As designers start thinking more inclusively about bodies, a timely show at New York’s Museum at FIT spotlights the relationship between fashion and cultural ideals of shape and size. The Body: Fashion and Physique explores how foundation garments from corsets to the Wonderbra have distorted natural shapes, how fashion responded to less-constricted bodies from the 1960s onwards, and how designers have influenced body ideals.
The show – which echoes elements of current NYC exhibit Items: Is Fashion Modern? at MoMa – considers how the fashion industry has promoted slender physiques, from the Twiggy era to the toned aerobics-influenced body of the 80s and the ‘heroin chic’ look of the 90s. The exhibition also touches on the rise of plus-size fashion, as well as designing for the differently abled and the ways in which technology can change fashion’s relationship to the body. For instance, a jacket by Grace Jun, head of NYC non-profit Open Style Lab, is designed for women who have had a mastectomy, incorporating a chip that can share data on range of motion with a physical therapist. Meanwhile, a shirt for people in wheelchairs by US designer Lucy Jones has a cropped silhouette to prevent bunching, as well as easy-to-use magnetic fasteners.
The exhibition runs until May 5. On February 23, the museum will host a symposium examining the marginalisation of certain body types in fashion. Speakers include those working to challenge traditional ideals, including fashion designers Prabal Gurung and Christian Siriano.
It was Snow White and wicked witches all the way at Stuart Vevers’ Pre-Fall show for Coach, tapping into cool Downtown chic, a touch of Stevie Nicks boho and Western influences along the way.
It’s Vevers’ signature amalgamation of inspirations that has pushed Coach to become one of fashion’s hottest brands, with collections that work hard to meet the needs of today’s cool influencer generation. For Pre-Fall, that layered mix-and-match look means cute satin collegiate jackets, washed patchwork denim and 70s-inspired handkerchief-hemmed crepe de chine dresses.
This latest Coach x Disney hook-up yielded some fun Snow White imagery on cosy intarsia knits, coupled with co-ordinated all-over prints and sweet appliques along with handbag gizmos spelling out words like ‘happy’ in reference to the Snow White dwarves.
There may have been nothing new in Vevers’ silhouettes – think cropped waist-grazing shearling jackets, mid-calf skirts or dresses, and high-rise boot-cut pants – but the playful print mixes and vivid orange, emerald and purple colour blocking looked fresh and of the moment.
Stand-out influencer pieces included Lurex intarsia knits, patchwork jeans and the signature lace-trimmed floral dresses, while pinstripe tailoring and immaculate tux pants upped the glam quota, happily contrasting with the collection’s casual Western-style studding and sporty striped, ribbed trims.
And as ever, accessories completed the look. Chain-handled leather bucket bags featuring handcrafted whip-stitch edging and authentic Western detailing hit the sweet spot, while covetable material-blocked laced cowboy boots looked best in shimmery pink metallic.
Holiday resale opportunities are amplifying the already-lucrative thrifting market, with fashion consignment service ThredUp reporting a 34% increase in product arrivals between November 2016 and January 2017– likely due to unwanted Holiday gifts.
More than two million items were sent to the brand from its sellers during the 2016 Holiday season – 200,000 of which still had their tags on. Popular ‘return’ items included designer denim, North Face outerwear and fast-fashion pieces from brands like Missguided – while ‘simple styles’ were resold the least.
The surge in Holiday-focused resale goes hand in hand with a widespread consumer push for more resourceful fashion consumption – a key driver for Gen Z. Bolstered by cool recommerce sites like Depop, these consumers are increasingly utilising the new-found ease of resale – with the market forecast to grow by 11% a year, reaching $33bn by 2021.
For more on sustainable retail solutions, see The New Fashion Landscape 2017 Update: Sustainable 360, Retail: Reframing Sustainability and Redefining (Fast) Fashion.
Harnessing the mood for luxury do-it-yourself (DIY) personalisation, French fashion house Balenciaga is teaming up with London-based retailer Dover Street Market on a limited-edition customisation project.
The Balenciaga Copyshop will allow customers to create personalised T-shirts straight from the office-style printing facilities set up in-store. Visitors will be able to configure their own designs by choosing from a Balenciaga library of graphics, logos and images, before printing T-shirts instantly in-store.
The project is a smart move for the brand which, under Vetements designer Demna Gvasalia, has increasingly embraced the idea of knock-offs rather than shunning it. The opening of a branded personalisation store demonstrates the progressively symbiotic relationship between brand and consumer, as well as the fruitful nature of irreverent DIY copies.
The Balenciaga x DSM Copyshop is open from November 30 to December 17 2017.
For more on fashion’s mood for personalisation, see Instagangs: DIY Designers and Youth Style Tribes 2018: Bad Taste. For more on the new face of luxury, see The Edge of Extravagance – part of The New Rules of Luxury Macro Report.
Tapping into the clothing industry’s ongoing push for functional and thoughtful design, Design Academy Eindhoven graduate Alissa Rees has developed a wearable intravenous system – created to give hospital patients the freedom to move around.
The IV-Walk system, made from soft malleable fabric, is designed to be worn over the shoulders of the patient – replacing the metal pole and pouch combination traditionally used in hospitals. Accessible compartments allow the patient to change any necessary fluids themselves, while a connected system allows nurses to track the drip.
“Mobility is really important in bringing people back to full health,” said Rees in an interview with Dezeen. “When I came to Design Academy, I realised my combination of being a former leukaemia patient and a designer, and what I could do with it.”
The wearable, part of Rees’ broader mission to humanise the hospital, marks the growing pragmatism of the industry – with emerging designers increasingly valuing functional, sensitive and inclusive designs.
For further reading on designing for purpose, see Instagangs: Design for Purpose and Diversity Rules, part of our New Fashion Landscape 2017 Update. For more on Dutch Design Week, see our 2017 report.
US-based luxury brand Tommy Hilfiger has announced the launch of a collection aimed at adults with disabilities. The collection – comprising 37 men’s and 34 women’s pieces – comes after the success of the brand’s adaptive children’s range last year, created in collaboration with non-profit organisation Runway of Dreams.
The new inclusive range sticks to Tommy Hilfiger’s traditional, all-American denim focus. However, while aesthetically aligned with the rest of the brand’s collections, the items feature hidden, functional adjustments. Adaptations include Velcro-fitted denim pieces, shirts with magnetic fastenings and pant legs with extra openings, making it easier for consumers with a variety of disabilities to get dressed without assistance.
Other brands would do well to follow its progressive lead. The disability market currently represents 1.3 billion people globally (Return on Disability). This demographic also has an annual disposable income of £249bn ($323.9bn) in the UK alone (Department for Work & Pensions, 2016). Catering to this underserved demographic not only presents the chance for brands to create a positive change, but also to explore a largely untapped and financially lucrative opportunity.
The Museum at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology has launched the first ever exhibition dedicated to fashion inspired by extreme environments. From the North Pole to outer space, Expedition: Fashion from the Extreme charts how these increasingly accessible destinations have influenced modern design and fabrication.
Tapping into our A/W 18/19 fashion direction Utopia, where clothing is simultaneously combative yet cocooning, the exhibition consists of designer pieces largely from the 1960s ‘Space Age’ era onwards. The evolution of neoprene is traced from its initial use in aquanaut protective gear to a 1990s DKNY cocktail dress, while other outfits show how extreme environments have provided a wealth of print and colour inspiration.
The rise of the now ubiquitous down-filled jacket is also charted. US designer Norma Kamali’s long ‘sleeping bag’ coat from the 70s and Tommy Hilfiger’s 90s ‘puffer’ represent its mainstream iteration, while Japanese designer Junya Watanabe’s 2004 cropped version offers an avant-garde and less-than-practical twist.
As covered in our report Sustainability 360, the exhibition also touches on the fashion industry’s role in damaging these environments – as well as the steps being taken to put this right.
In its first fashion exhibition for more than 70 years, New York’s Museum of Modern Art presents Items: Is Fashion Modern?
Echoing the question posed in its 1944 exhibition Are Clothes Modern?, the thematic show explores the past, present and future of 111 garments and accessories – from the bandana to the backpack and the burkini – that have had a profound cultural impact over the past century.
Taking over the entire sixth floor, the pieces are contextualised with images and videos, with items often presented as their prototype, archetype and stereotype.
In an area devoted to changing ideals of body and silhouette, the exhibit explores the ‘little black dress’. Pieces include a 1920s silk-crepe evening gown by Chanel; a 1968 knee-length, silk-satin number by Givenchy; and Little Death – a cape-like dress created for the exhibition by Australian designer Pia Interlandi, crafted from wool crepe, silk-hemp satin and thermochromic ink.
Material technologies take centre stage in another section, where environmental concerns are expressed via items from US brands Patagonia and Gore-Tex, which promote repair and long wear. Meanwhile, American designer Liz Ciokajlo’s specially commissioned ‘grown’ MarsBoot, made from mushroom spores and mixed materials, looks to sustainable futures.
The exhibition runs until January 28, 2018.
For more on environmentally friendly innovations, see Sustainable 360, part of our New Fashion Landscape Industry Trend, as well as Nike’s New Super Material and Stepping Up Sustainability. For more on changing perceptions of body shapes, see State of Size, Progressive Fashion and Underwear – part of our Fashion Lifestyle Lift Industry Trend.
For the first time in the magazine’s history, Vogue Italia has dedicated an entire issue to women over the age of 60.
The issue published on October 5 with three cover options fronted by 73-year-old model/actress Lauren Hutton – the oldest woman to ever appear on any cover of Vogue worldwide.
Appropriately named ‘The Timeless Issue’, the magazine solely consists of interviews and editorials featuring older influencers. These include 62-year-old supermodel Iman; 70-year-old performance artist Marina Abramovic; 66-year-old Tracey Norman, the first transgender model in history; and 89-year-old Instagram star/model Baddie Winkle.
With the 50-plus age group generating $7.6tn a year in economic activity in the US alone (AARP, 2016), the move towards positive older representation in fashion comes as no surprise – albeit it a little late. Savvy brands and designers would do well to take note of this current push towards diversity.
For further reading, see The New Fashion Landscape: 2017 Update.
Demna Gvasalia has carved an iconic niche in the current fashion landscape with his disturbing play on offbeat proportions and an ability to elevate the mundane into seasonal must-haves for the fashionista set. True to form, his S/S 18 showing for Balenciaga won’t disappoint his legion of fans.
Punkish plaids and city-slicker stripes shouldn’t really work as a pattern combo, but somehow, the boxy shirts and tartan pencil skirts made perfect sense, topped with shoulder-wrapped, fine-gauge knits. Likewise, the shirred sugar-coated pastel polo shirts and plaid-blocked pants, along with the plastic-coated bowling shirts and fusty tweed skirts, came stamped with that same wish-list status.
Gvasalia recognises that fashion is a reflection of the current zeitgeist – which is perhaps why he gave us ‘Fake News’ mono prints and shirts stamped with an all-over pattern of dollar bills. We also saw leather pants sporting a serene, photoreal mountain vista – the ultimate escapist landscape counterbalancing the troubled times we live in.
The designer’s preoccupation with elevating everyday items to fashion status came through in the anoraks and trench coats suspended in one-dimensional animation from the neckline of other garments – a sort of luxe take on two-for-one dressing.
As one of fashion’s key influencers, we can expect to see Gvasalia’s ruffle-collared quilt jackets and lace-trimmed V-neck tunic sweaters layered over sugary petticoat dresses hitting the high street anytime soon. Watch too for the garment-dyed denim cargoes and pastel twinsets, which reflect the emerging trend for 50s styling.
Soft silk dresses came with drawstring detailing and fluttering asymmetric hems, their bodices sometimes rolled down to reveal lace-trimmed camisole tops – a new and more feminine look with commercial appeal. Meanwhile, playful floral wrap skirts and two-for-one skorted effects were ironically trimmed with cotton parasol-style fringing.
A whole roster of covetable accessories is set to inspire the high street, with the plastic dust-cover-shrouded bags the ultimate stealth-wealth objects of desire. Other items of note include ironic quilted Chanel-style chain-handled purses, chain belts hung with tourist souvenirs, big leather fringed totes, spikey stilettos or kitten-heeled tweed pumps, and – of course – signature stretch-satin stocking boots.
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An astute and assured debut collection from Natacha Ramsay-Levi at Chloe saw the new designer tap into the house’s archive, and give it a formidable signature twist.
These are clothes girls will want to wear, and the high street will want to emulate. From the flounced prairie dresses with rock-chic grommets and studded trims, to the painted folklore-inspired placement patterns and pony-club embroidered velvet tailoring, this collection was the happy sum of its parts.
The cropped stitched jeans and waistcoat combo had a boyish gamine charm, played off perfectly against a parade of micro-floral, ruffle-hemmed dresses. Meanwhile, lean tailored blazers, slick snakeskin pants and easy but narrow-cut silky shirtdresses added the modern classics factor.
Boxy smock tops had the breezy boho vibe we have come to expect from this label – now given a punchy junior kick as Ramsay-Levi teamed them with sharp pleated leather miniskirts and the buckled pointy boots we can expect to see on the high street any day soon.
There were subtle luxe touches too in the velvets and silk jersey, supple leathers and snakeskin, played out in a quirky palette of manila, greyed peach and pistachio and black and white with a punch of teal and red. For party girls, there was a closing parade of lustrous fabric-blocked bias-cut dresses in spangled sheers and silky jersey.
It was an auspicious debut for Ramsay-Levi’s S/S 18 accessories too, with covetable mini quilted multi-strap bags, laced open-toed shooties, knuckleduster rings and a standout pair of multicoloured python buckled boots.
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Dries Van Noten may not generate the social media frenzy surrounding other designers in Paris, but that doesn’t mean his runway didn’t deliver a parade of the most covetable clothes seen this week.
Taking the simple scarf as his motif du jour, Van Noten mixed deco and Japonesque influences for his elegantly draped layered silhouettes, played out in luxe silks and satins, wafting sheers, metallic brocades and fluid suitings.
There was a quiet confidence in the collection’s clashing print combinations and quirky colour mixes, which saw warm sandalwood and faux nude tones merge into buddleia greens and yellows, saffron and orchid pink, offset with lacquer black and soft rose gold.
A harmonious medley of print and pattern saw Japanesque-inspired florals and deco-style geo repeats combine with traditional scarf prints and diagonal stripe mixes, alleviated by a dusting of subtly sparkling wave and star motifs.
These colour and pattern mixes were masterfully combined in the soft trench coats and easy kimono jackets, topping slim-legged pants and barely-there sheer skirts or simple sheaths with their elegantly fluttering scarf panels and dipping hemlines. In a nod to the season’s sportswear influences, Van Noten gave us neat-fit knits with striped tipping trims.
Footwear and accessories took print and pattern to the max with squishy floral patterned envelope bags and pointed boots, while bejewelled sandals added the final decorative flourish.
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Levi’s and Google are teaming up to bring wearable tech to consumers, launching a smart denim trucker jacket for the urban commuter. The jacket is the first design from Google’s Project Jacquard – a platform dedicated to producing garments using innovative textiles – and joins Levi’s performance-driven Commuter range.
Tailored for cyclists, the smart jean jacket connects wirelessly with the wearer’s smartphone, allowing the user to control music, navigate roads and make and receive texts using simple, customisable gestures.
Jacquard is the first digital platform created specifically for smart clothing. The technology is woven into the Commuter Trucker jacket itself, with an interactive cuff on the left sleeve allowing the wearer to tap into their device without taking their eyes off the road.
“Our focus has always been to add a new layer of connectivity and interactivity to things you already know, love and use every day,” says Google. “By starting with raw materials, such as yarns and textiles, we found ways to provide unprecedented access to the digital world through items that aren’t typically considered to be technology.”
As the working landscape transforms, savvy brands are increasingly providing options for the new urban commuter, integrating features that tackle unpredictable weather patterns, rising pollution levels and the need to always be connected. For more on this, see our forthcoming report Fashion’s Workplace Challenge – part of the Work/Life Revolution Macro Trend, publishing on October 6.
A strong S/S showing from Miuccia Prada, dedicated to the power of women and their strength in the face of adversity. That message was delivered in everything on the runway, from the masculine tailoring, to the rock-studded accessories.
Celebrating the strength of sisterhood has been an ongoing preoccupation of the designer over the past few seasons, and the influence manifested itself for S/S 18 with a play on masculine/feminine, boy-meets-girl silhouettes, colour and fabrication.
Think masculine tweeds and feminine brocades, sassy skin prints and small-scale geos, boyish shorts and full 50s circle skirts, neat buttoned-up shirts and sexy back-slit pencil skirts. These played out in a palette of boardroom blacks and greys with pops of girly pastels and juicy brights.
Powerful shoulder lines and pushed-up sleeves informed the mannish coats and jackets that ran through the collection. Some garments were printed to celebrate crease lines, while other pieces bristled with customised studs, beads and paillettes. The season’s emerging plastic mac was present and correct too, here in glossy spot-printed patent.
Pastel-hued kitsch cartoon graphics and an all-over comic-book print were key standouts, mirroring the blow-up cartoons that provided the backdrop to the show. Think cute Manga-girl motifs, 30s and 60s comic-strip heroines and cartoon imagery of Angela Davis, the celebrated 70s US revolutionary. Her famous quote – “To understand how any society functions, you must understand the relationship between the men and the women” – could have been the mantra of the show.
Offsetting the brocade dresses were asymmetric knitted tanks and thrift-shop-styled coats, a raft of iconic nylon Prada satchels, studded sandals and kitten-heeled stilettos, hardware-trimmed brogues, and luxe croc handheld bags.
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Milan Fashion Week got off to a rip-roaring start with Gucci’s ode to all things glitzy and retro-inspired. Designer Alessandro Michele gave us 70s Princess Diana tweeds, 80s Dynasty shoulders and the razzle-dazzle of Elton John’s vintage costume box, via the overblown excesses of Farrah Fawcett hair.
Vintage influences are nothing new from Michele, who has magically revamped the Gucci label with his references from the past. This season, the designer did nothing more than evolve his signature maximalist style, delivering looks that will resonate in a big way with the fast-to-market end of the high street.
Many of the looks on display confirmed messages seen elsewhere this season, albeit done with all of Michele’s customary panache –sequins, tick; satin, tick; metallics, tick. But running alongside were strong-shouldered tweed blazers and demure, ladylike pleated skirts, exaggerated blousons (emerging as a key trend here in Milan) and starry red-carpet 70s maxi dresses, along with a classic brown mink coat – the signature uniform of Milanese matrons and ‘Park Avenue princesses’ back in the 80s.
Flame-like jewelled trims were the motif du jour, seen on everything from the shoulders of 80s-style leather jackets to boldly coloured knitwear. These were worked in Michele’s incongruous style, featuring delicate 18th-century sprigged florals. Branding was everywhere – from the Gucci slogan sweats to the double GGs embedded in plush velvet, or worked as a fine jacquard on linear knit separates and all-over micro repeat prints.
As ever, the collection was the sum of its parts. The influence of items like those jewelled blousons and 70s shellsuits, plus the myriad accessories – from the chunky jewelled double-G pendants to the padded hairbands – will be the high-street’s takeaways for S/S 18.
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