for showcasing new designers and this season they didn’t disappoint. Most of the designers are part of the BFC’s Newgen funding program and included Labrum London, Robyn Lynch, Marie Lueder, Ahluwalia and Martine Rose.

 

FLORENCE 

A look from Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The fashion crowd then jetted off to Florence for Pitti Uomo, which ran from June 14-17th. The historic fashion fair returned to all its glory after having to scale down the past few seasons due to the global pandemic. The venue was filled to capacity with brands ranging from Brunello Cucinelli to Herno.

A video of Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Show. (Video Courtesy of YouTube)

MILAN

Milan Fashion Week for Menswear ran from June 17 – 21st with a pre-pandemic worthy schedule showcasing the best Italian brands. This season, both Versace and Moschino showed their menswear collections for the first time in several years. Many of the luxury houses presented as well, such as Prada, Fendi, Giorgio Armani, and Dolce & Gabbana, to name a few.

But the real highlight of Milan’s Fashion Week was Jonathan Anderson bringing his eponymous London-based brand JW Anderson to the city for one season only – delayed from January due to Covid, and he provided ‘a real party’ for attendees, the first in a series of shows planned to take the brand global.

A look from Comme des Garçons Homme Plus’ Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

PARIS

There was no holding back Paris Fashion Week and their menswear shows ran from June 21-26th with a jam packed schedule. The city’s historical landmarks  provided the backdrop for brands from Dior to Louis Vuitton, as well as fashion favorites such as Rick Owens, Givenchy, Loewe, Comme des Garçons, and Junya Watanabe. After much anticipation, Marine Serre made her menswear debut, with Lourdes Leon (Madonna’s daughter), closing the show.

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

MEANWHILE…

While June was a whirlwind of shows and events for the menswear industry in Europe, but back on the other side of the pond, Marc Jacobs was wreaking havoc as he presented his Fall 2022 women’s show on June 27th at The New York Public Library. Amidst all the chaos in the world today – war, COVID, political unrest, the rolling back of women’s rights in the U.S. –  Marc Jacob’s collection said it all – we are simply – OVER THE TOP!

Looks from Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2022 Runway Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Here are some of the hottest menswear trends for Spring 2023:

GO FOR BAROQUE

Rich patterns, luxurious fabrics and intricate needlework are worthy of any member of the French royal court in its heyday, but for spring 2021, the 17th century lavish style gets a 21-century update.

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Celine’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Antonio Marras’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A FORMAL AFFAIR

Forget the office. The classic black suit gets a modern makeover with a cool rock-star edge.

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Celine’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

JEAN SPIRIT

Head to toe denim was all over the spring 2023 runways as designers offered a modern take on the classic Canadian tuxedo look.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Craig Green’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dsquared2’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BRIEF ENCOUNTERS

Bottoms up! All matter of shorts rocked the runways this spring 2023 season. From Prada’s leather version to Thom Browne’s short suits, one things for sure, its time to hit the stair master.

A look from Thom Browne’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Hermès’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Celine’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

IN FULL BLOOM

Florals for spring, groundbreaking….. Delicate print florals were found all over the men’s spring collections. From Louis Vuitton’s elegant dress and blazer version to Etro’s sporty jacket and shorts, these blossoming motifs will make you smile.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dsquared2’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Antonio Marras’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THINK PINK

With all the excitement over the Barbie movie which will feature Ryan Gosling playing Ken, it’s no wonder the color pink was all over the spring 2023 menswear collections. From Dior’s dusty pink suit to Rick Owens’ vibrant blazer, these soft shades are all the rage.

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zegna’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Craig Green’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LOGO MANIA

The nineties aesthetic is going strong, as designers are reinterpreting their favorite trends from the decade. One of the biggest trends, logo mania. Designers branded their logos on everything from jackets and pants to hats and bags.

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Givenchy’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Kenzo’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

ABOUT FACE

Covid-19 had us all in a number of lockdowns, but now, we are beginning to emerge back into the world and putting our best face forward, literally, designers were inspired by statues, paintings, and portraits of interesting faces. These looks are conversation pieces and will have you standing out in any crowd.

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from KidSuper’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Versace’s Spring 2023 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what is your favorite trend from the Men’s Spring 2023 shows?

 

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?

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?

FALL 2020 COUTURE: A TRULY DIGITAL FASHION WEEK

- - Fashion Shows

Balmain’s Fall 2020 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

If you’re a faithful follower of the UoF blog, then you know what we’ve been asking for years… “are fashion shows still relevant”?

This question has long been debated among the fashion set as well. But the fashion industry, an industry whose DNA is ALL about CHANGE & TRENDS, has historically been reluctant to abandon live runway shows and try something new. It has literally taken a pandemic to get them off the dime!

Alas! For this Fall 2020 Haute Couture season, the industry has given the digital runway world a whirl. However, reviews of digital shows for this couture season have been mixed. Many fear that if digital IS the future of fashion, then the economies of Paris, Milan, London and New York’s will greatly suffer. Why? Because fashion week in each of these cities brings many other financial benefits. Buyers, clients and the press, book flights, hotels and restaurants. Lots of lost revenue. Let’s not forget the taxi drivers, Uber drivers, D.J.’s, lighting technicians, show venues, models, and the list goes on and on. More lost revenue.

By going digital, the industry also misses out on the social aspect of attending shows. Fashion week is a great way for fashion editors, buyers, publicists, designers and influencers to network and celebrate fashion. However exhausting attending back to back shows for an entire month may be, watching a digital show at home, or in your office behind a computer screen, or hunched over on your phone, is just not the same. Although there were plenty creative films dedicated this Fall’s couture collections, for many, nothing beats a live show.

Paris Couture Fashion Week was kicked off with a video address by model/celeb Naomi Campbell, who dedicated the season to the “fight for equality and diversity.” Campbell quoted Nelson Mandela and the Black Lives Matter movement. “This is a call for action we are making,” she said, wearing sleeveless T-shirt bearing the words PHENOMENALLY BLACK. “It is up to us, it is up to you to start enforcing inclusion of the multitude of identities that compose our countries,” she said. “The time has come to build a more equitable industry with a good form of checks and balances. It is now more than ever compulsory to include them in a permanent way, and not a transient one,” she added.

The supermodel urged “regular and sustainable conversations with minorities from each country and culture in this mega industry.”

I am Naomi Campbell and I declare Paris couture fashion week ouvert. merci.”

SCHIAPARELLI

A Schiaparelli Couture sketch. (Photo Credit: Shiaparelli)

American designer, Daniel Roseberry, the creative director for Schiaparelli, has been quarantined in New York City since the NY coronavirus lockdown, and therefore did not have a collection to present for the Fall 2020 couture season. However, what he did do, was present a short film featuring himself sketching on a bench in NYC’s Washington Square Park. The film was dubbed an “Imaginary Collection.” Roseberry stated, “Life today is lived according to opposites; the pandemic has inverted everything we knew. Now, instead of a team to execute this collection, I just have my own imagination. Instead of the Place Vendôme in Paris, it’s been designed and sketched on a park bench.”  Who  out there doesn’t love seeing how a designer conceptualizes a collection?

Roseberry’s drawings featured nods to founder Elsa Schiaparelli that included a shocking pink column dress, a jacket with leg-of-mutton sleeves and a “chandelier” top. The house hopes to show a capsule collection of these designs in Los Angeles in December. “Everything has changed, but imagination, and the drive to create, has never been more relevant, or more profound. This collection is a tribute to that impulse to create,” said Roseberry in a WWD article. “Someday very soon, I will venture back to Paris and hand these styles off to the atelier. We will make a portion of these and take them around the world to share with our valued clients and stylists.”
Here’s his video.

BALMAIN

A look from Balmain’s Couture Extravaganza. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

Olivier Rousteing, the social media genius and creative director for Balmain, planned a two-hour extravaganza that was live-streamed on TikTok. This marked the first time TikTok has ever worked with a luxury brand. Rousteing used the hashtag #BalmainSurSeine making Paris’ Seine River his stage.

The Balmain crew traveled on a barge from the Eiffel Tower eastward and featured French pop singer Yseult and 50 dancers. A very social media-worthy idea! However, not without technical difficulties. The sound dropped and minutes after embarking the live feed cut out, never to return but by that time Balmain had already racked up about 15,000 new followers on his social media platforms. That’s a win!

“What happened on Sunday was beyond the digital Fashion Week,” Rousteing said to Vogue, estimating that approximately 20,000 locals caught at least some part of the spectacle.

After 75 years, Balmain is showing a new direction. We gave people access to our house, and we showed that we are really French. It was our gift to Paris, the City of Light,” said Rousteing. The show was re-streamed on the Federation de la Haute Couture’s online platform. According to Rousteing, “It’s really hard to just do digital without any physical experience; we are all missing it. We work for an audience and you lose the emotion if you don’t have one. We need to go back to that.”

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Everyone always looks to Iris van Herpen as the future of fashion, so it was no surprise that she created a fantasmagorial short film entitled “Transmotion.” The film was directed by Ryan McDaniels and starred Games Of Throne’s actress Carice van Houten, wandering through a modern courtyard surrounded by mesmerizing pulsating lights. Throughout the video were shots of black crystals that magically assembled on the floor and then morphed into the same lattice pattern that appeared on her dress. The film featured only one dress, but was a signature Iris Van Herpen creation that perfectly blends high-tech artistry with old-world techniques.

DIOR

A look from Dior’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Dior)

Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s haute couture, ready-to-wear and accessory collections at Dior, recruited Italian director Matteo Garrone to produce a short film showcasing the intricate looks of her Fall 2020 haute couture collection. The movie, entitled, “The Dior Myth,” was based on mythology and drew viewers into a magical woodland journey filled with fairytale creatures like sirens, nymphs, a faun and a woman emerging from a giant shell. It was dreamy and fantastical, which is what one expects from couture. However, Dior’s film caught plenty of criticism for its lack of diversity.

RALPH & RUSSO

A sketch from the Ralph & Russo’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Ralph & Russo)

Sure travel feels like a distant memory right about now as some of us are still quarantining and can only take domestic flights, but in the digital world, anything’s possible. Tamara Ralph, the artistic director behind the Ralph & Russo label, created a whimsical collection worn by an avatar model. Ralph’s backdrop of choice? The Seven Wonders of the World, which added a playful twist to the intricate collection.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Couture collection. (Photo Credit: Giambattista Valli)

Many designers have been showing restrain this season as the crippling affects of the economy due to COVID-19 have many in panic mode, but this can’t be said about Giambattista Valli. The designer created his frothy, voluminous gowns that were unapologetically grand. He even featured a few face coverings, a nod to the pandemic, but they were purely decorative and not for protection.

Unlike other designers who collaborated with famous film directors and photographers to create their digital show, Valli  personally filmed extreme closeups of his creations with  his iPhone, yes, his iPhone!  He chose as his muse Puerto Rican supermodel and actress, Joan Smalls. “I’m taking by the hand all the viewers around the world who are still confined and can’t travel, and showing them Paris through my eyes,” he explained to Vogue.

 

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s 2020 couture collection. (Photo Credit: Mikael Jansson for Chanel)

The eighties are back! At least in the world of Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard, who presented a line-up that was so unapologetically maximalist. There were party dresses galore and plenty of bling. “It’s an eccentric girl with a touch of the Eighties. I wanted something joyful,” the designer said in an interview with WWD. Viard worked with photographer Mikael Jansson to create a show video: a one-minute, 22-second burst of images spliced with grainy black and white footage of models Rianne Van Rompaey and Adut Akech.

 

RAHUL MISHRA

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2020 haute couture. (Photo Credit: Rahul Mishra)

Every stitch, every knot is strongly related to the present and future of an artisan, especially hit by the pandemic,” said Rahul Mishra in an interview with WWD. The designer is more determined than ever to support the embroiderers of India who created his elaborate designs. “Butterfly People” was the title of the collection, as it is meant to evoke nature flourishing without human intervention.

 

VIKTOR & ROLF

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s 2020 haute couture collection. (Photo Credit: Casper Kofi for Viktor & Rolf)

‘Couture in the time of coronavirus’ was the reality behind Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren’s namesake couture collection. The duo cleverly created three mini wardrobes comprised of a negligee, dressing gown, and coat, meant to represent pandemic-related emotional states.

They started the video with the fear and anxiety, emotions that we are all feeling as a society, but then the show quickly evolved into visuals representing feelings of love and joy. In the video, singer Mika plays a retro newscaster offering deadpan commentary on Viktor & Rolf’s collection. His description of a spiky coat was part of the gloom-and-doom segment. “There’s a lot to feel angry about and this garment will communicate exactly that,” he intones.

The collection consisted of nine intricate creations that ranged from a storm cloud slip dress to the ‘halo of hearts’ confection pictured above. All with Viktor & Rolf’s famous tongue-in-cheek humor.

Our Favorite Couture Video

At UoF, we think the most creative of all fashion video productions is this one by Dior, showcasing their new dress collection on 37 half scale dress forms each handmade by their expert couturiers and petits mains. Once the preferred design method used by famed French designer Madeleine Vionnet, working half scale is a great way to try out your designs sustainably. Dior plans to take orders by sending these clothed mini dress forms to their clients around the world.

Be sure to check out UoF’s social media channels and website to view our upcoming half scale draping and pattern making series. So very inspiring!

 

What are YOUR thoughts about digital shows vs runway shows?