Monthly Archives: March 2016

A Model Designer in the Current Landscape of Fashion

 

(Photo:cheap formal dresses online)On Monday night, Surface Magazine hosted its Design Dialogues No.27, featuring Joseph Altuzarra and Vanessa Friedman. The New York-based designer and the fashion director for the New York Times spoke about how they ended up in fashion (Friedman landed at the Financial Times in London writing about fashion “by accident” after planning to attend law school; Altuzarra, who pursued studies in art history, got “lucky” with an internship at Marc Jacobs after the resumes were considered in alphabetical order).

They revealed how they were affected in their respective roles by the Great Recession (Friedman says it resulted in a “mythic notion that luxury brands are immune to the recession,” which may or may not be true; Altuzarra, who launched his brand during the height of the recession, after developing his craft at Marc Jacobs, Proenza Schouler, Givenchy, etc., says it gave him the opportunity to really focus on a small scale on what makes a brand: its products, not a big fashion week show). They also addressed how consumption of fashion has changed, particularly in recent years (Friedman said: “We forget that things that are made of quality materials, that are meant to last and that are expensive were traditionally planned for and saved for by consumers.”).

One of the most interesting takeaways of the evening came in the form of Altuzarra’s thoughts on the current state of fashion. Mr. Altuzarra, who launched his eponymous label in 2008, has served as something of a quiet success story. Despite garnering awards from the Council of Fashion Designers of America; fans in fashion industry leaders like Carine Roitfeld; and backing from Kering, which purchased a minority stake in Altuzarra’s eponymous label in 2013 – marking one of the only (if not the only) investments the luxury conglomerate has made in a young(ish) New York-based brand, Altuzarra has not let such earthly successes cloud of his vision.

In fact, one would likely argue – given the momentum he has built and the focus and consistency with which he operates – that the best is yet to come from Mr. Altuzarra. It is worth noting, however, that what we have seen thus far (think: body-skimming frocks that manage to perfectly straddle the line between demure femininity and oozing sex appeal; strong outerwear; hints of fringe; and of course, his coveted thigh-high slit skirts) has managed to win over even the staunchest of critics. Friedman, one of the industry’s shrewdest, most objective, has, after all given him her seal of approval – in many a fashion week review. That speaks volumes all on its own, as not every designer has been so lucky.

But back to Monday evening: When asked about the current climate of the fashion industry, Altuzarra shed light on his depth as a designer – which is quite possibly why he has been so darn successful to date. Seemingly resisting the hot trend of the moment to embrace See Now-Buy Now, Altuzarra said: “Luxury products take time. I really believe that it is important to take care to do it properly and think it through. At the same time, it is my role to think about what women want now and what they will want to keep.” There is something rather enlightening about seeing a designer chart his own course. Is there not?

He elaborated saying: “Right now there are a lot of questions about social media and the runway calendar and other logistical concerns. For me, I think there are broader questions: Do we really need all of this stuff? Can the garments themselves be designed better? Can they be made more desirable?” And it is here that Altuzarra manages to broach a point that very few designers – established or otherwise – have brought themselves to publicly acknowledge as of late. Maybe the fashion system is failing us because designers are not producing (due to a lack of time or drive or whatever) the requisite level of innovation and/or creativity and/or thoughtfulness in terms of design required to lure consumers into stores and e-commerce sites and actually swipe their cards.

It seems that the industry has collectively found it much more comfortable and also much easier to rely on truly external solutions, such as better aligning the runway schedule with the schedule for delivery to stores or banning social media from runway shows, to make sense of and remedy the current sense of consumer fatigue and lack of growth that much of the luxury sector is experiencing. Looking inward for recourse is a difficult pill to swallow and an equally daunting task to undertake, after all, for it requires taking a personal review of the value of one’s work, making promises and producing solutions. It seems this is exactly what the industry needs and something from which consumers stand to benefit enormously.

In doing so, Altuzarra is both innately realistic and enormously brave. In lieu of relying on PR ploys and quick fixes (which are proving immensely seductive in the current market), he is focused on substance. He says he has always been focused on the longterm strategy of his brand and how he can best speak to his consumers, a real woman who is looking for something very specific. Such efforts do not always produce the most headline-grabbing press or the most conventionally breathtaking garments, as innovation and risk are not always the most conveniently packaged. However, it is these efforts that substantively carry the industry forward and the ones that are undeniably worth celebrating.

While seemingly intuitive, few designers have been forthcoming enough (and/or honest enough with themselves, perhaps) to publicly suggest – or even allude to – looking to the garments and accessories themselves as the source of the problem. In this way, I find Altuzarra – complete with his decidedly wise comprehension of and appreciation for both the practical elements of the fashion industry coupled with its equally significant creative pressures that designers face – to not only be well equipped to weather the storm of fast fashion and the current system of rapid consumption and as Friedman put it, the resulting “devaluation” effect these things have the work of true luxury designers. He is also a remarkable model for designers – both emerging and established. But don’t take my word for it: Try on one of his mermaid formal dresses.

Mary Katrantzou Touches Down in Beijing

The Mary Katrantzou show in Beijing 

(Photo:red formal dresses)Designer Mary Katrantzou brought a slice of Andy Warhol’s Factory to China Fashion Week on Sunday night, reprising her fall-winter collection through Mercedes-Benz’s International Designer Exchange Program.

The designer restaged her London show, replete with pillow-shaped, silvered balloons, inspired by Warhol’s “clouds” installation. The Asian models strutted down the reflective runway to the upbeat country tunes of Dolly Parton and Lynn Anderson.

“[The show] is a great way to introduce the brand in a more cohesive way, exciting way, where you could look at the collection up close and relive that experience. I think it’s important to travel with your show and you rarely can do so,” Katrantzou said after the show.

Newly installed chief executive, Trino Verkade, formerly with designer Thom Browne and Alexander McQueen, said part of the Beijing trip is aimed at strengthening bonds with business partners and raising brand awareness in the region.

“It was important for us to come to Beijing to communicate to our [global] customer. We’re not a brand with a lot of money and a lot of advertising spend…So it’s more important for us to actually come do something more grassroots,” Verkade said, adding that the label is still independent and self-financed.

On Monday, Katrantzou will be doing a trunk show for VIP customers at department store Joyce in Beijing.

“[The trunk show] will allow customers [to] look at the pieces up close and be able to buy beyond what they could buy in Paris,” Katrantzou said, expressing how she hopes to make more trips to China beyond Beijing.

On Wednesday, China’s Mercedes-Benz International Designer Exchange winner, Xiao Li, will be repeating her fall-winter show from London Fashion Week.Read more at:formal dresses online australia

‘Netflix for fashion’ startups put women’s closets in the cloud

Mary Doyle models a Giambi, bordeaux fur vest at her home on Fri. March 18, 2016, in San Francisco, California. Doyle has been using Rent the Runway an online business that rents designer fashions for special events. Photo: Michael Macor, The Chronicle 

(Photo:plus size formal dresses)Rent the Runway is expanding from one-time rentals of designer apparel to a subscription service offering an endless rotation of items for a monthly fee. It joins two other contenders in subscriptions for women’s clothing: Le Tote, which offers mid-tier contemporary clothes and accessories, and Gwynnie Bee, which specializes in clothing in larger sizes.

All three underscore the shift toward usage over ownership. While subscriptions are a venerable business model — think newspapers, magazines, cable TV — you can now get recurring delivery of razors, snacks, shoes, dog toys and even luxury watches for a monthly fee. Some call the sector “Netflix for X,” in a reference to the video-service’s original model of sending out an unlimited number of DVDs in familiar bright-red envelopes.

“It is no longer necessary or desirable to own many things, especially items that are expensive or rarely used, when you can get easy access to them on demand instead,” said April Rinne, a business and policy consultant to startups and governments. “Across demographics and geographies, we see more and more people opting into ‘asset light’ lifestyles.”

Includes cleaning

All the clothing services include cleaning and shipping in their monthly fees — and say that women who use dry-cleaning services frequently can end up paying less to maintain a wardrobe.

Clothing subscriptions help reduce excess consumption and the resulting waste, said Jenn Hyman, Rent the Runway CEO and co-founder.

At $139 a month, Rent the Runway’s subscription service, called Unlimited, reflects its focus on high-end clothes that might be worn by celebrities. “We’re bringing the ‘Clueless’ closet or the Carrie Bradshaw closet to life,” Hyman said. Users will receive three items at a time, and can swap them as often as they like. (In practice, the number of items one can get each month is limited by the speed of shipping, which typically takes two days.)

With a la carte rentals, Rent the Runway’s users rented only on weekends or for special occasions. That spurred the company to devise a subscription service to turn them into more-frequent customers. It’s been experimenting with the Unlimited model for almost two years.

Mary Doyle, a product manager at Box, said the Unlimited service is great for traveling. “I got both a heavy wool jacket and a fur vest for when I went back to the East Coast for the holidays,” she said. “When I came back to California, I swapped out for a lighter-weight Elizabeth and James coat.” Conversely, when she went to the South by Southwest festival in Austin, where the temperature hit 90 degrees, she rented lightweight items.

She views renting as an extension of online shopping, which she vastly prefers to malls — not to mention having someone else pay for dry cleaning. “I never buy anything white because I’m convinced it will get dirty,” she said. “But now I’m getting so many white items of clothing from Rent the Runway because I feel I can take the chance.”

The 6-year-old company will continue renting individual items. Rentals cost about 10 percent of retail price for four days, plus shipping fees. (The $139 Unlimited subscription includes shipping.) Last year it rented more than 1 million items, Hyman said.

Le Tote CEO and co-founder Rakesh Tondon was inspired to create the company in 2012, when his pregnant wife wished she didn’t have to spring for maternity clothes that she’d wear for only a short time. After researching the field, he concluded that the market needed broader rental options than just maternity. Its focus is “items in the price ranges of J Crew, Banana Republic and Zara,” he said. Subscribers pay $59 a month to receive a box of three garments and two accessories, and can return all five items at once to receive a new box.

Users’ choice

After gathering data on shoppers’ style preferences and measurements, the company’s software guesses at what they’d like. Before shipping a box, Le Tote lets them change some or all of the items.

“We originally wanted a mystery experience: Christmas in a box,” Tondon said. “But we realized customers wanted more control over what was sent. We don’t know if the user might be actively interviewing for jobs, or going to Wine Country for a long weekend, for instance.”

Now that Le Tote is established, it added maternity clothes rentals three months ago.

Gwynnie Bee CEO and founder Christine Hunsicker started her company in 2011 with a focus on plus sizes because she felt that trendy fashion was ignoring the two-thirds of women who are size 14 or larger. It carries sizes from 10 on up.

“People now are more interested in using their money for experiences rather than things,” Hunsicker said. Her company buys from “known brands, such as you’d find at a Nordstrom” and commissions clothes from manufacturers under its own label as well.

Like the other services, Gwynnie Bee lets customers buy items at a discount. More than half are purchased within a year, she said.

She’s found that customers will take more risks with rentals. “We started by offering more basic (apparel), but found that women wanted to experiment with brighter clothing, more statement pieces,” she said.

E-commerce’s Netflix-inspired makeover is far from a sure thing. Subscription sites for renting baby clothes, and luxury-handbags sites have shut down. Toygaroo, a Netflix for toys, went bankrupt in 2012 despite having signed up Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary as investors on the TV show Shark Tank; Cuban told Business Insider it was his worst investment from the show.

Failed companies may have overestimated the potential market, experienced problems with inventory, or had poorly designed apps and websites, Rinne said. “In some cases, they were simply too early,” she said.

Complex business

“The level of complexity in our business is high,” Le Tote’s Tondon said. “Items turn over often, and you have to clean them, do quality check, return to racks and get them ready to send out again.”

Despite the logistical challenges, the fashion business, where trends and styles constantly evolve, is particularly apt for subscriptions. Besides apparel, accessories seem like a hot sector, with BagBorrowOrSteal for purses, Freshneck for men’s ties and Rocksbox for jewelry.

“Think about what’s happening in Milan, or Tokyo, or now everywhere from Cape Town to Mumbai — being able to access completely new fashion designers or trends that are really hard to find locally is incredibly attractive,” Rinne said.Read more at:formal dress shops brisbane

The key to personal style

Personal style is one of the many things that make fashion so interesting. It keeps people on their toes and constantly is evolving and transforming as people create works of art out of new combinations found in their closet. With every person, model, celebrity and socialite comes a different personal style that make them truly unique. When you think personal style, you think street style and when you think street style you think edgy, fun and free: all the things someone’s personal style should be. Often times, people find their own personal style when they idolize and mimic those who have more pull in the industry, such as public figures like Kendall Jenner or Rihanna. Not only do people mimic celebrities and people who have unlimited style resources, but they, including myself, tend to get certain style methods and techniques from simply observing people around them. This method of style development is perfectly fine and building a wardrobe off of things noticed in public or in magazines can indeed lead to a refined, modern style, yet the development of personal style also comes with never-ending comparison to those who are giving the style ideas. Comparing one’s wardrobe to what’s seen on a celebrity or someone passing by on the street can honestly kill any thought of creativity. Seeing what others are wearing is one thing, but contemplating and focusing on why you think they look better than you won’t improve the made-up flaws that surface in your head. The end result of comparing yourself to others is an intense decrease in confidence. Without confidence, personal style is nothing. Personal style is meant to be personal; as in something that exhibits a single personality, not something that shows how well someone can mimic simple fads. Confidence is key and comparison to others will only make you doubt what you’re wearing, why you’re wearing it, and how you look. Wearing something that makes you feel wonderful will look wonderful if you wholeheartedly support your look. Conforming to trends that are molding your personality to what someone else thinks is socially acceptable will only lead to you being uncomfortable. Stay true to who you are, what you like, and how you like to wear it. Fashion is all about making you feel like the best version of yourself through the expression of your clothes.The confidence that goes along with that is something that can never be replaced by subjecting yourself to a trend that will eventually fade away. The crazier, more unconventional and more colorful the better.Read more at:cocktail dresses australia | short formal dresses australia

China’s complicated wedding traditions

With so many rules and regulations, China's wedding traditions are some of the most complicated in the world. 

(Photo:unique formal dresses)The rich traditions associated with Chinese marriage ceremonies have evolved over thousands of years.

However, it may surprise Westerners to know that there are specific rules and regulations which govern how marriages are to be conducted, and failure to observe them will, most assuredly, invite animosity and disappointment.

China’s complicated wedding traditions are viewed as some of the most confusing, if not altogether baffling, in the world.

So before taking the plunge, here are some of the most significant customs worth bearing in mind:

The Groom

The groom is expected to honour his ancestors. One day before the marriage all family members traditionally burn incense to inform their ancestor of the incoming marriage.

On the day of the wedding, the groom’s family must pray to their ancestors once again and firecrackers are typically lit in the moments before the groom and his men depart for the bride’s home.

Upon arrival at the bride’s home, many obstacles are already set for the groom and his men. The red bag is an ideal method to buy one’s way through these obstacles.

While waiting for the groom, family members of the bride have already hidden her shoes and left her on her bed. The groom must first find the shoes of his bride before taking her to the wedding.

After locating the shoes, and sending out countless red bags, the mother of the bride will bring a bowl of soup to the groom. The soup always tastes horrible and it’s made with soy sauce, vinegar, mustard sauce, pepper, salt and sugar. The flavour of sour, sweet, bitter, salt and intense spice are necessary for the soup as these five flavours represent the flavours of everyday life in Chinese culture.

Here comes the bride

The bride must wait for her groom at her home. An even number of men (typically six or eight) must be sent from the groom’s family to retrieve his bride.

After winning his bride, the groom will hold his bride in his arms to take her to his car. On the way to the groom’s home, the bride is expected to never look back or say goodbye to her parents. This custom carries good will that this marriage will head forward and neither will look back upon their choice with regret.

When arriving at the groom’s home, the bride has to present tea to her new in-laws and step across a basin of burning coal. Stepping across the burning coal helps to burn away the bad luck on the bride.

After the groom and his bride pray to their ancestors both are expected to step into their bedroom and have their toast. It’s important to note that except for a virgin male, nobody else is allowed to touch the new couple’s bed before the wedding day.

The guests will then head to the restaurant where the wedding banquet will take place. Here there is only one rule for the guests: The colour of their clothes must be as bright as possible and red or pink are traditionally the most popular colours.See more at:cheap formal dresses australia

My relationship with Urwa Hocane is not secret: Farhan Saeed

The video will feature Saeed alongside a star-studded line-up comprising actor-model Iman Ali, actor Sajid Khan and fashion designer Munib Nawaz. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY 

(Photo:formal dresses australia)When Farhan Saeed left Jal in 2014, there were many who doubted his ability to lead a successful career as a solo artist. However, the chatter has died down with every single that he has released in these two years, from Khwahishon to Pi Jaun and the very recent, Roiyaan. In this time he also made inroads into Bollywood and a high frequency of international tours.

This year too, is no different for him. With plans of furthering his passion for music, the singer is set to release the music video of his new-fangled single, Koi Rokay Na Mujhey. Talking to The Express Tribune, Saeed disclosed his vision behind the song, relationship with actor-model Urwa Hocane and upcoming Bollywood projects.

“This song has been with me for the past year or so. It is not a romantic or melodious number like the ones I have done in the past but it’s something new I experimented with.” Scheduled to release sometime next week, the song has a more dubstep feel to it, which Farhan feels hasn’t been done by mainstream Pakistani artists in the past.

While the lyrics have been written by Ali Mustafa, the music video has been directed by Hamza Yousuf. It will feature Saeed alongside a star-studded line-up comprising actor-model Iman Ali, actor Sajid Khan and fashion designer Munib Nawaz. On opting for Ali, he said, “I have always had different girls in my various music videos. I want every video to shine through and stand on its own. I had Ali in mind for a long time but I was scared because I thought she would be hesitant.” Saeed offered her to listen to the song and then make a decision. “I told her she could turn down the offer if she wasn’t pleased.” However, he was not disheartened. According to him, she was besotted after listening to the song and opted to become part of the project.

Riding high on the success of Roiyaan that bagged Song of the Year award at Lux Style Awards 2015, Saeed shared the song’s success became his motivation behind Koi Rokay Na Mujhey. “The love I received from people after Roiyaan made me have faith in myself. Last year was the best one for me. Also, the roping in of a star cast for the video is an assertion of what the music industry needs … we have to bring it back into the limelight.”

Recently, pictures of Atif Aslam, Goher Mumtaz and Saeed jamming alongside Ali Zafar at his studio made rounds on social media, giving rise to the rumour that a Jal reunion is on the cards. When asked whether a Jal reunion is possible, Saeed refrained from giving a direct answer and instead said, “Goher [Mumtaz] and I are still friends. I would love to do a song with him … this year only. For now, I really hope it happens.”

On the Bollywood front, Saeed has lent his single, Tu Thori Dair, to Mohit Suri’s upcoming flick, Half Girlfriend. About other Bollywood ventures in the pipeline, he stated, “There are a couple of things I’m looking into but I cannot confirm anything until I know [for sure].”

One can say that as spiced up his professional life is, Saeed’s personal life is no less exciting. Shedding light on his relationship with actor Urwa Hocane, he noted, “We are together and everyone knows about it. We have confessed it earlier on social media as well, so it is not a rumour but a reality.” While the two are seen hand-in-hand at almost every major red carpet in the country, they are yet to decide whether tying the knot is a possibility in the near future.Read more at:evening dresses

Go quirky with your bowties

Giving neckties a miss, many men these days, are opting for bowties, although we have to admit the fact that not all of them can carry this with panache. But some of the stars who sport them, do carry with them in style. And no, we are not just talking about the regular bowties that stars wear. They quirk it up by wearing them in offbeat shapes, colours and prints, too! Here’s a look at some of them who rocked the bowtie in style.

Desi dude Ayushmann Khurrana, who is always well-turned-out for most events, opted for an an unusual suit, which he paired it up with an even more unusual bowtie. This multi-coloured bowtie might be too risque for some, but, boy, we have to give it to him for trying out new trends. Agree?

Jared Leto’s outfit at the Oscars might not have gone well with fashion police, but his neck corsage — a red rose — added some quirk to his overall look. Ditching the regular black bowtie, Leto opted for something unusual for his red carpet outing, pulling off the look, in a way that only he can! Was his look a hit or a miss?

American footballer Ronnie Hillman is known to always add an element of quirk to his look. His bowtie for a recent event sure made a lot of heads turn. And why wouldn’t it — when you are wearing a golden, embellished bowtie that comes with a chain attached to it? Those who are looking to add some bling to their outfit, can surely try this one out. As for Ronnie, all we can say is he simply rocks this look!

Placement can make all the difference when you are wearing a bowtie. See howRyan Gosling looks automatically dreamier, thanks the casual positioning of his regular bowtie? This cross trend, seems to have caught on, as many young men, too, are experimenting with this look. We also sported Justin Bieber sporting the crossed bowtie, too! This one is surely a hit with the ladies, no?

Twilight star Robert Pattinson’s suit game, we know, is always on point. Not one to make a fashion faux pas, Robert’s daringly different flat bowtie sure made an impression! What we like about the flat bowtie is that it maintains the delicate balance between formal and edgy, all at the same time!Read more at:formal dress shops | bridesmaid dresses australia

5 Ways Supermodel Imaan Hammam Is Just Like Us

Imaan Hammam Dsquared2 MFW 

(Photo:evening wear)When Imaan Hammam took to the runway in winter of 2014, she took the modeling world by storm. The then, 17-year-old beauty of Egyptian and Moroccan decent captivated us with her fierce walk, beautiful toffee skin and those gorgeous curls. She’s walked all of the hottest shows (Givenchy, Jean Paul Gaultier, Zac Posen and Reed Krakoff— just to name a few.) In two short years, her resume includes six magazine covers (including twoVogue covers!) and way to many editorial campaigns to count. She’s a big deal; a very big deal. But, when she’s not jet setting around the world for fashion week or editorial campaigns, she likes to do real girl things. Here are five ways the gorgeous supermodel is just like us!

1. She loves a good hoodie.

In a recent interview with Vogue, Hamaam expressed her love for the leisurely pullover, adding that she loves to wear them with her hair in French plaits, “They’re so comfortable, and you can do it in two seconds.”

2. She’s a fan of DIY skincare.

“My mom is from Morocco, and she uses eggs for her face—the yolks, not the whites— as a mask. I’ve done it—you put it on for five minutes, then you wash it off nd it gives a nice shine to your skin.”

3. She loves to cook.

“I have a passion for food and cooking. I want to become that kind of home cook who can make a great dish out of anything in the fridge.”

4. People mispronounce her name all of the time.

Sure, her name may read “Imaan” (Ee-mon), but it’s actually pronounced “Ee-men.” Even top models have their names butchered from time to time.

5. Her mom is her beauty idol.

In an interview with Glamour magazine, Imaan stated, “Around age 10 or 11, I found photos of my mom when she was younger and saw that she had an Afro (she’s from Morocco, but she and my father raised me in Amsterdam.) I thought oh, maybe I can just do that. My mom’s been my hair icon ever since. “Read more at:cocktail dresses australia