Blame it on the arctic blast, on awards season, on fashion week’s very influence hanging in the balance.
Whatever the cause, there’s no denying that this edition of New York Fashion Week left veteran partygoers feeling a bit neglected. Marc Jacobs’s once-legendary blowouts now occur with less frequency. No celebrity-studded soirees took place for Jason Wu or Proenza Schouler or Rag & Bone or Visionaire.
Even Alexander Wang took his runway bow and called it a night.
But not all hope was lost.
The week had a civilized start with amfAR’s annual kickoff gala last Wednesday night at Cipriani Wall Street. A diverse and prominent crowd including Blake Lively and her husband, Ryan Reynolds, Jay Z, Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio and the omnipresent model Karlie Kloss showed up at the black-tie affair, which honored Harvey Weinstein and raised more than $2 million for AIDS research. A party with a purpose is always reason to celebrate.
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Thursday night saw no fewer than a dozen noteworthy parties. At the Box on the Lower East Side, ASAP Rocky performed for a boisterous crowd (dancing on furniture was involved) to celebrate his collaboration with Guess Originals jeans. Later, Kanye West’s collective, G.O.O.D. Music, took over the celebrity haunt Up & Down on West 14th Street, where party crashers infiltrated, hoping to catch a glimpse of Mr. West after his Madison Square Garden spectacular.
As Presidents’ Day weekend closed in, Dazed Media and Calvin Klein beckoned the fashion pack to a far-flung warehouse space in Bushwick, Brooklyn. The singer Kelela mesmerized the stylish crowd, who braved the polar conditions and a long subway (or Uber) ride to attend.
Perhaps the biggest, and certainly most elaborate, party of the week came by way of Italy, courtesy of the denim brand Diesel. The label, led by artistic director Nicola Formichetti, flexed its muscle with a three-part party, including cocktails at its newish Madison Avenue store. Festivities culminated at a giant house party, held in various rooms of a sprawling Upper East Side mansion, which was hosted by the night-life personality Ladyfag and featured performances by Joe Jonas (who stars in Diesel’s spring advertising campaign) and Travis Scott.
The Monday holiday did little to slow things down.
Purple magazine once again held a chic dinner at Narcissa at the Standard, East Village hotel. Family-style dinner and low-key gossip prevailed at the party, where Purple founder and general gadabout Olivier Zahm caroused with art world luminaries (André Saraiva, Petra Collins), designers (Pamela Love, Johan Lindeberg) and models (Anja Rubik, Hari Nef).
Later that evening, eccentric adherents of Jeremy Scott went to the recently opened Flash Factory in Chelsea to celebrate the designer’s kooky catwalk collection. Mr. Scott was escorted directly to the D.J. booth, where he partied with friends. The bacchanal lasted late, despite it being a school night.
Believe it or not, this is what we call a slow week.
Missoni Exhibit Coming to London’s Fashion and Textile Museum
London’s Fashion and Textile museum plans to launch “Missoni, Art, Color,” on May 6.
The exhibition, which was originally held at the Ma*ga Art Museum in Italy’s Gallarate last year, explores the influence of post-World War II art on the Italian fashion label’s designs over the past 60 years.
“The mix between fashion and art is always exciting, and this show highlights the important dialogue between post-war Italian artists, designers and industry,” said Celia Joicey, the museum’s director. “It is a privilege for the Fashion and Textile Museum to be the first overseas venue to host ‘Missoni, Art, Color.'”
Works from artists such as Sonia Delaunay, Lucio Fontana and Lucio Severini, who have influenced the Missoni family’s creative process over the years, will go on display. They have been drawn from the Ma*ga museum and private collections in Italy.
The show will also honor the late Ottavio Missoni, by displaying some of his paintings and knitted patchwork tapestries.
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The exhibition showcases a large selection of Missoni looks from the Fifties to the present, created by the brand’s cofounder Rosita and her daughter, the company’s creative director, Angela Missoni. A large number of the looks on display highlight the label’s association with knitwear and wool.
“Missoni was the very first company to apply new, unique design to knitwear and have merino wool as the fiber of choice. Through our partnership in this exhibition, we recognize the distinguished history of the company and what they provide the consumer,” said Stuart McCullough, managing director of The Woolmark Company, who has partnered with Missoni on the exhibition.
Luca Missoni, Rosita Missoni’s son and artistic director of the label’s archive, and the art critic Luciano Caramel, who has previously served as a commissioner for the Venice Biennale, are among the curators.
“This exhibition is designed to showcase the creative process of knitting artwork into fashion forms,” said Luca Missoni. “It’s always a great challenge to rediscover the potential of our colorful heritage to make…positive experiences.”
The brand Kate Spade is synonymous with silly, cheerful and covetable designs, such as pineapple purses and sparkling high heels. Founded in 1993 by an actual woman named Kate Spade and her husband Andy (also the people behind the men’s line, Jack Spade), the founding duo haven’t been involved in the wildly successful company since they sold it in 2006.
However, they do still have a penchant for spreading cheer through whimsical accoutrements. The Spades’ latest project is the debut of Frances Valentine. This detail-oriented new brand is kicking off with pompom decorated slides, strappy mid-height heels and metallic ladylike stilettos. A select run of handbags will be offered as well, mostly in tote silhouettes.
The creative pair are really focused on bringing their charm back to the market and to prove it, Ms. Spade has legally changed her last name to Valentine. “It kind of makes [me] sound kind of cool, like a rap star or something,” she joked to Business of Fashion.
But all jokes aside, she is serious about this new venture.
Elyce Arons was also involved in the founding of Kate Spade back in the ’90s and will be re-joining Ms. Valentine and Mr. Spade in this new venture. Another Spade alum, Paola Venturi, has left her footwear-focused role at Prada to launch Frances Valentine.
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Cleverly timed to roll out online on February 14, it’s an ideal time to opt for a pair of Frances Valentine shoes over a dozen roses. We’ll let Ms. Valentine explain why.
What’s the story behind the name Frances Valentine? It’s a family name. Both are names originated from each of my grandfathers; Frances from my father’s side and Valentine is from my mother’s side.
What are some important features you wanted to include in this new brand? Details. The geodesic dome heel and the martini glass heel. Hand-sculpted hardware and an unexpected mix of fabrics and finishes. I want there to be a “I have to have it” component to even the simplest design.
Why did you decide to launch with just shoes and bags? It’s no secret that these are two of my favorite categories. I ended up really loving shoes before I left Kate Spade and working with our shoe designer, Paola Venturi. It is such a treat for us to be back together again. We each bring a different sensibility and set of strengths to the process. It’s like making sculpture, which is why I also like the idea of possibly doing jewelry someday. We are working on a signature pair of eyewear currently, but at this time, we’re in no hurry to expand.
What would you say sets this line apart from others in the market? We designed each shoe as if it were the only shoe we were making. Also, the quality that comes from working with the most amazing factories in Italy. Again, it really is all in the details. This is where my O.C.D. comes in handy.
What are you looking forward to in terms of returning to designing a women’s range? Having a good time, collaborating with my best friends, experimenting with new ideas. It is such a lean, nimble and intimate work environment. I love it!
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Women over 40 are increasingly calling the shots
Thanks to social media, women over the age of 40 are increasingly calling the shots in fashion. It's about time, says Victoria Moss
The selfie-satisfied, Kardashian cheerleader, Olivier Rousteing, may not seem an obvious champion of the everywoman. But in his own not-so-subtle way, the creative director of Balmain is emerging at the forefront of a refreshing movement to reflect and cater to a wider demographic in fashion - the 40somethings.
In his latest spring/summer campaign, Rousteing has reunited three of the original "supers" - Cindy Crawford (49), Naomi Campbell (45) and Claudia Schiffer (45). Premiering the campaign on his Instagram feed (where else?), he said the trio had made him "love fashion yesterday, made me love fashion today [and you] are going to make me love fashion in the future".
Calvin Klein's joyful pictures of mother and daughter Lisa Bonet (48) and Zoe Kravitz (27), all full of beachy abandon, also offer a broader outlook of generation fashion. And in Paris, Giorgio Armani launched a range of everyday luxury classics called the New Normal with Yasmin Le Bon (51), Nadja Auermann (44), Stella Tennant (45) and Eva Herzigova (42). Armani says the collection reflects a "desire to dress women in their daily lives. It offers garments that maintain the values of elegance and dignity, and at the same time a reflection of modernity."
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A collection of grown-up garments shown on grown-up women should be a no-brainer. But, as we all know, that hasn't always been the case. Until very recently, the average age of a model in super-expensive clothes was around 18. Then, last year, it was 80-plus, with Saint Laurent and Celine featuring Joni Mitchell and Joan Didion respectively in their campaigns. This was an interesting idea that undoubtedly helped expand the concept of what is cool and who looks great, as well as aligning the labels with zeitgeist heroes, but it was also yet another example of fashion's obsession with extremes.
This shift feels more measured. Ruth Chapman, co-founder of Matchesfashion.com, says that the demographic of 40- and 50-year-olds is "the woman we always consider first. She's the one who spends the most money on fashion and is most engaged with luxury designer fashion. Social media has been really useful in changing concepts of what and how people want fashion to be seen. If we're going to be spending a lot of money on something, we don't want to see it on somebody who's 17; there's no correlation between the product and the girl wearing it. Social media has changed the concept of what it means to be beautiful. Long gone is that idea that woman become invisible at a certain age."
While we should be careful to attribute every shift and shake to something that happened on Instagram, what the platform has done is allow women of any age, any size, any look to create their own highly tuned and receptive audiences.
Most interestingly, when the audience is put in control, the scope for who can be seen as a model widens. Some of the most popular so-called "street-style stars" on Instagram, are definitely not in the conventional "model" mode. The likes of Eva Chen (aged 35; 528,000 followers), Anna Dello Russo (53; 1 million), Net-A-Porter.com's Sarah Rutson (44K), Natalie Massenet (50; 142K), Giovanna Battaglia (36; 449K), Ines de la Fressange (58; 106K) and Caroline de Maigret (40; 385K) have gained their fans based on their style (crucially) and personality. They are not the passive blank canvases that models so often represent, but authors of their own extremely successful careers. Not before time, brands have begun courting them, and they're not simply using these women as clothes horses, but starting to shape collections around them.
De Maigret, for instance, stars alongside model Angela Lindvall (37) in Karen Millen's new campaign. The chain is cleverly capitalising on the fashion kudos it has picked up in recent months through its wearable and well thought-out collections. Gemma Metheringham, chief creative officer, explains that "thirty- and fortysomethings are our heartland customers. Our campaign women resonate with a broad range of women regardless of age. We cast them because we're inspired by their fashion attitude and personality."
Meanwhile, Maigret's fellow French style guru, Ines de la Fressange, has just launched her fifth collaboration with Uniqlo - a handy edit of easy-to-wear mix-and-match shirt dresses, serviceable trousers and great knits, all with that crucial Fressangian nonchalance.
In London, other high street brands addressing the fashion savvy but realistic tastes of the 40-plus market include Jigsaw, which saw a year-on-year increase of 19 per cent over Christmas, Hobbs, 8 per cent growth in both trousers and workwear categories, and Finery, soon to be stocked in John Lewis, a year after launching.
Alongside them are a slew of smaller brands that cater to this core market. The Fold, Libby London, Me+Em, Winser London and ethical brand The Acey have forged a strong niche offering great pieces that flatter, ideal for work and events.
Jane Lewis (41), founder of Goat, says designing for "grown-ups" forces a designer to be disciplined, honest and focused. "When you're dressing women across all ages, there's a responsibility to design for their needs, their body and their life, so that you're actually fit for purpose. I think that's often overlooked. "
Goat offers a considered edit - wide- and slim-leg trousers, dresses with sleeves, blouses that work as well for a wedding as a boardroom, coats that cover knees, in a colour palette from safe to zingy.
Don't call this demographic middle-aged, however. Last year, Stella magazine editor Marianne Jones coined the alternative term "Diamond generation". Jones (50) speaks for many when she says that "for too long fashion has targeted very young girls, ignoring the swathe of older, confident consumers who have a high disposable income and are unsaddled by debt. They are a powerful and stylish army and don't particularly want to dress in a uniform of wrap dress and nude court shoes."
Increasingly, there's no shortage of relatable red carpet role models for women over 35. From Amal Clooney to Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet to Sophie Hunter, Rachel Weisz to Joan Fonda, at 78 rocking, yes, Balmain. Lupe Puerta, Net-A-Porter.com's global head of client relations, says that "the customers I spend time with love looking at youthful models and seeing what the next generation are getting excited about, because, honestly, they don't feel any different. But they also want to be represented. This is about inclusion, not exclusion. It's recognising that there is a place in fashion for everyone. The industry will always be about aspiration and dreams, but we need to reconsider what we aspire to."
Sustainable fashion and Eco-friendly garbs has given fashion lovers the privilege of looking stylish while stamping a green thumb on the enviornment.
Countries across the globe can attest to this with their 'green' efforts, from the rise in organic derived clothing lines in the U.S. to ethically aligned organizations like the Soil Association in the U.K., various countries are in the pursuit of environmental supported fashion. The latest country to test their green style is Sweden.
Sweden is introducing a somewhat novel approach to Eco-fashion with the announcement of 'ShareWear,' a co-created collection by leading Swedish fashion designers drawn to making 'ready-to-share the new ready-to-wear.'
The ShareWear collection which was launched in late January, includes garments designed by popular Swedish labels Filippa K, House of Dagmar, Hope, NIKOLAJ d'ETOILES, Weekday, Whyred and Uniforms for the Dedicated.
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“Every year, millions of tons of textiles are thrown away in Sweden and other countries around the world, even though almost all of it could be recycled, donated, or repurposed. The ShareWear collection aims to raise awareness in the industry around this issue and at the same time offer an alternative solution,“ says Sofia Kinberg, Global Marketing Director at VisitSweden."
A blue dress from House of Dagmar has already been uploaded to Instagram and the first user to comment on the photo is eligible to borrow it for a week. Once the week is over the user then uploads a photo to Instagram, and the first person to comment on that photo will get to borrow the item the following week.
All are invited to contribute to the ShareWear collection and be apart of the movement by sharing their own clothes using the hashtag #sharewear.
“The aim of ShareWear is to inspire a more sustainable way to be fashionable. Sharing clothes instead of tossing them is good for your wallet, and good for the environment. Share-it-forward if you want to be fashion-forward,” says Henrik Selin, Head of Department for Intercultural Dialogue at the Swedish Institute."
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Style Watch: Ida Lou provides mobile vintage styling for brides
Hitting the road in her shiny turquoise and white Airstream travel trailer, Ashley Morra is a vintage vision.
Inspired by the popularity of food trucks and home trunk shows, Morra combined her expertise as a bridal consultant with her love for vintage fashion from the 1950s and 1960s to create Ida Lou Weddings (idalouweddings.), a mobile vintage bridal and special occasion boutique.
Morra purchased the vintage trailer and outfitted it in chic, feminine midcentury style with plush velvet seating, crystal sconces, a full-length mirror, pressing station, gown racks and more. Armed with vintage frocks collected over the years, Morra travels to photo shoots, weddings and other special events to provide on-site styling services.
The trailer allows Morra to exercise her bridal consultant skills on her own terms.
“I came to the conclusion that I needed to express my own unique style and channel my abilities into something that was missing in the industry and still allowed me to work with other wedding vendors,” she says.
Morra’s collection of vintage gowns are for borrowing, but clients can order custom vintage-style dresses inspired by Morra’s collection of vintage patterns and created by UNC grad and designer Lillian Maura Stewart.
“The patterns cater to individuals who love the designs of the period and desire a custom-made gown with an emphasis on color,” says Morra.
Vintage looks from the ’50s and ’60s have become increasingly popular over the years, particularly in the bridal world. Morra points to several factors that give looks from that era an enduring appeal.
“If you take a look back in the history of wedding dress design, the decade of the 1950s proved to be a pivotal period for the development of the wedding industry and the bridal gown,” she says. “Prompted by WWII, when soldiers returned from war, the country focused on reuniting loved ones as well as providing opportunities for education and jobs – the opportunity to live the American dream. Simultaneously, Christian Dior unveiled the ‘New Look,’ a fashion line that focused on femininity.”
Morra’s clients often draw inspiration from the glamorous stars of that day – Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor – and aspire to incorporate a little of that ’50s charm into their modern celebrations.
Morra currently offers a selection of vintage accessories such as brooches, purses, fur wraps and the like that can be incorporated into her clients’ looks. She also has plans to add custom vintage-inspired accessories in the future.
As her business continues to grow, Morra says working with her clients to create an uncommon bridal experience is what drives her.
“I enjoy the challenge and excitement that surrounds the experience of working with brides,” she says. “I love learning about their interests, dreams and style preferences and finding the perfect gown that would make their wedding day one that they would treasure forever.”
Winter Beauty Event
Nordstrom’s beauty experts will offer skin care tips and techniques during the store’s winter beauty event on Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., at the Streets at Southpoint location in Durham. Customers who spend $125 or more in the store’s beauty department during the event will receive a cosmetic bag gift.
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