The recent changing of the guards at the helm of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) from 13-year-veteran Diane von Furstenberg to international design superstar Tom Ford, has the American fashion industry abuzz with what’s next for a fashion market that seems to have lost its way in recent years. Read More
Posts Tagged: "Tom Ford"
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Care to share who are your favorite menswear designer/designers of all time?
It seemed only fitting that the ’80s’ were ‘in the air’ this season as many of America’s designer icons who rose to fame in that era, have either sadly passed away (Oscar de la Renta, Geoffrey Beene), or are retiring (Calvin Klein, Donna Karan). On Monday, February 12th, it was Carolina Herrera who gave her final runway bow, lovingly surrounded by her atelier team. Venezuelan-born Herrera launched her fashion brand 37 years ago, catering to the ‘uptown ladies who lunch’ crowd. In true Herrera fashion, her final show was a colorful rendition of her signature looks – crisp white shirts paired with wide belted-ballgown skirts in a rainbow of colors. Just as her clientele has aged, so has that look. It will now be up to designer Wes Gordon (raised in Atlanta- graduated Central St. Martins 2009 – interned at Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford) to breathe new life into the label. It was a very touching moment at the show when Gordon presented Herrera with a bouquet of red roses.
Technology, of course played a roll at NYFW, with models and everyone else using the KiraKira app to add eye-catching effects to their Insta and snaps. Thank goodness there was plenty of 80s sparkle and shine on the runway, as everyone played with the app, enhancing those Studio 54 disco ball looks!
Forget the classic fashion show venue and white runner format, this fall some designers put just as much thought and originality ‘on’ the runway, as they did ‘in’ the clothes that walked it. Raf Simons served up a masterful interpretation of Americana for Calvin Klein (his 3rd show for the brand) at the American Stock Exchange building, where 50,000 gallons of popcorn, yes…popcorn… lined the runway and sloped up the sides of barn wall facades that were erected inside the venue. Looks like Simons has upped the ante when it comes to the ‘fashion show extravaganza.’
Stuart Vevers, the executive creative director at Coach 1941, constructed a hauntingly beautiful forest to present his wares, while Tory Burch forged a beautiful pink floral garden. These witty designers set the mood, creating a whimsical atmosphere even before the show started! Do you think designers need to go to such extremes to sell their clothes, or is this the new ‘norm’ in a world where social media buzz is a necessity?
For years the fashion world has talked about diversity. Well, this season… finally… NY designers gave center stage to a beautifully diverse cast of models, including plus size models. Let’s give props and a major round of applause to Christian Siriano, Michael Kors, Prabal Gurung, Chromat, and Anna Sui who understand that not everyone is a size zero and six feet tall. This season marked the most number of full-figured models ever to walk the runway. With the average American woman wearing a size 14 and thus representing 19 percent of all retail sales, one wonders why it took brands so long? We hope that more designers become enlightened and get on board.
Absent from NYFW was Georgina Chapman (the estranged wife of Harvey Weinstein and designer of the Marchesa label). A one-time favorite of Hollywood starlets, Chapman laid low this season, in fact, her clothes haven’t been worn by a celeb since the scandalous news broke that sparked the #MeToo movement (the day of Chapman’s bridal presentation in October). Will Hollywood and the fashion industry look past Chapman’s connection to Weinstein and give her another chance, just like they did with John Galliano (now thriving at Maison Margiela)?
Photographers Terry Richardson, Bruce Webber and Mario Testino have all been accused of sexual assault and harassment by both male and female models. All three photographers have denied any wrongdoing but in a rare show of solidarity many fashion brands and magazines have either ended, or are putting their relationships with these photographers on hold. Do you think the fashion industry breeds a culture of abuse? Is the long-overdue inclusion of plus size and ethnic models on the runway, as well as body-shaming practices, also forms of abuse? Don’t be afraid to share your story.
Other news on the runway included gender diversity and fashion disruption. Desmond Nepoles, a 10-year old self-proclaimed ‘drag kid’ from Brooklyn, made his runway debut and stole the show at Gypsy Sport, Rio Uribe’s brand geared to forward-thinking, disenfranchised millennials. Nepoles, an advocate for LGBTQ youth, is launching the first ever drag house for individuals 20 and under, called Haus of Amazing. Alas… is there an Alexander McQueen in the making?
On the totally other side of the spectrum, was the down-to-earth, classic ‘sail away’ show at Ralph Lauren, as he presented his spring 2018 buy-now-wear-now collection. Tradition is still alive and well!
NYFW opened with a star-studded front row at Tom Ford, showing both men’s and woman’s looks – and let’s not forget those animal-printed boxers! The shows ended with an over-the-top visual feast at Marc Jacobs as he paid tribute to Yves Saint Laurent in all his fashion glory.
Here is a round-up of some of the biggest trends of the season:
CALL OF THE WILD
Animal prints have always been a fashion favorite, but for fall, designers added a nostalgic 80s twist with neon-colored animal motifs.
PRETTY IN PINK
Designers opted for a new shade of pink in a throwback to the Eighties, but this time, it’s all about magenta.
Business meets pleasure as designers offered sexy alternatives to the basic suit, adding asymmetrical necklines, under-cut boobs and super short hemlines. Provocative alternatives to a night out. These suits were especially empowering for a new #TimesUp generation. Anyone remember the power-suits of the 1980s (Gaultier, Montana)?
Corsets and ruffles got a modern spin as designers were inspired by the Victorian era.
With climate change a reality and as drastic shifts in weather patterns continue, designers have you covered…literally. To keep you warm and toasty, an assortment of puffers, both long and short were featured, along with neon-colored, quilted and plaid versions. Bring on the cold!
The world of fashion and many other industries have become extremely competitive. Only the ones who are ready to struggle and honestly work hard can make it to the top in their respective fields. Check out the following post if you need any form of assistance on how to make a midlife career change.
Now that New York Fashion Week has
come to close, tell us, did you have a
Hollywood A-listers have long used their fame to promote individual causes, whether political, ethnic or humanitarian. But at this year’s 75th Annual Golden Globes, most all of the attending actors and actresses stood unified in a sea of black (or wore Time’s Up pins). Dressing in black resulted in a powerful solidarity statement, lending support to the ” Time’s Up” and “Me To” movements and those who so courageously continue to speak out against sexual harassment and female inequality. The days of watching award shows solely for the fashion are démodé, or are they? Clothes at award shows are now more important than ever! Oprah Winfrey’s Cecil B. DeMille AwardAward speech said it all : “a new day is on the horizon!”
Side by side with Hollywood heavyweights stood female activists such as Monica Ramirez, a campaigner who fights sexual violence against farmworkers and Billie Jean King, the founder of the Women’s Tennis Association, whom Emma Stone portrays in Battle of the Sexes.
While many celebrities dazzled on the stage, the red carpet was filled with fashion drama. Here are some of the biggest trends of the night: (All photos courtesy of Shutterstock).
THE NEW SUIT
NOT YOUR BASIC TUXEDO
Winners of the night included:
Best motion picture, drama: “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Best motion picture, musical or comedy: “Lady Bird”
Best actress in a motion picture, drama: Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Best actor in a motion picture, drama: Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Best actor in a motion picture, musical or comedy: James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Best actress in a motion picture, musical or comedy: Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Best supporting actor, any motion picture: Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Best supporting actress, any motion picture: Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Best director: Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Best screenplay: Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Best television series, drama: “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Best television series, musical or comedy: “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Best limited series or motion picture made for television:”Big Little Lies”
Best actress in a series, limited series or motion picture made for television: Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies”
Best actor in a series, limited series or motion picture made for television: Ewan McGregor, “Fargo”
Best actress in a television series, drama: Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale”
Best actor in a television series, drama: Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us”
Best actress in a television series, musical or comedy: Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
Best actor in a television series, musical or comedy: Aziz Ansari, “Master of None”
Best supporting actor in a series, limited series or motion picture made for television: Alexander Skarsgård, “Big Little Lies”
Best supporting actress in a series, limited series or motion picture made for television: Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies”
TELL US, WHAT WAS YOUR FAVORITE LOOK OF THE NIGHT? AND, SHOULD OPRAH RUN FOR PRESIDENT?
New York Fashion Week
Fashion Month is in full swing as New York kicked off the Spring 2018 show season with a bang. Of course, there was plenty of buzz before shows even started such as the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) cutting the NY calendar by a day, New York based designers showing in other cities, and the stress of where to show. Then lets add on the celebrity circus and street style stars in the mix and it’s been a entertaining week.
One of the biggest trends among the fashion crowd before shows even began was the blue ribbon. Fashionistas are pinning themselves to protest racism and hatred in the wake of this summer’s white power rally in Charlottesville, Va. The ribbons were created by the CFDA and the American Civil Liberties Union. In a statement released, Steven Kolb, president and CEO of CFDA, said “We want to be on the front line, not the sidelines, to boldly fight to protect our precious rights and freedoms, which has taken on a renewed urgency after the heart-wrenching events of Charlottesville.”
Bringing Sexy Back
Tom Ford kicked off fashion week and it was the buzz of the season before it even started. His invitation was all the rage and was Instagramed by the fashion set – a bottle of his latest fragrance, Fucking Fabulous—as if we needed a reminder. Much of Tom Ford’s namesake label’s success has been with his menswear collections, so for spring, Ford took a nod from his menswear collection and showed impeccably tailored suits. His jackets were sexy and confident, with sharp lines and broad shoulders. In a throwback to his signature Gucci 90’s glam, Ford showed plenty of ruched net dresses that where oh so seductive – it’s clear, Tom Ford is back!
The Helmut Lang collection label is being revised again and the timing couldn’t be better, with so many young designers referencing the designer’s minimalistic aesthetic as a point of reference. The label’s designer in residence is none other than Hood By Air’s Shayne Oliver, so now Helmet Lang is sexier than it’s ever been. Oliver showed some streamline tailoring that was true to the houses’ heritage, but all with a fetish streak. The collection felt more like a Hood By Air show than a Helmut Lang collection. Oliver showed plenty of kink with asymmetric bras, daring peekaboo harnesses, rearless pants suspended from the waistband like garters, leather codpieces, and strappy BDSM gear. The collection left many Helmut Lang fans (all who remember his collections vividly) divided.
This season Narciso Rodriguez opted out of a formal show and the celebrity circus it has become, instead he held private appointments to present his spring collection. Season after season Rodriguez is consistent chic yet sexy clothes that real women want to wear. His workmanship is impeccable and so important to see upclose rather than a runway. Sticking to his signature looks, Rodriguez showed slinky knit dresses in black and white with openwork stitches that show flashes of skin, a harness-top sheath with a sliver cutout, and an attenuated jumpsuit with a deep U-front.
Athleisure and streetwear have been going strong now, but for spring the trend takes a more feminine twist. At Alexander Wang’s #WANGFEST, models rode around a party bus Saturday night around New York City’s busy streets. The first stop was Lafayette and Center Streets in Manhattan, the second was at Astor Place; both were open to the public. The press and retailers were invited to the last stop – a dead end in Bushwick, Brooklyn; which then led to #WANGFEST, his jumping after-party in a literal jumpy castle. Models were literally pouring off the bus in a runway format that was fun and energetic. As for the clothes, it’s what Wang does best, sporty with a sexy twist. These are real clothes for all the cool kids. Wang layered denim cut-offs over leather leggings and there were a lot of extra sleeves and jackets that were cut in half and worn as skirts. Wang is also continuing his collaboration with Adidas, with a zip-front jacket with the extra sleeves cinching the waist.
Wang isn’t the only one to break the ties from traditional fashion shows, Rihanna gave her audience an adrenalin rush as she presented her Fenty x Puma show. The set was designed with pink sand mountains and a trio of motocross stuntmen performed mouth-dropping stunts. As for the clothes, they were sporty, fun, colorful and sexy all in one. Inspired by the X Games, there were a number of classic surf references thrown in for good measure – think biker shorts and scuba onesies. Rihanna showed modern interpretations of cheeky 1980s swim trends, case in point, the French-cut swimsuit. The entertainer also showed off her tomboy style with oversize motocross-inspired nylon track pants and anoraks that were a modern riff off the 90’s hip-hop trend.
Meanwhile, at Calvin Klein, Raf Simmons continued his experimentation on American classics. For Spring, Raf was inspired by the contrast of the American Dream and American horror by invoking the magic of the movies; horror movies to be more specific as he played with Andy Warhol pop prints (specifically, Dennis Hopper circa Easy Rider and a 1971 Sandra Brant). His Hitchcock blondes wore rubber, and gauzy nightgowns reminiscent of Sissy Spacek in Carrie. Sticking to his American classics motif, Raf also showed plenty of cool denim, color blocked Western shirts, fringe dresses, 50’s inspired full skirted frocks and a nod to athletic with cool bungee cord details on nylon outerwear.
You’re So Transparent
This season is turning out to be a sheer sensation as designers are leaving very little to the imagination, but not in a vulgar way. For spring, they are embracing the transparency trend with soft, wispy fabrics delicately draped and overlaid showing just hints of skin in a romantic and feminine way. Speaking of femininity, Victoria Beckham showed off her softer side this season with sheer fabrics in soft colors proving that delicacy can in fact be strong. Case in point, Beckham’s first look: a soft yellow check shirt, which was slightly oversized and boxy, tucked into a dusty rose organza pencil skirt. Pure perfection!
Jason Wu is known for his polished and elegant sensibility, and for spring he kept true to his DNA but in a slightly more casual way. But casual for Wu means a midriff-baring cutout on a striped cotton dress and laces suspended from a crinkled silk coat. For evening, Wu was inspired by Madame Grès and reinterpreted her innovative pleating techniques. Wu also worked pleats onto sheer gowns staying right on trend.
Meanwhile, Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia’s sophomore collection for the Oscar de la Renta brand were met with mixed reviews. Inspired by Pop Art and letters Mr. De la Renta wrote, along with thank-you notes that the duo have received from today’s young starlets. Sure De la Renta’s name was all over the collection, but his aesthetic certainly was not. Can you image Mr. De la Rents putting frayed and faded denim, sheer dresses, bathing suits and logo print furs on the runway? There were a few breathtaking evening gowns that rang true to De la Renta’s style, such as the colorful dégradé tulle gowns. Still, Kim and Garcia are trying to find their footing in the house of Oscar de la Renta.
Traditional menswear has always been in fashion, but for spring designers are incorporating tailored suits in beautiful menswear fabrics for a look that is smart yet oh so chic. Of course no one does this better than Ralph Lauren. In one of the most anticipated shows of the season he transported the fashionable front row set to his garage in upstate Bedford, New York. His vintage car collection is most impressive with Porsches, Ferraris, Jaguars, McLarens, and a Bugatti. The cars were innovative and sleek, but his clothes oozed timeless chic. For his Fall, buy-now-wear-now collection, Lauren worked mixed tweeds, checks and plaids on bustier tops paired with relaxed trousers. For evening, Lauren kept it casual with a puffer jacket over a sparkly minislip and over-the-knee boots as well as dapper tuxedos.
Good-Bye New York
No designer is better fitted to close out New York fashion week than Marc Jacobs – you just never know what you’re going to get at a Marc show. This season it was silence, there was no whimsical sets built, no music, just the sound of 56 models walking only to the sounds of their shoes on the old wood planks of the Park Avenue Armory. The clothes were full of wit and humor. After being in business for 25 years, Jacob’s looks to his past collections for inspiration; his program notes called it a “reimagining of seasons past somewhere beyond the urban landscape of New York City.”
No music was needed to set a mood, the clothes themselves set a happy and joyful tone. There were giant, overscaled flowers; Crayola colors, tinsel trimmings, exaggerated shapes, and sequins, sequins, sequins. Jacobs’s idea was to return to the archives, passing old ideas and former hits through “exaggerated, decadent, and exotic” filters. Although some looks were trippy, overall, Jacob’s did what he does best, delivering a young and exciting line-up.
Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.
Thanks to the Academy Award-winning film, Hidden Figures, these names are now synonymous with launching NASA’s astronauts safely into space.
But did you know that the fashion industry has many hidden figures of its own? Strong, powerful, talented women who are the creatives forces behind brands such as Gucci, Valentino and Marc Jacobs? And like the love of math was the thread that tied Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson together, accessory design is the common tie between the three female powerhouses in the fashion industry you’re about to meet. Read More