University of Fashion Blog

Posts Tagged: "Valentino"

BARBIECORE & WHY BARBIE IS NOT JUST SOME DUMB BLONDE

Celebrities embracing the Barbiecore trend. NY Post Photo Illustration. (Photo Credit: NY Post)

As we all know, fashion is cyclical. Trends come and go, hemlines rise and fall and each season we await the ‘color’ of the season (last season it was periwinkle). Well, this summer the color is pink and has its roots in the style icon, the Barbie doll. Yes, Barbie is Back!  The last time Barbie made it into pop culture was in the ’90s when the Danish/Norwegian band Aqua released their hit song, Barbie Girl, with the ear worm refrain,  “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic. You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere. Imagination, life is your creation!”

The massive publicity push is on, a full year in advance, for the July 2023 release of the Barbie film directed by Greta Gerwig (Little Women and Lady Bird) starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling. The trends surrounding the film are known as “Barbicore” (the word ‘core’ referring to the aesthetic associated with a film, for example ‘Regencycore’ for the series Bridgerton).  The new vibrant pink trend is getting a massive push in the fashion industry and actually began during the fall-winter 2022 shows when Valentino featured it for both their women’s and men’s styles and at Michael Kors, Versace, Act No. 1 and Dolce & Gabbana.

In a world where gender fluidity has been center stage (ex. Harry Styles), Barbicore is definitely bringing gender extremes back to the forefront of fashion. And if Barbicore is not the look for you, well then, grab your baggiest basketball shorts and oversized tees and try “Sandlercore“, a lazy man’s dressing trend made popular by actor Adam Sandler. Fashion has something for everyone, right?

Fashion marketers and influencers have jumped on the Barbicore trend as have celebs, from Megan Fox to Kim Kardashian. In an interview with the New York Post, Kim Culmone, Senior VP at Mattel, Inc. said “BarbieCore is the summer’s latest fashion trend influencing everything from clothing to home decor, and we are here for it. It’s been delightful seeing celebrities decked out in their best pink looks – Barbie would approve.”

Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling filming the new Barbie film. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The iconic Mattel doll has always been an inspiration to young women, even if she has sometimes been given a ‘ dumb blond’ moniker. The original ‘Barbie look’, consists of sexy curves and hot pink, bright neons, feminine makeup, and sparkly accessories, and has taken over TikTok. In fact, the hashtag #Barbiecore has more than 7 million views on TikTok and, according to Google Trends data, interest in Barbie has spiked to new heights as fans await the live-action movie.

In today’s #MeToo environment, director Greta Gerwig has a bold new vision of the iconic doll’s story. She is both writing and directing the movie, with input from her partner Noah Baumbach (Marriage Story). The plot of the story will revolve around a doll leaving Barbieland due to her so-called ‘imperfections’, only to discover along the way, that perfection can truly be found within.

Robbie’s costumes are being designed by Gerwig’s Little Women collaborator Jacqueline Durran (for which she won an Oscar) and are already inspiring street style. The Barbie aesthetic has entered the fashion zeitgeist, inspiring A-listers and fashion lovers worldwide.

Megan Fox and Machine Gun Kelly have embraced the Barbiecore trend head on. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

One of the most famous quotes from fashion legend Diana Vreeland was “Pink is the navy blue of India.” And for Fall 2022, Valentino designer Pierpaolo Piccioli showcased a pretty in pink collection in partnership with Pantone. The runway, backdrop, floors, and even the seats were the same shade of pink, which created a dazzling impact.

“Pinks are no doubt ‘having a moment.’ In fact, pink is having more than a moment,” Laurie Pressman, vice president of the Pantone Color Institute, told The Post in an interview. “It is a color family we have seen growing in popularity across the spectrum since 2013, one which sparked the intro of Millennial Pink and with the rise of the ‘gender blur’ became even more prominent. A time where we began doing away with all color rules and breaking down the boundaries.”

Left to Right: Hailey Beiber, Khloe Kardashian, and Kim Kardashian rocking the Barbiecore trend. (Photo Credit: Michigannewstimes)

“The bright pinks and fuchsias we are seeing today are exultant and empowering. They are stand-out statements being worn with confidence,” Pressman continued. “Vibrant and high-energy. they help us to feel uninhibited and free.”

Barbiecore, as a fashion movement, has been building for years. Remember in the early aughts when Tyra Banks took on the doll’s tailored aesthetic as Eve in the 2000 Disney film Life-Size? And, when Reese Witherspoon, as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, (circa 2001) was essentially a Barbie in a lawyer’s world?

Reese Witherspoon in Legally Blonde. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In the 2010s, we often saw Nicki Minaj sporting some serious Barbie-inspired looks after her own Barbie doll hit the market in 2011 (to this day the rapper still wears her signature diamond Barbie nameplate necklace). In 2015, Paris Hilton wore a hot pink Barbie one-piece by a pool in Ibiza, and footwear designer Sophia Webster collaborated with Barbie on a collection of limited-edition shoes the same year.

Kacey Musgraves at the Met Gala in 2019. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

In 2019, Kacey Musgraves wore a Barbie-inspired outfit for her Met Gala appearance: A floor-length, hot pink motorcycle dress designed by Moschino (a very Barbiecore brand!), complete with a matching hairdryer clutch, sunglasses, chandelier teardrop diamond earrings, and shiny silver pumps. The look was almost an exact replica of the Barbie x Moschino doll, which was being sold in the museum’s gift shop at the time.

Moschino’s Spring 2015 Barbie inspired Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Kim Culmone told InStyle that, like the beloved doll, what constitutes Barbiecore is ever evolving. “Barbie is inspired by pop culture and fashion. And like many of us, her style evolves to be reflective of today’s trends and culture. For 2022, as we move past the pandemic and regain our social lives, it’s Barbie’s genuine playfulness and bright, bold color palette that people are trying to incorporate into their daily routines.

Anne Hathaway at the Valentino Haute Couture Fall 2022 fashion show. Right Lizzo. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

HISTORY OF BARBIE

Artist Reinhard Beuthien created Lilli in 1952 for the German tabloid Bild as a comic strip character (Image credit Hobbylark.com). 

The Stolen Legacy of Bild Lilli

Barbie was modeled after a comic strip character called Lilli, created by Reinhard Beutheien in 1952 for the German tabloid, Bild. She soon became known as Bild Lilli and was marketed as a racy gag gift doll that men could buy in tobacco shops. The Bild Lilli doll became extremely popular with women and children too and eventually there would plenty of knockoff dolls worldwide.
Ruth Handler (co-founder of Mattel) discovered the Lilli doll while on vacation in Hamburg, Germany, had her copied and named her Barbie (after her daughter Barbara). Handler’s version, which launched in 1959, was made of vinyl with rooted hair and curly bangs rather than a wig-cap, and included separate shoes and earrings, which were not molded on, as were Lilli’s.  Handler acquired the rights to Bild Lilli in 1964, and production of the German doll ceased. 

The original Barbie launched in March 1959. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

The first Barbie doll came with a black and white striped swimsuit with cat-eye glasses, gold hoops, and her signature ponytail, mimicking the glamour of 1950s divas Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe. At the time, many toy buyers were uncertain of the doll’s sexy/curvy appearance as compared with traditional baby dolls, but Barbie took the world by storm with sales of 300,000 dolls in its first year of production. Today, over 90 percent of American girls between the ages of 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie doll.

It didn’t take long for Mattel to see Barbie as a voice for women’s rights. In 1962, before American women were even permitted to open their own bank accounts, Barbie bought her first Dreamhouse, becoming a symbol of independence and empowerment. In 1965, Astronaut Barbie made her debut, two years after Russian cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space and four years before Neil Armstrong and his team landed on the moon. Barbie opened the eyes and imagination of young girls to imagine a future in any field they desired. So much for that dumb blonde moniker!

The Oscar de la Renta Barbie Series, 1985. (Photo Credit: Mattel)

Professional & Activist Barbie

In its 63-year history, the American mass-produced Barbie doll has been a colossal success, and over the decades she has assumed many professions, from doctor and archeologist, to rock star and computer engineer. The first Twiggy Barbie was distributed in 1967. Others celeb Barbies include, Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe, Cher, and current young icons like Zendaya and Gigi Hadid.

This year, the Barbie Inspiring Women series added a Maya Angelou doll alongside figures like civil rights activist Rosa Parks, feminist leader Susan B. Anthony and tennis star Billie Jean King. Barbie has also enjoyed stints as a model for major fashion designers such as Oscar de la Renta, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Maison Margiela, Ralph Lauren, Anna Sui, and Burberry, as well as a CEO, a presidential candidate, and a vlogger.

In 2022 Barbie teamed up with heritage house Balmain (Barbie x Balmain) featuring a clothing collection and an NFT! (Image credit: highsnobiety.com)

The Jane Goodall Barbie doll as part of Mattel’s Inspiring Women series (Image credit: Mattel.com) 

For decades Barbie has had Black friends – Christie and Francie, but in 1980 Mattel introduced the first Black Barbie. Today, Barbie is an advocate for body inclusivity and diversity on every level, as promoted in Mattel’s WE ARE Barbie video in 2020. The Barbie Fashionista series includes a Barbie in a wheelchair and in 2022 Barbie became a sustainability advocate through a partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute. The dolls are now made from recycled ocean-bound plastic.

Sales for Mattel’s Barbie brand in 2021 amounted to about 1.68 billion U.S. dollars, up from about 1.35 billion U.S. dollars the year before.

Today Barbie is truly a woke toy, in fact, she is more than just a toy.

 

Meet Ann Driskill – Barbie Designer

Ann Driskill (Barbie designer at Mattel ) 

 

Ann Driskill, a Parsons graduate, had a 20-year career designing for Barbie at Mattel in Pasadena, California. Recently, our founder Francesca Sterlacci had an opportunity to talk with Ann about her experience and what is was like to design for such a style icon.

Francesca: Can you talk about your experience as a Barbie designer for 20 years?

Ann: Mattel designers design the entire doll: the prints, all the accessories, her hair, her makeup – specifically for each doll, plus sometimes new and unique body parts and poses. Mattel has artists specializing in all of these departments.

Francesca: Where is Barbie manufactured?

Ann: The production of the doll and the clothes are done in China, using super narrow seam allowance sewing machine attachments to handle the tiny seam allowances on the clothes.

Francesca: What was the best part of working on Barbie at Mattel?

Ann: The most fun about working at Mattel was collaborating with so many creative people.

Francesca: What were some of the challenges you encountered in the 20 years that you designed for Barbie?

Ann: The hardest part about designing for Barbie was learning how to adjust to her small size. You have to choose thin fabrics that don’t add bulk to Barbie’s slim  figure. You also need to design very small prints and patterns that don’t overwhelm her. Otherwise, it’s a lot like designing for real people,  except she never complains!

Ann was kind enough to share some of her designs for Barbie over the years

Ann Driskill’s original Barbie sketches (Images courtesy Ann Driskill) 

 

So tell us, in what way has Barbie been an inspiration to you?

THE MAGIC OF COUTURE: FALL 2022-2023 SHOWS

 

Looks from Valentino’s Fall 2022 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Tired of a world gone mad? Can’t watch the news or scroll down your phone for fear you’ll see one more upsetting thing? Well, get ready to enter the land of dreams, Haute Couture to the rescue! In one of the best couture seasons in recent memory, designers answered the call by delivering the very best in fantasy, feathers and the phantasmagorical.

For years, fashion followers have asked the question, “is Haute Couture still relevant in today’s day and age”? And, while many articles have been written about the ‘imminent death’ of couture, today, nothing could be further from the truth. Haute Couture is alive, well and thriving as it now appeals to a new generation of clients. The one-of-a-kind creations are no longer exclusively for the aristocratic old-moneyed doyennes, even if the cost of buying these clothes lies within reach of the extremely wealthy ‘one- percenters’.

Kim Kardashian, Nicole Kidman and Dua Lipa Walked The Runway At Balenciaga’s Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Balenciaga)

The Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture (the regulating commission that determines which fashion houses are eligible to be true haute couture houses) sets strict criteria for its classifications of couture, counting just 14 members alongside a host of guest designers each season. As of 2022, there are only 14 fashion houses that are considered couture, such as Dior, Chanel, and Givenchy. Although a lot has changed in the fashion world since the establishment of the House of Worth and La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, the qualifications of a couture fashion house have not changed. Despite the old rules, designers like Daniel Roseberry of Maison Schiaparelli and Pyer Moss’ Kerby Jean-Raymond, who showed for the first-time last season, are bringing a fresh point of view to couture.

Looks from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Show. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

Truth is, there are only a handful of individuals around the world that could afford the couture level hyper-luxury price tag. And, it’s also a fact that most houses shy away from publishing their prices. For example, a gown from Valentino’s Haute Couture runway show can cost approximately $95,000, and that is one without intricate embroidery or beading. As the old saying goes…”“If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” ~ U.S. financier J.P. Morgan (1837 – 1913).

While the cost may be out of reach for most of us, one can at least appreciate Haute Couture, which at its best, is fashion where true artistry and craft are allowed to shine without the restrictions of commercialism. Haute Couture is a celebration those rare skills that we at the University of Fashion LOVE so much. We hope that the couture will be preserved for generations to come, as the ateliers employ thousands of specialists, tailors and seamstresses, all of whom are master craftsmen and without the couture would be considered a dying art form.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

For Jean-Noël Kapferer, a professor at the leading French business school HEC (Hautes Etudes Commerciales) and the author of several books about management in the luxury market, Haute Couture is definitely still relevant today. “It’s the sign of absolute luxury,” he explains. In a sector where differentiation is essential, it “offers luxury brands an additional means of influence. A Couture show is art. By extending the limits of what is and isn’t feasible, Couture gives Houses a way of creating emotion, and of reawakening desire and the ability to dream – which is essential, as the latter inevitably starts to fade in the face of commercial success.” The challenge is to transform desire into action, and want into purchases, particularly for the benefit of other product categories. “The aura of Haute Couture brings a glow to other activities and transforms the perception of a brand. If there is one area where the ‘trickle down’ effect actually works, it’s in Haute Couture! Its daring and creativity will benefit the ready-to-wear segment, as it allows Houses to set high prices and thereby increase their symbolic authority.”

Didier Grumbach, honorary president of France’s Haute Couture Federation (FHC) and a leading figure in the sector for over 50 years, recognizes this effect, having witnessed its impact from a close proximity. “Even if they never actually get worn, Haute Couture pieces increase the status of the House presenting them. In particular, Couture is a real help when it comes to launching a perfume offering.”

Couture’s ability to be in touch with its era is, of course, at the heart of its ability to create value. Claudia D’Arpizio, a luxury sector expert at consultants Bain & Co. points out, it is “in synch with today’s lifestyles. There is a desire for exquisite pieces that are no longer reserved for special occasions but can be worn for any occasion when that person wants to feel special, which might be in the daytime and not just the evening.” Moreover, Haute Couture embodies the very highest level of “the human touch, which can sometimes be lacking in the luxury sector.” Her point is shared by Jean-Noël Kapferer, who emphasizes how Haute Couture’s characteristics are modern, and a reflection of the aspirations of the younger generation: ultra-creative, ultra-personalized, sustainable, timeless, and experimental, with new forms, new materials, and new volumes.

Looks from Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Laure Sciacovelli)

A BRIEF HISTORY OF HAUTE COUTURE

Haute Couture dates back to 1858, when designer Charles Frederick Worth, an English couturier based in Paris, created his “special House of new confections” at number 7, rue de la Paix. Worth was the first to create collections under his own signature, to see himself as a creator, and to present his collections by having the clothes worn by models who sauntered the floors of his luxurious salons. Worth was the first to offer new collections each season, he invented today’s fashion cycle: spring-summer and fall-winter. Within a few years, the foundations for Couture were laid, with the help of other pioneers such as Paul Poiret, the first to launch his own perfume House in 1911, Jeanne Lanvin, Jean Patou, Madeleine Vionnet and Gabrielle Chanel, who notably introduced the concepts of boutiques, accessories, and marketing. It was the start of a golden age of unprecedented creativity with exceptional know-how. However, the arrival of ‘ready-to-wear’ in the 1960s and 1970s challenged both the business model of Couture and its place in the world of fashion.

HAUTE COUTURE FALL 2022-2023 TRENDS

THE JEANPOOL

Haute Couture designers played with denim this season, as the “all American” favorite was found on everything from a feathered strapless dress to corseted suit.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

GREENDAY

Couture designers are seeing green this season as the hue made its mark all over the Paris runways. From emerald suits, to pistachio gowns, one thing is for sure, you’ll be going green this season.

A look from Balenciaga’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE ROMANTICS

Frothy confections made their way into the Haute Couture collections as these dreamy numbers will make us all feel like royalty.

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHEER LEADERS

Designers had nothing to hide as they played up the transparency trend from utterly see-through to subtly sheer.

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Threeasfour’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Maison Margiela’s Fall 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHIRT STORIES

The classic white button shirt gets a glamorous yet phantasmagorical make-over this season.

A look from Viktor & Rolf’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BROAD WAY

Power babes stalked the runways as they flaunted strong shoulder silhouettes on everything from mini dresses to jackets.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Rahul Mishra’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Ronald van der Kemp’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

FRINGE BENEFITS

Fringe was all over the couture runways, from Seventies inspired to futuristic motifs, these stringy looks are playful yet chic.

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Zuhair Murad’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Elie Saab’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BOUDOIR FAIRE

Innerwear-as-outerwear continues to intrigue designers as corset-inspired looks were found all over the couture runways.

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexis Mabille’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Armani Privé’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SHINE LANGUAGE

Silver and gold ruled the Fall 2022-2023 Couture runways. The metallic hues could be found on everything from dramatic evening dresses to bold jackets, and even sexy minidresses.

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Julie de Libran’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. Photo (Credit Vogue: Runway)

GREEK REVIVAL

Calling all post-modern goddesses! The return of the elegant, draped gown is back and they are even more glamorous than ever.

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Jean Paul Gaultier’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2022-2023 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

So tell us, in today’s political, social, and economical climate, has couture lifted your spirits?

SPRING 2022 COUTURE: JANUARY SHOWS ARE FILLED WITH BEAUTY AND HEARTBREAK

- - Fashion Shows

Monaco’s Princess Charlotte rides in on horseback wearing Chanel for their Spring-Summer 2022 Couture  collection. (Photo Credit: AP Photo)

We are only a month in and already 2021 has started off as a challenge. Omicron and its new iteration BA.2  is still on the move, infecting even those who are triple-vaccinated. Vladimir Putin is on the brink of invading Ukraine and a number of celebrities unexpectedly passed away, from comedian Bob Saget to legendary singer Meat Loaf. Last week UoF announced the passing of André Leon Talley, the larger-than-life former Vogue editor who died on January 18th at the age of 73. And then 5 days later on January 23, also at the age of 73, the fashion world lost another industry legend, Manfred Thierry Mugler, the visionary French designer who was responsible for having created some of the most avant-garde and iconic looks of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

A photo of the late Manfred Thierry Mugler. (Photo Credit: Stephane Reugere for Mugler)

Mugler’s theatrical designs put him on the map as one of the most creative designers of his generation. He was also one of the first designers to showcase diversity in his runway shows, often challenging racism and ageism, and including non-traditional models such as drag queens, pornstars, and transgender women.

Mugler’s signature looks were worn by some of the greatest music artists, such as Madonna, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, and David Bowie, to name a few. There has also been a resurgence of celebrities wearing vintage Mugler, such as Lady Gaga in her music video for “Telephone” and Cardi B, who had a friendship with Mugler, often wearing his vintage designs on red carpets and in her music videos, as well as mentioning the brand in her song “Wild Side”. In 2019, Mugler created a one-of-a-kind dress for Kim Kardashian to wear to the Met Gala.

Looks throughout the years from Thierry Mugler. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Those who followed Mugler throughout his career couldn’t help but notice his ever changing ‘personal look’. The late designer had been involved in several accidents, one of which was a jeep crash which destroyed his nose. He also had his chin reconstructed using his hipbone. The designer-turned-bodybuiler, was once quoted as saying, “I wanted my face to represent progress, because after years of being a thin, charming dancer, I wanted to be a warrior. I’ve done so much in my life. I’ve fought so much. I’m a superhero, so it’s normal to have the face of one.”

Mugler may have left his namesake brand far too early, but he will continue to have an empowering impact on fashion will into the future.

COUTURE SHOWS BRING FANTASY AND HOPE TO US ALL

A look from Giambattista Valli’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Giambattista Valli)

Paris Couture is back and it was spectacular. The couture season began on Monday January 24th and ran through Thursday the 27th. While many couture houses held IRT runway shows, there were a few that opted to present their collections digitally, such as Azzaro and Giambattista Valli. Meanwhile, Giorgio Armani canceled his Privé show altogether.

One of the highlights of any fashion week is the constant parade of street style looks and influencers. Paris couture week did not disappoint. Kanye West (Ye) introduced his new girlfriend Julia Fox to the fashion scene wearing a black leather Schiaparelli outfit  (reminiscent of vintage Thierry Mugler), and he in  trademark moon boots and padded gloves, plus a Schiaparelli black balaclava, a nod to his ex (Kim Kardasian), who worn head-to-toe Schiaparelli to the Met Gala. Oh, and to complete their outfits they adopted a new couple name…’Juliye’.

Julia Fox and Kanye West at the Schiaparelli Haute Couture Spring 2022 show in Paris. (Photo Credit: Jacopo Raule for Getty Images)

Here’s a few of our favorites from Paris Couture 2022

ALEXANDRE VAUTHIER

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

High-octane glamour was all over Alexandre Vauthier’s Spring 2022 couture collection, as he presented velvet power suits, sequin gowns and plenty of slinky frocks.

CHANEL

A look from Chanel’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Chanel’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

“The idea for the show’s décor came from a longstanding desire to work with Xavier Veilhan,” Virginie Viard, Chanel’s creative director, explained the setting of the SS22 couture show to Harper’s Bazaar, “His references to constructivism remind me of those of Karl Lagerfeld. I like this similarity of spirit between us, now and across time. In addition to creating the show décor with its references to the avant-gardes of the 1920s and 1930s, Xavier wanted to work with Charlotte Casiraghi. His artistic universe is full of horses and Charlotte is a skilled rider.”

The Chanel show opened with Monaco’s Princess Charlotte dressed in a Chanel jacket, riding a beautiful eight-year old Spanish bay horse Kuskus (that would explain the sand runway), first in an elegant “collected walk,” then a trot. A perfect opening that paid homage to the creative director’s ’20s and ’30s Gatsby-inspired modern take on the classic Chanel tweed suit. There were also filmy chiffon and organza dresses with uneven hems, slithering satin evening dresses, and tiny beaded gilets to add an extra dose of glamour.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Backstage, looks from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

This season’s Christian Dior couture collection was a celebration of embroidery: “A symbol of the atelier’s original excellence, embroidery is not just a decorative detail. It gives fabric its structure, its architecture.” According to the house’s show notes. “An inspiring creative dialogue, collective, exalting virtuoso skills, where embroidery is transformed into a collaborative mode of expression, at the crossroads of art and craft“. Dior’s creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri, collaborated with Indian artists Madhvi and Manu Parekh, the Chanakya Atelier and the Chanakya School of Craft, in creating exquisite embroideries and embellishments for her couture collection.

SCHIAPARELLI

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Schiaparelli’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A recent red-carpet favorite, Daniel Roseberry presented his latest couture collection for Schiaparelli in a show entitled “An Age of Discipline”. Roseberry took the season as a chance to explore what design really means to him, especially after these chaotic few years. “Designing this collection also made me realize something else,” he explained in his show notes. “There are designers who design because they love clothes. There are designers who make clothes because they love the craft, because they love people. There are designers whose work is indebted to fashion as a concept, or to glamour as a business.”

“But I design in order to make people feel something. When clothes and craft and hair and music and the wearer are in harmony together, when they are all trying to communicate something, we can be reminded why we love fashion— why I love fashion. It isn’t for the celebrities. It isn’t for the likes. It isn’t for the reviews. It’s because, when it’s done right, when it has something to tell us, it can help us feel the inarticulable. It’s because it still has the power to move us.”

And moved us he did, as his collection pushed the boundaries of fashion as art.

VALENTINO

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

‘The Anatomy of Couture’ was the title of Valentino’s Spring 2022 Couture Collection. As creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli explained in his show notes, he imagined his collection not on one single and idealized house model, but on a variety of women with different body types and ages. He states in his collection notes, “Soft and welcoming in the democratic spirit, and at the same time radical in the approach that rewrites known processes, Piccioli builds the collection as a composite harmony of physical types and the clothes that dress them, studied through a long process, both scientific and poetic. The message does not change in its purpose, which is to convey beauty, but in the welcoming expression.”

Did you have a favorite couture collection?

JE NE SAIS QUOI – PARIS FASHION WEEK 2022 TRENDS

- - Fashion Shows

Models strut the runway at Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

Masks may be an au courant trend (not without controversy), but thanks to masks, social distancing and vax cards Paris Fashion Week roared back to life. The festivities that began on Monday, September 27th wind down on Tuesday, October 5th with major fashion houses opting for live shows such as Dior, Chanel, Hermes, and Vuitton.

Looks from Dior’s Spring 2022 Collection. (Photo Credit: Reuters)

“We are overjoyed at their return and the presence of the other big brands,” Pascal Morand, head of France’s Federation for Haute Couture and Fashion, told AFP, a news network in France. “We feel this appetite for the physical, for the show,” he added.

But we cannot forget that COVID-19 is not yet over and so just like in New York, London, and Milan, face coverings were compulsory at all the shows this week in the City of Lights.

Of the 97 fashion brands showing at PFW, about two-thirds are continuing with online presentations.

A look from Kenneth Ize’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Nigerian designer, Kenneth Ize, a favorite of supermodel Naomi Campbell, kicked off Paris Fashion Week with a show at the Palais de Tokyo.

Then on Sunday evening, Givenchy held its first IRL catwalk presentation by its new American artistic director Matthew Williams, who brought an element of street style to the historic French brand.

Saint Laurent was also back with a live show on Tuesday evening, despite being the first major house to quit the Paris Fashion official calendar when the deadly pandemic hit in 2020. Today it’s obvious that the brand and it’s creative director, Anthony Vaccarello, made the right choice. The historic French house has been protesting the chaotic pace of the fashion calendar, which has led several major brands to rethink their strategies even before the pandemic.

A video of Saint Laurent’s spring 2022 show. (Video courtesy of Saint Laurent on YouTube)

Kim Kardashian’s Met Gala Balanciaga Look rewrote the Red Carpet’s Rules. (Photo Credit: Elle)

On Saturday night the much-anticipated Balenciaga show took place. All eyes were on the brand’s creative director Demna Gvasalia, especially after making waves at the Met Gala when he dressed Kim Kardashian in a controversial all-black, head-to-toe covering (talk about the ultimate Covid mask!).

Balenciaga, which is under the umbrella of the French global luxury group Kering (Saint Laurent, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta to name a few) proved that they are totally committed to the future of fashion. Prior to Paris Fashion Week they announced at their brands would be going entirely fur-free. Balenciaga announced that they had teamed up with the hit cartoon comedy show The Simpsons, and they announced a partnership with Unreal Engine’s popular computer game Fortnite. Keep your eyes on this space and watch for our upcoming blog topic on how the fashion industry is entering the gaming space.

Video about Kering going fur-free. (Video Courtesy of France24 on YouTube)

Although there was plenty of excitement and so many live shows to attend, there were still a few who have opted out of showing during the Paris Fashion Week calendar. Most noteworthy absent brands were Celine, whose artistic director Hedi Slimane has argued that the traditional calendar was “obsolete” in the age of social media. Off-White, the brand of the popular streetwear designer Virgil Abloh, has not appeared for several seasons now, as well as Stella McCartney, although she has not given a reason for skipping out of the fashion calendar.

PFW will end with an homage to Israeli-American designer Alber Elbaz, who died from Covid-related complications in April 2020. The late Elbaz’s company, AZ Factory, planned a tribute show with 44 of the world’s most talented designers, each of whom have created a piece in Elber’s honor. Among the designers participating: Rei Kawakubo, Alessandro Michele, Donatella Versace, and Nicolas Ghesquière, and from the U.S., Ralph Lauren, Virgil Abloh and Daniel Roseberry of Schiaparelli.  The company is calling the event, which will be live streamed on October 5 at 8 pm CET, “Love Brings Love.” I am sure the event will bring many to tears as Alber Elbaz was one of the most beloved and charismatic designers of our time.

While the final stretch of the Spring 2022 shows is still going strong, here are some key trends coming out of Paris so far:

POSH SPLICE

This season, designers in Paris played mix masters with a mélange of luxe and alluring combinations.

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Sarawong’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Thebe Magugu’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lutz Huelle’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

TWISTER

Twisted halter tops take center stage this season as the sexy neckline can be found on everything from body-con dresses and jumpsuits to barely there tops.

A look from Courrèges’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Issey Miyake’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

JUMP STARTS

No longer the sole domain for dancers and gymnasts, the jumpsuit takes on a racy twist in skintight versions that are oh-so-sexy.

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Marine Serre’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Acne Studios’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

SPORTS CENTER

Getting in shape never looked better. Designers are inspired by the sporty life with chic riffs on everything from cool basketball-style shorts to a full-on boxing looks.

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Isabel Marant’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Meryll Rogge’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Andreas Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

THE BELT WAY

Cinch it in! Designers are opting for belting looks this season to accentuate the waist.

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

A look from Patou’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Andrew Gn’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Hermès’ Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

BARING CONDITIONS

The French have a flare for sexiness and this spring designers are adding an extra dose of seduction with strategically placed  cut-outs leaving very little to the imagination.

A look from Rick Owens’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Gauchere’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Coperni’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Saint Laurent’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

YOU’RE A GEM

The collections in Paris were filled with brilliant jewel tone colors – rich magentas, emeralds, and blues – enough to make you sparkle like a gem.

A look from Andrew Gn’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Kenneth Ize’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Issey Miyake’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christian Dior’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Patou’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

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

SHINE LANGUAGE

Metallic hues take a playful turn for spring 2022 as designers show an array of shiny looks from a gold fringe dress to a silver futuristic topper, one things for sure, it’s time to shine on.

A look from Valentino’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balmain’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Courrèges’ Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Lutz Huelle’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Loewe’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Christopher Kane’s Spring 2022 show. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

A look from Balenciaga’s Spring 2022 collection. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Now that we’ve covered each of the major fashion week capitals, which city do you believe has the most creative talent?

 

 

ICONIC FASHION DESIGNERS ON THE SILVER SCREEN

An image from the film Saint Laurent. (Photo Courtesy of Mandarin Films/ EuropaCorp)

Let’s face it, it’s been a tough year and a half, between the global pandemic, and all the political and social unjust in the world today, we can all use a break from reality and escape into the magical world of film. So here at UoF, we compiled a list of some of our favorite films based on, you guessed it, fashion designers.  Whether it’s a biopic on Yves Saint Laurent’s life, Gabrielle Chanel’s first steps into the fashion, or a brush up on some fashion history with documentaries covering the glamorous life of Valentino, the rebellious escapades of Vivienne Westwood, or the agony and the ecstasy of Alexander McQueen, one thing is for sure, we LOVE to peer into the secret lives of fashion designers. Just check out the 82% Rotten Tomatoes audience score that the latest Halston biopic series on Netflix got and the 88% score that the 2019 Halston documentary received.

Whether it’s a documentary or a scrumptious little slice of fiction, these films transport us to another world with eccentric stories and extravagant anecdotes that make up the theatrical, glittering and whimsical world of fashion.

START THE POPCORN

Without further ado, here are a few of our favorite films and documentaries based on some of the most innovative designers. I guess you can all them the University of Fashion Oscars!

SAINT LAURENT (2014)

Saint Laurent official trailer. (Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment)

Saint Laurent is a 2014 French biographical drama film about Yves Saint Laurent. The film was co-written and directed by Bertrand Bonello;  the film stars Gaspard Ulliel as Yves Saint Laurent, Jérémie Renier as Pierre Bergé, and Louis Garrel as Jacques de Bascher. The film centers on Yves Saint Laurent’s life from 1967 to 1976, which was the peak of his career, as he becomes one of the most iconic designers in the history of fashion.

The film examines the mythical and sometime scandalous life of the late Yves Saint Laurent. The director transports the audience into the 1970s, to a time where the designer was known for sporting both innovative and elegant outfits. In a divine journey into Yves Saint Laurent’s mind, the director examines this era, filled with folly and changing tides. Gaspard Ulliel offers an intense portrayal of the designer, who dives into a world of drugs and partying to silence his inner demons and his chronic, acute depression.

Saint Laurent was selected as the French entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 87th Academy Awards, but was not nominated.  In January 2015, Saint Laurent received ten César Award nominations, including Best Film, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor. It also received five nominations at the 20th Lumières Awards, winning Best Actor for Gaspard Ulliel.

COCO BEFORE CHANEL (2009)

A preview of Coco Before Chanel. (Courtesy of YouTubeMovies)

Coco Before Chanel is a biographical film based on the start of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel’s extraordinary career.  The French film was directed by Anne Fontaine and stars Audrey Tautou as she plays a young Coco Chanel. The story of Coco Chanel’s journey from obscure, headstrong orphan to the legendary couturier who represented the modern woman and became an eternal symbol of success, freedom and style.

The French director decided to focus on the designer before her time of glory, to better understand the woman behind the fashion icon, and portrays a wounded woman, bruised by her neglected childhood and her tragic love stories.

By day, young Coco works as a seamstress, but at night, she performs as a cabaret entertainer.  Coco then meets a wealthy heir (Benoît Poelvoorde) and becomes not only his lover, but also his fashion consultant. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel throws herself as passionately into her work as she does into her love life. Audrey Tautou gracefully embodies this great Mademoiselle who liberated women with her sleek, straightforward clothes. Tired of the flowery hats, tight corsets and yards of lace that define women’s fashion, Coco infused her lover’s clothing as a starting point to refine an elegant and sophisticated line of women’s clothing that propels her to the top of Parisian haute couture.

DIOR AND I (2014)

Dior And I official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Dior and I (French: Dior et moi) is a 2014 French documentary film written and directed by Frédéric Tcheng. The film captures the artistic genius of designer Raf Simons as he creates his first haute couture collection as the new artistic director of Christian Dior.

The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 17, 2014. The film focused upon Simons’ debut season at Dior and includes non-speaking cameo appearances by Marion Cotillard, Isabelle Huppert, Jennifer Lawrence, and Sharon Stone. The documentary received positive reviews by critics.

Dior and I brings the audience inside the storied world of the Christian Dior fashion house with a privileged, behind-the-scenes look at the creation of Raf Simons’ first haute couture collection -a true labor of love created by a loyal group of collaborators. Melding the everyday, pressure-filled elements of fashion with mysterious echoes from the iconic house’s past, the film is also a colorful homage to the seamstresses who serve Simons’ vision.

VALENTINO: THE LAST EMPEROR (2008)

Valentino: The Last Emperor official trailer. (Courtesy of YouTube)

Valentino: The Last Emperor is a documentary film about the life of famed Italian fashion designer Valentino Garavani, the designer and founder of the legendary label Valentino. It was produced and directed by Matt Tyrnauer, Special Correspondent for Vanity Fair magazine. The picture documents the dramatic final act of Valentino’s career, tells the story of his life, and delves into the heart of the fashion industry. The documentary also delves into the loving relationship between Valentino and his business partner and companion of 50 years, Giancarlo Giammetti.

Valentino Garavani opened his first fashion house in 1959. In 2007, Valentino shocked the fashion world as he revealed his retirement plans and began preparing for his final fashion show. The documentary follows Valentino during the last two years of his time as a designer, as he gets ready to conclude his fashion career; as well as his worries about the intentions of the corporation buying his namesake label.

The filmmakers shot over 250 hours of footage with exclusive access to Valentino and his entourage. “We were let into the inner circle, but we had to stick it out for a long time, practically move in, to capture the truly great moments,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Italian Living. “Valentino is surrounded by a tight-knit family of friends and employees, but, eventually, their guard came down and they forgot there was a camera crew in the room.”

“Valentino was one of the first designers to make himself the inspirational figure at the center of the story he was telling,” says Tyrnauer in an interview with Vanity Fair. “He is a born dreamer and the last true couturier, who let us in on his creative process and also let us in on the life he built around him to sustain this process,” adds Tyrnauer. “He lives as lavishly as his clients and set a standard for the industry. He shuts out all that is not beautiful, and we followed him around the world to capture that special world.”

WESTWOOD: PUNK. ICON. ACTIVIST. (2018)

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. official trailer. (Courtesy of Madman Films)

Vivienne Westwood has been disrupting British fashion for more than 40 years, using her fashion status fame as a platform for her political, social and environmental activism. In 2018, filmmaker Lorna Tucker releases a feature-length documentary about the designer, Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. chronicling the incredible career of the designer.

Vivienne Westwood ignited the punk movement with ex-partner and Sex Pistols’ manager Malcolm McLaren, and the iconic designer has been redefining British fashion since 1971. She is responsible for creating many of the most distinctive pieces of recent time. Blending archival footage and insightful interviews a portrait emerges of Vivienne’s fascinating network of collaborators, taking the audience on her journey — from a childhood in postwar Derbyshire to the runways of Paris and Milan.

Westwood: Punk. Icon. Activist. is the first film to embody the extraordinary story of one of the true icons of our time, as she fights to maintain her brand’s integrity, her principles – and her legacy. The documentary was screened at the Sundance film festival on January 20, 2018, in the World Cinema Documentary Competition.

MCQUEEN (2018)

https://youtu.be/cVQVxcK6v3A

A preview of the MCQUEEN trailer. Courtesy of YouTube.

McQueen is a 2018 biographical documentary film, directed by Ian Bonhôte, written and co-directed by Peter Ettedgui, and produced by Ian Bonhôte, Andee Ryder, Nick Taussig, and Paul Van Carter under the banner of Misfits Entertainment, and Salon Pictures. The documentary looks into life and career of the late British fashion designer Alexander McQueen.

The life of Alexander McQueen is a rags-to-riches story, a modern-day fairy tale, laced with the gothic, tragic twist. The designer started his career in his teens before gaining notice as designer for Givenchy and launching his own label in 1992, which continues to this day under the creative direction of Sarah Jane Burton. Mirroring the savage beauty, boldness and exuberance of his creations, this documentary is an intimate exposé of McQueen’s own world, both tortured and inspired, which celebrates a radical and hypnotic brilliance of great influence. Sadly the brilliant designer took his life February 11, 2010

The film is a personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of Alexander McQueen. Through exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archives, exquisite visuals and music, McQueen is an authentic celebration and thrilling portrait of an inspired yet tortured fashion visionary.

Let us know, which is your favorite film?

POST PANDEMIC DRESSING: TIME TO DITCH THE SWEATS AND GET DRESSED UP AGAIN

- - Trends

A spring 2021 look from Prada. (Photo Credit: Prada)

I don’t know about you, but has the past year and a half been mostly a blur? Or more accurately a time warp? You know, the phenomenon that changes the flow of time by speeding it up or making it run more slowly, that physicists have known about for over 100 years?

Well, thanks to the rollout of highly effective vaccines, things are finally starting to look up. As of the writing of this blog, 299 million vaccine doses have been given and 137 million people in the U.S. have been vaccinated, that’s roughly 41.9% of our population. As vaccines are slowly being distributed around the world, we have new hope that, in time, this global pandemic will be behind us.

Take a walk-through New York City and you will notice that the streets are beginning to get packed again. Museums are opening (with advanced ticket purchases), customers are onsite shopping, restaurants and bars (both indoor and outdoor) are drawing crowds and people are cautiously stepping out of their cocoons.

As we make our way back into the world and begin to live our lives again, some of us are asking…”is there a new dress code”? Well, judging from fashion influencers, designers, and celebrity Instagram feeds, summer 2021’s biggest trend is “joy dressing!” This translates into happy, boisterous, colorful, over-the-top looks that are the antithesis of what we’ve been wearing for the past year and a half…sweats and pjs.

A spring 2021 look from Halpern. (Photo Credit: Halpern)

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner, a Washington, D.C clinical psychologist stated that we humans use clothing to mark significant events. Making it through a global pandemic is one of those events for sure. And as U.S. cities reopen, friends reunite and the world becomes a smidgen less terrifying, women are reaching for exuberant outfits. This year will represent rebirth, and our fashion choices will reflect that.

“We’ve spent the past year in sweatpants, consumed by uncertainty,” said Miami clinical psychologist Dr. Christina Ferrari to the Wall Street Journal. “You’re going to see a lot of people overcompensating for what they couldn’t wear” during lockdown.

According to Libby Page, senior fashion-market editor at luxury e-commerce platform Net-a-Porter, “During the pandemic’s darkest days, customers were buying a sea of very neutral tones and loungewear,” she said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. What she’s witnessing lately is the sale of spirited prints, swishy tiered skirts and jubilant ruffles, as well as very bright, bold, colorful dresses by brands like Zimmermann. Below is a video of Zimmerman’s spring 2021 show.

“With such unbridled style, women are responding to a traumatic year,” said Dr. Baumgartner. “When you face your mortality, it’s like you get a second chance. You’re able to take more risks.… You’re more willing to fully live.” Another factor: We’re craving human interaction. Dr. Baumgartner states, “Exciting fashion elates the wearer but also delights viewers. We see our joy reflected in their eyes, [which] reinforces our joy.”

JOYFUL FASHION HAS ALWAYS COME OUT OF HISTORIES DARKEST DAYS

A Life Magazine cover from the 1920s. (Photo Credit: Fashion History Timeline)

Historically, fashion has always progressed after a devastating, worldwide event. For example, the Roaring Twenties came after the destruction and despair of World War I. It was a decade of economic growth and prosperity with a unique cultural edge that swept major cities throughout the United States and Europe. During the decadence and opulence of the Roaring ‘20s, the ‘flapper’ look redefined the modern dress code for women. Fringe, beads, sequins, dropped waists, short dresses, uncovered shoulders, The Great Gatsby, the Charleston, all contributed to the spirit of the Roaring Twenties. It was a modern revolution that broke from tradition and was a sharp contrast to the conventional, fussy frills that woman once wore.

Christian Dior’s New Look 1947. (Photo Credit: Harper’s Bazaar)

Another great example of a fashion revolution came after World War II. Christian Dior, the rising star of the Parisian Haute Couture, introduced the “New Look” in 1947, featuring ultra-femininity and opulence in women’s fashion. Hour glass silhouettes, rounded shoulders, cinched waists, full skirts were all a sharp contrast after years of military looks, sartorial restrictions and life-essential shortages. Dior offered not merely a new look, but a new outlook.

POST-PANDEMIC FASHION

“People are reevaluating what they want to wear, maybe for the first time ever since they were kids,” states Fashion Psychology Institute founder Dr. Dawnn Karen, who also serves as a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Last March, Dr. Karen released a book, Dress Your Best Life. Referring to the pandemic, she writes, “They don’t have all these Draconian measures and rules to follow, except to wear a mask. People are thinking, ‘Okay, well, what do I want to wear, if I could wear anything I want?'”

Spring 2021 looks from Bottega Veneta. (Photo Credit: The New York Times)

Ms. Karen has established a theory what she calls ‘dresser-uppers’. These consumers search for ‘mood-enhancement dress’, that is to  say they dress to optimize a mood. Where dressing was once tied to overarching cultural norms (case in point, the exaggerated femininity of the New Look by Dior), we now dress for ‘mood-illustration’ and ‘mood-enhancement’ representing personal satisfaction — nothing more, nothing less.

With this in mind, and out of Covid’s post-traumatic stress effect, we are seeing a rise in individualized sartorial choices. Consumers are once again embracing the joy of fashion and are wearing the clothes they want to wear. And there’s plenty to choose from.

 

JOYFUL TRENDS FOR SUMMER 2021

GET STRAPPY

It’s time to do the floss this season. Strappy bands wrap around the midriff for a sexy update to the crop top.

A spring 2021 look from Stella Jean. (Photo Credit: Stella Jean)

 

A spring 2021 look from Christopher Esber. (Photo Credit: Chistopher Esber)

 

A Spring 2021 look from Michael Kors. (Photo Credit: Michael Kors)

 

A spring 2021 look from Jacquemus. (Photo Credit: Jacquemus)

 

A spring 2021 look from Altuzarra. (Photo Credit: Altuzarra)

IT’S A SWEEP

Romance is in the air as floor-sweeping gowns ruled the spring runways, whether sheer or printed, these floating maxi dresses are the perfect way to make a splash this summer.

A spring 2021 look from Valentino. (Photo Credit: Valentino)

 

A spring 2021 look from Dolce & Gabanna. (Photo Credit: Dolce & Gabanna)

 

A spring 2021 look from Alberta Ferretti. (Photo Credit: Alberta Ferretti)

 

A spring 2021 look from Etro. (Photo Credit: Etro)

 

A spring 2021 look from Dior. (Photo Credit: Dior)

LOOSE-FIT

After so many (too many?) years of skinny jeans, it’s finally time to cut loose this spring. Designers are offering baggy trousers that are oversized and yet oh-so-chic.

A spring 2021 look from Louis Vuitton. (Photo Credit: Louis Vuitton)

 

A spring 2021 look from Schiaparelli. (Photo Credit: Schiaparelli)

 

A spring 2021 look from Chanel. (Photo Credit: Chanel)

 

A spring 2021 look from DSquared. (Photo Credit: DSquared)

 

A spring 2021 look from The Row. (Photo Credit: The Row)

GLAM-SQUAD

Just like when a butterfly emerges from its chrysalis, we’re all eager to get out. Some of us will even want to dance the night away. Whether inspired by the Halston film, with so many scenes of Studio 54, this new crop of sparkly numbers is there for the taking.

A spring 2021 look from Elie Saab. (Photo Credit: Elie Saab)

A spring 2021 look from Gucci. (Photo Credit: Gucci)

 

A spring 2021 look from Loewe. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

 

A spring 2021 look from Balmain. (Photo Credit: Balmain)

 

A spring 2021 look from Celine. (Photo Credit: Celine)

 

CUT-IT-OUT

This season’s strategic cut-outs worked their way into gowns, sheath dresses and slippery silks, spicing up conservative looks thanks to peekaboo glimpses of skin.

A spring 2021 look from Givenchy. (Photo Credit: Givenchy)

 

A spring 2021 look from Maximilian. (Photo Credit: Maximilian)

 

A spring 2021 look from Kenzo. (Photo Credit: Kenzo)

 

A spring 2021 look from Gabriela Hearst. (Photo Credit: Gabriela Hearst)

 

A spring 2021 look from Roksanda. (Photo Credit: Roksanda)

 

INNERWEAR AS OUTERWEAR

While we all lived in loungewear this past year, designers are embracing the innerwear as outerwear trend with body sculpting corsets that can be dressed up or paired down.

A spring 2021 look from Moschino . (Photo Credit: Moschino)

 

Spring 2021 looks from Bethany Williams. (Photo Credit: Bethany Williams)

 

A spring 2021 look from David Koma. (Photo Credit: David Koma)

 

A spring 2021 look from Christopher John Rogers. (Photo Credit: Christopher John Rogers)

 

A spring 2021 look from Alexander McQueen. (Photo Credit: Alexander McQueen)

So tell us, are you ready to embrace the joyful aesthetic of spring 2021?

MILAN & PARIS: FALL 2021 COLLECTIONS PART 2

MILAN

Gigi Hadid is officially back on the runway. Here she is backstage at the Versace show with her sister Bella. (Photo Credit: Vogue Runway)

Ciao! Milan Fashion Week ended on a high note as designers looked to the promise of la vita bella (a beautiful life) as COVID-19 vaccines were being distributed throughout Europe as well as the world.

With the possibility of ‘back-to-normal’ in the not too distant future, Italian and French designers created energetically charged pieces at MFW and PFW with the hope that we will all be making a big splash when we return to a life of  normalcy.

(Video credit: Valentino’s live show)

Like New York and London Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week shows were digitally-focused with one exception, namely, Valentino’s intimate runway show. The Milan schedule was packed with established designers such as Missoni, Alberta Ferretti, Moschino, Max Mara, Marni, and Dolce & Gabbana but the highlight of MFW was Kim Jones’ highly anticipated ready-to-wear debut for Fendi, which definitely delivered. Another show of note was Team Raf Simons and Miuccia Prada, who presented their second Prada collab women’s collection to raves. In addition to the traditional line-up of veteran designers, there were a few new names in the mix (finally), such as former Gucci designer Daniel Del Core.

(Video credit: Daniel Del Core’s debut collection)

Daniel Del Core’s debut collection was a socially distance IRL (in real life) show. It’s definitely every aspiring designer’s dream to climb the ladder, gathering experience on someone else’s dime and then ultimately launch their own brand. The proof of the pudding comes when you finally get to ‘strut-your-stuff’ with a runway show. This designer not only succeeded but did it during a pandemic! Check out Daniel’s show video. So, what do you think? Definitely rocking the 80s shoulder, right?

Covid is still wreaking havoc on the fashion show schedule and a few designers presented their digital collections after Milan Fashion Week, such as Versace’s Donatella Versace and Luke and Lucie Meier at Jil Sander. Dates for Bottega Veneta and Gucci are still up in the air.

A look from Prada’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Prada)

Nonetheless, MFW was full of bold trends, thanks to Italian designers’ flare for dramatics. For them, life after lockdown will be anything but boring. Here are our top five trends:

ALL BUNDLED UP

Baby it’s cold outside! For Fall 2021, designers in Milan showed plenty of terrific outerwear to keep you warm, yet oh so fashionable. Brands such as Fendi and Prada featured fabulous big, furry coats, while Valentino focused on charming capes that offer effortless glamour to any look. Meanwhile, the basic puffer got a makeover with unique shapes and bold colors, case in point, Marni.

A look from Marni’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

A look from Fendi’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fendi)

 

A look from Prada’s Fall 2021 Collection and the accessory of the season, the zip pouch glove. (Photo Credit: Prada)

 

A look from Valentino’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Salvatore Dragone)

 

A look from MSGM’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

METALLICA

Glitz and glamour ruled the runways from futuristic silver suits at Annakiki to chainmail gowns at Salvatore Ferragamo, these glistening looks will rule the return of the red carpet.

A look from Annakiki’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Imaxtree)

 

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

 

A look from Salvatore Ferragamo’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Salvatore Ferragamo)

THE PREPPY HANDBOOK

Leave it to the Italians to give the classic Preppy look a much-needed update. For fall, designers like Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini and Etro are giving the otherwise conservative styles a cool makeover. Relaxed shapes, vibrant hues and edgy styling take preppy away from the country club to and onto the backs of our favorite fashion influencers.

A look from Etro’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Etro)

 

A look from Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini)

 

A look from Andrea Pompilio’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Andrea Pompilio)

BRIGHT OF WAY

Italian designers lit up the season with fantastically bright hues — pink, lavender, yellow, and teal were particularly popular on the runways. Brands like MSGM and Emilio Pucci clashed hues in the most creative and vibrant ways.

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

 

A look from MSGM’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: MSGM)

 

A look from Emilio Pucci’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Emilio Pucci)

GREEN DAY

Olive has become the new neutral, giving the nod to military-inspired looks that marched down runways by the legion and received uniform salutes. From Ports 1961’s belted coat to Sportmax’s utility shirt, today’s military trend is chic and polished.

A look from Sportmax’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Sportmax)

 

A look from Max Mara’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Max Mara)

 

A look from Ports 1961’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Ports 1961)

PARIS

A look from Dries Van Noten’s Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Casper Sejersen)

As of the writing of this blog, Paris Fashion Week is still going strong. The fashion show season officially ends on March 10th, but in the City of Lights, the Fall 2021 collections started out with a bang! PFW never disappoints by offering collections that reflect the climate of today, but also gives us the possibilities of dreams and fantasies. Even during the turmoil we are all facing due to the global pandemic, the tremendous loss of life, economic uncertainty and political and social upheaval – designers are still pushing forward creating beautiful collections that offer an escape from the real world and that envision better days ahead.

The most anticipated show of the season was Gabriela Hearst’s debut collection for Chloé. It was an IRL outdoor fashion show and Hearst lived up to the hype.

(Video Credit: Chloé’s Fall 2021 Show)

Gabriela Hearst stayed true to the heritage of Chloé as she offered a collection filled with rich bohemian inspired looks. Hearst, a designer known to incorporate sustainable practices in her own collection, brought that sensibility to Chloé. She integrated lower-impact raw materials and put a plan in place to lower carbon emissions by 2025.  The collection was filled with Boho pieces that you will want to hold on to forever, such as a series of ponchos in stripes and solids, along with knit maxi dresses. Heart showed terrific outerwear from spliced trench coats to a cut-away shearling coat, as well as plenty of patchwork looks, including a leather patchwork jacket and skirt set. In a fashion season dominated by 80s shoulders, Hearst’s bohemian vibe had a ‘70s aesthetic that was fresh and modern.

OTHER TRENDS

SPACE AGE

Futuristic fashion was all over the runways of Paris, from Rick Owens’ sharp shoulders and shimmering bodysuits, to Courrèges’ mod high neck jacket. These looks will have you standing out in any crowd.

A look from Rick Owens’ Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Carlo Scarpato)

 

A look from Alexandre Vauthier’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alexandre Vauthier)

 

A look from Vetements’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Gio Staiano)

 

A look from Courrèges’ Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Thomas de Cruz Media)

PRETTY IN PINK

Pink has been a favorite among the millennial set, so for fall, designers showed a range of pretty pink looks from Patou’s belted jacket with feathered trim to Coperni’s zippered dress. Pink is here to stay.

A look from Patou’s Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Patou)

 

A look from Coperni’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fillippo Fior)

 

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acne Studios)

 

A look from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nina Ricci)

 

THE COLD SHOULDER

Designers adopted a chic asymmetry with interesting bare shoulder effects.

A look from Coperni’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Fillippo Fior)

 

A look from Acne Studios’ Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Acne Studios)

 

A look from Ellery’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Kym Ellery)

 

A look from Alaïa’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Piere-Ange Carlotti)

 

HERELD SQUARES

Check this out: windowpane, tartan, houndstooth and more. This fall, designers have gone mad for plaid.

A look fromVivienne Westwood’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Alice Dellal)

 

Looks from Marine Serre’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Marine Serre)

 

A look from Courrèges’ Fall 2021Collection. (Photo Credit: Thomas de Cruz Media)

 

WELL SUITED

Pantsuits were all over the runways, but in Paris, they were anything but business-like. Designers took the office staple to new heights by injecting them with the boldest of hues.

A look from Thebe Magugu’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Thebe Magugu)

 

A look from Loewe’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Loewe)

 

A look from Nina Ricci’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Nina Ricci)

 

A look from Isabel Marant’s Fall 2021 Collection. (Photo Credit: Isabel Marant)

So tell us, do you have a favorite trend?

 

GAMECHANGERS: THE RISE OF FASHION VIDEO GAMES

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BALENCIAGA

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

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

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

Afterworld: The Age of Tomorrow

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

So here’s how it works:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

OTHER FASHION COMPUTER GAMES

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Magical & Technological World of Couture: Fall 2018

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

Need an escape from a world filled with political unrest, nuclear threats and terrorism? Enter…haute couture. Yeah, we know covering fashion, especially the world of couture, may seem frivolous to many, but couture is about dreaming, escapism and fantasy. Who wouldn’t want to live right now in a world of beautiful handmade gowns while running through a garden in Paris or engaging in a leisurely walk along the Seine?

But the truth is, couture is so much more than fantasy. Costume and fashion history would not be the same without it and let’s face it… couture is the ultimate marketing machine!

We need only look back in time to a publication written between 1751 and 1772 by Denis Diderot and Jean le Rond d’Alembert entitled Encyclopédie, ou dictionaire raisonné des sciences, des art et des métiers, to see how this pivotal tome gave instructions to the métiers (trades) in the art of dressmaking, forever placing this trade on equal footing with the arts and sciences of the time.

And of course we owe the ‘Father of Couture,’ Englishman Charles Frederick Worth (Paris circa 1856 ), the fashion genius who together with his wife as muse, transformed the world of dressmaking into ‘high fashion’. Over time, the House of Worth, along with other couturières (female) and couturiers (male) were able to take the craft to a whole other level by creating perfumes, shoes, millinery and diffusion lines. These spin-offs planted the seeds which would later become lifestyle branding with lots of marketing hype!

 

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of W Magazine)

We know that these one-of-a kind haute creations come with a hefty price tag. On average, one couture gown can take over 800 hours to create and cost several hundred thousand dollars. Even couture daywear starts at around $10,000! It’s estimated that there are only approximately 2,000 couture clients, mostly from Russia, China, the United States and the Middle East, with fewer than 300 that buy regularly.

So, do the numbers. With only a handful of steady customers, you got it…haute couture is not a money maker. Couture houses spend millions of dollars twice a year, by selecting exquisite fabrics, hand-sewing each garment, employing top métiers for beading and embroideries and producing larger-than-life runway shows, using A list models, hair and make-up teams. The profits are negligible, amounting to less than ten per cent of gross profits for some houses, though most operate at a loss. However, their true value is in the selling of the house’s fragrance, make-up line and other less-expensive branded items like shoes and handbags.

Draping Technique (Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

Draping Technique (Photos courtesy of Pinterest)

So why do these houses still invest in their haute couture collections, other than pushing their ancillary products? They are selling a dream. Fashion shows attract huge media attention and gain enormous publicity for the couture houses. Think about how many actresses wear couture on the red carpet. These designers are selling a dream of chic cachet, beauty, desirability and exclusiveness, that the ordinary person can ‘buy into.’

Here are some highlights of the Haute Couture Fall 2018 Season:

VALENTINO

Pierpaolo Piccioli has been on a role and his Valentino Couture show closed out Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris with rave reviews. This season Piccioli offered a brilliant line-up of rich saturated hues and swaggering proportions. According to Vogue.com, Piccioli stated, “Couture involves a deeper and more intimate perspective, to go further into your own vision of beauty.”  His vision was a perfect blend of Greek Mythology, 17th- and 18th-century painting, the films of Pasolini and the photographs of Deborah Turbeville, medieval armor, and Ziggy Stardust. Whew, that’s quite a line-up of inspiration, eh?

This translated into intricate embroidered capes, a multiple brocade evening dress adorned with rhinestones, sequins and pearls, a red sculpted jersey gown and a trio of featherweight taffeta dresses that wrapped around the body.

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

FENDI

How does a house known for its use of fur adapt to the changing landscape of the anti-fur movement? After all, major fashion houses such as Gucci, Versace and Michael Kors have all announced they would go fur free and use only faux fur in their collections. Fendi on the other hand, made no such promise, but did abandon their Haute Fur Show in favor of a couture show.

Though Fendi did include some fur pieces, what they also did was produce something much more creative than fur and faux fur (which by the way is also a major earth pollutant). They ingeniously manipulated textiles in such a way as to resemble real fur; case in point, a coat created with fine strips of chiffon that were frayed and stitched together so closely that it could have been easily mistaken for an intarsia’d mink. While there were plenty of real fur looks in the line-up, it was refreshing for a house like Fendi show alternatives. And oh, what a great upcycling concept!

Fendi Haute Couture faux fur Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi Haute Couture faux fur Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

JEAN PAUL GAULTIER

Always known to break with tradition, Jean Paul Gaultier showed his haute couture collection on both male and female models as the versatility of the collection was genderless. With a strong emphasis on tailoring, his suits were oh so chic! Gaultier was able to take the iconic “Le Smoking” and update it for the 21st century.

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

MAISON MARGIELA

John Galliano has now taken to podcasting and for Margiela couture he stated that this is collection is “the raw, raw, undiluted essence, the parfum of the house.” Following in the footsteps of his Artisanal collection for men, Galliano presented a highly innovative, high-concept collection exposing the craftsmanship of haute couture –  literally – by revealing the exquisite stitching that goes into the construction of a hand-tailored jacket. The true genius of Galliano came through by layering garments between tubes of filmy nylon, thus creating what Vogue called “translucent fabric sandwiches.”

“We’re all nomads today,” added Galliano, “. . . we do move in tribes.” Galliano calls it “nomadic glamour.” Reminds us a bit of Yeohlee and her “Urban Nomads” collection, only this time, on steroids!

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Maison Margiela Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

ARMANI PRIVE

Ahhhh, and then there was Armani. Known for his master tailoring and Red Carpet artistry, the fall Armani Privé collection didn’t disappoint.  Armani’s press notes noted “A sculptural, almost regal style.”  The first half of the show (there were almost 100 looks in all), was a sea of black and champagne-colored pantsuits and evening looks, all that captured the chic essence of Armani beautifully. However, in an attempt to keep up with the times, half-way through the show Armani switched gears and sent out electric hues in everything from an ostrich feather cape to a hot pink and turquoise pantsuit that was a complete disconnect to the first half of the show. Go Armani!

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Armani Prive Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

CHANEL

We fashionistas can always count on Karl Lagerfeld to create a wonderful backdrop for his Chanel collection. And for this collection he did not disappoint by sending his models for stroll along the Seine with its wide sidewalks and low stone walls framing the magnificent Institut de France, built by Louis le Vau for Cardinal Mazarin in the 1660s (and where the Academie Française is housed). Perhaps with age, Lagerfeld is feeling a bit reflective about his first days in Paris as an 18-year old. In an interview with Vogue before the show, Lagerfeld remembered a city still suffering from postwar neglect, with dirty streets and dark, unrestored buildings. “People said to my parents, ‘but he can get lost,’” he added. “My mother knew better: I had a strong survivor instinct!”

The collection was filled with the House’s signature tweeds all in shades of grey. There were plenty of long skirts that unzipped to reveal sexy miniskirts adorned with magnificent embroideries. Lagerfeld also showed a silver foil ball gown skirt, a bevy of chic jackets and plenty of transparent chiffon pleated eveningwear.

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

CHRISTIAN DIOR

After years of over the top glamour and in your face sex appeal at Dior, at the hands of Raf Simons and John Galliano, the tide seems to be turning toward a more minimalistic approach to fashion. At the forefront of this evolutionary change is Maria Grazia Chiuri. Her couture 2018 collection involved some feminist research.  She read up on Leonor Fini, one of the avant-garde artists Christian Dior chose to exhibit in the gallery he was involved with before becoming a couturier. The results were beautiful, somber, sculpted and pleated pieces that were way more complex than what met the eye. These were serious clothes. Only a seasoned designer like Chiuri knows how to design clothes, utilizing the talents of finest ‘hands’ in the business, that will attract the most discerning couture clients. Chiuri showed cashmere suits, simple strapless gowns that grazed the ankle, effortless pleated dresses and demure eveningwear.  This collection is timeless and elegant yet modern and refreshing. A hit!

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

SONIA RYKIEL

For the past 50 years, the name Sonia Rykiel has been associated with fun, lighthearted knitwear. This season, designer Julie de Libran presented the first Sonia Rykiel couture collection. And, staying true to the Rykiel code, presented a collection with the same joie de vivre that the house’s founder was known for.

Gone from this collection were the traditional evening gowns that epitomize the world of couture. Instead, de Libran presented a youthful and edgy line-up. Looks ranged from a striped hand-beaded off the shoulder Marinière sweater to a black sweater dress with a trompe l’oeil bikini embroidery and a bridal corset look with front-lacing, a feathered knit veil and blue jeans. Surely de Libran is a couture disruptor but is this collection really worthy of being called couture?

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Sonia Rykiel Haute Couture Runway Look (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

IRIS VAN HERPEN

Always a fashion renegade, Iris van Herpen decided to show her couture collection at the Galerie de Minérologie et de Géologie, a fitting choice, since the name of this collection was “Ludi Naturae,” translated from Latin, “nature play.”

However, Van Herpen’s idea of nature flirts with synthetic biology through her iconic laser-cutting techniques and 3-D printed illusion fabric innovations, which she has taken to new heights and labels it “syntopia.” To quote van Herpen: “I think we as humans don’t even come close to the intelligence within nature. It’s funny how people think that nature is simple and technology is complex—it’s the opposite; technology is simple and nature is complex.”

Known for her artist collaborations, this time it was Amsterdam-based artist duo Lonneke Gordijn and Ralph Nauta of Studio Drift who created the backdrop her runway ‘science fantasy. She also partnered with Dutch sculptor Peter Gentenaar who is known for capturing ‘organic memory’ and motion through his delicate, large-scale cellulose sculptures,  and together they created a show that was ‘other-worldly.’

Considered fashion’s ‘futurist-in-residence,’ couture season would be incomplete without Iris van Herpen and her vision.

Iris van Herpen's Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Iris van Herpen's Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Iris van Herpen’s Fall 2018 Couture Show (photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

DO YOU THINK THE SONIA RYKIEL COLLECTION MERITS COUTURE STATUS? IF SO, WHY?

 

 

RESORT 2019 – What is Resort and Why?

Chanel Resort 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Accessories Magazine)

Chanel Resort 2019 (Photo Courtesy of Accessories Magazine)

Over the past several years, the fashion industry calendar has twisted into something beyond recognition. In today’s era of rampant consumption, social media and the internet, designers and brands can no longer rely on two show-seasons a year (Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections) to stay relevant. This has placed a tremendous burden on designers who have become increasingly stressed with the workload. Burn out and, in some cases, death (think Alexander McQueen and L’Wren Scott) can play a role.

Earlier this year, designer Alexander Wang announced that would not be showing his main Spring 2019 collection during Fashion Week (in  September) and instead, is choosing to show that collection during pre-collection season. Maybe Mr. Wang is on to something?

Ten plus years ago, Resort and Pre-fall collections were only shown to buyers and were basically a brand’s best-selling items, used as store fillers between seasons. Once brands decided to open the season to the press (WWD and Style.com were the first publications to fully cover pre-collections) the flood gates were opened!  Today, Resort shows start in early May and continue through the second week of June. Some designers and retailers think that the resort season has become almost as important as the Spring & Winter collection seasons.

Valentino (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

For Resort 2019, designers have made it a lot easier for the press, celebrities and buyers by choosing to show in fashion capitals. Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton and Gucci decided to show in France, while Valentino and Prada chose New York.

Gucci (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

LET’S LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF RESORT SEASON

While many fashion lovers enjoy the visual stimulation of Resort shows, many are in the dark about what this fashion season truly means and why it exists. So, here’s a brief history:

A Cruise or Resort collection (also referred to as a Holiday or Travel collection) is an inter-season or pre-season line of ready-to-wear clothing produced by a brand, in addition to their recurrent twice-yearly seasonal collections – Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter, shown during major fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan.

Cruise collections were originally targeted to wealthy customers or  seasoned jet-setters, cruising or vacationing in the warm Mediterranean sun during the winter months. Cruise collections usually consist of light spring or summer clothing, when weather at the points of sale actually calls for winter apparel. However, today, Resort/Cruise collections are targeted to consumers who have finished buying their fall wardrobes (ideally) and are looking ahead for something new. Resort collections range from warm weather looks, such as pretty sundresses and swimsuits, to winter looks, like fur coats and cozy sweaters (perfect for that Aspen getaway).

In the past, only high end houses like Chanel, Christian Dior, Gucci, Prada, Ralph Lauren and Marc Jacobs produced resort collections. But thanks to consumers who are always looking for something new, now almost every brand creates a resort delivery (November delivery), from Michelle Smith for her label Milly to Tory Burch.

Tory Burch (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tory Burch (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Resort is also an opportunity to satisfy the generation of consumers who travel all the time. It also answers the climate change dilemma where these days, in many parts of the world, there is little to no winter. Additionally, thanks to online shopping, brands at every price-point have global customers. Some of the biggest spenders are in the ever-important Asian, Arab, and Russian markets. For major brands, the resort delivery is a commercial necessity.

Resort collections are available for consumer purchase in November and perfect timing for Holiday shopping. While Resort is an extra opportunity for brands to make money, it has become an incredibly important season for those brick & mortar retailers who are struggling with how to lure customers back to shopping in stores. Unlike Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter collections, Resort remains on the sales floor the longest (Spring merchandise arrives February) before hitting the sale rack, which makes it the most profitable season for most brands. Not  a lot of mark downs.

So, let’s take a look at some Resort collections from the start of this season:

Gucci (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Roberto Cavalli (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Roberto Cavalli (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jil Sander (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Jil Sander (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Chanel (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Burberry (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Givenchy (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Givenchy (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

DO YOU BELIEVE DESIGNERS ARE BURNING OUT BY CREATING FOUR COLLECTIONS A YEAR?