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CRUISE CONTROL: RESORT 2023 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Christopher John Rogers Resort 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Resort shows are back and stronger than ever as designers are presenting their collections again to pre-pandemic levels. The lucrative season, also known as cruise collections, is a pre-season line-up of ready-to-wear clothing created by a fashion house or fashion brand in addition to their spring and fall collections.

Resort collections were originally created for wealthy customers, aka the jetsetters, as they traveled to warm-weather destinations during the winter months. Traditionally, resort collections offered light spring or summer clothing during the winter months. Today, resort is targeted towards customers who have completed their fall wardrobes and are now looking forward to replenishing their vacation looks. In the United States, resort collections arrive in stores in November and are available for purchase until August, so typically resort collections will sit side by side with the brand’s spring collection, making resort the longest selling season and the most profitable.

Looks from Chanel’s Resort 2023 Show in Monte Carlo. (Photo Credit: V Magazine)

In the past, resort collections only offered beach-inspired vacation looks – such as swimsuits, caftans, walking shorts, and little sundresses in breezy fabrics. But today the season offers so much more. For many brands, restricting the resort season to summer staples only does not make financial sense. Today, the season is packed with transitional and seasonless looks to cater to customers around the world. The season gives brands the opportunity to satisfy global customers who travel all the time, as well as the demands of climate change, where in many parts of the winter, there is little to no winter.

Also, designers cannot ignore their global clients, and their biggest spends are in the ever-important Asian and Arab markets. Those consumers need clothes for different temperatures and at different times from the western markets.

A look from Derek Lam 10 Crosby’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Designers at all levels of the market create resort collections, from high fashion houses like Chanel, Dior, and Gucci to contemporary designers like Tory Burch, Derek Lam 10 Crosby, and Gianni. Originally resort collections were created for womenswear, but today, many brands are offering resort for menswear, such as Gucci and Burberry.

Looks from Gucci’s Resort 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Elle)

The majority of brands presented their resort collections on a smaller scale, with intimate appointments and lookbooks, but there are a few that presented a massive show in exotic locations. For the resort 2023 season, Chanel held its show on the shores of the Monte Carlo Beach Hotel, while Louis Vuitton flew the fashion set all the way to San Diego for a sun-soaked extravaganza against the backdrop of the brutalist architectural masterpiece that is the Salk Institute. Balenciaga’s show was held at The New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Gucci’s Alessandro Michele timed his ‘Cosmogonie’ show to perfectly line up with a lunar eclipse., thus creating one of the most magical moments of the season. The astronomy-themed show was held in a 13th century, octagonal Castel del Monte in Italy’s Puglia region with a slew of celebrities were in attendance such as Gucci muse Dakota Johnson, Elle Fanning, and Lana del Rey, to name a few.

So, while the resort season is still going strong, here are some of the biggest trends so far:

IN-VEST

This isn’t your grandpa’s sweater-vest. Designers are toughening up their resort collections with cool leather vests this season. From Chanel’s motor cross-inspired version to Louis Vuitton’s futuristic style, these sleeveless toppers will instantly give you street-style cred.

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

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

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

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

A look from MM6 Maison Margiela’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

WELL SUITED

Now that we are all heading back to the office, it’s time to re-fresh our suit options as designers are offering summer short suits that are bold and playful. From Chanel’s classic tweed version to Erdem’s embroidered look, these short-suits will keep you cool and looking chic.

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

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

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

A look from Frederick Anderson’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lafayette 148’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

SHIRT-CIRCUIT

It’s business as usual as the classic white shirt gets a makeover. From the exaggerated pointy collars at Gucci and The Row, to the ruffles at Prabal Gurung, these shirts are anything but basic.

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

A look from Tory Burch’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from The Row’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TAKE A BOW

After all the casual work from home looks we’ve worn for the past few year due to the pandemic, it’s exciting to see a return to workwear, and for resort, the pussycat blouse was all over the runway.

Looks from Balenciaga’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from The Row’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Naeem Khan’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

PRIMA GALLERINA

Designers are often inspired by art, but for resort, designers looked to the gallerina for inspiration. These anything but basic black looks will stand out in any gallery space making you the chicest person in the room.

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

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

Looks from Erdem’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Prabal Gurung’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TIME TO SHINE

Silver and gold, can anyone measure their worth, well for resort, designers are playing with the metallic hues for day and the results are intergalactic!

A look from Paco Rabanne’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Stella McCartney’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

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

MATCH-SET

Belly-baring tops are still going strong, but for resort, designers have turned the crop top into a matching two-piece looks that is playfully charming.

A look Moschino’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Preen by Thornton Bregazzi’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Paco Rabanne’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

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

MELLOW YELLOW

Yellow is the color of happiness, and optimism, of enlightenment and creativity, sunshine and spring, so its only fitting that the hue was found all over the resort runways as we all look forward to post-pandemic life.

A look from Stella McCartney’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Roberto Cavalli’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lafayette 148’s Resort 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, what is your favorite resort trend so far?

HOW THE FASHION INDUSTRY IS SUPPORTING UKRAINE AS WAR RAGES ON

ALL WE ARE SAYING IS GIVE PEACE A CHANCE…….

It was 1969, in room #1742 of Montreal’s Queen Elizabeth Hotel, that John Lennon wrote “Give Peace a Chance“.  The anti-war song, originally meant to be a “revolutionary” song for workers, has once again become the battlecry for our times. When on March 9th, a Ukrainian maternity and children’s hospital in Mariupol, southern Ukraine, was bombed we were all shocked to our core. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky said the bombing was “proof of a genocide.” No one could disagree. As the world watches, in horror, the atrocities being inflicted by Putin on innocent civilians in Ukraine, the fashion industry is stepping up, not only by banding together in solidarity, but doing much more. Read on.

An injured pregnant woman leaves the damaged hospital with her belongings. (Photo Credit: AP)

President Zelenskyy and his people are fighting back, a true David & Goliath story come to life. Most of the world is rooting for Ukraine to win, but in war, no one ever truly wins as the death toll is growing daily. As of this writing, over two million people have fled Ukraine and families are being ripped apart as women, children, and the elderly are leaving their loved ones, homes, and all their possessions behind to find refugee throughout Europe and the U.S. Men and many women are staying behind to fight for their land, many untrained, as civilians are given guns and quickly trained to aim and shoot to protect themselves.

For now, the West is aiding Ukraine with weapons, money, and medical necessities. As of March 9th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted with a wide bipartisan majority to pass a ban on importing Russian oil, natural gas and coal into the United States. A move that can further cripple the Russian economy. The bill will also take steps to revisit Russia’s role in the World Trade Organization and reauthorize the Magnitsky Act to strengthen sanctions on Russia for human rights violations.

Protests against Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are being held throughout Europe and the United States. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Fashion Industry Responds

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 in the middle of Milan Fashion Week, many designers and brands immediately began donating to various charities, as well as temporarily closing their stores throughout Russia.

Protest pictures during Milan Fall 2022 Fashion Week. (Photo Credit: Acielle Tanbetova)

Designers from Giorgio Armani to Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia (who was a child refugee himself as he fled his homeland of Georgia in 1993 at the age of twelve) have been speaking up against the conflict; and numerous international brands and luxury fashion groups, from LVMH and Kering to Prada, Hermès and H&M, announced they were temporarily stopping their commercial activities and shuttering their stores in Russia as a sign of protest against the war on Ukraine.

A man walks past a closed H&M store in a St. Petersburg, Russia, shopping center. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“We are currently living through a war in the heart of Europe. We strongly condemn it and we are close to the population involved in this tremendous situation,” said Italy’s Camera della Moda in a statement to WWD on the fashion retail situation in Russia. They went on to say that “the temporary closure of the retail stores in Russia is not contemplated by the regulations on sanctions currently in force in Europe, it is a voluntary decision that has been made by many national and international brands that have a direct retail distribution organization. However, we recall that many brands sell their collections in Russia through distributors or dealers and therefore cannot, including from a contractual point of view, close the sales areas in the season, as they already delivered the spring/summer collection in the past few months.”

The statement underscored that the Camera’s “commitment today is aimed at being close to all those who are suffering and this is why we have joined the UNHCR at its side in fund-raising to support the refugees with concrete aid for the people and families forced to flee within the national boundaries or to neighboring countries.”

Protests in Milan against the Russian attack on Ukraine. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Global and wide-ranging sanctions on Russia are bound to drastically impact those brands and businesses with a retail footprint in in the country, but in the humanitarian aspect of the crisis it is vital to take a stand. To that end, the fashion industry has united and is stepping up its efforts during this time of crisis.

Here’s a roundup of the initiatives taken by the fashion industry thus far:

LVMH

LVMH, the world’s largest luxury conglomerate (owning brands such as Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior, Fendi, Givenchy, Marc Jacobs, and Stella McCartney to name a few) donated €5 million ($5.4 million USD) to support the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) “to help the direct and indirect victims of this conflict.”

In addition, the company stands in solidarity with Ukraine and closed 124 of its stores in Russia. LVMH will still continue to pay its 3,500 employees in Russia.

LOUIS VUITTON

The French luxury powerhouse Louis Vuitton, made an immediate donation of €1 million ($1.09 million USD) to UNICEF, to provide aid for Ukrainian children and families.

“As millions of children and their families are facing immediate danger, the Maison, through the Louis Vuitton for UNICEF partnership, pledges to support UNICEF’s emergency response on the ground, responding swiftly to any emergencies by providing children and families in Ukraine with humanitarian aid including access to clean water, healthcare and education supplies, child protection services and psychosocial care,” the brand shared in a statement.

KERING

Kering, owner of Gucci and Saint Laurent among other brands, said on Instagram that it was making a “significant donation to the UNHCR, the United Nations Refugees Agency,” though it did not specify the amount.

GUCCI

Gucci enacted its global charity campaign Chime for Change and donated $500,000 to the UNHCR.

BALENCIAGA

The French label Balenciaga donated an undisclosed amount to the World Food Program (WFP), which launched an emergency operation to provide food assistance for people fleeing Ukraine and in neighboring countries.

CHANEL

The iconic French fashion house closed its stores in Russia and halted all e-commerce in the country. The brand also donated €2 million (about $2.18 million) to two relief organizations, CARE and UNHCR-UN Refugee Agency, which is “recognized for refugee support at the borders and for the specific care of families and children.”

In an Instagram post, the fashion house also announced that “Foundation Chanel will be working closely with its local partners to provide future critical support over the medium and long term to women and children impacted by this evolving situation.”

GIORGIO ARMANI

After showing its latest collection in Milan in silence, out of respect for the war in Ukraine, the Armani Group announced a donation of €500,000 (about $543,000) to UNHCR “for the assistance and protection of those who have been forced to flee the war in Ukraine.”

The company is also donating clothing essentials to refugees through the Italian nonprofit organization Comunità di Sant’Egidio, which already has a presence on the borders of Ukraine.

FASHION MODELS

Argentine model Mica Argañaraz, a regular presence on almost every major runway, posted on her Instagram story, “I have to say it feels very weird walking fashion shows knowing there’s a war happening in the same continent.” She noted that she would “be donating part of my earnings of this fashion week to help Ukrainian organizations” and called on fellow models to do the same. Supermodel sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid, Kaia Gerber, Vittoria Ceretti, Kiki Willems, Francesca Summers, and Aylah Peterson have also joined the movement and will donate part of their earnings to Ukraine.

L’OREAL PARIS

The cosmetic giant L’Oréal Paris, has teamed up with a number of local and international nonprofits (including UNHCR, Red Cross and UNICEF) to support the growing number of refugees, and people on the ground in Ukraine with a donation of €1 million ($1.09 million) through its L’Oréal Fund for Women.

“We have already made a donation of one million euros and have started to deliver hygiene products to NGOs in Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania and in Ukraine itself,” a statement reads on the company’s corporate website. “We will donate 300,000 products over the coming weeks.”

The beauty brand continues: “We strongly condemn the invasion and war in Ukraine, which is causing so much suffering to the Ukrainian people. Our thoughts go out to our 326 Ukrainian employees, their families and the people of Ukraine whose lives have been changed so dramatically in the last eight days. Although some have managed to cross the border, the majority of our employees remain in the country in increasingly harsh circumstances. We are concerned about them and fear for their safety.”

HERMES

Hèrmes announced that it would “temporarily close our stores in Russia and pause all our commercial activities,” where they have three stores and 60 employees.

BURBERRY

Burberry has shut down its three stores in Russia. The British luxury house brand also donated an undisclosed amount to the British Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal. It also said it would match any employee donations to charities supporting humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

VALENTINO

Italian luxury house Valentino donated €500,000 (about $543,000) to the UNHCR to provide immediate help to the Ukrainian refugees.

RALPH LAUREN

Given the urgency of the situation, the Ralph Lauren Corporate Foundation has made an immediate donation to @CARE.org, an organization working with partners to provide critical support and aid to Ukrainian families and is double-matching employee donations to CARE. In addition, it is partnering with its network of international charities to donate essential clothing that will be distributed throughout Ukraine as well as in bordering countries to reach refugees. The company has paused operations in Russia.

TORY BURCH

Tory Burch is supporting World Central Kitchen, which is on the ground in Poland feeding hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. The company has made a donation and pledged to match any employee donations throughout the month of March.

COACH

Coach’s parent company’s Tapestry Foundation has donated to the United Nations Refugee Agency to provide safety and shelter to those who have been displaced.

MINIMALIST

Tamara Davydova is the fashion designer behind the brand MINIMALIST and was born, raised, and married in Kyiv, Ukraine. She founded the circular fashion brand MINIMALIST last year and is devastated by what’s currently happening in her homeland and affecting friends and family. She’s pledging 30% of the proceeds from sales of her collection to the Red Cross and UNICEF in Ukraine plus offering 10% off to customers using the code TOGETHER at checkout. The collection is available at minimalist.nyc.

ADIDAS

Athletic brand Adidas has suspended its long-term partnership with the Russian Football Union (RFU), the German sportswear company also announced it would be is donating €100,000 (about $108,700) as well as footwear and apparel to organizations helping children and refugees.

H&M

The fast-fashion retailer H&M has currently paused all sales in Russia and closed its 170 stores located throughout the country.

ASOS

Fast-fashion company ASOS said on Twitter that it would no longer be doing any retail out of Russia.

“We’ve been watching the shocking events in Ukraine in horror and disbelief. We’ve concluded it’s neither practical nor right to continue to trade in Russia & today have suspended sales there,” the brand wrote. “We’re supporting the humanitarian effort and our thoughts are with the people of Ukraine.”

MANGO

Mango has halted sales in Russia and donated €100,000 (about $108,700) to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

GANNI

Ganni, the Danish contemporary ready-to-wear fashion brand, donated 100.000 DKK (approx. $14,700) to the Danish Refugee Council, a nonprofit currently on the ground helping the crisis in Ukraine.

 

As governments around the world grapple with how to stop Putin’s war and the needless suffering, we will continue to keep an eye on how the fashion industry, and hopefully soon the music industry, is doing its part. At UoF we are donating to Ukrainian children through UNICEF USA.

Here’s a list of the organizations that the fashion industry is donating to:

International Committee of the Red Cross

United Nations Refugees Agency

Direct Relief

Mercy Corps

International Medical Corps

Save the Children

Unicef USA

So tell us, how are you helping to support Ukraine in these troubling times?

MENSWEAR FALL 2022 COLLECTIONS: FLORENCE – MILAN – PARIS

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

Looks from Dries Van Noten’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Two years later and our lives are still topsy-turvy as we all try to navigate through the Covid-19 pandemic. New Year’s Eve festivities were put on hold as the Omicron variant spread so quickly throughout the world. The new variant also had a major impact on menswear fashion week for the fall 2022 season, from Pitti Uomo in Florence to Paris.

Pitti Uomo/Florence 

Pitti Uomo kicked off the fall 2022 menswear season January 11th through the 13th. The menswear extravaganza took place in Florence, Italy, which this season’s theme was centered around ‘Reflections’. Unfortunately, due to the rise in Omicron-positive cases, many brands cancelled their presentations, including Brunello Cucinelli and guest brand Ann Demeulemeester. However, Italian luxury brand Kiton, known for hand-made Neapolitan tailored suits,  presented their casual line KTN for the first time at Pitti Uomo. Also, high-end sportswear line Paul & Shark presented and re-enforced their commitment to sustainability.

Milan

The fashion set comprised of buyers, editors, and influencers then hopped from Florence to the Milan for that city’s fashion week, which ran from January 15th to the 17th. Once again, due to Omnicron, a number of designers and brands cancelled their physical presentations and events, including Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Gucci and MSGM. JW Anderson, who was scheduled to present its first menswear show in Italy, also cancelled. But the city still had plenty of excitement with labels such as Fendi, Prada, Ermenegildo Zegna and Dolce & Gabbana, throwing caution to the wind, opted for live runway shows.

Jeff Goldblum in a look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit; Vogue Runway)

Although Milan Fashion Week was short, it was still inspiring and impactful. Some of the highlights included Prada’s runway which was packed with some of Hollywood’s legendary stars, including Twin Peaks’ Kyle MacLachlan, Jurassic Park’s Jeff Goldblum, Moonlight’s Ashton Sanders and Sex Education’s Otis Butterfield. While Prada focused on the dapper gentleman, Dolce & Gabbana appealed to Gen-Z fans, with a lively performance from Machine Gun Kelly, dressed fittingly in a sequin suit from the label.

At Fendi, Silvia Fenturini Fendi was fascinated by notions of classicism. The Roman house presented a ‘treasure trove of future heirlooms’ that riffed on the elegance and sophistication of old-world silhouettes. The label is also dabbling on gender-bending looks as the luxury house featured boundary-defying feminine silhouettes to its fall 2022 show. Love the idea of sharing your wardrobe with your boyfriend/husband? This is the brand for you!

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

Paris

France eased their Covid restrictions just days before Paris Fashion Week’s Menswear shows, which ran from January 18th to the 23rd. Only a handful of designers (approximately 17) staged live runway presentation – including Rick Owens, Dior Homme, and Loewe. The remaining brands were a mix of digital streams and physical presentations.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The highlight of the week?  Thursday Jan. 20th, when Louis Vuitton presented the late Virgil Abloh’s final collection for the house; Virgil Abloh passed away on November 28, 2021, at the age of 41, after a private two-year battle with cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare cancer. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. It was the best tribute EVER.

Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. Courtesy of FF Channel on YouTube.

A portrait of Nigo, the newly appointed artistic director of Maison Kenzo. (Photo Credit: Kenzo)

Menswear buyers, press, and influencers were over-the-moon about streetwear visionary Nigo’s first collection as artistic director for the Japanese label Kenzo. It was a star-studded event that had more Instagram followers than you could imagine.

Meanwhile, at Dior Men, Creative Director Kim Jones paid tribute to the founder of the house in celebration of Christian Dior’s 75th anniversary.

Dior’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. Courtesy of Dior Channel on YouTube.

Here’s a round-up of some of the biggest trends in Menswear for Fall 2022:

FLOWER POWER

It’s a garden party delight as designers opted for pretty floral motifs for fall 2022. From Louis Vuitton’s tapestry-inspired coat and pants to Erdem’s slim-cut pantsuit. These delicate prints add joie de vivre to the cold winter ahead.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Erdems’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GENDER NEUTRAL

Designers continue to break thru the confines of gender norms this season as they offer plenty of skirts and dresses that can be worn no matter your gender.

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Comme des Garçons Homme Plus’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rick Owns’ Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Moschino’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LEATHER REPORT & THE BOLD SHOULDER

Chic leather coats were all over the fall 2022 runways as they ran the gamut from a Matrix-esque version at Dolce & Gabbana to a belted, Seventies-inspired style at Prada. And the focus was on the big and bold shoulder.

A look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dior Men’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rhude’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Y Project’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

IN LIVING COLOR

Bright neon hues ruled the runways as the oversaturated tones made there way on everything from cozy knits to terrific outerwear.

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Prada’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Moschino’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from JW Anderson’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Hermès’ Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SUPER SIZE ME

Baggy looks are still going strong in the menswear market, and for fall 2022, designers are opting for oversized looks that still maintain remarkable tailoring guaranteeing that proportions are still sharp and clean.

A look from Zegna’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bianca Saunders’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

A look from Jil Sander’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GET SHORTY

Often a summertime staple, shorts made a splash on the runways this fall 2022 season. From MSMG’s sporty quilted version to Fendi’s dapper suit look, one things for sure, next winter men will be showcasing their legs more than ever.

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

A look from Comme des Garçons Homme Plus’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from MSGM’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Etro’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Fall 2022 Menswear Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

WELL SUITED

We may all be heading back to the office soon, but rather than your typical menswear suit, designers are opting for tailored looks in a range of bold and happy colors.

A look from Etro’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Bianca Saunders’ Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2022 Menswear Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

LOSS OF A FASHION TRAILBLAZER

But the biggest fashion news that came out between the Milan and Paris shows was the passing of André Leon Talley on January 18, 2022. The larger-than-life former Vogue editor, who was only 73, passed away of a heart attack. Talley was a legend in the fashion world and broke down barriers for homosexual black men in the industry. Talley was a gentleman of grand pronouncements, over-the-top capes, and friends in design studios from New York to Paris—Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, Diane von Furstenberg, Karl Lagerfeld, and many more. When the news of his death broke, many of his friends in fashion and beyond took to social media to express their grief, and a theme emerged. The “pharaoh of fabulosity,” as a Vogue staffer once dubbed Talley, was also the industry’s biggest champion and booster, the first editor backstage, quick with encouraging advice or a course correction. His enthusiasm was prodigious.

André Leon Talley at home in White Plains, N.Y., in 2017. (Photo Credit: Ike Edeani for The New York Times)

It was no secret within the fashion industry that Anna Wintour and André Leon Talley had a falling out. In his book, The Chiffon Trenches: A Memoir, Tally wrote of Wintour, “She is not capable of simple human kindness. I would love for her to say something human and sincere.” When she replaced Talley with YouTube personality Lisa Zoshy as host at the 2018 Met Gala, he remarked “it felt like I was thrown under the bus. It hurt”. And yet in an industry where you can be ‘cast-out’ as quickly as you are ‘cast-in’, Wintour recently wrote:

The loss of André is felt by so many of us today: the designers he enthusiastically cheered on every season, and who loved him for it; the generations he inspired to work in the industry, seeing a figure who broke boundaries while never forgetting where he started from; those who knew fashion, and Vogue, simply because of him; and, not forgetting, the multitude of colleagues over the years who were consistently buoyed by every new discovery of André’s, which he would discuss loudly, and volubly—no one could make people more excited about the most seemingly insignificant fashion details than him. Even his stream of colorful faxes and emails were a highly anticipated event, something we all looked forward to.

“Yet it’s the loss of André as my colleague and friend that I think of now; it’s immeasurable. He was magnificent and erudite and wickedly funny—mercurial, too. Like many decades-long relationships, there were complicated moments, but all I want to remember today, all I care about, is the brilliant and compassionate man who was a generous and loving friend to me and to my family for many, many years, and who we will all miss so much.”

With news of the passing of yet another fashion icon, Thierry Mugler, tell us, who influences you the most as an aspiring fashion designer?

MEN’S FASHION WEEK SPRING 2022 – THE BIGGEST TRENDS FROM MILAN AND PARIS

A look from Walter Van Beirendonck’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Walter Van Beirendonck)

After a very tough year and a half, life is starting to get back to normal as more and more countries are distributing the various vaccines which have been proven to work. And so, the Euro Cup Championships had soccer enthusiasts in their stadiums (Italy one after a very tough game against England), Wimbledon had tennis fanatics in the stands, singers are performing live in stadiums packed with fans, Broadway shows are back on, and everything is starting to open-up at full capacity.

This is extremely exciting news for fashion insiders, as more and more shows can go live for the spring season. Milan and Paris just wrapped up the Men’s Spring 2022 collections, and there were plenty of in-real-life runway shows and presentations and let us not forget that with IRL shows comes great street style opportunities.

Riccardo Tisci finds himself at Burberry. (Photo Credit: Burberry)

The spring 2022 men’s collections were optimistic and joyful, the designers behind the labels demonstrated a renewed creative energy that was exciting to see. In Milan, designers approached the season with unrestrained enthusiasm fueled by dreams of happier days ahead. They struck the perfect balance between nostalgic and cutting edge. Designers in Paris also embraced a playful side in their collections, as they welcomed summer 2022 with lighthearted and cheeky collections. These joyful collections are the perfect way to re-enter the world post covid and bring some delight back into our lives.

BIGGEST TRENDS OUT OF MILAN

HOW TO WEAR A CARDIGAN

“It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood” and so Mr. Rogers sang in his beloved cardigan sweater. And the popular knit style is still going strong. For Spring 2022, the cardigan gains traction as they could be found all over the Milan runways, from Moschino’s varsity style to Missoni’s signature zig-zag motif. The cardigan is the perfect layering piece for all year round.

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Moschino)

A look from Jil Sander’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Jil Sander)

A look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Missoni)

A look from Brunello Cucinelli’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Bruno Cucinelli)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

TAILOR MADE

After a year and a half of working from home, the suit is making a major comeback this season. But forget the traditional business suit, for spring designers are offering the tailored classic in an array of bold colors to brighten your day.

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

A look from Etro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo: Credit Etro)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

A look from Jil Sander’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Jil Sander)

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Moschino)

SHORT STORIES

Short shorts are not only for women, for spring designers offered heaps of micro shorts to show of those tone legs. There’s no limit to how short you can go.

A look from Prada’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Prada)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

A look from Ermenegildo Zegna’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ermenegildo Zegna)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

BLUE JEAN BABY

Double up on your denim, as the Canadian tuxedo trend has hit the pinnacle of fashion.

A look from Brioni’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Brioni)

A look from Diesel’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Diesel)

A look from Fendi’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana)

A look from Tod’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tod’s)

MAXIMIST REVIVAL

The Milan runways were filled with humor. Designers had fun mixing and matching prints and patterns in an array of colors. The outcome, delightfully fun collection that will be sure to lift our spirits post-pandemic.

A look from Etro’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Etro)

A look from Giorgio Armani’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Giorgio Armani)

A look from MSGM’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

look from Missoni’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Missoni)

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabbana.)

BIGGEST TRENDS OUT OF PARIS

SKIRTING THE ISSUE

Parisian designers are pushing the boundaries of gender norms by showing an abundance of men in skirts on the runway. These gender bending looks ranged from Kurt Cobain-inspired grunge vibes at Dries Van Noten to cool goth boy vibes at Yohji Yamamoto.

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dries Van Noten)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Yohji Yamamoto)

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Junya Watanabe)

A look from Comme des Garcons Homme Plus’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Comme des Garcons Homme Plus)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

RAIN ON ME

Rain, rain, go away…. Designers are fighting away the spring shower blues with these terrific raincoats. These practical outerwear looks are cool yet classic.

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dries Van Noten)

A look from Dior Men’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Dior Men)

A look from Hermès’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hermès)

A look from Undercover’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Undercover)

HOLY FASHION

Cut-it-out. Sexy, skin baring looks are a big trend in woman’s wear and now the creative cut-out pieces have hit the men’s runways in Paris.

A look from Burberry’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Burberry)

A look from Rick Owens’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Rick Owens)

A look from Y Project’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Y Project)

A look from Courreges’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courreges)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

IN-VEST

The vest is making a major comeback for spring 2022 and they are anything but traditional, from Rick Owens’ galactic version to Isabel Marant’s bohemian floral motif, these trendy vests are a great way to add a dramatic flair to any look.

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Isabel Marant)

A look from Acne Studio’s Spring 2022 Collection. (hoto Credit: Acne Studio)

A look from Rick Owens’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Rick Owens)

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Junya Watanabe)

A look from Courreges’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courreges)

PRINTS CHARMING

Joie de vie filled the runways in Paris as designers opted for bold, head-to-toe printed ensembles.  From Louis Vuitton’s landscape motif suit to JW Anderson’s quirky strawberry leisure-look, these show-stopping outfits are the perfect way to re-enter the world post-pandemic.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

A look from Comme des Garcons Homme Plus’ Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Comme des Garcons Homme Plus)

A look from Lanvin’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Lanvin)

A look from JW Anderson’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: JW Anderson)

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Yohji Yamamoto)

Did you know our menswear lessons will give you a solid foundation so that you can draft any of these looks?

RESORT 2022 – THE JOY OF DRESSING CONTINUES

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Versace’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Versace)

As we celebrate Father’s Day and our newest U.S. federal holiday, Juneteenth (marking the end of slavery), and as the number of COVID cases continue to drop as vaccination numbers rise, we have a lot to look forward to post-pandemic.

After a year and a half of pandemic fashion, sales are soaring as people are starting to dress up again. What are they  gravitating to? The answer? Happy, colorful fashion. And judging by Resort 2022, the message is loud and clear.

Dior’s Cruise Show (Courtesy of YouTube).

Designers’ all got the memo and Resort 2022 collections were simply great. Just released images of the collections presented to buyers and the press included some fully staged spectacles in exotic locations that resulted in a desire to travel once again. Maria Grazia Chiuri presented her Dior Cruise collection in the birthplace of sports, the Panathenaic Stadium, where Ancient Greeks showed off their athletic capabilities circa 330 BC. Meanwhile, Virginie Viard took her graphic Chanel cruise collection to Provence, a beautiful region in the south of France, considered one of the area’s loveliest villages and the inspiration behind a few of Vincent van Gogh’s landscape masterpieces. Speaking of Van Gogh, have you reserved your tickets yet for the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit touring the country?

Chanel’s Cruise Show. Courtesy of YouTube.

WHAT IS A RESORT COLLECTION?

For those unfamiliar with resort collection or cruise collection, and sometimes referred to as holiday or travel collection (collection croisière, in French), is an inter-season or pre-season line of ready-to-wear clothing produced by a fashion house or fashion brand in addition to the recurrent twice-yearly seasonal collections – spring/summer and autumn (or fall)/winter – heralded at the fashion shows in New York, London, Paris and Milan.

Cruise collections were initially created for affluent customers or “more seasoned jet-setters” going on cruises or vacationing in the warm Mediterranean during the winter months,. Cruise collections are synonymous with light and airy summer clothing and shipped to stores in the middle of the cold winter months. While the idea of cruise wear sounds old fashion and elitist, today’s fashion savvy customers view the season as a chance to spruce up their winter wardrobes as they head into Spring.

A look from No. 21’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: No. 21)

Resort collections typically hit the stores in November, perfect timing for Holiday shopping; the season is an extra opportunity for brands to rack up some extra sales. Resort has become an incredibly important season for vendors, beyond the promise of clothes with mainstream appeal, Resort remains on sales floors longest without ever going on sale, approximately 6 months before hitting the sales rack, which makes it the most profitable season for most brands.

A look from Brandon Maxwell’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Brandon Maxwell)

While the season is still in full swing, here are a few key trends of the season so far:

OUT OF CONTROL LOGOMANIA

Designer logos are everywhere this resort season from Gucci’s double G splattered all over suits, outerwear, and accessories, to a more subtle Versace Greek Key logo on dresses, tops and headscarves; one thing is for sure, you will definitely be noticed in these bold looks.

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

A look from Versace’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Versace)

 

A look from Chanel’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

MARCHING ORDERS

Legions of camouflage, utility pockets, and olive drab marched their way into the resort season, but this time with a chic and refined twist.

A look from Louis Vuitton’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

 

A look from Balmain’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

 

A look from Norma Kamali’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Norma Kamali)

 

A look from Proenza Schouler’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Proenza Schouler)

 

A look from Tod’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tod’s)

YARN IT ALL

Miles beyond your basic knit sweater, Resort 2022 offers wonderfully tactile knit dresses that are as bold and beautiful as they are comfortable and effortless.

A look from Chloe’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Chloe)

 

A look from Christopher John Rogers’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christopher John Rogers)

 

A look from Gabriela Hearst’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gabriela Hearst)

 

A look from Missoni’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Missoni)

WHITE NOISE

Designers wiped the slate clean with an all-white palette that offered plenty of visual intrigue in alluring textures such as lace, eyelet, and crochet details.

A look from Alberta Ferretti’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alberta Ferretti)

 

A look from Zimmermann’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Zimmermann)

 

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

 

A look from Ulla Johnson’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ulla Johnson)

SPORTS CENTER

Take to the sporty life with chic riffs on everything from bike shorts to track jackets.

A look from Christian Dior’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Christian Dior)

 

A look from Hillier Bartley’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Hillier Bartley)

 

A look from MM6 Maison Margiela’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MM6 Maison Margiela)

 

A look from MSGM’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

 

A look from Staud’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Staud)

POINT OF HUE

Designers softened their collections with pretty pastels that were a celebration of color, making the season a wonderful rhapsody in hue.

A look from Antonio Marras’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Antonio Marras)

 

A look from Emilio Pucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Emilio Pucci)

 

A look from Tory Burch’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Tory Burch)

 

A look from Preen by Thorton Bregazzi’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Preen By Thornton Bregazzi)

 

Looks from Oscar de la Renta’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Oscar de la Renta)

WELL SUITED

As the pandemic restrictions are lifted and a return to the office is in the near future, designers are offering plenty of pantsuits that are oh so chic yet effortlessly fabulous.

A look from Gucci’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit Gucci)

A look from Nehera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nehera)

 

A look from Khaite’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Khaite)

 

A look from St. John’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: St. John)

A look from Maria McManus’ Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Maria McManus)

MIX-N-MATCH

More is more. For resort 2022 designers are having fun mixing an array of prints and patterns, creating a visual feast for the eyes.

A look from Thom Browne’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Thom Browne)

 

A look from Sandy Liang’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sandy Liang)

 

A look from Anna Sui’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Anna Sui)

 

A look from Philosopy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini)

 

A look from Carolina Herrera’s Resort 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Carolina Herrera)

So tell us, what was your favorite trend for the Resort 2022 season?

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?

GAMECHANGERS: THE RISE OF FASHION VIDEO GAMES

 

Ralph Lauren collaborates with Snapchat. (Photo Credit: Ralph Lauren)

With the holidays just around the corner and our festivities limited to “home pod” celebrations and Zoom events, one thing is for certain, this was a year like no other. As we witnessed a global pandemic, an unprecedented number of deaths, a world in lockdown and a toppling of the world economy, we somehow managed to remain hopeful. With the rolling out a COVID-19 vaccine, we just need to have more patience. This year we learned to appreciate our families, health-care workers and first responders. We also learned that wearing a mask shows you care.

Face Masks have become the most popular accessory of 2020. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Despite the pandemic, this was a year of creativity. Fashion designers went into full scale production of masks and PPE, schools migrated to remote learning, parents threw drive-by celebrations for their kids’ birthdays, schools threw virtual proms and graduations for their seniors and families organized Thanksgiving  Zoom-ebrations.

The fashion industry, once a bastion of tradition, became exceptionally creative as a result of the pandemic, when it came to fashion week. Some brands held virtual audience-less fashion shows, some created short videos and others found artistic ways to shoot their lookbooks.

And now, one of the most inventive ways a designer can showcase their collection is the video game platform. If you are a fervent reader of the UoF blog, you will remember that on April 6th   we predicted this as an innovative way for brands to connect with their customers (Demna Gvasalia, were you listening?)  Here’s the link for reference:

https://www.universityoffashion.com/blog/fashion-computer-game/

BALENCIAGA

On Dec. 6th the video game “Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow” (set in the year 2031) was launched featuring Demna Gvasalia’s main collection for Balenciaga’s fall 2021 season. Enter the world of fashion-tainment!

According to WWD, the allegorical adventure features environments and characters using cutting-edge photogrammetry and the most advanced technology for game hosting, according to the Paris-based fashion house, noting that “Afterworld sets a record for the largest volumetric video project ever undertaken.” For those of us new to digital jargon, photogrammetry is “the science and technology of obtaining reliable information about physical objects and the environment through the process of recording, measuring and interpreting photographic images and patterns of electromagnetic radiant imagery and other phenomena.

Like many designers, Gvasalia must surely miss the excitement of a live runway show, but honestly, the pandemic didn’t stop him from presenting his fashion-forward collection in an avant-garde way. For Paris Fashion Week Spring 2021, Gvasalia was highly praised for his fashion film set to Corey Hart’s “I Wear My Sunglasses at Night,” which showcased Balenciaga’s summer pre-collection with models dashing through rain-slicked Paris streets after dark.

Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow

What better timing to launch a new computer game than the holidays, during a pandemic, with a stay-at-home order in place! Brilliant marketing, no?

So here’s how it works:

“A hero avatar advances throughout distinct zones, motivated by tasks and interactions,” the house said, sharing details of the online game first with WWD. “The narrative of ‘Afterworld’ is anchored to mythological pasts and projected futures with timeless archetypes and speculative imagery.”

Balenciaga’s pre-collection is futuristic and is inspired by what fashion might be like in 2031 in a conceptual way, and the idea carries over into what’s displayed in the video game.

“A theme of Balenciaga fall 2021 is human destiny, as seen by an interactive, gamified journey,” the house said. “The world may appear to be decaying at first, but it is far from a dystopian view, showing instead the slow return to a healthier balance of nature and industry.”

If you’re a true gamer with quick skills and can beat the game, the reward is “A real-life breathing exercise set in a virtual utopia. In the end, the hero has finally becomes (as it is referred to in Hero’s Journey analysis) a ‘Master of  Two Worlds’,” Balenciaga told WWD, apparently alluding to studies of archetypal heroes by the late American academic Joseph Campbell.

Gvasalia has been breaking the traditional fashion industry rules and they seem to be working to his advantage. Last September the designer revealed that he would show Balenciaga’s pre-collections during Paris Fashion Week, and his main collections for the house in June and December, reversing his previous show order.  The unconventional designer also stated in past interviews that he wishes to break away from the hamster wheel of doing runway shows every season; although he hasn’t ruled out runway shows in the future. Gvasalia is already planning to stage a show next July for Balenciaga’s much anticipated return to haute couture.

Demna Gvasalia, the Creative Director for Balenciaga. (Photo Credit: WWD)

“Fashion has become such a checklist. And I feel like I personally want to try to do it differently,” Gvasalia said in an interview with WWD.

 

OTHER FASHION COMPUTER GAMES

Balenciaga’s timing to release an online video game comes at a pinnacle time in the crossover between gaming and fashion, a relationship that has been progressively developing.

Animal Crossings designer collaborations. (Left) Looks from Valentino. (Right) Looks from Marc Jacobs. (Photo Credit: AllGamers HyperX)

Since lockdowns began, fashion lovers have been playing Animal Crossing, a Nintendo-created game (launched in 2001), but since May, designer brands such as Marc Jacobs and Valentino have created “New Horizons” looks and the game’s popularity took off.  Suddenly, the Nintendo Switch and Switch Light, the game system to play Animal Crossings on, were on everyone’s wish list and they became hard to find. Even Instagram accounts like Animal Crossing Fashion Archive, Nook street Market, and Animalcrossfits became a craze. 2020 has brought in a new area in fashion and gaming, and it’s so much more than just picking out your favorite color for a character’s t-shirt.

Across the board, luxury fashion houses are collaborating with the video game industry, as this promises to be the future of marketing and retail as Generation Z and Alpha are incredibly tech driven.

Gucci unveiled a series of new app features including the Arcade App, inviting customers to play with popular house motifs and characters, plus AR technology allowing them to virtually “try on” sneakers and watches. The Italian luxury brand also launched a collaboration with The Sims and a tennis-themed outfit game, Tennis Clash.

K slash DA in Louis Vuitton. (Photo Credit Louis Vuitton)

Louis Vuitton launched its League of Legends capsule collection last year, in partnership with Riot Games. Meanwhile, Burberry collaborated with Snapchat and created Animal Kingdom, an in-store gamified experience in which Snapcodes transport shoppers to a Burberry world. Snapchat also teamed up with Ralph Lauren to create virtual clothing for personal Bitmojis.

“With confinement, we started the year 2020 to wake up into 2025,” describes Christian Louboutin of such acceleration in an interview with Nylon magazine. “I’m not a gamer myself — I can barely switch on the TV — but I’ve observed in the last few years more and more people, especially at the airport or in planes, playing on their phones.” Just this past October, the footwear designer presented his Spring 2021 collection via the app Zepeto, enabling users to create personal avatars and discover his latest creations.

In an interview with Nylon magazine, “Our social lives are now predominantly playing out online. Therefore, our main channel to present ourselves and shape out identity is digital,” says Rachael Stott, futures analyst at strategic foresight consultancy the Future Laboratory, which estimates that when it comes to in-game spending, U.S. gamers each spend on average $229 on digital purchases. For comparison’s sake, the new stand alone XBox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 both retail for $499, while the Oculus Quest 2 all-in-one virtual reality headset retails for $399.

According to the trend forecasting agency WGSN, gaming has an estimated global reach of 2.7 billion; and ‘skins’, virtual items that change the look of a character, accounted for 80% of the $120 billion spent on digital games in 2019.

“Fashion working with gaming is kind of the next obvious step in the evolution of fashion,” says Erin Wayne, head of community and creator marketing at Twitch (in an interview with Nylon magazine). The live-streaming platform launched in 2011, now boasts 26.5 million daily visitors. In September, Burberry became the first luxury fashion label to partner with the service and stream its Spring 2021 show, and in July, the UK-based university Ravensbourne streamed its graduating fashion students’ collections, which had been presented via a digital avatar project.

“Gen Zers are digital natives. They don’t want content pushed at them,” says Adam Harris, global head of brand partnership studio at Twitch. On Twitch, you can find anything from cats sleeping to ASMR to gaming to chatting. Teens today will seek out the content they are interested in, case in point, Fortnite’s Travis Scott spectacular in April: 12 million players logged into the concert. Meanwhile, Lil Nas X’s recent stint on gaming platform Roblox drew 33 million views.

“Fashion brands are primarily infiltrating gaming as a marketing tool,” points out Stott. With doors to physical stores shuttered, gaming devices have the potential to build communities. “Spending hours crafting a digital replica to show your peers currently makes sense,” she says.

The Puma X Tabitha Simmons Collection on Drest. (Photo Credit: Drest)

There are a handful of other fashion video games as well. “Drest” an interactive styling game, that was launched towards the end on 2019 now carries over 200 brands. The video game was founded by Lucy Yeomans, a former magazine editor-in-chief of Net-a-Porter and editor of the fashion magazine Harper’s Bazaar in the UK. Another popular fashion game is DressX, which was founded by Daria Shapovalova and Natalia Modenova. They are a retail platform for digital fashion, carrying over 30 brands, mostly URL only, some IRL, too, sell between $25 and $200. It’s like digital couture.

“Gaming is starting to become such a cultural force. Our mission is to become one of those brands like the Dickies [of the world] or whoever was at the beginning of that culture,” Simon Brown, product director of Fnatic says in an interview with Nylon.

 

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THAT’S A WRAP: THE SPRING 2021 SHOW SEASON COMES TO AN END

- - Fashion Shows

A golden look from Paco Rabanne’s Spring 2021 Runway. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Paco Rabanne)

It’s a wrap! The Spring 2021 Fashion Season has officially come to an end. Now known as Phygital Fashion Month, a hybrid mix of digital and physical fashion presentations, Paris officially closed the season with a bang on  Tuesday, Oct. 7th. Some of the heavy hitter brands, Chanel, Balenciaga, Givenchy, Miu Miu, and Louis Vuitton turned video into an art form, while others chose to show their collection in the old-fashioned traditional runway format. Either way, it was a great season.

Sporty chic at Miu Miu’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Miu Miu)

While many have debated how can the industry go forward with fashion presentations in the middle of a global pandemic, many designers responded with whimsical collections giving us all hope for a brighter and happier future. After all, the purpose of the runway to give us an escape from reality and transform us into the designer’s fictional collection world. Here are a few collections that ended Paris Fashion Week with bravado and excitement.

A Goth inspired wedding at Maison Margiela’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Maison Margiela)

BALENCIAGA

Hope is the last thing to die” is an old Russian saying that inspired Balenciaga’s creative director Demna Gvasalia to move forward with creating his latest collection. Always one to defy fashion norms, Gvasalia and his husband created a music video to present his spring 2021 Balenciaga collection. In an interview with Vogue Runway, the creative director stated, “You know, I couldn’t wait not to do a show. It didn’t feel right with the way things are. So we’ve made a music video. My husband recorded that ’80s track by Corey Hart, ‘I wear my sunglasses at night’—because you know, is there anything more absurdly fashion than that? It’s also allegorical. You know, where is fashion going? It’s out there, searching in the dark at the moment, not seeing…

In the middle of  pandemic and global unrest, the video might have sounded like an apocalyptic film; but thankfully that was not the case as the video was a tribute to Balenciaga’s nighttime people; each subject was captured walking Paris’ dark streets to a purposeful destination, all dressed in Balenciaga’s latest looks, complete with sunglasses. The video captured the essence of Paris’ nightlife and glamour as each model strutted the streets heading to see friends – an activity we all long for as we’ve spent months in quarantine. The video was upbeat, alive and oh so clever. Streets as the runway. Brilliant!

Gvasalia has always been an activist for the environment and being in isolation only strengthened his passion for sustainable fashion. In a press release, the house released specifics: “93.5% of the plain materials in this collection are either certified sustainable or upcycled. 100% of the print bases have sustainable certifications.” With the resources of the Kering Group at hand, Gvasalia said, “we discovered we could do it quite easily, with the exception of the fibers that are in some of the existing fabrics. There are solutions if you look for them. There’s a need to revise things. To start a new chapter.” He believes in the future consumers will be reusing the clothes they already own. This begs the question: how will your favorite pieces stand the test of time?

For spring Gvasalia hopes to answer that question by creating a timeless collection of great pieces that ranged from terrific outerwear to cozy knits and cool athletic wear. While most of the collection was genderless, such as the oversized outerwear, the distressed hoodies, classic denim, plaid shirting and oversized tailored suiting. The designer also created a few effortless wrap dresses for day, but for evening, he opted for casual glam with a metallic lingerie inspired top paired with drawstring trousers. These are real clothes that are meant to be lived in and loved.

THOM BROWNE

Inspired by a childhood trip to Montreal to attend the 1976 Summer Olympics, Thom Browne can still remember Caitlyn Jenner winning the gold medal in the decathlon, that moment in time has stuck with him as he subtly references sport motifs in many of his collections. So, for his spring 2021 collection, Browne transports us to the future of the 2132 Olympics in a humorous video, which featured comedian Jordan Firstman and model Grace Mahary bantering like sports commentators on the moon, as models and flag bearers descend the stadium steps of the Los Angeles Coliseum; the location hosted the 1932 Olympics and was chosen for its Art Deco architecture.

While the video is set to take place in the future, the collection itself was inspired by the past, as Browne reinterprets the silhouettes of the ’20s and ’30s with plenty of drop waist dresses that were long and chic. The Deco silhouettes stole the show as Browne resumed his quirky experimental fashion that shifted the position of garments on the body, case in point, jackets worn as skirts.

Browne’s designs may at times be unconventional, but one cannot deny that he is a master craftsman. His his couture-like techniques were perfection: seersuckers made of cashmere, embroidery so thick it’s almost quilting, cable knits, intarsia suits, and trompe l’oeil dresses—all accentuating the intricate texture of each design. The collection was created in various shades of white as a Browne calls the hue, ‘a symbol of hope.’ In addition to traditional models, Browne also used actual Olympians in his video, suggesting that his quirky fashion can be worn by those brave enough to wear them.

With everyone spending quarantine time transfixed to their screens, Brown’s video has undoubtedly ushered in a new era in the fashion industry, “fashiontainment.” An interesting combo of fashion and entertainment. Watch this space.

GIVENCHY

A women’s look from Givenchy’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Givenchy)

In June, Givenchy’s social media blew up when it featured a photo of the house’s new creative director, Matthew M. Williams, shirtless and tattooed in the house’s introduction of their new young designer. So naturally, Givenchy was the most anticipated collection of Paris Fashion Week. The collection was a perfect balance between the houses’ signature DNA and Williams’ elegant goth aesthetic, devil horns and all.

The debut collection was an edgy twist on established dress codes. There was no one theme per se, just simply great wearable pieces that Williams said he would personally wear. Digging into the archives of Givenchy, Williamson was inspired by the horn heels that were created during the Alexander McQueen’s era. There were also nods to Hubert de Givenchy: perfectly tailored suits with architectural-inspired details for both men and women, a basic denim jacket updated with unique reflective embroideries, tank tops with asymmetrical draping that were minimalistic perfection.

A men’s look from Givenchy’s Spring 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Courtesy of Givenchy)

For evening, Williamson continued with the bold, yet rich, aesthetic that he is known for. Key looks included: a geometric square shaped cape for both men and women, intricate ring and crystal embellishments found on delicate mesh dresses and hooded sweatshirts, a laser-cut bustier gown and plenty of backless evening dresses. It is clear that Williamson’s vision of the Givenchy woman is a modern and powerful one.

CHANEL

Even in a global pandemic, the House of Chanel managed to serve up glamour, in the most ostentatious way. The full-fledged show was held in Paris’s soaring Grand Palais with the runway backdrop spelling out, in huge letters, “CHANEL,” reminiscent of the iconic Hollywood sign. Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard seemed to be inspired by the modern life of actresses from their glamorous red-carpet moments to their daily coffee runs and everything in between. Her collection was a perfect combination of Parisian cool mixed with L.A.’s laid-back style.

Viard’s marriage of these two worlds worked like charm. She paired her classic Chanel tweed jackets with petal pushers or stone-washed denim jeans or with tiny miniskirts in pastel colors, all reminiscent of the excess of the 1980s, The hybrid mix of these two cities came in the form of an elongated, robe-like, pink cardigan with black piping, paired with a multi-charm necklace and a logo tiara headband. Other key looks ranged from graphic black and white floral dresses; neon colored billboard-inspired prints on t-shirts and day dresses;  a sequin pantsuit for evening; and plenty of red-carpet feathered looks.

While many red carpet events have been put on hold due to COVID, it’s clear that Viard is looking ahead to brighter days.

LOUIS VUITTON

Louis Vuitton’s show was the official end to Paris Fashion Week and leave it to Nicolas Ghesquière to deliver the virtual reality experience we’ve all been waiting for.  The live show was held at the newly remodeled-by-LVM, La Samaritaine department store. Sprinkled among the audience were state-of-the-art 360-degree cameras that allowed spectators at home to pivot in their chairs, to watch models coming and going. It was almost like you were actually there!

My question this season was less about one theme; it was about this zone between femininity and masculinity,” Ghesquière explained in an interview with Vogue Runway. “This zone is highlighted by nonbinary people, people that are taking a lot of freedom dressing themselves as they want, and, in turn, giving a lot of freedom to all of us. I found it inspiring to explore what the items are that represent this wardrobe that is not feminine, not masculine. I wanted to zoom in on that section in between.”

The show opened with a “Vote” top (a statement tee that many in the fashion industry are making) paired with pleated chinos cinched at the waist with a black belt. This relaxed street-ready look set the tone for a wearable collection that we all want to own right now, such as duster coats, mini dresses, and khaki suits. Ghesquière also showed skater-inspired tees that were spliced into elaborate techno patchworks. The designer showed off his technical skills by creating expandable jackets that were built with panels, so that the customer can wear it either fitted or oversized. He also used this same technique for trousers giving the wearer the freedom to style them as he or she chooses. It was all a fresh approach to Ghesquière’s beloved ‘80s silhouette with a genderless concept.

Do you have a fav collection, now that the spring 2021 season has come to an end?

 

THE FASHION COMMUNITY REACTS TO SYSTEMIC RACISM

Protesters gather outside the White House. (Photo Credit: Jim Lo Scalzo for Shutterstock)

A once-in-a lifetime pandemic and a tanking global economy with millions of people out of work provided the backdrop for yet another unthinkable act of racism on May 25th as the world witnessed the senseless killing of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man at the hands of Minneapolis police. The public’s reaction was swift and decisive. Black Lives Matter!

Despite the pandemic (as of June 11th has caused over 417,829 deaths globally) people took to the streets in the U.S. and around the world in protest of systemic racism. Social media channels exploded and T-shirts were swiftly marketed with the tags:  #BlackLivesMatter, #BLM, #NoJusticeNoPeace, #anti_racist and #icantbreathe.

It didn’t take long for the fashion industry to react, while at the same time, come under the microscope for its lack of diversity and sincerity. Could this moment in history be the  “sea change” that the world and the fashion industry has been waiting for?

Tuesday, June 2nd  became #BlackoutTuesday, whereby all brand/designer social media (SM) users posted a black box and refrained from posting promotional content or selfies, as a way of mourning and calling attention to systematic racism.

On June 3rd, Pulitzer prize winning writer, Robin Givhan of  The Washington Post, herself a woman of colorsent a tweet that reminded the industry of their lack of diversity.

 

Then, on June 4th, the CFDA (Tom Ford and Steven Kolb) published a letter listing initiatives that they planned to create systemic change: 1) create an in-house employment program charged with placing Black talent in all sections of the fashion business to help achieve a racially balanced industry. 2) place Black students in companies for mentorships and internships. 3) implement and make available to their members a Diversity and Inclusion training program 4) make immediate contributions and take up fundraising activities in support of charitable organizations aimed at equalizing the playing field for the Black community such as, but not limited to the NACCP and Campaign Zero – among others.

CFDA supports Black Lives Matter. (Photo Credit: CFDA)

Anna Wintour came out with an apology, for her ‘hurtful’ and ‘intolerant’ behavior at Vogue, (now that’s a first), while Andre Leon Talley challenged Wintour’s statement, citing the news of newly appointed Samira Nasr, the first Black female editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar, as catalyst. In other publishing news, Refinery 29’s founder Christene Barberich stepped down as Editor-in-chief in response to accusations of racism and a toxic company culture, while Leandra Medine Cohen announced that she was stepping back from Man Repeller, after readers called her out for a lack of diversity in content and employees.

A June 10th Diet Prada Instagram post challenged retailer Anthropologie’s reaction to racism as ‘beige.’ The post prompted numerous comments that exposed the discriminatory practice of giving code names to POC (people of color) shoppers and lawsuits that called out certain brands and retailers guilty of the practice, such as Moschino, Versace, Anthropologie and Zara. Looks like Robin Givhan is right, the industry has a lot of soul-searching to do.

In the days following the murder of George Floyd, celebrities, athletes, and politicians all stood up and showed support for the Black Lives Matter movement. But, are these fashion brands and designers really showing their support or is it just a PR stunt? In an industry that prides itself on being global and multi-cultural, the fashion industry has a duty to its customers and society to use its privilege and power to drive systemic change and fight against racism. Right?

Victoria Beckham shows her support to Black Lives Matter. (Photo Credit: Victoria Beckham)

 

Actions speak loader than words. (Photo Credit: Fashion Nova Cares)

Most messages posted on social media were thoughtful and less PR-centric. However, Louis Vuitton was one of the first to come under fire from consumers. The company was criticized for the “tone deaf” launch of their new handbag line in the middle of the Black Lives Matter movement. Three days later, Louis Vuitton uploaded the following statement to the house’s 38.2 million Instagram followers alongside a video commissioned by men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh: “Make a change. Freedom from racism towards peace together. #BlackLivesMatter.”

Virgil Abloh, here at the 2019 CFDA Fashion Awards, has been ridiculed for a ‘measly’ donation to help Black Lives Matter protesters. (Photo Credit: GETTY IMAGES)

But Abloh was not forgiven so quickly. The designer, who is also known as the CEO and brainchild of streetwear giant Off-White, shared on his personal Instagram Stories that he made a $50 donation to Fempower, an organization that is helping arrested Black Lives Matter protesters with their legal expenses.

His followers were outraged. The designer’s estimate worth is over $4 million, and his measly $50 donation couldn’t even buy you an Off-White face mask.

One Twitter user wrote: “So Virgil really donated LESS THAN the equivalent of an Off-White keychain to the bail fund?? Smh wow. Don’t buy his trash, y’all.”

Virgil Abloh, creative director of Louis Vuitton Mens and Designer of Off-White, takes a stand against looters. (Photo Credit: Instagram)

Fashion’s Colin Kaepernick: Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond

Kerby Jean-Raymond, the designer of Pyer Moss has always used his collections as a platform against injustices. Here are the bloody boots in his police brutality collection from his
spring 2016 runway. (Photo Credit: Joshua Lott for Getty Images)

On September 11, 2015 – Kerby Jean-Raymond staged a political commentary on police brutality and racism for his Pyer Moss spring 2016 runway show. His shows are and have been a call to action for the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2017, he focused on depression, both personal and cultural. Erykah Badu helped style that collection which brought to light things that keep us down, set to the sounds of a choir singing Future’s “Trap Niggas” and the Black National Anthem, (Lift Up Your Voice and Sing, written as a poem by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) and then set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954) in 1899.)

Protesters, Looting & Retailers

While most of the protesters were peaceful, there were agitators that caused chaos and the destruction of churches, monuments, car fires, and store lootings, unfortunately were part of it. No store was safe. Looters destroyed little mom and pop shops in their communities, as well as major department stores and luxury retail brands. Manhattan’s affluent Soho boutiques were ravaged. The city looked like a war zone with broken glass everywhere and boarded up storefronts.

Looters hit luxury retailers, like Chanel and Rolex, in lower Manhattan.( Photo Credit: New York Magazine)

But even with the rioting and looting, designers and brands still supported the Black Lives Matter movement; brands like Nike, Adidas, and Michael Kors lent swift public support to the protests. Plenty of other designers followed, although some lagged in their response and consumers took note.

Michael Kors supporting Black Lives Matter. (Photo credit: @MichaelKors Twitter Account)

 

Stylist Law Roach and Zendaya. Roach took action by starting a fund with his own money to rebuild Black businesses that were destroyed in the protests. (Photo Credit: Teen Vogue)

Jon Batiste (band leader for Stay Human & the  Late Show with Stephen Colbert) at the ‘We Are’ March, New York. City (Photo Credit: Stephen Lovekin for Shutterstock)

The protests succeeded in sending the fashion industry a message loud and clear. Consumers, especially Millennials and Gen Zers are the ones to watch. They are faithful to brands that they believe are making a difference. This cohort are focused on movements that work toward the realization of a world where all members of a society, regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual preference or religious background, have basic human rights and equal access to the benefits of society. Just as movements of the 20th century spurred change (Woman’s Suffrage, Women’s Liberation, Civil Rights, Anti War, We Are and Gay Rights, to name a few), so too will the 21st century bring change. Movements like Black Lives Matter, Me Too, Times Up, Equal Pay For Equal Work, Gender Equality,  Gun Safety, Marriage Equality, Occupy, Climate Change, Criminal Justice Reform, Indigenous Peoples, Immigration Reform, Pro Life/Pro Choice and the Anti-Racist movement will spur brands into action.

In the world of social media transparency, the fashion industry will have to do more than just speak up for the Black Lives Matter movement. They’ll need to advocate and implement change within their companies and provide support to Black-owned businesses.

Funding opportunities are a great way for the fashion industry to support the movement. Shockingly, to this day, Virgil Abloh (Louis Vuitton) and Balmain’s Olivier Rousteing are still the only Black creative directors at major brands (an abundance, compared to high fashion’s zero BAME CEOs) and Edward Enninful, the only Black editor-in-chief (British Vogue) of a major fashion magazine, until the recent appointment of Samira Nasr announced on June 9th (Harper’s Bazaar).  

Edward Enninful Vogue editor-in-chief (Photo credit: Hypebae)  Samira Nasr editor-in-chief Harper’s Bazaar (Photo credit: The Cut)

On June 10th, Harper’s Bazaar published a list of 10 Black-owned fashion brands to support and invest in.  Other ‘call-to-action’ lists have emerged encouraging consumers on how to support local Black-owned businesses, such as grocery stores, hair salons, clothing stores, etc. Another way to support Back-owned businesses is to write positive reviews of those businesses, follow them on social media, engage in their posts, sign up for their newsletters and tell your friends and family to do the same.

The Industry Puts Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

The trendy direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier announced that it would donating $500,000 to organizations fighting racial injustice and another $500,000 to BAME-owned beauty companies. (BAME stands for Black, Asian and minority ethnic).

On the brand’s social media channels, Gucci posted a poem by Cleo Wade, a Black artist who also co-chairs the brand’s Changemakers Council, a group of community leaders backed by $5 million in charitable funding established in the wake of Gucci’s blackface sweater scandal: “We need to end racism. Start by healing it in your own family.”

Gucci has also established a fellowship program which is intended to recruit underrepresented talent from fashion schools for full-time positions. But fashion must make measurable commitments to hire Black people to their senior ranks and not just in their lower-level positions.

Aurora James, a designer and creative director of the shoe label Brother Vellies, created the “15 Percent Pledge,” which calls on major retailers to give that amount of shelf space to Black-owned businesses. (Fifteen percent of the United States population is Black.)

A lookbook image from Brother Vellies. (Photo Credit: Brother Vellies)

James is calling on Whole Foods, Target, Walmart, Sephora, Saks, Net-a-Porter, Barnes & Noble and Home Depot to take part.She hopes that her 15 Percent Pledge will “deliver more money to Black communities.”

Amazon stands with the Black Community. (Photo Credit: Amazon)

Sportswear giant Nike committed $40 million over the next four years to support the Black community in the United States on behalf of its Nike, Jordan Brand and Converse labels. The funds will support organizations focused on social justice, education and addressing racial inequality in America, Nike chief executive officer John Donahoe said in a message to the company’s staff.

Internally, Donahoe said, the priority is to “get our own house in order. Simply put, we must continue to foster and grow a culture where diversity, inclusion and belonging is valued and is real. Nike needs to be better than society as a whole. Our aspiration is to be a leader.”

He added: “Systemic racism and the events that have unfolded across America over the past few weeks serve as an urgent reminder of the continued change needed in our society. We know Black Lives Matter. We must educate ourselves more deeply on the issues faced by Black communities and understand the enormous suffering and senseless tragedy racial bigotry creates.”

Nike and Michael Jordan speak out against racism. (Photo Credit: US Magazine)

In a WWD article, Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, founders and creative directors of Proenza Schouler said in a statement, “We unequivocally believe any form of racism or discrimination has no place in our word and we proudly stand with the entire Black Lives Matter movement. We affirm our commitment to supporting the entire Black community, both in terms of what we share with the world externally and how our organization is operated internally.” The designers said they are supporting blacklivesmatter.com, naacpldf.org, blackvisionsmn.org, joincampaignzero.org, libertyfund.nyc, and brooklynbailfund.org/donate.

WWD also reported that PVH took part in the National Day of Mourning, which coincided with the memorial services for George Floyd. PVH North America associates from its retail stores, offices and warehouses were invited to observe eight minutes and 46 seconds of silence Thursday, June 4th at 2 p.m. ET during Floyd’s memorial service. In partnership with BRAAVE (Building Resources for African American Voices and Empowerment), PVH has created a task force inclusive of leadership, HR, Inclusion & Diversity, The PVH Foundation, legal and corporate responsibility teams to ensure they are taking the right steps to make the most impact. The PVH Foundation is donating $100,000 to the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, which supports racial justice through advocacy, impact litigation and education and seeks to achieve structural changes to advance democracy, eliminate disparities and achieve racial justice. It is also donating $100,000 to The National Urban League.

The PVH Foundation will also match 100 percent of North America corporate associate charitable donations throughout the month of June. The company has also compiled resources to help educate itself about racism and bias and will be sharing it with its employees. This includes an Anti-Racism Resource Guide, Associate Check-in Guide, PVH U course offerings, videos, podcasts and articles.

First memorial service for George Floyd held in Minneapolis. (Photo Credit: Fox17)

On June 4th, Columbia Sportswear temporarily closed 95 of its reopened retail stores from 1:00-3:00 PM CDT during George Floyd’s memorial service. “We stand against racism in all its forms, but in this moment, we want to be clear that we are proud to say black lives matter. George Floyd’s life mattered,” the company said in an internal memo from the company’s executive team provided to WWD.

In addition, Columbia said it will make donations to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the Marshall Project “to advance our country’s understanding of racism and its root causes and to promote equal justice and opportunity.” It did not disclose the amount. It also said it will double match employee donations to any non-profits focusing on addressing racism, up to $1,000 through the end of July. It then provided a list of organizations such as,  Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, Equal Justice Initiative and the National Urban League.

Tory Burch is making changes within her company. The designer is offering counseling for Black employees and workshops on discussing race and bias for all employees. The company provided a list of resources to help employees educate themselves and their families about race in our society. The company will also work with outside moderators and continue its public work through the Tory Burch Foundation on unconscious bias. The company’s Embrace Ambition Summit focuses on shattering stereotypes and combatting bias in all of its forms, including racial discrimination, by looking at the impact of unconscious bias.

The Kering umbrella, which owns Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta, Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Brioni, Boucheron, Pomellato, Dodo, Queelin, Ulysse Nardin, Girard-Perregaux and Kering Eyewear, have contributed to organizations focused on combating systemic racism and ending police violence toward the Black community across the United States. Kering has also made donations to the NAACP and Campaign Zero, an organization that aims to reduce police violence in the U.S.

And the list continues to grow every day as designers are looking to change the culture of the industry as a whole. By engaging in conversations that address bias and stereotypes in the workplace, by educating employees on how they can support communities and organizations in the fight against racial injustice, by hiring talented Black designers, buyers and CEO’s, as well as supporting businesses owned by Black entrepreneurs. We can all do our part in the fight towards making the fashion industry and the world an inclusive place for all.

It’s time for fashion brands to do more than just make statements. They must commit to doing the hard work it’s going to take to combat racism. Remember, racism is not just an American issue, it’s a global issue.

Juneteenth (Photo credit: mosaictemplarscenter.com) Juneteenth Flag (Photo credit: crreaearch.com)

As we approach Juneteenth (Emancipation Day/Black Independence Day) we will again be reminded of racial injustice. It commemorates the day that Union Army Maj. Gen. Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865, and read federal orders that all previously enslaved purple were free (2 year after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation). Maybe the campaign to make this day a federal holiday in the U.S.,  instead of a state holiday in only 46 states will come to fruition? Juneteenth celebrations are also held in other countries around the world, including Ghana, Honduras, Japan, Taiwan and Trinidad and Tobago.

University of Fashion has proudly donated to Black Lives Matter, NAACPLDF, Campaign Zero and the Liberty Fund. We will continue to promote Black fashion, fashion designers and instructors on our site and on our social media platforms. Together we can make a difference.

Black Lives Matter protests in Paris, France. (Photo Credit: Alfonso Jimenez for Shutterstock)

 So tell us, what are you doing to make a difference?

 

 

FACE MASKS: FASHION STATEMENT VS SURVIVAL STATEMENT

Fashion vs Survival. (Photo credit: The New York Times)

Express yourself. Protect yourself. And look fashionable while you’re at it!

As states across America and countries around the world slowly begin to re-open after being closed for months due to COVID-19, we all still need to be reminded to follow safety guidelines. One of the easiest ways we can protect ourselves, besides washing our hands constantly is to wear a face mask, especially when we are closer than 6 feet from another person. Show respect to others…wear a mask!

Living in an apocalyptic world that more resembles a sci-fi thriller than real life, we need to protect each other. Right now, the best way to do that is to wear a face mask and social distance. And, if you are lucky enough to have Covid & antibody testing in your area, then you should also get tested!

By now, everyone that owns a sewing machine has watched YouTube mask tutorials, including the one the UoF produced on Facebook. However, since March 15th, there have been many changes to non-surgical mask-making and we thought we’d start this blog post by sharing what we’ve learned so far. After all, we are a fashion education website!

It didn’t take long for fashion designers across the globe to get into the face mask act, after all, it’s an accessory, right? But are designer face masks really safe? Will these designer masks really protect from COVID-19?

We all know that the coveted N95 is the gold standard, however, we still need to reserve those for hospitals. 

Here’s a handy graphic that compares the N95 with the common surgical mask used in hospitals. The latest buzz about that little valve button on the N95 illustration below left, is that it is not ideal. The valve will protect YOU, but does not protect the people around you from YOUR breath. Some cities have actually banned them, like California’s Bay Area. One way around the valve issue is to wear a cloth mask over this mask, but then it makes it harder to breathe. Not ideal.

The blue and white surgical masks on the right are currently the most accessible personal protective equipment and available in most pharmacies. Inexpensive, effective and disposable.

Face mask protection efficiency infographic. (Photo credit: Vector illustration)

If you are making your own non-surgical masks, here are some tips to consider:

  • 100% cotton  is preferred
  • 2 or 3 ply, dense weave is best so you can’t blow out a candle while wearing the mask
  • pre-wash your fabric
  • you could add a pocket or opening on the bottom to insert a removable coffee filter, AC filter or paper towel for added protection
  • you could sew a layer of chiffon for added protection
  • it’s best to hand wash your mask in antibacterial soap & let air dry

Mask History

In East Asia, citizens have been wearing surgical masks outdoors for years. In a recent article in Slate magazine, journalist Jeff Yang explained that following the influenza bout in the 1900s, “[T]he predilection toward using face-coverings to prevent exposure to bad air is something that predates the germ theory of disease, and extends into the very foundations of East Asian culture.” Yang predicted the multiple rationalizations for using them could lead to global “face mask fashion.” And, now they are!

The New York Post knighted masks, the “must-have accessory” in February at London Fashion Week, where some ‘early-adopters’ wore creatively decorated surgical masks. It will of course be the biggest fashion trend for 2020/2021.

Fashion to the Rescue

Marc Jacobs and Richard Princes Nurse series for Louis Vuitton’s spring 2008 collection. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

In early April, brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Brooks Brothers announced that they would be re-purposing parts of their factories to make masks and hospital gowns. Instantly the memes and comments went wild.

One Twitter user joked and sent out the following tweet:  “Breaking News from the world of haute couture: Since humans on Earth will be wearing face protection masks against Covid-19 pretty much EVERYWHERE over the next year, they’re bound to become the hottest new fashion accessory. Ready for the Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Armani and ….”?

Miley Cyrus in a Gucci face mask. (Photo credit: Page Six)

Katie May disco ball mask. (Photo credit: Katie May)

And, now brands at every price point are offering non-surgical masks to the public; even Vogue posted a story on their website “Masks To Shop Now.” People are choosing masks based on their outfit and whether they are suitable for day or evening, casual or dressy. They have definitely become a personal style item!

One of the best retail deals out there are 3-ply 100% cotton masks sold by Old Navy at 5 for $12.50 available in kids & adult sizing. As part of its efforts, Old Navy will donate 50,000 masks to the Boys & Girls Club of America.

While many brands are now selling their masks, many are  donating a portion of their mask sales to various charities dedicated to helping those effected by COVID-19.

A mask created by designer Collina Strada. (Photo Credit: Collina Strada)

According to Edited, the digital retail tracking service, there has been an almost 40 percent increase in the number of masks offered by companies in the first quarter of 2020, compared to the end of 2019. In a blog post earlier this month, Josh Silverman, chief executive of Etsy, reported that in a single weekend, buyers searched for face masks on the site an average of nine times per second and the number of face mask sellers had grown five times, to almost 20,000.

Experts are increasingly suggesting that masks may need to be worn for at least a year, until a vaccine is developed. And trend forecasters are predicting that, as a result, they may become a fact of daily life, donned by all of us with the same unthinking passivity as a coat and sunglasses when we leave the house, according to an article in  The New York Times, published on April 22, 2020.

Flames face mask by Guy Fieri flames. (Photo credit: Claudio Lavenia for Getty Images)

Off-White face masks. (Photo credit: Hyperbeast)

In a recent WWD article, Christian Siriano, (one of the first designers to start making masks when Governor Cuomo asked for help), told the publication that he made “this fully encrusted pearl mask because I just needed a breakIt’s actually pretty fabulous.”

Christian Siriano’s pearl encrusted mask (Photo credit: Christian Siriano)

Maskies, Selfie Masks & the Reactivated PPE Portrait Project

The Maskie

Selfies are now passé. The new hot Instagram trend is the #maskie. Posting pics of yourself wearing your mask ‘du jour.’

Photo credit: Olsonmask

Check out #Olsonmask to see how many people are getting in on the action. Whether you choose the pleated or the molded version, who says you can’t still be fashionable?

The  Selfie Mask

OR….How about a ‘selfie mask,’ a mask that shows the part of your face that is usually covered by a mask? Since one of the negatives of  wearing a traditional mask is that you can’t tell if someone is smiling or frowning, you can now create your own selfie mask (click to find out how) by taking a selfie of the lower portion of your face, printing it on computer printable fabric and sewing it into a mask. Viola!

Rachel Maddow showing her selfie mask (Photo credit MSNBC)

PPE Portrait Project

Face coverings can be intimidating and downright scary, especially if you are being treated in a hospital. But, Mary Beth Heffernan’s PPE Portrait Project, initiated during the Ebola crisis, whereby the face of that particular doctor or nurse is affixed to their hospital gown, is offering some relief. Accordingly to Heffernan, “At a moment when patients are already experiencing abject physical suffering, the isolation, facelessness, and lack of touch make them feel abandoned by humanity.”

Stanford research scientist Dr. Cati Brown-Johnson was moved to replicate the project for the Covid-19 pandemic and is expanding to non-COVID wards, including inpatient palliative care.

 

University of Fashion Face Mask Contest

Calling all Mask Makers! Are you making masks to donate, or making and selling them with a portion of the proceeds donated to charity? Or, are you just crazy bored and are making outrageous masks just to keep up your creative edge?

At UoF, we’re still making non-surgical face masks for our local nursing homes and are so happy to apply are sewing skills to a good cause.

If you are in mask production, we want to hear from you. Send images of your masks to CS@UniversityofFashion.com. Tell us what they’re made of and where you’re from. We’re offering 5, full access one-year subscriptions to the UoF website. With over 500 fashion educational videos all taught by fashion profs and industry pros, it’s worth $189! Offer ends July 1, 2020

 

Introducing our 1st Face Mask Winner: Jennifer Coffman 

                                                                           
Jennifer Coffman and her daughters (Photo credit Jennifer Coffman)

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are proud to award our 1st face mask prize to Jennifer Coffman.

“My name is Jennifer. Ive been making masks since March and donating them my local organizations in Pulaski, TN, and Huntsville AL. I’ve donated to local  nursing homes, hospitals, health care facilities, shopping centers and friends. I’ve donated 225 mask between March and April. I’ve used cotton fabrics from my own collection of fabric and I’ve purchased some cotton from a local quilting shop to help support her business. I would love  to win the contest to work towards perfecting my dressmaking skills and my goals of being a professional dress maker. I’m really excited to study the classes. I can sew from patterns but I’m  excited to learn to drape and draft my own designs and learn to draw my ideas on the croquis! Huge Thank you!! I will be happy to share the skills I’ve learned from the courses and promote University of Fashion!!” – Jennifer Coffman

Face masks made by Emily Coffman and donated to Huntesville Hospital, Huntsville, Alabama and therapists at BenchMark Physical Therapy, Pulaski, Tennessee

 

Be sure to send your face mask images and your story to us at CS@universityoffashion.com !