University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Marc Jacobs"

Celebrating Women’s History Month: A Tribute to Fashion’s Inspiring Muses

Jean Paul Gaultier and his muse Madonna. (Photo Credit: Herb Ritts)

Happy Woman’s History Month! As we celebrate women and their innumerable accomplishments, UOF would like to pay tribute to the many fashionable women, throughout history, have inspired some of the most influential designers through the decades. Like they say…”behind every great man is a great woman”!

Givenchy and Hepburn go for a stroll together in Paris in an undated photo. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the world of fashion, the relationship between designers and their muses is a tale as old as time, a symbiotic dance of  inspiration, creativity and innovation. Throughout history, these duos have shaped the very essence of style, leaving an indelible mark on the fashion landscape. From the glamour of the Golden Age of Hollywood to the avant-garde runways of Paris, the bond between male designers and their muses has been a driving force behind some of the most iconic fashion moments. To prove it, we are dedicating this blog to some of these timeless partnerships and would like to hear from YOU as to others you may be in the ‘know’ about and want to share.

PAUL POIRET AND DENISE BOULET

“My wife is the inspiration for my creations, she is the expression of all my ideals,” Poiret said. Here is the designer with his wife Denise Boulet. (Photo Credit: Getty)

At the dawn of the 20th century, Paul Poiret revolutionized fashion with his bold designs and visionary approach. Central to his creative vision was his wife, Denise Boulet. Poiret’s muse and collaborator, Boulet embodied the spirit of his designs, infusing them with grace and elegance. Together, they pioneered the shift from restrictive corsets to flowing, avant-garde silhouettes, forever changing the course of fashion.

HUBERT DE GIVENCHY AND AUDREY HEPBURN

Hubert de Givenchy and his muse Audrey Hepburn in 1988. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

In the enchanting world of couture, few partnerships have captured the imagination quite like that of Hubert de Givenchy and Audrey Hepburn. Their collaboration began serendipitously when Hepburn, seeking a wardrobe for the film Sabrina,  crossed paths with Givenchy. The rest, as they say, is history. Hepburn became the epitome of chic sophistication, while Givenchy’s timeless designs adorned her with unparalleled elegance, creating an enduring legacy of style.

CHRISTIAN DIOR AND MIZA BRICARD

Christian Dior’s and his muse Mizza Bricard. (Photo Credit: MilkX TW)

In the aftermath of World War II, Christian Dior emerged as a beacon of hope, ushering in a new era of luxury and opulence with his iconic New Look. Central to his creative vision was Miza Bricard, his muse and confidante. With her impeccable taste and innate sense of style, Bricard inspired Dior to redefine femininity, thus shaping the fashion landscape for generations to come.

COCO CHANEL

Coco Chanel in her Paris apartment. (Photo Credit: Architectural Digest)

Not only male designers had muses. A fiercely independent Coco Chanel was her own muse, embodying the liberated spirit of the modern woman. Chanel’s timeless designs, from the iconic little black dress to the revolutionary Chanel suit, continues to resonate with women worldwide, a testament to her enduring legacy.

YVES SAINT LAURENT, BETTY CATROUX AND LOULOU DE LA FALAISE

Designer Yves Saint Laurent, Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Yves Saint Laurent’s illustrious career was defined by his close relationships with muses Betty Catroux and Loulou de la Falaise. With their androgynous allure and bohemian spirit, Catroux and de la Falaise inspired Saint Laurent to push the boundaries of fashion, creating groundbreaking designs that captured the zeitgeist of the era.

ROY HALSTON AND LIZA MINNELLI

Halston with his muse Liza Minnelli. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the dazzling world of Studio 54, Roy Halston reigned supreme, transforming American fashion with his minimalist yet glamorous aesthetic. At the heart of his creative vision was Liza Minnelli, the iconic entertainer whose charisma and allure captivated audiences worldwide. Together, they epitomized the hedonistic glamour of the ’70s, leaving an indelible mark on fashion history.

BOB MACKIE AND CHER

Bob Mackie and his muse Cher. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Few partnerships have ignited the imagination quite like that of Bob Mackie and Cher. With her fearless style and boundary-pushing creativity, Cher became Mackie’s muse, inspiring some of the most unforgettable looks in fashion history. From the infamous sheer gown at the 1974 Met Gala to the elaborate costumes of her concert tours, Mackie’s designs transformed Cher and secured this duo’s place in fashion history books.

AZZEDINE ALAÏA AND GRACE JONES

Azzedine Alaïa and his muse Grace Jones. (Photo Credit: L’Officiel)

Azzedine Alaïa and Grace Jones forged a legendary partnership defined by their shared passion for sexy, avant-garde design. Jones’s striking beauty and fearless attitude inspired Alaïa to create sculptural masterpieces that defied convention, blurring the lines between fashion and art.

RALPH AND RICKY LAUREN

Ralph Lauren with his wife and muse Ricky Lauren. (Photo Credit: Architectural Digest)

Ralph Lauren’s iconic brand epitomizes the American Dream, embodying a vision of timeless elegance and sophistication. Central to his creative vision is his wife, Ricky Lauren, whose impeccable taste and refined sensibility have shaped the brand’s aesthetic for decades, creating a legacy of enduring style and luxury.

MARC JACOBS AND SOFIA COPPOLA

Marc Jacobs and his muse Sofia Coppola. (Photo Credit: L’Officiel)

Another dynamic duo is Marc Jacobs and Sofia Coppola. This creative partnership is defined by their shared love of art, culture, and style. Coppola’s effortless chic and understated elegance inspired Jacobs to create designs that resonate with women of all ages, blurring the lines between fashion and culture.

GIANNI AND DONATELLA VERSACE

Gianni Versace and his muse Donatella Versace. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Gianni Versace’s bold, provocative designs epitomized the excess and glamour of the ’80s and ’90s. Central to his creative vision was his sister, Donatella, whose fierce style and unwavering support propelled the Versace brand to international acclaim, creating a legacy of bold, daring fashion that continues to captivate the world. When Gianni was murdered in 1997, Donatella took control of the Italian Luxury brand and kept her brother’s legacy alive.

HERMÈS AND JANE BIRKIN

Jane Birkin and her namesake bag created by Jean-Louis Dumas of Hermes. (Photo Credit: Wonderland)

The former chairman of Hermès, Jean-Louis Dumas met actress Jane Birkin in 1984 and witnessed the contents of Birkin’s carry-on bag fall out while on a flight.  In a 2015 interview with The Telegraph, Birkin recounted that Dumas, who was sitting next to Birkin, said, “you should have one with pockets.” Birkin replied, “The day Hermès make one with pockets I will have that”, and he said: “But I am Hermès and I will put pockets in for you.”  Shortly after the two collaborated, the Birkin was created, becoming one of the most covetable accessories in fashion history. It has been reinvented many times since it was first introduced to the public in the 1980s. The Hermès bag’s classic elements include two rolled handles, a flap top, a touret, a clochette, and four clou “feet” and is available in sizes, 20, 25, 30, 40, 42 and 50 centimeters, some featuring exotic crocodile skin paired with diamond-encrusted white gold hardware. Today, there’s a year’s long wait list with some vintage Birkin bags selling for up to $2 million. Now that’s one successful female muse collaboration!

Care to share your designer muse story?

 

Celebrating LGBTQ+ Inclusivity: Fashion’s Everlasting Ally

Jean Paul Gaultier’s fragrance in limited-edition Pride bottles. (Photo Credit: WWD)

June is Gay Pride month, a time to celebrate the diverse tapestry of sexual orientations and gender identities that make our world more beautiful. And, when it comes to embodying acceptance, self-expression, and the breaking of societal barriers, few industries have championed the cause as fervently as the fashion industry. This week’s blog post is dedicated to how fashion has been an unwavering ally to the LGBTQ+ community. We will shed light on some of the remarkable fashion designers who are activists for the gay and transgender community and how, through their efforts, are changing the world.

FASHION: A PLATFORM FOR INCLUSIVITY

American Eagle collaborates with Olivia Ponton for its 2023 Pride collection. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Fashion has long been a powerful vehicle for self-expression, acting as a mirror reflecting the collective spirit of society. Throughout history, fashion has played a pivotal role in dismantling gender norms and challenging societal conventions. From the legendary queer icons of the past, to the contemporary LGBTQ+ trailblazers, fashion has provided a canvas for diverse identities to express themselves boldly.

Many fashion designers have embraced their own LGBTQ+ identities and utilized their platforms to foster inclusivity. They do this by designing gender-neutral collections, featuring diverse models, and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights. Collectively, these designers have transformed the runway into a sanctuary of self-acceptance and celebration as well as in the media.

FASHION DESIGNERS LEADING THE WAY

LGBTQ+ Quotes for Pride Month. (Photo Credit: Hallmark Ideas)

As we honor the progress made during Gay Pride Month and beyond, we would like to celebrate these fashion warriors who have fearlessly used their art to uplift marginalized communities. Their efforts remind us that fashion is not just about clothing; it is a medium through which we can challenge social norms, spark conversations, and advocate for a world where everyone is embraced for who they are. Together, we can create a future where love and acceptance shine through every stitch and every design.

The world of fashion is renowned for its ability to push boundaries, challenge norms, and celebrate individuality. Within this vibrant landscape, there is a group of talented individuals who not only bring their innovative designs to life but also break barriers of gender and identity. Let’s delve into the fascinating world of LGBTQ+ fashion designers, whose creativity and resilience inspire us all. Here are a handful of designers that are bringing social change and activism the runway and beyond.

Marc Jacobs

Portrait of Marc Jacobs. (Photo Credit: Oyster Magazine)

Recognized for his distinctive style and unwavering commitment to inclusivity, Marc Jacobs stands as a prominent figure in the fashion industry. As a gay designer, he has continuously advocated for LGBTQ+ rights and used his platform to uplift queer voices. Jacobs’ designs exude an unapologetic individuality and celebrate the diversity of human experiences, breaking down barriers with each stitch.

Gogo Graham

Portrait of Gogo Graham. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Gogo Graham is a rising transgender fashion designer who has been instrumental in challenging the fashion industry’s gender norms. Through her label, she creates stunning garments that embrace trans bodies and explore the beauty of gender identity. Graham’s designs serve as a visual manifesto, proving that fashion has the power to empower and uplift marginalized communities.

Palomo Spain

Portrait of Alejandro Palomo. (Photo Credit: Ssense Magazine)

Palomo Spain, helmed by Alejandro Gómez Palomo, is celebrated for its extravagant and gender-defying creations. With a focus on fluidity, Palomo Spain’s designs blur the lines between masculine and feminine, giving birth to a new era of androgynous fashion. As a gay designer, Palomo breaks free from societal expectations, embracing the limitless possibilities of self-expression.

Christian Siriano

Portrait of Christian Siriano. (Photo Credit: Elle)

Christian Siriano, widely recognized for his exquisite designs and his time on Project Runway, has consistently championed inclusivity in the fashion industry. He defies size, gender, and racial norms by featuring a diverse range of models in his runway shows. Siriano has also been an outspoken advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, using his influence to support organizations like the Human Rights Campaign. By actively engaging in social issues, he has proven that fashion can be a powerful force for positive change.

Prabal Gurung

Prabal Gurung makes a statement during his Fall 2017 runway show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Prabal Gurung is not only known for his stunning creations, but also for his unwavering commitment to social justice and inclusivity. As a proud member of the LGBTQ+ community, Gurung has used his brand to amplify the voices of marginalized groups. He launched a collection titled “Love Is Love” to support the LGBTQ+ community and has collaborated with organizations like The Trevor Project. Gurung’s advocacy extends beyond the runway, making him a true ally for equality.

Jeremy Scott

Portrait of Jeremy Scott. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Jeremy Scott, the former creative director of Moschino, is celebrated for his bold, unconventional designs. He fearlessly challenges societal boundaries and norms through his work. Scott, who identifies as gay, has been a vocal advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, leveraging his platform to promote inclusivity. His designs often incorporate LGBTQ+ symbols and messages, sending a powerful message of acceptance and love. Scott’s unapologetic approach to self-expression has made him an inspiration for queer individuals around the world.

Ashish Gupta

Portrait of Ashish Gupta. (Photo Credit: British Vogue)

Ashish Gupta, an Indian-born British designer, is renowned for his glittering, vibrant creations. Gupta, who identifies as gay, uses fashion as a medium to celebrate diversity and challenge stereotypes. His collections often showcase LGBTQ+ affirming messages and promote acceptance and love. Gupta’s designs remind us that fashion can be a vehicle for change, one that sparks conversations and encourages us to embrace our authentic selves.

Harris Reed

Portrait of Harris Reed. (Photo Credit: Telegraph)

Harris Reed, a British-American designer who is the creative director for Nina Ricci, has become a trailblazer in the fashion industry, challenging conventional notions of gender and beauty. Reed’s designs often feature elaborate and gender-fluid creations, blending elements of traditional menswear and womenswear. Their work has gained recognition on international runways and has been embraced by celebrities like Harry Styles. Reed’s daring and imaginative designs reflect a vision of fashion that transcends boundaries.

FASHION IS HELPING TO CREATE A MORE ACCEPTING SOCIETY

During Pride month, Reebok is introducing its first genderless line of footwear and apparel. (Photo Credit: WWD)

Fashion designers have a unique platform that can influence cultural conversations and promote inclusivity. Through their creativity and unwavering commitment to LGBTQ+ rights, designers like Christian Siriano, Prabal Gurung, Jeremy Scott, and Ashish Gupta have become powerful advocates for change. Their voices resonate beyond the runways, inspiring a more accepting and equal society.

As we celebrate Gay Pride Month 2023, let us remember that fashion is not just about clothes; it’s a medium through which we can express our true selves and challenge societal norms. By continuing to support LGBTQ+ designers and embracing diversity on and off the runway, we can foster an environment of acceptance and love that transcends borders, colors, and identities.

 

View our lesson entitled: Drawing Androgynous Men’s and Women’s Fashion Figures

So tell us, as aspiring fashion designers, how are you using your voice to advocate for change and acceptance?

CELEBRATING KARL LAGERFELD: AS BOTH ILLUSTRATOR & DESIGNER

 

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

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

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

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

KARL LAGERFELD: THE ILLUSTRATOR

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lagerfeld illustration

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

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

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

KARL LAGERFELD: THE DESIGNER

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

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

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

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

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

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

KARL LAGERFELD’S INFLUENCE IS STILL FELT TODAY

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

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

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

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

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

OTHER GREAT FASHION DESIGNERS/ILLUSTRATORS

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

 

Janka Letková fashion illustration

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

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

DIOR’S MARIA GRAZIA CHIURI

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

 

Maria Grazia Chiuri fashion illustration for Dior for Georgia tour

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

CHRISTIAN LACROIX

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

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

ALBER ELBAZ

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

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

CHRISTIAN SIRANO

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

Christian Siriano showing his limited edition fashion illustrations

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

JEAN-PAUL GAULTIER

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

fashion illustration by Jean Paul Gaultier 2012

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

VIRAL MOMENTS AT NEW YORK FASHION WEEK FALL 2023

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Rodarte’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

New York Fashion Week just wrapped and because it’s one of the most important events in the fashion industry (attracting designers, buyers, and fashion lovers worldwide) AND because it has become a viral sensation (blowing up everyone’s cell phone), we thought it would be fun to take a look back in time of how it all began:

  • In 1943, fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert organized “Press Week” to showcase American designers who could not travel to Paris during World War II.
  • The first official “New York Fashion Week” was held in 1945, with shows held in various locations throughout the city.
  • In 1993, the event was centralized in a single location: Bryant Park, located behind the New York Public Library and called “7th on Sixth”.
  • The event grew in popularity throughout the 1990s & 2000s, with designers such as Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, and Marc Jacobs becoming household names.
  • In 2010, the event moved to Lincoln Center, where it was held until 2015.
  • In 2011, NY designers began live-streaming shows.
  • In 2013, The Shed at Hudson Yards became a new NYFW venue.
  • In 2016, New York Fashion Week spread throughout various locations around the city, including Skylight at Moynihan Station and Skylight Clarkson Square.
  • In 2020, due to the Covid pandemic, almost all shows were pared down and went virtual, but came back ‘in real life’ September 2021.
  • In 2023, Spring Studios at 50 Varick Street  became the main headquarters with some designers hosting runway shows throughout the city. Some shows were  livestreamed on NYFW.com and the Council of Fashion Designers of America (the agency behind New York Fashion Week), stream events on its Runway 360 hub.

Backstage looks at Coach’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Here are some of the viral moments that took New York Fashion Week 2023 by storm.

Looks from Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

New York Fashion Week Fall 2023 officially kicked off on Friday, February 10th and wrapped on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. The show calendar was jam packed to pre-pandemic levels. Always one to beat to his own drum, Marc Jacobs opted to show his grand fall collection on February 3rd before the official start of New York Fashion Week and paid tribute to the great Dame of Punk, Vivienne Westwood, who sadly passed away on December 29, 2022.

NYFW was filled with so many great moments, beautiful clothes – from whimsical to wearable – and, as always, a slew of celebrity sightings.

Rodarte founders Sarah and Laura Mulleavy asked their artist mother to create the fairy drawings that appeared as prints throughout the collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Rodarte returned to the runway and helped kick off the season as sisters, Kate and Laura Mulleavy, presented a collection inspired by gothic fairies. It was an editorial favorite.

Ella Emhoff Really, Really Likes to Knit. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Ella Emhoff (the stepdaughter of Kamala Harris, Vice President of the United States) held a pop-up presentation to showcase her colorful knitwear, with pieces available for both preorder and purchase.

A look from Thom Browne’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

Thom Browne made a return to the runway with his Little Prince-inspired collection that was delightfully playful. The CFDA chairman showed on Valentine’s Day and presented his partner Andrew Bolton, who is curator at the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan, a box of chocolate hearts to celebrate the occasion.

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

Anna Sui is also back after being on fashion week hiatus since the start of the pandemic. Sui told Vogue in an email, “My choice to do an intimate show in a nightclub was inspired by the Peppermint Lounge, a little restaurant on 45th Street that was converted to the hottest club in the 1960s for dancing. There is an incredible picture of Jane Holzer dancing the twist at the club, and with further research I discovered the Beatles and the Rolling Stones all went there to dance. This inspired a collection of clothes to wear to twist the night away.” The show was a delight.

Chloe Sevigny walks Proenza Shouler’s Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Fashionista)

Leave it to Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez, the design duo behind the cult favorite brand Proenza Schouler, to have Chloe Sevigny open their show. The duo showcased an intimate collection for the modern woman. Celebrating their 20-year anniversary of the label, the designers returned to what started it all: the women in their lives who inspire them most, and whose wardrobes they want to create. (After all, Proenza Schouler is the combination of their mothers’ maiden names.)

Bulan’s Fall 2023 Collection shown during Men’s Day. (Photo Credit: Bulan)

While most cities have their own Menswear Fashion Week, once upon a time New York did too. This season we had Men’s Day, which took place on Friday, February 10th at Hudson Yards. The event hosted 12 emerging menswear and genderless designers.

Looks from Tory Burch’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

Tory Burch presented a stellar collection. The designer told WWD she wanted to play with traditional female tropes and actually deconstructed old girdles to subvert shape-wear conventions.

A look from Christian Siriano’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Launchmetrics)

Christian Siriano jumped on the ‘no pants required’ trend that fashion ‘It’ girls have been currently rocking.

A banana-inspired look from Area’s Spring 2023 Buy Now Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Hungry? Some designers created food-inspired looks. Puppets and Puppets showed egg nipple coverings, while Area and Melke presented fruit-inspired novelty pieces.

Comedian Nikki Glaser in Cynthia Rowley. (Photo Credit: Cynthia Rowley)

Cynthia Rowley sure likes to have fun with fashion. For her fall collection she hosted an all-female stand-up show. Comedians Nikki Glaser, Rachel Feinstein, Ego Nwodim and more took to the makeshift stage in vibrant hues, fun flares and feathers. “I see fashion and comedy serving women in the same way,” said Rowley in a press release. “If you can be funny, you can feel confident. If you love what you’re wearing you feel confident. And if you can have both, even better.”

A look from Michael Kors’ Fall 2023 Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue)

Pile on the accessories was the motif at Michael Kors, as the designer sent out big belts, statement geode necklaces, wraparound sunglasses, fringe and fur shawls and more, in monochromatic looks.

Looks from Collina Strada’s Fall 2023 Collection. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Hillary Taymour called her latest Collina Strada collection “Please Don’t Eat My Friends” as her models strutted down the runway in prosthetic animal faces.

There were many viral moments during New York Fashion week, so tell us, what was your favorite moment?

TRICK OR TREAT: HALLOWEEN-INSPIRED RUNWAY LOOKS

- - Fashion Shows

Looks from Richard Quinn’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Children of all ages love the traditions of Halloween, from wearing scary costumes to carving out pumpkins, the holiday is a magical time of year filled with fun festivities. This year, Halloween will be extra special considering the bewitching holiday was pretty much cancelled in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. So, if you are still searching for your epic Halloween costume, just look to the runways for inspiration.

A look from Off-White’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

While Halloween-inspired looks have always been an inspiration on the runways. Here are a few blasts-from-the-past costume looks:

Who could ever forget Prada’s creepy 2019 Frankenstein collection with images of the monster himself and his equally spooky bride?

A look from Prada’s Fall 2019 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

And what about the infamous 1997 Comme des Garçon collection that had distorted body lumps reminiscent of Quasimodo from the classic tale, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Spring 1997 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Dark magic and enchantresses have always been an inspiration on the runway, one of the best witchy looks was from Martin Sitbon’s 1993 collection.

A look from Martine Sitbon’s Spring 1993 Show. (Photo Credit: Daniel Simon)

Clowns are always a favorite, here are some of our favorite clown looks through the years.

From left, Maison Margiela, fall 2015; Dior haute couture, fall 2007; Alexander McQueen, fall 2001. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

But not all Halloween costumes need to be terrifying. There were plenty of sweet, girlie looks, ranging from princess to Barbie, case in point, Moschino’s 2015 Barbie-inspired collection.

A look from Moschino’s Spring 2015 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

As we get closer to Halloween, fashionistas will be showing off their designer costume-inspired looks ranging from crafty witches to NASA astronauts. So, take a look below, and see the most artistic styles from the 2021 and 2022 runways that’ll have you covered when it comes to costume innovation, while giving you major fashion cred. And the best part? These are all looks that are available in time for your costume parties.

THE GHOST OF ELIZA DOOLITTLE

A look from Comme des Garçons’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

One of the most theatrical designers of our time is Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons. The avant-garde designer never disappoints. For fall 2021, Kawakubo created a tight line-up of magnificently Edwardian & Victorian-inspired looks consisting of black cloaks with puffy white linings, ballooning crinolines, and frothy layers of whipped white cotton and black tulle. Stovepipe hats completed the look. The collection echoed a modern variation of Cecil Beaton’s My Fair Lady (1964) Ascot scene.

LITTLE RED RIDING HOOD

A look from Christian Dior’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

We have all been told countless fairytales throughout our lives. For fall 2022, Christian Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri layered the collection with fairytale themes centered around the idea of appearance vs. character: Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty and the stories re-recorded by Charles Perrault in Versailles in the 18th century. The tales inspired a whimsical collection suspended between the idea of classic and timeless pieces, juxtaposed against the alluringly dangerous fairytale world.

INTERGALACTIC

A look from Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Marc Jacobs made a bold statement for fall 2021 as he played with dramatic mid-century looks, and yes, Space Age proportions, all filtered through an American sportswear extremism that caught the attention of the Gen Z shopper.

POP PRINCESS

A look from Dolce & Gabbana’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Throughout the ‘90s designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana, the geniuses behind the Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana, dressed a multitude of musicians for various award shows and music videos. Their sexy looks are still rocking the runway today and for their fall 2021 collection, the duo threw-it-back to their nineties heyday.

TRAGIC BEAUTY

A look from Alexander McQueen’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Alexander McQueen’s creative director, Sarah Burton, has kept true to the houses DNA. The talented designer even managed to capture the founders dramatic flare for storytelling in a dramatically beautiful yet haunting way. For fall 2021 she didn’t disappoint. Channeling the healing powers of nature, Burton was inspired by anemones and water as recurring motifs in that collection. Crushing up photographs of anemones, Burton photographed them again, and transferred the images onto gigot-sleeved poly faille gowns, worthy of Empress Sisi ( The Tragic Austrian Empress Who Was Murdered by Anarchists).

INSPECTOR GADGET

A look from Sacai’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The beloved cartoon Inspector Gadget came to life for fall 2021 as Sacai’s creative director, Chitose Abe, reinterpreted the classic trench coat into a cool, must have staple.

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

A look from Saint Laurent’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

It’s time to throw on your leotard and start your aerobics class, as Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello sent out dazzling eighties-inspired looks for fall 2021.

TO INFINITY AND BEYOND

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Never one to go the traditional route, Demna Gvasalia, creative director at Balenciaga, presented his fall 2021 as a working video game. The fashion-turned-game-designer created the electronic game Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow, an allegorical adventure that showcased his latest creations, including NASA-inspired outerwear.

LITTLE DEVIL

A look from Junya Watanabe’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Rock on! Junya Watanabe’s “Immortal Rock Spirit” fall 2021 show was inspired by true rock bands including Kiss, Aerosmith, AC/DC, the Rolling Stones, Queen and the Who. His classic concert tees were wrapped up, patchworked, and reconstructed into draped shapes, challenging the standard fashion vocabulary. Watanabe was quite brilliant at rocking that aesthetic.

WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

A look from Moschino’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Jeremy Scott, creative director at Moschino, really knew how to have fun with fashion; case in point, a giraffe-inspired dress with headpiece and all.

UNITED NATIONS

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Guram Gvasalia, Demna’s younger brother and creative director behind the cultish label Vetements, is always courting controversy.  For fall 2021, the differences between observing, commenting on, and simply mocking real political events for profit has become a dangerously blurred line. Guram exhibited flashes of idealism in passing, case in point, the United Nations flag print suit.

WEDNESDAY ADDAMS

A look from Valentino’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

For fall 2021, Valentino’s creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli, added a punk touch to his otherwise chic collection. It was the perfect collection for a modern-day, grown-up Wednesday Addams (circa ’60s TV show The Addams Family and recent animated cartoon movie, The AddamsFamily2) .

WITCHCRAFT

A look from Yohji Yamamoto’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Yohji Yamamoto is known for his hauntingly beautiful collections. His artistic creations for fall 2021 were rendered entirely in black, with the exception of stitching, piping and a single print. The dark yet romantic looks had a witchy aesthetic that was spellbinding.

BOY MEETS GIRL

A look from Thom Browne’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Thom Browne, the designer behind his namesake collection, created his fall 2021 collection based on extreme scales that were overwhelmingly delightful. Browne fused black-tie clothing with sport apparel and in one look even added a gigantic couture bow. Beneath all those bubble helmets and big-time bows were models of all genders, but Browne insisted that gender really doesn’t matter. His creatively beautiful clothes are for everyone.

ALIEN NATION

A look from Rick Owens’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

The global pandemic has undoubtedly affected everyone’s mental health. So it’s no surprise that Rick Owens’ fall 2021 collection had post-apocalyptic vibes. His girls were otherworldly, like a fashionable parade of aliens who came to earth to party.

So tell us, what will you wear for Halloween?

THE MET GALA: A LEXICON OF FASHION

- - Fashion Events

Andrew Bolton discusses the underlying themes and importance of the upcoming exhibition. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum Of Art)

It’s not the first Monday of May, but the Met Gala is back on. And, for the first time in its history, it coincides with New York Fashion Week. and will be presented in two parts, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion and In America: An Anthology of Fashion. The first glamorous event will take place on Monday, September 13th, however, this time it will be a smaller and more intimate soirée. (The fashion extravaganza was cancelled last year and postponed due to COVID-19.) While the highly anticipated affair will look a little different this year, there will still be a red carpet filled with magnificent fashion and celebrity sightings. The second part, In America: An Anthology of Fashion will have its red carpet moment on May 2, 2022.

Here is everything you need to know about fashion’s biggest night.

(Watch a video about the exhibition, In America: A Lexicon of Fashion. Film by Sterling Ruby for The Met).

WHAT IS THE MET GALA?

The Met gala is the fashion world’s equivalent of the Oscars. Designers, models, brand ambassadors and Hollywood stars assemble for one night out of the year to wear the most fantastical looks in celebration of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute latest show. Most guests dress to fit the theme of the exhibit and the Met Red Carpet is something like the Greenwich Village Halloween Parade.

Katy Perry in Atelier Versace in 2018 for the Catholic Imagination theme at the Met Gala. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

 

MET THEME 2021

“Veil Flag” by S.R. STUDIO. LA. CA., 2020, courtesy of Sterling Ruby Studio. (Photo Credit: Melanie Schiff)

This year’s Met gala theme celebrates American fashion. Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator-in-Charge of the Costume Institute, felt it was time to reexamine American identity and fashion, especially as it has changed over the last several years due to both political and social justice movements. “I’ve been really impressed by American designers’ responses to the social and political climate, particularly around issues of body inclusivity and gender fluidity, and I’m just finding their work very, very self-reflective,” Andrew Bolton told Vogue. “I really do believe that American fashion is undergoing a renaissance. I think young designers in particular are at the vanguard of discussions about diversity and inclusion, as well as sustainability and transparency, much more so than their European counterparts, maybe with the exception of the English designers.”

THIS YEAR’S CO-CHAIRS

Left to Right: Met Gala co-chairs Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, Timothée Chalamet, and Amanda Gorman. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The Met gala traditionally has a number of co-chairs that help host the event every year. For this year’s 2021 Met gala it’s a list of the current Who’s Who: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Amanda Gorman, and Naomi Osaka, while Tom Ford, Instagram’s Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour (who has chaired the event since 1995) will serve as honorary chairs.

WILL THERE BE A RED CARPET?

Yes! There will be a red carpet, although the affair will be intimate and will follow New York City’s COVID-19 safety protocols. On the iconic Met steps will be a cast of celebrities and guests in their outré ensembles.

DRESS CODE

Yes, the Met gala will have a formal dress code. On the 2021 invitation, the dress code is listed as American Independence. We are sure there will be many over-the-top variations on the theme, from bedazzled American flag inspired looks, to classic gowns created by American designers. We can guarantee that looks will be anything but boring.

ATTENDING GUESTS

Kim Kardashian in Mugler with Kanye West in 2019 regularly attend the Met Gala . (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Part of the excitement of the Met gala is not knowing who will show up! Designers typically invite, as their guests, the hottest celebrities of the moment.

The exclusive invite list is always kept closely guarded until right before the event, but rumored guests include TikTok dancer Addison Rae, YouTube vlogger Emma Chamberlain, singer Camila Cabello, sprinter Allyson Felix, and British Formula 1 driver Lewis Hamilton.

Met Gala regulars Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez and Kim Kardashian will reportedly be in attendance, but a New York Post Page Six article suggested that some big stars won’t be showing up this year. For example, Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen due to Brady’s Buccaneers training schedule. Other Met gala regulars that will have to miss this year’s festivities are Sarah Jessica Parker, who has a scheduling conflict with her filming of the Sex And The City reboot. And Kate Moss and Saoirse Ronan who live overseas and might be unable to attend due to COVID travel restrictions. Some European designers may miss it since they will be prepping for their own fashion shows.

One celebrity agent told the Post: “I think the big actors and the big fashionistas will come next year, when it returns in May. I also don’t think a lot of people feel like dressing up in ridiculously expensive outfits and putting on a mask for this.”

We will wait and see which celebrities make their dramatic red carpet reveal on September 13th.

THE EXHIBITS: Parts 1 & 2

A look from Prabal Gurung’s spring 2020 collection. Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Paolo Lanzi for IMAXTREE)

PART 1

The Met gala event on September 13th, A Lexicon of Fashion, will open to the public on September 18th at the Anna Wintour Costume Center at the Met, marking the Costume Institute’s 75th anniversary. The exhibition will be staged to resemble a home, with intersecting walls and rooms that will establish what Bolton calls “a new vocabulary that’s more relevant and more reflective of the times in which we’re living.” Part one of the exhibit will feature looks from Christopher John Rogers, Sterling Ruby, Conner Ives, Prabal Gurung, and Andre Walker, to name a few.

PART 2

The second exhibit, An Anthology of Fashion, will open to the public on May 5, 2022, and will be located in the period rooms of the museum’s American Wing. According to an interview with Vogue, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will work with American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room that depict a different history of American fashion. (On May 2, 2022, a second Met gala will take place to celebrate the opening of An Anthology of Fashion.)

This two-part exhibition is one of the most ambitious that the Costume Institute has ever attempted to date. The exhibitions will explore the  question: Who gets to be an American? A red, white, and blue silk sash from the grand finale of Prabal Gurung’s 2020 10th-anniversary collection featured the phrase, and it will greet visitors from the entrance of the Anna Wintour Costume Center. It’s a question every immigrant considers—but wrapped in golden light at the onset of a fashion retrospective, it takes on a new spirit. “It was important to open with that,” says Andrew Bolton, in an interview with Vogue. “It tackles this notion of acceptance and belonging, which recent events have brought to the fore. Of course, these are questions that have always been present—but there are moments in history when they’re more resonant and resounding.”

Ensemble by Christopher John Rogers from his fall 2020 collection. Courtesy Christopher John Rogers. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Christina Fragkou)

In America, the museum’s two-part exploration of all things Made in the U.S.A., is a yearlong celebration spanning three centuries of fashion. The first part, which includes pieces from such American iconic designers such as Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, and Calvin Klein alongside the current vanguard of millennial talent, such as Christopher John Rogers, opens to the public on September 18, with part two opening on May 5, 2022.

According to Vogue, In America, echoes the work Bolton has done expanding the Met’s archives to include more contributions from designers of color and marginalized groups—and though it serves as a retrospective, the show’s observations about national identity are rooted in current concerns. “It was almost impossible to do this show without looking at it through the lens of politics,” says Bolton. “There’s no art form that addresses the politics of identity more than fashion.”

Bolton credits 2020’s social ­justice movements as the prompt for him to reexamine the topic of terminology—​particularly when tackling such important issues—since, in the 20 years since the museum’s last overview of American fashion, discussions around style have changed. “American designers are at the forefront of conversations around diversity, inclusivity, sustainability, gender fluidity, and body positivity,” Bolton says in an interview with Vogue, “and the framework of the show enables us to focus on the younger designers who are engaging thoughtfully and deeply with those ideas.”

Cape by Andre Walker using Pendleton Woolen Mills, spring 2018 colection. Courtesy Andre Walker Studio. Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Shoji Fujii)

During the height of the pandemic, when New York City was in complete lockdown, Bolton played with the idea of organizing the exhibition as a kind of high-tech house inspired by Witold Rybczynski’s Home: A Short History of an Idea—but wedging designers into categories in different rooms of the house. Bolton’s final inspiration, Reverend Jesse Jackson’s speech at the 1984 Democratic National Convention. “America is not like a blanket, one piece of unbroken cloth, the same color, the same texture, the same size,” he told the audience at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. “America is more like a quilt: many patches, many pieces, many colors, many sizes, all woven and held together by a common thread.”

“The act of making a quilt celebrates the notion of community that is so strong in America,” says Bolton, who adds that quilts also connect ideas about family and about repurposing and recycling. “Each square is a different designer, who represents a specific quality of American fashion.”

“Traditionally American fashion has been described in terms of the American tenets of simplicity, practicality, and functionality. Fashion’s more emotional qualities have tended to be reserved for more European fashion,” Bolton says. “In part one we’ll be reconsidering this perception by reestablishing a modern lexicon of fashion based on the emotional qualities of dress.” The many rooms in this part of the exhibit will be titled to reflect the personal and emotional relationship we have to fashion: “Well-Being for the kitchen galleries, Aspiration for the office, and Trust, the living room, for example.”

Bolton is writing a new history of American fashion that focuses less on sportswear and Seventh Avenue dressmakers, and instead presenting American designers as creators, innovators, and artists. “Taken together these qualities will compromise a modern vocabulary of American fashion that prioritizes values, emotions, and sentiments over the sportswear principles of realism, rationalism, and pragmatism,” he says.

The exhibit will feature approximately 100 pieces from about 80 labels, and designers and will range from delightful 1994 Anna Sui dresses to Christian Francis Roth’s 1990 “Rothola” dress. Obviously, the show will feature a number of quilted and handcraft looks, case in point, Hollywood costumer turned designer Adrian’s 1947 dress which references the floral designs found on traditional hand-sewn American quilts. Other noteworthy patchwork pieces include a custom piece from Emily Adams Bode made from a vintage quilt. Sweet floral looks are also part of the exhibit with looks ranging from Adolfo’s silk evening­wear from the early ’70s, to Marc Jacobs’s spring 2020 botanical theme collection.

Florals might be subversively romantic. Two good examples on the Nice Corridor Balcony at left, Adolfo 1973, proper, Marc Jacobs, spring 2020. (Photo Credit: The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Part two of the exhibition, An Anthology of Fashion, will be shown in the museum’s period rooms. Themes such as 2004’s Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th Century will be shown in the French period rooms. And, 2006’s AngloMania: Tradition and Transgression in British Fashion will be set in the English period rooms. “In its conceptualization, part two actually preceded part one and actually inspired and informed it. For many years now we’ve been examining our collection to uncover hidden or untold stories with a view to complicating or problematizing monolithic interpretations of fashion. Our intention for part two is to bring these stories together in an anthology that challenges perceived histories and offers alternative readings of American fashion,” Bolton explains.

By engaging American film directors to create cinematic scenes within each room, Bolton and the museum’s curatorial team will illustrate a different history of American fashion, such as pieces from the midcentury couturier Ann Lowe and the work of African American designer Stephen Burrows. “Key themes will include the emergence of an identifiable American style and the rise of the named designer with an individual aesthetic vision,” says Bolton.  The exhibit will run through September 5, 2022 and is made possible by Instagram and with support from Condé Nast.

Anna Wintour and Andrew Bolton in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

“For me, this past year confirmed what I’ve been thinking already—that American fashion is undergoing another renaissance,” Bolton says. As a fashion industry veteran, I thrilled to have the opportunity to witness fashion’s rebirth at the Met later this month.

SOME OF OUR FAVORITE MET GALA CELEBRITY LOOKS

Cher in Bob Mackie in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Bianca Jagger and Mick Jagger in 1974. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Iman in Calvin Klein, with the designer in 1981. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Naomi Campbell in Versace 1990. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Princess Diana in Dior in 1995. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Donatella Versace in her own design, with Gianni Versace in 1996. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Demi Moore in Donna Karan with the designer in 2000. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Sarah Jessica Parker in Alexander McQueen with the late designer in 2006. (Photo Credit: Shutterstock)

Kate Moss in Marc Jacobs in 2009. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Rihanna in Guo Pei Couture in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Beyoncé in Givenchy in 2015. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Kylie Jenner Balmain in 2016. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Zendaya in Dolce & Gabbana Alta Moda in 2017. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Lady Gaga in Brandon Maxwell in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

So tell us, which celebrities would you like to see on the red carpet?

 

 

 

 

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.

 

As you’re planning your holiday gift-giving list, don’t miss the opportunity to take advantage of UoF’s ONCE A YEAR subscription promo offers (expires 12/30/20)

$40 off our Yearly subscription (was $189 now $149)

https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/ Promo Code: Learn1

 

$5 off the first month of our Monthly subscription (was $19.95 now $14.95) https://www.universityoffashion.com/holiday-offer/ Promo Code: Learn2

 

35% off any of our books: Beginner Techniques: Draping or Pattern Making or Sewing

https://www.universityoffashion.com/3-book-series-ad-lkp-discount/Promo code: Uof35

 

 

 

 

IT’S SHOWTIME – NYFW FALL 2020

- - Fashion Shows

Michael Kors Collection Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

In November 2019, The University of Fashion posed the question; “Are Fashion Shows Still Relevant?” that blog post covered the history of fashion shows and why designers still prefer a show. While many argued that fashion shows were an outrageous expense, designers mostly felt that it was worth it if they attracted Instagram Stars and Fashion Bloggers. Today, fashion shows are more about exposure and how many “likes” the’ll get on social media than selling clothes.

This season there were many changes to New York Fashion Week’s calendar. Tom Ford skipped NY and decided to show in LA, Tommy Hilfiger is showing in London, Telfar is showing in Florence and Ralph Lauren is skipping the runway altogether.  So, with so much change, it’s not surprising that famed fashion blogger Bryanboy asked if somebody could look into “why NYFW [has] pretty much died?”

While this may seem like an exaggerated question, it’s a valid one, as designers continue to search for unique places and ways to create buzz. They’ve tried live-streaming shows, opening up their shows to the public, showing their menswear and womenswear collections together, and they even tried to entice sales by showing buy-now-wear-now collections (which ultimately failed). But as we all know, today, consumers shop differently, especially due to the internet. And, unlike their predecessors, Gen Zers are more concerned about their carbon footprint and issues surrounding  over-consumption than they are about the runway.

So, why should designer’s invest thousands of dollars on a runway show? Well according to Jeffry Aronsson, the former CEO of Oscar de la Renta, Marc Jacobs and Donna Karan, who currently consults luxury brands on growth strategies, told Fashionista, that at its core, “the business case for investing in a seasonal fashion show, or any other fashion event, is that it should get the brand the attention of the market and press.” Aronsson states that the measures of success come in the form of online impressions (including social commentary and likes), editorial coverage (both digital and print) and, though difficult to quantify, word of mouth, which helps raise brand awareness, desire and, hopefully, sales.

Erin Hawker, communications expert and founder of Agentry PR, notes that a brand can get 50 to 100 press hits in one single day globally after a runway show (and even double that if there are big-name celebrities involved), as well as millions of earned impressions on social media. “If you assign an editorial value to shows with or without celebrities, it’s usually in the tens of millions of dollars’ worth of impressions,” Hawker says. “This far surpasses the cost of a show.”

So, designers have been listening carefully to the experts. And for those who chose to a have runway show, those brands pulled out all the stops to make it a memorable; a spectacle that their consumers would enjoy, as they watch the videos and images that blow-up their social media feeds. Oh, and in the end…hopefully generate sales.

Here are some images of the more memorable NYFW shows of the Fall 2020 season:

TOM FORD

Tom Ford’s Fall 2020 Los Angeles Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

In June 2019, Tom Ford took the helm at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA). Many fashion insiders were upset (Ford is based in Los Angeles), with one calling it a “slap in the face” to New York Fashion Week. In a statement to the Business of Fashion site, Mr. Ford said: “Someone asked me the other day how I could justify showing in L.A. as I am now the Chairman of the CFDA, and I reminded them that CFDA stood for the Council of Fashion Designers of America and not the Council of Fashion Designers of New York.”

Mr. Ford opted to show in Los Angeles because of the Academy Awards, which took place on Sunday night (Feb. 9, 2020) at the start of NYFW. In a statement to Women’s Wear Daily, Mr. Ford said “the excitement in L.A. on that particular weekend” was a big factor in his decision.

As for the show, it was a star-studded extravaganza and one of the biggest pre-Oscar events. Everyone was there from Jennifer Lopez and Renée Zellweger to Miley Cyrus and Lil Nas X to James Corden and Jon Hamm. There were so many power players, that some celebs were even pushed back to the second row.

As for the clothes, they were infused with Mr. Ford’s signature glam, mixed in with streetwear elements. Case in point; a chic oversized leopard print coat, worn over a sweatsuit. The collection also featured plenty of menswear inspired high-waisted, baggy trousers paired with logo sweatshirts and topped off with terrific outerwear. For evening, Mr. Ford turned up the glitz with bold colored turtleneck sweaters paired with sequin maxi skirts, delicate lace dresses and a show-stopping crystalized halter gown.

This extravaganza was anything but the traditional runway show.

RODARTE

Rodarte Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Laura and Kate Mulleavy have always been inspired by theatrics and Hollywood for their beloved label Rodarte. For Fall 2020, the sisters looked to vampires for inspiration, more notably, Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula, which in turn inspired—Francis Ford Coppola’s indelible 1992 adaptation of the book, starring Winona Ryder. The sisters found the perfect setting as the backdrop to the gothic tail; a dimly lit St. Bartholomew’s church in Midtown Manhattan.

While the Mulleavy sisters created a cinematic goth setting, the clothes were anything but. The collection featured a nod to the forties with playful polka-dot dresses, dramatic pouf sleeve blouses and bold floral gowns. Then, things became dramatically dark and sinister with cobweb embellishments on a few gowns, as well as black fringe capes that resembled clumps of witches’ hair. Laura and Kate Mulleavy returned to their gothic roots in a fashionably haunting way.

TORY BURCH

Tory Burch’s Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Forever the art aficionado, Tory Burch chose the iconic Sotheby’s as her latest show venue as models strutted among the auction merch. It was the ideal location for her Fall 2020 collection as it was a happy jolt of vivid floral prints in everything from tailored suits to cozy sweaters and everything in between. Burch was inspired by the Francesca DiMattio’s ceramic sculptures (which were situated on the runway) and had the artist design many of the floral prints found in the show. Bravo Tory Burch for creating such a joyful collection in these unsettling times.

BRANDON MAXWELL

Brandon Maxwell’s Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

One can always expect to have fun at Brandon Maxwell’s show. In the past he even served Shake Shack to editors before his show.  For Fall 2020, the celebrity stylist-turned-designer did not disappoint. He showed his youthful eveningwear at the American Museum of Natural History with their iconic dioramas  of ‘taxidermied’ moose and grizzlies. It was like a genuine slice of Americana. Maxwell also offered plenty of daywear this season with beautifully tailored outerwear, chic knits and low-cut trousers. For night, there were a few sheer numbers that felt out of place, but overall, this was a strong show, one that proves Maxwell is more than just a red-carpet designer.

COACH

Debbie Harry Performs at the Coach Fall 2020 Show (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Coach’s Creative Director, Stuart Vevers, likes to draw inspiration from artists and has often incorporated their work into his collections. In the past, he’s featured works by Keith Haring (Spring 2018), Kaffe Fassett (Fall 2019) and Richard Bernstein (Spring 2020). For Fall 2020, he referenced Jean-Michel Basquiat — not just by weaving his drawings into his ready-to-wear and accessories  but also by bringing some of his family members to the show. The late artist’s niece, Jessica Kelly, actually walked the runway! She, and the rest of the models, made their way across a warehouse-turned-runway — meant to replicate the feel of a city loft — all while the legendary Debbie Harry performed on stage.

CHRISTOPHER JOHN ROGERS

Christopher John Rogers Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Dia Dipasupil for Getty Images)

Recent CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award winner, Christopher John Rogers, brought back old-school glamour but with a modern twist for his Fall 2020 collection. His gowns were bold and vivid, perfect for young scarlets wanting to stand-out on the red carpet.

Rogers infused saturated hues into his collection and is fast becoming known for his shapely silhouettes. Think balloon sleeves, voluminous skirts and innovating draping – all in oversized, exaggerated shapes.

MARC JACOBS

Marc Jacobs’ Fall 2020 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Everyone looks forward to the end of NYFW because of the Marc Jacobs show. For Fall 2020, the designer didn’t disappoint.  The show began with a surge of energy. Dancer/choreographer Karole Armitage, found the spotlight in the darkness of the Park Avenue Armory and reminded us that, why in the 80s, she earned the nickname the “punk ballerina.” Although her performance was brief, it was electrifying. Following Armitage, a crew of dancers followed, creating an entertaining and engaging backdrop; the dancers were clad in Marc Jacobs dance pieces, such as bras, slip dresses, skirts, basic T-shirts and black pants.

As for the clothes, it was a nod to the Sixties – Jackie Kennedy, Rosemary Woodhouse, the mods – all with a touch of nineties minimal. It was pure Marc in the early days of his career. He showed three-button A-line coats, pastel minidresses with matching jackets, tailored suits and simple sweaters worn over straight leg trousers; Miley Cyrus made an appearance on the runway wearing a black bra and trouser. For evening, Jacobs created a number of sequin sheath dresses in a variety of colors and a pink opera coat worn over a gown with a tiny bow at the bust that had Jackie Kennedy written all over it.

It wouldn’t be NYFW without a bit of controversy, right (in addition to Tom Ford showing in LA, Tommy Hilfiger in London and Jeremy Scott in Paris)? Well, thanks to a New York Times article, we learned that NYFW shows leave the biggest carbon footprint when it comes to travel, buyers, and brands.

So tell us: Time to rethink the runway show?

 

 

Marc my words, Jacobs was the best NYFW had to offer

I know I am late to this party, but I finally had the chance to see the Alexander McQueen documentary. If you’ve been under the same rock I have, check out the trailer here. Then, make sure to stream the full length version.

The reason I bring up the McQueen documentary is that it reminds me of a time when fashion shows told tales, the viewer was taken on a visceral journey, and when fashion felt like art, not necessarily commerce. As I sat down to write yet another NYFW review, I realized that I have been covering fashion weeks for over a decade. Whether as a wanna-be fashion student, actual fashion student, designer or blogger, I’ve clicked through countless slides, attended umpteen shows and shown my own collection at NYFW.

While I identify most with the “little guy/gal,” I have big expectations from well-established designers with financial resources and substantial backing. With very few exceptions (especially since Thom Browne packed up for Paris), I rarely see the likes of a McQueen-worthy vision on New York runways. So with McQueen as my guide, I’ve selected the most exhilarating, tale-telling collection (in my humble opinion, of course) by an established player in the NY fashion scene to cover this NYFW. And the honor goes to…none other than Marc Jacobs.

This is not to say that Ralph Lauren’s 50th anniversary collection or Raf Simons showing for Calvin Klein shouldn’t receive a mention, but three elements push Marc Jacobs S/S 2019 collection to the top.

A response to the cultural/societal/political landscape

_JAC0168

Trans Model Finn Buchanan Image: Vogue.com

Much like movies were an escape during the Great Depression, I think Marc Jacobs’ confectionary creations for S/S 2019 offered us a bit of an escape from negative news, a growing division between people and an impending and intense political cycle.  But just because Jacobs’ larger-than-life ensembles were bright, well-crafted eye candy, doesn’t mean there wasn’t a serious stance embedded in the fluff. Models of all races graced the inclusive Jacobs’ runway, as did trans models, Finn Buchanan and Dara Allen.

_JAC0212

Trans Model Dara Allen Image: Vogue.com

An inspired story

Sometimes I play a little game with myself, just to keep things interesting. I do my best to study a collection, feel the feels and then give my best stab at the designer’s inspiration before reading a word of a review. Marc Jacobs sited a 1960s Barbara Streisand as inspiration for S/S 2019, but a more detailed story played out in my head. So whether my story has anything to do with Jacobs original inspiration or not, the fact that his collection inspired such a tale means it was a collection that sparked imagination—a “Marc” of an exquisite collection.

_JAC0504

Image: Vogue.com

The 60s reference was clear in hair and makeup, but the volume and silhouettes were a far cry from the mini dresses popularized in the 60s. I imagined vivid scenes from the 1967 cult classic Valley of the Dolls in which three girls found their way into showbiz, became famous and depended on “uppers,” sleeping pills, and diet pills (which they called “dolls”) to sustain a life in Hollywood.

vodcover_MediumWide

The top hats, the ruffled collars, the oversized bows and rosettes felt doll-like and the voluminous cloud confections felt like “doll”-induced hazes in which the models were floating down the runway. And then there’s the pastel heavy color palette…call me “on dolls,” but I couldn’t help draw a few parallels.

_JAC0324

_JAC0616

Images: Vogue.com

Artistry fulfilling both fantasy and function

Yes, the Pierrot collars may have been over the top, but look underneath. Jackets with the kind of purpose and wearability any power player would be proud to don. Pleats and wide leg trousers gave new meaning to “power suit.”

_JAC0112

Image: Vogue.com

Take away some of the styling and take a look at the phenomenal cut of Jacobs’ garments. The drape on the jacket below alone…

_JAC0198

As Vogue’s Nicole Phelps claims, and this blogger seconds, Marc Jacobs “is New York’s keeper of the fashion flame.” Bravo. Again, bravo.

Your turn. Which S/S NYFW collections inspired you? And more importantly, why? Comment below!

The Americans have landed, or have they?

Picture1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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