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Posts Tagged: "Thom Browne"

THE CHANGING FACE OF GLOBAL MENSWEAR

- - Fashion History, Menswear
Courtesy of i-d.vice.com

Courtesy of i-d.vice.com

Menswear is in constant evolution. The end-consumer is dictating what they want, which tribe they choose to belong to, and the personality they want to project. This has made the menswear industry very competitive, and in response, men’s fashion houses have been obligated to change their game, to listen to their consumer and are appointing new designers who understand the new generation and, more particularly, who understand their subcultures and tribes. The main focus in today’s menswear industry is to appeal to the final consumer’s lifestyle. This challenge goes beyond offering a good product, it also needs to be a product that ‘speaks’ to men’s tribes and their individual personalities. So, let’s examine who these new players are, what they are offering and who they are speaking to, and how they are seismically changing the present and future of the global menswear industry.

Kim Jones creative director Dior Homme (Courtesy BoF)

Kim Jones creative director Dior Homme (Courtesy BoF)

Recent new appointments in the menswear fashion industry, such as Kim Jones at Dior Homme and Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton Men’s (both brands under the LVMH umbrella), indicate that the market has changed. Fashion houses are now taking risks because they have identified that they must go forward to remain relevant for the next generation and those to follow. What do these players have in common? Both represent a movement that had been growing the past year. Kim Jones formerly at Louis Vuitton men’s and who created a blockbuster collaboration with the hip brand Supreme is now creative director at heritage brand Dior Homme.

Virgil Abloh creative director Louis Vuitton Men’s (Courtesyhighsnobiety.com)

Virgil Abloh creative director Louis Vuitton Men’s (Courtesyhighsnobiety.com)

Virgil Abloh, from DJ, music producer, Fendi intern, Kanye West’s creative director, to artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear collection since March 2018, Abloh is also chief executive officer of the Milan-based label Off-White, a fashion house that he founded in 2013.

Both of these visionaries believe in ‘bottom-up’ fashion that is, bringing the street to high fashion, as well as the flexibility offered by social-media influenced athleisure, with its emphasis on T-shirts, and its reflection of a D-jin and music culture. The concept of ‘bottom-up’ is not new, Yves Saint Laurent made it his montra in the 70s and Marc Jacobs turned to the streets for his Grunge Collection in the 80s. But those were womenswear collections. Both Kim and Abloh have a history in designing streetwear for men and have each collaborated with Nike.

Although Jones studied design at Central Saint Martin’s and Abloh cut his teeth designing for Kanye West, both admit that they have gotten to know ‘fashion’ along the way. Their current collections speak to a new lifestyle, to a subculture of a younger generation and they are implementing street casual styles into their high fashion collections. To be clear, they are not abolishing suits or formalwear, they are just giving it a streetwear twist.

For example, presenting in their show a monochromatic suit with a t-shirt, technical sneakers and unique details around zippers, or presenting high quality functional bags with chain details. They are unifying two worlds we would not have imagined could speak to each other in the past. Formal and casual, function and decoration, these are no longer distinct categories, but ones that merge with each other. At the same time, these designers manage to speak to a tribe who is looking to be more individual while seeking to be included.

 

Dior Homme SS19 by Kim Jones (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Dior Homme SS19 by Kim Jones (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Louis Vuitton SS19 by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Louis Vuitton SS19 by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

This connects us to other players such as Alessandro Michele at Gucci and Hedi Slimane now at Celine. They address younger generations with a unique vision, one that is more eccentric with a retro vintage feel (Gucci), and another one, more focused on rock culture (the new Celine). Both address a very important trend of the moment: the androgynous phenomenon. The ungendered design is key for these designers. They created transversal collections and androgynous looks that dominate the conversation of their collections, influencing the menswear arena. This trend is not about men wearing skirts, it is about changing mindsets, showing that men have changed, both in, and the way they view fashion, and in how they exercise their masculinity. This is reflected in how they shop, and as a result designer brands are implementing these changes in their product strategy.

Gucci by Alessandro Michele (Courtesy Vogue Runway)

Gucci by Alessandro Michele (Courtesy Vogue Runway)

 

Celine by Hedi Slimane (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

Celine by Hedi Slimane (Courtesy of Vogue Runway)

 

There has also been a change in formal menswear. New players such as Thom Browne, Musika Frère, or recognized designers such as Ozwald Boateng have brought new product strategies to this category. Ozwald Boateng has mixed traditional classic British tailoring with color and new cuts targeting elite consumers who have unique personalities and are not part of the status quo.

Thom Browne, with his wild creativity, his fantastic tailoring and commercial core product pieces, with a clear brand identity such as the tricolor web, has won a fan base among millennials who were looking for an alternative from traditional formalwear.

And then we get to Musika Frère, a brand that was born in social media, created by Aleks Musika and Davidson Petit- Frère. This brand has a “neoclassic tailoring” style, as the creators themselves call it, specializing in custom suits that often come in unusual colors, patterns and details. This brand’s style has drawn famous celebrities in the African American community.

Ozwald Boateng (Courtesy of OzwaldBoateng.com)

Ozwald Boateng (Courtesy of OzwaldBoateng.com)

Thom Browne (Courtesy The New York Times)

Thom Browne (Courtesy The New York Times)

 

Musika Frere (Courtesy of Instagram)

Musika Frere (Courtesy of Instagram)

So, what do all these brands have in common? Their product strategies have successfully attracted a specific tribe that still wants the elegance of a suit but in a unique and special way, something that truly represents them and their personalities and that makes them stand out.

As menswear evolves, brands in the industry have realized that the fundamental formula to attract new and younger consumers is to truly represent them. The key for fashion houses now is to adopt this bottom-up approach, understand their consumers, their tribe and subcultures, in order to cater to them in a genuine way. All of the above-mentioned brands have used different menswear strategies to be relevant to the market and its future generations. They have taken risks because they know that nowadays, men are freer and use fashion to show who they truly are.

To learn more about menswear design, be sure to check out the new menswear discipline on our  University of Fashion website.

Menswear: A Trip Down Memory Lane

- - Fashion History, Menswear

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In fashion, we tend to overlook the menswear industry. It doesn’t change as much with the seasons and is all about the details, the fit and the fabrics. For some, it is not as interesting as the womenswear… until now. Menswear has been growing faster than womenswear and is expected to reach $33 billion by 2020. That’s why it is extremely important, as a designer or retailer, to learn about this segment of the industry.

The University of Fashion has recently launched its menswear discipline, so before checking out our lessons, how about taking a trip down memory lane to understand how the menswear industry has evolved?

Men’s fashion was initially functional in purpose. Paleolithic nomads used animal skins as protection from environmental conditions. The Ancient Egyptians provided the first signs that men’s clothing could made the leap from function to fashion. In this period, clothing and accessories began to serve as key symbols of rank and fortune.

Later on, the wealthiest men adopted tunics, and this trend continued with the toga in Ancient Greece and Rome, as well in the Middle Ages. During these periods, the essential item was the fabric, made of the finest materials.

Courtesy of Flickr and Chatirygirl

Courtesy of Flickr and Chatirygirl

Menswear Revolution

A big shift in menswear followed the American (1775-1783) and French (1789-1799) Revolutions, when fashion became understated and “undress” was the popular opposition to the abundant adornments that defined aristocracy. While men continued to wear the waistcoat, coat and breeches of the previous period for both full dress and undress, they were now made of the same fabric, signaling the birth of the three-piece suit. The early 1800s saw the final abandonment of lace, embroidery and other embellishment from serious men’s clothing and it became gauche to dress like an aristocrat.

In Britain, Beau Brummell, a trendsetter of the time, was credited with introducing and making the modern man’s suit and necktie fashionable. Savile Row, or “The Row” as it is commonly-termed, became the center of traditional bespoke tailoring. This trend led to trousers that are popular in menswear today and have been for the past 200 years. What Paris was to women’s fashion, London was to men’s. After the American Civil War (1861-1865), standardized sizing in men’s clothing introduced the concept of mass-production, with less individual tailoring, and the necktie was introduced by 1880.

Frock Coat (Courtesy of He spoke style)

Frock Coat (Courtesy of He spoke style)

Bea Brummel (Courtesy of He Spoke Style)

Bea Brummel (Courtesy of He Spoke Style)

 

The 1900s

During the 1900s, the United States took an even less formal approach to fashion when they introduced the ‘sportswear’ trend. With the invention of the automobile, American fashion landed in England and the dinner jacket, a more leisurely attire, became popular among the younger generations.

Another big American fashion influence at the time was jazz music. A new generation of men were rebelling against the traditions of their fathers and clothing inspired by the Jazz Age was born, consisting of tight-fitting suits. America became the center of the men’s fashion world and modern fashion was here to stay. Blazers became popular for summer wear, the tuxedo was the jacket of the night, and the Zoot suit was popular in the nightclubs of Harlem. The “gangster influence” in suits was also an important trend. Fashion for men became a display of their personality and environment.

 

Zoot Suits (Courtesy of Vintage dancer)

Zoot Suits (Courtesy of Vintage dancer)

Casual Menswear Emerges

By the late 1940s and early 1950s, beginning with the introduction of the Hawaiian shirt, California surfer culture emerged and is ever present in men’s fashion even today. Another 50s trend was the “preppy look,” consisting of clothes worn by men at prep and Ivy League schools, such as button-down shirts, golf shirts, chino pants, and loafers. Other trendsetters in the 1950s included Elvis Presley and the British Teddy Boys. The key to these new fashion trends was comfort with personality, each trend helping to define the ‘tribe’ or subcultures to which a man chose to belong.

The 60s & 70s

The 1960s brought Italian fashion to the forefront. Brands emerged that were able to compete with the bespoke tailors of Saville Row. Still relevant among that group initial group are Brioni, Nino Cerutti and Ermenegildo Zegna.

With the ‘British Invasion’ of the 60s came another important influence, Collarless, cylindrical suits created for the Beatles by Pierre Cardin and Douglas Millings were all the rage and helped usher in the ‘mod look’ and later the ‘psychedelic look.’

By the 1970s, ‘disco style,’ popularized by the movie “Saturday Night Fever” and ‘punk style’ from London, brought a new generation of menswear consumers into the marketplace. The concept of individuality and personality was fundamental to this period and continues today.

 

Princeton 1950’s (Courtesy of Google Life archives)

Princeton 1950’s (Courtesy of Google Life archives)

10 years of Beatles style (Courtesy of Mauro Amaral)

10 years of Beatles style (Courtesy of Mauro Amaral)

The 80s Impact

The 1980s became known as the ‘decade of excess,’ as Baby Boomers and Yuppies placed importance on ‘status’ and ‘luxury.’ In the movie American Gigolo, Giorgio Armani designed relaxed, yet elegant, deconstructed suits that epitomized the sexy, wealthy young man (played by Richard Gere), as the “playboy” of the time. This trend was in contrast to the emergence of streetwear looks associated with the ‘breakdance’ movement, which consisted of sneakers, shoes with thick, elaborately patterned laces and colorful nylon tracksuits.

 

The 90s Clean & Classic

As a backlash to 80s ‘bad taste,’ the 1990s represented the clean, pared down era, a time when menswear returned to beautifully tailored suits in classic colors, especially those from Helmut Lang, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss, Nino Cerutti, Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren. The term “metrosexual” was coined by British journalist Mark Simpson as the trait of an urban male of any sexual orientation (usually heterosexual) who has a strong aesthetic sense and spends a great amount of time and money on his appearance and lifestyle. Italian suits were the basis for luxury and high-quality dressing. The Armani suit dressed the businessman throughout the decade until “business casual” took over in the mid-to-late 1990s. Other trends went in and out of fashion during this decade including the grunge look and a return to punk style, although this time known as ‘cyber punk’ and ‘hip-hop style,’ inspired by street culture. In an ironic move, the preppy look made a comeback in the late 90s, closely associated with the Tommy Hilfiger clothing line, which emulated the more expensive preppy look pioneered a decade earlier by Ralph Lauren.

Richard Gere in Armani from the movie American Gigolo (Courtesy of Classiq me)

Richard Gere in Armani from the movie American Gigolo (Courtesy of Classiq me)

 

Break Dancing (Courtesy Getty images)

Break Dancing (Courtesy Getty images)

New Millennium – A Look Back & Forward

The new millennium began with a retro influence, a mixture of the best elements of all previous fashion eras. Once the first major American corporation Alcoa sanctioned casual office attire in 1991, it wasn’t long before “casual Friday” was replaced with “casual everyday” as most companies loosened their dress code restrictions, with the exception of the legal and financial professions and those requiring uniforms.

In 2000, designer Hedi Slimane introduced the ‘ultra-skinny silhouette’ at Dior and mainstreamed them later at Saint Laurent – ushering in a seismic shift in the menswear industry.

In 2006, American designer Thom Browne burst onto the menswear stage with his ‘short length suits.’ Sports, performance apparel and the new athleisurewear category, continue to play a major role in men’s clothing.

As designers attempt to blur the lines between men and women’s fashion, such as J.W. Anderson and his ‘shared closet’ concept, the androgynous fashion movement continues to be explored.

With a booming economy bespoke tailoring is enjoying a comeback. New bespoke tailors are gaining popularity, with brands such as Ozwald Boateng (British-Ghanian descent) and Musika Frère (American), whose suits are offered in unusual colors and patterns, and whose client list includes, Jay Z, Michael B. Jordan, Stephen Curry, Kevin Hart and even Beyoncé.

In 2018, John Galiano introduced the world to ‘men’s couture’ with his Artisanal bias cut suits for Maison Margiela.

 

Hedi Slimane – Skinny jeans (Courtesy Dior Homme)

Hedi Slimane – Skinny jeans (Courtesy Dior Homme)

Today, the top designer menswear brands are truly an international set. Among the top 10 are:  Tom Ford (American), Gucci (Italian-Alessandro Michele), Neil Barrett (British), Thom Browne (American), DSquared2 (Canadians -Dean and Dan Caten), Dolce & Gabbana (Italian), Moncler (French), Louis Vuitton (French house-American designer Virgil Abloh), Prada (Italian) and Balmain (French-Olivier Rousteing).

Menswear has certainly evolved, from a rigid, controlled look, to one that is more casual, more personal and more connected to today’s lifestyle. Yes, menswear doesn’t change radically, but its evolution definitely shows that men are using fashion to express who they are now. Men who are freer to be themselves, men who are more comfortable in their own skin, and who are using fashion for self-expression, makes the future of menswear an exciting proposition.

Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

Louis Vuitton by Virgil Abloh (Courtesy of Louis Vuitton)

Care to share who are your favorite menswear designer/designers of all time?

PARIS FASHION WEEK: A MUCH NEEDED BEAUTIFUL ESCAPE FROM REALITY

- - Fashion Shows
Saint Laurent's spring 2019 Runway (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Saint Laurent’s spring 2019 Runway (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Political unrest, devastating natural disasters, fear of war, the economy, racism, the #me too movement, every day we are all bombarded with negative news, not only from our own backyard, but around the globe. At times, it feels as if we live in a mad, mad world.

So, when friends who are not in the fashion industry ask: “How can you think about fashion during these volatile times?” the answer… it’s not easy. The fashion industry is a Goliath worldwide business. According to Statista, revenue of  the U.S. Apparel Industry in 2018 was estimated at $102,820 million. Globally the retail value of luxury goods is estimated at $339.4 billion (according to Fashion United). But aside from the economic value of the fashion industry, there is also a psychological one – fashion is a great escape from the real world. And, this fashion season delivered!

Not only were the shows theatrical, but the craftsmanship and the use of bold, eye-popping color all contributed to an upbeat and happy escape from reality. Exactly what the doctor ordered.

Let’s take a look at what was happening at the Paris shows, which included debut and controversy at Celine, gender-diversity on the runway, avant-garde escapism and a space age look into a better future.

A NEW DAY AT CELINE

Hedi Slimane’s debut collection for Celine was filled with mixed reviews. Even before his show, Slimane caused controversy by rebranding the company’s logo, removing the accent aigu (Céline). As editors, influencers, buyers and celebrities eagerly awaited Slimane’s collection, many were disappointed that he replicated exactly what he did at Saint Laurent (2012-2016) and his past collections for Dior Homme (2000-2007). Slimane fired back, targeting the American press and charging them with ‘homophobia.’ I mean, really?

For many, the re-branding at the hands of Slimane was the complete and utter destruction of Celine’s house codes and Phoebe Philo’s legacy, whose fan base expects smart, chic, and intellectual collections. Some even called Simane’s debut collection, ‘Saint Celine.’

And here’s why. The collection had a glam-grunge, rock n’ roll sensibility.  There was a nod to the Eighties, with big shoulder silhouettes, exaggerated pouf details, mini lengths and plenty of shine. Maybe perfect for dancing the night away at your favorite trendy hot spot but not what the house is generally known for. Just goes to show that taking over as creative director at a heritage house is no simple task!

Celine's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Celine’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Slimane also introduced menswear to Celine, showing perfectly tailored skinny pantsuits that have become his signature look. But, ladies don’t fret, these looks are unisex as well.

Celine's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Celine’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

On the retail front it will be interesting to see, whether Celine’s customers take to the ‘new vision’ or will Slimane’s consumer be his old Saint Laurent clientele. Only time will tell.

THE AGE OF ANDROGYNY

As the cultural discussion on gender identity keeps moving forward, designers are embracing the shift in acceptance and are positioning their brands to be all inclusive by showing their menswear and womenswear collections together, casting transgender models, and even launching entire unisex collections.

At Givenchy,  Clare Waight Keller took cues from 1930s gender-bending writer and adventurer Annemarie Schwarzenbach. Keller sent her models out with cropped boyish haircuts in leather Perfectos tucked into military pants – a direct homage to a photo of Schwarzenbach. For evening, she showed elegant bias cut asymmetrical gowns. But her daywear was what really stuck out.  There were plenty of chic army trousers paired with fitted jackets, smart suit alternatives and plenty of crisp shirts – all perfect looks for the fashion-forward working girl.

Givenchy's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Givenchy’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Haider Ackermann has been showing androgynist looks for years now, with Tilda Swinton as his muse. This season the designer decided to show both his womenswear and menswear collections on the runway together.  The collections were perfectly intertwined, sending out his models in pairs of three to clearly make his point that his collection is cross-gender.

Ackermann has mastered creative tailoring. For spring, there were plenty of sharp suits in bold colors, boxy shirts with intricate laser-cut details and pajama-inspired pieces. Although the unisex concept has been seen on a number of runways this season, Ackermann’s version was effortless and elegant.

Haider Ackermann's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Haider Ackermann’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE AVANT-GARDE

There are a handful of designers who are truly creative geniuses. Season after season these avant-garde designers take us on a breathtaking journey, their collections are thought provoking, witty and intellectual. Here’s a mash-up of the best!

Comme des Garçons' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Comme des Garçons’
spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Thom Browne's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Thom Browne’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rick Owen's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rick Owen’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Yohji Yamamoto's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Yohji Yamamoto’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Junya Watanabe's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Junya Watanabe’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balenciaga's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balenciaga’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Maison Margiela's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Maison Margiela’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE GREATEST SHOWMEN/WOMAN

Meanwhile, back to reality, well, almost. Karl Lagerfeld created a tropical beach for his Chanel spectacle. Yes, you heard me right. At the Paris Grand Palais, Lagerfeld recreated a beach that included an ocean with gentle waves, blue sky, wooden docks and lifeguards. He completed the scene with none other than former Baywatch actor Pamela Anderson seated in the front row.

Chanel's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Chanel’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Nicolas Ghesquière took us on a futuristic voyage for his Louis Vuitton collection. The perfect escape mechanism to avoid the reality of these times.

Louis Vuitton's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Modern dancers performed during Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Christian Dior Show. It was a nice break from traditional cat walking.

Christian Dior's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Christian Dior’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Anthony Vaccarello’s girls walked on water under the Eiffel Tower for his Saint Laurent show.

Saint Laurent's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Saint Laurent’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

For Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu collection, the concept of  ‘deconstructing beauty’ continued by putting her spin on DIY, recycling, and upcycling under a backdrop modern art installations.

Miu Miu's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Miu Miu’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE ROMANTICS

Fashion week season wouldn’t be complete without a ‘romance-inspired’ collection. Beautifully feminine looks, from whimsical tulle confections to vintage floral charm, these saccharine-savy looks had just the right dose of spice.

Giambattista Valli's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Giambattista Valli’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Alexander McQueen's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Alexander McQueen’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ann Demeulemeester's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ann Demeulemeester’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

 

Altuzarra's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Altuzarra’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Valentino's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Valentino’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

 SPACE AGE

In a galaxy far, far away…..some designers looked ahead to the future, creating looks that were out of this world.

Balmain's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Balmain’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Louis Vuitton’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Gucci's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Gucci’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Isabel Marant's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Isabel Marant’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE REALISTS

Ok, all these fantasy looks are spectacular, but sometimes we need to see some real clothes on the runway, right? But always with a twist!

Sonia Rykiel's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Sonia Rykiel’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Stella McCartney's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Stella McCartney’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Loewe's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Loewe’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Dries Van Noten's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Dries Van Noten’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Hermès' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Hermès’ spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rochas' spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Rochas’ spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

THE NEW GUARD

Here at UoF, we love and support new, emerging designers. Here’s a fresh crop who are disrupting the establishment……

Off-White's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Off-White’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ellery's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Ellery’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Johanna Ortiz's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Johanna Ortiz’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Beautiful People's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Beautiful People’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Esteban Cortazar's spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Esteban Cortazar’s spring 2019 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue)

Tell us which collection took you out of reality, even if only for a moment?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Designer Dilemma: Staying True to Your Brand as Trends Shift

- - Fashion Tips

 (Photo Courtesy of Refinery29)

In today’s digital age where news and trends are delivered at lightning speed, it is important for fashion designers to remember to stay true to their brand’s vision. With a plethora of influences out there, like Instagram, Pinterest, fashion vlogs and blogs, it’s hard for them not to succumb to current trends and create a plat du jour collection that may ultimately compromise their brand. Successful designers realize the importance of maintaining brand identity and staying connected with their customers’ expectations as trends shift.

But what should a designer do when their brand signature is not the trend of the moment?

Answer: Designers must adapt their signature style to the changing market, while not confusing their customer.

Here are a few designers who, throughout their successful career, have stayed true to themselves and their brand, while adapting to the ever-changing trend churn:

Miuccia Prada

Miuccia Prada surprises her clients season after season and yet one thing remains consistent; Prada always delivers a unique style that skillfully mixes intellectual purity, art, eccentric elegance and futuristic minimalism. Here are two examples of Prada’s love of art through the years.

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2008 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren

Although never one to follow trends, Ralph Lauren has built an empire on updating American classics that reflect elegance and sophistication. Here is a preppy nod to nautical chicness.

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ralph Lauren Spring 2006 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne

While his ‘shrunken’ grey suits put him on the map, Thom Browne is known for his avant-garde fashion and conceptual fashion shows. In an interview with BoF, designer Thom Browne told of his brand’s ‘conceptual-meets-commercial’ balancing act. Browne stated, “I just knew I needed to stay in business. I’m stubborn, but I’m not foolish. Fashion is a business. As conceptual as you want to be, you do have to make sure that you approach it as a business. There has to be a commercial element to what you do.” Here are some examples of his quirky take on men’s suits through the years.

Thom Brown Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Brown Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Fall 2007 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schouler

Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have never abandoned their cool, artsy girl customer. At a Fashion at FIAF festival talk, moderated by Vogue’s Sally Singer, the duo stated, “If you do think you have the vision to set out on your own, confidence is key, especially since your designs or ideas might seem crazy and impractical to some. It’s always good to piss some people off. Our teachers at [Parsons] hated us,” Hernandez laughed. “They were like, you guys have to stop making clothes for art girls. Make some easy separates. We were like, What? No!”  That spirit has stayed with us to this day. You can’t cater to every single person. You have to do what makes you feel happy.” Here are Proenza Schoular’s fashion-forward girls.

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Proenza Schoular Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang

No one has captured the M.O.D. (Model-off-Duty) look better than Alexander Wang. The eponymous label embodies a cool, slightly disheveled, utilitarian chic, downtown style that is favored by hipsters, rappers, ‘It girls’ and critics alike. Here are some Alexander Wang cool, downtown girls.

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alexander Wang Fall 2011 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel

Tweed, pearls and quilted bags have been among the ‘codes of the house’ at Chanel for decades. And yet, season after season, Karl Lagerfeld adds a youthful and fashion-forward twist to these iconic classics. Here are some signature Chanel looks through the years.

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 2018 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Spring 1994 Collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

So tell us, which designers do you think have best adapted their ‘signature’ to current fashion trends while still maintaining their brand’s identity?

 

Halloween Inspired Looks Right Off The Runway

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

In Need of a Costume……..

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

We look to Fashion Week for the latest trends and style inspirations, as well as celebrity sightings, street-style stars, and drop-dead gorgeous models, but at times, runway looks can be a great source of originality for Halloween costumes. Forget the creepy, zombie  motifs. The spring/summer 2018 collections offer more feminine and sexy variations to play dress up in. Themes ranged from Disney princess’ to Andy Warhol pop art prints.  So take a look below, and see the most creative styles that’ll have you covered when it comes to costume originality and give you major high-fashion cred.

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Swan Lake

Every little girl dreams of being a ballerina and for spring, Thom Browne created an alternate universe at the Hôtel de Ville with magic wands and pouches full of glittery fairy dust. The possibility of magic and mischief filled the air. This whimsical show was an ode to childhood fantasies – think mermaids, unicorns and ballerinas. Browne’s vision of a ballerina was am encrusted pearl studded bodysuit as they danced down the runway, now that’s what you’d call a fairy-tale beginning.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Scott was also inspired by the ballet, but his version was a tougher girl, for his Moschino show – think biker ballerina. Scott showed a variety of leather jackets, satin bustiers, tulle tutus, and fishnets in a couple dozen variations on the runway.

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Moschino Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Moschino Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fairy-Tale

Fairy Tales do come true – and no one was able to capture the joy of fairytales and princesses better then Walt Disney. For spring, Philipp Plein’s theme was “Good Gone Bad.” His recurrent logo was a ball-gagged and bonded Alice in Wonderland character (or was it Cinderella?). Plein anlo showed a handful of T-shirts that read “Plein Fairytale Crew”. Was it a fairy tale? No. But wouldn’t it make a great costume?

Meanwhile, Alessandro Michele showed an intense, contradictory, and literally dark experience, for his spring 2018 Gucci show. It was full of glitter and glam, ’80s shoulders, English tweeds, Disney and Sega references, with all his recognizable eclectic mix of reworked vintage chic. Who wouldn’t love a Snow White sequin sweatshirt?

 

Philipp Plein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Philipp Plein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 Pop-Art

The fashion and art world go hand in hand as many designers look to artists for inspiration. For Spring, both Raf Simons for Calvin Klein and Donatella Versace where influenced by the works of Andy Warhol and his iconic Pop-Art prints. For Raf Simons’s Calvin Klein, he experimented with American classics but in a subversive way. His new motifs for spring included Andy Warhol prints of Dennis Hopper circa Easy Rider and a 1971 Sandra Brant (is there an art movement more American than Pop?), cheerleaders, and horror movies.

Meanwhile, Donatella Versace gave a tribute to her brother Gianni,  founder of the Versace label, as the 20 year anniversary of his murder just past. It was a tribute celebrating Gianni’s inspirations and creations, and  “a genius . . . an icon . . . my brother” stated Donatella Versace.  She wanted the focus to be on his life, not his violent end, but also his feminist leanings and the eternal relevance of his designs. So of course, among the medusa and baroque motifs, there were plenty of Andy Warhol prints.

Miuccia Prada was also inspired by pop art, but of the comic book variety. Prada presented an empowering show, set among the work of women cartoonists and manga artists whose drawings dominated the company’s huge headquarters. The collection was based on putting her stamp on a blank canvas. Coats, jackets, and cropped pants were screen-printed in the various artists’ works. The result was a strong and feisty collection, with a nod to the early 80’s clubkid; but all with Prada’s sophisticated and chic hand.

Versace Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versace Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Calvin Klein Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Groovy

One of the easiest Halloween costume trends to pull off are the Sixties, think peace, love and happiness. Think Woodstock. And no-one does it better than Anna Sui. She laser-cuts through the past, pulling references together for a beautiful collage that is at once nostalgic, modern, and a bit kooky.

Marc Jacobs showed a happy and upbeat spring collection with giant daisies and other overscale flowers; the collection was filled with Crayola colors, tinsel trimmings, and sequins, sequins, sequins. Jacobs’s idea here was to return to the archives, passing old ideas and former hits through “exaggerated, decadent, and exotic” filters. This is hippy chic in the most lux sense.

Stacey Bendet, the quirky designer behind the Alice + Olivia label, also gave a nod to the sixties with a re-imagined version of the hippy-chic with floral peasant dresses and bohemian inspired tops with bell-bottom denim.

Anna Sui Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Anna Sui Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Alice + Olivia Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Alice + Olivia)

Alice + Olivia Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Alice + Olivia)

 

 

Marc Jacobs Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Marc Jacobs Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dynasty

With the remake of the 80’s television series Dynasty, Eighties inspired costumes will be a sure fire hit. Anthony Vaccarello, the young designer behind Saint Laurent had plenty of dresses to choose from – from ostrich feather knee high boots to bubble hem dresses. Vaccarello’s collection was bold and cohesive, a real tribute to the founder Yves Saint Laurent. The show, held under the Eiffel Tower, was a bright and brilliant shot of sexuality, provocation, and the promise of all kinds of fun for a new generation. It was the Eighties in the most fabulous way.

Meanwhile, Waight Keller debut her first collection under the Givenchy label. Keller looked back and was inspired by the founder of the house, Hubert de Givenchy. She looked to his dynamic sketches, and zeroed in on how he started everything with the ‘shoulder;’ also, that he was a fan of graphic prints. So naturally, her runway looks were filled with strong shoulder looks, graphic prints and bold colors – just perfect for an Eighties revival costume theme party.

 

Saint Laurent Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Saint Laurent Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Givenchy Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Givenchy Spring 2018 Show (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

So with all these easy to interpret runway looks, what will you be this Halloween?

Resort Round-Up

RESORT 2018

Clockwise from upper left hand corner: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Christian Dior (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

Clockwise from upper left hand corner: Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and Christian Dior (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Resort has always been a favorite season for retailers; after all, it’s the longest selling season – hitting the floor around November and selling at full price until May. Up until several years ago, designers thought of the season as just store-fillers, a chance to sell the basic pieces all women need in their wardrobe. Fast-forward to today, resort has exploded into an equally important season as spring/summer and fall/winter.

Resort 2018 season kicked off in early May and has wrapped up in early July. While many designers presented their collections intimately in their showrooms to press and buyers, some designers went all out and showed a full runway show in various locations around the world.

Christian Dior Show held in Santa Monica Mountains (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Show held in Santa Monica Mountains (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s collection for Christian Dior was inspired by Californian nature –she held a grand show against the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains. This collection is far from the Hollywood glamour one expects when you think of California, but rather Chiuri looked to Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwest for inspiration. Other designers who also looked to O’Keeffe as a reference for their collections were Chiui’s former co-designer Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino, Tory Burch, Acne Studios, and Jonathan Simkhai.

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

 

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

 

Nicolas Ghesquière collection for Louis Vuitton was a love letter to Japan and its culture; the show was set within the stunning Miho Museum in Kyoto. Ghesquière used with Japanese references as he featured illustrated sequined dresses and guaranteed-hit Kabuki-eyed bags imagined by Kansai Yamamoto. The collection was filled with prints, layers, and textures, as well as a rebellious, badass attitude. Other tough girl collections include Dundas and Miu Miu.

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci’s Alessandro Michele has a love of history and the renaissance.  As the creative director for Gucci, Michele brought the brand back to its home in Florence for resort, showing at the Palatine Gallery of Palazzo Pitti. Michele injected his collection with heritage, irreverence, and plenty of kitschy charm. Plenty of designer followed suit with vintage inspired florals such as Rossie Assoulin, Etro, No.21 and Brock Collection

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Karl Lagerfeld usually shows his Chanel Resort collections in exotic locals, but this season, he transformed Paris into Ancient Greece for his grand show. Lagerfeld showed an abundance of Grecian goddess dresses that were breathtaking. Lagerfeld wasn’t the only designer inspired by  Ancient Greece, Roberto Cavalli, Fausto Puglisi and J.Mendel all had beautiful Grecian invigorated frocks.

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

 

Sure the shows were spectacular, but their were also plenty of trends for resort, here are some of the key looks to focus on:

Game Changer

Designers gave sporty clothes a glamorous spin. The look was especially noteworthy at Valentino, as Pierpaolo Piccioli showed track suits, dresses, and strappy sandals with athletic ankle socks. Other designers who got their game on: Prada, Mui Mui and Stella McCartney.

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Get Fruity

Citrus colors take center stage this season from zingy lime to tangy orange. Designers from both side of the Atlantic embraced the trend from Edun to MSGM.

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 Jean Therapy

Denim has long been a favorite among designers. But this season, toss away your skinnies; the new trend is wide leg denim.

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

Seeing Stripes

Thom Browne, Joseph Altuzarra and plenty of other designers gave the classic stripe a modern update using dynamic colors and unusual placements worthy of a double take.

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

 

 

 

 

 

Patriotic Fashion

To The Red, White and Blue: The American Flag in Fashion

American Flag in Fashion (Courtesy of  Quora.Com)

American Flag in Fashion (Courtesy of Quora.Com)

Happy Memorial Day! It’s the official kickoff weekend to the summer in the United States.  It’s time to hit the beach and enjoy some fun barbeque smoked food parties. With Independence Day right around the corner, what better way to show national pride than by wearing the iconic red, white and blue flag print.

The first official flag of the United States was introduced on June 14, 1777 and represented our founding 13 colonies with thirteen stripes in red and white and thirteen stars.  The American flag as we know it today has only been around since 1960 (July 4th, 1960, to be exact). It was introduced shortly after Hawaii became the nation’s fiftieth state, and in its long and tricolored history, there have been a grand total of 27 official, government approved versions: As states were added, so were the stars. What has remained consistent, the flags thirteen red and white alternating stripes—representing our original thirteen colonies. Citizens proudly hung their flags in front of their homes, schools and government buildings. They had great respect for their nation.

America was seen as the land of economic prosperity and enabling dreams – “The American Dream”.  This slogan was made popular through intense marketing. The goal was singular: to project America to be the best place in the world to be living in. And it paid off. America became an attractive destination for some of the world’s smartest immigrants and global investment.

Through the years, the American flag has become a fixture in the fashion world all across the United States and even overseas. The fashion world’s homages to the flag over the years have been a little more abstract. It’s most definitely a popular motif, but the banner’s many variations run the gamut from straight-up remodeled – case in point, Givenchy’s spring 2014 men’s tech-y colored jumpers – to Catherine Malandrino’s gauzy iconic flag dress  (which featured heavily in FIT’s 2009 “Fashion & Politics” exhibition).

Catherine Malandrino 2001 (Courtesy of Pintrest)

Catherine Malandrino
2001 (Courtesy of Pintrest)

 

Givenchy Men's Spring 2014 (Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Givenchy Men’s Spring 2014 (Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Most often it’s a bankable subject – look at Ralph Lauren. The designer has been printing the American Flag image on many variations on his t-shirts for years. You cannot attend a 4th of July party without someone in the crowd wearing a Ralph Lauren iconic flag tee (they can be found in his men’s, woman’s and children’s collections). Tommy Hilfiger is another sportswear giant who incorporated the iconic American symbol as a logo for his collection.

Tommy Hilfiger X Gigi Hadid spring 2017 (Courtesy of  Tommy Hilfiger)

Tommy Hilfiger X Gigi Hadid spring 2017 (Courtesy of Tommy Hilfiger)

 

Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren (Courtesy of Lyst.Com)

Denim & Supply by Ralph Lauren (Courtesy of Lyst.Com)

 

On the runway, Thom Browne has become famous for his signature red, white, and-blue grosgrain trims, let alone his unconventional runway collections that, somehow, blend country-strong iconoclasm with theatricality and excitement. Meanwhile, Chanel’s pre-fall 2014 rodeo in Dallas extravaganza, Karl Lagerfeld embraced the motto “Everything is bigger in Texas.” The show was a barn-burner of a star-spangled spectacle in all its glory.

 

Thom Browne Spring 2017 (Courtesy of ssense.com)

Thom Browne Spring 2017 (Courtesy of ssense.com)

 

Chanel pre-fall2014 (Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Chanel pre-fall2014 (Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

So in honor of Memorial Day, Independence Day and the start to summer, wear your Flag motif proudly. No matter what your political party is, we should all be patriots.

Miu Miu Spring 2011 (Courtesy of  Vogue.Com)

Miu Miu Spring 2011 (Courtesy of Vogue.Com