Submit your work, meet writers and drop the ads. Become a member
judy smith Nov 2016
UKFT has launched Made It, a collaboration between the trade body, Graduate Fashion Week and Marks & Spencer designed to bring together graduate designers and UK manufacturers.

As part of the initiative, which was launched at a reception at the Houses of Parliament last night, Marks & Spencer and the UKFT will sponsor a number of Graduate Fashion Week winners to have their collections made in the UK.

In addition, to promote a better understanding of UK manufacturers and to encourage designers to use them as their preferred source of manufacturing, the UKFT, Marks & Spencer and Graduate Fashion Week will host a series of Masterclasses at five select universities across the country.

Hosted by Damian Collins MP, UKFT and Graduate Fashion Week, the reception included a catwalk show and was attended by key policy makers, industry influencers, major retailers, leading brands and UK manufacturers, with special guests including Graduate Fashion Week ambassadors Alesha Dixon, Mandi Lennard and Caryn Franklin as well as designer Zandra Rhodes and fashion critic Suzy Menkes.

“The UK has some of the best designer graduates in the world and some of the most talented manufacturers – Made It brings them together. Not only will we see the creation of some stunning collections, the project will also help to ensure the success of the next generation in understanding the business of fashion, which is a fundamental part of UKFT’s purpose and key whether you are developing a new brand, working with manufacturers or growing business overseas,” said UKFT chairman Nigel Lugg.

Graduate Fashion Week managing director Martyn Roberts said the initiative was “a wonderful opportunity” for GFW students to get first hand knowledge and experience of working with British manufacturers. “These are vital skills for fashion design graduates and essential for keeping Britain at the forefront of design,” he said.Read more at: |
judy smith Nov 2016
Fashion designers love foraging through the antique markets of Clignancourt in Paris and Portobello Road and Alfie’s Antiques markets in London snuffling out vintage pieces for inspiration. The flurry of romantic Victoriana on the catwalks for autumn can clearly be blamed on this obsession.

There has been an undercurrent of reserved, covered-up fashion ever since Pierpaolo Piccioli and his former co-designer Maria Grazia Chiuri introduced a more demure aesthetic to Valentino five years ago. Longer skirts, prim higher necklines and covered arms have become the slow trend of recent seasons creating a hyper-feminine look.

Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy and Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen have long been beguiled by the Gothic romanticism of Victorian fashion with their use of corsetry and dark dramatic lace and velvet for eveningwear.

In fact, London-based vintage fashion dealer Virginia Bates admits she doesn’t remember there ever being a time when Gothic Victoriana didn’t feature in at least one designer’s collection. “The fascination with the romantics, poets, artists and even horror [classics and films] give designers a great source of inspiration,” she says. “It’s an irresistible era.”

Certainly a lot of it has appeared on the catwalks this season at McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Burberry (shown only a month ago in the see-now, buy-now collection), Simone Rocha, Preen, Bora Aksu and Temperley London, as well as at smaller brands such as Alessandra Rich, Three Floor created by Yvonne Hoang and A.W.A.K.E.

There were dark distressed Linton tweeds, unravelling knits and black tulle in Simone Rocha’s autumn collection. Rocha was pregnant when she started designing it and was inspired by Victorian dress and motherhood, in particular the nightgowns and matrons.

“All the wrapping and swaddling of babies,” she says, before elaborating on how “the Victorian ideals of properness were made perverse with the conservative and covered-up pieces contrasted by the sheer and embroidered fabrics.”These gauzy vaporous fabrics succeeded in making her eerily romantic silhouette look rather contemporary and daring.

Subversion is key to making such a prim and proper period in fashion history modern and relevant for women today. Marc Jacobs, for instance mixed long Victorian coats, ballooning crinolines and crochet doily collars with sweatshirt tops and laser-cut leather for skirts and jackets together with some scary Goth horror make-up. Nothing is, or should be literal.

As Justin Thornton of Preen says “we love the Victorians, the laces and the white shirts, but it is the vintage pieces rather than the era that inspire us”. His partner Thea Bregazzi has collected aristocratic laces and ruffly vintage shirts from Portobello Road market for as long as he has known her and these frequently find their way into their collections, “but linings would be ripped, garments will have holes in them – it is a deconstructed look”.Virginia Bates once owned a famous vintage fashion emporium in Holland Park with a client list including the biggest names in fashion from John Galliano to Donna Karan and Naomi Campbell. Now she only works with private clients and designers and they, especially, she says were looking for genuine Victorian pieces when planning their autumn collections.

“A black fitted jacket with inserts of handmade lace [that is] embellished with crystal and jet beads, ***** and silk lined ... How exciting and inspiring is that? Silk and fine lawn shirts, soft and flowing with ruffles. Don’t we all want to wear one and live the dream?”

Thankfully a few designers do right now, and there were lots of heavenly creatures in fragile asymmetric lace dresses toughened up with leather corsetry at Alexander McQueen, and richly coloured swishy dresses at Bora Aksu. While Christopher Bailey cherry-picked the centuries in his Burberry collection, lighting upon frilled white cotton shirts, nipped in jackets and military capes from the Victorian era. Given that Victoria reigned for more than 60 years there is a lot of history for designers to plunder, so this will not be the last we will see it.Read more at: |
judy smith Nov 2016
Before the hordes of his extended fashion family descended on Somerset House last night, Sam McKnight was pacing through the two floors of an exhibition of his life as one of the great sessions hairstylists. He stopped in front of a formal British Vogue portrait of Princess Diana, taken by Patrick Demarchelier in 1990. “I put on the tiara and had to make her hair big for it,” he remembered. “But, oh, God, then we had such an amazing day afterward. We were chatting and she suddenly asked, ‘If you could do anything, what would you do?’ And I said, ‘I’d cut it off!’ And she said, ‘Well, let’s do it now!’”

Thus, Diana, Princess of Wales, got the best slicked-back look of her life, the cut that defined her chic, grown-up, independent years—and her cutoff from her marriage. “I didn’t realize at the time,” McKnight said, “but in retrospect, with everything that was going on in the background, she wanted a change.” McKnight, after that, became Diana’s entrusted hairdresser. As photographer Nick Knight puts it elsewhere in the show, McKnight has that general effect on women when he’s working. “When he goes near the girls, they relax.”

It’s a testament to McKnight’s popularity in the magazine and fashion show milieu he has worked in since 1977—nearly 40 years!—that so many (who are sometimes so difficult) cooperated and gave permission, and that Chanel and Vivienne Westwood lent spectacular clothes to illustrate the interpretive cut and ****** of what a great hairstylist contributes. Straightaway, as you step off the street into the exhibition, you’re plunged into the next best thing to a backstage hair-and-makeup station and the kind of frenetic scene that goes on minutes before Chanel, Fendi,Dries Van Noten, or Balmain shows take to the runway. In place of the mirrors there are videos—say, of Kendall Jenner getting her Balmain hair look at a recent presentation—which have been recorded by GoPros worn by McKnight’s assistants. Every facet and every angle of the transformations—sometimes with four pairs of hands working on one girl’s hair—are captured.

From then on in, it’s easy to see how this exhibition will become a magnet for kids who want to experience the atmosphere of fashion and worship at a temple of a sublime hair alchemist. Shonagh Marshall, the curator at Somerset House, has run the numbers on the hairstylist’s Vogue covers, many of which are displayed on a faux newsstand. “Sam has been involved with 190 Vogue covers, which is more than any one photographer, or anyone else over that time,” she reported.

That’s not bad for a Scottish lad, born the son of a miner in 1955, who made his way to being a central team player with photographers and editors in the high supermodel years. Glorious images of Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington,Cindy Crawford, and Tatjana Patitz abound. “It was a golden era. We were on the road the whole time with Patrick Demarchelier, traveling the world with the same 10 people,” McKnight said, laughing. “We were making it up as we went along, really.”

The massive sweep of the show brings out the important collaborations of his career, with photographers Demarchelier, Knight, Tim Walker, and more; with fashion editors Lucinda Chambers and Edward Enninful; and makeup artists Mary Greenwell and Val Garland. It’s studded with celebrity—Lady Gaga, Tilda Swinton, Kylie Minogue—and honors the spectacular shape-shifting talents of Kate Moss, from her early days as a fresh tousle-haired ’90s teen in love on a beach: “Johnny Depp was there,” McKnight recalled.

There are the moments when McKnight changed models’ fates with short, blonde crops—Jeny Howorth’s in the ’80s and Agyness Deyn’s in the aughts. We see his process, with the hairpieces, wigs, and frizzing techniques integral to creating Westwood and Chanel shows, in both videos and installations masterfully laid out by Michael Howells. Right at the end, there’s a room Howells describes as “Sam the Man,” the walls checkerboarded with pictures of flowers from his garden and the ridiculous varieties of wigs he poses in on his Instagram feed these days. It’s testament to the energy and humor of a talent happily adapted to an industry that is constantly working on the new, in the now; an inspirational treat for all those who remember and for all the many thousands of young eyes that will be opened for the first time by this extravagant journey through one man’s career.Read more at: |
judy smith Nov 2016
The 34-year-old Russian model has admitted she applies beauty products to enhance her cheekbones and jaw line when she has to attend a formal discussion to make her look "older" and "more mature".

Speaking to about her beauty regime, the blonde beauty - who has starred in fashion campaigns for luxury designer brands including Givenchy, Prada and Calvin Klein - said: "There's no particular routine. I keep my skin clean and moisturized. A product I swear by is [Guerlain] Super Aqua Serum, so maybe this is my secret.

"It's also genetics and a healthy lifestyle. I think it's really about using the right products and looking after your skin. And putting on makeup that doesn't make your skin look like it's caked on. My two favorite products are Lingerie De Peau BB Cream, and in the winter I use Météorites Baby Glowfoundation. It smells so good. The pearl powder is what gives it this really incredible glow. The secret to applying my makeup is that I just put it where it's needed.

"Sometimes I wear just a little pencil and a bit of mascara to make my eyes stand out a little more. And maybe a bit of color on my cheeks. If I'm going to a meeting, I will contour my face to make myself look a little older. I have to look more mature."

And Natalia - who has sons Lucas, 14, Viktor, nine, Maxim, two, four-month-old Roman and 10-year-old daughter Neva with her husband Antoine Arnault - has admitted motherhood impacts on her daily routine.

The Gorky-born star explained: "Keeping up with everything I do requires some sacrifices, but once and a while I need to take some time to myself."Read more at: |****-formal-dresses
Oct 2016 · 506
judy smith Oct 2016
Christophe Lemaire is a no frills, no fuss designer. After working as the artistic director of Lacoste and Hermès, Lemaire decided to give his full attention to his independent fashion brand, Lemaire, with partner Sarah-Linh Tran. The brand, which focuses on elevated pieces for everyday life, completed two very successfulcapsule collections with Uniqlo (both of which were called Uniqlo x Lemaire). When the time came for a third collection, however, Lemaire wanted to take his role at Uniqlo one step further, even if it meant personally devoting less time to his growing independent brand. "[It was] a little bit agitating, because I had just decided to focus on my own brand," Lemaire explains. "I didn't want to go back to more discussion, but I felt it was really something interesting to do, and I always dreamt of working for Uniqlo."

This summer, Lemaire was appointed as artistic director of the new Uniqlo Paris R&D; Centre, where he leads research and development for the LifeWear brand, and has designed a new Uniqlo line, Uniqlo U. The line takes clothing basics to a new level, focusing on quality and luxury to redefine Uniqlo's familiar essentials such as t-shirts and down jackets. The result is what Lemaire has strived to do with his own brand—everyday clothing for everyday life—for a wider audience. "It's a little bit of a humble approach, putting the same level of heart and passion that you can have in high fashion, but into an industrial product," says Lemaire.

NATALIA BARR: You said that you left your role at Hermès to focus on your own brand. Is your own brand still such a big priority for you?

CHRISTOPHE LEMAIRE: That's why I hesitated. I really thought about it a lot. I just wanted to make sure I would be able to set the right team, because I very much believe in the collective work and the team dynamic. With the right team, you can really save so much time and energy. Whereas if you don't have the right environment and the right support from the company, or the right team, it can be extremely tiring and frustrating. Today, I can say I have this great team at Uniqlo and of course at Lemaire. Also, at Lemaire, there is Sarah-Lin [Tran], my partner. We decided to not work together on this new Uniqlo project, so she would focus more on Lemaire, and I spend my time between Uniqlo and Lemaire. With great teams on both sides, it works—it's exciting and inspiring.

BARR: How did your past roles at other brands prepare you for this role you have now?

LEMAIRE: Being a head designer or art director or just even a designer, you need a certain level of experience and maturity. It's true that I've made mistakes, but I know I shouldn't do them again. [There are] so many things I've learned, and I'm still learning, actually. At Lacoste, I learned how to drive in a very conservative environment. I had to learn how to do politics, how to talk, how to explain, and how to communicate a vision, and the necessary link between marketing and creative teams. Also, very important, the shop experience, which was actually very frustrating at Lacoste. At Hermès it's different. I learned, maybe more than anywhere else, how to work around a legacy, and how to integrate a strong brand culture into my work. Also, to work with a completely different projection system and craftsmanship. Every company, of course, teaches you so much humanly and professionally [about] yourself and your creative process.

BARR: What is it about Uniqlo that made you dream of working there?

LEMAIRE: If I really think about what drove me from the beginning to become a designer, it is really the idea of trying to make everyday life a little bit better—to make it more functional, more desirable, to improve quality of life somehow. Through designing clothes, I try to bring solutions to people, and I'm interested in the everyday relationship we have to clothes. I'm not a designer who is very interested in baroque or in fantasy or in the fantastic side of fashion. This exists and this is important, but I'm interested in the very real dimensions. I'm interested in the poetry of reality. I try to bring as much taste, smartness, quality, functionality, and aesthetic qualities to everyday clothes. I'm interested in the intimate relationships we can have with those good clothes that we may have in our closets. I think we all have those particular pieces of clothes that we really like, because it ages well, because it fits you well, because you feel comfortable, and you feel confident in those clothes. All those aspects of good design are what I'm interested in. I'm trying just to do good clothes, clothes that you need as much as you want. For me, Uniqlo is an amazing environment. They have an amazing production system, and they have this capacity of bringing the best quality at the best price. There is something very democratic about it, which I really appreciate.

BARR: What was the inspiration for the Uniqlo U collection?

LEMAIRE: When we met with my team to start the very first collection, I told them, "Let's forget about themes and mood boards. Let's start from a different point of view. You have to leave for two months all of a sudden. What would you put in your suitcase? What are the twenty essential pieces that you will need and how would you design it to be cool, and you'll want to wear it?" That's just a different approach. It's about trying to propose, every season, the perfect wardrobe of elevated basics.

BARR: How is this collection different from your past collaborations with Uniqlo?

LEMAIRE: The past collaboration was very much a collaboration between Lemaire and Uniqlo. It was very much Sarah-Lin and I bringing a Lemaire twist to a Uniqlo environment. This one was different, because we really are extremely faithful to the DNA. I had to convince Uniqlo about that because at first, they wanted us to do a new collaboration. Then we said, "No, we have to focus on our brand." Then they said, "Why don't we put your name on the label, and it's Christophe Lemaire for Uniqlo?" And I said, "No. Fashion people will care, but I don't think Uniqlo consumers will. Let's try to bring more style into basics, and let's touch real people all around the world, people who don't really care who Christophe Lemaire is." It's not a short designer collaboration. The idea is to bring another layer of constant product that is Uniqlo, and complementary to the main line.

BARR: How do you approach designing a collection that is meant to carry basics in a fresh and artistic way?

LEMAIRE: This is what I've always been interested in, trying to make timeless, functional, real clothes. Everywhere I've been working, I always had in mind the final destination of the clothes, which is the consumer. For me, the fashion show, the image, the shooting, is just a step. It's just a moment, but it's not the final destination. There are so many things to do within that concept of basic with a twist. It's very subtle. It's a thin line between becoming too fashionable or becoming boring. You have to find this balance to create something that is obvious, but at the same time exciting. I don't know if we achieved that, but this is what we had in mind. How we get to that, it's difficult to explain. It depends, but it might be the color, the details, or the choice in the material. I'm proud of what we came up with in terms of product. I don't think a fast fashion brand can really say the same about the quality of the product. We come up with products that are of good qualities in terms of lasting and the way it ages. If not, it's a failure for us.

BARR: Do you have a favorite piece or part of the collection?

LEMAIRE: That's a tricky one. The sweaters are amazing. The knitwear is very good quality. My personal favorite is a simple crewneck sweatshirt for men that I wear every day, just because of the quality of it. It's a French terry. It's quite heavy and round. We were actually surprised to be able to do that for Uniqlo, because even in the good sportswear, streetwear brands, you can't find that quality. Simple things like that, that make my life easier.Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2016
At any given moment, it seems there is a fashion week happening somewhere in the world - be it Sydney, Istanbul, Dubai, Seoul, Moscow, Toronto, Copenhagen or Lagos (to name a few).

But the latest entrant may be the most surprising: Silicon Valley.

Or, as the organisers style it: Silicon Valley Fashion Week?!.

The punctuation marks as part of the title are a self-aware nod to the incongruity of marrying the location, known for its allegiance to hoodies, Tevas and T-shirts, to a fashion event.

But that does not mean they are any less serious about its potential.

The three-day annual event, which finished its second turn over the weekend in San Francisco, bills itself as "part fashion show, part variety show, part trade show" and is open to the public, unlike the usual fashion industry events. This year, about 30 brands were featured and tickets, at US$20 (S$28), sold out, with about 500 people attending each day.

It was staged by Betabrand, a San Francisco company that builds its clothing catalogue by crowdsourcing design ideas and, after seeing which take off, crowdfunding the production of the prototypes to see which ones people will actually want to buy. Examples include a "mind the gap" blouse that stretches to fit the body's contours and a dress that uses a trademarked reflective material.

The event exists at the nexus of Burning Man, wearable technology and the Maker Movement, home of inventors, designers and other do-it-yourself types. Pebble Smartwatch presented a Smarthole Hoodie, a standard hoodie design with sleeves that extend over the thumbs and have a movable panel around the wrist to make gaining access to the company's device easier; and Tinsel offered headphones that can be worn as a necklace.

Alison Lewis, who holds a design and technology master's degree from Parsons School of Design in New York, showed three items: a lambskin leather handbag embedded with LED bulbs that can be rearranged in different patterns with an app; a T-shirt that does the same; and a dress with lights that undulate with the wearer's heartbeat.

"Technology is a tool. It's how we use it that's really exciting," she said. "We could have less clothing in our closets and have pieces that change and work with our moods and personalities on a daily basis."

Lewis has not had a chance to present her work in other fashion shows and, so far, she has not been able to mass-produce her items. She commended the fashion week as a place to experiment.

She was not the only designer struggling with the challenge of manufacturing what she displayed.

However, as wearables increasingly enter mainstream fashion, with designers from Ralph Lauren to Zac Posen dipping their creative toes into technology, the idea of clothing patterns controlled by apps, of drone delivery, and of customisation that allows - maybe even asks - its wearers to make a choice each and every day, seems less far-fetched and more like fashion's possible future.

Which, unlikely as it may be, puts the Silicon Valley event on the style front line.Read more |
judy smith Oct 2016
The glitz and glamour of the fashion world descended on the city once again as Oxford Fashion week returned for its 10th season.

Models strutted their stuff on the catwalk at the Town Hall on Friday evening as the crowd saw shows from 12 designers.

Champagne flowed at the after party, where a raffle and silent auction were held in support of Oxfordshire Youth – the county's charity for young people.

The show was intimate, with just three rows of seating surrounding the catwalk.

Carl Anglim, the director of Oxford Fashion Studio, said: "Oxford has its own character and charm and we try to bring that to every show we do."

Anya Conlon, the face of this year's fashion week, modelled a dress at the after party which was donated by famous designer Omar Mansoor.

Many of the models attending the party wore their looks from the runway for guests to more closely see the intricate designs.

The 6pm show featured independent collections and ready to wear designs from high street boutiques and retailers.

Highlights included shows from two masters graduates sponsored by Jericho fashion shop Olivia May – Constance Blackaller and Katie McGuigan.

The 8pm show was titled Concept + Couture and displayed eccentric collections from prominent local designers.

Dumpster Design created a dress made entirely of discarded materials from Oxfordshire Youth while Caterina *******debuted her colourful Homage to Camouflage collection for her Kraken Counter Couture studio.

Ms *******incorporated her 'K sizing system' in to her designs, which is uniquely tailored to transgender individuals.

She said: "To me it didn't seem new. I felt like somebody should be doing it.

"Its something that I'm very proud to do – I have many friends and family in the LGBT community."

Gender fluidity was a theme throughout the night as the Crease show sent several male models down the runway in women's coats and dresses.

Model Luka Nikolic said: "I think 2016 is the year for gender fluidity.

"If you're a man wearing women's clothing or a woman wearing men's clothing you can't say that's wrong."

A surprise attendance was made by designers Dylan & Izzy, who are featured on the BBC show All Over the Workplace.

The show, hosted by Alex Riley, shows children the inner workings of different workplaces and this week the children tried their hand at fashion design.

The Town Hall extravaganza marked the end of fashion season, with fashion weeks in New York, London and Milan starting again in early 2017.

Mr Anglim said: "Many of our designers will go to London, New York and Paris, but our favourite thing to do is come home to Oxford."Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2016
Marisa Mayeda's tiny hands are steady as she smooths the fabric out in front of her and examines the stitches, checking for bunching or knots.

“Lay it flat, so you can see the whole thing,” suggests instructor Joyce Blaney. Mayeda obeys, spreading out the gorgeous patchwork quilt she’s almost finished creating. It’s one of five she’s making for the babies at Torrance Memorial Hospital.

“It’s her Girl Scout project,” explains Blaney. “Each kid got to choose what they wanted to do, and since Marisa loves sewing, she picked this.”

Blaney’s studio at Sew Creative in Redondo Beach is colorful chaos: bolts of fabric, scrap baskets, ribbons and lace. Pincushions dot almost every surface, and the hum of Singer sewing machines underscores conversation.

It’s unhurried and something of a throwback that most post-baby boomers would recognize as a home economics class—a part of American curriculum that has dwindled over the decades. It’s where Blaney herself learned to thread a needle 50 years ago, fell in love with it almost instantly, and made it a part of her life.

“I learned in a classroom of 30 kids and one teacher. She must have lost her mind,” she laughs now. “It was very crowded. I didn’t realize how challenging that must have been until I started teaching my own students.”

The previous owner started Sew Creative in 1989 before retiring, whereupon Blaney—who had been an employee for several years—bought it and has run it for the past 13 years. Any kid—or adult —can join classes, starting from age six and up. “I primarily teach classes every day after school and on Saturdays. It’s a great opportunity for kids to have a creative outlet.”

According to studies from the University of Missouri, an increasing number of millennials and younger kids don’t know basic home skills, including sewing, cooking, or doing laundry. Only 30 percent of young adults know how to properly boil an egg, according to one study.

Learning by example, such as watching your mother hem a pair of pants, has become less common with each generation. We microwave our food or eat out a lot more. Convenience has made it easier to forgo learning how to cook, and with home economics classes gradually disappearing in the education system.

“Schools are so much more about academics now,” Blaney observes. “This gives kids a chance to make something with their hands, to feel confidence and have something to show for their work. One kid even said that sewing helps her relax, to focus on the moment. I mean, that’s pretty important. She gets it.”

The Queen Amidala costume that Ava Brunner is making for Halloween exemplifies that sentiment. Resplendent in flowing white fabric and a complex pattern of scalloped ruffles, it’s an intricate and challenging design. Brunner, who has been coming to Sew Creative for five years, is now a pro seamstress at age 11, and plans to be an actor and fashion designer.

“There’s no deterring her. Once she decides she’s going to do something ... ” Blaney shakes her head admiringly. “Nothing stops her.”

Mayeda, working diligently on her blanket, just started sewing two months ago at her mother’s suggestion. She had never sewn anything before, but she had a goal and dove in with enthusiasm.

“I wanted to make a new bag for my birthday, but I didn’t know how. So I needed to learn,” she said.

Like her teacher, she’s found a new thing to love—plus a brand-new bag for her birthday this week. And come this January, five newborns will get handmade, hand-stitched blankets for theirs.Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2016
Designer Mandira Wirk gave actress Nimrat Kaur a regal look when she showcased her New Royals collection at Amazon India Fashion Week on Saturday.

Wirk showed 20 ensembles, including Kaur’s ivory drape concept sari with just a zipper, panelled gown with mother of pearls and dori work paired with a sheer cape.

“Her collection is so pretty and feminine,” said Kaur. “I love her clothes. This collection is called the New Royals... it’s bringing pretty back, beautifully enhancing the female body form. It makes you feel so light and pretty.”

Panelled anarkalis, jackets and capes, crop tops, jumpsuits and tapered trousers appeared alongside designer’s signature drape saris and dhoti pants.

Wirk, in a beautiful off-shoulder powder pink dress, said: “I wanted to get pretty back to the runway. It is pretty feminine, wearable and an extremely versatile collection.

“I have done lots of pastels...lot of capes, sleeves. So basically a very feminine and romantic collection.”

The range saw a heavy use modern details like wide pockets and deep waistbands paired with layers of French knots.Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2016
One of the more ambitious ventures in Irish fashion is taking place inWaterford at the Lismore Atelier. A social enterprise project that began a year ago to help revive manufacturing skills in Ireland, it is located in a former library building in the historic town. The workshop is now humming with state-of-the-art machines assembling clothes – cutting, sewing, overlocking, buttonholing, hemming, pressing and finishing.

Training in production and sewing skills is also given thanks to a €80,000 investment from the local council and the education and training board (ETB). Managing all this activity is Limerick School of Art and Design graduate Maggie Danaher, who lives locally.

The results can be seen in Mary Gregory’s 34-piece autumn/winter collection which has impressed all who see it for the quality, not just of its fabrics but its finish and attention to detail. An international Irish stylist based in Italy could not believe the collection had been made in Ireland, when viewing it on a recent visit.

Even calling it an “atelier”, the French word for workshop or studio, attests to its commitment to be as good internationally as any sought-after facilities inFrance or Italy. Gregory and her husband, Aidan McCarthy, a skilled tailor who worked for the fashion designer Patrick Howard in Dublin for 10 years in the 1970s, researched methods and machinery used by the top Italian companies who make for brands such as Gucci and Stella McCartney, with the aim of reproducing them in Ireland.

“I wanted to prove it could be done here,” says Gregory. “We can make clothes to this standard but it takes time, skill and investment,” she says. The plan is to attract other Irish designers to the facility which they hope will be ready by next year when a skilled production manager and sample and production machinists can provide the requisite top class service – presumably at competitive prices.

Currently Lismore Atelier has a tailor who samples for Victoria Beckham and Comme des Garçons who is brought in on a contract basis along with a production machinist. Gregory describes Lismore as the perfect place for a designer to be completely focussed and more accessible than places in Italy.

Gregory, who started making clothes at the age of six and developed a successful career in the 1980s and 1990s, was known for the strong visual effect of her designs. She moved with McCarthy to Lismore more than a decade ago and concentrated on rearing their two sons, restoring a 19th-century house in Villierstown while also working as visual and design director of the Maison & Chateau group. Her new collections remain true to her aesthetic of form and fabric with an emphasis on architectural shapes with embellishment and detail. The fabrics are luxurious and include grosgrain, double crepe, wool and silks with notable finesse of finish.

The collection is now in the International Designer Rooms in Brown Thomas where Gregory will be on hand on Saturdays to show it or by appointment.Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2016
Ace fashion designer Rajesh Pratap Singh, who recently collaborated with Kullu-based handloom weavers Bhuttico for a collection, says he is passionate about the handloom industry which is his source of inspiration. Rajesh Pratap and Bhuttico’s fashionable affair was held in Kullu last week and highlighted the farm-to-fashion journey of Merino wool which is part of the Woolmark Company’s Grown In Australia, Made In India initiative.

“I am extremely passionate about the handloom industry as it is the primary source of my inspiration. I love the versatility of Merino wool, especially since it’s so easy to work with and supports various techniques and blends,” Rajesh Pratap said in a statement.

The designer, who is known for using Indian textiles and for working with ikat, presented a menswear and womenswear collection. The special line focused on the handloom journey of Bhuttico and their rich legacy.

The collection was a juxtaposition of clean lines and colourful weaves, and highlighted Rajesh Pratap’s signature minimal aesthetics and intense construction.

The designer feels “the fashion fraternity has constantly been striving to highlight the textile and handloom industry in India”.

“Owing to our country’s rich heritage each state adds another dimension of culture which is also captured beautifully by our weaves,” he said.Read more at: |
Sep 2016 · 984
Denim and the City
judy smith Sep 2016
Local designer Vanessa Froehling has denim on the brain. Stonewashed, herringbone print, chambray, stretch and black denim, to be sure.

In her home studio, Froehling flips through hangers of designs, including sailor-style high-waisted women’s shorts, a men’s blazer and a women’s jumpsuit.

“It’s something that’s in everyone’s closet and it will never go out of style,” says Froehling of the French-born fabric (denim’s etymology comes from “de Nîmes,” the French town where Levis Strauss first procured the tough cotton twill for your 501s). But, she adds, “people are stuck on what denim can do.”

The line is called Carpe Denim and it’s Froehling’s entry into FashioNXT (self-described as “Portland’s Official Fashion Week”) — not to be confused with Portland Fashion Week — three days and nights of runway shows in early October. She will present Carpe Denim in the UpNXT competition, the “emerging designers accelerator,” alongside four other Pacific Northwest designers the evening of Oct. 5.

The fashion week has a cozy relationship with Project Runway, the fashion-designer reality show running since 2004, and, in fact, two of the judges assessing the competition are Seth Aaron (winner of Project Runway season 7) and Michelle Lesniak (winner of season 11).

In 2015, Froehling applied to both Portland Fashion Week and FashioNXT, but was only accepted by the former that time. She says auditioning in front of the FashioNXT judges was intimidating.

“My nerves were like, ‘What do I do with my hands?’” Froehling says, shaking her hands by her sides and laughing. The judges were tough, she recalls, and they recommended that she develop the marketability and cohesion of her line.

Over the past year, she took their advice to heart and decided she would try out again, this time with a denim ready-to-wear line, a departure from the couture gowns that have distinguished her style. She took inspiration from the city — recalling watching the denizens of Portland walk by, falling in love with their street-wear style — and the layers of people, buildings and traffic.

Eight jean looks — five for women and three for men — will walk the runway, but rest assured, this will be no **** of Canadian tuxedos. Although denim is the common thread, the designs feature smart juxtapositions against black leather and a colorful textile that looks like a cross between gas puddles and graffiti.

The self-taught designer has also developed several innovative details: a woman’s denim peplum jacket that unzips at the waist, transforming it into a more casual cropped jacket; women’s stretch leather pants that zip open at the knee, a nod to ripped jeans; and a men’s chambray shirt with the illusion of a double collar creating a fresh origami effect.

This summer, the judges welcomed Froehling on the FashioNXT train.

Froehling says one judge told her that she’s the first designer to return the following year to try out again after being rejected.

“It’s the highest fashion production in Oregon,” she says.

The winner will be announced at the after-party Oct. 5, and the prize package secures a spot for the designer in the main runway show in 2017 and includes business mentorships, feature stories inPortland Monthly and Portland Mercury, and a strategic marketing course at Portland Fashion Institute.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
Paris has traditionally been the city where inter­national designers – from Australia and England to Beirut and Japan – opt to unveil their collections. However, Karen Ruimy, who is behind the Kalmar label, chose the runways of Milan Fashion Week for her debut showcase in September.

The Morocco-born, London- based designer hosted an intimate al fresco event in a private palazzo to launch her holiday line of fine cotton and silk jumpsuits, breezy kaftans, long skirts, playsuits and off-the-shoulder tops in tropical prints.

Ruimy had a career in finance before moving into the arts – she owns a museum of photography in Marrakech – and has become increasingly involved in fashion and beauty, thanks to her personal interest in holistic therapies.

These are clothes, she explains, that marry luxury and wellness, and are the things she would wear when she wants quality time by herself. The fact that they are made in Italy, convinced her that Milan was the right place for her debut – where she showed alongside the likes of Gucci, Prada, Verscae and Marni.

On fashion calendars, Milan has conventionally been the place where the runways confirm the trends and themes hinted at ­earlier, in New York and London. However, this season, the Italian designers did not speak with one voice, making Milan Fashion Week all the more refreshing for it.

Often, there might be an era or style of design that dominates the runways during a particular season, but for spring/summer 2017 in Milan, there was a standout showing of techno sportswear and techno fabrics employed in updated classics such as coats and box-pleat skirts, or with references to north African and Native American themes.

The Italian designers sent looks that would appeal to everyone, from the haute bohemian and athletic woman, to the cool sophisticate and the art crowd, as well as – as in the case of Moschino – to the iPhone generation.

Only three seasons ago, Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele was lauded for his complicated maximalist styling. Yet in Milan, Gucci channelled a dreamlike vibe with Victoriana, denim, athletic apparel and oversized accessories, thrown together in delightful chaos, making it difficult to predict the direction Michele is taking Gucci in.

Currently he seems to be in a holding pattern, hovering at once over 1940s Hollywood glamour, 1970s flared pantsuits, and ruffled party dresses from the 1980s, in a cacophony of ­colours and fabrics.

The feeling of joyous madness continued at Dolce & Gabbana, where street dancers emerged from the audience to start the party in the designers’ tropical-themed show. The clothes used some of their familiar tropes, such as military jackets, corseted black-lace dresses miniskirts. New, however, were the baggy tapering trousers redolent of jodhpurs, and the lavish and detailed embellishment the designers used to sell their story.

Wanderlust dominated the moodboards at Roberto Cavalli – rich patterns, embroidery and patchworks inspired by Native Americans – and Etro with its ­tribal themes on kaftans, duster coats and Berber-style capes.

Giorgio Armani, Agnona Tod’s, Bottega Veneta and Salvatore Ferragamo – with its stylish twisted leather dresses and crisp athletic sportswear designed by newcomer Fulvio Rigoni – all answered the call of women who want stylish but undemanding clothes.

Marni would appeal to the art world for its graceful, pioneering ideas. The label’s finely pleated dresses displayed a life of their own, and its micro-printed dresses were gathered, folded and distorted to walk the line between stylish and quirky.

In contrast, the sportswear at MaxMara and Donatella Versace targeted the dynamic generation of athletic women, with sleek leggings, belted jackets, power suits and anoraks. Versace has made it clear that she thinks this is the only way forward. She may be right, but there’s always room for the myriad styles displayed at Milan Fashion Week in all our wardrobes.

It was feathers with everything at Prada. Silk pyjamas, boldly coloured and mixed checks, cardigans and wrap skirts with Velcro fasteners show Miuccia Prada reinventing the classics. Most glamorous was the series of evening dresses and pyjamas with jewelled embroidery and feathers, worn with kitten heels that married sporty straps with heaps of crystals. Prada’s must-have bag of the season is a bold clutch with a long strap fastener, that comes in a multitude of geometric and daisy patterns.


Over the past three seasons, Donatella Versace has been carving out a new image for her brand – a shift from the luxe glam of red carpets and superyachts, although the inhabitants of that world will be sure to buy into the new Versace vibe. Donatella’s girls are both glamorous and empowered. The sporty look is tough, urban and energetic, judging by the billowing ultra-thin high-tech nylon parkas and blousons, stirrup trousers and dresses (the shapes of which are manipulated by drawstrings). Dresses, skirts and tops are spliced at angles and studded together. Swishy pleated dresses and silky slit skirts gave energy when in movement, and were as soft as the look got.

Bottega Veneta

Model Gigi Hadid and veteran actress Lauren Hutton walked arm in arm down the Bottega Veneta runway, illustrating the breadth of the Italian maison in Tomas Maier’s hands. This was a double celebration of the Bottega’s 50th ­anniversary and Maier’s 15th as its creative director. Menswear and womenswear were combined, and the focus was on easy, elegant clothes in luxurious materials, such as ostrich, crocodile and lamb skin for coats; easy knits and cotton dresses worn with antique-style silver jewellery; and wedge heels. Fifteen handbag styles debuted along with 15 from the archive.


Silvia Venturini’s new Kan handbag was a star turn at Milan. The stud-lock bag dotted with candy-coloured studs, rosette embroidery and floral ribbons couldn’t help but charm every woman in the audience. It was the perfect joyful accessory for Karl Lagerfeld’s feminine vintage romp through the wardrobe of Marie Antoinette, with sugary colours, bows, big apron skirts and crisp white embroidery juxtaposed with sporty footballer-stripe tops – effectively updating a historical look.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
Fashion Week is coming to Brew City Thursday through Saturday, with 24 designers showcasing fashions ranging from athleisure to bridal and evening wear.

“Fashion is more than L.A. or New York,” said Deborah Reimer, the event’s primary organizer. “We’re not just about beer and cheese. Milwaukee has a lot of talent and the fashion industry is growing, and it is time that it gets seen in the public eye.”

Nightly fashion shows will feature eight designers each. About half of the designers are new to Milwaukee Fashion Week, while the rest are returning from the 2015 show. The designers range in experience, with students from Mount Mary and the Art Institute of Wisconsin participating. The shows draw designers from the Milwaukee, Chicago and Madison areas.

In its second year, the event moved to the Hyatt Regency Milwaukee in the hotel’s circular rooftop ballroom, Vue. Last year, fashion shows took place at three locations downtown. During intermission and at the end of the show, designers and models will interact with the audience, who will get a chance to look at the garments up close.

On Thursday, see Emily Ristow's unique everyday wear and Erin Aubrey's custom dyed, high fashion designs. The show includes men’s designers too. Allison Jarrett creates tailored looks for men and women.

Friday, check out Moda Muñeca for something with an edge. The line is designed by Chelsea Stotts, who was the RAWMilwaukee Fashion Designer of the Year. Jordan Weber's classic and elegant evening wear will also go down the runway.Read more at: |****-formal-dresses
judy smith Sep 2016
In Bolivia’s capital city La Paz, indigenous women known as cholas have long been stigmatized for wearing their traditional clothes: bowler hats, handmade macramé shawls, tailored blouses, layered pollera skirts, and lots of elaborate jewelry.

But for the past 11 years, fashion designer Eliana Paco Paredes has been chipping away at that stigma with her line of chola clothing—which she debuted at New York City’s Fashion Week last week. That’s a big deal for a type of clothing that has historically been disparaged in Bolivia because it was worn by poor, indigenous women. For a long time, many indigenous women couldn’t wear chola clothing in certain professions.

Bringing indigenous designs to New York is a huge step for Paco Paredes, though not the first time her clothing has received international recognition. In 2012, she designed a shawl for Spain’s Queen Sofia.

But Paco Paredes’s Fashion Week show is also an important moment for indigenous cholas. Until recently, these women “could be refused entry to certain restaurants, taxis and even some public buses,” writes Paula Dear for BBC News. Such an international spotlight on Paco Paredes’s designs will hopefully increase the acceptance of indigenous women and their culture in Bolivia.

La Paz’s mayor, Luis Revilla, wrote in an email that his city’s response to Paco Paredes’s Fashion Week debut has been a feeling of pride. He hopes that “her designs, which reflect the identity of local woman from La Paz, generate a trend in the global fashion industry,” he says.

“I also hope that in time, people from different geographies of the planet begin to use some of the elements that make the dress of chola,” he says.

Fresh off her Fashion Week debut, Paco Paredes spoke with National Geographic about her clothing and how opportunities for cholas are changing.

What is your approach to your designs?

What we want to show on this runway is the outfits’ sophistication. But the thing I don’t want to lose, that I always want to preserve, is the fundamental essence of our clothing. Because what we want, in some way, is to show the world that these outfits are beautiful, that they can be worn in La Paz by a chola, but they can also be worn by you, by someone from Spain, by a woman from Asia; that these women can fall in love with the pollera, the hat, the macramé shawl combined with an evening gown. These are the outfits we want to launch.

Do you think it's important that you, as a chola, came to Fashion Week in New York?

Of course! I think that it's very important because to have a runway of this international magnitude, with designers of this caliber, with international models, with a completely professional atmosphere, fills me with pride. And it's very important because of the fact that people can see my culture.

Who buys your clothing?

I have a store in La Paz, a national store. Here in La Paz, in Bolivia, this clothing is doing very well, because it's what many women wear day to day.

At a national level I can tell you we have the pleasure to work with many regions: Oruro, Potosí, Santa Cruz, Cochabamba. At an international level, we dress many people in Peru, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and some products we make go to Spain, Italy. So through this we want to open an international market with sophisticated outfits that are Eliana Paco designs.

We're getting people to learn about what this clothing is at another level, and many women outside of Bolivia can and want to wear these outfits. They've fallen in love with these designs that they can say come from La Paz, Bolivia.

How are opportunities changing for cholas in La Paz?

It's definitely a revolution that's been going on for about 10 years, because the cholas paceñas [cholas from La Paz] have made their way into different areas—social, business, economic, political. And look at this fashion event, where nobody could've imagined that suddenly so many chola designs are on the runway with some of the most famous designers, like Ágatha Ruiz de la Prada, where they have lines of different types of designs at an international level.

The chola paceña has been growing in all of these aspects. And for us, this is very important because now being chola comes from a lot of pride—a lot of pride and security and satisfaction.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
WHEN Kylie Minogue began the process of tracking down 25 years of costumes and memorabilia for an exhibition on her (literally) glittering stage career, she had one crucial call to make.

“There were a few items the parentals were minding,” laughs Minogue. “I, too, do the same thing as everyone else: ‘Mum, Dad, can you just hold onto a few things for me?’ It’s just lucky they weren’t turfed out from under their watchful eye.”

Kylie On Stage is the singer’s latest collaboration with her beloved hometown’s Arts Centre Melbourne. She’s previously donated a swarm of outfits to the venue, going all the way back to the overalls she wore as tomboy mechanic Charlene on Neighbours.

This new — and free — exhibition rounds up outfits starting from her first-ever live performances on 1989’s Disco in Dream tour. Still aged just 21 and dismissed by some as a soap star who fluked a singing career, Minogue found herself playing to 38,000 fans in Tokyo, where her early hits “I Should Be So Lucky”, “The Loco-motion”, “Got To Be Certain” and “Hand On Your Heart” had made her a superstar.

“From memory, I was overexcited and didn’t really know what I was doing. I just ran back and forth across the stage,” says Minogue of her debut tour.

Disco in Dream also premiered what would become a Kylie fashion staple: hotpants. “Those ones were more like micro shorts, not quite hotpants, but they started it,” she admits. “There were also quite a few bicycle pants being worn around that time, too, I’m afraid.”

That first tour stands out for one other reason: Minogue officially started dating INXS’s Michael Hutchence at some point during the Asian leg.

“I had met Michael previously in Australia, but he was living in Hong Kong [at the time] and I met him again there. The tour went on to Japan and he definitely came to visit me in Japan.”

Fast-forward from Minogue’s very first tour to her most recent, 2015’s Kiss Me Once, and the singer performed a cover of INXS’s “Need You Tonight”. She remembers first hearing the song as a teenager. “I don’t think I really knew what **** was back then,” notes Minogue. “But that’s a **** song.”

Before the Kiss Me Once tour kicked off, the Minogue/Hutchence romance had been documented in the hit TV mini-series Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story Of INXS. Minogue said then it felt like Michael was her “archangel” during the tour — “I feel like he’s with me.”

Her “Need You Tonight” costume was also deliberately chosen to reflect what Minogue used to wear when she was dating the rockstar. “It was a black PVC trench coat and hat,” she says. “I loved that. It just made so much sense for the connection to Michael. I literally used to wear that exact same kind of thing, except it was leather, not PVC.”

By 1990, Minogue’s confidence had grown, something she’s partially attributed to Hutchence’s influence. Before her first Australian solo tour, she performed a secret club show billed as The Singing Budgies — reclaiming the derisive nickname the media had bestowed on her. It would be the first time her success silenced those who saw her as an easy target. Next year marks her 30th anniversary in pop; longevity that hasn’t happened by accident.

Minogue’s career accelerated so quickly that by 1991 she was on her fourth album in as many years and outgrowing her producers, Stock Aitken Waterman, who wanted to freeze-frame her in a safe, clean-cut image.

On 1991’s Let’s Get To It tour of the UK, Minogue welcomed onboard her first major fashion designer — John Galliano. He dressed her in fishnets, G-strings and corsets; the British press said she was trying too hard and imitating Madonna at her most sexed-up.

“Of course those comparisons were made, and rightly so. Madonna was a big influence on me,” says Minogue. “She helped create the template of what a pop show is, or what we came to know it as, by dividing it up into segments. And if you’re going to have any costume changes, that’s inevitable.

“I was finding my way. I don’t think we got it right in some ways, but if I look back over my career, sometimes it’s the mistakes that make all the difference. They allow you to really look at where you’re going. I’m fond of all those things now. There was a time when I wasn’t.

“Now I look back at the pictures of the fishnets and G-strings I was wearing ... Maybe the audience members absolutely loved it, maybe they were going through the journey with me of growing up and discovering yourself and your sexuality and where you fit in the world.”

As the ’90s progressed, Minogue started experimenting with the outer limits of being a pop star, working with everyone from uber-cool dance producers to indie rocker Nick Cave.

Her 1998 Intimate And Live tour cemented her place as the one thing nobody had ever predicted: a regular, global touring act. Released the year prior, her Impossible Princess album had garnered a credibility she’d never before enjoyed. But more credibility equalled fewer record sales.

The tour was cautiously placed in theatres, rather than arenas. Yet word-of-mouth led to more dates being added — she wound up playing seven nights in both Melbourne and Sydney, and tacking on a UK leg. All received rave reviews.

The production was low-key and DIY: Minogue and longtime friend and stylist William Baker were hands-on backstage bedazzling the costumes themselves. The tour’s camp, Vegas-style showgirl — complete with corset and headdress — soon became a signature Kylie look, but it was also one they stumbled across.

“I remember the exact moment: the male dancers had pink, fringed chaps and wings — we’d really gone for it. I was singing [ABBA’s] “Dancing Queen”. I did a little prance across the stage and the audience went wild. I thought, ‘What is happening?’ That definitely started something.”

Then came the “Spinning Around” hotpants. Minogue couldn’t wear the same gold pair from the music video during her 2001 On A Night Like This tour — they were too fragile — but another pair offered solid back-up.

“That was peak hotpant period,” says Minogue. “Hotpants for days.”

After the robotic-themed Fever 2002 tour (featuring a “Kyborg” look by Dolce & Gabbana), 2005’s Showgirl tour was Minogue’s long-overdue greatest hits celebration.

Following a massive UK and European run, her planned Australian victory lap was derailed by her breast-cancer diagnosis that May. Remarkably, by November 2006, Minogue was back onstage in Sydney for the rebooted Showgirl: The Homecoming tour.

“I look at that now and I’m honestly taken aback,” she admits. “It was so fast — months and months of those 18 months were in treatment.”

Minogue now reveals her health issues meant she had to adjust some of the Showgirl outfits: “I was concerned about the weight of the corset and being able to support it. I was quite insecure about my body, which had changed. For a few years after that I really felt like I wasn’t in my own body — with the medication I was on, there was this other layer.

“We had to make a number of adjustments,” she adds. “I had different shoes to feel more sturdy ... It was pretty soon to be back onstage. But I think it was good for me.”

The singer’s gruelling performances involved dancing and singing in corsets, as well as ultra-high heels and headdresses that weighed several kilos.

“A proper corset, like the Showgirl tour one, is like a shoe,” she explains. “It’s very stiff when you first put it on. By the end of the tour it was way more comfortable. The fact it made it quite hard to breathe didn’t seem to bother anyone except for me. But it was absolutely worth it. I felt grand in it.

“It took a while to learn how to walk in the blue Showgirl dress,” she continues. “I had cuts on my arms from the stars that were sticking out on pieces of wire. You’re so limited in what you can do. You can’t bend your head to find your way down the stairs.

“Whether it was the Showgirl costume or the hotpants, or the big silver dress from the Aphrodite tour [in 2011] that was just ginormous, they all present their own challenges of how you’re going to move and how you’re going to do the choreography. There are times the costume can do that [figuring out] for me; other times I really have to wrestle with it to do what I need to do.

“But you’re not meant to know about that,” she adds, “that’s an internal struggle.”

Minogue has spent much of 2016 happily off the radar, enjoying the company of fiancé Joshua Sasse, 28. She gets “gooey” talking about her future husband, whom she met last year when she was cast opposite him in the TV musical-comedy series Galavant. He proposed to Minogue last Christmas.

Just like the “secret Greek wedding” that was rumoured but never happened, reports of summer nuptials in Melbourne are also off the mark.

“I hate to let everyone down, but no,” she says. “People’s enthusiasm is lovely, we appreciate that, but there are no wedding plans as yet. I’m just enjoying feeling girly and being engaged.”

Minogue will be in Queensland next month filming the movie Flammable Children. The comedy, set in 1975, features her former Neighbours co-star Guy Pearce and is written and directed by Stephan Elliott (The Adventures Of Priscilla: Queen Of The Desert ).

“It’s Aussie-tastic,” laughs Minogue. And she is also planning a sneaky visit to check out her own exhibition when she’s back in Melbourne.

“I’ll probably try to move things around the exhibition,” she says. “And they’ll probably tell me off: ‘Who’s that child playing with the costumes?’”Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
When I was chief creative officer for Liz Claiborne Inc., I spent a good amount of time on the road hosting fashion shows highlighting our brands. Our team made a point of retaining models of various sizes, shapes and ages, because one of the missions of the shows was to educate audiences about how they could look their best. At a Q&A; after one event in Nashville in 2010, a woman stood up, took off her jacket and said, with touching candour: “Tim, look at me. I’m a box on top, a big, square box. How can I dress this shape and not look like a fullback?” It was a question I’d heard over and over during the tour: Women who were larger than a size 12 always wanted to know, How can I look good, and why do designers ignore me?

At New York Fashion Week, which began Thursday, the majority of American women are unlikely to receive much attention, either. Designers keep their collections tightly under wraps before sending them down the runway, but if past years are any indication of what’s to come, plus-size looks will be in short supply. Sure, at New York Fashion Week in 2015, Marc Jacobs and Sophie Theallet each featured a plus-size model and Ashley Graham debuted her plus-size lingerie line. But these moves were very much the exception, not the rule.

I love the American fashion industry, but it has a lot of problems and one of them is the baffling way it has turned its back on plus-size women. It’s a puzzling conundrum. The average American woman now wears between a size 16 and a size 18, according to new research from Washington State University. There are 100 million plus-size women in America, and, for the past three years, they have increased their spending on clothes faster than their straight-size counterparts. There is money to be made here ($20.4 billion (U.S.), up 17 per cent from 2013). But many designers — dripping with disdain, lacking imagination or simply too cowardly to take a risk — still refuse to make clothes for them.

In addition to the fact that most designers max out at size 12, the selection of plus-size items on offer at many retailers is paltry compared with what’s available for a size 2 woman. According to a Bloomberg analysis, only 8.5 per cent of dresses on in May were plus-size. At J.C. Penney’s website, it was 16 per cent; had a mere five items — total.

I’ve spoken to many designers and merchandisers about this. The overwhelming response is, “I’m not interested in her.” Why? “I don’t want her wearing my clothes.” Why? “She won’t look the way that I want her to look.” They say the plus-size woman is complicated, different and difficult, that no two size 16s are alike. Some haven’t bothered to hide their contempt. “No one wants to see curvy women” on the runway, Karl Lagerfeld, head designer of Chanel, said in 2009. Plenty of mass retailers are no more enlightened: under the tenure of chief executive Mike Jeffries, Abercrombie & Fitch sold nothing larger than a size 10, with Jeffries explaining that “we go after the attractive, all-American kid.”

This a design failure and not a customer issue. There is no reason larger women can’t look just as fabulous as all other women. The key is the harmonious balance of silhouette, proportion and fit, regardless of size or shape. Designs need to be reconceived, not just sized up; it’s a matter of adjusting proportions. The textile changes, every seam changes. Done right, our clothing can create an optical illusion that helps us look taller and slimmer. Done wrong, and we look worse than if we were naked.

Have you shopped retail for size 14-plus clothing? Based on my experience shopping with plus-size women, it’s a horribly insulting and demoralizing experience. Half the items make the body look larger, with features like ruching, box pleats and shoulder pads. Pastels and large-scale prints and crazy pattern-mixing abound, all guaranteed to make you look infantile or like a float in a parade. Adding to this travesty is a major department-store chain that makes you walk under a marquee that reads “WOMAN.” What does that even imply? That a “woman” is anyone larger than a 12 and everyone else is a girl? It’s mind-boggling.

Project Runway, the design competition show on which I’m a mentor, has not been a leader on this issue. Every season we have the “real women” challenge (a title I hate), in which the designers create looks for non-models. The designers audibly groan, though I’m not sure why; in the real world, they won’t be dressing a seven-foot-tall glamazon.

This season, something different happened: Ashley Nell Tipton won the contest with the show’s first plus-size collection. But even this achievement managed to come off as condescending. I’ve never seen such hideous clothes in my life: bare midriffs; skirts over crinoline, which give the clothes, and the wearer, more volume; see-through skirts that reveal *******; pastels, which tend to make the wearer look juvenile; and large-scale floral embellishments that shout “prom.” Her victory reeked of tokenism. One judge told me that she was “voting for the symbol” and that these were clothes for a “certain population.” I said they should be clothes all women want to wear. I wouldn’t dream of letting any woman, whether she’s a size 6 or a 16, wear them. Simply making a nod toward inclusiveness is not enough.

This problem is difficult to change. The industry, from the runway to magazines to advertising, likes subscribing to the mythology it has created of glamour and thinness. Look at Vogue’s “Shape Issue,” which is ostensibly a celebration of different body types but does no more than nod to anyone above a size 12. For decades, designers have trotted models with bodies completely unattainable for most women down the runway. First it was women so thin that they surely had eating disorders. After an outcry, the industry responded by putting young teens on the runway, girls who had yet to exit puberty. More outrage.

But change is not impossible. There are aesthetically worthy retail successes in this market. When helping women who are size 14 and up, my go-to retailer is Lane Bryant. While the items aren’t fashion with a capital F, they are stylish (but please avoid the cropped pants — always a no-no for any woman). And designer Christian Siriano scored a design and public relations victory after producing a look for Leslie Jones to wear to the “Ghostbusters” red-carpet premiere. Jones, who is not a diminutive woman, had tweeted in despair that she couldn’t find anyone to dress her; Siriano stepped in with a lovely full-length red gown.

Several retailers that have stepped up their plus-size offerings have been rewarded. In one year, ModCloth doubled its plus-size lineup. To mark the anniversary, the company paid for a survey of 1,500 American women ages 18 to 44 and released its findings: Seventy-four per cent of plus-size women described shopping in stores as “frustrating”; 65 per cent said they were “excluded.” (Interestingly, 65 per cent of women of all sizes agreed that plus-size women were ignored by the fashion industry.) But the plus-size women surveyed also indicated that they wanted to shop more. More than 80 per cent said they’d spend more on clothing if they had more choices in their size and nearly 90 per cent said they would buy more if they had trendier options. According to the company, its plus-size shoppers place 20 per cent more orders than its straight-size customers.

Online start-up Eloquii, initially conceived and then killed by The Limited, was reborn in 2014. The trendy plus-size retailer, whose top seller is an over-the-knee boot with four-inch heels and extended calf sizes, grew its sales volume by more than 165 per cent in 2015.

Despite the huge financial potential of this market, many designers don’t want to address it. It’s not in their vocabulary. Today’s designers operate within paradigms that were established decades ago, including anachronistic sizing. (Consider the fashion show: It hasn’t changed in more than a century.) But this is now the shape of women in this nation, and designers need to wrap their minds around it. I profoundly believe that women of every size can look good. But they must be given choices. Separates — tops, bottoms — rather than single items like dresses or jumpsuits always work best for the purpose of fit. Larger women look great in clothes skimming the body, rather than hugging or cascading. There’s an art to doing this. Designers, make it work.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
Jonathan Saunders, the newly appointed presumptive heir to DVF, paid homage to the brand's heritage while showcasing his own vision during an intimate presentation Sunday at New York Fashion Week.

The Scottish designer took the reins as DVF's chief creative officer in May, but made it clear he's not necessarily filling Diane von Furstenberg's iconic shoes.

"It's just different shoes, you know? It's not like I'm replacing her in any way. It's just a different chapter for the company," Saunders said while insisting von Furstenberg is still very much the cornerstone of the brand.

Von Furstenberg, a Fashion Week staple, was not on hand for Saunders' debut presentation at a sparse industrial space in the Manhattan's Meatpacking District.

The collection played with bold colors, patterns and mixed textures.

Romantic florals paired with playful polka dots, and metallic dresses were adorned with fur wraps.

"I wanted the collection to be kind of this melting ***," Saunders explained. "Eclectic mixtures of different prints from different places and times brought together in one collection. I thought that was kind of an exciting way to start."

The signature wrap dress appeared throughout with fresh silhouettes and asymmetrical hemlines, including a structured kimono, a silky romper and a color-blocked scarf dress.

Sometimes the wrap was simply implied through cuts and movement on plunging blouses and sequined, layered frocks.

"It's more about taking it not so literally and just trying to transfer into a product that feels considered and modern and developed. A lot of the bias-cut dresses still have that same sense of ease, but they are pushing things forward," said Saunders.

Von Furstenberg is known for splashy fashion shows featuring celebrity-driven social media buzz. Last season's event included It Girls Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss and Irina Shayk.

But according to CEO Paolo Riva, priorities have shifted.

"I think that the fashion show is trying to cover too many things: speaking to press, inviting celebrities, opinion leaders, bloggers and friends, and now see-now, buy-now. It's too much for one moment and because this is the first collection from Jonathan, this is a moment where we really wanted to have the opportunity to leave the noise out," said Riva.

Saunders' back-to-basics approach included one-on-one meetings with journalists, a simple display of clothes on racks with six models perched in the background.

"I think at the end of the day the customer is interested in clothes and I'm hoping we're entering into a chapter where all of the nonsense doesn't matter as much as having something that you just feel fabulous in," he said.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
If anyone can make a feral animal print cool it’s Arabella Ramsay. The designer, who skipped the city in favour of the coast a few years ago, has launched a new lifestyle brand in collaboration with her dad Dougal Ramsay, an accomplished artist who has designed ranges affectionately named after all things Aussie; Hello Cocky, G’day Love, Veg Out.

Burnt out from more than a decade in the fashion industry rat race where she had amassed a cult following among adoring 20-somethings and private school girls for her unique apparel, Arabella shut her Melbourne shop five years ago and moved to Jan Juc where her husband has a yoga studio, her daughters play with bunnies and organic eggs are collected from the backyard coop.

Yet the fashion industry has come calling again, albeit in a different guise born of her slower lifestyle and rearing two children. A born and bred farm girl from Kyneton, she has forgone on-trend collections and retail overheads for family-friendly leisurewear and an online boutique.

The print-heavy collection features irreverent Australiana imagery created by her dad: “Bonza” bunnies, cheeky runaway gnomes, larrikin cockatoos, and come summer, a “******” croc print. The coloured sketches run across all-over yardage on leggings, hoodies and T-shirts for men, women and kids.

Dougal says his brief comes from his daughter who then “weaves her magic so the next time I see those drawings they are transformed into cute frocks and tops”.

She has a great eye for pattern and scale. “I enjoy seeing the finished product where a small crab on a skinny leg can grow into a giant monster crab on a rounder leg.”

A successful illustrator and author, Dougal has been fascinated with Australian culture for years, his nostalgic pencil sketching idiosyncratic scenes of country town lifestyles and coastal culture; seedy caravan parks, fishing hamlets and an architectural vernacular that “sadly has pretty well gone now”, he laments.

It was these scenes and Arabella’s own wholesome rural childhood that inspired the father-daughter label. In the spirit of Linda Jackson and Jenny Kee, Arabella wants to “show people the exciting things our country has to offer”, she says of her desire to “celebrate what’s in our back yards and in doing so, tap into the tourist market with a bit of style”.

Manufacturing is done in Australia where possible; a favoured maker is Cheryl, a woman Arabella’s nan found years ago while shopping at Spotlight in Ballarat. “She works from her small shed and has been making my clothes for years. It’s nice having quality control so we don’t overproduce.”

Lighthearted and a little bit kooky, the Dougal range is cultural cringe re-imagined as contemporary cool. Its Instagram (@wearedougal) is a feed of everything from Aussie idioms (Stoked! Strewth!) to summer vacations in Menorca, photography honouring Rennie Ellis, Dougal in the home studio, surf reports and Arabella’s idyllic beach house that has graced the pages of international magazines. Her own sartorial style is an inimitable mix of “70s vintage, preppy, **** and even a bit dorky” that’s equally at ease with the yuppies and the grommets.

“You can basically wear your pyjamas to school pick-ups and your wetsuit to the supermarket,” she says of the local surf town look. “But I still love high fashion and just bought a pink lace Gucci suit for my best friend’s wedding.”

An online purchase, it arrived via the dirt track leading to her secluded beach house. Fair dinkum.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
A fashion designer has defended models who were labelled as "gaunt and unwell" on Facebook.

Andrea Moore's I AM range is sold at Farmers, and an image from its current campaign was posted on that company's Facebook page on Friday.

The picture features Chiara and Norina Gasteiger, who are twins represented by Clyne Model Management. Farmers customers did not react well to the now-deleted post.

"They so look gaunt and unwell. I'm really disappointed," Newshub says Anna Webster commented.

"You cannot look at these girls with their bones sticking out and believe that they are a good role model for a family store," Jo Austwick wrote.

"I have enough trouble with body image arguments with my daughters without these images being depicted. They do not look healthy."

Moore said the imagery had never been intended to cause offence, and that she felt for the Gasteiger twins, who have worked with the brand for three years.

"The twins are actually healthy, fun models who are busy university students... We love working with them because of their sense of self-worth and uniqueness as twins," she said.

"We have been in touch with the models and they were most upset by the whole thing. Fortunately, they have received a lot of support from their peers.

"The campaign was about preppy grunge, print with an edge. [It was not] about promoting unhealthy body types [or] anything else," Moore added.

Farmers posted the following statement on Facebook after deleting the I AM image:

"Dear valued Farmers customers! We appreciate you taking the time to send us your comments and concerns on a recent post for I AM. Please know it is not taken lightly and we in no way mean to promote an image for women in NZ to follow that could be regarded as unhealthy.

"We understand that no two bodies are the same and we always seek to show a range of body types throughout all our advertising. These images were supplied by the brand Andrea Moore as part of a wider campaign and were published by us. We will endeavour going forward to work closely with all our partners to ensure an appropriate image is portrayed.

"Thank you once again for your valued feedback."

Clyne Model Management have been approached for comment.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
Taos Pueblo fashion designer Patricia Michaels returns to New York City for “Style Fashion Week NYC”on September 10th to present her latest 30 piece collection at aspecial RSVP eventat Hammerstein Ballroom, 311 West 34th St, Midtown Manhattan.

Michaels was a finalist on season 11 of the Lifetime reality TV show, “Project Runway”, and “Project Runway All-Stars”, gaining thousands of admirers as the media world followed her success along with an excited and proud Indian country.

Michaels will present her trademark PM Waterlily line and her latest collection for Spring/Summer 2017. Known for her use of Native-themed fabrics, hand painted or hand dyed, cut and fabricated at her Taos, New Mexico studio, Michaels says she is inspired by nature walks at Taos Pueblo among the trees, wildflowers and water plants, and “seeds” are important symbols of her designs and concepts.

The following description is from the website, speaking of the “Modern Native” who inspires and wears her designs. “Patricia Michaels...will have a few pieces for colder climates as her woman travels to regions where during the summer the climates tend to be cold. She is a world traveler so one may made need that special look to freshen her palette.”

Those living in or near the New York area that are interested in attending can visit toEventbrite to RSVP for the September 10 event. Seating is limited.

We wish Patricia Michaels and PM Waterlily success in New York City and beyond.

According to their site, Style Fashion Week, producer of globally recognized fashion events, provides top designers a world class platform to showcase their collections. Each year Style Fashion Week presents the season's must see shows, unforgettable performances and exclusive installations. Our expansive Style Marketplace immerses guests in fashion as well as art and design. Guests directly engage with brands throughout the week.Read more at: |
judy smith Sep 2016
In light of the recent flood of indie designers coming forth to call foul on fast fashion retailers for copying their designs (paired with a few not-so-fast fashion brands, which have been called out for copying, as well), a common question seems to be: Why is this ok? In particular, why is it perfectly acceptable for Zara to copy these designers’ work? How is this practice legal?

Well, put simply, copyright law is not necessarily a friend to fashion in the United States. This is a blanket statement, of course, but it bears quite a bit of truth, nonetheless. Since copyright law, the sect of intellectual property law that protects "original works of authorship,” such as books, paintings, sculptures, and songs, does not protect useful things, such as clothing and accessories, it provides little protection for those things in their entirety. Creative elements of a design that can be separated from the functional elements are subject to protection, which is why elements of a garment, such as a print that covers it, may be protected (as Pictorial, Graphic or Sculptural Works). This protection-by-separation method, however, does little to ward off copiers.

Moreover, unlike in most cases of the copying of garments, the copying of original jewelry designs often tends to give rise to legal ramifications as jewelry is afforded greater copyright protection in its entirety than garments are. However, as evidenced by Nasty Gal’s continuous sale of infringing jewelry designs, for instance, this also does little to deter copycats.

Other forms of intellectual property protection (think: trademark and patent protection) arguably are not ideal for fashion designs either. Trademark law only protects a designer’s name or logo – with some exceptions under the doctrine of trade dress which are relatively rare. Patent protection – namely, by way of design patents – is not terribly useful for designers because it is expensive (patent protection costs thousands of dollars to achieve) and takes a relatively long time (upwards of one year) to obtain. That’s simply too long for most fashion brands, whose business models depend on trends and season-specific wares. Taken together, this is why fast fashion retailers make hundreds of millions of dollars by copying high fashion designs and only are very rarely sued – let alone penalized – for doing so.

It is worth noting that this is not the case in other countries – namely, in the countries of the U.S.’s international fashion competitors. Copyright protection in the UK is not terribly dissimilar from that in the United States. However, the European Designs Directive introduced a unified system of industrial design rights for both registered and unregistered designs throughout the European Union. This allows for the protection of garments and accessories in their entirety.

Due to its history as the home of innovation in terms of high fashion, it is not surprising that France enjoys the most extensive and longstanding legal rights in connection with fashion designs. The country’s copyright system provides protection for garments and accessories. The same type of protection also applies to Italian designs.

So, it is within these loopholes that retailers like Zara, Forever 21, H&M;, and the like can operate legally (for the most part) and profit from the designs of others.Read more at: |****-formal-dresses
judy smith Aug 2016
How you know him: Gurung’s label, established in 2009, reimagines traditional textiles with a sportswear attitude. January Jones, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Oprah Winfrey have taken memorable turns in his fiery red gowns.

What’s new: Gurung is teaming up with Toms this month with exclusive designs to raise funds for Nepal’s recovery from the 2015 earthquake. For each pair of shoes sold, $5 will go to Gurung’s Shikshya Foundation to support education and relief efforts.

What does heritage mean to you?

When I left Nepal and told people I wanted to be a fashion designer, they thought I was crazy. I didn’t know anyone here. But I still remember coming up to the Midtown Tunnel and seeing all the skyscrapers for the first time, and I finally felt that I was home. I became myself in America, but Nepal gave me my core. The reason I am grounded and pragmatic is simply that I was brought up this way.

What was your childhood like there?

I was born in Singapore and grew up in Nepal, where I went to an all-boys Catholic school. I was different and made aware of it. It was a challenging time, but I had an incredible relationship with my family that helped me. Trekking became a kind of escape, and I was always inspired by the Patan Museum, near my house. I still go back for the memories attached.

How is Nepal reflected in your designs for Toms, and also your foundation work?

The ikat pattern is called dhaka, a hand-loomed weave that I wanted to modernize as a digital print. Black, white, and red are very typical of Newari women [from Kathmandu Valley] and my favorite colors, which I used in my first collection. Five years ago, when I started getting all this attention, I started Shikshya with a focus on education as a way to give back. Since the 2015 earthquake, we have raised more than $1 million to help rebuild, but the process is slower than people think, and the world’s attention turns to someplace else. So it’s my job with everything I do to keep awareness alive.Read more at: |
judy smith Aug 2016
A Penn Hills man will have items from his clothing line featured in a fashion show in Pittsburgh on Saturday.

Cary Heard, owner of CDH LABEL Clothing Co., has teamed up with The Ladies of Distinction — a recently-formed group of women in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas who are focused on community outreach, fundraisers and programming that benefits the educational growth of underprivileged youth — to headline his first fashion show as they present, “Make Me Over,” an extravaganza with a vision to “spread self-love awareness in the community and embody the greatness that exists in all of us.”

Heard, 22, said the show's goals were relatable to him as he relied on support from family and friends to pursue his ambition to become a fashion designer.

“I was always encouraged because I was good at (designing clothes). It was a talent and people wanted to see it grow,” said Heard, who has been featured three times in Pittsburgh's Fashion Week.

He said his friend's mother bought him a new sewing machine when he was 14 under the condition that he practiced sewing daily.

Heard said receiving the gift turned out to be a “pivotal point” to change his hobby into something he could make into a career.

Kim Heard, his mother, said Cary was “full-blast” with designing after that.

“He wanted to make things for himself, and his style changed. He was passionate about looking good in his clothing and making things he could wear. His peers asked him to make things and that snowballed into making vests for guys, and he made dresses for his dates to semi-formals, and then prom gowns,” Kim Heard said.

Fellow designer Starr Thomas has worked with Heard for more than five years, a time in which she said the duo has both collaborated and given one another input on designs.

“Our bond is just motivating one another and giving each other confidence to keep going,” she said.

Thomas said that since she's known Heard, his attitude toward others has always been “be confident in yourself,” and that he lives his own life that way.

“He's so passionate about (designing clothes). That's part of what makes him special. That, and his talent,” she said.

Heard's passion, talent and demeanor toward life has propelled him into headlining fashion shows.

Saturday's show will provide an opportunity for others to have confidence.

“Make Me Over” creators hosted an open online contest, where 40 contestants submitted photos and essays describing why they thought they deserved a makeover.

Two winners were selected, and on Saturday they will have a complete makeover and get a chance to walk the runway sporting a new look which includes hair, makeup and wardrobe.

Heard described one of the winners as a single mother who devotes the majority of her time to her daughter and hasn't had “much time for maintenance on herself.”

The second winner was nominated by her friend. Heard said she is “very involved” with community outreach, and is a “mother figure to many young people in the community.”

The person who nominated her wrote that she was deserving of the makeover due to her “strong cultural presence.”

Heard said all of the submissions received were “heartfelt,” and that he's glad to headline a show encouraging self-confidence, and gives fellow-designers chance for exposure.

“I'm hoping to make (the show) an annual thing. I hope it will bring a crowd that will create networks for myself and our other designers,” he said.Read more****-formal-dresses |
judy smith Aug 2016
As an avid golfer, Nashville resident Victoria Kopyar couldn’t find fashionable-but-functional clothing she wanted to sport on the fairway.

Tapping into her background in retail merchandising, product development and sourcing, Kopyar decided to take the matter into her own hands and launched women’s golf and activewear label VK Sport.

“When I was looking at the market, I saw there were a lot of men’s pink shirts, not a lot of print and pattern and not a lot of styling to it. …I really felt nothing was flattering the female figure and I wanted something that fit me well,” Kopyar said.

The first collection launched in August 2015 with golf retailer Kopyar expects sales will be 10 times higher in the first full year in business as she zeroes in on growing VK Sport’s e-commerce website, expanding the collection at independent golf pro shops across the country and reaching new demographics such as the collegiate market. Locally, VK Sport is sold at Belle Meade Country Club and Hillwood Country Club.

Launching VK Sport marked a career switch for Kopyar, whose resume includes corporate positions with U.S. Bank, Target, Dollar General and Gibson Guitar. She didn’t pick up golf as a hobby until she had a summer off work in between jobs at U.S. Bank and Target.

“My dad told me (golf is) a great up-and-coming place for women to do business, there is a lot of opportunity and it’s a lifetime sport," Kopyar said. "So I went out and bought clubs, took some lessons and I fell in love with golf."

In 2014, Kopyar started developing the VK Sport brand on weekends and nights. The following year, she decided to leave the corporate world behind to work full-time on the clothing line. The launch of VK Sport coincided with Nashville's rising reputation as a fashion hub for everything from custom dresses to high-end denim and handmade leather goods.

Her goal for VK Sport is to target fashion-forward women with her key demographic between the ages of 25 to 60 years old. According to the National Golf Foundation, 24 percent of the 24.1 million golfers in the U.S. were women in 2015. Millennials represented the largest group among the 2.2 million beginner golfers last year.

The VK Sport apparel, which is made from technical fabrics with anti-wick and sun-protective properties, includes colorful and printed dresses, skorts, pants, shorts, polos, tank tops and more. Features include anti-slip bands in the skirts and shorts, cutaway sleeves, nine-inch deep pockets, zipper details, mandarin collars, ruched fabric at the buttons and lace features.

Kopyar described it as a high-end brand with price points ranging from $90 for a skort to $110 for pants and $85 for polos.

“We’re a fashion brand," Kopyar said. "We take what’s happening on the runways in New York and Milan and take that and bring it into the functionality of golf wear and/or regular street wear."

VK Sport has been self-funded so far, but Kopyar plans to take on investors as she grows the business. She hopes to capture a piece of the multi-billion dollar athleisure market by positioning the brand as activewear for both golfers and non-golfers.

“I see us as a lifestyle brand," Kopyar said. "Not only are you functional in golf but you can wear it in your everyday lifestyle, whether you’re at the nineteenth hole having lunch with the girls or out picking up your kids at school or running to Target or a coffee meeting."Read more at: |
judy smith Aug 2016
'Kabali' and 'Badlapur' actor Radhika Apte will be the show-stopper in the upcoming Lakme Fashion Week in the ‘Gulzar’ collections of a prominent Kolkata-based fashion designer.

“We have been working with Radhika since 'Majhi the Mountain Man' days (2015) and she will be flaunting our fabrics as show-stopper in India’s premier fashion show which is keenly followed by Bollywood," the well-known city-based woman fashion designer told media after a fashion show in a city hotel last Friday night.

The Lakme Fashion Week is a bi-annual fashion event with the summer-resort show taking place in April while the winter-festive show is held in August.

This year the winter-festive show will be held from August 24 to 28.

Radhika will be wearing bright-colored lehenga since the show will be focused on beautiful India, it’s colours and contours, choreographed with the poetry of nature by Amir Khusro, the designer said.

“It can also be termed our tribute to a great name like Gulzar saab who has brought our lyrics and poems to a new level,” the designer Saroj Jalan said.

The signature style of the designer, whose works adorn Bollywood actors like Radhika beside well known models Lisa Sharma and former Miss Universe India winner Ushoshi Sengupta, is delicate floral patterns along with the use of Zardozi and array of hand-woven tusser silk and velvet enhancing the experience of the garments and “we will project the same in the Lakme week where the accent is on ethnicity,” designer Saroj Jalan said.

Supermodel Ushoshi, having recently debuted in the Bengali film 'Egoler Chokh', said “Lakme show reflects the different tastes of all leading Indian fashion designers who are still rooted to Indian heritage.”Read more at: |
judy smith Aug 2016
Andrew Gn

Probably the most prolific Singaporean designer, Gn graduated from the renowned Saint Martins School of Art and Design in London and the Domus Academy in Milan before joining Emanuel Ungaro in 1992. He launched his namesake label in 1996, establishing a fan base among the Parisian high society and A-list celebrities such as Jessica de Rothschild and Sarah Jessica Parker for his luxurious fabrics and exquisite embellishments. Gn was awarded the President’s Design Award in 2007 and is stocked in all the major continents, with his atelier based in the Le Marais district in Paris.

Ashley Isham

The other Singaporean high fashion designer to hit big time in the international circuit, Isham established his namesake label in London in 2000, and is a show fixture at London Fashion Week. The label is known for its sharp, contemporary tailoring and high-octane glamour, and is a hit among film, TV and music stars as well as British royalty.


Self-taught designer Danelle Woo creates easy-breezy, ultra-feminine pieces in sustainable fabrics. Aijek is stocked at multi-label boutiques in China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Indonesia, Latin America, the Middle East and the United States.


The neo-Gothic ready-to-wear label’s stark, minimalist designs are stocked in Hong Kong, Belgium, Japan and the U.S., and counts celebrities like Adam Lambert and The Black-Eyed Peas as fans.

Sabrina Goh

The feted Singaporean designer stocks her easy-to-wear pieces from her namesake label at multi-label boutiques in the United States, the Fred Segal store in Japan and a London-based online store Not Just A Label.

Max Tan

The avant-garde label features experimental silhouettes and a contemporary artistic flair, and is stocked in Europe, the Middle East, San Francisco and Taiwan.

Benjamin Barker

This stylish menswear brand founded by designer Nelson Yap in 2009 now has two stores in Melbourne and offers custom tailoring as well. It also offers shipping to Australia and New Zealand via its website .

In Good Company

The well-loved minimalist label with unusual silhouettes fronted by designers Sven Tan and Kane Tan is stocked in Hong Kong at Kapok, at various departmental stores in Jakarta, Indonesia, including Sogo, Seibu and Galleries Lafayette Jakarta and in New York’s Saks Fifth Avenue.Read more at: |
Aug 2016 · 6.9k
A New Toolkit for Designers
judy smith Aug 2016
It’s New York Fashion Week, and there is a frenzy backstage as models are worked into their dresses and mob the assembled engineers for instructions of how to operate the technology that magically transforms a subtle gesture into a glowing garment suggestive of the bioluminescence of jellyfish. I know there’s not enough time for them to do their work. Almost instinctively, I find the designer and bargain for 20 more minutes.

While I wonder to myself how I got here, backstage at a runway show, I also know I am witnessing what may be the harbinger of how a fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of computation that will transform a certain slice of fashion designers into the “developers” of a whole new category of clothing. By driving new partnerships in tools, materials and technologies, this revolution has the potential to dramatically reshape how we produce fashion at a scale not seen since the invention of the jacquard loom.

The jacquard loom, as it happens, inspired the earliest computers. Ever since, textile development and technology have been on an interwoven path — sometimes more loosely knit, but becoming increasingly tighter in the last five years. Around that time, my colleagues and I embarked on a project in our labs to look at “fashion tech,” which at the time was a fringe term. These were pioneers daring to — sometimes literally — weave together technology and clothing to drive new ways of thinking about the “shape” of computation. But as we looked around the fashion industry, it became clear that designers lacked the tools to harness the potential of new technologies.

For a start, all facets of technology needed to be more malleable. Batteries, processors and sensors, in particular, had to evolve from being bulky and rigid to being softer, flexible and stretchable. Thus, I began to champion “Puck [rigid], Patch [flexible], Apparel [integrated],” an internal mantra to describe what I felt would be the material transformations of sensing and computation.

As our technologies have steadily become smaller, faster and more energy efficient — a progression known in the tech industry as Moore’s Law — we’ve gone on to launch a computer the size of a postage stamp and worked with a fashion tech designer to demonstrate its capabilities. In this case we were able to show dresses that were generated not just from sketches and traditional materials, but forward-looking tools (body scans and Computer Assisted Design renderings) and materials (in this case, 3-D printed nylon). At the same time, we integrated a variety of sensors (proximity, brain-wave activity, heart-rate, etc.) that allowed the garments themselves to sense and communicate in ways that showed how fashion — inspired in part by biology — might become the interface between people and the world around them.

Eventually, a meeting between Intel and the CFDA lent support to the idea that if technology could fit more seamlessly into designs, then it would be more valuable to fashion designers. The realisation helped birth the Intel Curie module, which has since made its way down the catwalk, embedded into a slew of designs that could help wearers adapt, interpret and respond to the world around them, for example, by “sensing” adrenaline or allowing subtle gestures to illuminate a garment.

As the relationship between fashion and technology continues to evolve, we will need to reimagine research and development, supply chains, business models and more. But perhaps more than anything, as fashion and technology merge, we must embrace a new strand of collaborative transdisciplinary design expertise and integrate software, sensors, processors and synthetic and biological materials into a designer’s tool kit.

Technology will inform the warp and weft of the fabric of fashion’s future. This will trigger discussions not just about fashion as an increasingly literal interface between people, our biology and the world around us, but also about the implications that data will generate for access, health, privacy and self-expression as we look ahead. We are indeed on the precipice of a fourth industrial revolution.Read more |
judy smith Aug 2016
When designer and model Mari Giudicelli stepped foot inside the Rio Market in Astoria, Queens, she was like a kid in a candy store. “I looove it!” she exclaimed at the sight of a jar of goiabada—a guava paste you can eat with cheese. Her eye catches something else on the shelf: “These are delicious! Everybody had these bite-size cake desserts made with condensed milk and chocolate powder (called brigadeiros) at their birthday parties when we were little. They’re a staple, like hot dogs are here in the U.S.”

With the Olympic Games in their second week, the Rio-born beauty was on a quest to find little pieces of home in sprawling New York. Guidicelli has lived here for six years, leaving her hometown in Brazil to attend Parsons School of Design and later FIT in hopes of becoming a fashion designer. Now she has her own shoe label that is on the up-and-up, comprised of incredibly chic, Brazilian-made loafers, slides, and mules in leather and exotic skins. And while her business and modeling gigs presently have her travel schedule at an all-time high, she relishes the moments she can go home to the Botanical Gardens neighborhood where she grew up to see family and friends about once a year.

Currently, Giudicelli is living and working in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, and missing that trip back to her grandmother’s house for moqueca (fish stew) and beach visits highlighted by acai bowls and sugarcane juice drinks. “When I was in Rio, I used to go to the beach on my lunch break,” she explains. “It’s much chiller there; I had time to really hang out during the day, but when I moved to New York, I quickly realized that I needed to get moving or I’d get left behind.” One day recently, though, Giudicelli did slow down to enjoy a day in New York inspired by Rio. She visited the market in Astoria, and said hello to a good friend, also Brazilian, who started a sweet shop on Porter Avenue in Brooklyn called My Sweet Brigadeiro. Guidicelli hung out at Beco restaurant, dining on traditional post-beach snacks like chicken croquettes and grilled sausage with onions, and had a beer. To end her Rio tour of NYC, she stopped by Miss Favela in Williamsburg to have feijoada, of which she says, “Whenever I crave it, I go to Miss Favela to get it.”

While sipping a caipirinha at the bar at Miss Favela she noticed the Olympics on the TV. She’s proud of her country for hosting the games this year. “I have some friends back home who are stubborn about Rio hosting and they think it’s bad for the country, but overall, a lot of the locals are enjoying it and partying in celebration,” she explains. “It’s not putting Rio on the map, because Rio already was on the map, but overall, I think it’s a positive thing. I think it’s really awesome.” For Giudicelli, home is where the heart—and really great food—is.

Above, Giudicelli finds a taste of Rio in the streets of New York.Read more at: |****-formal-dresses
judy smith Aug 2016
Ten minutes is all Sabyasachi Mukherjee has. “Can you keep the interview short,” I’m asked, as the announcement of his participation in the finale of Lakme Fashion Week’s upcoming Winter Festive show is made. Is ten minutes enough to recap the 14-year journey of this master of colour, cut and construction, I wonder. But I realised that Sabyasachi in rapid-fire mode can make ten minutes seem like twenty! Excerpts:

What is it about LFW that made you return?

It’s here that I first made a mark as a designer. I’m familiar with the format, and know the people. It is like a homecoming. The good thing about LFW is that everything is taken care of – from building the set to inviting people. So I have the freedom to focus on the clothes. It is like putting together a complete show, but doing only half the work!

Finales are a challenge – given the expectations of people in the fraternity, profiles of attendees and the intangible themes created by Lakme for interpretation into garments…

Well, it’s not at all difficult for me. This is my fifth finale at LFW. Once the make-up and hair are set, it is easy to imagine the look and what the girls must wear. I’m way too senior to worry about pre-show stress. My biggest pressure comes from whether I will like what I create. Beyond that, even the critics’ reaction doesn’t really concern me.

Will this line too be about Indian-ness?

Whether I do Western, Eastern or a combination, I always use Indian handcrafts, and all my clothes are handmade. Traditional textiles, block prints, weaves and embroidery are a constant in my collections. The theme being “Illuminate”, this line is about red-carpet clothes with a strong shimmer quotient.

Sunday was National Handloom Day. Considering our diverse range of homespun textiles, do you think everyday must be celebrated as handloom day in India?

Absolutely. It is mandatory at my stores. My staff wears only handloom saris or kurtas made of hand-woven fabric. My Instagram hashtag says ‘Wearing handloom everyday.’

Social media plays a significant role in promoting tradition. Smriti Irani’s ‘I wear handloom’ campaign on Twitter and the 100 Saree Pact are recent examples. Isn’t it time designers too found new ways to promote heritage?

Yes. As more and more Western brands enter the market, our designers must first establish an identity of their own. The Zaras of the world are bringing active prêt into the country, so it is important for us to revive the market for Indian clothes. Reinventing tradition and rethinking marketing strategies are critical at this point.

Has the hustle of today’s business taken fun away from fashion? How do you strike a balance between creative expression and commercial viability?

Oh, that’s very simple. I set my own rules. For instance, this year, I had too much on my calendar. I didn’t do ramp shows, I only had a showing on Instagram. Established designers must create new templates that suit their creativity instead of allowing the market to set the pace for them. Because, at the end of the day, only if you have the time and space for creative expression, can you create beautiful clothes that determine the durability of your brand.

If you were to spell out two major problems faced by the fashion world, what would they be?

Lack of originality. Lack of self-belief.

Fashion has evolved into a glamorous industry, and today, many youngsters want to be part of it. But most of what we see on the ramp and in the retail space are risk-free repetitions.

Well, for designers to evolve, the market has to evolve. But the mood is changing. There are designers who are willing to push boundaries and clients who are ready to experiment. Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram are changing the way people see and respond to fashion. The horizons are widening. This is a wonderful time for young designers to launch their labels and sustain their inventiveness.

Very few Indian designers have taken the effort to document fashion. What about you?

Yes, I will at some point in time get down to writing about my brand. But for that, I will first have to find the right publisher!

Many corporate players are keen on collaborating with designers.

I receive so many proposals for collaborations that I refuse one every day! I am collaborating with Asian Paints, Forever Mark and Christian Louboutin. Another huge one is coming up – but I will not be able to speak about it at the moment.

Do seasons really matter any more in the world of fashion?

Global warming is making designers understand the importance of season-defying clothing. And people too, I feel, don't shop for seasons any more. They just want beautiful clothes.

Can you update us on your forays into jewellery design and interiors?

I have collaborated with Hyderabad’s Kishandas & Company to create some iconic pieces that are hugely popular — and of course, plagiarised! I have a line coming up for Forever Mark. As for interiors, I wanted to design homes, but people did not seem to have enough confidence in me! (laughs) So I ended up doing up my own stores. I have also done up the Cinema Suite for the Taj in London. Celebrities who have stayed in the hotel have appreciated it. A significant collaboration in interiors is happening in October.

Your suggestions to keep traditions going…

People need to be educated about handmade textiles and crafts. A time will come when China will lose out to India because as people become aware, they will only want to support products that are ethically sourced and foster craft communities. Surprisingly, the new millennials are in favour of luxury that is completely handmade. I see that as a positive sign.Read more at: |
judy smith Aug 2016
2016 Museum of Modern Art Party in the Garden - Inside
Vera Ellen **** is an American fashion designer who is mostly known for her dresses. But most do not know that she started out with a higher education at Sarah Lawrence College.

She had a bachelor degree in art history. The founder of Vera **** Bridal House has become one of the most successful entrepreneurs. She was able to fulfill her dreams with a college degree. She is one of the world's most successful business tycoons that learned about entrepreneurship. If you want to have a degree in design or fashion, and at the same time explore business, then following Vera ****'s career path might be something you can consider. According to Rasmussen, **** has an estimated net worth of $115 million.

**** grew up with Chinese roots but she was born and raised in New York. She initially graduated from Chapin school in 1967 and then attended the University of Paris. Afterwards, she went to Sarah Lawrence College in Westchester County and took a degree in art history.

What many do not know is that she competed in the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. She was featured in Sports Illustrated, 1968 edition. When she did not make the cut for the US Olympics, she set her sights on fashion.

With her background in art, she entered Vogue as an editor immediately after graduating from Sarah Lawrence. She was the youngest editor in the publication. She moved on to Ralph Lauren 17 years later. At the age of 40, she became an independent bridal wear designer.

With her experience and education, she now works with renowned fashion designers and designs for the likes of Victoria Beckham, Ivanka Trump, Avril Lavigne and Kim Kardashian.

She does not limit her designs to wedding dresses alone. She also ventures into the realm of evening wear and retail.

Vera ****'s success stems from her love of fashion. To this day, she still enjoys skating though as a "multidimensional" sport.Read more at: |
judy smith Aug 2016
TO PUT the art and talent of Mindanaoan fashion design into the spotlight, Kagay’anon fashion designers put their hands together to organize the 5th Mindanao Fashion Summit at the Limketkai Center Rotunda from August 4 to 6, every 4 p.m.

“Being a core event of the Higalaay festival, the opening salvo, the Mindanao Fashion Summit can really highlight fashion designers here in Cagayan de Oro and also in different points of Mindanao to let everyone see what they can do in the world of fashion design especially now that there are only so few opportunities for these designers to show off their works to the public. This is why we have the Mindanao fashion Summit because Kagay-anon designers believe that even if they join national fashion shows like the Philippine Fashion week, most of them still aren't getting the right encouragement as a fashion designer.” said Robbie Pamisa, the overall organizer of the event.

The Fashion Summit is a three-day event composed of seven sub-categories such as the Mindanaoan collection, the Menswear collection, and the Ororama orange collection for the first day, the Guest Designers’ collection, the Fashion Institute of the Philippines collection and the Loop Lifestyle Fashion Show for the second day, and the Holiday Grand collection for the third day which will serve as the culmination of the fashion event.

Mindanaoan Fashion designers from Cagayan de Oro as well as Davao, Butuan, Iligan, and Bukidnon have come to showcase their talents. Some of the fashion geniuses of the event include Alma Mae Roa, Angela Soriano, Ann Semblante, Benjie Manuel, Boogie Musni Rivera, Gil Macaibay III, John Mark Magellan’s, Joshua Guibone, Juniel Doring, Kiko Domo, Mark Christopher Yaranon, and Mavy Cooper de Leon.

One of the highlights of the event is the Oro Fashion Designers’ Guild and the Designers Assembly featuring a collection of clothes using Mindanao material such as the Mindanao silk. Sponsors such as Ororama and The Loop Towers will also be showcasing their products in the fashion event.

“Even student fashion designers from the Fashion Institute of the Philippines have been encouraged to participate so that they will be able to experience how a fashion show works. This is also a way for us to fulfill our mission to be another avenue for fashion designers to show what they have,” Paisa said.Read more at: |
Aug 2016 · 1.3k
A transformation story
judy smith Aug 2016
Aneeth Arora refers to herself as a ‘textile and dress maker’ rather than a fashion designer. That’s because she makes her own fabrics, a process she enjoys, and says that if it’s only designing, then there is not much left to it other than giving shape to the fabric. Aneeth will be showcasing her collection in the city at an exhibition titled Nayaab, which features creations by 12 handpicked designers, who work with craftsmen to produce intricate garments.

Aneeth’s collection is entirely in off-white with gold and silver details. She’s transformed luxurious brocade and wispy Chanderis into shimmery jackets, summer dresses, flowy maxis and tunics, smart scarves, skirts of varying lengths and long kurtis. Adding a dash of colour to the display is the capsule featuring clothes with hand embroidery and beads. Her trademark anti-fits find their place here. The collection is laidback, with a few elements of androgyny and some downright girly.

A part of what’s on display here was showcased at the Amazon India Fashion Week Spring Summer 2016, where she put together the famous pyjama party with sleeping bags and models in comfortably trendy shorts and dresses.

For Nayaab, she’s also specially created a few outfits that are not available at the stores.

Pero, which started in 2009 with one tailor and one runner out of Aneeth’s house in Delhi, now has 80 people working out of a bigger space. “If you count the weavers I work with, the number is far more,” she says.

Right from the beginning, the 32-year-old has worked with handlooms from all over India. For example, the block prints are done with weavers in Gujarat and Rajasthan, ikat is done in the South and the woollens are from Himachal… “We are inclined to anything that’s handmade,” she says. This includes Mexican braids, lace from Europe and crochet from Afghanistan.

The last decade has seen a revival in handloom, with more designers incorporating them in their designs. This has, in turn, brought about a change in the buying pattern of clients.

“There was a point when weavers didn’t see a future in what they were doing and sent their children to work with construction companies. Now, they know there is a market for weaves and they are confident. Their families are getting involved in it again. It’s all going uphill from here,” says Aneeth, contented.Read more |
judy smith Aug 2016
Fashion designer Manav Gangwani feels that the Hindi film industry acts as a catalyst for the Indian fashion industry.

He believes that since Bollywood has a huge fan base, it helps in getting a designer’s brand recognised.

Gangwani says the Indian couture industry has significantly evolved over the past years and it is the responsibility of the fashion fraternity to keep this evolution constant. “Over the years, I have always added a modern twist to the silhouettes in my couture collections. The couture industry has significantly evolved over the past years. I think it is important that we keep this evolution constant,” Gangwani said in an earlier occasion.

The designer, who has styled Bollywood stars like Hrithik Roshan, Kangana Ranaut and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, believes that associating with such celebrities does a world of good to a designer’s creations.

“Bollywood certainly acts as a catalyst for the Indian Fashion industry in terms of retail. In one way or another, the designers prefer to commercially dress up a celebrity outfit for a film rather than showcasing it exclusively on the ramp. Since Bollywood has millions of followers, the brand recognition through it goes a long way,” Gangwani told in an interview.

The designer, who also had the honour of dressing the King Of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, shared that the “potential customers are more discerning than ever and have a growing penchant for exclusivity”.

The growing couture industry has set high standards for aspiring designers and that intense competition makes designers put their best work forward, he added.Read more at: |
Jul 2016 · 446
Italians do it better
judy smith Jul 2016
The story is told in Eleganza: Italian Fashion from 1945 to Today, an installation at Montreal’s McCord Museum, which was created by London’s Victoria and Albert Museum two years ago. In addition to the display of some truly fabulous duds, the exhibition shows how Italian fashion benefitted from one man’s realization that it could become a national brand with global reach.

That man was Giovanni Battista Giorgini, a Florentine buyer’s agent who, in the early 1950s, organized fashion shows at lavish locations such as thePalazzo Pitti. Giorgini flew in influential U.S. buyers, correctly predicting that the splendour of the clothes and locale were just what the newly flush American public wanted after its release from wartime austerity.

The cause was helped by films such as Roman Holiday, in which Audrey Hepburn – wardrobed by Edith Head – personified the American fantasy of carefree-yet-elegant Italian style. It also didn’t hurt that Simonetta and several other young designers were genuine Italian aristocrats.

Eleganza features several knockout creations from this period, including a lavish feather-adorned gown by Simonetta that might well have influenced Jean Paul Gaultier; and a wildly elegant silk evening dress commissioned by a wealthy American from the sartoria of Maria Grimaldi. There’s also a red dress by Germana Marucelli that shows an almost sculptural approach to garment structure.

The exhibition includes some playful designs from the 1960s, including the shimmering Mila Schon evening dress and coat worn by Lee Radziwill to Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball in 1966. There’s also a pair of the silk “palazzo pyjamas” that became a jet-set sensation for Irene Galitzine.

Even after the development of designer ready-to-wear, the Italians emphasized high quality in manufacturing and materials, sourcing mainly from long-established Italian mills. This became even more essential as the bulk of low-end production shifted to China, which in turn has become a huge market for Italian fashion ($22-billion in sales in 2015).

The last and best room in the show is filled with a stunning array of more recent designs laid out along a T-shaped catwalk, including pieces by RobertoCapucci, Valentino, Gucci and Prada, as well as an ornate and playful sequined dress from Prada’s Miu Miu line. Almost all of these pieces were donated by the houses themselves, and at least one came in since the show’s London opening. Successful as they are, these designers know what cachet can come from being included in a museum exhibition.

The related book of illustrated essays, The Glamour of Italian Fashion Since 1945, is low on photos of the outfits on display, but rich in information collected by curator Sonnet Stanfill and nearly two dozen other contributors. They take a panoramic view of their subject, analyzing the materials, makers and presentation of Italian fashion through marketing and media. The book makes an outstanding companion to a beautiful show.Read more at: |
Jul 2016 · 1.6k
US-based designer Rachel Roy
judy smith Jul 2016
Born to a Bengali father and Dutch mother, American fashion designer Rachel Roy, whose client list includes the likes of Michelle Obama and Penelope Cruz, is proud of her Indian heritage, and says India has influenced her work in many ways, especially the colours and prints in her designs.

“My father is Indian and I’ve been very fortunate to travel to India several times. This is my second trip in the last few years and I am bringing my daughter Ava again. She joined me on my last trip where we visited New Delhi, Agra, and Goa,” Roy told IANS during her recent visit to India to judge the 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize India, Pakistan and Middle East regional final held in Mumbai.

“It’s always an emotional experience for me as I’m quite proud of my Indian heritage and also quite passionate about philanthropic causes I’m involved in, including Children’s Hope India and World of Children,” added the designer in an email interview.

The Rachel Roy brand debuted in 2004 and for over a decade. She has built her ready-to-wear and accessories business into a globally recognised brand with categories including jewellery and home products.

Talking about India has influenced her designs, Roy said: “It has influenced so many parts of my life from design to beauty to accessories. I have a love of colour and print… And that was definitely influenced by my Indian side of the family. I remember my aunts putting on kohl on their eyes and loving the ritual and process — it felt really special for me to watch them,” she said.

“Fashion for me is very reflective of culture, a large part of that starts on the streets. When I travel, I make it a point to spend a great deal of time people-watching – seeing what people are wearing as they are in the throws of their life. It’s inspiration to me as I sit and pull together inspiration for collections,” she added.

It’s not just the country that fascinates her, but also the creations of some Indian designers.

“I always love what Bibhu (Mohapatra) and Waris (Ahluwalia) do and have been watching people like Manish Malhotra, Payal Singhal and Priyanka Lama. India holds a special place in my heart, so I look for growth and success of designers and businesses with roots to the country,” said Roy, who added that she would love to expand into India when the time is right.

“Everyone is so welcoming when I spend time here that it would be amazing to be able to establish a longer term relationship,” added the designer, who also has Kate Hudson, Kim Kardashian and Sharon Stone as clients.

In addition to running her successful brand, Roy is a sought after speaker on topics ranging from entrepreneurship to philanthropy and has shared her story and experiences at forums ranging from the White House to the Fortune Next Generation conference along with other various women’s empowerment summits.

Also a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, Roy was one of the few judges at the regional round of 2016/17 International Woolmark Prize. She says supporting young talent is important for her.

“Design, like so many other disciplines, is about communicating your point of view and using your voice. Your voice strengthens and changes as you progress in your career and life, and I think it’s critical to help young designers find their voice,” she said.

Roy also says that funding has always been a struggle for those starting out as capital is needed to take a business to a new level.

“Fashion is a business, it is important to understand that from the very beginning. Designers are really taking control of the business side of things from Alexander **** and Christopher Bailey being both the CEOs of their businesses and running the design side as well,” she said.Read more at: |
Jul 2016 · 4.1k
Meet the Twags
judy smith Jul 2016
The 9.6 million followers who tune in to watch Miranda Kerr having her hair done on Instagram — for this is how models spend most of their time — were treated to a rather more interesting sight last Thursday: a black and white photograph of a whacking great diamond ring.

Across it was the caption “Marry me!” and a twee animation of the tech mogul Evan Spiegel on bended knee. Underneath Kerr had typed “I said yes!!!” and an explosion of heart emojis.

A spokesman for Spiegel, founder of the Snapchat mobile app, who is 26 to Kerr’s 33 and worth $US 2.1 billion to her $US 42.5 million , revealed “they are very happy”.

At first, the marriage seems an unlikely combination: a man so bright he founded Snapchat while still at Stanford University, becoming one of the world’s youngest self-made billionaires by 22, and a Victoria’s Secret model who was previously married to the Pirates of the Caribbean star Orlando Bloom (she allegedly had a fling with pop brat Justin Bieber, leading Bloom to punch Beebs in a posh Ibiza restaurant).

Perhaps the union indicates that there is more to Kerr than we thought. More likely, it reveals something about Spiegel — and the way the social status of “geeks” has changed.

Since Steve Jobs made computers cool and Millennials started living online, nerds are king. Even coding is **** enough for the model Karlie Kloss, singer and actor Ashton Kutcher to learn it. Silicon Valley has become the new Hollywood, as moguls and social media barons take over from film stars and sportsmen not just on rich lists, but as alpha men.

Being a co-founder of a company is this decade’s equivalent to being a rock star or a chef. And, if their attractiveness to models and actresses proves anything, then being a Twag — tech wife or girlfriend — is a “thing”. Sources tell me Twags are also known as “founder-hounders” because they like to date the creators of start-up companies.

Actress Talulah Riley was an early adopter. She started dating the PayPal founder Elon Musk in 2008. Riley, then fresh from starring in the St Trinian’s film, met Musk in London’s Whisky Mist nightclub after he had delivered a lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society. I interviewed her shortly afterwards and she told me they had spent the evening talking about “quantum physics”. A month later they were engaged. Their on-again-off-again marriage lasted six years before she filed for divorce again in March. Currently Musk, worth an estimated $US 12.7 billion and focused on Tesla cars, is said to be “spending a lot of time” with Johnny Depp’s estranged wife, Amber Heard.

Model Lily Cole dated the Twitter founder Jack Dorsey in 2013. Later she had a son with Kwame Ferreira, founder of the digital innovation agency Kwamecorp. Actress Emma Watson is going out with William Knight, an “adventurer” who has an incredibly boringly sounding job as a senior manager at Medallia, a software company. Allison Williams, Marnie in the HBO television show Girls, is married to Ricky Van Veen, co-founder of College Humor website.

Could it be that these women are onto something? Dating a bro certainly has its appeal. They are innovative: how else would they invent apps that deliver cheese toasties or match singles based on their haircuts? They are risk-takers who must be charismatic enough to inspire investors and attract crowd-funding. They may not be gym-fit, but they are mathletes who can do your tax bill. They are animal lovers: every start-up is dog friendly. And they are fun: who would not want to date somebody with a ball pool in their office?

There is a saying about dating in Silicon Valley: the odds are good but the goods are odd. Nerds are notorious for peculiar chat-up lines and normcore clothes. Still, if geeks can be awkward, that is part of their charm. Keira Knightley, complaining that Silicon Valley was all men in hoodies and Crocs, described how one gave her his card, saying she should get in touch if she wanted to see a spaceship.

One Vogue writer recalled a Silicon Valley man messaging her via a dating app, in which he noted: “In 50 per cent of your photos you’re holding an iPhone. It may interest you to find out that I invented the iPhone. More accurately I was an engineer on the original iPhone . . .”

Most promisingly, some guys are astoundingly rich. It is suggested Kerr’s engagement ring is a 2.5-carat diamond worth around dollars 55,000. She has already moved into Spiegel’s dollars 12m LA pad. Between his money and her Victoria’s Secrets bridesmaids, no wonder sources claim they are planning an “extravagant wedding”.

It might rival even the Napster founder Sean Parker’s $US10m performance-art bash. He married songwriter Alexandra Lenas in a canopy among Big Sur’s redwoods decorated to look like an enchanted forest. Some 350 guests wore Tolkienesque costumes created by The Lord of the Rings costume designer Ngila Dickson. They sat on white fur rugs and were given bunnies to pet. Presumably rabbit babysitters were on hand when the disco started.

If such fantasies inspire you to become a Twag, the great news is you do not have to be a supermodel to be in with a chance. Such is the dearth of single women in Silicon Valley that one dating site, Dating Ring, crowdfunded a plane to fly single women to Palo Alto from New York.

Be warned, though: guys are single because they are married to the job.

No wonder most meet their partners at college or work — the Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg met his wife, Priscilla Chan, at Harvard.

The Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom met girlfriend Nicole Schuetz at Stanford. Melinda met Bill Gates when, in 1987, they sat next to each other at an Expo trade-fair dinner. “He was funnier than I expected him to be,” she said.

Kerr began dating Spiegel in 2014 after meeting him at a Louis Vuitton dinner in New York. You can bet he was networking. Shortly after Louis Vuitton showcased their cruise collection in a Snapchat story. Last season Snapchat went on to become the biggest new name at NY fashion week.

If you want to meet tech guys, you might catch them at Silicon Valley parties, which is how the Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick met his partner, Gabi Holzwarth, a violinist hired to play. Or they might be schmoozing clients downtown in a swanky Noe Valley club in San Francisco or a boring Union Square hotel in New York. In London you find them around Old Street, aka Silicon Roundabout, in bars, at hackathons, or start-up meet-ups. In the day they are coding at Google Campus or practising their pitching in a co-working space.

Some tech boys date the old-fashioned way: on Tinder. Airbnb founder Brian Chesky met his girlfriend of three years, Elissa Patel, through the app. When I interviewed Instagram co-founder Systrom he admitted that when he had been single he had signed up.

Dating agency Linx — presumably a play on operating system Linux — is dedicated to making Silicon Valley matches. Amy Andersen set it up in 2003 after moving to Palo Alto and being “flabbergasted” by the number of eligible men. She claims her clients are “extremely dynamic and successful individuals’’: tech founders, tech chief executives, financier founding partners of large institutions and “tons of entrepreneurs”.

Andersen says tech guys make “fabulous partners”. Romantic and chivalrous, they write love letters, plan dates, “even proposing on Snapchat!” If you want to marry a tech billionaire, she says, “you need to bring your A game.” Her clients look “for women who are equally, if not more, dynamic and interesting than he is!”

There are drawbacks to dating tech guys. Before Google buys your amore’s business, he will be living on *** Noodles waiting for the next round of funding — and workaholics are dull.

Kerr says Spiegel is “25, but he acts like he’s 50. He’s not out partying. He goes to work in Venice [Beach], he comes home. We don’t go out. We’d rather be at home and have dinner, go to bed early.” Which might suit Kerr, but is not my idea of a fun.

You had also better be prepared to share your life. When Priscilla Chan miscarried three times, Mark Zuckerberg wrote about it on Facebook, while Chesky used a romantic trip with his girlfriend to promote Airbnb - uploading a picture of her in bed, with a note saying “f* hotels”. Besides all of which is the notorious issue of Silicon Valley sexism.

It has a chief exec-bro culture that puts pick-up artist/comedian Dapper Laughs to shame. Ninety per cent of women working in the Valley say they have witnessed sexist behaviour, 60 per cent have experienced unwanted ****** advances at work, two thirds of them from their boss. Whitney Wolfe, a co-founder of Tinder, took Justin Mateen to court for ****** harassment. Her lawsuit against the company alleged that Mateen, her former partner, sent text messages calling her a “*****”.

Spiegel has tech bro form. He apologised after emails from his days at Stanford emerged: missives about stripper poles, getting black-out drunk, shooting lasers at “fat chicks”, and promising to “roll a blunt for whoever sees the most **** tonight (Sunday)”. After one fraternity Hawaiian luau party, he signed off emails “f*

No wonder some women are not inspired to become Twags. Especially when you could be a tech billionaire yourself. Would you not rather be Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, than married to the boss?Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
Veteran fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani believes that the Indian fashion industry has become more organised and a little more professional.

Best known for his ability to infuse Indian craftsmanship and textile heritage with European tailored silhouette, Tahiliani believes that the Indian fashion industry has become more strategised and cemented over the last 20 years.

"India's propensity to consume is gaining an international audience and this is changing the competitive landscape," Tahiliani told IANS in an email interview.

"It has certainly become more organised and a little more professional, and obviously the market has exploded, but I think that we still have a long way to go in terms of being more business oriented and there's still room to get more organised and professional," the designer added.

Eulogizing the new and younger crop of designers, Tahiliani, who has over two decades of experience in the industry, believes that they are doing well in terms of the handloom and textile industry.

"What's really heartening to see is that there are so many younger designers who are going places and are doing so well in terms of the handloom and textile industry... it has become more organised. I think handloom was very localised in terms of weavers with a certain look from a certain area sold through certain channels," said the Co-Founder of Ensemble -- a multi-designer boutique.

"There has been a lot more creative freedom and other regions are experimenting with textile alien to their region, especially if they are more lucrative. As long as people appreciate traditional craftsmanship and embroideries, machine work will never replace the richness of hand embroidery," he added.

Asked if the plus-size models are yet to move into the mainstream industry in India?

"Well, they should have moved into the mainstream long back. But are not normally associated with very expensive high fashion and couture," Tahiliani said.

Having draped most of the leading ladies of Bollywood like Priyanka Chopra, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and Madhuri Dixit-Nene in his creations, Tahiliani says that fashion is his muse, not a Bollywood star.

"Art, architecture, interiors, history, travel and maharajas... My inspiration comes from many things. Sometimes it's from beautiful inlay work that I've seen in a fabulous monument; other times my inspiration can be something as simple as a beautiful kanjeevaram weave," he said.

"Ultimately, however, my inspiration comes from India's rich traditions of craftsmanship, particularly when it comes to things like embroideries that we have in India. Nothing is more amazing than beautifully executed, intricate and fine technique. I don't design clothes keeping a Bollywood star in mind, but rather for the new age contemporary woman," he added.

Tahiliani is all geared up to showcase his collection The Last Dance of the Courtesan at the FDCI India Couture Week 2016 on Thursday here. He has artistically blended fabrics like cotton jacquards, cotton silks, crepes and cutwork jamdanis with Swarovski crystals for the range.

That's not all. He will next participate in the Vogue Wedding Show and then the prestigious Lakme Fashion Week, to be held in Mumbai in August.

"I will present my Ready to Wear Autumn Winter 16-17 collection at Lakme Fashion Week. It has been inspired by the works of Mrinalini Mukherjee (late sculptor) and the journey only gets bigger and better from here," he said.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
The Slovenian-born Trump wore an off-white dress with three-quarter length, bell-shaped sleeves to address the Republican National Convention on Monday night.

The dress was by Roksanda Illincic, whose designs are very popular in London and among celebrities, among them Gwyneth Paltrow, Keira Knightley and Daisy Ridley, to name just a few.

Samantha Cameron, wife of the former British prime minister, wore a colourful, flared Roksanda dress to leave Downing Street last week.

But the designer's most prominent fan is probably the Duchess of Cambridge. The former Kate Middleton has worn her designs to at least three events this (northern) summer, including a brilliant yellow dress with blocks of white to Wimbledon.

And then there's Michelle Obama, who wore Roksanda's beaded wool satin dress and wool coat to meet the Chinese president in 2011, among other occasions.

Though the first lady has chosen designers from across the globe during her years in the White House, she wore American designers to address both Democratic conventions at which her husband was nominated: Maria Pinto in 2008 and Tracy Reese in 2012.

Women's Wear Daily reported that Trump bought Illincic's "Margot" dress online from the Net-a-Porter fashion site.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
According to Indian designer Anita Dongre, the bridal look is not about going over the top anymore. She shared that nowadays women prefer to wear traditional outfits with a casual edge to them.

“Today, young Indian girls like to wear traditional outfits with a casual edge. We do a lot of printed lehengas with pockets,” Dongre said in an email interview. “Even if you are all decked up as a bride, your personal style should always shine through. It’s not about doing an over-the-top look anymore.”

The designer, who is not only a celebrated name in the Indian fashion industry but also a successful entrepreneur, believes that a bride must look like herself on her big day. “She should look like herself, but just more beautiful on her special day. She should feel like a princess, light on her feet, who dances at her own wedding”.

As a prelude to the Vogue Wedding Show 2016, which will be held in Delhi next month, Dongre will be showcasing her bridal collection at the event titled ‘Vogue Bridal Studio with Anita Dongre’ at the Kemp’s corner in Mumbai next week. Bollywood actor Yami Gautam will be walking the ramp as the showstopper for the event. The three-day long Vogue Wedding Show will start from August 5 at the Taj Palace Hotel.

Talking about the Vogue Wedding Show 2016, Dongre said, “The Vogue Wedding Show is on our annual calendar to start the wedding season. It is the only time that prospective brides can personally meet me. I look forward to interacting with them.” According to her, in India, couture is basically bridal couture. Dongre feels lehengas and saris are here to stay, as designers keep reinventing them. “Designers are getting more lavish with Indian craftsmanship; the traditional weaves, gota patti, zardozi and heirloom crafts,” she said.

While there is a perception that when it comes to grooms, there is not much one can experiment with, Dongre has a different opinion. She feels Indian men are a lot more open to experimenting with their looks today.

“Comfort and casualness still remain a priority though. Stitched dhotis paired with long kurtas, bandhgalas, shirts and bandis … Each silhouette can be a part of the groom’s wardrobe,” stated Dongre. “When styled well, they look modern yet very Indian.”

Having recently roped in Kareena Kapoor-Khan as a muse for her brand, the ace fashion designer believes celebrities add star power to the clothing line, but fashion does not necessarily need a Bollywood face to work.

“Celebrities are a vehicle to communicate the brand message. We are mindful of the celebrities we collaborate with, mindful of their reach, aura and the value that they will add to the brand. Having said that, I don’t think that fashion cannot work without a Bollywood face,” Dongre concluded.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
GABBY Waller lives around the corner from Owen Wilson, down the road from Julia Roberts, walked past Seth Rogan at the grocery store last week and sat opposite Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus at dinner the other night.

The LA lifestyle is a big change for the former Rockhampton girl who currently calls California home after leaving life in Australia to get her foot in the fashion industry door in one of the world's fashion capitals.

The 22-year-old packed up her life two months ago, sold her Australian clothing label and followed the gut instinct she said she always had to move to Los Angeles.

"I've always been drawn to America, I've always felt this pull towards it, LA in particular which is why I visited LA last year to hold an event here for my business at the time," she said.

Gabby In fashion week in Sydney in 2014.

"The event was a huge success and I got hooked on the creativity that screams from this city. I suppose I got a taste for the fashion scene here and decided to make the move here in May. I sold the business in January as I felt I got STR8 UP to exactly where it needed to be and it was time for me personally to move on to my next venture.

"I'm working as a designer's assistant with a brand based in Downtown LA called BILLY, a brand Justin Bieber regularly wears, and work closely with the designer who reminds me exactly why I do what I do and love this industry. I also do fashion styling on the side and am putting together my own photoshoot for the Australian label Isabelle Quinn. This is my year to really push my knowledge and get involved in as much as I can, LA makes you so hungry to work and I've never been more motivated to dig my claws in."

Although the former Cathedral College student thrives off the hustle and bustle of catching that big city break, Gabby admits to missing the small town 'hey mate' attitudes she grew up knowing and said she doesn't think she'll ever get used to seeing celebrities in their jeans buying milk and bread.

"I feel LA has a huge 'I don't care about you, I just want to know what you can do for me' kind of attitude and you'll very regularly get asked what you do before being asked your name," she said.

"I miss that small town community hub that Rocky has and I really miss how friendly us Aussies are but for now this is home for the next 12 months and I'm loving every minute of it.

"It was a scary leap to take moving here but I really do believe anything is possible if you put your mind to it.

"The absolute dream would be to work in the fashion houses in the design department of the big designer brands that you see on the runway.

"But I've still got a lot of learning to do.

"It's exciting to see what the future holds."Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
Meeting a renowned Pinoy designer, Michael Cinco, was the highlight of my nth trip to Dubai last month. He is so unassuming that I almost forgot how famous he is. Some of his A-list Hollywood clientele include Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, Kylie Minogue, Mila Kunis, Paris Hilton, Tyra Banks, Rihanna, Toni Braxton, Fergie, Nicole Scherzinger and Christina Aguilera.

Michael’s regular clients are Anne Curtis, Marian Rivera-Dantes, Kathryn

Bernardo, Liza Soberano, Ruffa Gutierrez and Bea Alonzo.

Miriam Quiambao and I immensely enjoyed bonding with Michael. He treated us to an authentic Lebanese dinner at the resto below his plush condominium right across the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa. Kudos to Michael for being the only Filipino designer who was invited to present his collection at the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week’s “Couturissimo,” held last July 3.

He’s world-class yet down-to-earth. That makes him all the more remarkable. Pinoy Pride is something Michael wears so well. CincOoh la la! (Visit

Here’s my chat (via Facebook) with Michael:

What was the Paris Fashion week experience like?

About 15 years ago I was strolling along the beautiful Jardin des Tuileries. I was so in love with the place that I had a vision and a dream… I said to myself, one of these days I’ll have my show in this stunning garden. So when Asian Couture Federation approached me to have a show in Paris, I immediately begged to hold it in Jardin des Tuileries. Showing my collection in Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week has always been my ultimate dream. Seeing your collection on the runway of your dream garden is one of the greatest achievements in my life.

Among local celebs, who are the five best-dressed on your list?

Marian Rivera, Anne Curtis, Cherie Gil, Kathryn Bernardo and Liza Soberano. They all wore my couture dresses and they all looked amazing.

Any memorable moment with the celebs?

To be honest, I never met any of them. I dressed up some of the most beautiful Filipino Celebrities and Hollywood celebrities wore my clothes on the red carpet and in their music videos. When the producers of the movie “Jupiter Ascending” asked me to go to London to meet Mila Kunis and Channing Tatum, I declined because I was too shy to meet them. The stylist of Jennifer Lopez asked me to meet her backstage. Also, the manager of Kylie Minogue asked me to go to her room for fitting but I just sent my assistant because I was scared and shy.

Who is the easiest celeb to dress up?

Most of them are easy to dress up because they all look fabulous in my couture dresses.

What are your three fashion do’s and don’t’s?

Do’s: Be yourself; create your own style; wear something that will make you feel confident.

Don’t’s: Don’t wear a dress two sizes smaller than your body; don’t follow someone else’s style; don’t try to achieve what you see in glossy magazines—they are all photoshopped!

If you were asked to design an outfit for President Duterte, what would it be like?

A bullet-proof couture barong.

What’s your advice to aspiring designers?

Young designers of today should realize that fashion is not all about glamour. The fashion world is very cruel. You will be judged, criticized and rejected.

It takes hard work, patience and strong determination to achieve your goals. Create clothes that people will wear. If you want to create art on clothes, make sure they will sell.

Lastly, be humble and never give up. Believe that anything in this world is possible. Believe in your dreams and if you have faith and confidence in God, all of your impalpable dreams will come true.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
Valentino has its red, Versace its Medusa logo, Chanel the tweed that lines dresses and jackets and handbags each season. In the fashion world, these nuances of texture and color, in conjunction with shape, are what help define a brand's identity, what ultimately makes them feel familiar to consumers; they are fashion's version of DNA. Designers carving out their place within the industry will often land on their own set of signatures that are built upon with each new collection—but Patric DiCaprio, the 26-year-old designer of Vaquera, isn't interested in "buy-ability" or recognizable traits. "We are obsessed with keeping people guessing" he says. "We want that to be our thing."

In the three seasons since launching the New York-based brand, DiCaprio has infused Fashion Week with the sort of Dionysian energy once felt at early John Galliano shows. For his Summer/Spring 2016 show, staged at the Church of the Ascension in Greenwich Village, models walked the aisle to the Smashing Pumpkins in baptismal baby-doll dresses and ruffled bloomers, with DiCaprio's boyfriend closing the show in a wedding gown. In February, with new partners David Moses and Bryn Taubensee on board, a debaucherous cast of models dressed in Victorian-meets-club looks danced, lifted their skirts and put their cigarettes out in audience member's drinks at the China Chalet venue in the Financial District.

"Vaquera is about constant reinvention," DiCaprio says of his no-guts-no-glory ethos. "It's about the future; the future of style and clothes, but not in the cliche of futuristic spandex and metallics."

Much like his collections, the designer's path in fashion has been far from linear. Born and raised in Alabama, DiCaprio attended a private Christian school before studying photography at a public university in the South. An internship with DIS Magazine offered him a crash course in art direction and styling, and the opportunity to draw creative fuel from New York—a city that has very much proven to be his creative elixir.

"I felt like I had been underwhelmed for my whole life," says DiCaprio, who moved to the city five years ago and taught himself to sew through YouTube tutorials. "When I first came to New York it felt like I had finally gotten my head above the water and had oxygen for the first time. This place was overwhelming in the best way." DiCaprio spoke with PAPER about his creative approach, his unconventional path to fashion and his idolization of David Bowie.

What sparked your interest in fashion?

I think it's always been about clothes for me. When I was in middle school and high school I was always in bands. I was obsessed with Screamo and David Bowie—the groups that had such strong visual aspects to their work. But I think part of me always felt like I was doing that so I could assume the look. Screamo bands would let me wear the size zero, ultra-stretch white jean. With David Bowie, I wanted to wear the gold eyeshadow; it was always about the look.

How did studying photography lead you to fashion design?

My school was very focused on the craft—the dark room and perfect exposure—but I think I was on the opposite end, I was interested in what was happening in the photo. I left college to do an internship with DIS Magazine and because they're involved in so many creative avenues like photography and styling and art and video, I was able to get a realistic vision of things. The experience [with DIS] made me realize I was less interested in photography and more interested in creating these characters.

When school ended, I moved to New York and and worked with DIS again and then with VFiles in [the archives department]. I'd go through old issues of ID and Paper and Dazed and it taught me a lot about fashion history. I had been removed from all of that when I was growing up, there was no Chanel store in Alabama, there was no Dazed And Confused at the Barnes and Noble in Alabama. Coming to New York I was able to get my hands on the clothes and study these old magazines.

How did you get that initial internship though?

I'm obsessed with Tumblr. I got on it more than eight years ago, and it was a huge part of helping me reach out to people. People that I'm still friends with now—Hari Nef and Juliana Huxtable—I met through Tumblr; they moved to New York before me and motivated me to do the same. So I emailed the team at DIS, and asked if I could show them my photography portfolio—which sounds so funny to say now—and they offered to show me the ropes. They hooked me up with Avena Gallagher, who is an inspiration and has taught me everything I know about styling.

About two years ago I started working for her and became obsessed with styling. I styled Charli XCX for a year—and it was exciting, definitely closer to what I wanted to do but it wasn't exactly it. I wanted to pull specific things—1980's Issey Miyake, but there was no way a no-name stylist like me would be able to get my hands on it. So I bought a sewing machine and started sewing the things I wanted for photo shoots. Vaquera started as an art project that wasn't about wearing the clothes or making something for Opening Ceremony—it was about making clothes that I could then shoot. The final product was the look book.

What made you decide on the name Vaquera?

A few different reasons. I was reading a book by Tom Robbins called Even Cowgirls Get The Blues and it was really informative for me at the time. I was also working in a kitchen as an expediter with a bunch of Mexican line cooks and they had a lot of pet names for me, like "el pato" which is gay slang for f—got, and "little baby doll." They knew I was from the South so they'd call me "La Vaquera" because that's Spanish for cowgirl—even though cowgirls aren't Alabama, it's more of a Texas thing. So I just called the project Vaquera. It seems so arbitrary now, I'm stuck with it for better or worse.

What's been one of the challenges of keeping things future-focused?

I've had criticism from people that it's such a bad business model to reinvent yourself each season, that no one's going to know what to expect from you. Buyers are going to be confused, you're never going to make any money. And I've just been like, "Well, I think we don't have any interest in that." We are obsessed with keeping people guessing—we want that to be our thing. I try my best to keep it a secret until the day of the show and then just let loose.

So we're going to assume you won't be giving any clues about next season's show.

Oh my god, i don't want to give it away! I think people want to see billowy-sleeves but that's out the door. We're doing something completely different. Romantic but a whole different definition of romance.

How has working with David and Bryne changed things for you and the brand?

Last season it was like a whole new brand. We came together through Avena and it feels like we're progressing, which is exciting. I got sick of doing everything alone. For the Spring show I sewed everything, produced it myself, got the location, cast it myself.

And did you collapse after the show ended?

It was a serious problem, it became impossible. I realized I was either going to have to plateau so I could get my life together or I was going to have to find a way to expand the vision. I trust Bryne and David with my life and they understand my vision but have their own ideas. It was a necessary change.

So many designers have expressed concern about the relentless pace of the industry recently.

All these different seasons—pre-fall, couture, designers showing things that are going to be available for purchase the day after the show. That's so scary for people like us who are on our hands and knees in the living room cutting the clothes and can barely get them made in time for the show.

Do you want to stay independent? What are the benefits and detriments, in your opinion?

I think we want to stay independent. I want to make money but I don't want to feel pressure to do certain things. I'm already so sick of that show we just did—already on to the next one. It's like with Demna Gvasalia getting the Balenciaga job: I was so disappointed to see him doing the same thing he did at Vetements at Balenciaga, but then I realized, with all the money that's involved and when you're working with these huge offers, there's contracts. Money complicates things in a way that I think can hurt people's creativity. Maybe you'll make a lot of money for a few years, but you might forget how to make exciting things because you're stuck with the designs that worked well one time. I want to make money, but we want to find different ways of doing it.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
THE CROWD at Raf Simons’s Spring 2017 menswear show at Pitti Immagine Uomo in Florence seemed more uptight than usual, yet that’s exactly how Mr. Simons intended it: Scattered among the wound-up throngs of editors, buyers and gate-crashers were 266 secondhand mannequins, some seated stiffly, others frozen into upright positions, all clothed in archival pieces from his 21-year career in fashion. Though the dummies were arresting, the Belgian designer, 48, later downplayed this unconventional look back. “The pieces weren’t chosen with a certain kind of curatorial intention,” said Mr. Simons. “I didn’t want it to look like a typical kind of retrospective.”

Mission accomplished: Between the spooky setting in a cavernous former train station, the wooden mannequins and his decision to show “off calendar” (forgoing his usual Paris Fashion Week time slot), it all felt more like a Robert Gober art show than a museum tribute. Mr. Simons is, after all, still hard at work, his every move watched by industry insiders amid speculation that he may be joining Calvin Klein—after concluding 3½ years as creative director of Christian Dior’s women’s collection, in 2015.

Mr. Simons continued to riff on his signature elegance in his Pitti Uomo menswear show. The cornerstone of the collection was a series of loose, photo-enhanced shirts, knits and jackets created in collaboration with the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation: voluminous pieces emblazoned with images of Debbie Harry or eroticized flowers by the photographer, who died in 1989.

Much like his designs, our chat with the usually circumspect Mr. Simons reflected a broad array of preoccupations and influences. He was outspoken about tailoring (“so much bad suiting out there”) and his design process (“no system, no rules, no structure”) but also about mobile phones, the African countryside and ’70s dance music.

One of my favorite spots in the world is: Puglia in Italy. There’s a house by the sea I go to, and outside, it’s just a horizon line. It’s that feeling of eternity: It allows you to think. If you put me there, I wouldn’t need love or anything anymore.

Between the country or the city, I prefer: the country. I live in Antwerp, a city that’s kind of like a village.

A place I’d like to visit again is: Kruger National Park in South Africa. It’s mind-blowing how it sits so far away from anything you’ve ever experienced in a city. There were no people, no proof of human life, just animals and animal behavior. It’s survival of the strongest, which is fascinating.

One thing I’ve had forever is: A yellow T-shirt with a black print on it from the movie “The Shining” that goes way back to when I was a teenager.

If I could be granted one wish, it would be: solidarity. That may sound emotional—politically emotional—but with everything that’s happening, I wish everybody would just let each other be in peace.

A current band I love is: The **. At first they seemed weird but they overwhelm me—massively—all the time with their intelligence. They may be the group that’s had the most impact on me in the last five years.

An old album I still listen to is: Kraftwerk’s “The Man-Machine” [1978]. My 1998 show was called “Kraftwerk” because I had four boys in red shirts in it who looked like replicas of the band members.

If I could tell my 20-year-old self one thing, it would be: grab and protect love when you find it. Cherish it, focus on it, concentrate on it.

My dream client would be: anyone, really. When I design, I am thinking about a lot of people, not just one. It’s more about connecting to a certain kind of generation or a certain kind of person that will connect to what we do.

I always wear: Adidas Stan Smiths. I have had periods where I only wore Stan Smiths, maybe from age 15 until I was 25.

The place that most inspires me is:everywhere. Some people have to go for a swim or have a holiday to be inspired, but for me, it’s there when I walk out the door.

My favorite movie directors are: Stanley Kubrick, Todd Haynes and Alfred Hitchcock.Kubrick’s movies are so visually striking, especially “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “Eyes Wide Shut.”

I collect: art. I started collecting more than 15 years ago. Cady Noland, Richard Prince,Cindy Sherman, Isa Genzken, Rosemarie Trockel, Charlie Ray, Robert Gober are artists that have made a huge impact on me on all levels, emotionally, conceptually, visually.

The hardest part of a man’s wardrobe to get right is: the tie and suit. [There is] so much bad suiting out there in terms of fit, style and fabric. So, when I design, I don’t start with fit or fabric, but with meaning. The phrase “suit and tie” has a special place in our vocabulary.

One of my favorite books is: The Christiane F. book [“Zoo Station: The Story of Christiane F.”—about a teenage ****** addict]. The movie [1981] was an amazing interpretation, but the book is more striking.

I feel most proud about: simple things like being able to handle love and friendship and family. Or taking care of my dog. Of course, I do also feel proud of what I do.

I am a big fan of: furniture design, especially French or Swiss designers such as Jean Royère, Pierre Jeanneret and Jean Prouvé as well as Japanese-American designer George Nakashima. I love how beautifully designed furniture sits in history—it’s unpretentious.

The one thing I always travel with is: my sweatshirt from Vier, a skateshop in Antwerp. “Vier” is the Dutch word for four. I always take it on flights because I refuse to put on the pajamas they give to you.

I wish I could always be with: my dog, Luca, a Beauceron, who behaves like everything except a dog—more like a cat or a frog. She’s still a baby.

The one thing I wish didn’t exist is: mobile phones. I am old enough to remember how it was before them. There was something much more beautiful about not having one. We communicated in such a different way with each other.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
For some designers, fabric is the starting point of their collections. For others, it’s their initial sketches. But for Edda Gimnes, it’s neither. Or actually both.

The Norwegian born, London College of Fashion graduate begins by creating graphic drawings executed with her left hand though she is right-handed, and which possibly adds to their naïve charm. Blown up across canvas or reworked in fur, these drawings, inspired by an eclectic collection of found vintage photographs and objects, animate her living fashion cutouts. While this approach earned her more trouble than praise as a student, it has now paid off, earning her the 2016 Designer for Tomorrow title, sponsored by German specialty store chain Peek & Cloppenburg and its online shop Fashion ID, and this year under the patronship of Alber Elbaz.

Although Elbaz, who is recuperating from pneumonia, was not allowed by his doctors to fly to Berlin for the June 30 DFT show held during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Berlin, he was nonetheless most perceptibly present. Jury members all remarked how his hand — and his eye — could be felt in the cull of the first 15 finalists. Filmed the night before the show in Paris, his video welcome to the five finalists and the audience couldn’t have been more personal.

Watching the live-stream of the show, and together with the eight member jury board choosing the winner, Elbaz said he saw a lot of potential in Gimnes. “She captured my imagination and I’m keen to find out how her talent will evolve,” he said. The young creative will soon be meeting Elbaz in person, a trip to Paris to meet the designer the next step in the one-year sponsorship program.

Design competitions, like wine, have their good years and bad years, and this year’s DFT crop was especially strong. The other finalists included David Kälble, whose cross-cultural South African-inspired collection mixed fur trims and cable tie fringes; Elisa Kley’s ultra linear compositions; Marc Morris Mok’s geometry in motion (and Sponge Bob footwear) ideas, and Ancuta Sarca’s plasticized fashion wardrobe.Read more at: |
judy smith Jul 2016
Think summer dressing in Australia and Zimmermann has always been front-of-mind. No surprise then, that it was the first Australian label to be picked up by Net-A-Porter 10 years ago - a milestone that is being celebrated by Zimmermann’s fourth (yes, fourth) collaborative capsule collection with the company.

“We’re saying 10 years of good time,” says Nicky Zimmermann on the phone from the Zimmermann’s headquarters in Rosebery. “The actual concept can be in a matter of days, particularly if you have a really good feeling about it like this one.” For her sister Simone, she remembers speaking to Net-A-Porter about it in February - “they were extremely supportive, they’ve always understood the whole designer space,” she says. “You do these sort of things and it’s one day at a time.”

For her favourite piece, she zeroes in on a printed dress with a lace trim. “I just know that I would wear it to a beautiful dinner or a wedding somewhere overseas. It’s got a lovely, relaxed vibe and lots of detail.” Each and every element is exclusive to the collection, from the lace to the print. “Nothing is anything we’ve used before,” Nicky explains.

Evolving from a Paddington market stall 25 years ago to six US stores and more to come (next on the list: London) is no easy feat. “Zimmermann have always had an international perspective,” says Maria Williams, a Net-A-Porter buyer who has worked with the label since starting at the e-tailer in 2010. “They were one of the first Australian brands to go global. They set their sights on the US by setting up stores in New York and L.A. and they’re continuing to grow. They have managed to tap into what every woman wants to wear globally… What’s been integral to the brand since its inception has remained but their move to show at New York Fashion Week and developments in terms of their fabrications have certainly elevated its position on the global fashion stage.” The label will also be moving to a larger US office in New York. “There’s more infrastructure in terms of general staff joining that team,” divulges Simone - not that she’s forgetting Australia too, since she also mentions the Paddington store that will relaunch in July.

“The essence of what we do is always there,” says Nicky. “On the design end, myself and the design team are better for each collection. It’s not where I want to be if I want to be only as good as my first two collections, 25 years ago!”Read more at: |
judy smith Jun 2016
I’m never quite sure which activity I prefer at a fashion show - spending time backstage or watching the actual show.

Watching a beautiful show is a wonderful, sometimes even uplifting experience but being where all the action is, being able to get up close and personal with all the looks and different pieces, it really does get my adrenaline juices flowing.

At Paris Men’s Fashion Week, I was invited backstage by Mac Cosmetics to two brilliant and colourful shows - Kenzo and Paul Smith.

At Kenzo, both women and men collections were presented, the men’s was the standard spring/summer 2017 collection whilst the women’s was the pre-collection.

The general feel of both collections was a 90s throwback nightlife experience with lots of colourful, eclectic designs. The vibe really did hark back to those 90s clubbing days - the same style of clothes one wore out partying with their friends back then.

Think windbreakers, hoodies, biker jackets, baggy pants and visible male underwear pieces all mixed in with some super bright details. The palette as a general theme was bright but not overly bright - it was a mix of bright blues and greens mixed in with greys and whites and acid yellow but then there were bright details.

There were, for instance, glittery bright pink platform boots and matching little bags which were definite eye catchers. Eye motifs have become an iconic symbol of Kenzo and in fact eyes were once again worked into these pieces - a long-lashed version.

The makeup look for the men by Mac Cosmetics was kept clean and **** but with some shine used to exemplify the out-all-night partying vibe.

The women’s look was an ultra bright look with one look based around bright green and the other bright cyan blue. Again, the party-all-night vibe was present here too.

At Paul Smith, true to his nature, bright colours reigned supreme in his collection which felt like a harmony of retro and bohemian inspirations. Clubbing was a source of inspiration here too but this time the 1960s decade.

Candy stripe shirts, sportswear-themed bright tops and bright striped socks and shoes were all there. This was mixed perfectly with some more conservative, tailored suits.

Backstage, the happy mood was infectious with models dancing along to Bob Marley and the entire team carrying a big smile on their faces as they prepared for the show.

The makeup team again by Mac Cosmetics had an energetic and happy team whose main focus was on getting the male models catwalk and camera ready but without the makeup being in any way obvious.

As one of the makeup artists mentioned, it takes skill to make makeup appear invisible. There was also quite a range of different skin tones present across the different models although curly hair seemed to have been quite a priority during the model selection process.Read more at: |
judy smith Jun 2016
Paul Andrew, Scott Schuman, Anton Magnani, Frank Charriaut
Paul Andrew, creator of his eponymous line; Anton Magnani, chief executive officer of Sutor Mantellassi; The Sartorialist’s Scott Schuman, and Carvil artistic director Frank Charriaut packed into Colette on Saturday afternoon to debut their collections for fall.

“They’re very different,” said Sarah Andelman, creative director and purchasing manager of the Paris concept store. “The only thing they have in common is ‘made in Italy.’ You have the American brand, the Italian brand and the French. We don’t want shoes that are too classic. We’re trying to find our feet.”

Andrew was debuting his first shoe collection for guys during Paris Men’s Fashion Week. “Before I started my own brand four years ago, I designed shoes for 15 years for several other designers. I was doing men’s shoes for [Alexander] McQueen and later for Calvin Klein, so I have experience in men’s shoes and I loved it. I remember that time so fondly,” he said.

Colette stocks 12 men’s styles from his label. “This shoe, which may look like a classic shoe from the bottom, [actually has] four layers of leather to the sole, which makes it more aggressive, but still in a very refined way,” he explained, also pointing to sneakers bonded with neoprene and deer skin, “which is super luxurious leather – very light, but it’s also breathable.”

Following Colette, Andrew’s line will roll out to other stores, including Barneys.

Meanwhile, Magnani and Schuman presented their collab0ration — a chic sneaker style in four color ways.

“I really wanted to have something that would have interesting color combinations because, you know, I wear blue, gray, black, taupe a little bit [when it comes to clothes],” said Schuman. “I don’t wear like crazy colors. But for shoes you can do something a little more interesting.”

“Scott really came up with the good idea of making the stripes without seeing the stitch. You can see it’s all folded,” said Magnan, referring to the sneakers priced at 425 euros, or $471 at current exchange.

The duo just unveiled at Pitti Uomo spring 2017 styles, which are white but with “more summery color combinations,” explained Schuman.

Will the pair doing more collaborative projects? “We’re not just dating, we’re married for a little while. No Brexit between us,” Schuman said.

Charriaut presented his first collection for recently revived Carvil. “Carvil is a Parisian brand that was back in the day very chic and hip, for elegant men,” he explained.

Marc Jacobs, who was at Colette Saturday for the launch of Lorenzo Martone’s new eyewear range, purchased a pair of Carvil boots. Charriaut noted they were the style designed for Bob Dylan.

Meanwhile, downstairs at Colette, fans were lining up to get a signed copy of “Undercover Jun Takahashi,” published by Rizzoli. “There’s 25 years of history in it,” explained the designer.

The book, whose release comes following the retrospective dedicated to Takahashi at the Tokyo Opera City Art Gallery last October, is chockablock with his sketches, graphic work, pictures and essays. After a stint at the specialty store, the tome will roll out to bookshops in July. It’s priced at $65.Read more at: |
judy smith Jun 2016
Occasionally, fashion shows start late because the designer is still working on the collection. There are some persnickety types out there who would happily keep tinkering until it’s markdown time.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli decided they would throw in the towel whenever they felt each item in their spring collection was finished just enough to reveal the beauty of the craftsmanship at the heart of a couture house like Valentino. They explained that they had borrowed the concept from the “Unfinished: Thoughts Left Visible” exhibition at the Met Breuer in New York, which showcased some 500 years of paintings still in progress.

The highfalutin’ explanation had one searching for examples beyond the brogues with exposed staples and undyed edges they plucked off a table backstage. But apart from a bit of sagging lining here and a few dangling threads there, here was a collection with that familiar Valentino polish.

The camouflage coats and military-influenced ensembles had a sense of deja vu, too, albeit with more irregular splotches and ruff-hewn embroideries. What felt newer were the monochromatic ensembles, layers of featherweight coats and zippered shirt jackets tucked into tapered trousers. They came in Army green, a deep blue or black — the latter peppered with silver grommets — and were chic from start to finish.Read more at: |
judy smith Jun 2016
The retail and fashion industries offer a lot opportunities but there are challenges and stiff competition. To stay ahead, retail and fashion stores need to offer the latest and best quality products at competitive prices. The job can be get done through professionals called merchandizing managers or merchandizers who play a vital link between the vendors and the customers.

Merchandizing managers are professionals who select the products to be sold keeping in mind the requirements of targeted customers. These managers are usually employed by boutiques, departmental stores, malls and retail outlets.

Merchandizers work closely with buyers to identify any upcoming trends. The main focus of a merchandizer is to ensure that the departments or stores for which they work meets its sales targets and earns a healthy profit. If margins are below expectations, they need to analyse the reasons and alert management about the problems.

Though the field of merchandizing does not require any specific degree but a bachelor's degree in business, merchandizing or similar field is preferred. A student can further pursue master's or a doctoral degree for better prospects. Also, merchandizing manager must possess good knowledge of the company and customer needs, industry awareness, presentation and negotiation skills, a confident personality and innovative ideas. Merchandizing is a challenging field, hence the merchandizing manager should be able to provide effective solutions for various problems.

"The scope of merchandizing is huge. Unfortunately, there are hardly any merchandizing companies in Nagpur. You don't need a specific background to enter this field. Any person with good communication skills and the ability to learn can excel in the field," said Prashant Siriah, director of city-based Global Merchandize and Logistics.

"The biggest challenge of this field is to meet customer's demands. The market is huge. I feel there is dire need to boost merchandizing industry in the city. Being a garment merchandizer, I would suggest students to be stay updated with the latest trends and traits of retail markets," said Pooja Bembi, garment merchandizer, owner B Different boutique.

"Merchandizing has a huge market outside Nagpur. We began from Nagpur but are business is now set in Bengaluru. We have seen the industry grow. As an experienced professional, I can only say that merchandizing has a lot to offer. Students should be open to explore. Out of the box thinking and excellent management skills are qualities a merchandizing managers need to have," said Nikhil Pandey, co- founder of Thinkstrokes, Bengaluru.

"People who want to join this industry need to have complete interest in it. I am passionate about my work. It's important because once you come into this industry you have to create your own path. I feel as merchandizers we need to come up with innovative ideas to cater to the interest of today's generation who are so much aware of fashion and apparels," said Anmol Huda, garment merchandizer, SWAG Store, Nagpur.

Merchandizing offers a decent pay scale. It offers steady growth to people having the right skills and attitude but one needs to be patient.

(Reporting by Shrushti Wanare)


I think fashion is something you create. You work on it. It's more than theory. It challenges your creativity. It's not when I read books but it's when I sit with the outfits I understand its details. Merchandizing interests me. It has multiple layers to experiment with. I am particularly more inclined towards garment merchandizing.

Gundeep Kalra | fashion and merchandizing, Indian national institute of fashion designing,

I am pursuing fashion designing. I wish to study fashion further and I think merchandizing as an industry offers good opportunities as well as bright financial prospects as a career. It tests your imagination skills. It is a very indulgent course. A student needs a mix of creative potential and aptitude to excel in this field.

Ayshna Verma | UG student fashion designing, pearl academy, delhi

Colleges offering merchandizing courses

Parsons School of Design, Talent Edge, Nagpur

Courses offered: Online

Program: Diploma in Executive Programme Of fashion and Merchandizing

Duration: 5 months

Fees: Rs65,000

School of Fashion and Technology, Pune

Courses offered: On Campus

Program: Post Graduation in Fashion and Merchandizing

Duration: 2 years

Pearl Academy, Delhi/ NCR

Courses offered: On Campus

Program: Post Graduation in Fashion and Merchandizing

Duration: 2 years.Read more at: |
Next page