Category Archives: fashion

Rhapsody in Neutrals, Fabric, and Skin

adam lippes 

(Photo:special occasion dresses)This story may be missing a lede because instead of attending the opening night party of the 2017’s Fashion Week El Paseo, my husband insisted we stop en route at Catalan in Rancho Mirage for red wine, smoked octopus, and wedge salads. I was a little grumpy about missing the bedecked throngs milling about, cocktails in hand, in all their questionable fashion sense glory (who was that man in the electric orange Nehru jacket or the strangely skinny woman with pink hair?), but we managed to enter the tent just as Christopher Bates’ show began.

Within minutes, I was heartily glad of that pitstop at Catalan; our tapas would prove to be the only color that would appear for the next twenty minutes.

The models in the Bates’ menswear show looked ready for travel, perhaps influenced by trends more political than sartorial: the new Cold War of fashion anyone?

The models in the Bates’ menswear show looked ready for travel.

Black and white turtlenecks, cargo pants (although the closest these guys have come to the army is playing with G.I. Joes), and khaki is back (although one imagines this neutral color has been repurposed as the more sophisticated camel!

Just add one of the gorgeous leather tote bags that complimented many of the looks and you’ve got a guy who resembles the East German playwright/poet I once knew who was mysteriously never without his luggage, and who, after two or three pints, liked to describe his butt cheeks as two cold pillows. Indeed, the form fitting slacks in every neutral shade made the ladies go wild, but the real glitz was saved for the shoes.

One model, a Kurt Cobain look-alike, looked straight out of the grunge decade, only in jogger pants with a drawstring and disco ball Converse instead of baggy jeans and Birkenstocks. Lots of monochrome, shades of gray paired with lighter shades of pale gray, and zippered pockets on the front thigh to hold your ciggies. I felt as though I’d been at a poetry salon, perhaps at an Art Deco apartment in a rainy European city, in a high-ceilinged room thick with intellectual smoke.

The beautifully wearable fashions by Adam Lippes were up next, and for this observer, the artistic highlight of the evening. Made in New York City of French and Italian fabrics, the first dress to float down the runway was the favorite of everyone I spoke to after the show as the herd milled toward the esalators. With the length of a maxi dress and the shape of the ever-forgiving tent dress, the creamy fabric moved gracefully and soft, and would easily flatter every woman of any age.

The floral trend of the 90s appeared here as well. The full-length brocade coat was something out of a dream, and in keeping with the inspiration of the entire line: women who hand-paint pottery, as Lippes told the audience in a pre-recorded video before the show. His wearable, detail-oriented looks featured flowing tunics in palest pink, a bright pink hi-low hem dress that made this trend feel new again, and not just for girls (and women) who shop at Forever 21, and a siren red wide leg jumpsuit with a not-too-plunging neckline in an arresting color.

A midi-dress printed in a delicate blooming pink and blue floral pattern with a nipped waist left much to the imagination. This understated, classy sexiness was repeated in a neutral midi-length white sleeveless knit dress that would suit the activities of many generations of women: from meeting the parents of your boyfriend for the first time, to the dress you wear to your retirement shindig. Like Oscar de la Renta, where Lippes was once the creative director before starting his own label, these are clothes fit for a feminine woman who wants to look strong and sexy. A woman who wants to wear the dress, and not let the dress wear her.

Before the bridal dresses came out, a wonderful blue dress made of light blue feathers and a glittering blue corset top fit the “Rhapsody in Blue” beaming from the speakers, and many of the dresses transformed in some way – a cape-like silhouette was lifted to reveal a mermaid dress, and a very short structured hemline became bridal in the back with sheer tulle and sheer tulle and visible buttons tracing the neck and spine.

There were some selections so revealing that it brought to mind the body socks Cher was famous for wearing in the 80s, but it was all forgiven when the two bridal dresses walked out. Shoulder pads, off the shoulder, sweetheart necklines, and an abundance of glitter: it was all that was fun and excessive about the 80s bride, and unlike some of the almost entirely sheer neutral dresses that very few women could wear unless, like one of the models, she had visible hipbones, these were gowns you could wear in front of your father as he walked you down the aisle.Read more at:formal dresses canberra

The Fashion Industry and the War on Women

photo-1429277005502-eed8e872fe52_opt 

(Photo:formal dresses melbourne)Finally got round to reading this article which is not shocking at all and surprised me not the tiniest bit. As I tweeted when I saw it (without reading it of course), “The fashion industry IS the war on women.”

I’ve had a hard time buying into the idea that there’s a war on women in America. First of all, the word War is absurd. Unless you’ve been in a place where a war is literally going on, I think it’s an unhelpful way of talking about bad things. Most of us do not live with gun fire going on outside our windows, with the threat of big explosions, with death lurking around the corner. If you were looking for actual War I think you would need to go to some places in the Middle East, and some hot spots in North Africa, and certainly some places in Nigeria, and then go all the way into some neighborhoods in Chicago. I’m not trying to be funny, what I’ve been reading about Chicago makes it sound like it has all the qualities of a war zone.

So the very idea that women, in America, who are going to college in greater numbers than men, who peacefully go to work every day, and who are allowed to both wear whatever they want and, I think more importantly, say whatever they think and believe, declassifies their condition as being in a war.

On the other hand, setting aside the word War, I think it wouldn’t be too much to say that there are deep rooted problems and systems that essentially undermine the feminine experience of western women. I say that believing that these forces are not as malign as those of some women in other places in the world. The right to speak and show your face is a critically important freedom and I don’t want any of what I’m saying right now to be thought of on that level. Me not getting to have anything nice to wear is not remotely similar to me wearing a burka. Those are not the same.

Nevertheless, I think Satan hates all women everywhere, and one way that he persecutes and diminishes western women, besides with the Abortion Industry (I mean, how great is that–get women to believe that killing the most beautiful and life transforming thing that could ever happen to them will make everything all better; have them walk into the war zone on their own two feet and call it peace; what is that line? They cry peace peace where there is no peace) is by making the natural and real parts of the female body impossible to live with.

I mean, I’m talking about the body of the mother here. The real body of the mother. The tired and worn out body that has been stretched so much that it then collapses. And I’m also talking about the body of the woman who, even without the wrecking ball of child bearing, still ages, still faces gravity and lumpiness. And the body of the woman who has had to have whole essential bits cut off or removed, who faces the alarming horror of disease that threatens to destroy everything. The body of the woman is complex, peculiar, changeable, prone to trouble as the sparks fly upward.

So, for a man, whose chemistry, hormones, shape, and strength are not the same, are not as mysteriously complex, who cannot bear along the life of another in his very flesh, who has the advantage of strength, and height, and speed, to be allowed to call himself a woman, and clothe himself as a woman, and even look better than most women, it may not rise to the level of war, but it’s as insidious as the satanic destruction of the body’s ability to cope with gluten is on the Eucharist itself.

Bruce Jenner winning an award for being woman of the year is demoralizing. He’s not a woman, and when he was given the award he hadn’t been trying to be one more than a year, or whatever, whereas I’ve been working at it my whole life.

The dismissive attitude of the fashion industry for the bodies of real women is also demoralizing. In the face of constant discouragement I’ve managed to come up with a uniform for myself. I wear the same thing every day–a pair of ill fitting jeans, a black shirt, and two gray sweaters. Oh, and big winter boots, the only shoe that keeps my foot warm in the winter. In the summer I lose the boot and the second gray sweater and just stick to the one because I’m always cold. I wear this every day, day in day out, day after day after day. And I look at beautiful clothes online and feel sad because I know that if I try to buy them, they won’t look like that on me.

There is no, “her dress was right, her stockings were right, her hat was right” for me because as a woman in America I have to shove myself into stuff that was not originally considered for me, but was rather conceived of for a 100 foot tall slender demigod who apparently sometimes can now be even a man. I can’t compete with that, or shove myself into it. I’m clinging to my five feet (dear sweet saints of God please don’t let me shrink yet) and trying to rid myself of my middle, which I can’t do, because I’ve given birth six times.

My body is broken, and sometimes my spirit rejoices, but most of the time it is mired in jealousy and covetousness. I don’t look at my beautiful healthy offspring and then at my own shape and think, ‘this is so great, I’m so glad I have something to show for this,’ I usually think, ‘I can’t believe I’m going to get saggier until I die.’

My spirit could sure be helped to rejoice if my body didn’t have to wear skinny jeans that will never ever ever ever ever gently and beautifully clothe my broken frame. There is no grace for me from the fashion industry, no care, no consideration. If I want to wear something beautiful I have to hunt and hunt and humiliate myself in dressing rooms under bright lights. I have to comb through mountains of websites and then consider whether or not I want to risk the horror of not being able to try something on.

It’s not a war, it’s a gentle unrelenting diminishment of my personhood and soul. It is the undervaluation of who I am by forces more powerful than me. It is the rich spreading themselves over the bright lights of the runway while the poor go away ugly.

But in a little while, you will look for them but you will not find them. You will only find me clothed in the most excessive beauty, making my way down a golden avenue to fling my jewel encrusted crown before a vision so glorious it will take your breath away. My body then, remade, will not be rivaled by any man dressed as a woman. The ravages of disease, childbirth, and care will have been put away, though the glory of that suffering will not be lost. Somehow it will be woven through, will be the substance of those jewels.

On the other hand, today is not that day, and there is a foot of snow on the ground, so it’s back into jeans for me.Read more at:formal dresses canberra

Plymouth designer storms London Fashion Week with pro-skater

Billie main lfw 

(Photo:formal dresses canberra)A young fashion designer from Plymouth has stormed London Fashion Week with her clothing collection – and even got a pro-skater from the city on board too.

The 21-year-old who studied at Plymouth College of Art, was inspired by the sea for her vivid collection thanks to her time growing up by the coast.

At university Billie was selected to show at Graduate Fashion Week with her first collection where she won the British Council Residency Award. It gives outstanding designers the chance to work overseas with other fashion networks.

Two weeks before she was due to go to Indonesia, a bombshell was dropped – she was asked to go for judging at London fashion week (LFW).

Billie was lucky enough to be chosen as Fashions Scouts ‘Ones to Watch’, meaning she’d get to show a collection in the prestigious Freemasons Hall at London Fashion Week.

Billie, who grew up in Elburton, said: “The day of my show was like a blink.

“I was so nervous as I have never done anything like this before; also, being 21, I still feel like I have so much to learn.

“It will be a day to remember that’s for sure – everything I have heard back has been positive.

“I did a lot of interning when I was a student, so this was my fifth time at LFW. However it was my second time showing [and] hopefully not my last.

“I was lucky enough this season to be sponsored by Freya – a new drinks company. This was great as we had a bar at my presentation and everyone really enjoyed it as it was more of a party. Hopefully next season I will have a whole new collection to show.

“It still doesn’t feel real and I don’t think it ever will – it is amazing to hear people talk about your work and people knowing my designs.”

Since LFW, the young designer’s ‘fun, bold, sassy and colourful’ collection has been featured across the internet including on the Vogue website.

Plymouth pro-skater Stefani Nurding was among Billie’s models – the designer chose women to wear her collection who are ‘confident girl boss figures’ such as bloggers, DJs, skateboarders and influencers.

Stefani, from St Budeaux, has been skateboarding for nine years and studied fashion design at Plymouth College of Art.

She’s sponsored by a whole host of skateboarding brands including Vans, and she also runs a successful fashion blog, the Concrete Chameleon.

Speaking about modelling Billie’s collection, Stefani said: “Billie’s collection was amazing, so gender fluid and fun, I was really happy to support her.

“LFW was like a whirlwind, I did a skateboard demo for London College of Fashion as well as an event for Vans for the Denim Campaign [which] I was featured in for London fashion week – it was amazing but I felt like collapsing afterwards.”

Despite rubbing shoulders with some of fashion’s finest – including Victoria Beckham – Billie is back to her normal routine of working part time in a bakery to fund her designing career.

She said: “No one understands how hard it is to be a designer. It takes so much time and work. I hope one day to make it my full time job.”

Billie’s plans for the future are to build her brand and hopefully show at different fashion shows around the world.Read more at:sexy formal dresses

Throwback to the 50s

It was a fashion soiree like none other. When Vogue Atelier (an event to commemorate the magazine’s 125th year of its inception and Vogue-India’s 10th anniversary) decided to debut in Hyderabad, they pulled all stops to create a showstopper with celebrated designer duo Shantanu and Nikhil’s Spring -17 line as the muse, the event was both a throwback and tribute to the fashion shows of 1950s which were more intimate, luxurious and personal.

The premise of the show was that it had no runway or any of the trappings of a regular fashion show. The models walked about a small ramp with seats in white, posed and moved freely amongst the invitees while instrumental music played on a loop in the background, enveloping the space with its authentic and Indian sensibilities.

Priya Tanna, Editor of Vogue India elaborated on the idea behind the event and said, “This is a very 1950s way of doing things. It was a time when fashion shows were all about intimate gatherings held at beautiful venues and were free of flashlights, hashtags and showstoppers. People walked into a salon styled area just for the love of clothes; that was the sentiment and mood we sought to evoke.”

Shantanu Mehra muses that it was a nostalgic moment for them to create a special line which was rooted with Indianness layered with new sensibilities for the show. He adds, “It is a moment I cherish because the idea of showcasing couture as it was 70 years back, where personalised collections were made for clients, is unique. There is a lot of old-world charm and monochromatic harmony between menswear and women’s wear. We have used mostly blacks and whites and what you see is minimalistic couture on display.”

The collection showcased the designer duo’s aesthetic with their controlled cuts and structured ensembles. Both the menswear and women’s wear had a similar narrative in design, structure and drapes treating vintage charm with new age sensibilities. The clothes were layered, elegant and silhouette centric, a staple of the designers’ oeuvre.

Shantanu sums it up when he says that the show was up, close and personal and elaborates, “At fashion weeks, it is always a standard set with runways and 400 people in the audience. Here it’s very personal, it is more like interactive art meets fashion. The show is very theatre like in its feel with models posing like mannequins and installations.”

With the ballroom of Park Hyatt transformed into a gallery, the tables lit with candles and Hyderabad’s fashionistas for captive audience, it was a fashion gala unlike any other the city has seen in the past.

Redefining fashion

The initial years of 1950s marked a transition phase after World War II when women began asserting their choices without being rigid about fashion norms. Pencil skirts and ruffled blouses came in vogue during this time.Read more at:formal dress shops sydney | formal dresses canberra

French style on view at Benilde

 

(Photo:formal dresses perth)Because of the pervasive influence of French fashion, what the exhibit could reflect is also how our own needs and tastes change, as well as our view of French fashion, and how relevant it still is. As curated by Frederic Delhove, an interior designer and a former owner of a designer boutique, the exhibit features clothes of various vintages from several museums.

Practically household names Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gaultier, and John Galliano are all present in this party, while lesser-known names such as Anna and Tumoas Laitinen are here as well. “They represent French fashion by their savoir-faire,” said Mr. Delhove through an interpreter. “It’s also an exhibition on confrontation.” By confrontation, Mr. Delhove alludes to the unease experienced by, say, sailor pants and a Breton shirt by Gaultier, juxtaposed with a more elaborate creation reminiscent of Madonna’s cone-bra look. The dress has blue metallic tattoos on a flesh background, while still displaying the same flesh-toned cones.

In the same line, capes from different time periods are displayed together: a wool cloak, next to a plastic hoodie. The centerpiece of the show is a black tutu by Gaultier, covered with tiny metal discs, presented in a haute couture collection earlier in the decade. Watch out as well for a lovely Christmas coat with a feather boa, made by Lanvin in the 1950s.

While French fashion can seem awe-inspiring to others, to Mr. Delhove, it’s not such a big deal. “It’s not specific to France, it’s also true in Italy and other parts of the world,” he said. He added, “For people outside France, they still consider France as the center of fashion, but when you are in France, you know that fashion is also in London, in other parts of the world.”

That may be true, but French fashions have influenced the European world as early as in the medieval period. Anne Boleyn, for example, in Henry VIII’s Tudor court, stood out for her education in France: which included having a knowledge about French clothing. Countless historical figures have depended on France for fashion and luxury: not even the hardy Founding Fathers of the American Revolution, such as Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, who would send out fashion plates for people back home to copy.

At the same time, as fashion can be seen as a dialogue between consumer and creator, French fashion also takes heed of what the world needs and makes a product based on that. Coco Chanel made a killing dressing women like men, addressing the need for the modern woman’s search for identity, in a world where the men were decimated after the First World War. Yves Saint Laurent, in creating the Le Smoking (a vintage one is displayed in the CSB exhibit as well), also dressed the 1960s woman, who was racing for a career and a new purpose.

“At the same time that they were creating, they were also inventing,” Mr. Delhove.

When asked about what makes the French eye for trends different than, say, the watchers in London and Milan, Mr. Delhove redirected the question to what French fashion is for someone. With his statement that French designers created and invented at the same time, the Chanel 2.55 bag came into discussion. Now a stately shoulder and handbag combo, it had been revolutionary when it first came out in the 1950s. Mademoiselle Chanel (never married), wanted a bag that allowed her to use her hands freely during cocktail parties. So, using chains influenced by the belts of the nuns who raised her, she suspended the bag and let it hang from her shoulder. At the same time, the bag’s inside flap was supposed to be where she would hide her love letters, while the back pocket was used to hide loose bills. The padding was supposed to be either from jackets she admired, or (in a macabre version of the story), the padded leather seats of the car her great love was killed in.

“It was really an invention, but now it has become an iconic accessory.”

Mr. Delhove might not discuss the impact of French fashion on the world, but on one point he agrees. When asked why it was so important for French people to look good (a quick swipe through French street-style Instagram accounts should help), he said, “It’s a lifestyle: it’s just as important to eat well, as to dress well.”Read more at:cheap formal dresses

Top trends from New York Fashion Week

There’s always plenty of tips and trends to be discovered at New York Fashion Week.

Here are nine to keep an eye on.

1. MODELS GET REAL

While it’s true that many of the models on the catwalks are still painfully thin, young and Caucasian, New York designers have begun to lead the way in disproving the myth that any alternative to the status quo would be too tricky to pull off. J.Crew continued its “real” people concept for a second season, plucking friends and family aged from nine to 67 to showcase the collection. The result was joyous.

“We love it when people smile in their clothes,” said womenswear designer Somsack Sikhounmuong. “The message is, we make great clothes which you can wear no matter who you are.”

Elsewhere, Prabal Gurung enlisted plus-size models Candice Huffine and Marquita Pring, while Tome’s beautiful offering was modelled by women of all shapes and ethnicities. As Alexandra Shulman – an outspoken voice on the need for variety – steps down as editor at British Vogue, here’s hoping New York’s developing diversity is more than just a trend.

2. HOW TO POWER-DRESS NOW

I lost count of the number of times that Victoria Beckham used the word “strong” as she talked me through her collection, but she wasn’t the only one alluding to the need for an empowered attitude.

“It feels like it’s time to stand up a little straighter,” said Tibi designer Amy Smilovic. “We’ve got to get the f… out there and be strong.”

At both labels – and many more – that rallying cry came, somewhat ironically, in the form of sharp, unapologetically masculine tailoring. Alexander Wang and The Row were among those to show shoulders so wide that one wondered if we hadn’t been transported back to power dressing’s 80s heyday.

Beckham, however was pro-choice, offering either diaphanous skirts or wide-legged trousers with her blazers.

3. THE NEW PARK AVENUE PRINCESS LOOK

At Oscar de la Renta, incoming design duo Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia have a tall order on their hands, tasked as they are with serving up a modern spin on the classic American glamour which the house’s founder coined and refined until his death in 2014.

But the challenge was met, with the pair unveiling a dazzling, ultra-polished debut collection, ticking off all manner of social engagements pertinent to the de la Renta customer. Vividly colourful yet slick cocoon coats and knitwear great for lunchtime functions; cigarette trousers with artfully embellished tops will make delightful cocktail attire; while sequinned bandeau dresses with crinoline petticoats recalling Dior’s New Look, and black velvet column gowns dripping in crystals, will require a red carpet or grandiose ball to be shown off to their full advantage.

Park Avenue princesses and actresses in search of awards-season looks should rejoice – not to mention whoever is putting together Ivanka and Melania Trump’s America First wardrobes.

4. ALL COLOURS, WEIRD AND WONDERFUL

“You never see anyone wearing colour on the street,” observed Carolina Herrera, and yet many designers seemed to be on a mission to add zing to our wardrobes with their delectable yet unexpected palettes.

At Sies Marjan, Sander Lak justified his much-hyped rising stardom with a collection featuring champagne with inky teal, chocolate brown with cerulean blue, and Cadbury purple with peach. Rosetta Getty collaborated with Polish artist Alicja Kwade on a print that blended rich burgundy with mint; Proenza Schouler proposed bronze and scarlet; while Lacoste offered up terracotta with lilac.

Go forth and boldly embrace all colour combinations. And, no, navy and grey don’t count, sorry.

5. SHAKING OFF SIMPLICITY AT DVF

We all hold simplicity and minimalism in high regard, but there’s nothing to make us question that resolve quite like Jonathan Saunders’s eclectically high-octane new vision for Diane von Furstenberg. The Glaswegian designer’s second presentation for the label was joyfully playful while retaining the easy sophistication exhibited by DVF’s groundbreaking wrap dress in the 70s.

The mood of that decade had sparked Saunders’s ideas. “It was about taking the energy of how women expressed themselves then, but combining everything in a more modern way.” Cue bold, clashing prints with African and Japanese influences layered underneath opulent faux furs; louche, colourful blanket coats with capacious, braided-detail leather bags and sculptural, oversized jewellery piled on for good measure.

Saunders likened the effect to “a collage”.

6. CHECKING IN

One New York trend that you can probably opt into today, via a quick sift through your wardrobe, is checks in their many guises: tartan, houndstooth, Rupert the Bear, the list could go on, and on. Often, said checks were subtle and came in neutral shades, appearing on tailored pieces to achieve a corporate look, as at Calvin Klein.

There was a heritage feel at Self Portrait, Altuzarra, Jason Wu and J.Crew, where a photograph of Prince Phillip at Balmoral had inspired riffs on the kilt. At newcomer Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s show, held in a basement theatre at the Guggenheim, the most distinctive check of the week emerged in mustard, blue and candyfloss pink (never fear, it also came in black-and-white). The blazer and pleated skirt would both make worthy entries on your to-buy list for next autumn.

7. BELLE OF THE WEEK

Bella Hadid has been somewhat overshadowed by elder sister Gigi in the past, but it felt as though she was the girl creating the buzz and being cast as the de facto star attraction this week. It’s not simple stuff, this supermodel-making business, but the younger, more unconventional-looking Hadid is starting to edge ahead in appearances (10.6 million Instagram followers certainly help – although her sister has nearly 30 million, so she still has some way to go).

But her rising influence means that designers are just as keen to have her wearing their clothes in real life (as she’s snapped by street-style photographers between shows) as modelling on their catwalks; in fact, it’s often part of the deal.

How do those working with her nail her appeal? “Bella is everything I admire today,” said Zadig & Voltaire creative director Cecilia Bonstom, who chose Hadid for the label’s most recent campaign and to open its first ever New York show, which celebrated 20 years of the brand. “She has reached a point where you realise how focused and professional she is. She’s beautiful inside and outside.”

8. THE ALICE BAND STRIKES BACK

Brace yourselves, for as well as hailing the return of the power shoulder, NYFW has thrown up the possibility that another 80s essential – Alice bands – might be back on the agenda, too.

It was Joseph Altuzarra, fresh from binge-watching The Crown and studying Renaissance art at the Met, who gave the old styling tool a new dash of desirability. Each of the 53 models in his show wore some variation, whether studded with pearls or covered in a print to create a matchy-matchy effect with the rest of the outfit.

If you’re considering joining the revival, then tail the look with a pair of stompy boots as Altuzarra did, for a jolt of attitude to counterbalance the primness.

9. CALVIN’S COATS

The talk on the New York front rows has largely oscillated between who will fill all the big jobs currently vacant in the industry (Givenchy and Chloe are both without creative directors); the latest weather conditions (is it safe to ditch the snow boots tomorrow, the merits of Uniqlo Heattech, etc); and Raf Simons’s debut at Calvin Klein.

Since the latter occurred on Friday, there has been plenty of time for dissection, and while the consensus is that the cowboy boots he introduced will be the stars at retail, the coats must not be overlooked.Read more at:princess formal dresses | red formal dresses

When ‘Nude’ is Only Nude for Some People

Nude collection | Source: Christian Louboutin 

(Photo:long evening dresses)Nudity is en vogue these days. Shoppers are clamouring for nude swimsuits, nude lingerie, and nude designer clothes. It is a simple yet edgy look for those bold enough to suggest they are baring it all, and tolerant enough to endure the occasional double-take.

Yet for some, nude simply means beige. Or perhaps some lighter shade of tan. The problem with this particular colour label is that, more often than not, “nude” is only nude if you happen to be white.

As the style has become increasingly popular, this retail conundrum is gaining attention. Some are now challenging the industry norm, jettisoning the interchangeability of “nude” and “beige” and producing clothing that matches the flesh of everyone.

“Finally, the fashion and beauty industries are catching up,” said Katie May Atkinson, an analyst at trend forecasting firm WGSN, “but it’s been a long time coming.”

Why did it take so long? Pairing skin tone to clothes was a hot trend in the late 2000s, with couture designers walking light brown looks down runways, albeit on white models. Nude pumps gained a bigger following; so did nude nail polish. Then one night in 2010, Michelle Obama wore a strapless beige evening gown to a state dinner—a gown whose colour was described as “nude.” Not so much.

Fashion’s issues with colour are born of a longstanding, racially insensitive beauty standard, said Elizabeth Wissinger, a professor of fashion studies at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Wissinger, who has done extensive research on diversity within the industry, says fashion has begun to acknowledge alternative body types and complexions, but its attachment to narrow traditions suggests it will take a long time.

“Fashion claims to be nimble and responsive and on the cutting edge,” said Wissinger. But “there’s also such long cultural echoes of what’s deemed fashionable, so there’s this subconscious background of calling that colour ‘nude.’”

Crayons and Civil Rights

The concept of nude-as-a-colour was challenged a long time ago, just not in fashion. Crayola, the crayon maker (now owned by Hallmark Cards Inc.) once made a pinkish beige colour called “flesh.” The tone was renamed “peach” in the 1960s, when exclusionary references began to unwind in the face of the civil rights movement.

One definition of nude in the Oxford Dictionary remains “of a pinkish-beige colour,” though another states that nude is “denoting or relating to clothing or makeup that is of a colour resembling that of the wearer’s skin.” Until 2015, when a college student successfully petitioned Merriam-Webster, that dictionary defined nude as “having the colour of a white person’s skin.” This is the definition now in its place: Having a colour (as pale beige or tan) that matches the wearer’s skin tones: giving the appearance of nudity

The beauty industry, meanwhile, has been miles ahead of fashion in catering to women with darker skin. Women of colour have more choices than ever thanks to labels such as Bobbi Brown and MAC, providing an inclusive set of swatches for their customers. Bobbi Brown’s nude finishing illuminating powder, for instance, comes in six different sets, spanning “porcelain” to “rich.”

Yet on the catwalk, there has been little evidence of the nude rainbow. One notable exception is the label of performer Kanye West, whose inclusion of many tones on multi-ethnic models has created some buzz around the word’s budding redefinition. And yes, the Kardashian pack has played a role too, with the never-shy Kim in the lead role of nude hue pitch-woman. She’s worn looks from nude bikinis to nude blouses and skirts.

To be sure, there are some fashion brands that have joined in. Nubian Skin was the first, with a line of lingerie that is available in plenty of dark brown shades. BeingU, Nudest, and BrownBottims also sell underwear in lots of hues. A new UK shoe brand called Kahmune offers 10 separate shades of high heels to match skin tones. Nunude is a label that sells tracksuits and lounge wear with the hopes of redefining nude. And Christian Louboutin, maker of the iconic red-soled shoes, has expanded the colour range of his nude ballet flats and pumps.

“I’ve always done a nude shoe but only using the colour beige,” Louboutin, the designer, said at the time. But he decided to change things when one of his staffers told him flatly: “Beige is not the colour of my skin.”

Diversity and Logistics

Naja, a lingerie label that has since expanded into activewear and swimsuits, released a line of “nude for all” underwear in shades that span the spectrum of brown. Founded in 2014 by former lawyer Catalina Girald and Jane The Virgin actress Gina Rodriguez, Naja looked to upend lingerie stereotypes last year with its campaign for nude bras and panties, seeking to celebrate diversity with models of all skin tones–and, of course, matching nude lingerie.

“The fashion industry was primarily targeted at white people and nude was the colour of a white person’s skin when they were nude,” said Girald. “We needed to be inclusive and had to change that.”

Girald said one obstacle for the industry has been simple logistics. They order their clothes, underwear, or shoes from factories abroad that have high minimums, so if they want an item in many shades, they would have to make a big bet on inventory. Smaller brands just can not afford this, and larger brands often do not think it is worth the risk. For Naja, which runs its own factory in Colombia, this is not a problem however, she said.

Most labels name their nude tones (think “cafe au lait” or “cinnamon”) but Naja just names its nudes by number (“Nude #1,” “Nude 2”). Naja initially tested 23 colours on women, which it narrowed down to seven. It found that often it is the perception of colour that confuses shoppers. They expect to be a certain shade because of their ethnicity. During the testing process for example, an Ecuadorean woman could not find her colour match. Meanwhile, a Danish woman with a tan was also being tested, and found her shade: Nude #3. Turns out, they were not all that different.

“We tried the Danish girl’s colour on the Ecuadorian girl and they were the same colour,” said Girald. “They couldn’t even believe it themselves.”Read more at:marieaustralia

Ewan McGregor’s frank advice for his model daughter Clara

Ewan McGregor 

(Photo:formal dress shops sydney)Ewan McGregor was realistic with his oldest daughter Clara’s ambitions to become a model.

The Scottish actor has daughters Clara, Esther, Jamyan and Anouk, with wife Eve Mavrakis. Clara has already shown a flare for acting, and appeared to be following in her famous dad’s footsteps when she enrolled at New York University’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. But it seems modelling has become her new focus, after she was signed by Wilhelmina models in December (16).

“Yeah, (my parents) are always very realistic with me about the struggles that come with being in the public eye. They’re super supportive, but they’ve also warned me,” she opened up to W magazine

After starring in a campaign for fashion brand Fay alongside Bob Dylan’s grandson Levi Dylan, Clara can next be seen strutting her stuff at New York Fashion Week, which kicks off on Thursday (09Feb17). She’ll be walking for Baja East, the combined Oscar de la Renta and Monse show and Moncler.

“No!” she exclaimed when asked if she’d ever been to a Fashion Week before. “New York is going to be my first one. I’m really excited.”

She adds that it’s “early days” when it comes to her fashion career.

As for why she got into the industry, 20-year-old Clara explains it all stemmed from her love of photography.

“It started with my interest in photography, but then my interests shifted and I got more into acting. I’ve always wanted to expand what I was doing and I really love fashion; modelling just seemed like it went hand-in-hand with acting and photography,” she smiled.Read more at:formal dresses canberra

Nishka Lulla glams up her boho-vibe at Lakme Fashion Week

 

(Photo:sexy formal dresses)Nishka Lulla, daughter of National Award winning designer Neeta Lulla, has helped her mother in designing clothes for movie stars, and has also showcased her own work on the ramp.

Asked which is easier, designing for films or for the ramp, Lulla said, “I think none are easy. Both are challenging. when you design for the runway, every year you have to come out with a collection which is better than the previous one.”

Lulla, who has celebrity clients such as Sonam Kapoor, Katrina Kaif, Sonakshi Sinha, Genelia D’souza and Kiran Rao, says a designer constantly competes with herself while designing for the runway.

“You are constantly competing with yourself and what you have done before, to come up with something new, different and something that would create a fashion statement,” she said.

“When you design for movies, it is a challenge because you are designing for a particular character, which you have to relate to and there are many other things you have to look at — such as location, weather, budget and character. So, both are challenging in their own way,” she added.

Lulla showcased her latest line at the Lakme Fashion Week summer-resort 2017 on Saturday.

“This [collection] gives a glamorous touch to the boho-vibe. Earlier, I have done very easy-to-wear, casual styles. But this line has a more glamorous style to it,” she said.

The designer says her collection of 22 looks is inspired by nature and is meant for women who love their independence.

“It’s mostly inspired by nature, like butterfly wings and Indian mogra flowers… It’s mostly for women who are very free and who love their freedom,” she said.

“The cuts are very relaxed and easy for movement. They are fun, casual separates, which turn dressy with embellishments. Fabric used is mostly cotton, because I think it is great for summer.

“The colours are white, old greys, fern green… So it’s more of vintage colour pallette,” she added.

Lulla says the reach of current social media is helping people learn more about fashion and style, especially helping women to look beyond Bollywood for trends.

“With the rise of social media, I think a lot of the younger girls look at what actors wear off duty for fashion and style statements… Such as what an actress wears for a premiere, or airport looks. I think that is what inspires the girls more than movies,” she said.Read more at:backless formal dresses

A chat with Christian Louboutin, the designer who brings dreams and fantasy to life

Parisian shoe designer Christian Louboutin has some advice for us: slow down.

“I always design flat shoes and I love them, but high heels make a woman so much more conscious of her body,” he says.

In a fast-paced world with people always rushing, Louboutin says he likes things that make people slow down.

“If you walk in the street slowly, maybe someone will pick you up,” he laughs, with a twinkle in his eye. “That doesn’t happen if you are running around.”

The designer’s cheeky, relaxed attitude shines through. He often delights Hong Kong fans with chatty shoe signings and parties. Notably unpretentious, while most of the fashion elite are being chauffeured around in shiny black cars for fashion week, Louboutin can be seen zipping between Paris shows on his little moped.

At 54, he has turned his passion for sexy footwear into a global empire, encompassing not only men’s and women’s shoes, but bags, accessories and beauty, nail varnish and, most recently, perfume.

His concept of women’s beauty comes from rebelling against the naturalism so popular in 1970s France when he was growing up. And with those early stiletto heels that were just coming into vogue in the early ’90s, was able to tap into a new sense of fragility and power in feminine glamour. It’s with the same attitude that he’s created his beauty and perfume range.

“One of the most beautiful women for me is Nefertiti,” he says. He’s clad in deep red, the signature hue of his famous soles, and wearing two-colour lace-up brogues from his men’s line, which has found popularity in Asia.“If you look at busts of Nefertiti, she is gorgeous, she has this skin that’s not white, nor black. The eyes are huge, the eyebrows are well drawn. She’s so striking. It’s not a natural look. But I like that kind of beauty – that timelessness of this dramatic beauty over thousands of years.”

As a child growing up in the ’70s in France, when all the actresses and actors “were all grumpy”, that trend of being “super natural, with no make-up, flat shoes, dirty clothes and being quite grungy; when everything was associated with femininity was badly considered”, didn’t sit well with Louboutin.

“I never understood why femininity was associated with stupidity in France then. I never accepted that. It didn’t mean anything to me, this preconceived idea.”

It was female performers and musicians that really started to change the mould, he recalls: “First Blondie, then the likes of Tina Turner and Madonna, who showed that glamour could be empowering for women.”

“From what I remember, I’ve been designing shoes from the age of 12 or 13. It didn’t really occur to me as a job at the time, I was just always obsessed and sketching shoes, the reason is very simple,” he says.

The shoe obsession started after he visited a museum next to his parent’s Parisian apartment, with beautiful parquet flooring. On the wall there was a poster of a high-heeled shoe from the ’50s and it was crossed out in red, meaning that high heels were forbidden to protect the floor.“I was thinking what a stupid and strange high thin heel,” he adds, “this was in the ‘70s, so we didn’t really have shoes like that. All this went into my head and I started to sketch nervously.”

As his first passion was showgirls and cabaret – after being expelled from several schools (“typical teenager stuff, nothing too serious”), Louboutin ended up working in a cabaret when at just 17.

“I wanted to do something for showgirls and as I was sketching shoes all the time, I put the two together and this was my first job. I would come and have a different drawing for every single dancer … it was a very good way starting to understand shoes because of the movement.

“I always did everything by accident. I call it a happy accident. It’s difficult to decide for yourself what your life is going to be. If you are obsessed with what your life should be, I think it will be tough,” he says.

It was a humble start, with little pay, and the young designer soon sought out more formal training. He cold called the house of Christian Dior and audaciously asked to speak to “the general director”. In a story that is now part of fashion history, Dior’s director of haute couture picked up the phone and agreed to a meeting to view this unknown young man’s designs. She was impressed and arranged a training job for him at the Charles Jourdan factory outside Paris.In early 1992, Louboutin had started his own label in a shop next to a great gallery. Business was swift and easy, since passing foot traffic from the gallery included “fine arts and antique dealers and customers”.

That business flourished and turned into a global empire over more than two decades. His designs have been much coveted and referenced in films and songs; and today, he remains one of the most copied show designers in China. Cue multiple collaborations, celebrity fans, soaring sales and a bag range. Louboutin has made the most of his bold and sometimes outrageous aesthetic. Fetish, princess, tropical, tribal, studded all over, there are few references he hasn’t mined for both men and women.

Now, with stores all over the world, Louboutin doesn’t show any signs of slowing down.For all his commercial success, the organic path of Louboutin’s career is quite astounding. And almost impossible had he started off in today’s world of fashion.

Even the iconic red lacquered sole (a brand signature for which he fought against the Yves Saint Laurent house in US courts) came as another (almost) happy accident.

“In 1992 a part of my collection was inspired by pop art, Andy Warhol and all that. It was bright colours for the lining, the heel, etc. I wanted a shock of colours.”

“When the first prototype came, it looked good but not quite right. I was looking at the shoe, and I looked underneath at the sole and thought, that’s a lot of black on a shoe full of colour. My assistant Sara was painting her nails in the room at the time, and I grabbed the nail polish and I said I want to try something [and] began painting the sole. It looked perfect – like the essence of my sketch”. It was a simple move to colour the soles so brightly, but in footwear at the time, a revolutionary one. Today, the flash of a red sole on a pair of heels as a woman walks away is part of the fashion vocabulary.

That starting sketch, he explains, is so exciting: “It’s the key concept, a point of view.” He’s known for free-form drawings that play more to the imagination than the technical qualities of the shoe – for that he has meticulous technicians. Louboutin prefers to focus his creative energy on the fantasy.

If he sounds more dreamy and spontaneous than most designers, that’s not just French romanticism. He really is. Career decisions have been made largely though passion and intuition than scrupulous market research and business strategy.His men’s shoe range launched after he designed a line for the singer Mika to perform in. His 2016 Rio Olympics outfits for the Cuban team (co-designed with his friend, athlete Henri Tai) came from friendly visits to Cuba.

“Maybe it’s out of being very lazy,” Louboutin says, “but I think it’s much better to be carried by your life instead of trying to drive your life in a certain direction all the time. That’s very boring. If you let yourself go, you end up with a richer experience in the things you can’t predict.”Read more at:short formal dresses | long formal dresses