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Posts Tagged: "Dries Van Noten"

ARE FASHION SHOWS STILL RELEVANT?

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2020 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

As our industry grapples with the impact of fast fashion on our planet and explores circular fashion concepts, such as ‘fundamental redesign’ (the shift from a ‘take-make-waste’ model towards a ‘reuse-based’ model), while other more responsible brands move to put the health of our planet over profits, we must ask ourselves… are fashion shows still relevant?

Add to these concerns the reality that designers are expected to execute four collections a year (spring/summer, fall/winter, resort, and pre-fall) as well as produce an expensive fashion show twice a year. As the industry once again ponders whether the expense and the number of shows are necessary, especially in a digital, on-demand, eco-conscious environment, the fact remains that consumers are not spending as much money on clothing as they are on technology and vacations. So, is this pace and expense sustainable?  Let’s take a look. But first, let’s explore the origins of the fashion show.

History of the Fashion Show

According to Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, written by our founder, Francesca Sterlacci and Joanne Arbuckle, the former Dean of the Fashion Institute Technology:

“The first fashion shows can be traced to Paris, beginning in the mid-1800s, with designers Charles Frederick Worth, Jeanne Paquin and Jean Patou. Worth was the first to design and display his own creations for women to choose from, via a “fashion show” on live models, four times a year.”House-of-Redfern---Galerie-de-vente---Paris-fashion-1910

 

Fashion models and society ladies at a designer salon circa 1910 (Photo credit: Glamourdaze.com)

The Paris salon show schedule would inevitably become the foundation for ‘fashion weeks’ in Milan, London, and New York. These cities became known as the “Big Four,” the largest and most important centers for fashion. In its early days, shows were solely for core customers, buyers and editors. The general public didn’t see the latest designer wares until they were available in stores some four to six months later. Even fashion magazines understood that the latest creations could not be unveiled in their editorial pages until they could actually be purchased by the consumer. A concept that has changed over time but may need to be revisited.

In 1943, New York fashion designers held ‘press weeks’ in fall and spring whereby editors and buyers would swarm to ritzy hotels to view the latest designer runway presentations.  For decades, this is how the system worked. Runway shows offered buyers and editors a chance to see designers’ collection, six months before they became available to the public. This helped buyers plan their “open-to-buy” and advertising budgets, and for editors to plan the trends that they would promote and feature in their editorial pages. Fun fact: American fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert was the first to create fashion shows as charitable events with her March of Dimes shows (1948-1960), that not only raised money but helped promote American fashion design.

Christian Dior Show in 1948 (Photo Courtesy of AP Photo)

 

The Fashion Calendar

With so many fashion shows to coordinate among the “Big Four,”  a schedule was needed to keep shows from overlapping. Enter Ruth Finley and her fashion calendar, known in the industry as the “Pink Bible.”  In existence since the 1950s, the Fashion Calendar still is the” fashion planner for all fashion runway shows and other related fashion events.  In 2014, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) acquired the Fashion Calendar. Today it has six hundred and fifty subscribers and available in digital format only. No serious designer would dare schedule their show without first consulting with Fashion Calendar.

Fashion Weeks: NYFW – LFW – MFW  & PFW

New York Fashion Week (NYFW), as we know it today, began in 1993. Fern Mallis, then executive director of the CFDA, took hold of fashion’s schedule and tried to centralize the shows so that buyers and editors were not shuffling all over the city.  “Organized shows put American designers on the map and changed the fashion landscape forever,” Mallis told Racked in 2015. “Before that, there were 50 shows in 50 locations. Everyone did their own thing without understanding what a nightmare it was to get from one show to the other.”

      “To dispel the myth that U.S. fashion designers were influenced by their European counterparts, in 1998, American designers decided to move their fashion show schedule ahead of Paris, London and Milan and instead of being the last show, they became the first. This has remained the schedule into the twenty-first century.” ~ Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry

Bryant Park, located in mid-town Manhattan, was home to NYFW for 16 years. It was the first time designers were offered the option to present their fashion show without the responsibility of having to produce a fashion show from scratch –  the space, lighting, sound, and security were all handled by a production firm (IMG). That’s not to say it was cheap. According to Forbes.com,  “In 2007, a show at Bryant Park cost at least $50,000 for designers, according to one estimate.” Bryant Park  heightened awareness of NYFW and the fashion game began to change. It also provided an opportunity for designers to invite celebrities to sit front row, next to editors and later led to the rise of fashion bloggers and influencers.

By 2010, and with nearly 300 scheduled shows, the fashion crowd outgrew Bryant Park. NYFW was then moved to Lincoln Center for several seasons, however, as we all know, fashion is fickle. Today NYFW shows are primarily held in spaces along the West Side Highway and at Manhattan’s Hudson Yards, where the spaces are larger and New York City traffic is less of an issue.

Bloggers & Influencers- From left: bloggers Bryanboy, Rumi Neely, Leandra Medine, Natalie Joos, Elin Kling &

Hanneli Mustaparta attend the Phillip Lim Spring 2014 fashion show in New York City. (Wendell Teodoro/WireImage, via Getty)

The Birth of the European Fashion Show Extravaganza

While U.S. designers mostly stayed faithful to the traditional runway show with models parading down a long narrow catwalk or in a passerelle or semi-circular format, their European counterparts favored the extravaganza. For example, Nino Cerutti’s used publicity stunts to self-promote, such as when he painted Lancia convertibles blue, then paraded them down the streets of Rome and onto the runway, where a starlet then broke a bottle of champagne on the hood. Designers Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler staged fashion show “extravaganzas” during the 1970s and 1980s that became media hypes, with fashion models often upstaging the clothes. In the late 1990s and early 2000s, designers John Galliano and Alexander McQueen continued to create some of the most spectacular shows, often with celebrity guests in attendance and sometimes even taking to the catwalk. Viktor & Rolf, Chanel, Rick Owens, Fendi and Ricardo Tisci at Givenchy transformed the fashion show experience for the new millennium by: creating avant-garde conceptual performances, adding plus size models and introducing technology, such as the Fendi show in 2015 that used drones to film and live stream the show.

Broken Fashion Show System

According to the Historical Dictionary of the Fashion Industry, “By 2015, designers, buyers, fashion journalists and fashion organizations, such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America and the British Fashion Council, began to examine the “broken” fashion system as it related to the overcrowded fashion show schedule, the excessive number of shows and the relevance of showing fashion that cannot be immediately purchased; since the traditional fashion show system features merchandise six months in advance of the selling season and live-streamed fashion shows are available to consumers where immediacy is key for consumers in a digital age. Burberry was the first to make the decision to change the model by; showing only two collections a year, combining their menswear and womenswear in the same show, featuring clothes in season and not six months ahead of the season, and making the merchandise for sale immediately afterwards. In 2016, recording artist Kanye West and Adidas made fashion history when, timed to the launch of West’s new album The Life of Pablo, they held the first ever consumer ticket-holder fashion show at Madison Square Garden with tickets for their Yeezy-Adidas show priced at $275 each.”

Today, shows are not only photographed for social media, but they are also live-streamed so anyone sitting at home in front of their computer can tune in. Fashion shows have now evolved into marketing spectacles directed towards a mass audience. Hundreds of thousands attend fashion week, but thanks to today’s digital world, millions of people live-stream fashion shows online. So the purpose of fashion week seems clear; capture the attention of as many people as possible; visibility leads to sales, right? Only to a degree.  Unfortunately, the equation is not so straightforward and for years the question of “is fashion week dying” has been an ongoing conversation among fashion insiders.

“In a world that has become increasingly immediate, the current way of showing a collection four months before it is available to consumers is an antiquated idea and one that no longer makes sense,” designer Tom Ford told WWD in 2016. “We have been living with a fashion calendar and system that is from another era.”

While some may believe the fashion week runway format is archaic, this system still exists, but has arguably lost step in a world where everything is instantly visible across various social media platforms. Today, designers and brands can bypass store partners and sell straight to their customers through their own websites. It has become routine for consumers to stream new products that fast fashion popularized and these forces have transformed the fashion industry.

Enter Instagram

One of the biggest game-changers for the industry has been Instagram. The popular social media platform creates a constant connection between brands and customers and has helped reshape the way brands communicate to potential customers. Designers even create Instagammable ‘moments’ during their runway shows.

Chanel transformed the Grand Palais into a beach scene during Paris Fashion Week in October 2018 (Photo courtesy of Reuters)

And yet, fashion shows and their organizers aren’t disappearing time soon, in actuality, the reverse is happening, as more cities around the world are staging their own fashion weeks including Shanghai, Seoul, and even Canada. Many prestigious designer houses have even opted to show full runway extravaganzas for their resort and pre-fall collections as well. Many brands, both large and small, are joining the fashion week cycle because of the prestige and exposure that comes with it.

But one must ask, is the exposure worth the price tag that goes along with producing a fashion show?

Of course, the answer varies by brand. In 2019, Christian Siriano provided a breakdown of his show cost for Vogue Business that reached up to $300,000. It included models, set design, lighting, sound, and all the elements needed to create a runway show. According to an interview in Vogue, Siriano stated, “I think when our investors go through the numbers, it’s really hard for them to see actual returns, obviously, there are ways to tell if a collection is more successful than another, but that doesn’t necessarily have to do with the show. It has more to do with the timing, or the fabrications we’re using or what’s happening with the seasons.”

Christian Siriano’s spring 2020 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

While a six-figure tab will give you a basic fashion show format, there are those designers who go to the extreme during NYFW. In 2011, The New York Times reported that Marc Jacobs (following in the European show extravaganza tradition) spent $1 million to produce his show. While these grand spectacles are a tool to sell clothes, the buyers attending these shows do not buy their collections during the show, but rather sales take place during private showroom appointments. So is it all worth it?

Rachel Feinstein’s set for Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2012 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

The reach and cost-effectiveness of having such a show is difficult to determine. Most brands look to Instagram as a tool to determine how many potential customers have viewed their runway videos and images.

To hype their show and encourage sales, some brands have tried to offer customers specific looks immediately after the show, both in their stores and on their website, in an attempt to translate the excitement of the runway moment. Others have opted to live stream their runway show so customers can view the show and then immediately shop the collection. A few designers – such as Gucci and Balenciaga- have taken to regularly dropping new items between shows.

So with a six-figure price tag, many young designers are conflicted and ask the question, “is a fashion show worth the cost?” Well for many, the answer is yes. A fashion show is a great marketing tool. It is a way to get customers to notice your exciting and creative work. For many luxury brands, a show is a marketing tool to sell cosmetics, perfume and accessories. These brands may actually lose money producing clothes, as Exane BNP Paribas and the fashion consultancy firm VR Fashion Luxury Expertise have noted. But runway shows and their creative clothing are valuable to the branding. “Today shows have nothing to do with clothes anymore,” Guram Gvasalia, the CEO of Vetements, told WWD after the brand reorganized the scheduling of its runway shows in 2017. “Most of the looks are not even produced and therefore never get to the shop floor. Shows are there merely to sell a dream and that, at the end of the day, will sell a perfume or a wallet in a duty-free store.”

For smaller labels, branding is also an important opportunity that can benefit their brand. Christian Siriano told Vogue Runway that his shows, which have been praised for his diversity in models, have attracted other business, such as a shoe partnership with Payless. Presenting during a major fashion week also adds credibility and legitimacy to a young label. It can help put their brand on radar of industry leaders. Stylists for example keep an eye on fashion week and pull clothes for photoshoots and celebrity events. A young designer can easily land in an editorial layout or on the red carpet on a major celebrity. Or, catch the eye of a savy store buyer who just might be willing to give them a break.

The fashion industry represents over $2.5 trillion dollars (according to a recent McKinsey report in 2018) and, on average, a 10 to 15 minute fashion show can cost anywhere from $200,000 to over $1 million. With these hefty price tags brands must think, “what is the return on investment?” Is the answer social influence? Is it celebrities and street-style stars wearing the collection? Well, according to data analytics provider Launchmetrics, the answer is more complex.

Launchmetrics’ new “Data on the Runway” report suggests the key is MIV or media impact value – an algorithm which measures the impact of media placements to derive a number for performance outcomes.

Take Ralph Lauren’s 50th year anniversary for example (spring 2019), Launchmetrics’ data analysts found that Ralph Lauren’s widely publicized anniversary show ranked first amongst the brands, with the highest MIV generated over the Fashion Weeks at $38 million.

The star-studded event included Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Robert De Niro, Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, and Anna Wintour. Lauren also hosted an extravagant collection presentation and finished with a paparazzi-heavy post-show dinner party.

Left to right: Hillary Clinton, Ralph Lauren, and Anna Wintour. (Photo courtesy of Instagram@Ralph Lauren)

According to Launchmetrics, it is clear that influencers garnered enormous buzz for the brand (taking 46.2% of the pie), followed by Ralph Lauren’s owned media channels (at 29.7%).

Following Ralph Lauren, Launchmetrics estimated Coach ($27 million), Dior ($22.6 million) and Gucci ($19.4 million), followed closely behind and once again, Chiara Ferragni topped the charts as the top influencer voice.

Chiara Ferragani (known as The Blond Salad) led with $18.3 million in MIV; to put that into perspective, she nearly reached the same MIV as Versace ($18.7 million) did for their SS19 show — proving the continual power of influencer investments.

Influencer Chiara Ferragni (right) attends many shows over Fashion Month and is expected to boast $18.3 million in Media Impact Value – Zimbio.com

According to Forbes magazine, “social media actually proved imperative for fashion brands altogether; posts shared by celebrities and influencers represent an impressive 89% of buzz compared to online media’s 11%. Spring/Summer 19’s top-performing celebrity was Nicki Minaj, who generated a total of $11.3 million MIV over the season.”

Alison Bringé, CMO at Launchmetrics, said: “Today, fashion weeks are no longer industry events but are a platform to reach the digital savvy consumer, so brands need to think outside the box in order to transform their 15-minute event into something that lives on, beyond what happens on the runway. The case studies within the report shed light on how brands can generate buzz through activities such as using influencers to create 360° campaigns, changing their location to talk to new consumers and markets, or even by focusing on their own media to increase the share of wallet.”

While the ROI for having a runway show differs for every brand, one point is clear; a fashion show is the best way for a designer to communicate their creative vision. “For me, the show is the only moment when I can tell my story,” designer Dries Van Noten once told The Independent. “It’s the way I communicate my ideas to the world.”

Dries Van Noten’s men’s spring 2019 collection, inspired by the work of interiors designer Verner Panton (Photo courtesy of AP Photos)

“If I couldn’t do my shows, I wouldn’t want to be in fashion,” designer Thom Browne told author Booth Moore in her book, American Runway. “I look at my shows as my responsibility in the world of design to move design forward. I think they are such an amazing way of giving a more interesting context to fashion.”

Thom Brown’s spring 2020 show. (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So in the end, we ask these questions: 1) Are fashion shows still relevant? 2) How do emerging designers afford the fashion show price tag? 3) Will the next generation of designers find an affordable alternative to the fashion show? 4) Will millennial & Gen Z designers find a way to disrupt the status quo and make the fashion show as obsolete as the floppy disk? 5) Will we soon be watching virtual 3D fashion shows with life-like avatars walking the runway?

Share your thoughts, we’d love to hear from you!

 

 

PARIS JOINS THE MOVEMENT- YOUNG DESIGNERS TAKE CENTER STAGE

- - Fashion Shows

Naomi Campbell closes Saint Laurent’s Spring 2020 show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

What a great season Spring 2020 has turned out to be. Yes, the old guard and heritage houses like Ralph, Burberry, Versace and Saint Laurent have the funds to create runway spectacles chock-a-block with celebs, BUT for the first time ever, we are witnessing the Big Four- NY, London, Milan and Paris, celebrate new, creative, young design talent. Maybe it’s a sign of the times. With calls for diversity on the runway in terms of ethnicity, gender parity and  body positivity, as well as messages about climate change and sustainability, we can’t help but think that finally…established designers are making room for upstarts. No one could be happier than us here at University of Fashion, whose mission has always been, since 2008, to provide equal opportunity access to affordable fashion education for all.

Let’s take a look at  some of the emerging designers who are fast becoming fashion’s favorites.

Telfar

Telfar’s Spring 2020 show (photo courtesy Vogue.com)

Telfer Clemens is a young NY designer known for creating show experiences that are as energetic and cool as his non-gender fashion label Telfar, which he established in 2005. For his Spring 2020 collection, Clemens’ plan was to “disrupt Paris Fashion Week” (according to his show notes), and Clemens did so with fanfare.

The designer presented a short film entitled, “The World Isn’t Everything,” which he collaborated on with friends such as Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders, Kelsey Lu, Petra Collins, and Slave Play playwright Jeremy O. Harris, who was in the audience in a look from Telfar: a yellow shirt, athletic shorts, and fishnets. The video played at the theater La Cigale, and as the characters appeared on screen, models walked the runway in the exact looks; creating an interesting double affect.

According to Clemens, the collection was inspired by “the customs/security lines at any airport at any given time, anywhere in the world.” So obviously the collection focused on comfort and style. Clemens’s travelers were ultra-cool as they wore cargo pants, utility jackets, asymmetrical tops, and his new take on the tracksuit – with interesting cut-outs. Clemens interlocking T and C bags have become a huge hit, so for Spring, he expanded on his accessories by offering a small assortment of jewelry with his signature logo.

After the finale walk, the models began dancing and Clemens, the filmmakers, and eventually the show attendees, all joined in on the fun.  It was a joyful way to start Paris fashion week.

Rokh

Rokh’s Spring 2020 show (photo courtesy from Vogue.com)

We are living in a global world and Rok Hwang, the designer behind the label Rokh, embodies this concept perfectly. He is a Korean-born designer, based in London, showing in Paris. His collection was inspired by a road trip he took across America with his family when he was only 10 years old. According to Vogue.com interview, Hwang said, “I remember arriving at 8 o’clock in the morning in New York and seeing all these girls walking really fast in sharp suits and checked trenches. That was the memory embedded in me; I wanted to write a visual story of that trip.”

The collection had a fresh take on a Nineties theme, as Hwang redefined a chic, modern sportswear with a dark edge. The designer sliced, diced, and wrapped trench coats, added leather patchwork and plaids, and his slit-hemmed pants gave off an updated twist to the grunge look. With such a polished collection, it’s no surprise that Hwang was a runner-up for the LVMH Prize in 2018, and was one of the founding members of Phoebe Philo’s team, picked for her studio at Céline, straight after graduating from Central Saint Martins in 2010.

Koché

Koché’s spring 2020 show (photo courtesy from Vogue.com)

Christelle Kocher may have only been designing her fashion label Koché for a few years now, but the talented designer is already a fashion darling among the influential crowd. This year’s winner of the ANDAM Prize (Paris’ prestigious fashion award) Kocher one-upped herself by becoming the first designer ever to be offered the Centre Pompidou’s Bibliothèque as a show venue. She even snagged a collaboration with Nike.

Kocher has mastered the ‘high-low aesthetic’ as she mixes streetwear with couture details. Case in point, a sharply tailored trench with intricate embroidery. She is also passionate about sustainability and since the start of her label, has incorporated upcycled materials throughout her collection. For Spring, the recycled fabrics were found on patchwork polo dresses and tracksuits.

Her show had a heavy focus on evening looks with intricate lace dresses, pajama-inspired looks with feather trims and the finale was a spangly cocktail number, the base of which were soccer jerseys cut into embellished florets linked together by strands of tiny beads. This may have been Kocher’s strongest collection yet.

Atlein

Atlein’s Spring 2020 show (photo courtesy from Vogue.com)

Antonin Tron is another young designer who is incorporating sustainability into his collection labeled Atlein. For Spring, he presented a chic and elevated collection. Most impressive was that Tron was able to create 60% of his collection using deadstock fabrics that he sourced from mills and factories across Italy. So bravo to Tron who is elevating the concept of sustainability! The designer is also a member of the Extinction Rebellion, fighting for real action on climate change.

The majority of Tron’s collection is made in his native France, by technicians that have fine-tuned the art of craftsmanship. Tron is quickly becoming known as a master in draping, cutting and manipulating jersey (which has become his signature fabric). On his runway, there were plenty of amazing dresses, most notable were the bias-cut floral prints that where youthful, yet oh so sophisticated. It’s exciting to watch this new crop of designers bring together fashion and sustainability in a modern way, and Tron was able to execute this blend perfectly.

The Old Guard

We would not want to end our coverage of PFW without a shout-out to Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent who recruited supermodel Naomi Campbell to close out his show, held under the Eiffel Tower. Remember when fashion show finales ended with a wedding dress? Well, it seems that a supermodel or celeb (JLo for Versace) is fast becoming the trend.

At the Christian Dior show, creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri held tribute to nature, with 164 trees lining the runway and that will later be planted throughout Paris. You have to admit, fashion knows how to create buzz, right?

Christian Dior’s Spring 2020 show is #PlantingForTheFuture (photo courtesy Vogue.com)

Meanwhile, at Maison Margiela, John Galliano enlisted male model Leon Dame who shot to fashion stardom with his stomping walk down the runaway.

At Maison Margiela, male model Leon Dame shot to fashion stardom with his stomping walk down the runaway. He even put a smile on Anna Wintour’s face. (Photo courtesy of DailyMail.com)

Of special note and one of the strongest and most exciting shows in Paris was the enchanting collaboration between Dries Van Noten and Christian Lacroix. According to Cathy Horyn, the two masters working together, “was unprecedented. As far as I can tell, no couturier and ready-to-wear designer have ever worked together before on a runway collection. There have been “capsule” collaborations between designers and mass or leisure brands — Karl Lagerfeld and H&M, for example, or Rick Owens and Birkenstock. But from the outset, Van Noten says he didn’t want his project with Lacroix to be seen in that context — as just another marketing opportunity.”

“I started to work on this collection in February,” Van Noten said, explaining what led him to contact Lacroix. “Normally, I try to avoid escapism and nostalgia, but the world is not a very nice at the moment. So many things go wrong, and I thought maybe it would be interesting to do something about escapism.”

Van Noten is known for his exquisite fabrics and Lacroix is a master at over the top romance, so together, they created a magical moment that sent buyers, editors and other designers into a delightful frenzy.

Dries Van Noten x Christian Lacroix’s Spring 2020 show (photo courtesy from Vogue.com)

Care to share with us which aspiring designer from Fashion Week S/S 2020 you think is on track to ‘make it’?

WORKING GIRL CHIC RULES THE RUNWAY IN MILAN & PARIS

Saint Laurent (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Saint Laurent (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

It may be the Year of the Pig, according to the Chinese zodiac, but 2019 is turning out to be all about Female Power! Thanks to feminist movements like #MeToo and #TimesUp, and of course the Woman’s March that started as a worldwide protest against Donald Trump the day after his 2017 inauguration (and that has continued every year since), women are taking center stage around the world and demanding equality in every way. In 2018’s U.S. mid-term election, a record 117 women were elected to office. Finally … it looks like the tide has begun to change for women.

Rolling Stone's March  Cover featuring: Jahana Hayes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and Ilhan Omar

Rolling Stone’s March Cover featuring: Jahana Hayes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Nancy Pelosi, and Ilhan Omar

With extraordinary women being elected to powerful positions, designers are stepping up to the plate and creating powerful looks for these new high-profile women. The Fall 2019 collections saw the return of the “Power Suit” (remember your fashion history? Gaultier, Montana and Armani – circa 80s?). And, while the 80s versions consisted of exaggerated shoulder pads, wide belts, slim midi-skirts and bow blouses, all in traditional menswear inspired fabrics and colors, designers are putting a new slant on what a powerful woman in the 21st century should look like. Who could ever forget Melanie Griffith in the 1988 film Working Girl. Every young girl starting her career aspired to be Melanie’s iconic character, Tess McGill. Well, move over Tess, today’s woman is independent, outspoken, confident, diverse, opinionated, political, empowered and socially-conscious. These are the new role models for Millenials, Gen Zers and all those other generations to follow.

Check out Anthony Vaccarello’s collection for Saint Laurent, a 1980s redux, complete with shoulders that extended two whole centimeters beyond the natural shoulder and updated the looks by introducing a neon color palette.

Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl

Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith and Sigourney Weaver in Working Girl

And alas! Thirty years later, the power suit is back, but this time around, the suit is soft and feminine.  According to an interview by Olivia Stren, for FashionMagazine.com (September 17, 2018), designer Joseph Altuzarra stated, “I think that the suit, for a long time, was trying to emulate a menswear staple when women were wearing it to work. It was about hiding your femininity. With so many strong women today embracing a more tailored, feminine pantsuit silhouette, I think it has emerged as a symbol of female empowerment and strength. In our case, the tailoring is always about celebrating femininity and a woman’s strength.” Altuzarra  claims that tailored ‘workwear’ is at the heart of his brand and credits his mother, who clocked in at a bank every morning, as his inspiration.

With “women power” in the air, it was no surprise that power dressing and chic workwear were key trends on the Milan and Paris Fall 2019 runway. While many of the designers who embraced this trend were women, there were a few ‘woke’ men that embraced the movement as well. Namely…Karl Lagerfeld. Although Milan kicked off with the tragic news that Karl Lagerfeld has passed away on February 19th, his legacy lived on in his last collection for Fendi. And you just got the sense that, as always, Karl got the memo – Women Rule.

FENDI

Fendi (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

He used to call me ‘la petite fille triste,” remembered Silvia Venturini Fendi, in an emotional backstage scene at the elegiac Fendi show, the last designed by the late Karl Lagerfeld, whom she first met when she was four years old. “Now is not the time to be sad,” she added, noting that Lagerfeld supervised every look in the focused collection that revealed what she called “those facets of himthe signatures that he had embedded into the brand’s DNA since he first met the quintet of Fendi sisters, including Venturini Fendi’s mother, Anna, in Rome in 1965.” Silvia Fendi stated to Vogue.com.

The collection included plenty of sharp tailoring paired with crisp shirts that added a refined, yet flirty, twist to office dressing.

MAX MARA

Max Mara (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Max Mara (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Who could forget Nancy Pelosi in her Max Mara coat on her way to meet with Donald Trump in December regarding border wall funding – this moment was the inspiration behind creative director Ian Griffiths Fall 2019 Max Mara collection. Ms. Pelosi was front and center on Griffiths’s Fall mood board as he made a strong connection between power and glamour. Griffith played with sharp tailoring, in head to toe monochromatic colors that ranged from soft camel to bold blues.

PRADA

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

As one of the most politically-articulate designers in the fashion industry, having once been a member of the Italian Communist Party and an ardent feminist, the fear of war and the political turmoil worldwide has been a constant worry on Miuccia Prada’s mind. So, for her Fall collection, the designer was inspired by “romance and fear,” in of all things…a nod to the Bride of Frankenstein. For her romantic girls, Prada showed plenty of delicate lace capes, 3-D floral skirts and glittery red shoes, but these feminine gestures stomped their way into an army of utilitarianism looks that ranged from uniform military jackets to combat boots. The collection embraced the Prada woman; she’s smart, worldly, and understands the turmoil around her, yet she still really loves fashion.

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO

Salvatore Ferragamo (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Salvatore Ferragamo (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Just days before the show, Salvatore Ferragamo announced Paul Andrew’s promotion to creative director, overseeing all design operations for the company. For Andrew, it all starts with ‘the shoe.’ Case in point, a Ferragamo multicolored patchwork shoe that was created in 1942, which provided the collection’s color palette and patchwork prints. Andrew also showed a more refined side with a chic belted pantsuit and lots of tailored outerwear.

GIORGIO ARMANI

Giorgio Armani  (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Giorgio Armani (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

No one, and I mean no one, does tailoring better than Giorgio Armani. And for his Fall 2019 unisex show, the designer titled his collection “Rhapsody in Blue.” Although the collection was overwhelming dark (a sign of the times?), there were plenty of interesting details. Armani showed jodhpur pants paired with tailored jackets for day, while for evening he created a beaded floral shrunken jacket that was paired with velvet trousers for a relaxed take on eveningwear, as only Armani knows how.

GUCCI

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Okay, so you see the image of this houndstooth suit and you say, gotta be Chanel right? Well…wrong! It’s Alessandro Michele. Known for his eclectic, magpie collections for Gucci that often blast gender norms and historical mash-ups, for Fall 2019 he delivered a powerful collection filled with the treasured pieces you would find in your grandmother’s closet. With a nod to the 40s, Michele created tailored jackets that were cut to perfection for both men and women, as well as wide leg cropped trousers, Pierrot collar shirts and anything but basic outerwear. While this may have been a tamer Gucci collection, Michele infused plenty of eccentric touches – such as the fetish masks and metal ear coverings.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Among the designers that have truly taken their causes to the runway is Maria Grazia Chiuri, the creative director for Christian Dior. Season after season Chiuri takes a stand on women’s rights and equality. For Fall 2019, Chiuri channeled Italian conceptual artist Bianca Menna, who in the 1970s signed her work pseudonymously as Tomaso Binga, a man, to cunningly protest male privilege in the art world. The artist read a poem about the promise of a feminist victory at Chiuri’s show. As for the clothes, Chiuri was inspired by England’s “Teddy Girls” – 1950s working class girls who had a love of Rock & Roll and clubbing – as well as Dior’s  optimistic creations of the same time period. The collection was sportswear at its best! Chiuri layered rompers, skirts, coats, trousers and bustiers in a modern and fresh way.

DRIES VAN NOTEN

Dries Van Noten (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dries Van Noten (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dries Van Noten is known for his bold prints and unapologetic use of color, but let’s face it, today’s state of the world is a bit darker so Van Noten turned out a hauntingly beautiful show. While his signature floral prints are traditionally romantic and vibrant, this Fall the floral motif took a somber turn. In an interview with Vogue, Van Noten stated “We picked them from my garden last October and photographed them. I wanted roses but not sweet roses—roses with an edge, roses for now. Flowers can be romantic, but this I wanted to take out, because the times are tougher than in the past. So you see the diseases, the black spot, the imperfections.

Van Noten opened the show with a lineup of polished gray pantsuits, perfect looks for the office (political or business), case in point, a pinstripe belted pantsuit with a matching puffer stole. How incredibly chic! Can you just imagine Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in this?

CHLOE

Chloé (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chloé (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chloé paid a touching tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, the late designer who designed for the house  from 1963 – 1983. When the fashion crowd arrived, they found placed on their seats postcards that featured images of Lagerfeld’s past collections, as well as his own comments about his work. One particular quote from 1975 still resonates today, “The essence of modern dressing—unstructured, weightless, [and] totally feminine.”

Fast forward, forty years later, and this is still the Chloé aesthetic; upscale bohemian in the chicest and most sophisticated way. For her Fall 2019 collection, Natacha Ramsay-Levi found her stride at the house. There were an abundance of breezy but polished dresses that every “It Girl” will crave. Ramsay-Levi paired these effortless frocks with mid-heel boots to complete the effortlessly cool look.

Sure Ramsay-Levi nailed the boho look, but she also showcased her talents as a great tailor with Prince of Wales trousers and skirts, military-inspired trousers and plenty of outerwear,  cut to perfection.

Balmain (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Balmain (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Meanwhile at Balmain, Olivier Rousteing went full-out 80s biker chic. Big shoulders, biker chains, black leather moto jackets and power suiting on steroids was his vision of the modern woman. But, not so sure about whether this through-back look will help women in today’s day and age like it did in the 80s. What would Nancy Pelosi or RBG say?

So tell us, where do you stand on power-dressing in the 21st century?  

The Final Stretch – Paris Fall 2018 Fashion Week- Part 1

- - Fashion Shows

 

Eiffel Tower (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Eiffel Tower (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

After a long fashion show season, fashionistas can breathe, we are now in the final stretch of the fall 2018 collections. As editors, models, buyers and fashion insiders arrived in the City of Light on Tuesday morning, they were greeted with extremely cold temperatures and a little snow, but everyone was happy because the shows were on fire!

While Paris Fashion Week is still going strong, here is a look at the excitement of the first half of the week:

Christian Dior

Christian Dior Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Christian Dior Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Are you up for a protest? Well Maria Grazia Chiuri sure is, as her fall runway collection was inspired by France’s student protest of 1968. Chiuri has become French fashion’s voice of female empowerment and a champion for women everywhere. For her latest collection, Chiuri struck a chord! She filled her runway venue with protest art from the 60s, which seemed quite relevant given the ongoing protests against NRA-beholden politicians in the aftermath of the Parkland, Florida, school shooting and student-led anti-gun movement. Let’s give a shout-out to these young people who are making their voices heard and who are planning a nationwide ‘March For Our Lives’ gun-control rally scheduled for March 24th.

Christian Dior Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Christian Dior Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Inspired by the late Sixties, Chiuri played with crochets, embroideries and plenty of patchwork – but all with a refined hand; after all, this is the House Of Dior.

 

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent  Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Saint Laurent Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Sex sells, and no one does it sexy better than Anthony Vaccarello. The young designer’s Saint Laurent show was full of energy and excitement, as he built a stadium-size box, slap-bang opposite the Eiffel Tower.  The venue was a spectacle with dazzling lights filling the space. The clothes were just as wonderful – a full-on Eighties spectacle with big-shouldered dresses and barely there shorts. The Saint Laurent girl better get her legs in shape this season!

 

Maison Margiela

Maison Msrgiela Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Maison Margiela Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Leave it to John Galliano to imagine the apocalypse and have his girls dressed for it in the coolest of ways. For his  collection at Maison Margiela, the designer piled on layers of every type of protective device. Case in point, techy plastics and shields over just about everything. Is this his reaction (solution?) to North Korea and Russia’s ramp-up of weapons of mass destruction and sarin gas that was used on the Syrian people? Maybe.

 

Dries Van Noten

Dries Van Noten Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Dries Van Noten Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

On a lighter note, Dries Van Noten, known for his beautiful and creative mix of prints and color, did not disappoint for his fall collection. While American designers were preoccupied with the 80s, Van Noten served up plenty of Seventies-inspired psychedelic references. Makes you want to contemplate the Bob Dylan song, My Back Pages (make famous by the Byrds in the late 60s) with the lyric: “Ah, but I was so much older then, I’m younger than that now.”

 Chloé

Chloe Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Chloe Fall 2018 (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

It may only be her second season designing under the Chloé label, but Natacha Ramsay-Levi has already established a cult following. Inspired by the 1970’s and actresses of that time-period, such as Anjelica Huston, Sissy Spacek, Isabelle Huppert, and Stéphane Audran, Levi showed plenty of skin-baring openings, open V-neck blouses and sexy cut-out dresses, showing just the right amount of flesh.

 

Hi And Bye

Riccardo Tisci (Courtesy Photo)

Riccardo Tisci (Courtesy Photo)

In other news, Burberry has tapped Riccardo Tisci as Chief Creative Officer, replacing 17-year Burberry veteran Christopher Bailey , one of the founders of the ‘see-now-buy-now’ and ‘direct-to-consumer’ movements and the creator of the newly revised iconic Burberry plaid, adding rainbow stripes for LGBTQ. Congratulations to Tisci as he begins his new role on March 12th.

Tell us, which shows were your favs and why and what role you think designers should play (as have athletes and actors) in making the world a better place?

Paris Fashion Week: From Glam and Glitz to Avant-Garde

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

PARIS FASHION WEEK

Saint Laurent Runway : The Eiffel Tower  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Saint Laurent Runway : The Eiffel Tower (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

The spring 2018 fashion shows have been a long haul, but there were so many inspiring moments from Ralph Lauren’s show in his exotic car garage in Bedford, N.Y. to Donatella Versace’s tribute to Gianni; who can ever forget the images all over Instagram with his supermodels (Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Helena Christensen and Carla Bruni) all on stage in golden gowns – it was an emotional moment for many in the industry. Now we reach the final stretch, Paris, the fashion capital of the world. Paris shows are not over yet, but here are some of the highlights of the week so far, from political messages to over-the-top glamour.

EMPOWERING WOMEN

It’s clear that Maria Grazia Chiuri, the first female Creative Director for Christian Dior, is using the label as a platform to empower women. Who can forget her “We Should All Be Feminists” t-shirts. Every Instagram and street style star wore them. For spring, Chiuri uses the runway to let us ponder another thought “Why Have There Been No Great Woman Artists?” This question was emblazoned on a striped marinière sweater. The question is the title of art historian Linda Nochlin’s 1971 essay that explores the topic of feminist art history; historically, woman have had a difficult time achieving success in the arts. Chiuri’s Dior is a new Dior. Gone are the pastel colored, ladies-who-lunch suits. It’s clear that Chiuri is focusing on the millennials with looks that ranged from 70’s patchwork jeans to leather jumpsuits. For evening, she showed an assortment of sheer, sparkly, glitter mini dresses in every color under the rainbow – all complete with low block heeled mesh knee high boots. It’s refreshing to see a designer put out a positive message that she really does believe in.

Christian Dior  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Christian Dior (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

THE NEW CHLOE-GIRL

There’s a new Chloe Girl in town…..Natacha Ramsay-Levi just presented her first collectionas the creative director for Chloé  to rave reviews. Although this is her first moment in the spotlight, Ramsay-Levi is well-known within French fashion circles; she worked at both Balenciaga and Louis Vuitton under Nicolas Ghesquière. Ramsay-Levi looked to the entire history of the house and gave a nod to each of her predecessors. The hand-painted cotton dresses were inspired by Lagerfeld’s time at the House. McCartney and Philo both liked horses, and Ramsay-Levi embroidered the motif on trim velvet tailoring. A floaty micro-floral dress was inspired by Waight. But there was a lot of Ramsay-Levi infused as well, such as the tailored leather outerwear and skinny cropped jeans.

Chloe  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Chloe (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

GLITZ AND GLAMOUR

Anthony Vaccarello is paying tribute to the city of lights and to Mr. Yves Saint Laurent himself. The epic show was held outdoors, on a balmy night, with the Eiffel Tower sparkling in the background. Hundreds of spectators—the public and professionals—looked on, held in the awestruck moment. Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent girl wants to have fun, there were fanciful feathers, flirty glitter, and plenty of jaw-dropping boots. But the night was bittersweet for the house of Saint Laurent as Pierre Bergé passed away earlier this month. Vacarello started the show with hippie inspired looks that had a Moroccan feel,  it was a throwback to Yves Saint Laurant  and his love of Marrakech. There were floating, billowy-sleeved silk blouses, gold-coin–dot printed tulle tops, sparkling sequined dresses, bubbled frocks and fanciful ostrich feathers, all of it paired with the shortest of shorts and miniskirts and let’s not forget the over-the-top boots. This bold collection was sexy and confident!

Although the world is on edge today, with politics, threats of terrorists attacks and war, that didn’t reflect in many collections in Paris, there was a refreshing air of glitz and glamour; lighting the way for hopefulness and fun. Such collections included Balmain, Maison Margiela, Altuzarra and Dries Van Noten.

Saint Laurent  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Saint Laurent (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Balmain  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Balmain (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Dries Van Noten (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Dries Van Noten (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Maison Margiela  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Maison Margiela (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Altuzarra  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Altuzarra (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

EIGHTIES ARE BACK

A throwback to the Eighties was a continuing theme that made its way to Paris. Virgil Abloh, the designer behind the cult label Off-White, was inspired by Princess Diana as “the people’s princess.” Marking the 20-year anniversary of her tragic death, Abloh payed homage to the fashion icon, most notably with his farewell to streetwear and opted for a feminine collection filled with tulle and flounce. But Naomi Campbell stole the show – with her regal strut – wearing an asymmetrically flounced white jacket and cycle shorts quite the twist on eveningwear.

Isabel Marant and Mugler also gave a nod to the Eighties this season.

Off-White  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Off-White (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Isabel Marant  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Isabel Marant (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Mugler  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Mugler (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

THE INDIVIDUALISTS

Sure they may not be mainstream designers, but you have to give credit to those designers who season after season march to their own beat. Such avante-garde designers include Rei Kawakubo for Comme des Garçons, Jun Takahashi for Undercover, Junya Watanabe, Yohji Yamamoto and Rick Owens.

Comme des Garçons (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Comme des Garçons (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Undercover  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Undercover (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Junya Watanabe (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Junya Watanabe (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Yohji Yamamoto  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Yohji Yamamoto (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Rick Owens  (Photo Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Rick Owens (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

 

 

 

 

Top Ten 2017 Millennial Fashion Trends

- - Trends

10 Top 2017 Millennial Fashion Trends

Spring is in the air and as the temperatures heat up, so do the fashion trends. Here is a look at the top ten fashion trends that millennials will embrace for spring and beyond.

Tickled Pink

Diana Vreeland once said “pink is the navy blue of India” and this spring designers from New York to Paris have embraced the femininely sweet shade. But don’t be fooled, although the hue is chock-full-of-saccharine, these looks are anything but girlie. The color palette runs the gamut from soft pastel tones to bold vibrant shades and can be found on everything from chic dresses and suits to the “It Bag” of the moment.

 

Céline (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Céline (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Making A Statement

Forget logomania. Millennials are embracing statement tees as they take a political stance against the unjust. In a throwback to Katharine Hamnett’s political slogan tees of the late 80’s and early 90’s, today’s variety can already be found all over Instagram and on celebrity “It Girls”.  From Christian Dior’s “We Should All Be Feminists” version to Sacai’s “Horror Show” motto, these tees are already street-style approved.

Christian Dior (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sacai (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sacai (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Sporty Spice

Millennials are creatures of comfort as they continue to embrace the athleisure trend. Oversized Vetements sweatshirts were street-style approved this past fashion week and were worn by every fashion “It-Girl and Boy” proving this trend has staying power.

Vetements (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Vetements (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Philipp Plein (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Philipp Plein (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Get Graphic

These stripes are not for the board room. For spring, designers are focusing on graphic, striped patterns that can be found on cool separates for day or night. These bold looks are selfie approved by fashionistas on both sides of the Atlantic.

Proenza Schoular (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Marni (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Marni (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Jean Therapy

Who doesn’t love denim? Denim is the uniform for millennials, but for spring, the durable fabric is anything but basic. There are so many choices in the denim market from mom jeans to skinny; to wide-leg to cut-offs; anything goes. Celebrities and models off duty have also taken to wearing intricate embellished denim from day to night.

 

Junya Watanabe (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Junya Watanabe (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Dsquared2 (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Dsquared2 (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

80’s

Everyone loves a good throwback, and for spring, designers are looking to the Eighties for inspiration. From Gucci’s one shouldered ruffled number to Balmain’s electric blue suit; these bold looks are dramatic and daring.

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Balmain (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Balmain (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

 

Armed Forces

It’s become the uniform trend for millennials as military inspired and utility pockets are all the rage. For spring, the trend gets a chic update from  Marc Jacob’s flirty take on camouflage to Dries Van Noten’s urban outerwear– these looks have plenty of charm.

Marc Jacobs (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Marc Jacobs (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Dries Van Noten (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Dries Van Noten (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Boudoir

Inner-wear as outerwear is all the rage as designers look to the boudoir for inspiration. Touches of lingerie references can be found on flirty bra tops, seductive slipdresses and sexy briefs.

Alexander Wang (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Moschino (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Moschino (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sheer Delight

You’re so transparent. Designers are making a case for sheer clothing as the transparent trend continues to go strong for spring thanks to celebrities like Kim Kardashian who wears the trend with such confidence and bravado.

Chistopher Kane  (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Chistopher Kane (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Ann Demeulemeester (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Ann Demeulemeester (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Outerwear

This year has been the year of great outerwear, from cool embroidered bombers to oversized puffers. For spring, the trend continues with Balenciaga’s bright puffer vest as well as quirky silk bombers.

Balenciaga (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Balenciaga (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

 

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Gucci (Image Credits: Vogue.com)