The Evolution of the Celebrity Designer

The Celebrity DesignerIt’s no secret that nearly every fashion house has a devoted celebrity following. It can be said that neither celebrity nor designer could exist without one another.

This reciprocal relationship most certainly benefits both parties, with designers getting their clothes seen by dressing famous names and celebrities receiving accolades for their trend-setting style.

But does having impeccable personal style or being dubbed the “red carpet star to watch,” translate into a clothing line? A celebrity may know how a fabric will look on camera or how a dress should fit at every angle to glide down a red carpet, but does that give him or her enough credibility to explore design opportunities? Does it provide the necessary knowledge about design techniques and quality?

The complicated relationship between designers and celebrities, and the evolution of the celebrity designer, has become a circus that many fashion devotees would pay big bucks for a front row seat.

The showdown has recently been chronicled in great detail by a fashion insider in a new book that gives a behind-the-scenes look at the rise of the celebrity designer.

The veteran Wall Street Journal fashion reporter, Teri Agins, investigates in the page-turner, “Hijacking the Runway,” how famous names have stolen the spotlight from fashion’s trained elite.

Agins pulls back the curtain on who gets paid to sit front row at a fashion show, celebrity designed fashion brands, and the lure of celebrity fragrances. The line between celebrity and fashion becomes even more blurred when discussing the amount that a famous name is involved in the line and why some celebrity clothing lines are a success and others fail.

The Celebrity Designer

The level of involvement that celebrities have in their fashion brands varies, with some designing the pieces themselves, and others simply inspiring the lines and lending their names. Over the years, we have witnessed that when the name of a celebrity is at the forefront of a collection, the design aesthetic can become the secondary factor for the brand.

Case in point, the epic failure of a celebrity-turned-designer can be identified as Lindsay Lohan. In 2009, Lohan served as an artistic advisor for the French fashion house Emanuel Ungaro at Paris Fashion Week. The collection featured ill-fitted blazers and fur stoles, overworked patterns, and offensive glittery heart-shaped pasties. The couture house’s founder, Emanuel Ungaro, bluntly referred to the collaboration as a “disaster.”

Kanye West then jumped on the bandwagon and accused Lohan of ruining the credibility of celebrity designers and called her “9/11 for celebrities doing fashion.” This is an ironic statement given that Mr. West’s foray into the fashion arena was met with criticism a few years later. In 2011, West’s fashion line’s debut at Paris Fashion Week created expectations that would be impossible to live up to, even for established and trained designers. Ultimately, the show was a disappointment.

West has vented his frustrations by the idea that a design degree and a hands-on approach is necessary to be taken seriously. But on the other hand, designers that have worked from the bottom up, having gone to design school and studied the craft for years are equally insulted by the notion that a celebrity can walk in and put their name on a collection and call themselves a fashion designer. For a struggling designer who doesn’t have the financial gain or following, it is a step backward for the industry to accept a famous name who doesn’t put in the same amount of time and effort. What is an up-and-coming designer to do when the competition is a hip-hop superstar who shares the same dream of conquering the fashion world?

The other question to ask is, despite all of the high fashion connections and opportunities handed to Kanye West, what made his collection fail while other famous names succeeded? According to Agins, the people who have succeeded have done so because designing is their one and only job.

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen can be identified as being successful for trading their claim to fame for a lucrative fashion empire. The duo are heavily involved in the design process for their ready-to-wear collection, Elizabeth and James, and high-end line, The Row. By not fixing their names to the label, the Olsens have become more than celebrity designers, they have allowed their lines to prosper and be acknowledged for the quality of work.

Victoria Beckham shed her pop star image as member of the Spice Girls, and has brought her posh sensibility to the fashion industry with her self-titled ready-to-wear clothing line.  Her collection won the Designer Brand of the Year at the 2011 British Fashion Awards. With a flagship store that has just opened in London, Beckham has developed a brand that emphasizes a high-end tailored impeccable style.

Both of these fashion lines have reached critical acclaim and financial success because the clothes have transcended the famous name making them. Victoria Beckham and Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have created fashion brands that are not just based on fans.

While there are famous names that have penetrated that elitist wall of fashion and have been accepted and received credibility from the couture fashion gods, there are celebrities whose fashion lines don’t have the same cache but have been deemed a commercial success.

Singer-reality star-actress-turned-fashion designer Jessica Simpson has earned the name “Fashion’s Billion Dollar Baby,” thanks to her fashion brand. The collection includes handbags, shoes, and clothing that generates an estimated $1 billion in annual retail sales.

The Jessica Simpson Collection is no longer just a celebrity brand, it’s a brand. However great her business model has become, Ms. Simpson fills a commercial space that isn’t equivalent to the high fashion world.

The fashion industry has always been an unpredictable arena. With the popularity of street style, the democratization of social media, and consumers looking for style in places other than inside fashion’s tents and the red carpet, designers have much more to compete with than the celebrity designer.

Fashion has become crowded, and since it doesn’t seem that the celebrity designer will disappear anytime soon, fashion designers have had to enter the stage to steal back their spotlight. Fashion designers once fought each other for big names to wear their clothes. Now, designers have become celebrities in their own right, creating personas that consumers connect with.

Fashion has come full circle from high fashion brands like Chanel and Dior telling women how to dress, to celebrities using their fame to endorse brands and establish their own lines, and now in-demand designers like Tory Burch, Vera Wang, and Michael Kors using their celebrity to cement themselves as big brands.

Fashion has such a personal and emotional connection with consumers, that whether it is a trained fashion professional or a red carpet regular trying to get their foot in the door, brands need to focus on the bottom line: designing quality clothes.


Generation Waste - The Holidazed Issue

How Our Obsession with Fast Fashion Might be Doing More Harm Than We Think 

Once upon a time, the fashion industry based the collections and trends it sold to the masses on two notable periods of time on the calendar: the fall and spring seasons. Those days are long gone, and now the common practice in the industry is to produce smaller versions of the main collections at rapid speeds.

With the pressure to create interest within their stores, or with the retailers that their fashions are sold to, the number of collections increased to include pre-fall and resort seasons in addition to fall and spring in an effort to drive sales.

In the late 1990s, the concept of fast fashion came to the forefront as a leading trend in the fashion industry. With brands looking for new ways to increase profits, new “must-have” trends began being churned out on a weekly basis.

With these new trends coming out consistently, consumers are buying as many garments as possible, as quickly as possible.

Fast fashion giants such as Zara and H&M are pioneering the “wear it once and toss it” mentality. With deliveries coming to the stores twice a week, clothes that you see on the runway are hitting the retail floor at lightening

Although this new way of spending and wearing the latest trends may seem appealing and cost-effective, that’s not always the case. Fast isn’t always free, someone somewhere is paying, and one victim is the

The increase in the amounts of clothes people are now consuming has heavy consequences for the environment. More clothing is shipped and flown from factories overseas, and the life cycle of these garments is decreasing.

Statistics shows that when consumers are finished with the latest trends, 68 pounds of clothing and textiles per capita are sent to landfills on average each year.

According to the Council for Textile Recycling, of that amount, which comes to a staggering 25 billion pounds per year, only 15 percent is recycled through secondhand stores such as the Salvation Army or Goodwill. While a portion of these excess textiles does feed back into the economy via sales from these stores, the volume of discarded materials has illustrated a dangerous view of clothing: disposable.

The question becomes, how do we make a change in our behaviors and halt fashion overconsumption?

It may require some work, but it is possible to purchase garments that will last and remain trendy, rather than resort to the fast fashion styles that aren’t made to last.

First, it’s necessary to negate the need to buy an item because it is on sale or appears to be a good “deal.” The idea of fast fashion is that the clothing is cheap, so you are compelled to shop until you drop. In reality, these discounted items tend to not be designer garments at all. Rather, they are replicated designs made with lower quality fabrics instead of the sought-after label that you have been led to believe has been marked down.

Instead of purchasing clothes that are piled high underneath a sale sign, do the research required to learn what a good quality garment looks like. This will change consumers’ minds about what real value is. It may cost more money in the short term, but overall, purchasing clothing with a higher price tag will mean that you have pieces that will survive the inevitable wear and tear. It’s all about quality over quantity.

Another way to break the cycle of fast fashion is to take items that need some repair to the tailor. A needle and thread can quickly mend that beloved dress shirt, save an unnecessary trip to the store, prevent overspending, and make one less item to add to the pile of unwanted clothes.

Buying what you love and taking care of it is just one option to help avoid adding to the graveyard of unwanted clothing. Participating in the eco-friendly fashion market is another. You don’t have to sacrifice style for sustainability. By supporting brands that have made it their mission to design for a cruelty-free closet, you can be both environmentally friendly and stylish.

Edun. Courtesy Photo.
Edun. Courtesy Photo.

Edun, the ethical brand founded by U2’s Bono and his wife Ali Hewson, is trendy and produces garments with trimmings and fabrics that are environmentally friendly.

Vegan designer Stella McCartney is committed to green fashion as well, and even H&M has a launched a conscious collection.

Patience is no longer a virtue when it comes to shopping, but if we take the time to plan each purchase and invest in clothes that may be more expensive but will last, fast fashion will become a trend of the past and we will thank ourselves and the fashion industry in the future.

 


The Man Behind Beautiful Fül: Alejandro Rodriguez

Designer Alejandro Rodriguez. Courtesy Photo.
Designer Alejandro Rodriguez. Courtesy Photo.

There is nothing more refreshing than meeting a designer who is as cool as his clothes. Alejandro Rodriguez is that designer. He is the man behind the men’s contemporary brand, Beautiful Fül.

The Los Angeles-based menswear label captures the current menswear landscape, wearable pieces that are approachable yet unique and punctuated with bold details.

The collection runs on the high-low spectrum with pieces inspired by Rodriguez’s personal relationship with fashion. “Growing up, I didn’t dress with one look in mind. A blazer with jeans or a leather jacket and a pair of nice shoes, I like the idea of mixing high and low.”

Rodriguez’s inspiration also stems from the essential pieces most men already have in their closets. “My designs come from things that I want, need or would like to have,” he says.

Being that Rodriguez is a made-in-L.A. talent, the city serves as a tribute to the spirit of the collection. Rodriquez infuses the historical sub-cultures he has witnessed in the city into his designs.

“New York City takes credit for fashion in the U.S. but what’s in style and trendy also comes from L.A. It’s from the skater, punk rock, rock and roll culture. It can be worn by anyone. People can mix it up so it’s not stuffy and dressed up.”

This mix-and-match approach has become a signature mark of Beautiful Fül, the clothes are styled with an emphasis on ease and layering.

With flannel shirts, leather jackets and pants, basic T-shirts, the Holiday 2014 collection offers a certain level of versatility, giving men the option to create different looks and moods.  Each garment is meant to ring true to men who want more unique, of-the-moment pieces.


Vivienne Tam, Chanel and Balenciaga Among Our Best of Resort 2013 Collections

Resort 2013 collections have once again hit the runway with a full-scale fashion moment. The in-between season has become known for its chic go - to items for the summer. This season’s top looks from star designers and veteran design houses evoked all the glamour of jet setting and lounging poolside.

Vivienne Tam

Vivienne Tam has mastered the art of tailoring. For resort 2013, she has created a collection full of fitted lightweight separates and dresses that are truly works of art. With crisp whites, subdued hues of black, gray, and khaki, and a modest touch of orange, Tam confirmed that opposites very much attract.

Many of the dresses featured fabrics and treatments, like intricate geometric symbols and embroidered tribal graphics, that helped serve as a contrast to the otherwise simplistic pieces. Skinny black trousers with obscure mesh cutouts, hooded jackets with explosive prints, and patterned tank dresses reminiscent of ’70s sportswear offer an elegant yet wearable look.

Marchesa

Marchesa’s rendition of resort wear is a breath of fresh air, literally. Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig sent out a chorus of full-skirted party frocks and slim evening gowns, ideal for an elegant garden soiree.

They showed a rainbow of pastel shades, with lace, crystals, and silk. Attention was paid to classic draping, and incorporating asymmetric single-shoulders. Known for slimming dresses that cascade into frothy clouds of tulle, Marchesa has kept its aesthetic of embroidered and shimmering silhouettes while balancing an effortless and simple touch for summer.

 

Balenciaga

Another beautifully conceptualized collection has emerged from Balenciaga. The perfectly styled presentation is light and flowing, evocative of organic and naturalistic imagery. Balenciaga’s ballet-inspired Resort collection is feminine, without being overly ornate. The collection speaks directly to the mood of the moment. Structured cropped tops and wide-leg pants are must haves from the line-up. The elongated, effortlessly chic silhouettes are perfect for the calm of the season.

 

Chanel

The Chanel resort collection at Versailles featured couture that was most certainly fit for a queen. Inspired by the paintings of Antoine Watteau, it drew on the seductive and feminine.  The pomp and ceremony necessary to create a modern day collection with a touch of the Marie Antoinette included pastel-colored full skirts, pannier dresses with ruffled white lace tiers, eighteenth-century gilded jackets, denim outfits with golden embellishment, and the signature Chanel bouclé.

 

 Bottega Veneta

An experimental color palette of butter yellow, pale peach, and pistachio, was a risk worth taking for Bottega Veneta. The blend was a bold mix of colors, yet still appropriate for the fresh feel of summer. The collection is rife with pure sophistication, with head to toe fitted pieces made to compliment each other, and complete with matching shoes and bags. Characterized by sharp and loose silhouettes, the collection emphasizes sporty and wearable separates. Outerwear was also a strong point, with double-breasted peacoats and tracksuit inspired jackets.

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Courtesy photos. Chanel photo (Yannis Vlamos / GoRunway.com)


Luxury's Luster Lost: The Consequence Of Brand Oversaturation

Luxury's Lost Luster: The Consequence of Brand Oversaturation

Luxury's Luster Lost: The Consequence Of Brand Oversaturation
Left to right: Lil Kim (photo by David LaChapelle), Cristal, Louboutins, Louis Vuitton bag

Fantasy fulfillment by way of luxury goods is ultimately about the unattainable, with consumers fantasizing about how life is enhanced by a luxury brand.

And these days, with designer collaborations, lower price point diffusion lines and couture outlets, everyone has a chance at a slice of luxury.

But there was a time when luxury wasn't only a product for the masses; it was a lifestyle that was only affordable to an aristocratic world of celebrity, royalty and established wealth. Luxury was tradition, superior quality and a pampered buying experience. Now, the unattainable has become attainable for many, making the luxury consumer  an all too common reality.

One might argue that upscale brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Fendi have lost their exclusivity in the minds of consumers.

Jennifer Lopez's Louboutins
Jennifer Lopez's cover art for
her "Louboutin" track
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Perhaps one reason for this might be the excessive reference to such brands in the media. From Jennifer Lopez releasing a single in 2009 about her love for Christian Louboutins to hip hop artists splurging on bottles of Cristal in nightclubs, these notable brands are no longer signs of a refined palate.

The trend that celebrity endorsements made luxury products more desirable, expensive and exclusive is now the opposite. As the media showcases these brands as every day necessities (remember Jessica Simpson's 2003 “With You” music video using her Louis Vuitton bag as a laundry hamper for dirty clothes and for mopping the floor?), the public has increased its need to adopt these high-end brands into mundane living. This has led to an industry of designer replicas that tarnish the once iconic.

Another area of controversy for high fashion brands is its complicated relationship with the hip hop community. Though celebrity endorsements of luxury fashion have always been important for brands, some couture houses are shying away from their hip hop connections.

Jessica Simpson Mopping In "With You" Video
Jessica Simpson using an LV bag to mop
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Take managing director of Cristal, Frédéric Rouzaud's view that hip-hop culture was "unwelcome attention."

Lil' Kim posing with the logo of the French luxury brand Louis Vuitton from head to toe on her naked body arguably takes the LV name from luxury to the pedestrian in seconds flat.

High-end brands once represented exclusivity and wealth, but the aspirations of consumers to look and live like the celebrities that they see in the media has caused upscale brands to lose their value and prestige.

Perhaps Kreayshawn says it best in her "Gucci Gucci" lyrics, "Gucci Gucci, Louis Louis, Fendi Fendi, Prada/Basic bitches wear that shit so I don't even bother."


The Politics of Fashion: How American Presidents Have Influenced the Fashion Landscape

The Politics of Fashion: How American Presidents Have Influenced the Fashion Landscape

The Politics of Fashion: How American Presidents Have Influenced the Fashion Landscape
1930’s Celedon green rayon poplin dress (Rusty Zipper), 1960s St. Andrews Vintage 3 Piece Suit,  Vintage Dolce and Gabbana Red 1980s Suit, J. Crew Pembridge Dot Pencil Skirt and Colorblock Cardigan

At first thought, the worlds of fashion and politics appear to be vastly different. One would assume that they are two unrelated subjects and yet, the two have a reciprocal relationship.

Sitting presidents have used fashion as a tool for their political agendas. The personal style of the president and the first lady has influenced the clothing worn by Americans, affecting fashion trends from generation to generation.

Trends in fashion are a reflection and reaction to current events.

After the Wall Street Crash in the 1930s, the resulting Great Depression influenced fashion choices.

Herbert Hoover and Franklin Delano Roosevelt were presidents known to promote thrift and thwart usury. The style of clothing that emerged were long full skirts that came to the mid calf and blouse sleeves of three quarter length or shorter. Clothes were repaired before they were replaced with women taking advantage of their sewing machines and reinventing looks that they already owned. The zipper became common in clothing because it was less expensive than buttons.

The symbiotic relationship between fashion and politics continued with the election of John F. Kennedy, where fashion became a medium for conveying political ideologies and social values.

The camelot reign of President Kennedy ushered in an era of class and sophisticated attire, with him famously wearing tailor-made three piece suits and perfectly coiffed hair. Jackie Kennedy became a style icon wearing boxy Chanel suits, going bare-legged, even to mass, and popularizing large sunglasses.

Nancy Reagan wearing her signature "Reagan red"
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Nancy Reagan restored a Kennedy-esque glamor to the White House, bringing elegance and formality to Washington D.C. with a wardrobe of notable designers, hosting fifty-six elaborate state dinners and a taste of splendor.

She was widely criticized for ordering a new state china service for the White House, during an economic recession.

Although at times considered "out of touch," Nancy was known favorably by Americans for her sense of style.

The first lady wore red so often that the fire-engine color became known as "Reagan red."

Michelle Obama in J. Crew
First lady Michelle Obama wearing J. Crew
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Fashion has always run hand in hand with politics—for example, when Barack Obama was elected president in 2008, at the height of the economic downturn, Michelle Obama took the "made in America"  approach and typically chose to wear couture with an American label stitched into the dress to promote local businesses.

With so many Americans hurting financially, the style that the president and first lady have adapted over the past four years has represented optimism, glamour and economic accessibility.

Moments of fashion have become more than a matter of aesthetics, style has played a much more significant role in the realm of politics.

With every great occurrence in the political landscape of America, it has been mirrored in changing fashion.

When examining fashion in the context of its historical significant, the relationship that it has with politics cannot be denied.
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Credits: Michelle Obama ( Kevin Winter/NBCUniversal/Getty Images)


5 Must-Have Wardrobe Essentials That Are Worth the Investment

At some point in our lives, we have all opened our closets, examined the rack of clothes in front of us, and still found that there is nothing suitable to wear.

Whether you are getting dressed for a meeting at the office or a first date, there are several essential items that should be added to your closet to avoid the agonizing statement, “I have nothing to wear!”

No matter what your individual style is, there are key items that you absolutely must add to your closet to make getting dressed from head to toe simple yet trendy. Use the following fashion advice to stock your wardrobe with the five classic pieces that, may be expensive, but have versatility and will last forever.

1. First, every woman needs the items in her closet to be versatile. A blazer is an essential piece of clothing that can be paired with almost anything in your closet, dressed up or down. The numerous monochromatic colors available makes it easier to style a blazer with a skirt, trousers, or a pair of jeans.

For a chic iteration of the beloved schoolboy blazer, try our current obsession, a crafted shrunken fit blazer, tailored to the nines from J Crew.

2. It's  important that your wardrobe essentials remain classic and will never really go out of fashion. That is why an LBD ( little black dress) should absolutely be a staple in your closet. Your LBD should be well-made and fit like a glove, to hide your flaws and accentuate your attributes. Because it is a black basic, you are free to add color in other areas of your outfit and have fun incorporating prints and chic accessories.

A little black dress that will make you feel fabulous and will make the perfect investment is a Alexander Wang statement-making cotton netting dress that sculpts an exceptionally feminine silhouette and provides an effortless office-to-evening look.

3. Every woman should have a garment for outer wear that fits perfectly and gives her a slimming appearance. The classic trench coat is a necessary staple because it never goes out of style and can be worn in any season. A trench coat should fit well in the shoulders to avoid looking overwhelmed.

It is important to pick a a fit you are comfortable with, cinched at the waist or a loose fit, single-breasted or a more traditional double-breasted trench. It is also key to select a trench coat that is the correct length -- it should be long enough to cover up a dress but short enough to not add too much volume when worn with trousers or jeans.

 

4. An item that will form the basis of any stylish wardrobe is a pair of quality jeans. Be sure to choose a style of jeans that is flattering to your body type; styles range from skinny, high-waisted, flared, wide-leg, to bootcut.

Also, keep in mind that the wash of your  jeans can designate whether they can be worn casual for the day or dressed up at night.

5. For the ultimate wardrobe essential that goes with everything, add a pair of black pumps to your closet. Invest in a chic pair of shoes that can be a go-to outfit maker that doesn't have to break the bank. When buying shoes, make sure they are comfortable and the right fit. Pumps are a garment that you will rely on time after time, so be sure that they are of exceptional quality.

 


An Understated Future: What Changes Could Lie Ahead for Dior’s Design Direction with Simons

Left to right: Spring 2012 Jil Sander collection under the direction of Raf Simons (Yannis Vlamos / GoRunway.com), Spring 2010 Christian Dior collection under the direction of John Galliano (Monica Feudi / GoRunway.com)
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After much speculation, the Parisian fashion house, Christian Dior, made an announcement that was heard around the fashion world. After a year long pursuit, Christian Dior has filled one of the fashion industry's most high-profile positions.

Following the dramatic departure of John Galliano, Christian Dior has hired Belgian designer Raf Simons to replace Galliano, who was fired after a drunken racist and anti-Semitic outburst at a Paris cafe.

As the artistic director, Simons will be at the creative helm of the women’s ready-to-wear and accessories line. As the whispers and speculations subside, the masses can now focus on the outcome of this decision, and what changes could lie ahead for the legendary French couturier.

Many fashion insiders question whether the arrival of Simons at Dior will mean the exit of the audacious and profoundly feminine diction that the collection is known for.

Since its inception in 1946, the label became eponymous with classic style and irreproachable attention to detail, quickly becoming infamous for creating the “new” shape for women, characterized by a full-skirt, large bust and cinched waist.

The appointment of Simons, a designer known to lean towards effortless and minimalist designs, could make or break the fashion house that has seen whimsical and flamboyant designs the past fifteen years under the direction of Galliano.

Simons is the antithesis of his predecessor, he is not the larger than life designer that has a tendency to overpower the clothes.

Under the reign of Simons, Dior can represent a more introverted interpretation of haute couture.

Simons, who comes from fashion house Jil Sander, can usher Dior into a new era of understated romance and elegance. He can be a champion for the "less-is-more” approach and demonstrate that high fashion can be stripped down to a modest and tasteful form of luxury.

Having studied industrial design, Simons can actualize the concepts of femininity and female reality into his designs. He has the skill set to marry the heritage of Dior’s traditional frilly femininity with his minimalist aesthetic.

Simons has the technical skills necessary, like being able to reconstruct a garment—such as a corset shape—but his use of transparency will make a piece move fluidly without constriction.

Presenting a more restrained approach will encompass Simon,  taking signature Christian Dior silhouettes and loosening them up.

In a departure from the theatricality of the past, we should expect to see featherweight pieces and delicate layering under the direction of Simons.

He has already carved out a niche as a stylish innovator, and in time, he will show that he can invigorate the brand and use the runway to express the concepts and values that define Christian Dior.


Photo Diary: Tracy Reese ‘Clos du Bois Chic Picnique by Tracy Reese’ Launch Party (4)

Photo Diary: ‘Clos du Bois Chic Picnique by Tracy Reese’ Launch Party

Photo Diary: Tracy Reese ‘Clos du Bois Chic Picnique by Tracy Reese’ Launch Party (1)

Photo Credit: Joy Jacobs
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[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith the arrival of spring, it is the perfect opportunity to wine and dine, and designer Tracy Reese has made sure that the warm weather can be celebrated in style.

Tracy has collaborated with Sonoma winery Clos du Bois, to provide the essentials for an elegant outdoor feast.

The union celebrated the launch of the Clos du Bois Chic Picnique by Tracy Reese at the Tracy Reese flagship store in the Meatpacking District.

Guests savored delectable picnic fare and Clos du Bois Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Also in attendance was Clos du Bois wine ambassador Katie Lee.

Tracy's iconic Summer Bloom print lines the interior of the chic wicker basket. Tucked inside the sophisticated picnic basket is a pair of reusable Go-Vino glasses, a corkscrew, a wine stopper, fabric napkins in the matching floral-patterned print and two bottles of Clos du Bois wine.

The instant packable spring affair is available in Tracy Reese’s flagship store and online.

 


The Evolution of Alexander Wang

The Evolution of Alexander Wang

The Evolution of Alexander Wang

Exalted by women seeking garments boasting modern styling and classic appeal, and revered by fashion icons that he has admired and can now call peers, Alexander Wang has evolved from the new kid on the block to a contender to watch in the school of fashion.

Since dropping out of Parsons School of Design during his sophomore year to launch his eponymous line in 2007, Wang has become a world renowned fashion designer. Although the designer’s career is still in its infancy, Wang has advanced quickly through the ranks of the fashion industry becoming known for his tomboyish, yet feminine and chic styling.

Wang, a consistent favorite of downtown starlets who appreciate his casual separates with a rock and roll nuance, looks beyond the typical conceptual possibilities when designing.

The Evolution of Alexander Wang
Gwyneth Paltrow wearing Alexander Wang. Photo: Dara Kushner/INFphoto.com
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The California native has reinvented a new realm of casual luxury, combining craftsmanship with high-tech fabrics that creates a street wear wardrobe consisting of stand-out pieces like leather cut dresses, skirts embellished with gunmetal grommets, and utility bombers and vests made from mesh layered over vibrant colors.

These days, Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Rachel Bilson, Mischa Barton, Rihanna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Ashlee Simpson wear Wang’s attire when they hit the red carpet, and fashion followers are paying close attention to his ever-expanding brand.

In the five years since Wang emerged on the fashion scene, he continues to evolve, so does his business.

Since receiving the endowment from the Council of Fashion Designers of America/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2008, an honor that provides emerging designers a $20,000 award towards expanding their business, Wang has also been named the Swarovski womenswear Designer of the Year and recipient of the GQ/CDFA menswear award.

The young designer, who got his start as an intern for Marc Jacobs, Derek Lam, and Teen Vogue, can add having a Soho flagship store to his impressive resume.

Gone are the days of grueling work as an unpaid intern; Wang is now the innovator behind a $25 million business. The focused visionary continues in his pursuit to showcase his blend of nonchalant and polished sportswear.

Wang has expanded globally, taking his nineties grunge inspired collection on the road with the launch of Opening Ceremony in Japan and Selfridges in London.

Wang's ability to use technological innovation to achieve his distinctive aesthetic of both fuss-free elegance and luxury has enabled his brand to expand with a diffusion line, T by Alexander Wang, a desirable line of cotton tees, metal-detailed handbags and a footwear collection of sky high heels.

Wang’s most recent collections have been symbolic of his departure from child’s play, as he, and the girl he designs for, has grown up. The result of Wang’s evolution is a contemporary collection that is a play on masculine verses feminine and casual versus dressy. And above all else, Alexander Wang is taking us on a journey of his fashion exploration, and is achieving a delicate synthesis of relaxed silhouettes with an edge.

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Lead photo credits from left to right: 2007-2010 RTW via Marcio Madeira, 2011 RTW via Yannis Vlamos/Go Runway, 2012 RTW via Monica Feudi / Feudiguaineri.com


NYFW Report: Odilon A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Odilon A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Odilon A/W 2012 Presentation

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Photo Courtesy of Odilon

Designer Stacey Clark served up an unexpected, understated yet intriguing collection for Odilon’s Fall 2012 presentation during New York Fashion Week.

The setting of the High Line room at The Standard Hotel created a cool downtown vibe that was the necessary compliment to the bold zigzag pattern that dominated the collection.

The aesthetic was a simple color blocked collection with materials ranging from shearling and wools to leather and silk. The color scheme incorporated black, white, red and lavender.

The pieces which stood out were well-cut cropped slim trousers and relaxed blazers. The line featured touches of leather with a red pony hair motorcycle jacket and a mini-dress. Clark added fun elements to the line-up with zigzag cuffs decorating model's wrists and a red sweater with the embroidery “the owls are not what they seem.”

Although simple and clean, the looks unveiled were unique and presented some wearable pieces perfect for winter layering.

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NYFW Report: NOMIA A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: NOMIA A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: NOMIA A/W 2012 Presentation

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Courtesy Photo NYFW

Designer Yara Flinn of the New York-based fashion line Nomia, has been known to incorporate her background in video art and sculpture in her aesthetic, and her Fall 2012 collection was no exception.

This season, Flinn presented floating dresses with folds and draping reminiscent of paint brush strokes drawn onto colorful silks.

Taking a sculptural approach to design, Flinn makes an effort to consider the female form in her draping technique and impeccable tailoring. Experimenting with a neon color palette, shades of cobalt blue and fuchsia were a playful addition to a sleek and sophisticated presentation.

The art-inspired collection embodied feminine detail with body-hugging shapes and strategic cutouts. The inclusion of soft pieces like shirt dresses and sleeveless shirts that can be easily worn as separates, were a necessary balance to the structured and asymmetrical pieces that had more of an edge.


NYFW Report: Whitney Eve A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Whitney Eve A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Whitney Eve A/W 2012 Presentation

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Courtesy Photo

Whitney Port has come a long way. Port was  originally introduced to the fashion world as a Teen Vogue intern on the MTV reality show “The Hills,” then as the star of “The City,” turned author, and now she's paving her way as a fashion designer.

The Fall 2012 collection of Whitney Eve showcased Whitney’s evolution as a designer, her creativity and knack for personal style. Beyonce's "Run the World" accompanied models sauntering down the runway of Lincoln Center's Studio, in sophisticated yet comfortable cocktail attire, featuring peplum blouses and fitted blazers.

The collection offered more layers and textures to play with, and dashes of color in burnt orange velvet trousers and a silk royal blue blouse. Port tempered with an array of mixed prints and fitted dresses with more simple pieces, such as a cream shift dress paired with a light weight sweater, giving the line-up a breath of fresh air that eased onlookers’ dissecting eyes.

Traces of Port's L.A. style can be seen in the cropped proportions, effortless styling, and flirty floral prints scattered throughout the collection. Whitney Eve presents plenty of mix-and-match-ready patterned separates prime for workday wear, but everything looked beautifully finished.


NYFW Report: Alice + Olivia A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Alice + Olivia A/W 2012 Presentation

NYFW Report: Alice + Olivia A/W 2012 Presentation

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In a sprawling loft in the heart of Chelsea, with colorful backdrops and party music filtering throughout the room, designer Stacey Bendet once again mastered the art of hosting an enchanting party at the Alice + Olivia Fall 2012 Presentation during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week at Center 548.

The fancy soiree was reminiscent of a Marie Antoinette era dinner party with guests dining on Magnum ice cream bars and sipping rose champagne while observing models lining the perimeter of the room in full length gowns, frilly skirts, floral prints, frosted sequined tops and matching jackets that would speak to every girls' sweet tooth.

The presentation completed the "let them eat cake" theme with a long dinner table in the center of the room set with dripping candles, crystal glassware, and tiers of decorated cakes and sweets. The star studded presentation was visited by the likes of Kristen Chenoweth, Kelly Rutherford,  Johnny Weir, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, Kevin and Danielle JonasKelly Bensimon and Krysten Ritter.

The sexy yet playful collection could serve as the entire wardrobe for the kind of woman that is versatile and likes to have fun with fashion. The collection included rich colors in jewel tones and vibrant metallics.

For Fall 2012, Bendet continued her signature look of blending luxe fabrics, sequin, and feathers with opulent embroidery and tapestries. "The look is sexy rebellious but there is also an innocent school girl charm to her," said Bendet.

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Backstage at Alice + Olivia

The presentation included a gold top paired with metallic cargo pants and topped off with an embroidered military jacket, a fur-trimmed puffer vest layered over swan-like white tulle skirts with embellished bodices, and a body-hugging lace gown tucked underneath a snakeskin leather bomber jacket. The retail conscious Bendet noted that mixing and matching prints makes it easier for a woman to put together outfits that are sexy and sweet, "My goal is for the clothes to cater to every feminine notion, women can put together seperates that work for day or night."

The collection came together with the styling of hair and makeup. Anthony Cole for Sebastian Professional created a disheveled bun with a bold center part. "We created a look that was do-it-yourself. If you're running from the office to a night out, a sleek ponytail can be let down into a loose chignon," added Cole.

For makeup, Sarah Lucero for Stila Cosmetics created a look that was "modern goth" with a porcelain matte base, blacker than black eye shadow, and long wear lip color mixed with brown smudge pot lip liner.

This season revealed the Alice + Olivia gown collection, most notably a stunning green strapless ruffled gown cascading down to a fishtail train followed by a black and white abstract gown gathered at the waist with a bold belt.

With forty-four looks on display, Alice + Olivia certainly maintained its playful aesthetic with flouncy polka dot skirts and green and black strip pantsuit, but has also introduced sequin column gowns that are sure to make a statement.

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Unexpected Companions: Red & Purple

Unexpected Fashion Companions: Radiant Red & Royal Purple

Unexpected Fashion Companions: Red & Purple

For a color combination that is a bit more daring, try pairing red and purple. Considered a royal color, purple tones add a unique injection of energy to any outfit.

When infused with red, the deep and vibrant hues create an exotic synergy. A rich and warm shade of red is well suited for a silk blouse or knit sweater.

We paired our red blouse with a stunning pencil skirt in magenta.

Try playing around with different tones and shades in this color palette that are sure-fire attention grabbers!

This look can be enhanced with striking accessories. We've incorporated a clutch that melds both hues, and a bold shoe to top off the ensemble.

How To Get this Look:

{shoes} Sam Edelman - Roza

{bag} Jil Sander Glazed Karung Clutch

{top} MARC BY MARC JACOBS Michaela Silk Top

{skirt} RM by Roland Mouret Souvik pleated wool-crepe skirt