Ladies the weather is getting warmer and we love wearing our cute dresses and skirts, don’t we? But with the rise of temperatures comes perspiration, sometimes in not the most comfortable places like the thighs! I know I’m not the only lady who has felt super uncomfortable on a hot day, even though I’m a summer lover. And because I work in NYC I’m on speed walk mood most of the time. This means my thighs are rubbing against each other quickly. Trust me this has lead to painful cuts and even bleeding. There have been a few hacks I’ve used to combat this problem like shorts under skirts which can be uncomfortable. I’ve also tried deodorant and baby powder to help with this dilemma. Some of these have worked, but some also wear off after a few hours. Finally a pair of smart women have come up with a great solution. Bandelettes!
Creators Rena Abramoff and Julia Abasova creators of Bandelettes came up the idea for Bandelettes when they realized that many woman suffered from chafing like they did. The products on the market that women were using to help with chafing were not made for this issue. Those products were also not the prettiest. Rena and Julia were ready to be their own bosses, and like many immigrants they made their dreams reality. Bandelettes combines function with fashion. Unlike traditional thigh bands, Bandelettes actually stay up. Thanks to the patented stay up silicone rows inside the Bandelettes, these thigh bands won’t budge. They won’t roll or slip down your legs as you go on with your day.
Bandelettes has been featured in runways such as the Chromat Fall/Winter ’17 runway show for New York Fashion Week. Bandelettes accessorized the swimsuits and sportswear collection. The runway show was full of diverse and full figured models wearing Bandelettes. Diversity and body positivity are part of the Bandelettes brand identity. This was in full effect with plus sized and models of color at the press event I attended. The brands body positive message and the fact that they fit any body type are some of the reasons host of the night and Project Runway winner Ashley Tipton loves Bandelettes. Bandelettes have also been featured in magazines like Cosmopolitan, Seventeen and featured and raved about on shows like NBC Today and more.
I’ve worn the Bandelettes already with different outfits, and these discrete beauties are thigh savers. The first time I wore them was under a skirt that had a slit, where the lace of the Bandelettes could be visible depending on my movement. Although I didn’t mind much as the lace adds an extra detail to the outfit. I’ve also worn them under a dress and was worried there would be visible lines through the dress. This was not the case, you can’t even tell I’m wearing them!
I found that the higher I put them on my thighs the more comfortable I felt. In this case no skin is rubbing against each other which could cause uncomfortable friction. They stayed put with a snug fit throughout the day and did not roll down. I will say at first the feeling of something wrapped around my thighs felt weird. But I quickly got used to them and forgot they were on. When putting on the Bandelettes, I suggest gently lifting the adhesive strips away from your skin and placing them where you want them. Simply dragging them up the leg can be a bit uncomfortable because of the silicones ability to stick.
Bandelettes can be found on their website, Layne Bryant stores, Amazon, Sears, and subscription box service Gwynniebee. Bandelettes cost $15.99 on their website, with the lace versions in colors red, black, chocolate, white, caramel and beige. Unisex Bandelettes are also available in solid colors. These versions are useful for sports like running and tennis where athletes suffer from chafing. Bandelettes run from size A which is equivalent to a pant size 2-4 through F the equivalent of a 3XL pant size.
Bandelettes becomes a part of your everyday wardrobe. As a fashionable solution to an every person and everyday problem, how could they not? Have you tried these thigh savers, or are you ordering some right now? Let me know, in the comments and on social media.
Few know this about me but I that I love anything that induces adrenaline (legally and safely of course). If its dangerous, involves speed or heights I have already done it or it’s on my bucket list. That’s why I was excited to see all the speed monsters in this years New York International Auto Show. She Buys Cars hosted a girls night out giving ladies a chance to see and learn about the latest cars. And although I don’t know the specifics of cars, I appreciate beauty in any form. The time and effort it takes for the engineers and designers to create these machines is admirable. Here is what I learned on my first visit to the show and some of incredible rides.
She Buys Cars is a website founded by writer Scotty Reiss and creator of TravelingMom.com, Kim Orlando. Both women have miles under their hood from traveling for work and leisure.They created the website to help empower women with knowledge about their cars and the purchasing process. The website was also created to help connect women to the auto industry. Unlike past eras women currently make or influence 85% of auto purchases. The website covers all the important details needed when buying a car. Information on matinece, financing, road trips and the latest automobile news plus more can be found on the site. Although what I find extremely helpful are the car reviews posted by everyday women. See more here.
America’s first annual automobile show began in November of 1900. Madison Square Garden held 69 exhibitors with 160 automobiles. An estimated 48,000 spectators viewed the $589-$4000 cars. By the 11th year international car manufactures were introduced into the show with a 3 wheel German made car. By 1949 the first international car show began and featured manufactures like Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Bentley and more. In 1959 the international car show featured cars from Asia for the first time. Japanese manufactures Toyota, Datsun and Prince were some of the first to be showcased. Over the years the show helped manufacturers introduce their latest and greatest to the public. While also giving car enthusiast, families and buyers a chance to see what was new in the automotive world.
Hyundai’s response to luxury competitors comes with the new brand, Genesis. The brand unveiled its new GV80 Concept SUV. Genesis currently only has three models out on the market the G80, G80 Sport and G90. This new model incorporates elegance, athleticism and advance technology into one car. Genesis designed the car with the environment and style in mind. The car features plug-in hydrogen fuel cell electric technology, furthering their expertise in eco-technology and the auto industry. The GV80 also offers Human Machine Interface which helps drivers control aspects of the car with an interactive touch controller.
The car also includes hand-writing recognition and allows each passenger the chance to experience the car individually. Passengers can view entertainment and have the ability to change their window view without disturbing the driver. Genius also took great detail in designing the interior of the GV80 Concept SUV. The interior includes leather on the seating, door panels and console. The car’s upper suede panel and trim details compliment the sleek and shimmering exterior. I instantly loved the car, especially the interior which colors of ash wood and dark gray enhance the luxurious feel of the car. Genisis plans to unroll technology that will allow owners the ability to control their car from a smartwatch app. I love the details of the Genesis GV80 and look forward to seeing the models they unveil in the future. It really is a brand that combines luxury, technology and the sport of racing into one car. Currently Genesis can be found in their Global Genesis locations in NJ, NY and PA dealers and starts at $41,400. Learn more about the brand here.
Mazda returned with the Mazda3 and its redesigned interior while the Mazda6 comes with six-speed manual transmission, push button starter, backup camera and more. Mazda also unveiled the 2017 Mazda CX-5, Mazda CX-9 SUV and Mazda MX-5 Miata RF. The CX-5 comes in sport, touring and grand touring variations, all with advanced technology features. Some of those features include voice command, remote keyless entry and automatic emergency notification. Features of the Mazda3 include Bose 9 speaker surround sound and technology that helps the engine perfectly match the drivers movements. The interiors of the cars include suede and leather seating as well as multimedia controls. These models also include Skyactiv technology, which helps shift the vehicles weight as it rounds corners. While I-Activsense technology uses radars and cameras to help drivers be more aware of their surroundings and alerts them of danger.
Mazda has also made efforts in the way it impacts the environment . They have the largest fuel efficiency compared to any other manufacturer according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Their advances in technology also include I-Eloop, which helps redistribute the energy that is lost when pushing the brakes. That energy is used in different parts of the car including audio, electrical and more. Learn more about Mazda here.
I also loved the newest Toyota Camry which had a sun roof and sleek lines. The Toyota Concept I is a car I look forward to as it will truly be a car of the future. The expectations include the car having the ability to communicate with its owner and know what is needed through light, sound and touch. Toyota.
I’m also interesting in seeing what the Lucid manufacturers come up with next. Lucid Motors, a Californian based company specializes in electric cars. Manufacturers unveiled the company’s very first car, the Lucid Air. Some specs include 1,000 horsepower, two trunks and back seats that recline at a 55 degree angle. Even more impressive, the car will have the ability to automatically upgrade itself through software in the car. Not to mention be equipped with autonomous technology, which gives the car the ability to drive itself.Lucid
I loved seeing all the innovation that is occuring in the automotive industry and learning about what’s to come. Girls night out was a blast and I especially love the Kate Spade purse I won at the event. I encourage everyone to go see the New York International Auto Show which runs trough the April 23rd at the Javits Center. Let me know if you’ve visited the show and what cars pumped your adrenaline. I for one am looking forward the next show.NY Auto Show
On a side note, but a bit relative to the topic. I recently watched Fate of the Furious, have you seen it? What are your thoughts? I love the franchise but had mixed feelings about this movie. What about you?
Last month at the Museum at FIT along with the two other exhibitions I covered, Adrian : Hollywood and Beyond was on display. Known originally for his costume creations at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Gilbert Adrian went on to create his own fashion line. During his career as a costume designer he created costumes for over 250 films, dressing stars like Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford. Many of the films were blockbusters whose costumes inspired ready to wear designs. Stores like Macy’s opened “cinema shops” that showcased outfits inspired by these costumes. Throughout the exhibition you see the respect Adrian had for the art of fashion, fabric and all the details needed to create memorable pieces. The relationships he had with textile manufacturers allowed him to create some of his most “awed at” pieces. A glossary guide provided by the museum helped all who saw the exhibition understand the intricate techniques Adrian used in his costumes and fashion line. If you are an retro movie lover like I am, you will recognize some of the costumes and movies as well.
When Adrian opened his first fashion boutique in 1942 in Beverley Hills his clients were not movie stars, but the everyday American woman. Adrian’s time as a costume designer led him to understand prints and how to cut and sew them to their full potential. For the movie the Wizard of OZ his understanding of patterns and how they stood out on a black and white film led him to make memorable costumes. Dorothy was purposefully outfitted in the blue and white gingham (check) dress that popped in the black and white film and in Technicolor.
Applique’: A new design created when a small piece of fabric or contrasting material is applied to the original fabric. Cuts are attached through stitching the edges to the original fabric.
Bias: When fabric is cut on a bias or at a 45 degree angle instead of the straight (Parallel)or cross-grain (perpendicular) the fabric has more elasticity. This elasticity allows the fabric to drape easier.
Design Repeat: An aspect of all patterned fabrics. Design repeat refers to the distance between where the pattern starts, repeats and begin again. Sometimes hard to distinguish in certain patterns.
Draping: A form of constructing garments. Fabric is placed directly on the form or model, the designer then begins folding and pinning parts of the fabric to create the desired form. The fabric can be removed to create a pattern of the draped fabric or left draped as the final result.
Inset: A design similar to applique’. A small shape is cut out of a larger piece of fabric, where another textile is cut and sewn into the cutout, filling that space. The purpose of the inset can be functional or decorative. The inset can help with fit or create an interesting pattern. The inset can be the same pattern as the base fabric or entirely different.
Mitering: When two pieces are gathered diagonally, preferably at a corner. This manipulation of the fabric allows crisp corners in garments. Mitering is also used to create dramatic prints.
Piecing: Much like solving a puzzle, in piecing different shaped pieces of fabric are sewn together forming one fabric. It involves measuring and cutting each piece of fabric so they fit perfectly into each other.
Screenprinting: A technique that creates prints on fabric. This multistep process includes covering and protecting the parts of fabric not meant to receive the print. Then a mesh screen is placed on top of the fabric and the first color is applied. The colored ink is pushed through the screen onto the fabric. The fabric is dried and the process is repeated until the final print desired is created.
Screenprint can also be seen in the evening dress above under the term applique’. The screenprint was designed by Salvador Dali for the Wesley Simpson, Inc.
Tailoring: A form of construction used to make suits and garments with structure. This technique is used to design suits and jackets. The designer uses a mannequin to pin, stitch , mark and trim fabric creating a template. The template is traced on paper creating the pattern needed to create a garment.
Textile Converter: Textile conversion companies create masters of textiles. The masters are suitable for weaving and printing at textile mills. The design masters are original creations or replicas of artists like Dali that are printed on plain unfinished fabric known as “griege”. The fabric can then be manipulated or altered in any form a designer wishes.
Textile Design: The image, color, texture or design that is on a textile. Textile designs are created through printing or weaving. Stripes, plaid and ikat are all forms of textile design. Textile design fabric can then be finished with dyeing, printing, embroidery, beading and applique’.
Textile Regulation: During WWII materials like fabric were needed for military supplies. In 1942 the War Production Board imposed Regulation L-85. This imposed restrictions on the use of cotton, silk, nylon, wool, leather and rubber for anything other than parachutes, uniforms and other supplies. Designers also had restrictions on the amount of material they could use. To keep up with the newest trends, designers became resourceful through shortening lengths and narrowing cuts.
Adrian’s costume’s in the movies 1938 “Sweethearts” , 1939 “The Women”, and 1952 “Lovely to Look At”.
As I walked through this exhibition I felt like I was back in my textile class in college. One of my favorite classes, as the creating of fabric and what you can make with one length of it is endless. As Adrian showed in his costumes and collections, with respect and knowledge for fabric and its creators there are endless creative possibilities in fashion.
Paris the birth place of Haute Couture has given the fashion industry an endless amount of designers and fashion staples. During the 50’s and 60’s London was seen as the epicenter of all fashion innovation. However Paris Refashioned showcases how Paris was also a leader in trend making during this era. Like London the young people of Paris were infusing their music, art and outlook on life into fashion. Many of these innovations and new styles changed the course of fashion and are still worn today.
In the late 1950’s Parisian couturiers like Pierre Cardin, Hubert de Givenchy and Yves Saint Laurent started to receive recognition for the radical and progressive designs they made under respected fashion houses. Yves Saint Laurent introduced the trapeze dress or the “A Line dress” under the House of Dior. A style that became so successful it cemented his place in the fashion industry. Not only was the dress a success for the House of Dior, it influenced the relaxed and younger trends that came after.
During the 1960’s Cristobal Balenciaga’s understudy André Courre’ges made drastic changes to what Couture could look like. He also changed the manner in which fashion shows were conducted. His 1964 ” Space Age” collection introduced futuristic day-wear in place of the traditional eveningwear couture collection. During the fashion show models quickly strut down the runway to upbeat music. A surprise for the audience who were used to a relaxed runway show where models strolled and stopped in intervals for viewing.
The rise of ready-to-wear in the 50’s and 60’s by Parisian designers created an economic influx in the fashion industry. Their modern designs also attracted a larger clientele who wanted more options than what couture designers were providing. These designers became known as “stylistes” and introduced “ready-to wear” to French fashion and society. These designers also changed how ready-to-wear fashion was perceived. Off the rack fashion or “confections” were originally known for being poor in quality and design. The quality in which designers like Karl Lagerfeld and Sonia Rykiel produced their pret-a-porter lines rooted ready-to-wear into a respected category in Parisian fashion.
While some Couturiers embraced pret-a-porter others found if difficult to include a ready- to -wear line into their collections. Designers like Balenciaga, Madame Gres and Chanel did not switch to ready-to-wear but infused the new trends into their collections by hiring younger designers. While some couturier survived the shift in Parisian fashion some designers like Balenciaga were forced to shut their doors and reopen later on. The survival of Couture depended on the flexibility of the Couturiers.
Paris Refashioned 1957-1968 will be open until April 15, 2017 at the Museum at FIT. Let me know if you visit this exhibition and what your thoughts are.
During the months of February and early March I freelanced for Children’s Club. A fashion division under UBM, the leader in business to business events. Every year UBM organizes over 300 global events. Although fashion is one UBM’s biggest division they also organize events for nine other fields. Being someone in the fashion industry and a blogger I have attended trade shows before, but have never experinced what happens behind the scenes. This time around I got to see what it takes to set up 400 booths and bring over 500 brands together in one room. Here are a few of the brands I loved in the show.
The D’vander Collection
The brand started by Lynette Vanderhorst in 2013 was inspired by her son Dehemiah. After noticing a limited range of creativity in boys fashion Lynette was inspired to create unique one of a kind pieces for her son. You won’t find your standard cars and trucks print in the D’vander collection. Instead the collection blooms with unique colors, graffiti designs and timeless silhouettes. The artistry of the collection can be seen in the hand painted jackets, backpacks and swarovski crystal ski mask. Lynette’s love of graffiti and New York City is showcased throughout the collection, specifically in the “Freestyle Jacket” that depicts the Brooklyn Bridge Skyline.
Although the D’vander Collection is predominantly a boys brand, the unisex designs are perfect for the little girl who loves street style clothing. I for one fell in love with the ” Let’s Fall Jacket” and hand painted ” Leaf Me Backpack”. The neutral background of black and white allows the leaf print of the jacket stand out. While the red background of the backpack allows the painted leaves to look as it they are blowing wildly in the wind.
If you have a little boy who loves “Star Wars” or comics, which who doesn’t? Then the “Vader” hooded jacket would be perfect for the boy who wants to feel like the super hero or villain of the comic book. The traditional pea coat gets a makeover with the “Dee Best ” coat. Prefect for the preteen or teen the mix of faux leather and traditional plaid allows them to be trendy yet classic. This Brooklyn based brand who currently goes up to size 18 will be launching in June. The D’vander brand will give boys a chance to create their own looks with the help of an online stylist. Giving kids the chance to create their own unique style and be approved by parents. I look forward to seeing the upcoming collections of this unique brand who’s creativity and love of NYC is driving a change in boys attire. See more of the D’vander collection here.
Mi Amore Gigi
Designer Gabrielle Veith a graduate from the Fashion Institute of Technology began Mi Amore Gigi inspired by her daughters. Her degrees in fashion, elementary education and art allowed her to easily combine her love of children and fashion. Using her eldest daughter as an inspiration for the logo, a new brand was born. Although Gabrielle’s background seems far from that of a childrenswear designer. Mi Amore Gigi is every little princesses dream wardrobe. Gabrielle began her career designing for rock bands, reality stars and country artist Kenny Cheney’s clothing line.
Her designs which originally were sold on Zulily.com can be found in the aisles of Hot Topic, Walmart and Sears. While her pj sets have sold out at Kmart in the past. The lines clever interchangeable tops were inspired by her daughters growing fashion sense and a need for ever changing outfits. Graphic t-shirts with interchangeable accessories like tutu’s, bows, stars and more give little girl’s options in a snap. Peasant patchwork skirts, floral leggings and tutus continue Mi Amore Gigi sweet collection.
Gabrielle stays close to her roots as a rock band designer with her adult t-shirt line Mon Ami Gigi. Bold graphics featuring classic rock and graffiti inspired prints are the base of the line. This PA based brand was also one of my favorite booths in the show. Gabrielle and her husband created a fairytale like booth that was a hit with the little ones that walked in. See more of Gabrielle’s collection here.
Mia New York
This line that just launched in January is full of trendy clothing that is inspired by the current fashion trends on the runway. Trends of metallic, furs, sequins and leather can be found in the current Mia New York Collection. Mia New York is for the little girl who loves to be on trend and feel glamorous. She’s not afraid to try something new or wear a collection that is different from the usual. An arrange of textures can be found in the collection from soft fur bombers to distressed gold sweatshirts. The line which is described as edgy children’s clothing will be launching its Fall/ Winter 2017 collection at “Lesters” boutique this June. The collection will be moderately priced beginning at $15.
If your daughter is growing a fashion sense of her own Mia New York is a great line to experiment with. Many of the pieces which I loved myself would be perfect for a mommy and me day out. The animal prints, shift dresses and faux leather leggings are sure to be found in a mothers closet as well. The top selling multicolored fur vest will be a head turner on the playground. While the metallic sweatshirt and pleated skirt are a great alternative to a sparkly dress for a Christmas party. Mia New York will not only be loved by the trendsetting tween but the fashionable mother as well.Check out the website!
Allison Morose opened Ali’s market in July of 2005 selling a range of boys and girls clothing from infancy to teen. An alumni of the Fashion Institute of Technology Ali’s Market sells both European and American brands. With her education and mentorship by Sheila Weiss as well as her retail experience she gain the expertise needed to run a showroom. Allison had also gained a full understanding of what buyers and moms wanted.
Ali’s market is a full service showroom catering to retailers, manufacturers and walk in customers. Brands sold at Ali’s Market currently include eleven multiline brands. You can find anything you need for your child at Ali’s Market. From ready to wear, occasional dresses, swimwear and more. The brands found at Ali’s Market have been worn by the children of Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Garner, Kim Kardashian and many more celebrity babies. They have also been featured in magazines and on TV.
Brands loved by parents like “Kicky Pants” and “Boboli” were on display as well as new brands like “Esme”. The Fall 2017 collection of “No Biggie” was one of the brands that I absolutely adored. The brand which is made in Tel Aviv, Israel consists of 100% cotton with prices ranging from $10-$25. The splatter printed sweatshirts and leggings are an artistic new print, while their simple yet brightly colored dresses are sure to be a staple in any little girls closet. Find out more about Ali’s Market here.
Innovation is the driving force of this eyewear brand. This brand founded in 2013 was specifically made with children in mind. Pinch free hinges keep little hands, faces and hair from getting pinched. The SafeBend rubber hinges have the ability to flex 180 degrees ensuring durability while in the hands of children. The flexibility also allows the sunglasses to rest comfortably on the child’s head. Comfort was not forgotten either in the making of these sunglasses. The ergonomic rubber nose pads allows the sunglasses to lay comfortably on a child’s less developed nose bridge. While also ensuring stability against slipping off the child’s face. Shades for ages 0-5 are fully adjustable to conform to the head.
With all these innovations it’s no wonder that these shades are made from materials sourced in France and Switzerland. While construction of the sunglasses is done in Bologna, Italy. All materials used in the Paxely sunglasses are child friendly and BPA free. While the shatter resistant lenses are 100% UBA and UBB which provides full sun protection. These cool lenses also come with a clip attachment. The accessory that was originally inspired by the pacifier clip allows kids and moms to clip the sunglasses anywhere.This LA based brand can be found in boutiques around the world, including New Zealand, Korea and Australia. Paxely is currently showcasing their newest gradient mirrored colored and vintage inspired sunnies. Paxely plans to offer their innovative sunglasses to tweens and teens soon. Find out more here!
My experience with Children’s Club was one I enjoyed and look forward to doing again. I thank all the brands that took the time to speak to me, and educate me on a field of fashion I have less experience with. I can’t wait to attend other trade shows and bring you the latest innovations and trends. Let me know what you loved about the trade show and brands!
Currently on display at the Museum of FIT is the “Black Fashion Designers” exhibition. Just in time for Black history month the exhibition showcases both African and African American designers. Fashion ranging from the 1950’s to the present is on view, along with the history of challenges African American and African designers have faced within the fashion industry. The exhibition focuses on an array of classifications for these designers such as eveningwear, menswear, street style and six more categories.
Breaking into the Industry
As in most of the U.S.A during the 1950’s the fashion industry was a segregated profession. Taught the craft of sewing primarily by a loved one the inclusion of Black designers into the industry only began slowly during the 1960’s. During this time some designers were able to learn the business side of the fashion industry while they worked in Seventh Avenue manufactures. Ann Loewe was taught sewing by her grandmother a former slave. Her designs became well known by the American wealthy in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Her specialty were wedding gowns and debutante dresses for the elite.
The Rise of the Black Fashion Designer
The Civil Rights movement, music and African American culture became prevalent in influencing the fashion of the day. Disco music and the African American musicians inspired the designs of the 1970’s. Their designs were beginning to influence not only New York fashion but that of Paris and London.
The 19th century was an important time for Black fashion designers in the eveningwear arena. Their use of different techniques and craftsmanship afforded them the opportunities to dress elite clientele like Princess Diana and Beyoncé. The attention from high end retailers such as Bergdorf Goodman had African and African American designs being sold on Fifth Ave.
During the 1980’s Hip Hop and it’s culture influenced the trends of fashion. The use of oversized jackets and pants were being used by the youth of New York City. What the fashion industry call’s the ” trickle up” movement of street style influencing the runway occurred. This movement shook the fashion industry into recognizing the market of hip hop and its youth. Unfortunately this led to high end designers being influenced by the movement without crediting the originators of the trend. Although this has slowly changed and the trickle up movement is now more appropriately used by design houses such as “Public School”. ” Public School” streetwear and high fashion fusions often stump critics and is hard to define on weather it is streetwear or not. Designer Virgil Abloh of the brand “Off-White” uses streetwear to express issues in society like climbing the corporate ladder. His purpose in making streetwear is to add an intellectual layer to a style of clothing that is often seen as cheap.
Activism in the African American society has given designers a chance to showcase their designs while infusing their culture and message. Activism prompted designers to revive the Afro hairstyle and traditional African textiles. The use of fashion allowed these designers to express their frustrations and hopes during times of oppression. Activism and fashion have collided expressing certain messages important to the designers and the public. As it was used in the past by African American communities as an outlet of social injustice it is also used today. We’ve seen particular clothing and accessories like hats to convey a social injustice message in the Women’s March and on the runway. Most recently in the Missoni closing of their Fall 2017 Ready To Wear collection.
During the late 1970’s black designers were making an imprint in menswear both in the US and in London. Andrew Ramroop was the first black designer to work on the famous Savile Row in London. Meanwhile designer Jeffrey Banks infused American prep style with traditional colorful tweeds in New York. In the early 2000’s elaborate suits fit for royalty were combined with street flare on the Sean John runway. Menswear continues to be pushed by black designers as they change proportions, add new designs and play with the idea of masculinity in suits.
During the 1950’s Ebony magazine began the ” Ebony Fashion Fair”. The fair discovered and launched the career of supermodel Pat Cleveland among others. It was one of the only platforms or magazine’s besides “Jet” magazine showcasing black models. African American designers were also given a spotlight to showcase their designs during the fair. In 1973 the fashion show ” The Battle of Versailles” a fundraiser for the restoration of the Versailles Palace featured five American ready to wear designers and five French couturier’s. It not only gave the American designers recognition but featured ten black models. The freedom of movement given to the models made an impact on what a model was allowed to do on the runway. Black models have been muses for designers like Stephen burrows and Azzadine Alana in the 1990’s. Model Alva Chinn became a favorite of Oscar de la Renta, Halston and Stephen Burrows. Although there are more models of color on the runway now, they are still in the minority. Supermodel Liya Kebede has given back to her native Kenya by working with the World Health Organization. They have given Ethiopian weavers a platform to showcase their work and contribute to the Ethiopian economy.
African culture has inspired many designers, but can be interpreted in an incorrect manner. For an African American designer the ability to interpret African influence in their designs is a chance to explore and portray their heritage with respect and understanding. Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo adds modern touches to the Ankara, a traditional West African fabric. The designer has been known to add custom prints and embellishments to the fabric in her collections. Scarification an ancient African tradition is one of the influences for designer Mimi Plange. The influences of scars can be seen in her 2013 leather curved line dress. While designer Christie Brown uses traditional African textiles to design modern clothing.
Designer Jon Watson known for dressing the contestants of beauty pageants experimented with silhouettes. In the late 1950’s he stepped away from his traditional hourglass form to an innovative pleated evening coat. It was innovative because it stood away from the body reflecting Parisian couture. Designer Brenda Waites experimented with 13th century techniques such as macramé knotting in her 1970’s collection. Punk and British tailoring were combined in designer Joe Casely-Hayford’s 2000 collection. He as well as most Black designers fight against the label of “black designer” for the more appropriate “designer” label.
The exhibition is open until May 16, 2017 at the Museum of FIT on 7th Ave and 27th St. Let me know if you got to visit this exhibition.
Currently at the Met’s Costume Institute is Masterworks: Unpacking Fashion. Visitors are given a peek into the Costume Institutes archives from the eighteenth century to twenty first. Not only has the museum acquired one of the largest collections in the world but one that includes Masterworks. Masterworks are labeled as such due to the garment ‘s technical qualities that have pushed the process of garment making forward. The qualities that deemed each piece a masterwork changed as eras progressed. Curators chose pieces that complemented each other no matter the time period. Essentially showing how fashion reacts to the past, present and future.
18th Century Masterworks: Quality of Materials
During the 1800’s the craftsmanships of embroidery, textiles, weaves and tailoring are what constitute masterwork. As the silhouettes of garments did not change much during this period it was the use of intricate techniques that made them masterworks. The Robe Volant, or one piece gown with a tight bodice, flowing front and back pleats was the typical style worn by women and girls. During this time the reference to lingerie through fuller proportions was seen as indecent and as a result so was the wearer. The shape was also frowned upon as people believed pregnancies due to affairs could be hidden. The simple silhouettes allowed the detailed damask or brocade prints to be the showcase of the garment. The making of a garment was through the process of draping fabric on a bodice and folding pleats rather than cutting and sewing.
Men’s attire for this period was inspired by new trade relations between Britain and Asia. An influx of new materials and styles such as silk and kimonos originated from China, India, Persia and Turkey changed the fashion of Europe. All of these cultures inspired the Banyan a casual house gown worn by British men. Depending on details like fit, cut or quilting they would be adorned at home or out at casual events. This coat’s European silhouette combined with Asian materials and styles was seen as elegant and fashionable. Men who wore a Banyan were considered well traveled with great fashion sense. Again simple lines and tailoring were used allowing detailed embroidery, bold patterns and bright colors to be the focus point of the garment.
During this same time period French fashion was pushing the boundaries and blurring the lines on what was acceptable for women to wear. Striped prints took the place of embroidery, a trend influenced by Asian relations. The print now being used for both female and male attire was previously associated with socially excluded populations. Men’s riding coats, cape collar and lapels were some of the masculine trends implemented into the Redingote or women’s dresses. To the dismay of French magazines and their progressive efforts the public viewed the this trend as a perverse mixing of gender roles.
19th Century Masterworks: Technical developments in tools and speed and changes in silhouettes
This century saw quick changes in a garment’s silhouette as opposed to the 18th century, which relied on materials to progress fashion. The use of bustles, crinolines and corsets was introduced drastically changing the form of a woman’s body. Technical abilities in cutting and sewing progressed with the introduction of the Jacard loom and the sewing machine. These tools allowed for garments to be made faster, cheaper and created ready-made or ready to wear accessibility. During this period the introduction of Haute Couture by designer Charles Fredrick Worth was also pushing fashion forward. His tradition of labeling his pieces introduced the notion that a designer was a creator and artist.
Early Twentieth Century Masterworks: Innovation and Reinvention
War World One like many other aspects of society affected fashion. Simple garments with less body restrictions was the norm. Haute Couture masters such as Paul Poiret and Madeleine Vionnet embraced the uncorseted frame by using the draping method. As usual fashion and art intertwined with the surrealist movement inspiring collections by Elsa Schiaparelli and Charles James. As some designers looked to the future others looked to the past. Jeanne Lanvin’s mid-eighteenth century inspired pieces included techniques used in the 1800’s. Techniques such as simpler silhouettes with bold embroidery and prints were used again .
Late Twentieth Century Masterworks: Cultural Combinations, Youth Dominance and Couture’s Survival
At this point in fashion the popularity of Haute Couture was waning as the boom of ready to wear excelled. Designers like Yves Saint Laurent guided couture into relevancy by combining traditional couture elegance and modern street style. Cristobal Balenciaga looked to the past and continued implementing 17th century structures with modern details. While punk visionary Vivienne Westwood lead the uprise of deconstructive fashion. Influences for her 1970’s,80’s and continuous collections included the fashion of the 17th-19th centuries.
Contemporary Masterworks: Rebellion, Expression of the times, Garments with multiple meanings
Masters of the moment included Hussein Charlatan, Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Issey Miyake and Alexander McQueen. The advancement of the deconstructive technique by Margiela unveiled the intricate details of the construction of a garment. A process normally only seen by the designer. The use of unconventional materials was introduced and paired with traditional couture techniques. Materials like porcelain and wood were transformed and conformed to a women’s shape. By doing this designers expanded the relationship between a women’s body and clothing as well as peoples traditional ideas of fashion. Pop culture, politics and perceptions were also questioned and applied to the creation of a garment. From my recollection of my college days even the history of a country and its fashion inspired collections. Alexander McQueen and John Galliano both designed the traditional corset with progressive materials like coiled wire.
The Harold Koda Gift
Curators are preservers of art who expand the lifespan of each piece. By doing so they allow art to live beyond its prime and introduce generations of observers to a historical world. This is what Harold Koda did as Curator in Charge at the Costume Institute for fifteen years before retiring in January of 2016. In tribute to him current Curator in Charge Andrew Bolton and Met Trustee Anna Wintour commissioned thirty designers to donate selections of their archives to the Met. Each piece chosen held significance for Honda and found a purposeful position in the existing collection. Designers recalled their admiration and relationship with Koda that was cultivated through collaborations for the Costume Institute.
The exhibit gives an inside look at how fashion continues to be influenced by history. It showcases how innovative designers find a way to move fashion forward with techniques of the past and future. Masterworks:Unpacking Fashion will be on through February 4th 2017. Metropolitan Museum of Art 1000th 5th Ave, NY,NY,
Currently on display at Industria in the West Village is the exhibit Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones. An exhibit you might think only a rock and roll aficionado might love. When in reality even as a person who didn’t know much about the Rolling Stones I appreciated the history, creativity, art and most of all fashion showcased in the exhibit. Two floors cover the history of the band from conception to a 3D concert where the band plays some of its famous hits. Devotion vodka the official vodka of The Sugar Factory held a great dinner at the restaurant where the drinks paid homage to The Rolling Stones with names like Sugar and Stones. After which the dinner guests were escorted from The Sugar Factory to Industria to view the exhibition.
There were so many interesting facts to learn and artifacts to view although I found the following particularly interesting. A mock up studio with an array of different instruments and original records are on display. Original guitars, drums, cassette tapes, some of which were designed by various artists showcase how the band used their creativity in all aspects while making music. A mock up of their original flat or apartment adds to the belief that rock bands although creative geniuses, tidy and clean they are not.
An extensive history of the bands logo was the next section of the exhibition that I loved. The iconic mouth with a tongue sticking out has stood the test of time. Even if you are not a Rolling Stones follower you’ve seen it everywhere. The original conception began after Mick Jagger found a picture of the Hindu goddess Kali which has a tongue sticking out. After Mick brought the picture to British artist John Pasche he came up with the logo that is known today. Many people think the logo is inspired by Mick Jagger’s voluminous mouth although it’s not directly the source the artist believes it was an unconscious inspiration. It’s universal appeal is its rebellious, anti-conventional and anti-authority nature.
Art and design also helped define the rock groups aesthetic. The creation of album covers and promotional posters was a chance for the band to collaborate with artists, graphic designers and photographers. Their collaborations with Andy Warhol helped grow the popularity of pop art in their era. While their collaborations with fashion designers and how they wore their stage costumes and clothing set the trends of the time. Costumes made by the late Gianni Versace and Alexander McQueen were part of their eccentric wardrobe. While Prada and Marc Jacobs are also some of the many well known brands that have designed costumes for the band.
The Backstage Access portion of the exhibition includes a mock up room of what the bands surroundings were while they waited to preform. Many times whether performing in an amphitheater or smaller venue their backstage environment was a small room that served as the bands rehearsal space and much more. Make shift dressing rooms, workshops and offices were created to help the band prepare for a concert. This was also the place were loved ones could hang out and where personal items were held. The backstage room helped the band feel a sense of comfort while away from home.
In the final room of the exhibition you are treated to a pre-recorded 3D concert experience. The band plays “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” and you are emerged with the audience as Mick Jagger and the rest of the band perform. If you are a rock genre lover and especially a fan of the Rolling Stones you must go see this extensive exhibition. As a person who didn’t know much about the band but who appreciates art in all forms I enjoyed the creative details on display. Their creativity and ability to push the boundaries of art, fashion and societal norms is what I found most impressive. The exhibition is open until Sunday, March 12th. “Exhibitionism” is located at Industria on 775 Washington St, NY, NY.