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judy smith Oct 2015
He's accosted Kim Kardashian, Brad Pritt and Ciara, but red carpet prankster Vitalii Sediuk tried his luck with a much fiercer face on Tuesday.

The Ukrainian journalist approached US Vogue editor, Anna Wintour, outside the Chanel show at Paris Fashion Week.

Wearing a black headdress and glittery sequinned glove, Vitalli broke through the security barriers and ran up to the notoriously icy journalist as she exited the show.

With a microphone in his hand, Vitalli could be seen attempting to get her attention - but nonchalant Anna kept her cool and dismissed the prankster, striding straight past him.

Anna's security stepped in immediately and removed the prankster, who made a peace sign with his hand.

Anna is by no means the first star that Vitalli has pranked.

He famously targetted Kim Kardashian in September last year in the huge crowd that gathered around Kim and her husband Kanye's car as they arrived at the Balmain show at Paris Fashion Week, in which her sister Kendall Jenner was walking.

In bizarre scenes, Vitalii - the prankster who accosted Brad Pitt at the Maleficent premiere in Los Angeles earlier last year - was reported to have pulled Kim's hair [which he denies] and almost knocked the then 33-year-old starlet to the ground, in front of Kanye and her mother Kris Jenner.

Security quickly jumped in and escorted a shocked Kim into the building.

This was just one of the many times the former journalist has had run-ins with celebrities including America Ferrera, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lopez.

Brad Pitt recently spoke out about the infamous run in with the now-notorious Sediuk at the Malificent premiere in Hollywood in late May.

The movie hunk said he was forced to defend himself after the Ukrainian television personality tried to 'bury his face in my crotch.'

Brad said he was having a great time mingling with fans on the red carpet, but things soon turned nasty when Sediuk sparked a melee that left the heartthrob with broken sunglasses.

He told People: 'I was at the end of the line signing autographs, when out the corner of my eye I saw someone stage-diving over the barrier at me.

'I took a step back; this guy had latched onto my lapels. I looked down and the ****** was trying to bury his face in my crotch, so I cracked him twice in the back of the head – not too hard – but enough to get his attention, because he did let go.

'I think he was then just grabbing for a hand hold because the guys were on him, and he reached up and caught my glasses.'

The Moneyball star said he likes people to have fun, but argued Sediuk's antics could end up spoiling glamorous Hollywood events for everyone else.

He said: 'I don’t mind an exhibitionist but if this guy keeps it up he’s going to spoil it for the fans who have waited up all night for an autograph or a selfie, because it will make people more wary to approach a crowd. And he should know, if he tries to look up a woman’s dress again, he’s going to get stomped.'

Sediuk was sentenced to 30 days in jail after attacking Brad at the Los Angeles premiere of Maleficent.

He was already on probation for jumping on stage with Jennifer Lopez when he jumped over a crowd barrier at the opening of Angelina Jolie's new film Maleficient and struck Brad

He was charged with assault, battery, unlawful activity at an exhibition and delay of an exhibition, received the jail sentence plus 20 days community labor, 36 months probation and a $220 fine.

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
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 Feb 2016
On World Hijab Day, which was on February 1, you didn’t have to be a Muslim to wear one. The designated day was first announced in 2013. Founded by activist Nazma Khan, the story behind World Hijab Day is an emotional one which speaks of the bullying, prejudice, physical and racial abuse Khan endured as a young child who migrated to the US from Bangladesh. These unkind imputations were all because she wore a hijab.

Since launching an online store in 2010 to sell hijabs, Khan has received an outpouring of support from hijab-wearing women across the globe who have shared with her their own terrifying stories because of their headscarves.

Today, World Hijab Day is celebrated in 116 countries around the world. Although the declaration received negative criticisms from some who saw it as a “well-financed effort by conservative Muslims to dominate modern Muslim societies,” others respect the day. One such person was New York Assemblyman David Weprin, who in his feature address on World Hijab Day, said: “As the prime Assembly sponsor of the Religious Garb bill in New York State, A2049, I stand with all Americans of faith, regardless of their choice, to wear a hijab, kippah, turban, or cross. All Americans of all faiths should be allowed to freely exercise and display their religious choice without the fear of violence and bigotry.”

Here at home, women’s rights activist and model Naballah Chi has not been quiet about her love and honour for the true meaning of the hijab. In an interview with the T&T; Guardian, Chi explained the meaning of the hijab and why it’s worn.

“The literal meaning of hijab is to veil, to cover, or to screen. Islam is known as a religion concerned with community cohesion and moral boundaries, and therefore the hijab is a way of ensuring that the moral boundaries between unrelated men and women are respected,” said Chi.

She added, “In this sense, the term hijab encompasses more than a scarf and more than a dress code. It is a term that denotes modest dressing and modest behaviour. Wearing the hijab is a commandment from Allah. The majority of Muslim women wear hijab to obey God, and to be known as respectable women.

“The basic requirement of the hijab is that a Muslim woman should cover her head and ***** (chest) and her body. So in the last 30 years, hijab has emerged as a sign of Islamic consciousness and women’s assertion to obey their lord. A woman wearing hijab becomes a very visible sign of Islam.

“The aura of privacy created by hijab is indicative of the great value Islam places upon women. Therefore, hijab is not a symbol of oppression. The hijab does not prevent a woman from acquiring knowledge or from contributing to the betterment of human society. While those who seek to ban hijab refer to it as a symbol of gender-based repression, the women who choose to don a scarf, or to wear hijab, in the broadest sense of the word, view it as a right and not a burden,” she explained.

She said wearing the hijab has given her the freedom from constant attention to her physical self.

“My appearance is not subjected to scrutiny, my beauty, or perhaps lack of. Instead it has been removed from the realm of what can legitimately be discussed,” she said.

Chi comes from a world of beauty pageants where she once felt pressured to put down her hijab in exchange for a crown.

After understanding the true meaning behind the hijab, and why she wore a hijab as a Muslim woman, she decided to design a fashionable collection called Classic Woman—not the conventional headscarf, but rather, beautifully coloured pieces which bear intricate artwork. They can range from embroidery to sequins or even tie-dye. The sky is the limit when she puts her fashionable sense into motion.

Chi said the collection was inspired by both The Great Gatsby and the Renaissance eras of power dressing.

“My collection features designs showcasing the powerful but elegant and well-tailored woman.

Chi Collection’s trademark fabrics are soft, beautiful silks, chiffon, sequins, embroidery and bridal laces. Distinctive attributes are the colours scarlet red, white and black, in keeping with the classic fashion palette and to pay homage to my country as a Trinbagonian designer,” said Chi.

Her collection was launched in November 2015 at the Red Runway Fashion Gala held in Port-of-Spain. The collection will be available for purchase via Chi’s upcoming website.Read more |
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 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 May 2016
After Aishwarya Rai Bachchan gave us some impressive red carpet outings, all eyes were on Sonam Kapoor as she made her sixth Cannes appearance in a row. And boy, she lived up to our expectations in a whimsical Ralph and Russo sari-inspired gown with half cape. Her styling was bang on with pink lips, dewy makeup and middle-parted neat tresses.

Designers give thumbs up to the actor, without a second thought. “Sonam looks spectacular. I love the dramatic outfit. I loved the fact that Sonam wore no jewellery (except for a ring) and kept her hair straight with some interesting eye makeup,” says designer Manish Malhotra.

“I love this look. It is a great example of something experimentally grand and classic at the same time. I also like the jersey in the top portion, which adds a very modern and sporty vibe to a traditional embroidered half cape sari inspired gown. There is a duality I can sense here and it has surprising familiarity in terms of a classic Balenciaga vibe,” says designer Rahul Mishra.

Designer Rina Dhaka also loves her look, but believes that subtler looks can also work the same magic . “Sonam looks gorgeous. The outfit has a lot of volume, and yet it is controlled and figure hugging. I would call her a drape crusader,” she says, adding, “However, unlike Indian actors, international actors are going for understated, simpler looks. We guys tend to take on too much embroidery, making it look theatrical. These looks are bridal by western standards. But our audiences like this.”Read more |
judy smith Apr 2015
The DisArt Festival aims to bring people together through different modes of art to further the discussion about disability and community. One such way the Festival is doing so is through fashion.

On Friday, the DisArt Festival hosted two events to talk about accessible fashion, a workshop in the morning and a runway fashion show that evening. The Festival showcasedOpen Style Lab from MIT, Fashion Has Heart, Kendall College of Art and Design fashion students and Spectrum Health Innovations designs for people of all ages with disabilities.

Friday morning at 9 a.m. students, designers and festival goers came together in the Ferris building at Kendall College to discuss their involvement in the Festival.

“(Through the DisArt Festival) we wanted to do something that flipped perceptions on its head,” says Chris Smit, director of the DisArt Festival.

Open Style Lab began as an extracurricular student group at MIT where students wanted to create functional, stylish clothing that people with or without disabilities could wear. The group pairs a person with disabilities up with an engineer, an occupational therapist and a designer to work together to create the most comfortable, functional and good looking garment possible.

Fashion Has Heart is a Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that makes clothing and boots designed by veterans to tell their stories. All proceeds of sales go toward veteran support.

Kendall College was approached by Spectrum Health Innovations about creating clothing for kids that receive occupational therapy at Spectrum. Many clothing companies that make garments for kids with disabilities are not sure how to do so or sell their product at a prohibitively high price. Students in a fashion for action and function class were each teamed up with one child and made a one-of-a-kind, fashionable garment that the child would be proud to wear while also being helped by it.

At 7 p.m. Friday night, there was a fashion show in the same room at Kendall College to show off all the designs from the different companies. All of the models featured in the show were local to the Grand Rapids area. Led by Robert Andy Coombs, fashion coordinator for the festival, the event was a packed house, with nearly 300 guests filling the runway space lit with green and pink festival colors while a DJ played club music.

Open Style Lab created three jackets that were easy for people with disabilities to put on and take off but were not only for Disabled users. The Lab really wanted to focus on making multi-way gear as to include more people and to bring more attention to bringing accessible clothing into the mainstream.

Fashion Has Heart featured five of their styles, each with a t-shirt and a pair of boots that tell the story of the veteran who worked with the company to create the design.

The Kendall College students created five styles over the course of the semester and were able to showcase their pieces on the kids that they were created for. The kids benefitted most from compression clothing, so the students were challenged to create clothes that they kids would want to wear but would also help compress and engage their muscles.

“Fashion is communication,” says Liz Bartlett, the Kendall College professor that teaches the fashion class. “It’s a way for people to express their identity. DisArt celebrates identity differences but also our similarities.”Read more |
judy smith Sep 2015
Photographers are up in arms this week over an online battle between a DJ and a wedding photographer. At the center of the controversy is the question of whether or not a DJ should be able to shoot and share wedding photos when the photographer has an exclusivity agreement with the bride and groom.

Photographer Carly Fuller and DJ Ken Rochon of Absolute Entertainment were both hired to offer their services at a wedding this past weekend. Fuller says that it was during the pre-ceremony that she noticed Rochon holding professional camera equipment.

“I love cross promotion but unfortunately no other professional company may take photographs during the event,” she tells PetaPixel. She says she offered to send her photos to Rochon after the wedding, but the DJ replied that he was taking his own photos for marketing and social media purposes.

Fuller says she was surprised at 9am the next morning to see Rochon’s photos posted in a Facebook album on the page for Rochon’s other business, The Umbrella Syndicate. The photographer then contacted the DJ to ask him to take the gallery down, since she was hired to be the sole professional photographer at the wedding.

Here’s the exclusivity clause that was in the contract signed by the bride and groom.

This agreement contains the entire understanding between Carly Fuller Photography and the CLIENT. It supersedes all prior and simultaneous agreements between the parties. It is understood Carly Fuller Photography is the exclusive official photographer retained to perform the photographic services requested on this Contract.

Rochon says he was indeed photographing at the wedding, but believes that this whole thing was a “huge misunderstanding.”

“Either the bride and groom didn’t know of the clause, or they knew and didn’t tell me,” he tells PetaPixel. “The client was the bride and groom, and the bride and groom never told me I couldn’t bring a camera. The photographer wasn’t my client, and I didn’t have a contract with the photographer. I do have the right to take pictures.”

“When she delivers the photos she shot, she’s still delivering what she was hired to deliver,” he adds.

Rochon says he shared 232 photos he captured from his DJ station as a gift to the bride and broom with the couple’s full knowledge.

After word of this dispute got out into photography circles, photographers began to come to Fuller’s defense, leaving angry comments on Rochon’s album and Facebook page.

As this controversy grew over social media, Fuller named it #weddingphotogate. Rochon launched his own campaign called “Freedom to Capture Love.” Here’s an open letter he published to Facebook yesterday:

Fuller denies that she has levied fines against the bride and groom, who are currently on their honeymoon, and accuses Rochon of slandering her company and business practices.

Fuller accuses Rochon of interfering with the “organic experience” of the couple’s day and confusing guests about who the photographer was by posing people and taking detail photos during the wedding (Rochon says he was almost always shooting from his position at his DJ booth).

“I have images of them holding the camera and photobombing my ceremony photos,” Fuller says, “minutes after I had asked them to put their camera away and I would send them images.”

“Wedding vendors are hired because of their experience, talent, and vision,” Fuller tells PetaPixel. “Each of us has a right to do our job and deliver the quality our clients expect. We have a right to be able to perform our duties without another professional interfering with the process. Another vendor’s marketing needs do not supersede those rights.”

Rochon argues that he has the right to shoot photos during weddings as well.

“Why is it only the photographer that can market the event? Pretty much the only way you can market on social media these days is photography,” he tells PetaPixel “Everyone has cameras at events these days. I have every right to capture that love.”

Fuller’s position is that other professional wedding vendors should respect the wedding photographer’s exclusivity agreement and stay away from shooting and sharing photos themselves. Rochon, on the other hand, believes that photography is a basic right that even other vendors should be able to use to serve clients and market services.

“I wasn’t trying to give photos to discount the work of the photographer. I was simply marketing my company and giving my vantage point as a gift to the couple,” Rochon says.

Fuller responds: “Going forward, I hope all vendors can embrace the idea that we all should just do what we were hired to do, and BRING IT! But only bring what makes our own profession rock, and what makes our service and product the best they can be. Let’s agree to stay out of each other’s jobs – we each were hired for a reason. Let each other shine.”

judy smith Sep 2015
Sep 28, 2015- A cocktail party is a fad in big fat weddings nowadays, and so have elaborate and voluminous cocktail gowns! But before you head to buy such an outfut, it's best to evaluate your body type and choose something that offers comfort, says an expert.

Divya Sisodia, fashion stylist,, an online shopping destination, has shared tips on how to choose a cocktail dress that can flatter you:

* Before picking a cocktail dress, evaluate your body type on whether it is pear shaped, rectangle shaped, apple shaped, petite, bony, boxy or full-figured.

* Instead of blindly following the trend spotters, opt for a dress which is comfortable and suits you. For example, apple shaped women, who carry most of the fat around their abdominal region and often have a large bust and waist, but narrow hips, must opt for soft fabrics rather than fabrics that would cling to their body. Cocktail dresses with flowing or A-line cuts are perfect for pear shapes, as they silhouette the hips beautifully.

* Full-figured and plus size women must choose dark coloured dresses that make them look thinner.

* Accessories are a great way to add oomph to an evening look. It can help to add one’s own flair to a dress that might be beautiful on its own. Even a simple black dress becomes a style statement when paired with a pair of edgy earrings and spiked heels. You can also use interesting or chunky neckpieces to divert attention to your upper body than to your lower body.

* Don’t try to fit into ill-fitting cocktail dresses as they will only make you feel and look uncomfortable.

* To create an hourglass delusion, highlight your waistline. Blouson dresses that gather around the waist add a curve to the upper hip and show off your perfect legs. You can further enhance your waistline with a wide belt or corset belt in a contrasting colour to your cocktail dress.

judy smith Apr 2015
Fashion show finales follow a familiar rhythm: after the models march along the catwalk for a last hurrah, the designer comes out to take a bow. Their demeanour is often telling, an indicator of their attitude to the collection they've shown – are they a bag of nerves, or grinning from ear to ear?

Also noteworthy is the look they choose to take their bow in. Are they even wearing their own work? One of the most celebrated designers of our time never wears his own designs. Karl Lagerfeld may create the occasional menswear look at Chanel and he designs a whole men's collection for his eponymous label but he has long been a customer elsewhere: Dior Homme.

Lagerfeld started wearing Dior Homme when he was in his late 60s, shedding 41 kilograms to fit into the skinny styles of the label's then designer, Hedi Slimane. Lagerfeld has stayed loyal to the brand ever since, even after Slimane, now creative director of Saint Laurent, quit in 2006. And although the label is known for its emphasis on youth, Lagerfeld, now in his 80s, remains one of Dior Homme's most visible clients.

Raf Simons, meanwhile, Dior's creative director of womenswear, is partial to Prada: his presence in the documentary film Dior & I (2014) is most clearly announced via his distinctive studded Prada sneakers and he often takes his catwalk bow in a head-to-toe Prada look. For his first Christian Dior ready-to-wear show he wore a vintage denim jacket with red stripes by Austrian designer Helmut Lang.

And yet many designers do wear their own work, especially if the brand carries their surname. Editors scan the wardrobe of Miuccia Prada for clues to her latest collection: is she feeling utilitarian, elegant or purposefully off-kilter? When Donatella Versace takes her bow, she often wears a look from the collection she's just shown – for autumn/winter 2015, it was a pinstriped, flared pantsuit. And even Simons has worn pieces from his own label collaboration with Sterling Ruby.

So if the name is on the label, does it mean the clothes will always be on the designer's back? Not necessarily. "I've never been into wearing clothing with my own brand name inside," says Jonathan Anderson, designer behind JW Anderson and now creative director of Loewe. "I find it odd and arrogant."


Anderson's own wardrobe is a familiar uniform: crewneck sweater, faded blue jeans, Nike sneakers. It's entirely opposite to the menswear looks he creates for his own label's catwalk presentations, which have included bandeau tops and frilled shorts. He seems to favour a clean-palette approach: keeping himself neutral so as to not deflect from his experimentation elsewhere.

This kind of wardrobe is common among fashion designers. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez of Proenza Schouler appear to have no desire to create menswear for themselves or others, dressing instead in a similar style to Anderson: crewnecks, polo shirts or button-downs, usually with jeans and sneakers.

Mary Katrantzou, meanwhile, recent winner of the 2015 BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund, may have built her business on print and embellishment but she is usually found in a black knit dress by Azzedine Alaïa. Alaïa himself has perhaps the ultimate clean-palette wardrobe: for decades he has worn black cotton Chinese pyjamas, fastened by simple floral buttoning.

Each of these designers has a successful business with its own clear signature. So maybe it doesn't matter if they don't wear their own clothes. And yet when designers do, it can be so seductive. Men buy Tom Ford because they want to be like Tom Ford. Women buy Céline because they want to look like Phoebe Philo. Stefano Pilati, creative director of Ermenegildo Zegna Couture, is often said to be his own best model; Rick Owens, in his long draped vests and baggy shorts, is the perfect ambassador for his own alternate universe of otherness.

The style of Roksanda Ilincic is synonymous with her own brand. "I create pieces that embrace the female form," she says of her bold colour palette and silhouette. "Being a woman means I'm able to feel and test those things on a personal level … I tend to favour long hemlines and nipped-in waists, with interesting shades and textures, pared down with simple basics and outerwear." Does she ever wear anyone else? "Of course! Black polo necks from Wolford are an absolute staple and in winter I am rarely without my favourite black cashmere coat by Prada, which is on permanent loan from my husband."

It seems like an industry divided between designers who wear their own work and those who don't. But sometimes things change. Backstage at Loewe earlier this season, Anderson said: "With Loewe, I have a detachment. I wear a lot of it. Now I'm more, 'Does this work?' I've got a bit of a love back for fashion."

Two months on, his interest in wearing his own designs has grown still further. He is the cover star of the new issue of menswear biannual magazine Fantastic Man, posing in a slash-fronted sweater and leather tie trousers. The pieces are both his work from current season Loewe. Womenswear. In for a penny, in for a pound.Read more |
judy smith Feb 2017
In a few days, modernistas will flock to Palm Springs to ogle its healthy roster of mid-century gems.

There will be home tours, double-decker bus tours, fundraisers, art receptions and cocktail parties. At every turn, is an opportunity to embrace your inner modish self and dress the part.

Don’t worry, you won’t be alone. All the parties are rife with guests in fun retro apparel. Everything from caftans and A-line shift dresses to graphic prints and knee high boots.

“It's nostalgia for a bygone era and we dress up because it feels great when you are surrounded by stunning midcentury modern architecture and vintage cars. It makes me want to put on gloves and a pillbox hat and sip martinis - plus it makes for great photos,” said Lisa Vossler Smith, executive director of Modernism Week, who likes to dress the part as well. Modernism Week runs Feb. 16-26.

The mod-style which originated in London in the 1960s is all about sleek and simple silhouettes.

“Clean-tailored lines and lots of black and white define mod fashion for me,” Vossler Smith said.

Pegged ankle-length pants, colorful tights, Mary Jane heels and sweater twin sets also come to mind.

For inspiration, Vossler Smith turns to the likes of Twiggy, Edie Sedgwick and fashion designer Mary Quant, because of their iconic and forward-thinking mod style.

“But I also look to old movies and TV for inspiration. "James Bond," “Batman,” “Get Smart,” “Gidget,” and my favorite, “Breakfast at Tiffany's,” are great for inspiring new vintage looks from my daily wardrobe. Sometimes I even throwback to a little Rosalind Russell "Auntie Mame" or Grace Kelly influence - on a good hair day,” she said.

Her favorite vintage item is her 1960s leopard print, pointy-toe boots. “I wear them all the time,” she added.

Much like the classic, simple and timeless architecture of the homes and buildings that signify mid-century modern - mod fashion has had a lasting effect on popular culture and current design.

There are new, vintage inspired lines, such as the ones created by New York based Lisa Perry who led a discussion at last year’s Modernism Week on the mod looks that make up her collections.

Palm Springs’ own Trina Turk, who is known for her bold prints and vintage inspired designs , will present a “Trina Turk + Mr. Turk Fashion Show” poolside at the Modernism Week Show House on Feb. 21.

Palm Springs and the rest of the Coachella Valley is full of thrift shops and specialty boutiques teeming with outfits perfect for a mod party. You can go new – Turk’s flagship store is in Palm Springs – but it’s a lot of fun and rewarding to dig through thrift shop racks for that signature outfit.

“We really have great stores throughout the desert,” Vossler Smith said.Read more at: |****-formal-dresses
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 Apr 2016
The Arabian Fashion Zone, which drew large crowds at Bride Abu Dhabi, was a space dedicated to designers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, who showcased their latest collections of traditional and evening wear. Among them was Sharjah-born Fawzia Al Zarooni, who made good her childhood dreams of becoming a designer when she established the label Ms Unique Designs. It had one of the most vibrant stands at the show, filled with occasion gowns, jalabiyas and abayas in jungle green, tangerine and magenta. Al Zarooni shares the inspiration behind her creations.

What’s unique about your label?

The modern cuts, the finishing, the handwork and the fabrics I use – I’m always fusing different textures together and giving my clients plenty of options about the embellishments, beads and semi-precious stones they can finish their garments with.

What do Emirati guests wear to weddings?

We wear totally different styles to the formal abaya, which is normally plain in design and opaque. For weddings we want to look glamorous, perhaps by wearing a dress. Or if we do choose an abaya for the occasion, it will be black but very sheer to show the dress beneath, which will be very colourful.

What might an Emirati bride wear?

The lady getting married will wear a traditional western wedding dress – but not that often with an abaya on top. For some, that is too much.

What style of western gowns are trending?

Nothing too big. The bride must be able to walk and move easily in her dress. Tastes have changed a lot and just a few years ago, an Emirati bride wanted big, fluffy gowns with lots of stones and dentelle – today, simplicity is what she wants.Read more |
judy smith Mar 2016
It was hardly a JFK moment but if, like me, you remember what you were doing when you first heard a Spice Girls track, it may be hard to believe two decades have elapsed since the girl group released their debut single, Wannabe, in the dying days of John Major’spremiership. Together with Oasis, Blur and Blair they heralded a new dawn for Britain - selling millions of records while they were at it - before embarking on what turned out to be a lengthy hiatus just four years later. There was a brief reunion in 2007-8 but the question now is: how, if at all, will they mark their 20th anniversary this summer?

Sitting opposite me in a London hotel bar in Leicester Square, just across from where she co-hosts the Breakfast show on Heart FM withJamie Theakston, Emma Bunton - the one formerly known as “Baby Spice” - makes no secret of her hope that the “girls” (now all in their forties) will get their act together.

“We adore each other. There’s so much we’ve been through. I would love to do something,” she says. “I think we’d all quite like to do something, but it really is figuring it out. We all have such different lives. Mel B [Melanie Brown, formerly Scary Spice] lives in America. We’ve all got different managers.” Not to mention the fact they are all mothers now and their busy schedules include commitments such as school plays, which makes finding time for a reunion even harder.

It’s natural to wonder, too, if any jealousy simmers beneath the surface. Victoria Beckham’s star has risen exponentially since the group broke up, with her marriage to former footballer David, their children and her fashion line keeping the profile of the erstwhile Posh Spice higher than those of any of her former bandmates. Bunton insists she’s delighted for her though.

“When a friend does that well it’s incredible. She’s just hilarious and I know exactly what she’s thinking just by looking at her,” she says. “I see pictures and I go, ‘I know what she’s thinking about!’ I’m very lucky because I know the fun, sarcastic, brilliant other side to her as well.” The fact that Beckham invited Bunton to choose a dress for her 40th birthday in January would appear to support the picture she paints of their friendship.

When “Baby” joined the band in 1994 she was almost young enough to be in a school play herself. Now she has two babies of her own - Beau, aged eight, and four-year-old Tate - with her fiance, the singer Jade Jones, to whom she has been engaged since 2011. Although she could pass for 30, her woollen shawl, floral Kooples shirt and the glasses that frame her face give her the look of an elder stateswoman of pop.

“Wouldn’t that be amazing?” she agrees when I suggest a one-off gig at Wembley Stadium. “Fingers crossed. That’s something we’d really love to do.” While we talk, a phone rings in her bag. It’s Geri Halliwell, formerly known as Ginger Spice. Bunton ignores it. “I’ll speak to her after and tell her you suggested it,” she says of the concert idea.

Meanwhile there is her new early evening live TV show to focus on. In BBC Two’s Too Much TV, she pairs up with Rufus Hound, Sara *** or Aled Jones, reviewing and previewing what’s on the box. Her years of experience as a radio host have come in handy here, but the programme itself has reportedly suffered some disappointing audience figures.

Still, Bunton is pleased to be forming a female double act with ***. The phrase “Girl Power” - which she defines as “supporting one another in everything you do” - was famously central to the Spice Girls’ brand and is something she continues to draw on. “For me, it started with seeing my mum going back to college at 40, starting karate at 40. She just kept growing and I’ve really fed off that,” she says. “I want to grow as much as she did and still is. She was my first role model. Jade is brilliant, it’s just we [girls] have had to push a bit harder. As girls we’ve pushed things forward.”

Bunton was born and raised as a Catholic with her younger brother in Finchley, north London. Her parents worked hard to provide for their children but separated when she was about 11, which she struggled with. (“I don’t like change too much,” she says.) Until her father, a former milkman, recently moved to Ireland, she would visit him every Sunday. Privately educated at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London, she was granted a scholarship when her parents could no longer afford the fees.

Though not one to dwell on failure, even she began to question herself when the rejections kept coming. “You’d think, ‘I’m just not good enough,” she says. It wasn’t until she auditioned to become the fifth member of the Spice Girls that her big break arrived. She was asked there and then to move in with the others in Maidenhead - and the rest is nineties pop history.

Part of the Spice Girls’ selling point was their girl-next-door image. While it could not be said that *** was removed from the equation - theUnion Flag dress Halliwell performed in at the 1997 Brit Awards left little to the imagination and many of Brown’s leopard print outfits were an exercise in cleavage-display - *** appeal was not the main draw. Yet even if looks weren’t the focus (wasn’t it all supposed to be about fun, girl power and attitude?) Bunton hasn’t always felt secure about her body image.

“Obviously [body shape] is such a big thing in this industry,” she says. “I’m 5ft 1in so I feel that sometimes being curvaceous is harder to carry off because I’m so short. But I’m comfortable. I’ve always been that kind of way. In the industry it is becoming a bit more difficult because everybody is so slight, it’s quite unbelievable. I don’t know how they do it.”

When she first joined the group she felt relaxed enough about her appearance, but went through “probably a very short stage when everything hit and there were pictures everywhere and you think, ‘Do I look OK?’” This faded, and having children has helped stop her worrying about this. “It’s something I just don’t take on board as much because I can’t,” she says. “But you’re being pictured every day or papped, so obviously there’s that pressure of hoping to look half decent in pics.”

Reflecting on how motherhood has transformed her, she goes on: “I used to be very self-absorbed, I’m sure, worrying about what I was going to wear to the next event or whether my roots were done,” she says. “I’ve changed as a person.”

So what about that long engagement? Will she ever get round to tying the knot? She and Jade will need their heads knocking together before they do, she says. “If we do, we’ll definitely elope,” she adds.

Career-wise, she remains ambitious. She has a small part in the forthcoming Absolutely Fabulous movie and would like to sing and act more, as well as branching out into comedy (she’s already been involved in Comedy Central’s Drunk History).

Pop culture doesn’t cast out the over-40s these days, so there’s no reason to think she won’t stick around. Nobody, after all, puts Baby in a corner.Read more |
judy smith Nov 2016
The 41-year-old actress, who launched her The Eva Longoria Holiday Collection for The Limited earlier this week - following the success of her debut collection in July his year - has admitted she "loves festive colours" and glitzy products for the festive season.

Speaking about her wardrobe choices in a video posted on her Instagram account, the brunette beauty said: "I really look forward to gathering with loved ones, whether its family gatherings, or work place gatherings, there are so many events that happen during the holiday season and you need the wardrobe to go with that.

"During the holidays I like to gravitate towards embellishment [and] colour. I like festive colours, I love red, I love green, I love winter white, something with an A-line, something body conscious, something that looks great with a heel."

And the former 'Desperate Housewives' star has admitted the shape of clothes and how they fall is "everything" to her.

Speaking about her design preferences, and the reason behind the materials she has used in her latest collection, she said: "Fit is everything to me, that's why I love to use textiles and materials."

Eva - who married José Bastón earlier this year - believes romance can be expressed through fashion.

She explained: "I think romance is expressed in so many different ways sometimes you can get dressed up in a nice dress, a little black dress, or something with colour and go to dinner, or you can stay at home in a cosy t-shirt with some leggings and cuddle up by the fire and watch a movie."

Meanwhile Eva has admitted she is "so excited" her new products exclusive to the fashion house are "finally here" and are available to buy now.

She took to social media to announce the news of her latest line, which saw her share an image of her sporting the red floral swing dress from her exclusive capsule.

Alongside the post she wrote: "So excited to announce that The Eva Longoria Holiday Collection is finally here!Read more at: |
judy smith Nov 2015
In June this year, designer Masaba Gupta and film producer Madhu Mantena had the quietest of civil ceremonies. It was only when she took to Twitter the next day to talk about the court registry that most people heard of it. It was a move most unorthodox, for a leading fashion designer, especially one who counts several Bollywood actors among her close friends.

At the time, she also announced “a Caribbean wedding in November”.

The destination wedding isn’t happening. But that’s not to deprive us of a grand, four-day affair, the sort that has the most coveted guest list, and is followed with the keenest interest. It will start on November 19, with the bridal showers, will continue with the mehendi on November 20, the sangeet on November 21 and a gala reception on Sunday, (November 22). Expect the works, and guest lists that boast of Bollywood A-listers (Shahid and Mira Kapoor, and Sonam Kapoor are close friends, just so you know).

In short, it sounds like any other grand Indian celebrity wedding. Except, this is Masaba Gupta we’re talking about. As we catch up with her, we get the sense that she’s approached the whole thing with the same minimalism and quirkiness with which she approaches fashion. “A lot of people are invited,” she tells us, “But I’m not going around and talking about my wedding designer or my lipstick, so on and so forth.”

Unlike most Indian brides, she’s not even fretting over the big day, or days, as it were. “When I was growing up, I always saw brides around me under tremendous stress. The pressure to dress a certain way, wear a certain amount of jewellery and make-up... I saw how uncomfortable it was. So I decided that, if I do get married, I’ll be someone who puts comfort first, and then looks at her options for cut, colour, embroidery or jewellery,” says Gupta.

So, in case you do find yourself invited (otherwise, there’s always Instagram), don’t be surprised to see the most relaxed bride, dressed so comfortably that she’d be the envy of any married Indian woman. The idea, she says, is that a bride should “dress in a way that she can interact with people and have a good time herself.”

She’s also taken charge of the whole thing, and planned a non-fussy, non-extravagant celebration. “For me, three vacations is more value-for-money than a mandap with diamonds on it.”

True to her word, for her sangeet and reception, Gupta is ditching the norm of heavily designed lehengas and saris. “I didn’t go into that heavy, couture, bridal space. And I’m the kind of designer who wears works of other designers,” she says. So, her trousseau will have outfits by several other leading designers. “There are a few people who are great at doing certain things. Anamika [Khanna] is great at reception outfits. I can do a cool, quirky mehendi outfit. For a sangeet, somebody more in the Manish Arora or Shivan and Narresh kind of space,” she says.

The designer who’s always stood apart also seems keen to set an example. By not conforming to rules, Gupta wants to make a point. “I do want it to be about comfort, but I also want to change things up a bit. I want to set an example and say that you don’t need to wear a certain colour, a certain type of maang tika; your hair doesn’t have to look a particular way,” says the young designer.

Ask her if this is the (unconventional) dream wedding come true, and she laughs. “I never had a dream wedding. I’ve never visualised anything except clothes. Certainly not an elaborate wedding setup. See, I just don’t want to starve at my wedding. So, my dream wedding is one where I get to eat a meal while everyone else enjoys themselves as well.”

Masaba’s five-point guide to a chilled-out wedding

1) Get people to help out. If you try and look at every detail, you’re going to have a hard time. You may have a great input, but get people to do it for you.

2)People think you should shop for jewellery and clothes much in advance, but I think it should be done as close to the wedding as possible. You’ll have the latest stuff, and your taste might change over time. It’s best done around the wedding, so you don’t regret what you’ve bought.

3) Shoes are important. Make sure you’re in comfortable heels or flats, so you can survive the night.

4) Always test the make-up artist. Don’t just do a demo and leave it; test it through the day. See how the make-up behaves over a few hours, then you’ll know what it will actually be like, because it takes a couple of hours for make-up to set.

5) Receptions should start becoming more informal. You shouldn’t have to have the couple on stage smiling through the evening. I’ve heard of brides getting locked jaws. It’s absolute torture.

How to be the unconventional groom

• Fusion looks work well. If you’re wearing a Jodhpuri or a bandhgala, team it up with Jodhpuri pants. For men who are slimmer, suits do wonders.

• If you wish to be quirky and know you can carry it off, team dhoti pants and a shirt with a really formal blazer and a brooch.

• I love the cropped, ankle-length formal pants men are wearing now. It’s great for a reception.

• You don’t need to wear laced up shoes. Wear a nice slip-on in patent leather or a printed pair of shoes that stand out. So, you can make the whole look black and white, and have a nice pop shoe and make that the focus.

• Don’t be afraid of colours at your wedding. Get over navy blue, black or maroon. On a darker man, a haldi yellow kurta will look fantastic when teamed with an off-white or cream churidar. Even a soft pink in raw silk — it has a silver-pink shine — looks lovely.

How to be the ‘in vogue’ bride

• We’re seeing a lot of shapewear backs. Instead of the flared lehenga, women are opting for the fishtail cuts. Girls are also wearing shararas with big flares that almost look like a lehenga.

• Brides are going minimal. Go for less embellishment, and lighter lehengas.

• The dupatta is being ditched. Either that, or it’s attached. Much easier to handle.

• The choli is becoming more modest. People are wearing longer lengths, which are more fitted; the ‘60s style kurtas with shararas are also in. There’s more focus on the body and shape.

• I’m hoping the anarkali has died. It’s the worst of the lot. And it’s not very flattering. If you’re very skinny and tall, it works for you. If you’re short, you look like you’re lost in your outfit.

• Ditch the trail. At the end of the night, it’s a rag. It’s been stepped on and is *****.

judy smith Feb 2017
In 1983, the Fashion Design Council burst on to the Melbourne scene like a Liverpool kiss to the mainstream fashion industry. Inspired by punk's DIY aesthetic and armed with an audaciously grandiose title, an earnest manifesto and a grant from the Victorian government, FDC founders Robert Buckingham, Kate Durham and Robert Pearce were determined to showcase the burgeoning Melbourne design scene in all its outrageous glory.

"People resented hearing about Karl Lagerfeld," says Durham. "Our movement was against the mainstream and the way Australians and magazines like Vogue treated Australian designers."

Over its 10-year lifespan, the FDC launched such emerging designers as Jenny Bannister, Christopher Graf and Martin Grant. But what was perhaps most exciting was the FDC's ecumenical approach. Architects, filmmakers, artists and musicians all partied together at runway shows held in nightclubs.

"It was an inventive time when people came together and made people notice fashion," says Durham.

Among the creative congregation, Durham remembers artist Rosslynd Piggott, who constructed dresses of strange boats with children in them and filmmaker Philip Brophy, who used "naff" Butterick dress patterns. Elsewhere, an engineer made a pop-riveted ball dress out of sheet metal. The crossover between music, art, graphic design and film extended to architects such as Biltmoderne (an early incarnation of celebrated architects Wood Marsh) who designed the FDC's favourite runway and watering hole, Inflation nightclub.

"Clothing was confronting," says Durham. "It was brash and tribe-oriented. It was quite good if you weren't good-looking. People liked the idea that this or that clothing style was going to win you friends."

Today, however, even Karl Lagerfeld has a punk collection. To complicate matters, "fast fashion" appropriates the avant-garde at impossibly low prices. The digital era too has caused the fashion world to splinter and bifurcate. What's a young contemporary designer to do?

"The physical collective is no longer that important," says Robyn Healy, co-curator of the exhibition High Risk Dressing/Critical Fashion, which uses the FDC as a lens to view the current fashion landscape. "These are designers who are highly networked through social media who put their work up on websites."

Fashion designers still use music, film and architecture, but in different ways. Where FDC members might document its runway shows with video, studios such as Pageant use video as the runway show and post them online. Social media is perhaps the big disrupter. Where FDC designers might collaborate with architects, today it's webdesigners.

"Space has changed," says Healy. "Web designers might be the equivalent of the architect today. It's a different use of space."

As grandiose as the FDC, yet perhaps even more ambitious in scope, is contemporary designer Matthew Linde's online store *** gallery, Centre for Style. Like the FDC, it offers space for "artists who aren't at all designers per-se, but they're dealing with a borrowed language from fashion", Linde told i-D magazine.

"It's an extraordinary juggernaut across the world with a huge amount of Instagram followers," says co-curator Fleur Watson. "[Linde] has created a brand that uses social media in an interesting avant-garde way."

Yet unlike their often untrained FDC counterparts, these designers are perhaps the first generation of PhD designers, notes Watson. "Robert Pearce had a belief in culture changing the world. That's what these new designers are reflecting on in their research, their position in the fashion world and how do they change the way fashion works?"

While it's also true that new technologies offer exciting possibilities in embedded fabrics and experimentation with 3D printing, fast fashion has created certain expectations.

As Cassandra Wheat of the Chorus fashion label laments: "It's just hard for people to understand the complexity and the value that goes into production without being really exposed to it. They think they should have a T-shirt for cheaper than their sandwich."

During the course of the exhibition Chorus will produce its monthly collection from one of the newly designed spaces within the gallery. The exhibition's curators have commissioned three contemporary architects who, like its '80s counterparts, work across the arts, to interpret FDC-inspired spaces. Matthew Bird's Inflation-influenced bar acts as a meeting place for the exhibition's forums and discussions on the contemporary state of fashion. Sibling architects abstracts the retail space, while Wowowa's office design resembles a fishbowl. For Watson, the exposed shopfront/office has as much front as Myer's. Its architecture suggests the type of brazen confidence every generation of fashion design needs. Says Watson: "Fake it till you make it."Read more at: |
judy smith Nov 2016
EXPORTERS in the agriculture and food processing business should take note of opportunities arising from six major trends set to impact the global food and drink market in 2017, ranging from traditional products like ancient grains to plant-based foods enhanced by technology, according to a new report.

The “2017 Global Food & Drink Trends” released on November 11 by market research service provider Mintel predicts that in the coming year, consumers will increasingly look for products that are healthy, convenient, and trustworthy. They will also search for food and drink that are recognizable, save time, and contain beneficial fruits and vegetables.

In addition, there are new opportunities for functional food and drink designed for evening consumption, progressive solutions for food waste, and affordable healthy food for low-income consumers.

Mintel identified the first emerging trend as the continued trust in the traditional and the familiar. Consumers “seek the safety of products that are recognizable rather than revolutionary,” even as they are willing to try “modernized updates of age-old formulations, flavors and formats.”

Manufacturers are thus encouraged to look to the past for inspiration, as ancient grains, as well as ancient recipes, practices, and traditions are forecast to continue to be popular.

At the same time, “potential also exists for innovations that use the familiar as a base for something that’s new, but recognizable, such as cold brew coffee,” the report said.

In 2017, the food and drink industry will also see the growing use of plants as key ingredients, said the report. The growing preference for natural, simple, and flexible diets is seen to drive the further expansion of vegetarian, vegan, and other plant-focused formulations.

Consumers’ strong health and wellness priorities will spur the introduction of more packaged products and recipes for home cooking that abound in fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, botanicals and other plants associated with good health, said Mintel.

Technology will play a part in this movement, as can be seen in the use of artificial intelligence to develop plant-based alternatives to animal products, including milk, mayonnaise, yogurt and cheese.

The third trend is the global focus on minimizing food waste to align with efforts on sustainability, which is changing consumer perceptions.

“In 2017, the stigma associated with imperfect produce will begin to fade, more products will make use of ingredients that would have otherwise gone to waste, such as fruit snacks made from ‘ugly’ fruit and mayonnaise made from the liquid from packaged chickpeas, and food waste will be repurposed in new ways, such as power sources,” the report said.

Also a significant trend among consumers in the new year is to consider the “time investment” required in cooking or preparing meals.

“Time is an increasingly precious resource and our multitasking lifestyles are propelling a need for shortcut solutions that are still fresh, nutritious, and customizable and already we have seen so-called ‘biohacking’ food and drink that offers complete nutrition in convenient formats,” the report added.

In 2017, the time spent on — or saved by — a food or drink product will become a clear selling point, inspiring more products to directly communicate how long they will take to receive, prepare, or consume.

The study also finds new opportunities for functional food and drink designed for evening consumption as people try to calm down before bedtime, sleep better, and restore their body.

Products like tea can be enhanced with chamomile, lavender, and other herbs as a way to achieve a sense of calm before bedtime. Chocolate, on the other hand, can be positioned as a way to wind down after a stressful day.

Looking ahead, the study forecasts greater potential for more evening-focused innovations formulated for relaxation and satiety. And taking a cue from the beauty industry, food and drink for the evening can be infused with functional benefits while the consumer sleeps.

Finally, healthy food that is affordable to low-income consumers is enjoying a surge in market demand.

“Many lower-income consumers want to improve their diets, but the access to-and the cost of-healthy food and drink is often an impediment,” explained the report.

This will fuel campaigns and innovations to make it easier for lower-income consumers to fulfill their healthy ambitions, including apps to help people make use of ingredients that are on sale, including “ugly” vegetables.

“Opportunities abound for companies around the world to capitalize on these trends, helping them develop in new regions and more categories throughout the course of the next year and into the future,” Mintel said.Read more |
judy smith Apr 2015
After months of preparation — sketching and making patterns, finding and fitting models, cutting and sewing fabrics, arranging makeup and accessories — Cornell University senior Ellen Pyne this weekend will send her fairy-tale themed “Crimson” line down the Cornell Fashion Collective (CFC) runway in a matter of minutes.

Anticipating their moment to shine, Pyne and 35 other student designers have been laboring since last fall to perfect their creations for the 31st CFC runway show, Saturday, April 11, 8 p.m., in Barton Hall. For first-year designers, the event allows them to present a single look on the big stage, whereas seniors like Pyne plan a full collection, hoping it will launch their fashion careers.

“I eat, sleep, go to class and sew,” said Pyne, whose showstopper is a seamless Snow White-inspired dress made entirely out of hand-felted wool. “The collection is a statement of my artistic aesthetic and the culmination of everything I’ve learned over the past four years.”

Working just as diligently are show planners, led by senior CFC president Megan Rodrigues, who are remaking the cavernous Barton Hall field house to host a night of glamour. Since shortly after the curtain closed on last spring’s show, Rodrigues and the CFC executive board have been organizing ticket sales and a heap of other details, including a new runway design will give the expected 2,500 guests a better view of the Cornell student models on the catwalk.

“Through this process, I’ve learned a great deal about leadership, learning to delegate and being able to inspire others to a common goal,” said Rodrigues, who hopes to work in event planning after graduation. “Mostly, I’m excited to see the growth of each designer leading up to the show.”

Designers come largely from the fashion design major in the College of Human Ecology, but students from the College of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences will also contribute pieces. A multidisciplinary team will present “Irradiance,” a wearable technology collection that uses sensors and luminescent panels to detect and respond to audio—glowing and dimming in sync with surrounding music. Lead designer and junior Eric Beaudette said that team, which includes Lina Sanchez Botero and Neal Reynolds, doctoral students in fiber science and physics, respectively, hopes to inspire a vision for smart clothing of the future.

In the sesquicentennial spirit, the show will also include a nod to the past. Recalling campus styles dating back to 1865, Denise Green, assistant professor of fiber science and apparel design, will air a short video about an exhibit, “150 Years of Cornell Student Fashion,” currently on display in the Human Ecology Building.

Inspired by art and culture she observed studying abroad in Paris last fall, junior Linnea Fong will present “Infatuated,” luxury evening wear she described as taking on “individual obsession with physical perfection and how that manifests in the fashion industry.” Just days before the show, she’s still modifying parts of her collection, noting that “you just have to figure out how to make your ideas come to life, which is the fun part.”

Concluding the show will be a line by senior Blake Uretsky, recipient of a 2015 Geoffrey Beene National Scholarship from the YMA Fashion Scholarship Fund. Her “Crested Butte” collection of women’s outerwear, a modern twist on vintage 1950s ski clothing, includes “distinctly wearable, yet visually exciting pieces,” she said. Presenting 10 looks, Uretsky’s line incorporates classic silhouettes and wool, corduroy and denim fabrics embellished with laser cuts and other modern techniques.

“Ultimately, I want to design clothes that people love and have a desire to wear,” Uretsky said. “The show will be such a wonderful experience with my family, friends and the Cornell community all supporting my work.”Read more |
judy smith Jan 2017
International designer Vivienne Tam is known for her culture-bridging, East-meets-West concepts in her collections. Her looks are global, often pioneering collaborations that marry fashion with technology. Her knack for blending her cultural roots with a modern design vocabulary in her looks is recognized. Often, her designs are sheer artistry.

Tam is also the author of the award winning book, “China Chic.” Pieces of her collection are a part of the permanent archives of the world’s most prestigious museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Tam also loves the space program and cowboy themes. Inspired by her recent trip to Houston, Texas, she utilizes the NASA logo in her collection. There are also soft suede jackets with fringe and chrome metallic flares, and a ruffled blouse in a blue and white motif. Pretty dresses in beautiful prints and patterns are enhanced with embroidery, sequins and appliques. Some of her looks reflect styles seen on folks at the rodeo. Tam’s signature 3-D butterflies were apparent on her garments. A black Western belt cinched the waist. Good show!

Rhode Island School of Design’s Apparel Design Department showed a rugged, yet fashionable collection of menswear on the New York Fashion Week runway. RISD prepares students to meet the demanding requirements of the fashion industry. The program is built on the philosophy that design and technical skills are mutually enhancing. From functional to experimental clothing, the course is structured to take students through all aspects of apparel design and construction.

RISD’s technical classes proceed from basic to advanced drafting, draping and construction and incorporate the use of computers as a tool for design and product visualization. RISD has offered programs in costume, clothing and fashion since 1918, and established the Apparel Design Department in 1952. Their graduates include such top designers as Nicole Miller, Sari Gueron, Sally Lapointe, Robert Geller and Nicole Romano. Many students have found success with designers such as Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren.Read more at: |
judy smith Dec 2016
Timeless fashion is part of Debbie Hawkins seasonal home decor.

When the Etcetera collection arrives, her living and dining rooms become showrooms, a place where by appointment women can choose classic fashion, well made from high end fabrics, "things you turn to for years."

"We bridge the gap with versatile selections," said Hawkins, an Etcetera sales consultant. "Pieces that bring something special to a wardrobe."

The unique, sell-from-home business us part of the Carlisle Etcetera trademark, a New York based brand that offers women an opportunity to become entrepreneurs. Consultant/stylists are trained to guide fashion choices.

"I had raised my kids and wanted to do something interesting," Hawkins said, "Etcetera came out at the top of the list. I could work at my own pace and hours."

Four times a year Hawkins attends a fashion show, where she and 100 other consultants have a chance to meet designers, look at quality fabrics and learn about techniques used to make the Etcetera collections.

Ordering clothes online isn't the same.

"Pictures don't translate to what we have seen before the trunk show boxes arrive," said Hawkins. "We receive upward of 300 items. We talk with each customer and they get to see in person what is available."

Clients are either referred to Etcetera stylists by friends or through the website. They are directed to the consultant closest to them; some of Hawkins' customers drive to Wichita Falls from Oklahoma.

A few have a hard time committing to an Etcetera trunk show because "they feel a little intimidated."

"Once they see it's a very relaxed environment it's much easier," Hawkins explained.

Two appointments are made with each customer, one to check their existing wardrobe for what may work well with Etcetera selections and another to try on what they've picked. Hawkins adapted a bedroom as a dressing room.

"One of the biggest pluses is knowing our customers so well," said Melissa Prigmore, Hawkins' associate assistant. "They know they won't be wearing duplicates of what they've seen at Lord and Taylor."

According to Hawkins, Etcetera's high quality skirts, trousers, blouses, jackets, coats and accessories are priced in the "Neimans and Nordstrom range."

"These are the kind of clothes you don't bury in the back of the closet and never see after the first wear," Hawkins pointed out. "Comfortable style and fabric, they get brought out every season."

Clients can also turn to Hawkins and Prigmore for advice on style, color and fit.

"I'm not good at editing myself on fashion decisions," said Hawkins. "It's nice to have someone else tell you what they think."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 Apr 2016
With fake and cheap copies of high-end popular designer wears increasing in the market, fashion experts have expressed their concern over plagiarism being on the rise in the industry.

"I think it (plagiarism) is an international problem, it is not just an Indian problem. It is said that plagiarism is a form of flattery (as the designs are getting copied). I don't subscribe to it. I am against it," noted designer Wendell Rodricks said.

"It took me seven years to patent my name Wendel l Rodricks as a brand. One should look to solve this problem the earliest," he said.

According to well-known designer Anita Dongre, the fashion industry should come together to tackle the issue.

"Now everything is digital, some of the designs get copied immediately online. All my lehengas are copied. It is sad," she said.

Echoing similar sentiments, designer Masaba also feels that plagiarism is the worst part of the fashion industry.

"It is sad that there is no control on the copycats...and too many undeserving people are getting recognition and chances to showcase," she said.

Masaba is known for her innovative prints and one can often see fake designs being sold at lesser prices.

"We are one of the most copied design houses in the country, and you just have to figure it if it eats into your business. If it doesn't, you shouldn't waste your time and money on it," she said.

Masaba, however, feels one can take culprits to court.

"Legal action can be taken if you have the bandwidth, but the fake market is too huge to tackle and lawmakers are extremely slow to act on it."

Wendell also thinks in a country like India, the legal matters pile up and it takes time, which is the sad part.

"The amount of time it takes in this country to bring someone (guilty) to court is too much. Ritu Kumar (designer) had taken people to court and won. But it is one of its kind of a case. You need to give that much amount of time," he said.

According to designer Gaurang Shah, one should take it as a compliment if their designs are copied.

"In a way it is a compliment that others are following you. But it is annoying as you work so hard and the design gets copied. It is a challenge for designers to come up with new ideas," he added.Read more |
judy smith Mar 2017
It is rare that, outside Japan, you hear anything positive about the lot of women in the Japanese workplace. Well-meaning rankings and anecdotal articles frequently do little more than reinforce tired stereotypes. Still, change is afoot and there are many voices in the Japanese corporate world that have a nuanced story to tell—even some who dare to assert that there might be something that Japanese working women have to teach the world.

One important factor preventing progress in how women are viewed in the Japanese workplace is the ongoing prevalence of highly gendered uniforms. This is true both in the literal sense and in what is implied—from strictly structured dress codes that govern post-graduation job hunts right through to the president’s chair. These remain highly gendered for both men and women, a visual reminder of the very different roles played by the “salarymen” and “office ladies” of years gone by, but a stumbling block now, considering how much has changed.

Representative of this change is fashion brand Kay Me, from entrepreneur Junko Kemi. Not just an oddity in the Japanese fashion world, Kemi is an unassuming revolutionary who has dispensed with the establishment path to the racks by forgoing trade shows and industry-only runways. Instead, she builds on her own experience in the Japanese corporate world to fashion the clothes she would wear to the office. In the process, she has managed to chalk up a Ginza flagship store, key retail positions at Japan’s top department stores—including Odakyu in Shinjuku, Mitsukoshi in Nihombashi, Breeze Breeze Umeda in Osaka, and Isetan at Haneda International Airport — and even a presence in London. She’s accomplished this in just over five years — less time than it takes the average brand that plays by the fashion industry’s rules to get their first round of scattered stockists.

Kemi sat down with The Journal to talk about why she moved from marketing to fashion, how she sees women in the workplace, and what she aims to achieve with her designs.

Japanese fashion is a notoriously saturated field. With no background in fashion, why did you choose to enter it?

My background is in marketing and consulting, but I was always aware that, at the root of all market analysis, is the Japanese phrase ishokuju, meaning the necessities of life: food, clothing, and shelter. When you look at Tokyo, there may be a lot of fashion, but that is the way it should be. It is as important and necessary as food and shelter. After the Lehman shock and the March 11 earthquake, this idea of necessity came to have greater meaning for me. I wanted to make something that was really required by people in their lives.

Of course, my background in marketing helped, and I knew that the bigger companies would be scared to compete with me if I chose a niche that wasn’t a proven quantity yet. That niche was professional women; women with the drive to go beyond what society expects of them and who want to express themselves on their own terms in the workplace. There is also part of me that likes to be the rebel, and to a certain extent I just wanted to prove people wrong when they said the market was oversaturated.

One of the most important Japanese fashion designers of our time, Yohji Yamamoto, famously started his eponymous brand in rejection of Japanese “office lady” attire and how working women, as a whole, dressed. Is this a shared source of inspiration?

Perhaps. Although, ironically, given that Yohji Yamamoto mainly uses black, I feel that women’s clothes are too dark! Fundamentally, I feel that historically it made sense that for women to enter the male-dominated workplace they first started dressing like men; but that can’t be where it ends. Far more interesting is for women to be unapologetically feminine and be accepted for it. Women should not have to cast off their own culture to enter the workplace, nor deny their own nature between 9:00 and 5:00. Why shouldn’t there be flowers in an office? In that sense, I am the opposite of Yohji Yamamoto — he wanted his clothes to protect women from men, but I don’t think women need protecting.

My real inspiration is surprisingly conventional. My grandmother ran a kimono shop, so I am always attracted to traditional themes in my work. The Japanese motifs I use, in particular, have been key to reaching people abroad. It is not necessarily targeted like “Cool Japan,” just a lucky coincidence. For Japanese customers, they are a way of building elements of kimono into their working wardrobe instead of wearing full kimono, which is hard in daily life—never mind the workplace.

As an entrepreneur, what do you look for in your employees? Do you actively create a female-friendly work environment?

I have been all around the world meeting entrepreneurs — especially in the UK and East Asian countries — and I am frequently the only Japanese person, and nearly always the only Japanese female entrepreneur. Therefore, similarly minded people with an international mindset are my key assets. With that comes an ability to communicate in English, and the confidence that your ideas will resonate not only in your own country but globally. That is rarer than you think, and a big issue over the course of a career is that only high-ranking members of Japanese companies ever go abroad on business. That locks women out of having experience abroad and stops them thinking more globally.

In terms of workplace, I would like a 50-50 split in my workforce; but right now we are still at the early stage of growing, so it has been vital that everyone understands the shared goal. As I am dressing working women, I have far more women than men working for me for now; unfortunate, but it will change. Also, I insist on flexible working hours for my staff with children. It creates some small issues with timing group meetings, but it is easy to work through and worth it for the talent they bring.

What could institutions like the Japanese government and universities do to change the status quo?

Universities are taking the lead in thinking globally, but that is only half the battle — they need to create more competition among students — female in particular — so they have confidence to go abroad. That needs to be the spark that starts a movement.

As for the government, there are lots of programs out there to support companies like mine, but to be honest we just don’t have the time to apply for them — they require so much documentation. So far, the programs feel like lip service from an older generation who doesn’t understand mine; time will change that.

In the meantime, I am focused on thinking globally. We haven’t targeted the inbound phenomenon as such because they are not necessarily our customers. Instead, I am focused on online expansion and taking my brand to Europe, and hopefully to America via New York in the near future. Of course, I want quick expansion; but ultimately we have been quality- and service-driven in Japan, so we can’t forget that as we look abroad.Read more at: |
judy smith Nov 2015
NEW DELHI, INDIA: Rifling through sweaters in India’s first Gap store in a glitzy New Delhi mall, 21-year-old Ridhi Goel says her grandmother doesn’t mind how she dresses, as long as it’s not too revealing.

“She’s fine with me wearing Western clothes like a shirt but not jeans and a crop top,” said the journalism student, her grey leggings contrasting sharply with her mother’s colourful kurta.

Taking a stand for big brands

“All my family wears Indian clothes, but I find them too uncomfortable. I think maybe there is a generational divide.”

Most women in India still wear traditional dress such as saris or shalwar kameez — but the picture is changing, and on city streets, dazzling silks mingle with logoed T-shirts and jeans.

Young people’s appetite for Western clothes has led a fresh flurry of foreign brands to open up in India in the past few months, including US chain Gap and Sweden’s H&M.;

Others are expanding fast, including popular Spanish retailer Zara and British high-street staple Marks & Spencer, which in October opened its 50th shop in India, its biggest market outside the UK.

Fashion design outlets sealed for non-payment of taxes

Urbanisation, a growing middle class, rising disposable incomes and one of the youngest populations in the world make India hard to ignore.

“The time has come for Western wear to have exponential growth,” J. Suresh, the managing director of textile group Arvind Lifestyle Brands, Gap’s partner in India, told AFP.

“If you look at any girl born after 1990 she will be wearing Western wear. That is the generation coming into college, getting their first job,” he said. ”They will be completely clad in Western wear.”

While globally women are the biggest shoppers, in India men’s clothing dominates with 42 percent of the $38 billion market in 2014, according to consultancy Technopak.

Lucrative trade: Designers approach PRA in wake of fashion crackdown

Shoppers are also younger — the average customer targeted by Gap in its US stores is 35, but their Indian counterpart is five to 10 years younger, Suresh said.

Gap had a head start in India thanks to Bollywood megastar Shah Rukh Khan, whose ubiquitous orange hoodie in 1990s hit Kuch Kuch Hota Hai handed the brand a ready-made following.

But it is young Indian women, increasingly affluent and joining the workforce in expanding numbers, who are driving change, with data showing sales of womenswear growing faster than men’s.

And while Western clothes currently make up only about a quarter of Indian womenswear, their sales are outpacing traditional dress sales.

Experimental exhibition: Emerging artists explore unique mediums

A Marks & Spencer spokesperson cited its Indigo denim range and lingerie as two of its best-performing lines in India, with more than 300,000 bras sold in 2014-15.

“As an increasing number of women move into white collar and blue-collar roles, they are also adopting Western attire,” Devangshu Dutta, chief executive of Third Eyesight, a retail consultancy in Delhi, told AFP.

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 Feb 2017
He has given a luxurious twist to the dying art of weaving and popularised the use of Khadi. Award-winning textile designer Gaurang Shah is more than happy that the Indian fashion industry has welcomed handlooms. “As a textile designer, I would like to say the Indian fashion industry has embraced handlooms with lot of admiration and helped revive our ancient traditions of weaving art, like the jamdani weaves, that we use in creating our fashion pieces,” Shah told IANS.

“It also reinforced its unparalleled beauty around the world,” he added. The designer says that one must acknowledge the passion and intense amount of production hours every weaver at the looms puts to bring out timeless pieces of handlooms.

“The fashion industry did contribute to bring them back into vogue in recent years,” he said. Shah showcased his latest collection of 40 garments titled Muslin at Lakme’s Fashion Week Summer/Resort 2017. His anthology for the gala was inspired by romance of nature.

Giving details about his range, he said: “Our collection incorporates weaves and techniques from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan. The amazing all-in-whites collections integrate gorgeous Mughal motifs and geometric patterns on Khadi, chikankari embroidery and Parsi gara.”

The designer’s collection involved 50 weavers working relentlessly for over six months. Shah, whose handloom creation made its way to the 69th Cannes Film Festival when Deepshikha Deshmukh, producer of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan starrer “Sarbjit”, stepped out in an ensemble featuring Paithani and Kanjeevaram details, says that handlooms are a glorious heritage of India and it is important to preserve and help the artists’ community grow.

“I would like to add that a few years ago this beautiful art was fading away. Thanks to persistent effort and motivation from label like ours, followed by the efforts of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi, that pushed Indian handlooms to higher level of acceptance,” he said.

Shah began his journey in the textile world with just two weavers and today the label works with 700 weavers, and the number is still growing.

“The biggest contribution we as a designer can make is to keep our artisans motivated and also help them gain confidence that it is a highly profitable profession,” said the designer, who has styled the stars like Vidya Balan, Sonam Kapoor and Kirron Kher.Read more at: |
judy smith Apr 2015
With designers like Iman Ahmed, HSY and Sania Maskatiya all showing, it was standing-room only at the venue. Many of the crowd of fashion insiders and socialites ended up sharing seats, with the chivalrous Zaheer Abbas giving his seat to Iman Ahmed after her show and sitting on the floor himself. So much for designer egos!

It was an evening that lived up to its billing.

Iman Ahmed may not be a designer who makes her clothing easily available, but in fashion terms she reaches heights that few other designers can reach. Her “Sartorial Philology and the New Nomad collection” was breathtaking.

The best fashion shows have a narrative — the clothes, styling, music and progression of the outfits blend seamlessly into a whole that portrays the designer’s artistic vision.

It’s hard not to gush about Iman Ahmed’s show last night because it was exactly what a fashion show should be.

Starting with a series of outfits in white and gradually adding tribal colours, Iman used fringing, embroidery and a range of fabrics to great effect. From the inspired detailing to the juxtaposition of texture and silhouette, this was a class act. The tribal white-dotted makeup and beaten silver accessories added further depth to Iman’s stunning layered ensembles.

Levi’s uninspired showing of their new 501 jeans and other stock provided the audience with a pause to process the previous collection. It’s difficult to make a interesting fashion week presentation out of high street wear and something that Levis struggles with.

They used better music than they did at their autumn show but the styling was still painfully lacking. They did manage to make everyone sit up and take notice at the end of their show though — Wasim Akram walked the ramp as their showstopper amid cheers from the admiring audience.

Somal Halepoto was next, with collection that looked distinctly amateur. She seemed to be aiming for a bright kitschy collection but ended up looking merely tacky. The shiny, synthetic-looking fabrics and gaudy embroidery were particularly woeful. Somal’s digital neon animal prints and some of the harem pants were funky but the rest of the collection had little to recommended it.

YBQ’s LalShah collection, meanwhile, was in a different league. An ode to 3 Sufi Sindhi saints, the collection was as much about the artistic impression it made on the ramp as it was about the clothes. The distinctly theatrical presentation relied on the slow beat of sufi music and plentiful accessories for much of its impact.

YBQ sent his models down the ramp in huge pagris, holding flags on poles and garlanded with prayer beads. He used only three colours - red depicting rage, white for peace and black for mourning. Most of the outfits were draped red jersey tunics or gowns with white lowers, braided belts and black turbans.

Rubya Chaudry wore a black gown with red roses but otherwise the outfits were all about subtle plays with drapery and cut. From jodhpur style chooridarsto asymmetrical draping, the outfits had interesting touches but needed all that heavy styling to make an impact. HSY was YBQ’s showstopper and added glamour to the theatrical presentation that he had choreographed.

Wardha Saleem was first up after the break and her Lotus Song collection showed how this talented young designer has been upping her game over recent years.

She used digital flamingo prints, 3D embroidery, gota embroidery and lasercutting in a pretty formal fusion collection. The detailing on the collection was simply stunning. Wardha used gota in delicate patterns that gave her outfits shimmer and paired this with three dimensional embroidery. The outfits featured flowers, fish, elephants and birds picked out in silk thread and beads.

She showed a variety of shift dresses, jackets, saris, capes and draped dresses. The styling was also great fun – the models wore shoes featuring spikes and 3D flowers while the multi-talented Tapu Javeri provided some gorgeous jewellery and music for the show. While there was nothing groundbreaking about her silhouettes, this was a beautiful collection that showed skill and artistry.

Sania Maskatiya, who presented her luxury pret on Day 1, now showed her lawn collection for AlKaram. As far as designer lawn goes, this is something of a dream collaboration.

Textile and print are Sania’s forte and she uses print extensively in her luxury pret. In this collection for Al-Karam she has taken print elements from her pret collections throughout the year including the Sakura, Lokum and Khutoot collections.

The prints are different from those used in her Luxe pret but are based on the same principals. She’s even used the paint splash embroidery from this season’s Khayaat collection in one of the outfits. Designer lawn should be affordable way to wear a designer’s aesthetic and this Sania Maskatiya Al Karam collaboration certainly is.

As for the show itself, showing lawn is always tricky on the ramp. Sania pulled it off with an upbeat presentation using fast music and trendy cuts, throwing a few conventional shalwar kameez in the mix. She fashioned the lawn into jackets, kaftans and draped tunic, using the sort of cuts that are a hallmark of her pret. It’s not how most people wear lawn but it was a great way to show off the prints on the ramp.

Naushaba Brohi’s Inaaya burst onto the fashion scene last year with a spectacular collection. Following up on a dramatic debut is difficult but Naushaba proved that she is not a one hit wonder with this collection. Inaaya’s SS15 collection continued with the theme of using traditional Sindhi crafts in contemporary wear. Naushaba used both touches of Rilli and some stunning mirror work in her collection.

What makes Inaaya noteworthy is the way that she takes unsung traditional crafts that we’ve seen badly used and gives them a high fashion twist. Standout pieces included a bolero with unusual mirror work and a rilli sari that glittered with tiny flashes of mirrors.

Although the collection included many beautiful outfits, there was a lack of focus. The simple tunic with a rilli dupatta didn’t work with knotted purple evening wear jacket. The inability to make a definitive statement let down an otherwise accomplished collection.

Naushaba added a characteristic touch at the end of her show. She’s committed to social responsibility and supports local craftswomen with her brand. Accordingly, Inaaya’s showstopper was Mashal Chaudri of the Reading Room Project along with Naushaba’s daughter Inaaya. She held up a plaque saying “I teach therefore I can” while Inaaya wore a T-Shirt with the slogan “super role model”.

HSY brought the evening to a close with a high-speed presentation of his Hi-Octance menswear collection. The unusual choreography featured the models zipping along the catwalk, pausing briefly on their second round. The energetic presentation complemented a collection of sharp suits and jackets, leavened with quirky polka dot shirts and bold stripy ties.

There was the requisite shirtless model in distressed jeans and an ice-blue jacket but also some appealing suiting fabrics. HSY used only Pakistani fabrics and included solid colours as well as self-checked and striped suits. This was wearable, classy menswear presented creatively.

Day 3 was undoubtedly the best day of TFPW so far. Iman Ahmed undoubted takes the laurels but she was ably supported by HSY, Wardha Saleem, Inaaya, Sania Maskatiya and YBQ.Read more |
judy smith May 2015
There was none of your itsy-bitsy, teenie-****** bikinis at a fashion show of vintage swimwear in aid of the Cleveland Pools.

The costumes on show on the catwalk at Green Park Station were a much more modest affair, with a lot less flesh on view, and with some very interesting costumes which seemed to amuse the younger audience.

The Vintage Swimwear fashion show celebrated the last 200 years of bathing suits – the pools celebrate their 200th birthday next year.

Costumes from the last two centuries were modelled down the catwalk, with some interesting reactions from the audience, many of them design or fashion students from Bath Spa University.

It was a great turnout according to Sally Helvey from the Cleveland Pools Trust.

"We had a great night, and it really was great fun," she said.

There was a bar and barbecue hosted by Green Park Brasserie, and ice cream from a vintage Humphry van.

The audience also enjoyed a photography booth, and picture and video slideshows.

The Cleveland Pools is the only surviving Georgian Lido in the country, with a beautiful outdoor pool nestling in the back woods by the River Avon near the Bathwick estate.

But it is very derelict and will need millions spent on it before it can be re-opened again to the public. Last summer the trust received the welcome news the amenity is to be granted more than £4 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund, so plans are in place to have the pools restored and open for use again possibly as early as 2017.

A lot more funding needs to be raised to try and match the funds given by the HLF, and the fashion show, organised by Bath Spa student Jenny Brown, was just one of many events being organised over the summer.Read more |
judy smith Jan 2017
Fashion is one of the last decade’s rare economic success stories. Over the period, the industry grew 5.5 per cent annually, to now be worth an estimated $2.4 trillion.… Yet, 2016 was one of the industry’s toughest years.

Terrorist attacks in France, the Brexit vote in the UK and the volatility of the Chinese stock market have created shocks to the global economy. At the same time, consumers have become more demanding, more discerning and less predictable in their purchasing behaviour.…

Yet, this sluggish overall growth masks some big winners: affordable luxury, value, and athletic wear.

With respect to sales growth, the affordable luxury and value sectors outperformed all other segments by one to oneand-a-half percentage points. This is consistent with their compound annual growth rate over the last three years, which has been 9 per cent for affordable luxury and 6 per cent for value, the highest of any segment since 2013.

Affordable luxury players benefited from consumers trading down from luxury, particularly among Chinese consumers. However, their profit margins are expected to decline, especially after 2016, because of a pricing arbitrage disadvantage across geographies and fluctuating foreign exchange rates.

The value segment continued to grow in 2016, particularly as a consequence of large global players expanding geographically. With its clearly defined value proposition, the value segment has been taking share from discount this year.Read more at: |
judy smith May 2015
Charleston Fashion Week added $3.5 million to the local economy this year, an increase of 20 percent over 2014.

Organizers of the event, sponsored by Baker Motor Company in the spring, announced Thursday attendance grew to more than 7,500, a new record.

The five-day event also boosted the local economy, according to Wayne Smith of the College of Charleston.

According to the college’s findings, total expenditure per out-of-town attendee averaged $1,900; the event drew more than 275 million media impressions including TV, print, radio and online; its social media reach was more than 6.5 million; and 85 percent of those sampled said they would return next year.

Since the event in March, eight of the participating models have signed with national model agencies, including Directions USA, Elite Direct, Elite NYC and Wilhelmina Miami.

“We are thrilled with the continued success of Baker Motor Company Charleston Fashion Week and the recent survey results reinforce the growing economic impact of the event,” said Jed Drew, president of Gulfstream Communications, which owns and produces Charleston Fashion Week.

Dates for the 2016 event will be announced later this summer.Read more |
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 Mar 2016
If you had to pick one adjective to sum up Michael Kors' collection at last month's New York Fashion Week, a good bet might be "feathery."

The designer was going for "the flirty freedom of things that move," to quote his production notes, and there were flirty feathers on at least 10 of the looks he sent down the runway - starting with feathers adorning a pair of jeans, and moving to feathers on a houndstooth tweed coat, on a denim or tweed skirt, and on black silk for ultimate evening effect.

There also were plenty of sequins, adding a very bright sheen to some of the fashions, especially a silver sequin embroidered "streamer" dress, with the hem cut into strips that indeed looked like streamers, and also a pair of seriously glistening silver metallic stretch tulle pants.

This is Kors' flagship collection, not his more accessibly priced secondary line.

Kors always has a healthy celebrity contingent at his fashion shows, and February's event was no exception: Blake Lively and Jennifer Hudson were among the front-row guests. They were there to witness an anniversary of sorts for Kors.

"I'm not one for anniversaries and I'm really not a big kind of looking-over-my-shoulder kind of guy," Kors said in a backstage interview. "But when I started designing this I realized, oh my God, this is my 35th fall collection. That's crazy!"

Kors added that as he reflected on the milestone, he realized the most important thing was to keep his fashion fun.

"I wanted this to be full of fun and charm," he said. "So it's very flirty, short, leggy, not a gown in sight. All the rules are broken because stylish people break the rules ... The seasons are crazy anyway. So when the weather's terrible, don't you want to put on a fabulous apple green coat to change your spirits? Don't you want to wear tweed with flowers? Don't you want to put feathers on flannel? Wear flats at night? Wear metallic for a day?"

From his sunglasses to his gold glitter pumps, Kors' collection exuded fun, not fuss. Even a denim skirt is luxe, when covered in feathers. A hoodie adds reality to a silver sequin cocktail dress. And who doesn't love handbags the colors of jelly beans.


MILAN - Even while venturing back in time to the Belle Epoque era, Peter Dundas' latest collection for Roberto Cavalliremains rooted in the rock 'n' roll '60s and '70s. His collection bowed during Milan Fashion Week last month.

The languid looks were strong on glamour and workmanship, from the ephemeral sheer beaded evening dresses in pale shades to the colorful patchwork fur coats worthy of any rock star: art nouveau meets Janis Joplin.

''Decadence, superstition, mysticism, Gustav Klimt, Aubrey Beardsley - things that give me a kick," Dundas said backstage, describing his inspirations.

He said the Roberto Cavalli woman for the season is ''a little wild and instinctive."

The Cavalli animal print for next winter is tiger, in long skirts and short bomber jackets, while denim gets its due with a long trailing coat and flared embroidered jeans. Looks were finished with long scarves tied casually around the neck, makeup hastily done and hair loose and natural.

Notwithstanding the labor involved in his creations, Dundas says he would like to see his collections get into stores more quickly than the current system permits.

''I wish I could. I am working on it," Dundas.


PARIS - Vogue fashion doyenne Anna Wintour, former French first lady Bernadette Chirac and Chinese actress Liu Yifeiwere among the celebrities on the front row of the Dior show held in an annex inside the picturesque Rodin Museumgardens in January.

In the clothes, the "spontaneous, relaxed Parisienne of today" mixed with the iconic styles of the 1940s and 1950s.

High-cut post-War shoes with occasional retro ankle bows accessorized embroidered silk gowns in freestyle volumes - often with "sensual, bare" accentuated shoulders. A couple of flapper-style lace, chiffon and tulle look also evoked the joyful feeling of the 1920s - the period between the two World Wars.

Dior's studio team of designers also set about experimenting with the famed "bar jacket" - it "changes appearance depending on whether it is worn closed or loose," said the program notes.

It thus came in myriad forms: in tight, embroidered black wool, loose and white, open to expose the breast sensually, oversized and masculine, or as a beautiful dark navy wool coat.

There were also traces of the historical musings of past creative directors - such as Galliano and Simons - set off nicely in one look off-white wool "bar" jacket interpretation with flappy 18th-century cuffs.Read more |
judy smith May 2015
Acara dalam rangka memperingati hari lahir (harlah) Ke-65 PW Fatayat NU itu diikuti hampir 38 peserta se-Jatim yang meliputi perwakilan seluruh pimpinan cabang Fatayat NU.

Hasil desain peserta diperagakan model andalan mereka. Tak kalah dengan model profesional, para model Fatayat NU ini juga tampak percaya diri berlenggak-lenggok di atas caltwalk.

Dalam lomba fashion show ini, peserta dari PC Fatayat Bojonegoro meraih juara pertama, sedangkan pemenang kedua diraih oleh peserta dari Nganjuk dan pemenang ketiga dari Fatayat Bangil.

Menurut desainer muslimah yang dinobatkan jadi juri lomba ini, Ana Farhasy, ada beberapa poin dimiliki peserta Bojonegoro sehingga meraih juara.

"Kendati bertemakan busana pesta muslimah, namun desainnya simpel dan elegan. Itu menjadi kelebihan sendiri daripada peserta lain yang banyak menonjolkan aksesoris sehingga tampak berlebihan," katanya.

Selain itu, peserta dari Bojonegoro menampilkan tema gold kayu jati. "Batik yang digunakan asli Bojonegoro," jelas Ana.

Sementara itu, Ketua Fatayat NU Jatim Hikmah Bafaqih mengatakan selain lomba fashion show, kegiatan lain juga digelar dalam rangkaian harlah Fatayat NU itu.

"Ada lomba menulis artikel, lomba menjadi presenter, dan bazar produk unggulan (handycraft) kreasi kader Fatayat di seluruh cabang Fatayat se-Jatim," katanya.

Ia menambahkan, puncak peringatan Harlah Fatayat NU dilaksanakan di kantor PWNU Jatim pada Minggu, 17 Mei 2015. Rencananya, acara puncak dihadiri Menpora Imam Nahrawi, Wagub Jatim Saifullah Yusuf, dan Ketua DPRD Jatim.

"Ketua Umum PP Fatayat NU Hajah Ida Fauziyah tidak bisa hadir karena berbarengan dengan acara prakongres Fatayat di Bandung," katanya.

Mbak Hikmah, sapaan akrabnya, mengemukakan tema yang diambil harlah kali ini adalah "Ikhtiar Fatayat NU menuju Indonesia Berkeadaban".

"Karenanya kita akan terus berusaha untuk melakukan berbagai karya nyata, tentu kita bangun ulang keadaban kita dengan Islam ahlussunnah wal jamaah atau yang kita kenal dengan Islam Nusantara," katanya.Read more |
judy smith Aug 2015
He's jetted to Atlanta to spend time with his three children while his estranged wife shoots her new movie in the city.

And on Saturday Ben Affleck was spotted playing the role of doting dad perfectly as he treated two of his children Seraphina, 6, and Samuel, 3 to a fun day out.

The Batman Vs Superman star and his kids were spotted at a local farmer's market, with Ben, who announced his split from wife Jennifer in June, feeling the heat as he wiped away sweat during the shopping trip.

The 42-year-old actor looked tired as he walked around the market with his children, waiting as they stopped to check out toy and craft stalls.

Ben, who also shares Violet, 9, with his estranged wife, was seen driving to a private airport in Los Angeles on Friday to join his family in Atlanta, where Jennifer has relocated to film new movie Miracle From Heaven.

The dad of three wasted little time in exploring his new surroundings with his children on Saturday.

The actor dressed down in a pair of sweatpants and a Detroit t-shirt, the city where he spent much of last year shooting the hugely anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Sporting a heavy beard, Ben was wearing his wedding ring, which he has been spotted with on multiple occasions since announcing his split from his wife of ten years on June 30.

The Hollywood star was spotted carrying a number of bags after an afternoon at the market, as well as a bright pink doll carrier.

Earlier in the day Jennifer, 43, joined her estranged husband as the former couple treated Violet, Seraphina and Samuel to a trip to the movies to see new Pixar film Inside Out, before a spot of shoe shopping.

Jennifer was also seen wearing her wedding band on Saturday, with a source telling People that the pair have decided to keep wearing the rings for their children.

'[They] are a big part of why they're still wearing [the rings]...they just want them to be okay,' said the insider.

The website added that as Jennifer films in Atlanta with their three children in tow, Ben 'plans to be there with them as much as he can.'

While Ben has flown to Atlanta to be with his children, the family's former nanny Christine Ouzounian, who has been at the centre of a media firestorm over whether of not she and Ben are having an affair, was spotted relaxing at the luxurious Hotel Bel Air in Los Angeles.

A source told People Wednesday that Ben 'is taking care of Christine's expenses at the hotel.'

At this time of year, room rates for one night at the exclusive resort start at around $1,000 on a weekday and $1,500 on a weekend, with fees increasing according to the size of the room or suite.

The hotel is situated on 12 acres of lush gardens and has 58 guestrooms and 45 suites, including seven one-of-a-kind specialty suites.

The 28-year-old was seen working on her tan earlier this week in a tiny black bikini and enjoying drinks at the hotel's poolside bar.

The pretty blonde, who was fired by Jennifer just over a month ago, appeared not to have a care in the world, despite the speculation over her and Ben.

Adding fuel to the fire, photos surfaced this week showing the Gone Girl star warmly welcoming Christine to his LA bachelor pad in a late night rendezvous on July 17.

Reps for Ben continue to deny any affair, saying the claims are 'complete garbage.'

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 Apr 2016
Who says you can't arm twist yourself into doing practically anything? Victoria Beckham — stylish mum, fashion empire czarina and social diva — took that notion a **** few notches higher as she posted a picture of herself on a sofa on a photo sharing site, leg extended high above her head at 90 degrees. The picture went viral immediately with a huge buzz around her impressive flexibility. She captioned the photo, 'It's amazing what you can do in culottes...those ballet classes are paying off!' (sic) It's not the first time she has showed off her moves. Last year in Singapore too, she kicked her stiletto-clad feet into a high pose as she relaxed on a sofa.

These celebs are advocating it, too...

Posh Spice aka Victoria isn't the only one. British actress Kelly Brook showed of her flexi *** on her sitcom show. Actresses like Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston have also taken up exercise regimens that stretch their bodies to the limit. Angelina Jolie's workouts are said to include the stability ball leg, squats and kickboxing, known build flexibility and balance. Jessica Biel is a firm follower of her five days a week cardio with strength training and pilates classes that have been credited with getting her such a lean ***. And Megan Fox ensures she is flexible, too.

Advantages of being stretchy

Being flexible and stretching out is not the realm of just gymnasts, athletes or swimmers. Anyone can and should be like that, for it's not just before starting a workout that one faces tight hamstrings and a sore back and neck. These are issues that plague those with sedentary jobs as well. Thus, flexibility can help in gym training and dealing with the stressors of everyday life. It also helps the body to heal. Increased flexibility also leads to improved posture. Once the earlier tightness goes away you start to sit right and walk better, too.

How Much?Stretching muscles twice a week is enough to build overall flexibility.

For anyone

A common myth is that being flexible will only work with younger people. It is actually for anyone of any age

Exercises to help you get there

Chest dumbbells: Lie flat on a bench, holding dumbbells in either hand. Now lift the dumbbells overhead together and slowly bring them back. This stretches the pectorals.

Abs stretch: Sit on the ground with the ankles facing each other and the knees flexed. Now put pressure on the knees and press them to make them touch the ground. Hold this for 20 seconds and repeat.

Shoulders delt: Hold the elbow of one arm with the other hand and pull the elbow across the chest. Hold and repeat for the other hand.

Curling cat: Kneel down on all fours and curl the back upwards in the same position. Hold this and start again. This increases flexibility of the back.

Hamstring stretch: Place your leg on any raised area in front you, like a stool or chair. Now, extend it straight without bending the knees and bend the torso to touch the toes. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat.Read more |
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: |
judy smith Nov 2015
WHEN Grace Gray uncovered her wedding dress from the back of the wardrobe, she knew exactly what to do with her something old – turn it into something new.

The doting gran gifted her much-loved satin gown to her daughter Michelle, so she could have it made into a christening robe for her baby Pippa.

And the beautiful wee girl was all smiles on her special day in her hand-me-down, upcycled gown.

Michelle, 32, said: “I always loved my mum’s wedding dress and never imagined it would become my daughter’s christening dress, but I’m so glad it did.

“For Pippa to be christened in such a special family dress made the day all the more amazing.”

Grace, 54, wore the pearl-encrusted ivory dress when she married husband William, 73, in Clydebank 18 years ago.

Michelle helped her mum to pick the dress and was a bridesmaid at the wedding.

She said: “I was quite young when my mum married my stepdad and I remember going shopping with her when she picked the dress.

“It had lots of pearls and diamantes and I just loved all the sparkle. She looked so beautiful.”

After her wedding, Grace packed away her dress in a box and kept it at the back of her wardrobe.

Michelle, who is looking forward to her own wedding to partner Frazer Ward, 29, next year, said: “It has been there ever since but she came across it when she was clearing out.

“It was her idea to have it turned into a christening dress for Pippa.”

The family took the dress to Fabricated Bridal Alterations in Glasgow, where the seamstresses made not only the christening dress but a head band for Pippa and a matching hair clip for her sister Tilly, four.

Michelle, who also lives in Clydebank, added: “I did feel a little bit anxious at the thought of mum’s

dress being cut up but the end result was so beautiful.

“Mum had a tear in her eye when she saw it.”

Grace said: “I can’t think of any better use of my wedding dress than seeing it given to my

granddaughter for her christening.

“I felt really honoured to share in her big day in such a special way. I was overwhelmed by how beautiful she looked.”

Andrina Greig, of Fabricated Bridal Alterations, said there was a rising trend for women to put their wedding dresses to good use.

She added: “We’ve had more and more women getting their wedding dresses made into a christening gown for their children – but this is the first time we have had a grandmother’s dress brought in to be made into a christening gown.

“Michelle’s mum’s dress was perfect for the transformation.

“It was in great condition and the beading, bow and button details were ideal for scaling down and keeping as a feature on the christening dress. We were thrilled with how beautiful Pippa’s gown looked.”

judy smith Sep 2015
Gretchen Rossi knew that she wanted to marry Slade Smiley since the beginning of their relationship. They got together shortly after Rossi lost her fiance to cancer, and Slade has been her rock throughout the years. Gretchen was concerned about getting married too quickly, mostly because of his child support issues. But it sounds like he is more than ready to marry her.

Gretchen Rossi has already cancelled their wedding once. The two had planned the wedding and set the date, but they had to cancel because the date conflicted with previously created events. Rossi could not get married on her chosen date, as many of her friends and family members could not make it out. The two have been engaged for two years.

According to a new Radar Online report, Gretchen Rossi is now canceling her wedding again — and some people believe that these two will never get married. As it turns out, the wedding cancellation has nothing to do with their feelings for one another. Apparently, it is just tough for them to find a date that truly works for everyone.

“They are definitely still getting married and are very much in love,” a source says, adding, “Why else would they do Marriage Bootcamp together? The reason that the wedding has been postponed so many times is not because they have doubts that they are meant to be together, but because they are both working on a lot of projects right now.”

It is no secret that Gretchen Rossi is working ******* her business, Gretchen Christine, and she often posts pictures on Instagram of her work. She has never been in a rush to get married and have a child, and it sounds like she is being reasonable in her planning.

“Gretchen just launched a purse line and she and Slade are pitching several different ideas to various networks for projects that have them both on camera and behind-the-scenes,” a source has revealed, adding, “Lately they have been getting a lot of pressure from their close friends to do it already. Gretchen cannot wait to be Slade’s wife and, when the time is right, they will have their huge lavish wedding. This is what they both want.”

Last year, Rossi opened up about her struggles to have a child. Gretchen shared her journey on The Doctors last year, but she revealed that they had not been successful.

“I always knew that I wanted to be a mother,” Gretchen has previously said, adding, “Slade knew that it was something that was very important to me, but he also told me he had a vasectomy. We just decided that in-vitro fertilization was a much quicker way to make things happen for us.”

What do you think of Gretchen Rossi delaying her wedding yet again?

judy smith Oct 2015
She is known to stand out from the crowd.

And Jessica Hart made sure all eyes were on her in a shimmering golden gown as she attended the God’s Love We Deliver, Golden Heart Awards at Spring Studio in New York on Thursday night.

The 29-year-old Australian beauty turned heads in the dazzling sequined mini dress as she oozed Hollywood glamour for the star studded event.

The former Victoria's Secret model showcased her trim and tanned pins in the shift dress which boasted long sleeves which Jessica rolled up to her elbows.

The dress featured a number of metallic hues including silver and bronze which perfectly matched her strappy silver high heels.

Proving why she is a catwalk favourite, the 1.77 metre tall statuesque stunner flashed her trademark gap-toothed grin for the cameras on the red carpet of the glittering A-list gala.

In-keeping with the graceful theme of her look, Jessica wore her luscious blonde locks in an elegant up do to showcase her striking ****** features.

She sported copper-coloured eye shadow which added to her glittering ensemble, while her flawless complexion was accentuated with a light powdering of foundation.

Jessica let her spotlight stealing dress speak for itself as she opted for minimal accessories, wearing just a single ring on her left hand and a pair of diamond encrusted stud earrings, whilst carrying a perspex clutch which contained her wallet and phone.

The supermodel attended the event solo as her boyfriend of three years, billionaire Stavros Niarchos III - was not at her side.

However instead, Jessica mingled with a handful of her model pals including Toni Garnn and Cameron Russell.

With long legs and a small waist, genetically blessed Jessica knows how to rock her enviable figure.

She recently opened up about her body in the October issue of Cosmopolitan Australia, revealing how she manages to stay in shape.

'I have a private trainer, he’s a Pilates teacher, a yoga teacher and a personal trainer all in one,' she admitted.

'And when I can’t work out I just try to eat a little less pasta!'

Meanwhile, Jessica lives with her beau Stavros in New York's trendy East Village, with rumours surfacing earlier this year that the pair were engaged.

But with no official word yet from the couple as to whether nuptials are impending, they seem happy living a relatively quiet life with their competing busy schedules.

Stavros famously dated Olsen twin Mary-Kate for several years, as well as controversial socialite Paris Hilton.

judy smith May 2016
WHILE many little girls grow up fantasising about their weddings, Amber Tan Sze Min was always dreaming about designing bridal gowns. Many also grow up letting go of their childhood ambitions, but Tan was strongwilled, although it meant momentarily giving in to her parents' wishes.

She dropped out halfway through her pre-university course, and ended up studying graphic design. It was only after graduating that she could pursue a two-year diploma in fashion design at Kuala Lumpur's Raffles College of Higher Education, and thereafter flew to the UK to major in womenswear at the University of the Arts London.

"I wanted to prove to my family how much I wanted to design. It's not something that you'd get just because you say you want it. So I stood firm throughout the years, and showed my passion for it," recalled Tan.

Last February, the pint-sized lass introduced her bridal wear label AMBERSZE to the public for the first time at The Wedding 2016, a bridal fashion event by model and event management company Andrewsmodels.

It was never in her plan to debut as a bridal designer though – it lingered but only in the back of her mind as an eventual project – but her innate interest inevitably unveiled itself. "I have loved bridal gowns for a long time so I was making them before AMBERSZE even existed, and posting behind-the-scenes photos on social media. And that led people to identify me as a bridal designer.

"I wasn't planning to do it this soon but the opportunities knocked on my door, so one year ago, I decided to bring alive all my ideas and sketches," shared the 29-year-old.

Thankfully and finally, Tan's family recognised her resolution and embraced her penchant for designing. The Klang local considered herself lucky that she was able to kick off her start-up with her family's financial support.

"They always say fashion is a rich man's world. I couldn't understand this until I started the business, and saw a lot of truth in that statement. Everything involves money," said Tan.

She added that much of the capital was channeled towards building the brand and getting it out via media coverage and advertisements.

Another chunk of the money went into producing the dresses – all hand-made, by the way.

"Whether they sell or not, that's another story," she noted.


For the next eight months, Tan set off on a lonely journey of blood, sweat and tears. With only an assistant to help sew and embroider the garments by hand, Tan was dabbling in everything from designing, material sourcing, running the business, to doing public relations and accounting work.

Now that she has a team – including three assistant designers – behind her, Tan can take a step back and take the helm as a creative director, still designing but more focused on furnish-ing concepts and ideas – that never stray far from the company's philosophy of self-representation.

"I believe everyone likes Vera ****. I admire that she has her own thought behind everything. Likewise, my collections have to have their own thoughts and research to back them up.

As a designer, you have to stay true to yourself and not copy from existing designer pieces," opined Tan, who's also an avid reader.

AMBERSZE marries the essence of haute couture with new trends, by which Tan simplifies and demonstrates the former using translucent fabrics, for instance.

"So you can see the skeleton of the corset," she highlighted.

The play of sheer fabrics and coordinates (crop tops and skirts) may sit on the less traditional, or even risqué side of the spectrum, but Tan is confident that the personal tastes and styles of today's brides are shifting towards modern pieces that epitomise their true selves – as compared to the popular princess gown offered by most bridal boutiques.

"Nowadays, people want something new that show off their taste, fashion sense or status. Something to represent themselves, I would say.

That's where AMBERSZE comes in to serve," said the eldest of three siblings.


Of course, customising one of the most important dresses of a woman's lifetime can come with the occasional odd requests and a mountain of pressure.

Especially with a clientele that varies from pregnant to offbeat brides, as well as celebrities.

AMBERSZE's track record is a week for designing, and two to three weeks for production, but Tan recommends that brides make an appointment at least three months before D-Day.

"I usually get to know the bride's interests and taste, whether they prefer urban or classic designs. Whether the wedding's going to be indoors or outdoors; at the garden, beach or zoo!

Some brides may want certain fabrics which require a bit of sourcing too.

"To me, design is not just something pretty. You have to solve problems for your customers," said Tan, who also designs bridal veils, headbands and waistbands.

Besides tailoring her clients' dream wedding dresses, Tan has plenty to juggle in the meantime.

AMBERSZE boutique-***-studio is in the midst of moving to Sunway city, and alongside an evening wear collection due to launch in September, the label is also rolling out a ready-to-wear (RTW) line at the same time.

"The RTW line is going to be resortstyle to complement our hot climate, carrying 20 to 30 womenswear pieces. They're simple and modern, yet will not lack of nice detailing," she hinted with a smile.Read more |
judy smith Apr 2016
From fairytale princess gowns to feathery mini-dresses, bold skinny trouser looks and showgirl sequins, Bridal Fashion Week had something for brides of every size, shape and style inclination.

White reigned, as did classic silhouettes to please the most traditional bride. For everybody else, there were splashes of color, plenty of fluttery floral applique and sparkle, sparkle, sparkle.

Highlights from the Spring 2017 collections:


After a smaller, capsule collection for the famed bridal shop, Siriano teamed with Kleinfeld again on a broader range.

His show stopper was a pricey pink ombre ball gown with a sweetheart neckline and skinny straps. As an evening wear designer, Siriano said bridal was a natural fit. He created in a range of sizes up to 24 or 26 — and a range of price points from about $3,500 to about $19,000.

Noting most dresses can be modified, he showed a lot of sleeves. There were long lacy ones on a column gown and a structured, off-the-shoulder pair in satin, embellished with tulle and strings of pearl.

One of his mermaid gowns included cascading ruffles. He used four tiers of ruffle at the bottom of a white, tailored suit jacket with matching boot-cut trousers.

Siriano also offered a range of hem lengths, from well above the knee in an appliqued mini to a fitted tea length with an ornate high neck and dramatic train.

In a backstage interview, Siriano said he's enjoying his first full push into bridal with the 27 pieces for Kleinfeld after focusing most of the time on evening.

"But the customer is so different," he said. "There's not as many rules. You can get away with trying new things, doing new things. It's a little fantasy dream world."

And what will Siriano wear when he weds his longtime boyfriend, Brad Walsh, at their Connecticut house this summer?

"I don't know. Literally we've got nothing," Siriano laughed.


This was a **** runway dominated by sheers holding lots of floral creations in place. Romance meets sensuality is how the Toronto-based designer likes it.

While many of her looks were fit for royalty, complete with extra-long trains, she also ventured into over-the-top. An ultra-short hem with just one long lace sleeve had tulle skirting that skimmed the floor in back and leggings mismatched with floral embellishment, offering the appearance of one bare and one covered.

Spring itself was her inspiration this time around.

"The flowers, the garden, the beautiful trees, the sky, the sun," Di Santo said in an interview.

There were other vibes, in a sleeveless illusion Palazzo romper, for instance, with an encrusted bodice and dramatic detachable bell sleeves.

"I went very soft, romantic. You can see through the layers of the lace, the legs, the tulle," she said.

Like other designers, Di Santo included fit-and-flare looks along with sheaths, A-line silhouettes, halter necks and princess ball gowns.

Her backs and necklines were often illusion style, offering a barely there appearance. She included open bolero jackets for brides looking for a little cover, along with detachable skirt options for those who want to change up the outfit for the reception.

At the core of any bridal collection, Di Santo said, is how the dress speaks to budding love in marriage.

"It's so important," she said. "You can live without many things but you cannot live without love."


Designer Peter Copping is making his mark gradually at the storied Oscar de la Renta label, with a mind toward both preserving his predecessor's legacy and modernizing the label in his own way. In his bridal collection, Copping included some looser shapes — not everything was cinched tightly at the waist, princess-style — and even some short bridal gowns.

"I was thinking of the different women who are brides and the different ways women can get married," Copping said in a post-show interview, "because it's not always the same rules or traditions that people are looking for. So I think it's important within the collection to have a good cross-section of dresses, some short, some big columns, a real mix of fabrics."

Indeed, some of the gowns featured the sumptuous, extravagant embroidery for which the house is justly famous, and others featured much subtler embroidery for a more modern look.

"I think it was really just having a complete range of dresses," Copping said. The most striking were two short numbers, a nod to the popularity (and danceability) of shorter lengths, even if you can afford the big princess gown. "Yes I think it's popular," Copping said of the shorter length, "and I also think it's very relevant for rehearsal dinners, where a woman can still feel bridal the night before."

A highlight of the de la Renta bridal show is always the impeccably attired little children modeling flower-girl designs. "Having children here reflects what a real wedding is," said Copping.

And then there was Barbie.

Guests were sent home with the de la Renta Barbie doll, wearing a strapless white lacy column gown with a light blue tulle overskirt — something blue, of course. And in case you were wondering, under the skirt were some teetering white heels. No flats for this miniature bride.


For a bride looking to be just a bit daring, visible boning in corseting lent a uniqueness to some of Acra's fitted bodices.

There was an abundance of drama in ultra-long trains and encrusted sheer overlays. And Acra, too, offered a variety of sleeve options, including a web design on a snug pair that ended just above the elbow. The design, almost twig-like, was carried through to the rest of the full-skirted look.

Many of her dress tops were molded at the chest, bustier style, while she played with the lower halves. And some of her silhouettes fit tightly across the rear, sprouting trains where some brides may not feel entirely comfortable sporting one.

Acra put a twist on other trains, creating them to detach and also be used as veils. And she went for laced-up backs, both high and plunging, on some dresses.

In an interview, she called the collection "very airy, very light." Indeed, the stage lights during her show shone right through some of her dresses.

For the edgier bride, one who might appreciate the James Bond music Acra used for her show, she offered an unusual embroidered illusion gown adorned with pearls, white jewel stones and metal grommets.

Today's brides, she said, "have to have fun," adding: "She can't stress out about her wedding. Enjoy the ride and be the bride!"


There were lingerie-inspired elements here, too, with a touch of color in rose, pistachio, antique ivory and caramel. There were pops of fuchsia in bloom applique fitting for the outdoor garden where she staged her show.

Lhuillier decorated some organza gowns with hand-painted floral designs in asymmetrical layered tulle and silk organza. Deep necklines were prominent, with simple slip dresses offered along with bohemian gowns of lace and sheer skirts. Lhuillier also used corset bodices paired with cascading tulle skirts.

The collection felt like a chic romp, complete with high slits for a run through nature.

"My woman this season is in love and care free," Lhuillier said in an interview. "A little bohemian but just carefree."

The only clear trend in bridal these days, she said, is the need for designers to present more options.

"My core bride is somebody who loves femininity, she loves tradition but with a modern twist. And she wants something interesting with a lot of details," Lhuillier said.

There's definitely more fashion involved than when she began in bridal 20 years ago.

"One of the main reasons I got into the bridal business was when I was a bride in 1994, looking for a gown, I thought the options were so limited, and there was not a lot of fashion ideas," Lhuillier said.

Her bride doesn't want to be weighed down, however.

"She wants to look effortless," Lhuillier said. "But she wants to feel **** on her wedding day."

Are we all romantics on our wedding day?

"For me it's a really happy business," Lhuillier said. "We all are romantics deep down inside."

Associated Press writer Jocelyn Noveck contributed to this report.Read more |
judy smith Dec 2016
As excited as I am about the end of the semester and Christmas approaching, the bitter cold this week has almost frozen me. Don’t get me wrong, winter is a great time for fashion, but the cold weather is not for me. I would prefer to stay inside with a huge glass of hot chocolate. Aside from cocoa, he secret to staying warm is to dress in layers. I’ve tried to do that with this outfit but I’ve failed a bit.

The majority of this outfit comes from The Yellow Rose, which is a locally owned boutique in my home town. The blanket scarf and shirt are both from the Rose. These boots are from Maurices, but could be swapped for converse or duck boots. The coat is from Aeropostale.

It’s safe to say that I have fallen in love with the blanket scarf. Not only are they adorable, but they also provide ample warmth. They can be worn with nearly anything, including this great shirt. This shirt has a tassel tie underneath the scarf which means it could be worn on it’s own, if you aren’t as big a fan of the blanket scarf.

This jacket is a life-saver to say the least. The reason it works with this outfit so well is because the green in the scarf is the same green on the jacket. Army green goes with just about anything. The sleeves are a sweater material which makes them warmer than normal. You could dress this up a bit which a nice trench coat or long cardigan. You could also change the boots out for black booties or flats.

This outfit is perfect for Christmas parties or Christmas dinners. It has all the traditional Christmas colors and it will keep you warm.

However isn’t only for Christmas. You can easily wear this at any time during the winter.

Hopefully this has given you a bit of holiday wardrobe inspiration. I know holidays can be a stressful time for some, but the outfit you wear should be one thing you don’t have to stress about. Stay warm and stay comfortable.

I hope your break is wonderful and filled with joy. I know we all need that after those finals. I’m sure we’re all ready for present, family time, and much needed sleep. Spread Christmas cheer this year and enjoy the time off. May your Christmas be merry and bright, and don’t forget the Christ in Christmas! He is the only eternal Gift that keeps on giving.Read more at: |
judy smith Mar 2017
WHEN Jayson Brunsdon learnt he had to muster the strength to fight cancer as his fashion empire crumbled around him, he was at breaking point.

Luckily for him and husband Aaron, a saviour was on the way — in the form of a beautiful brown-eyed angel — their son, Roman.

In a heartfelt interview with Wentworth Courier ahead of the March 30 launch of their book, Designer Baby, the couple shared their tumultuous journey to bring Roman home to Australia after he was born to a surrogate in Thailand.

Watching their faces light up as the now two-year-old Roman gleefully dives under a mountain of pillows on the couch at their Elizabeth Bay apartment, it is easy to see why they describe him as “the light at the end of the tunnel” after what they have been through.

And the couple has held nothing back in telling their amazing story of survival, hope and determination in the face of unbelievable adversity.

Their world came crashing down in 2008 when the global financial crisis delivered a devastating blow to their Jayson Brunsdon label, a darling of the fashion world, worn by Crown Princess Mary of Denmark and Jennifer Hawkins.

“Most of our business was international, in America and England … and we lost all that business overnight,” said Jayson, 52.

“It was around the same time that I was diagnosed with (testicular) cancer.”

He faced a three-year battle, including four months of intense chemotherapy, after surgery had failed to stop the disease spreading.

“It’s very difficult to be creative when you can barely get out of bed and you’re deliriously ill and you feel like you’re dying,” he said.

“It was a really hard time and it went on for a long time so we had to downsize and we had to get rid of our stores.”

Aaron, 44, said the cancer made it impossible to keep the business afloat.

“Jayson was the creator of the brand but my time had to be devoted to his care as well and so … everything started to suffer and it kept going down and down until we reached rock-bottom,” he said.

“It was the GFC, it was the cancer, it was everything and one day we woke up and lost everything, we lost the entire business.”

Rather than give up, Jayson fought the cancer and won — a process which caused him to reflect on his life to the point where he questioned whether he even wanted to be part of the fashion world.

“Cancer was life-changing because after you’ve been through it, you just can’t deal with ******* and there’s so much of it in the fashion world, it kind of revolves around it and I thought; ‘I don’t know if I can do this any more’,” Jayson said.

“But what else was I going to do? We had the business and … when we downsized, I could kind of get away from it all.”

The couple has since rebuilt the business and the Jayson Brunsdon black label is in 40 Myer stores.

When Jayson went into remission, the couple of 18 years could finally pursue their dream of having a family together.

“We had wanted it for a long time but (the cancer) meant we had to put the whole thing on hold,” Jayson said.

“At that time we started to realise there was a lot more to life than working seven days a week and struggling every day,” Aaron said.

“We wanted something more and I think one of the most important things in our lives was having a family.”

After doing a mountain of research, the couple began eight months of preparation work with the All IVF Center in Bangkok and they were matched with their Thai surrogate ****.

They were over the moon when she fell pregnant with Roman, using Aaron’s cousin Rebecca’s egg, donated altruistically, and Jayson’s *****.

But their excitement turned to panic when the Thai Government announced it was going to outlaw surrogacy in the wake of the Baby Gammy scandal, when an Australian couple left their son with his surrogate mother because he had Down syndrome.

The couple was told the chances of bringing Roman home were “almost impossible”.

“At the time, it was the worst news any parent could face — we were five-and-a-half months pregnant and at that point we knew there was going to be a fight and we just didn’t know how long the fight was going to be,” Aaron said.

“It was one of the most tumultuous times in our lives because we had gone through so much to get to this point and we’d had so many challenges.

“When we finally got pregnant, we thought there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

“And then for the bombshell to drop on us to say that ‘you can’t bring him home’, that was the most frightening thing that had ever happened to us.”

In the wake of Gammy, the Thai Government ordered an audit into IVF clinics.

This led to the forced closure of the All IVF Center after authorities allegedly discovered links to the human trafficking of surrogate babies.

The fate of about 50 Australian couples — including the Brunsdons — was thrown into limbo.

After much political wrangling, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop arranged a pact with the Thai Government who agreed to grant a grace period for pregnancies already in progress.

Jayson finds it difficult to articulate the relief he felt.

“It was just sheer joy, it was like, ‘thank God’, it’s difficult to describe really because it’s about our child and if you can’t get him home, you don’t know what to do,” he said.

“When it was all clear, we were just ecstatic and we could get on with living again. We were just on hold, we were holding our breaths.”

But they were not out of the woods yet.

Despite being assured they would have not issues leaving Thailand after Roman was born on January 5, 2015, they were detained at the airport for human trafficking.

“Initially they said, ‘we are not going to let you go until we see the surrogate mother’ and they asked us all these questions and they were screaming at us,” said Aaron.

“It was awful, we were so terrified.”

Eventually they were allowed on the plane — Roman had an Australian passport and Jayson’s name was on the birth certificate.

Jayson has spoken out for the first time in response to accusations that he saw Roman as a commodity akin to a buying a fashion accessory.

“That’s kind of pathetic really. Who has a child so they can have them as an accessory that they can dress up?” Jayson said.

“I just think it’s just really bigoted, discriminatory, really ill-informed and it’s unacceptable.

“Some people are just really ignorant people and they don’t understand that when you’re gay, you’re born gay. It’s like being born black … you can’t help it.

“So if you want to have a child, why shouldn’t you have a child?

“If we got him as just an accessory, we would have been over him by now wouldn’t we?

“It’s part of the joy of being a new parent, to buy the cot and decorate the bedroom and all that kind of stuff.”

Jayson said Roman had “enriched” their lives.

“He makes us so much more responsible, patient, caring and loving and we are very lucky because he is just a gorgeous little angel,” he said.

“(Parenthood) is such a fantastic experience. It’s the hardest thing you ever do, but it’s the best thing you ever do.

“It’s the best thing we ever did, it’s better than showing in New York Fashion Week or anything, it’s a much more heart filling experience than anything you’ve ever done.”

Aaron said they would ensure Roman was not deprived of anything.

**** said she would do it all over again if they ever wanted a sibling for their son Roman.

“One day in the future if you want to have a sister or brother for Roman, if she can help and do again, she is happy to do,” said an interpreter responding to questions.

The mother, who had never been a surrogate before, said she discussed her decision with her husband and family, including her two children Jonus, 16, and Nicky, 6, “so everyone knew and agreed”.

Her motivation was to help the Australians, “fulfil a family that would be the most wonderful gift to them that they can never forget”.

“She also believed this is a very good thing she did, to give life,” the interpreter said.

“She look after someone’s baby for them. She want to make that couple also very happy.

“She loves and talk to baby and let her kids and family touch and talk to a little boy inside. “Because she believe her love and care will be the best vaccine for baby to grow well.”

When she met Aaron and Jayson, she understood how they felt.

“You two very good people. She knew you are super fathers who will raise a little boy surrounding with love, good education and all good things,” the interpreter said.

“Buddha teach her to be good people, to help other people and bring happiness to people.”Read more at: |
judy smith Oct 2015
Getting a diagnosis of cancer is a life-changing experience. That’s what Noa Sorrell realized over the past year.

“I was diagnosed in January this year with Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” the 11-year-old Texas girl said. “I was kind of scared, but the doctor said that it would be treatable, very treatable, even if it wasn’t a simple thing. So I wasn’t too worried because he said that, but I was a little worried.”

The treatment left Noa Sorrell with a lot of time on her hands.

“I was in chemo for three months,” she explained. “And I didn’t have anything to do. So I would have really bored, if I hadn’t started sewing and designing clothes.”


Noa learned how to sew from her grandmother, who passed away last year. She always dreamed of becoming a fashion designer and the Make-a-Wish Foundation made it happen. The nonprofit group grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, and they arranged for Noa to show off her clothes during Los Angeles Fashion Week.

Using her late grandmother’s old “Singer” machine, Noa created a clothing line, a spring collection for preteen girls, inspired by flowers and bright colors.

“I was very nervous because I wasn’t sure if I was going to finish my work on time,” Noa admitted. “But at the same time, I was very excited for the Fashion Week and I was working really hard because on top of trying to sew a collection of 10 pieces in a month-and-a-half, I also had school and many other things."

Determination and love

Noa's mother, Maralice Sorrell, says the idea of producing something during the time her daughter was receiving her chemotherapy was very empowering for her, adding that her determination and love for sewing helped her meet that goal. She recalled that, at times, Noa was so tired she had to wheel her in a shopping cart into the fabric store so she could pick material for her designs.

“She’s a very dedicated student,” Sorrell said. “She would do her homework and then sit at this sewing machine, sometimes four hours a day. Sometimes she would sit until 4:00 a.m. She said she wanted to have a website. So we bought her a domain and told her, you have to learn how to do it. So she would sew while she’s at home and when she’s in the hospital she would work on the website.”

Working, and still dreaming

Noa continues to design and sew clothes for her friends at school and her family.

“Her friends do a lot of sports and biking," Sorrell explained. “She made them reversible tank tops. For herself, she made a dress for the fashion show that matches her personality. She dressed her sister with a black dress that also matches her sister. She has the eye for creating things that match someone’s taste and personality and we would like very much help her grow that.”

Noa says her dream is to become a well-known fashion designer.

“I want to start selling my designs," she said. “I’m not sure how I’m going to do it, but what I know I want to see people wearing my designs.”

Her mother also has a dream.

“I want to see her growing up. That’s my wish. I want to see her happy.”

Noa says she is happy. She has a new sewing machine and keeps busy, studying and creating her fall and winter collections.

judy smith Apr 2015
If there was an award for the oddest pairing in fashion, it would go to Jonathan Anderson and Spanish house Loewe. More than a few eyebrows were raised when the designer, who is better known for his conceptual unisex collections and dressing men in cropped tops, was handed the reins to the heritage brand that is all about "luxe" (in other words: conservative) leather goods.

In person, Anderson looks more like an extra from a Saint Laurent runway show than creative director of one of Spain's most treasured possessions. He's dressed in a typical model uniform of white tee and jeans, complete with dark sunglasses and a cigarette dangling from his fingers. A mop of tousled, highlighted blond hair adds to his boyish charm, although he is quick to assert that looks can be deceiving.

"Fashion ultimately imitates life and in life things don't always look good together from the outset," he says. "I know a certain style is good when I feel uncomfortable with it - those looks turn out to be the best. You have to challenge yourself with things you don't like or don't know."

Taking on a brand reinvention is probably one of the biggest challenges the 30-year-old Irish designer has faced in his short but successful career. A former Prada window dresser, he studied menswear at London College of Fashion and launched his eponymous line in 2008 to critical acclaim. He's been nominated for many awards and even collaborated with the likes of Versus.

In 2013 everything changed when LVMH took a minority stake in his label and offered him the role of creative director at Loewe in the hope that he could transform the dormant house into a modern success story along the lines of Givenchy and Céline. The Loewe gig wasn't originally part of the deal but that changed quickly following a covert visit to the Loewe factory.

"Truth is I just fell in love with the people," he says. "I met the master modeller and leather developer, and I thought this brand can be huge. Loewe was never on my radar, but when I went there I could not understand why it had never been articulated in a way that it wasn't global. I questioned if I wanted to do this, but once I started creating a book of ideas, I couldn't stop."

Although Loewe has a network of stores around the world, it was not a brand that many people took notice of (a fact not helped by its unpronounceable name, which for the record is pronounced Lo-Wev-Eh).

So Anderson decided to adopt a more controversial approach to the rebranding. Much like Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent, he unveiled a fresh new identity, including a sleek new logo designed by graphic duo M/M (Paris) and an eye-catching campaign featuring a selection of vintage Steven Meisel images.

"I did a year of research before I started and realised we had to remove the date and city location from the logo. One of my skills is that I am very marketing directed," he says.

While many creative directors use runway shows as a platform to showcase their vision, Anderson focused first on the fundamentals of the brand and what it does best: leather goods. Soon Loewe's iconic buttery soft leather was transformed into covetable designs such as the best-selling Puzzle Bag, the Colourblock Flamenco Crossbody and a range of minimalist clutches and totes embossed with the discreet new logo.

"There are not many brands in the world that are built up in that way. We have such incredible leather knowledge in hand at Loewe and I had to use that," he says.

Next on his list was adding a more personal element to the brand in the form of culture. Along came various projects, including working with renowned Japanese ceramicist Tomoo Hamada on two exclusive pieces for the Tokyo store, inspired by the brand's DNA. His most recent project, which was unveiled in Hong Kong last week, features prints by British textile artist John Allen, which have appeared on a range of summer essentials, from bags to towels.

"When I was looking at what other brands were offering, none of them really dealt with this culture idea," Anderson says.

That's not to say that ready-to-wear takes a back seat at Loewe. This is an area where Anderson has been most prolific, producing both ready-to-wear and pre-collections for men and women which are shown in Paris.

"Marc Jacobs fundamentally opened up the idea that clothing was needed to articulate leather goods. It came from a moment in the 1990s where he changed our thinking on old houses. I've learned through my lifetime that you need a character to tell a story - a bag cannot be isolated. People need something tangible to hold onto and ready-to-wear creates newness," he says.

There's no doubt that his clothing brings a fresh perspective to the brand. His menswear collections feature everything from slouchy raw-silk tunic and turned-up jeans to knitted palazzo pants, each imbued with his signature androgynous touches. His woman is powerful and dressed boldly in blouson blouses made from patchwork leather and wide-legged trousers.

While many critics have embraced the new Loewe look wholeheartedly, others have not been complimentary, saying that Anderson's work is derivative. Not that Anderson is letting it get to him.

"I had to stop reading what people write. I have to be me. I want the brand to be big, and will do everything to make it happen, but I don't want to change who I fundamentally am. You either like what I say or don't," he says.

"I am bored of the days where we are obsessed with the idea that certain designers owned things. You own nothing. Fashion is not about that. It's about reappropriating things, it's how you edit it."

Like most 21st century designers, Anderson is obsessed with the future and creating a brand that is truly of the moment: he has lofty goals to bring Loewe to the next generation of consumers.

"The idea of relevance is the idea that you can be rejected tomorrow. We live in a culture that moves very fast, so that relevance is short-lived. My biggest goal in the next five years is to get to the point where we will do a show and, the day after, the collection is in store. It means we are designing for the moment that it is going out. That's my dream."Read more |
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 Dec 2015
In every tribe and culture, a wedding is cause for a celebration. And all of those celebrations involve some degree of negotiation among the couple, their families, their cultures and their traditions to make the experience meaningful and powerful for everyone.

Rabbi Adam Greenwald, director of the Miller Introduction to Judaism program at American Jewish University, said when it comes to Jewish nuptials, even born-Jews will have differences. Is one a secular Zionist and the other Modern Orthodox? Reform and Conservadox? The combinations seem endless.

But, for Jews by Choice, there is the added wrinkle of following Jewish practice while making sure beloved non-Jewish family and friends feel included.

When Jazmine Green, who went through the Miller program, and Jeremy Aluma started planning their Jewish wedding, Jazmine’s Catholic mother revealed that she had always dreamed of watching Jazmine’s father walk their daughter down the aisle. The Jewish practice of having both the bride’s parents walk her to the chuppah and remain there with the groom and his family throughout the ceremony was unfamiliar and she resisted it.

Greenwald, who each year officiates at the weddings of 15 to 20 couples in which one person is a Jew by Choice, often meets with non-Jewish families early in the preparation process to talk through these issues and answer questions. He recognizes that, for some parents, there is real sadness when a child chooses a different faith.

“I try to honor those complex emotions and assure them I only want to help create a special, meaningful day for everyone,” he said.

He suggests couples create booklets to explain Jewish terms for attendees who may not be familiar with them and that they make sure the officiating rabbi offers a few sentences of context before each stage of the wedding. These can range from a word about the Sheva Brachot, or Seven Blessings, to explaining to a Christian family that a traditional ketubah is written in Aramaic, the language spoken during the time of Jesus, as Rabbi Anne Brener, professor at the Academy for Jewish Religion, California, has done.

Of course, the wedding itself is not a classroom. Jazmine and Jeremy Aluma kept their printed program informal and friendly with questions such as, “What’s up with the circling?” Their explanation of the ketubah concluded, “It also puts a monetary value on Jazmine’s head so she can hold it over Jeremy for the rest of their lives.” About the glass-smashing, they wrote, “If you’re a Jew, you know that as a people, we’ve overcome adversity and make up a thriving global community. Being torn apart encourages us to grow and gives us the opportunity to come back stronger and more resilient than before. We break a glass as a symbol of this natural process.”

Des Khoury, another student of Greenwald’s, and Moshe Netter found a way to recognize many of their families’ traditions in their ceremony and afterward. They were married by Moshe’s father, Rabbi Perry Netter, who explained to the guests that the chuppah, which symbolized the house Des and Moshe were creating, was open on all sides to indicate that everyone was welcome.

Des is a first-generation American. Her father is Lebanese-Egyptian and her mother Armenian; her family’s faith tradition is Catholic. Her wedding program included ways to express congratulations in Hebrew, English, French, Arabic and Armenian. And after the ceremony, Des and Moshe emerged from yichud, or their moment alone, to the horah, followed by an Armenian song and folk dance, and then an Arabic tune. By that time, she said, everyone was dancing.

The material of the chuppah itself can be inclusive. Brener said she once officiated at a wedding beneath traditional Ecuadorian fabric brought to Los Angeles by the groom’s Catholic family.

Music, explanations and words of welcome are nice, but when it comes to actual participation by non-Jews, every officiating rabbi will have his or her own halachic opinion. Because the marriage liturgy itself can be completed in about 10 minutes, many feel there’s room to add appropriate ritual. The mothers of Des and Moshe, for example, lit a unity candle under their children’s chuppah.

Jessica Emerson McCormick, who was born into a Jewish family, researched clan tartans before her marriage to Patrick McCormick, whose Catholic family is Scotch-Irish. Jessica and her mother found a festive blue, red and yellow pattern, and had it woven into a length of cloth and made into a custom tallit for Patrick, as well as special kippot for him and his father to wear at the wedding.

Along with that plaid tallit, Jessica and Patrick’s ceremony included several rabbi friends reading the traditional Seven Blessings in Hebrew, followed by members of Patrick’s family reading English translations. Both of Jessica’s children from a previous marriage were on the bimah, and her son wrote and read his own interpretation of the seventh blessing.

Rabbi Susan Goldberg at Wilshire Boulevard Temple said having non-Jews read translations of the Sheva Brachot is “a nice way to include friends and family in the ceremony.”

Because all translation is a kind of interpretation, Greenwald said he also approves of participants riffing on the basic idea of a blessing to create something that especially speaks to the couple. He finds that the needs of the couple can get lost while they’re making sure everyone else is happy, and sees one of his jobs as helping them stay focused on what they need, how they can be kind and compassionate, but still have the wedding they desire.

“The most important thing,” he said, “is that the couple under the chuppah have a powerful, meaningful experience of commitment.”

Because the wedding day marks a transition to what Jewish tradition sees as a new life, many rabbis encourage couples to go to the mikveh before the ceremony. Often for Jews by Choice, it’s their first visit since their conversion and a chance to reflect on how much has changed since then.

It wasn’t clear at first that Patrick would choose to become Jewish. When he did decide, Jessica said, his family was supportive. Like the families of the other Jews by Choice interviewed for this article, his parents were happy that he had chosen to include religion in his life.

Des, who said she spent years searching for a spiritual practice that felt right to her, also found her parents accepting. “To them, it’s all prayer and God. They’ve even started looking forward to invitations to Shabbat dinner.”

Jazmine’s mother, too, witnessed her daughter’s spiritual seeking and was glad that she found a place that felt like home. In recognition of that, she even gave up her front-row seat and walked with her husband and daughter to take her place under the unfamiliar chuppah.

The officiating rabbi, Ari Lucas of Temple Beth Am, spoke to Jazmine and Jeremy about coming together with the support of their community. He reminded the guests that they were there not just to witness. Together, this mix of family and friends, cultures, languages and traditions would help — and go on helping — the couple begin their new life together.

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