University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "fashion"

Paris Fashion Week: Back to the Future, Female Power & a New Silhouette

- - Fashion Shows

At last, Paris Fashion Week! As we all know, Paris is the ‘birthplace of fashion’ – a la Worth, Poiret, Vionnet, Chanel, Dior, Lanvin, Givenchy- all those great heritage brands that we have come to love and respect. And so, not surprisingly, we saw lots of variety and innovation. Let’s take a look at our favorite looks from Paris Fashion Week Fall Winter 2017-18.

Futuristic Fashion

Some designers have gone from street style to space style. Chanel’s collection was a nod to astronauts and the runway was the launch pad! Lagerfeld created this silver metallic belted coat paired with silver shimmer tights, matching boots and headband – perfect for Astronaut Barbie!

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Chanel (Image Credits: Chanel.com)

In a collection she called “The Future of Silhouette,” Rei Kawakubo stayed true to her design philosophy with this amorphous metallic wearable art piece, a real runway show-stopper! By the way, her work will be on exhibit beginning in June at The Costume Institute at the MET, entitled Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between.

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Comme des Garçons (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Dries van Noten brought the future back down to earth with this classic, old-school, oversized, metallic boyfriend jacket. You just have to love it!

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Dries van Noten (Image Credits: DriesvanNoten.com)

Playing it Safe But with Flare

Speaking of playing it safe…While some designers experimented with futuristic fashion, others stuck to practicality. For her first ready-to-wear collection for Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, (by the way, she is the first female creative director ever at Dior- female power!), served up jeans paired with an asymmetric blouse and accessorized them with a beret, for that quintessential ‘French girl’ style.

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Dior (Image Credits: Dior via ShilpaAhuja.com)

Our favorite look from Valentino makes this artsy-print maxi dress wearable yet chic by pairing it with a double-slit coat and a practical handbag.

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Valentino (Image Credits: Valentino.com)

Homage to International Women’s Day- Think Red

Perhaps in anticipation of wearing red for International Women’s Day (March 8) Givenchy’s collection was all about RED! This look is both a statement and wearable – a dramatic sequin ruffle jacket paired with matching cropped leggings (so I guess leggings are not démodé after all?).

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Givenchy (Image Credits: Givenchy.com)

This red look, by Giambattista Valli, featured ruffles and the very boldest sleeve treatment ever; one that epitomized the #BeBoldForChange hashtag that flooded the Web during the month of March.

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Giambattista Valli (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Eveningwear Redefined

Red carpet here we come! Paris Fashion Week is nothing if not the place where we get to see some of the most incredible eveningwear. This stunner, by Thierry Mugler, is a hybrid – a cross between a slip dress and Le Smoking (channel YSL). A pagoda shoulder detail and a daring slit…Angelina is gonna love this one!

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Mugler (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Elie Saab’s best look was this deep amethyst-colored dress with a velvet burn-out sheer skirt, accessorized with a matching belt, fur-trimmed shoes and some very, very, French, point d’esprit hose.

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Elie Saab (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Isabel Marant was thinking more along the lines of casual eveningwear with this look. These charcoal grey embellished jeans were paired with a ruffle-sleeved shimmery top and glitter socks.

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Isabel Marant (Image Credits: IsabelMarant.com)

Embellishments and Couture Details

We all know that the couture serves as a design lab for designers to experiment, with some design details trickling down into their ready-to-wear collections. This was evident at Balenciaga where creative director Demna Gvasalia, not only played with house codes, but brought a couture sensibility to his fall ready-to-wear collection with this strapless evening look complete with oversized bow.

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Balenciaga (Image Credits: balenciaga.com)

At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton designed this evening jumpsuit, reminiscent of those worn by Cher (designed by Bob Mackie). Burton updated the look with a feather sleeve and hem trim.

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Alexander McQueen (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

A Trip to the Zoo

It seems like animal prints never go out of style. This season was no exception. At Balmain, Olivier Rousteing used snake skin to create the most amazing over-the-thigh boots with matching bodice sash. And at Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquière created a patch-work vest in cheetah printed fur, ooh la-la!

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Balmain (left) (Image Credits: balmain.com) and Louis Vuitton (right) (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Gotta Have a Gimmick

Gypsy Rose Lee, one of America’s legendary entertainers, had a favorite tagline- “you gotta have a gimmick’ and at Maison Margiela, John Galliano was listening. Check out this outfit and tell us just what you think. Is it a pantsuit? Or is Galliano, along with Rei Kawakubo, redefining what ‘is’ a silhouette?

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Maison Margiela (Image Credits: maisonmargiela.com)

Yohji Yamamoto got into the act with this engineered hand-painted belted coat with matching hose. He completes the look with black lipstick, red eyeshadow on one eye and black on the other.

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Yohji Yamamoto (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Sheer Love

Whether it’s plastic or georgette, this fashion week cycle certainly showcased transparency. Miu Miu’s piped plastic coat teamed with an all over paillette dress, was then topped off with a fur shawl and a fringed headdress. This is sure to be a fashion magazine editorial favorite!

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Miu Miu (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

How to update a dress you ask? At Stella McCartney, this embroidered tulle overdress was worn over a sheath dress and what a great idea to update your wardrobe?

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Stella McCartney (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Before Claire Waight Keller left Chloé and headed for Givenchy, she created this sheer, puff sleeved, baby doll overdress paired with a slip dress. So feminine.

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Chloe (Image Credits: Chloe.com)

A Sign of the Times

As Paris marked the end of the fashion week cycle (New York, London, Milan & Paris) a resounding theme remained prevalent throughout the shows…female power! Strong shoulders were showcased next to feminine looks, what a great time to be a woman in fashion.

Japan: Its Influence and Contributions to Global Fashion

- - Fashion History

When you think of Japanese fashion, you think of the kimono. But dig deeper and you’ll find that Japan’s contribution to the world of fashion is much, much, more. In fact, Japan has greatly influenced the western world of fashion, even more than its eastern counterparts; China, India and Southeast Asia!

After World War II, Japan geared up for a revolution in terms art, architecture, fashion and technology, while preserving its historical roots and its aesthetic philosophy of wabi sabi (the art of Imperfection). It was out of this very philosophy that Japan established itself as a creative power house, one that would eventually take the fashion world by storm.

Traditional Japanese Fashion

From Paul Poiret to Eileen Fisher (and hundreds of designers in between), the classic kimono silhouette, with wrapped obi sash, has appeared in numerous designer collections over the years, in one form or other.

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Traditional Japanese Kimonos (Image Credits: japan-zone.com)

Kimonos come in many different styles, each worn for a different occasion. Frequently, they are made in cotton or silk and featured in multi-colored block prints, embroidered or in woven floral patterns.

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Traditional Japanese Kimonos (Image Credits: fotoedu.indire.it)

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Japanese Obi (Image Credits: Wikipedia)

Two of the most widely recognized Japanese patterns are cherry blossoms and butterfly prints. Traditionally, Japanese fabrics also use dyeing techniques and wood block printing to create repetitive patterns.

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A fabric featuring a typical pattern of Bingata, a dyeing technique from Okinawa, Japan

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Popular traditional pattern made with wood block printing (Image Credits: Fabrictales.com)

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Fabric with traditional Japanese butterfly print (Image Credits: fabricandart.com)

Western Fashion Draws Inspiration from Japan

Japan’s rich heritage became inspiration for western designers, such as Marni, Armani and Zuhair Murad.

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Zuhair Murad Fall/Winter 2011-12 Couture (Image Credits: Weddinginspirasi.com)

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Marni Spring Summer 2014 Ready-to-Wear (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Armani Privé Fall/Winter 2011-12 Couture (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Armani Privé Fall/Winter 2011-12 Couture (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler FALL 2012 READY-TO-WEAR (Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler Fall/Winter 2012 Ready to Wear (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

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Prada Spring Summer 2013 Ready to Wear (Image Credits: Vogue.com)

Japan’s Contributions to 20th Century Fashion

While Western designers were busy drawing inspiration from traditional costume of Eastern countries such as China, Japan and Indonesia (known as Chinoiserie and Orientalism), Japanese designers were inspired beyond their roots, turning their wabi sabi aesthetic into a major fashion movement that began in the 1970s and continues to the present day.

De-Construction Movement

The De-Construction Movement, which started in 1970s and gained momentum in the 80s, refers to the era of collective avant-garde artistic expression in fashion. Traditional feminine silhouettes were challenged, essentially de-constructed, to give way to a new aesthetic. A group of Japanese designers, led by Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Yohji Yamamoto, played with the idea of androgyny and embraced unevenness and imperfection while simultaneously creating beautiful clothing.

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Suit by Comme des Garçons from the De-Construction Era circa 1985 (Image Credits: metmuseum.org)

Rei Kawakubo, founder and designer of Japanese fashion house Comme des Garçons, is regarded as one of the most important names in the fashion today. Blurring the lines between perfect and imperfect, male and female, made and unmade, these designers appealed to the modern woman who preferred comfort and over the body contoured clothes of that period.

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Comme des Garçons photo-shoot circa 1989 (Image Credits: calvertjournal.com)

Zero Waste

The Zero-Waste movement was led by Japanese designer Issey Miyake. With his A-POC collection (A Piece of Cloth) in 1999, Miyake minimized waste by making clothes out of a single piece of fabric, so that excess fabric waste wouldn’t end up in over-crowded landfills.

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A-POC by Issey Miyake (Image Credits: moma.org)

Cosplay

Combining the words “costume” and play”, this term was coined by Nobuyuki Takahashi in 1984, and refers to the trend of wearing costumes of a particular character or theme, such as Japanese anime. Over the last few years, cosplay has extended itself to outside the realm of anime and manga characters and become commonplace, owing to events like FanimeCon and ComicCon with themes from Hollywood movies and American pop culture.

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Cosplay of the Yu-Gi-Oh character “Dark Magician Girl” (Wikipedia)

Japanese Collaborations & Exhibitions

In 2003, Marc Jacobs began a collaboration Japanese artist Takashi Murakami on a series of Louis Vuitton iconic handbags. In addition to his work with Vuitton, which only ended in 2015, Murakami has had numerous exhibitions of his work and has been featured in major magazines. Japanese artist Yayoi Kasama also designed a series of handbags for Vuitton in 2012 and has had her work featured in exhibitions around the world.

For their upcoming spring 2017 exhibition, The Costume Institute of Metropolitan Museum of Art will honor the work of Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons.

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A bag from Takashi Murakami’s Multicolored Monogram collection for Louis Vuitton. Photo: Louis Vuitton

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Kylie Jenner in a photo-shoot for Complex magazine created in collaboration with Japanese artist Takashi Murakami who incorporated his trademark anime-graphics (Image Credits: Complex.com)

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Yayoi Kasama handbag for Louis Vuitton 2012 (NY Magazine)

And Now?

The world is still in awe of all things Japanese, from sushi to sumo. Japan’s sartorial legacy, which in addition to Miyake, Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto, also includes designers Hanae Mori, Junko Koshino, Kansai Yamamoto, Junko Shimada and Kenzo Takada. Today, a new crop of design talent beginning, with Limi Feu (daughter of Yohji Yamamoto) and Tae Ashida (daughter of legendary designer Jun Ashida) are bursting onto the fashion scene and are being noticed.

Will China, India and other non-western cultures, be able to step up to the plate and make their own unique mark on the global fashion stage, just as Japan has done?

Let us hear your thoughts!

Inspiration India – How Marco Polo Brought Us a Treasure Trove of Ideas

- - Fashion History

Ever wonder where fashion designers find inspiration? Well, wonder no more. Fashion designers don’t work in a vacuum. They find inspiration in a multitude of ways and places: through fashion forecast services, at museums, in magazines and books, on the street, at flea markets, from the music scene, in food and in nature, as a reaction to current global events and from interior design and architectural styles like art nouveau, art deco and mid-century modern.

Historical fashion is another great way to adapt and infuse something new and fresh into a collection, which brings us to our favorite source of inspiration: TRAVEL. Fashion has been inspired by international destinations throughout history. Dressing, draping and dressmaking techniques have been borrowed and exchanged so many times that sometimes it gets difficult to trace back their roots. Cultural elements also get interwoven into designers’ inspiration. Once Marco Polo opened the Silk Route in 1269, he not only initiated trade between the Mediterranean countries and the Middle, South and Far East, but also inspired the borrowing and cross-pollinating of cultural elements.

UoF’s new blog series will explore various cultures that continue to have a profound effect on fashion, beginning with:

India

Designers in the western world love turning to the exoticism of the Far East when looking for inspiration. India is one of the countries. With its rich history and diverse culture, India has turned muse for many of the biggest names in fashion and continues to do so today.

Let’s Begin

Paisley is one of the earliest examples of an inspiration remix and came to the west by way of the cashmere goods trade, from the Vale of Kashmir, down to India, and then to Europe. The teardrop-shaped motif, known in India as Buti, is an ancient Indian design that is still used today in Indian sarees and in the west in textiles for bridalwear, dresses, blouses, neck-ties, tunics and in home décor textiles and rugs. The name ‘paisley’ was given to the motif when imitation Indian shawls were copied and manufactured in Paisley, Scotland during the early 19th century.

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Indian Kanjeevaram saree with buti motif (Image Credit: Wikipedia)

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Victorian Antique Kashmir Hand Woven Pieced Paisley Shawl 1800s
(Image Credit: www.1860-1960.com)

By the 20th century, international travel increased and fashion designers found inspiration, especially in South Asia. An example in American pop-culture, is a scene from the 1961 film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, in which Audrey Hepburn, who was taking a bath, had to improvise a saree-inspired gown on the spot using a bedsheet.

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Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s wearing saree-inspired bedsheet gown (Image Credit: mongolcom.mn)

In the contemporary fashion arena, fashion houses like Hermès, Chanel and Jean Paul Gaultier have designed whole collections inspired by Indian fashion. Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2007 couture collection featured satin tunics, bejeweled turbans and even a sherwani (knee-length coat buttoning to the neck) for the bridegroom’s ‘maharaja’ look.

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Jean Paul Gaultier Fall 2007 couture collection

 

Hermès Spring Summer 2008 women’s ready-to-wear collection took inspiration from Indian ethnic menswear with adaptations of Nehru jackets, churidar pants and bundhgalas. The collection featured saree-gowns and tunics, replete with turban-inspired headgear in metallic shades.

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Hermès Spring Summer 2008 RTW collection

Chanel Pre-Fall 2012 collection, popularly known as their Bombay-Paris Collection, was also a tribute to India and inspired by Indian maharajas’ and maharanis’ opulent, excessive outfits, jewelry and adornments. The fashion show featured Nehru-collared dresses with embroidered hems, tunics worn over leggings and saree-drapes.

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Chanel Pre-Fall 2012 collection

Marchesa Spring 2013 collection was inspired by the vibrant Indian color palette consisting of fuchsia, peacock blue and eggplant with fine gold embroidery touches.

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Marchesa Spring 2013 collection

Christian Louboutin has taken inspiration from India more than once. Recently, the shoe-designer collaborated with Indian fashion designer Sabyasachi to create embellished and embroidered shoes for his runway show.

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Christian Louboutin embroidered shoes for Sabyasachi Fall Winter 2016 collection (Image Credit: christianlouboutin.com)

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Christian Louboutin embroidered shoes for Sabyasachi Fall Winter 2015 collection (Image Credit: christianlouboutin.com)

Many other designers have tapped India for inspiration such as, Alexander McQueen, Ellie Saab, Isabel Marant, Naeem Khan, Louis Vuitton and Vera Wang. New young designers have emerged who are also inspired by the fashion of other cultures, in an effort to bring the world together on a global basis. And with the amplitude of diversity and richness that Indian culture has to offer, much inspiration still remains to be unearthed. What’s in store for the future of Indian-inspired fashion has yet to be seen. We can only hope it’ll be even more awe-inspiring and mesmerizing than the past.

Personalization or Narcissism? The New Age of Customization

- - Trends

Everyone loves a little personal touch. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that as dominant animals, we humans like marking our territory. Or, perhaps it’s our need to differentiate ourselves from the pack, as evidenced by a male skeleton discovered in 26,000 B.C.E Northern Russia wearing a highly decorated beaded garment. Is it a subconscious demonstration of power and status or simply a touch of narcissism? Either way, it’s in our DNA.

In Medieval Europe, aristocrats were granted the right to use a coat of arms. Today the family crest is a modern day use of a coat of arms with lots of snob appeal when embroidered and worn on a blazer pocket. Tattoos, from their tribal beginnings, to their use as modern day body art, are also forms of personalization, as were tribal ankle bracelets, bangles and necklaces that have since morphed into namesake jewelry.

Customization in fashion is in the air!

Today we are taking personalization to the max. Keychains with personalized letters, letter namesake bracelets and pendant necklaces bearing the wearer’s name are all the rage. We can even customize our own sneakers!

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Sarah Jessica Parker’s character, Carrie Bradshaw in Sex and the City wearing her namesake necklace: the “Carrie necklace.”

Printed T-shirts, once prime real estate for company logos, are now shamelessly emboldened with the name of the wearer, like the one below worn by Cindy Crawford. Everyone can enjoy a bit of narcissism, as online print shops print customers’ names and graphics on tees and hoodies.

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Cindy Crawford wearing her namesake sweatshirt by Reformation on the cover of Muse magazine.

Name-mania was in full swing when Burberry debuted a monogrammed poncho for Fall 2014 with model/actress Cara Delevingne wearing her initials. Celebrities Sarah Jessica Parker and Olivia Palermo followed suit.

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Burberry’s personalized poncho worn by-Cara Delevingne, Sarah Jessica Parker & Olivia Palermo; Source: Popsugar

In 2015, model Gigi Hadid made the rounds on social media & in fashion magazines when she wore a cropped jacket to the American Music Awards with her #HADID, sprawled across her back.

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Gigi Hadid at American Music Awards wearing #HADID jacket; Source: Popsugar

Earlier last month Victoria’s Secret model, Angel Alessandra Ambrosio, got into the act by posting a photo on Instagram wearing a personalized training tank top.

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Model & VS Angel Alessandra Ambrosio’s personalized tank

And customization also got political

Some celebs like Rihanna, in a patriotic nod even though she couldn’t vote, opted to share her T-shirt real estate with Hillary Clinton during the November 2016 election with the message “I’m with her. And her.”

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Rihanna’s “Hillary T-shirt”

Hey, do I smell a marketing opportunity?

By Fall/Winter 2016/2017, fashion forward houses like Christian Dior, Fendi and Marc Jacobs recognized the enormous marketing opportunity of customization, by offering products whereby the end-user could add their own personal touch to a slew of designer products.

Dior introduced charms for the straps of their iconic Lady Dior bag.

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Lady Dior bag with customizable pins

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Dior charms for the straps of their iconic Lady Dior bag

Fendi introduced mini-bags with detachable straps, sold separately, which range from fur-trimmed to colourful leather ruffles. The house has also introduced letter charms that can be used to spell out messages or names.

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Fendi’s mini-bags with detachable customizable straps

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Some of Fendi’s bag straps

Marc Jacobs offered pins and badges for his Fall/Winter 2016 collection that can be bought separately along with fashion staples like tees and denim jackets. The user can then stitch or affix the pins & badges to clothes from Cow Boy Hardware or to write messages and names.

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Marc Jacobs’ customization campaign

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Marc Jacobs’ pins and badges used to personalize clothes

Getting creative or just another marketing ploy?

As these new designer toys surface, are we lead to believe that this is an outlet for our own creativity? Or are these pins and badges another set of status symbols and marketing ploy?

Just as social media has empowered us to become our own stylist, could designers be joining hands to mark a new movement in fashion whereby the wearer is empowered to become his or her own designer? Let us know what you think!

Is Fashion Art? You Bet it is!

For decades, fashion scholars have debated whether fashion should be considered an art form or whether it is solely a craft. Some believe that due to the utilitarian aspect of fashion, it should not be considered art. However, much like famous Impressionist artists of the 19th century, such as Claude Monet, Georges Seurat and Vincent van Gogh, fashion designers also use their creativity as a form of self expression. This becomes even more apparent when fashion designers collaborate with artists. A glance back into fashion history reveals many collaborations between artists and fashion designers, beginning in the early 1900s. Paul Poiret, the first couturier to fuse art and fashion, worked with with prominent artists and illustrators including Georges Lepage, Erté, Georges Barbier and Raoul Duffy. In the 1930s, Elsa Schiaparelli collaborated with surrealist artists Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau and Christian Bérard.

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Evening jacket designed by Elsa Schiaparelli in collaboration with Jean Cocteau (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

During the 1960s, pop artist Andy Warhol joined with Yves Saint Laurent who used Warhol’s Campbell soup can imagery from his paintings to create a series of A-line paper dresses, one called “The Souper Dress.”

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The Souper Dress featuring Andy Warhol’s soup can graphics (Image Credit: metmuseum.org)

Fast forward to the 21st century. Marc Jacobs, while creative director at Louis Vuitton, collaborated with artists to reinvent the iconic LV logo handbag: Stephen Sprouse’s scrawled silver graffiti (2000), Takashi Murakami’s animated motifs (2004), Richard Prince’s “nurse” prints (2008) and Yayoi Kusama’s polka dots (2012).

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Takashi Murakami

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Louis Vuitton animated motifs bag in collaboration with Stephen Sprouse

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Yayoi Kusama’s polka dotted Louis Vuitton bag
(Image source: NY Times)

In 2016, designer Nicolas Ghesquière channeled California and continued the trend of artistic bags with the LV Petite Malle (small truck) for Cruise ’16.

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Louis Vuitton Petite Malle clutch

For the past couple of seasons, the trend of marrying art and fashion has become even stronger. Christopher Kane’s gown with nude figure patterns was amongst the most talked about at Met Gala 2015 when worn by FKA Twigs.

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FKA twigs wearing a Christopher Kane gown at Met gala 2015 (Image source: Daily Mail)

Moschino introduced pop culture and graffiti-inspired art in its Fall Winter 2015 collection. The graffiti gown and matching gloves from this collection was later worn by Katy Perry, also at the MET gala.

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Katy Perry in Moschino gown at Met gala 2015 (Image Source: US Weekly)

For their Spring Summer 2016 collection, Dolce & Gabbana paid tribute to Italy with dresses featuring imagery depicting different cities and their names – Roma, Venezia, Portofino amongst others.

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Featured above: Dolce & Gabbana dress with artwork depicting Roma and Venezia

Pierpaolo Piccioli collaborated with Zandra Rhodes for Valentino’s Spring Summer 2017 collection, creating gowns with prints of the Hieronymus Bosch painting, the Garden of Earthly Delights.

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Valentino Spring Summer 2017

A maxi dress from Alice+Olivia’s Spring/Summer 2017 ready-to-wear collection depicts a caricature of CEO/designer Stacey Bendet, sporting red lips and round sunglasses.

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Alice+Olivia Spring Summer 2017 (Image Credits: Vogue)

Marques’ Almeida added intricate floral art on their dresses, shorts, blouses and trousers.

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Marques’ Almeida Spring Summer 2017

At Dior, designer Maria Grazia Chiuri introduced feminine gowns and embroidered tulle dresses with tarot cards, cosmic and floral-inspired art with names like “Le Monde”, “La Lune” and “Le Soleil.”

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

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Dior Spring Summer 2017

Scholars will continue to debate whether fashion is really art, but we at the University of Fashion believe it is, especially when created in collaboration with artists!

Learn more about fashion history, past and present, with our costume history lessons: 100 Years of Fashion Rebels & Revolutionaries, Parts 1 & 2, Keeping Up With the Jones and Wheels Reels & Automobiles.