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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?

IS COUTURE RELEVANT IN TODAY’S WORLD?

COUTURE SPRING 2018
Chanel's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Chanel’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Fanciful, exquisite, luxurious, unique, all these adjectives come to mind when one thinks about the exclusive world of Haute Couture. While the spring 2018 couture shows in Paris have recently come to an end, we can all expect to see plenty of these dramatic, breathtaking creations on the Red Carpet on Oscar night. But the question remains, is couture relevant in today’s world?

By definition, Haute Couture is the French word for “high sewing,” “high dressmaking” or “high fashion”; it is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. These one-of-a-kind creations are constructed by hand from start to finish by the most experienced and talented sewers, known in the biz as les petite mains. Check out the movie Phantom Thread to get a sense of how hard and talented these ‘golden hands’ work to create  magic, often on the most severest of deadlines. The fabrics used are the most luxurious and expensive textiles created. All of the beading and embroidery in couture are not only sewn by hand but take weeks and months to execute.

One cannot walk into a store and purchase haute couture. These unique pieces are created for the client and specifically tailored to her body. Considering the amount of time, money, and skill needed to create one piece, haute couture can only be purchased by the wealthiest of clients. Generally, there is no price tag when it comes to couture and the saying goes…”that if you have to ask the price, well then…you can’t afford it.”

The pre-history of couture dates back to the 17th century, when Rose Bertin, the first known designer, dressed Queen Marie Antoinette. But it would be Englishman Charles Frederick Worth who would receive the honor as the  ‘Father of Couture.’ In 1856, Worth and his future wife, Marie Vernet, opened the House of Worth, in Paris. As his muse, Marie attracted the attention of the French aristocracy and in 1860, Worth became the official court couturier under Empress Eugénie. Up until that time, stylish women would visit Paris and bring back clothing that was then copied by their local dressmakers. Worth was the first designer who would not let his customers dictate design, which had been the practice until then. Rather, he was the first to design and display, via a “fashion show” on live models, his own creations for women to choose from, four times a year. He would only allow the client to select the style, fabrics and trim.

In 1868, La Chambre Syndicale de la confection et de la couture pour dames et fillettes was founded by Charles Frederick Worth to organize Parisian design houses. The name was changed in 1910 to Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture Parisienne, to more accurately define the organization’s haute couture relevance and in 1973, the name was again changed to Fédération Française de la Couture.  Couture such as Callot Soeurs, Patou, Poiret, Vionnet, Fortuny, Lanvin, Chanel, Mainbocher, Schiaparelli, Balenciaga, and Dior followed Worth. Some houses are still in existence today, in fact, Lanvin is the oldest!

Marie Antoinette (Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Magazine)

Marie Antoinette (Photo courtesy of the Smithsonian Magazine)

 

After World War II, rules were implemented to prevent misuse of the name Haute Couture, and to outline certain criteria with regard to creativity, design, quality, and reproduction.  The term Haute Couture is legally protected — and fashion houses are granted the designation by the French Ministry of Industry. Originally, the number of required looks per collection was 50, but in 1992, it was cut in half. Then, in 2001, the goalposts shifted again, to introduce a qualitative assessment from the Fédération.  Only designers who fit their strict requirements are invited to present during the couture shows in Paris in January and in July. To become accepted, you have to play by the rules, and there are many, including that a label needs to produce at least 25 outfits per season and maintain a workroom in Paris.

 

Christian Dior fitting a client in the 1950's

Christian Dior fitting a client in the 1950’s

By the late 20th century, designers such as Christian Lacroix, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Theirry Mugler started their own couture houses, but due to the high expense of producing these collections, Lacroix and Mugler dropped their couture collection.

In today’s fast-paced, fast-fashion oriented world, where such a small percentage of the population has the wealth to buy Haute Couture, how do these houses survive? The answer is….luxury shoes & handbags, fragrances and cosmetics! While it once was true that the couture was a way for designers to try out new ideas, today couture shows serve as a vehicle for brand marketing and publicity. Yes, it’s true, some of these clothes are ordered by a small number of wealthy women or loaned to celebs for a walk on the Red Carpet, but by and large, it’s about brand-building. Those who can’t afford the hefty price tag of a couture gown, can purchase ‘a piece of the dream’ via a couture houses’s perfume, lipstick, ready-to-wear, shoes and bags.

 

Let’s take a look of some of those ‘dreamy looks’

 

 Armani Privé

Armani Privé's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Armani Privé’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Armani Privé's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Armani Privé’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Chanel

Chanel's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Chanel’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Chanel's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Chanel’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Christian Dior

Christian Dior's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Christian Dior’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Christian Dior's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Christian Dior’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Giambattista Valli

Giambattista Valli's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Giambattista Valli’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Giambattista Valli's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Giambattista Valli’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Givenchy

Givenchy's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Givenchy’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Givenchy's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Givenchy’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Jean Paul Gaultier

Jean Paul Gaultier's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Jean Paul Gaultier’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Jean Paul Gaultier's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Jean Paul Gaultier’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Valentino

Valentino's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Valentino’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Valentino's spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Valentino’s spring couture collection (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

 

Let us know your thoughts, do you believe couture is relevant in modern day society?

The Fashion Circus Begins: Men’s Fall 2018 Collections Kick Off

- - Fashion Shows, Trends

 

Loewe Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Loewe)

Loewe Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Loewe)

The New Year has just begun and the fashion show hamster wheel is spinning faster than ever.  The Men’s Fall/Winter 2018 season kicked off in London where a number of New York editors missed the shows due to blizzard conditions. Then in was off to Florence for Pitti Uomo, a chic affair showcasing some of the most dandy and chicest menswear collections in Europe; meanwhile, Milan offered plenty of bold, cutting edge trends. Although both London and Milan have shortened their show schedules, there was still plenty of great fashion to see, including all the co-ed shows, which just may become runway’s future.

Paris is winding down, but the biggest news out of the fashion capital was the announcement that Kim Jones, the Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton since 2011, is leaving the company. Jones presented his final show for Louis Vuitton on Thursday and received a standing ovation as he walked side by side with supermodels Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss. Now that’s making an exit!

But now the guessing game begins, who will replace Jones and where will Jones end up next?

Naomi Campbell, Kim Jones and Kate Moss (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Naomi Campbell, Kim Jones and Kate Moss (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Although the season is still going strong, here are a few key menswear trends so far:

LOGOMANIA

Logo’s are back and better than ever. The logo craze was first reserved for accessories, but today, companies are branding their names on everything from intarsia knits to fur coats (hello Fendi).

Fendi Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fendi Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Iceberg Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Iceberg)

Iceberg Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Iceberg)

Dolce & Gabbana Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dolce & Gabbana Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versace Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versace Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

UTALITARIAN

It’s a throwback to the nineties, as utilitarian inspired looks ruled the runways from London to Paris.

Rick Owens Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Rick Owens Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Haider Ackermann Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Haider Ackermann Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Belstaff Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Belstaff)

Belstaff Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Belstaff)

Craig Green Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Craig Green Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gosha Rubchinskiy Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gosha Rubchinskiy Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

TAILOR MADE

Suit-Up. Sharp, tailored suits made their mark on the runway as the classic looks take a modern turn, complete with ties and all.

Giorgio Armani Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Giorgio Armani Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ermenegildo Zegna Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Ermenegildo Zegna Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Brooks Brothers Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Brooks Brothers Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Kiton Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Kiton Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Neil Barrett Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Neil Barrett Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

GOOD SPORT

The athleisure trend is still going strong as streetwear inspired looks continue to take center stage.

Off-White Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Off-White Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

MSGM Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

MSGM Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Facetasm Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Facetasm Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Stella McCartney)

Stella McCartney Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Stella McCartney)

 

FIT TO PRINT

Designers are playing mix-and-match this season as head to toe prints are making a splash.

Versace Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versace Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dolce & Gabbana Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dolce & Gabbana Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Missoni Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Missoni)

Missoni Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Missoni)

Vivienne Westwood Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood)

Vivienne Westwood Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vivienne Westwood)

Pringle of Scotland Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Pringle of Scotland)

Pringle of Scotland Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Pringle of Scotland)

 

BRAVE THE COLD

Terrific outerwear was all over the runway, but one of the key outerwear trends were shearling jackets that were effortless yet cozy.

Brunello Cucinelli Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Brunello Cucinelli)

Brunello Cucinelli Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Brunello Cucinelli)

Ralph Lauren Purple Label Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Ralph Lauren)

Ralph Lauren Purple Label Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Ralph Lauren)

Dsquared2 Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dsquared2 Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tods Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Tods)

Tods Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Tods)

Band of Outsiders Men's 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Band of Outsiders)

Band of Outsiders Men’s 2018 Fall Collection (Photo Courtesy of Band of Outsiders)

 

 TELL US, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE MENSWEAR TREND THIS SEASON?

Couture Takes A Modern Turn

COUTURE TAKES A MODERN TURN

Top left, clockwise, Viktor & Rolf, Christian Dior, Chanel, Atelier Versace, and Valentino (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

Top left, clockwise, Viktor & Rolf, Christian Dior, Chanel, Atelier Versace, and Valentino (All photos courtesy of Vogue.com)

Parisians represent the epiphany of chic. As French couture houses have long created a world of fantasy and beauty that only a privileged few were able to attain, today’s couture explores femininity beyond the ballgown.  The Fall 2017 Couture collections embrace the chance to find the feminine in both high-necked tailored coats, to bright floral frocks. Gone are the days when one style had to fit all – today’s couture is for everyone with the means to pay the hefty price tag.

Couture shows are an adventure, they are fashion fantasies come true. Although a majority of shows have focused on muted shades of grey, black and metallic silver, the pieces are far from drab. With splashes of pink and red, Fall 2017 Couture is an exploration in the space between feminine tailoring and flowing gowns. Just as impressive as the theatrics themselves, couture designers also have an impressive ‘front row’ following and the street-style scene is at its best. Here is the best of the couture season.

Chanel (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Chanel (photo courtesy of Getty Images)

CHANEL

Leave it to Karl Lagerfeld to erect a giant replica of the Eiffel Tower as he took over Paris’ Grand Palais for his Chanel Fall 2017 couture show. The set was inspired by the iconic fashion house’s home-base: Paris, as models walked under the giant Eiffel Tower replica that was created to overarch the runway. The collection was a nod to the elegance and sophistication of the early 20th century. Lagerfeld showcased a collection that harked back to Chanel’s roots – reviving favorite textures, silhouettes and fabrications for a truly exquisite result. The line-up featured somber hues of grays and blacks. The first 25 looks were all variations of gray, later leading to head-to-toe black ensembles and for the finale, a gorgeous Chanel bride, all in white. The label is known for incredible accessories, and this season’s must have: The boater hat – each look was topped off with a variation of the hat in a variety of fabrics, from signature tweeds to satin and even leather. As always, the front row included a number of stars including Pharrell Williams, Julianne Moore, Tilda Swinton, Katy Perry, Tracee Ellis Ross, Rowan Blanchard, Cara Delevingne, Kristen Stewart and more. All looked on adoringly as  Karl Lagerfeld received Paris’s highest honor at the end of the show. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, presented the designer with a Grand Vermeil medal, the highest distinction the city offers, for his work in the French capital. Congrats to Karl!

Chanel (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Maria Grazia Chiuri, the designer behind Christian Dior, transported us across the globe in full celebration of house’s 70th anniversary. Maria Grazia Chiuri has taken inspiration from travel, maps, exploration and the beauty of cultural diversity. She looked to the years following World War II, as Monsieur Dior traveled with his collections from California to Tokyo, and to parts of South America. Her theme ran wild with an elaborate set design by Pietro Ruffo, dressed with statues of wild animals from each continent. Chiuri embraced the power of finely tailored suits with a feminist bend. Case in point, a wrap-neck jumpsuit in wool herringbone, belted at the waist and with big functional pockets at the hips. She also showcased beautiful coats, floating chiffon dresses and a dramatic portrait neckline velvet dress. This collection was fit for Chiuri’s lady explorer.

Christian Dior (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 ATELIER VERSACE

Less is more this season as Donatella Versace stages a low key presentation for her Atelier Versace collection. In an era where images are seen instantly, Donatella Versace opted for discretion as no-one in the audience was able to photograph the collection. A few looks were even hidden from the press and were only shown to those who buy directly from the fashion house. As for the collection, Atelier Versace showed some major evening looks that were extremely sexy and exquisitely hand-crafted: beautiful and intricate embroideries – all bronze metallic scale embroidery, silver chains suspended in cobweb-like formations, and silver leaf embroideries.  For the first time, the house featured a few pieces that were 3-D printed, such as an intricate scrolling neckline on a long gilded dress.

Atelier Versace (Photo courtesy of Atelier Versace)

Atelier Versace (Photo courtesy of Atelier Versace)

VIKTOR & ROLF

Life-size, giant, bobble-head dolls made their runway debut at Victor& Rolf this season as designers Rolf Snoeren, with Viktor Horsting suggested that “these [dolls] are fighting for a better world” via the patchwork-symbolizing unity. The duo certainly made a statement as they manipulated high-tech Japanese fabrics through pleating, padding, ruffles and intricate folds. Case in point: a giant, bow-shaped bomber. The designers also showcased relatively wearable dresses, coats, and plenty of jeans that will end up in women’s closets.

Viktor & Rolf (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

Viktor & Rolf (Photo courtesy of Vogue.Com)

VALENTINO

This season, Pierpaolo Piccioli found an unlikely source of inspiration for his Valentino couture collection – the Vatican. Valentino’s atelier literally sits in the shadow of the Vatican, but this collection was anything but solemn. Pierpaolo Piccioli drew a line between the notions of the church’s sacred rituals and the practice and of haute couture. The collection featured hooded capes and silhouettes that resemble the robes of priests, and there were hammered metal bags with enamel mosaic details in the shapes of animal heads meant to symbolize the seven deadly sins. Overall, the collection was heavenly.

Valentino (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Photo courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Resort Round-Up

RESORT 2018

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christian Dior (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

 

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

Tory Burch (Courtesy of Tory Burch)

 

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

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Louis Vuitton (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Dundas (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Miu Miu (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

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

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Gucci (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

Rosie Assoulin (Courtesy of Rosie Assoulin)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

No. 21 (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

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

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Chanel (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

Fausto Puglisi (Courtesy of Fausto Puglisi)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

J. Mendel (Courtesy of J. Mendel)

 

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

Game Changer

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

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Valentino (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Prada (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Stella McCartney (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Get Fruity

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

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

MSGM (Courtesy of MSGM)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Edun (Courtesy of Edun)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Versus Versace (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

 Jean Therapy

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

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Oscar de la Renta (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

Karen Walker (Courtesy of Karen Walker)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

See by Chloe (Courtesy of See By Chloe)

Seeing Stripes

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

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Thom Browne (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Altuzarra (Courtesy of Vogue.com)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

Christopher Kane (Courtesy of Christopher Kane)

 

 

 

 

 

The Women Behind the Accessories

- - Women in Fashion

Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson.

Thanks to the Academy Award-winning film, Hidden Figures, these names are now synonymous with launching NASA’s astronauts safely into space.

But did you know that the fashion industry has many hidden figures of its own? Strong, powerful, talented women who are the creatives forces behind brands such as Gucci, Valentino and Marc Jacobs? And like the love of math was the thread that tied Johnson, Vaughan and Jackson together, accessory design is the common tie between the three female powerhouses in the fashion industry you’re about to meet. Read More