Tag Archives: Fashion Week

Barbie’s on the Runway!

barbie

New York Fashion Week is no stranger to divas. Yet on Saturday afternoon, it played host to the biggest diva of all. Or at least the most plastic. Barbie, that icon of young girls everywhere, celebrated her 50th birthday in suitably glamorous style. Forget Marc Jacobs and Zac Posen — this was the show to see!  There were at least 1,000 breathless fans crowded into the tents at Bryant Park waiting to see the styles of the notorious Barbie.barbie-anniversaryThe runway show squeezed in a 50-designer runway tribute to Barbie’s varying looks over the decades. Most of the big names in American fashion were represented here — Vera Wang, Michael Kors, Calvin Klein Collection, Donna Karan — and lesser-known designers got into the act, too, including standouts from Peter Som, Nanette Lepore and Yeohlee.


Heidi KlumAssociated PressDesigner Naeem Khan understands that Barbie — and the girls who love her — adore sparkles so the model’s makeup consisted of sequence and sparkles. These slender, real-life runway models didn’t exactly share Barbie’s infamous proportions, but through the magic of hair and makeup, most of them channeled Barbie’s updos over the years, from her bouffants of the ’50s, the swinging ponytails of the 70s, and best of all, the big hair of the ’80s. A few of my personal favorite outfits will be put up here this afternoon.

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Chloé Spring 2009 Runway

Chloé’s spring 2009 Ready to Wear show was out of this world! The garment’s scallop-edge coats, rounded-shoulder blouses, and high-waisted flared shorts, interspersed with ruffle-necklined dresses and jumpsuits with an eighties kind of gathered swell in the thigh region, certainly had an air of summery freshness about them. The contrasts of chartreuse, beige, cream, bluebell, green, and a particular apricot (the exact shade that appears on Chloé packaging) were rinsed of any print and shorn of the embroidery that is a usual feature of the chic brand.

 Here are a few of my favorites:ChloeChloeChloeChloeChloe

 

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A Little Bit About…Coco Chanel

Among the key designers who made a bold and lasting impression on women’s fashion in the 20th century, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel deserves special recognition.Coco Chanel Born in Saumur, in the Loire Valley of France, Chanel survived an impoverished childhood and strict convent education. The difficulties of her early life inspired her to pursue a very different lifestyle, first on the stage, where she acquired the nickname “Coco,” and then as a milliner.With the help of one of the male admirers who would provide key financial assistance and social connections over the course of her career, Chanel opened her first shop in Paris in 1913, followed by another in the resort town of Deauville. Selling hats and a limited line of garments, Chanel’s shops developed dedicated customers who quickly made her practical sportswear a great success. Much of Chanel’s clothing was made of jersey (which is a tough medium to start out with in the sewing world), a choice of fabric both unusual and inspired. Until the designer began to work with it, jersey was more commonly used for men’s underwear. With her financial situation precarious in the early years of her design career, Chanel purchased jersey primarily for its low cost. The qualities of the fabric, however, ensured that the designer would continue to use it long after her business became profitable. The fabric draped well and suited Chanel’s designs, which were simple, practical, and often inspired by men’s wear, especially the uniforms prevalent when World War I broke out in 1914.

Chanel TightsChanel’s uncluttered styles, with their boxy lines and shortened skirts, allowed women to leave their corsets behind and freed them for the practical activities made necessary by the war. Elements of these early designs became the trademark of the Chanel look. Chanel took great pride as a woman in designing for other women, and by 1919, at the age of thirty-two, she enjoyed huge success, with clients around the world. Soon after, she relocated her couture house in Paris to 31 Rue Cambon, which remains the center of operations for the House of Chanel today.

Following Chanel’s death in 1971, several of her assistants designed the couture and ready-to-wear lines until Karl Lagerfeld took over the haute couture design in 1983 and ready-to-wear in 1984. Lagerfeld, like Chanel at the time of her comeback, looked to past designs for the secret to his success. His designs incorporated signature Chanel details, tweed fabrics, colors, gold chains, quilt-stitched leather, and the famous linked “CC” logo. In later collections, Lagerfeld became more irreverent, deconstructing some of the ladylike polish of Chanel’s 1960s looks. Playing with the fact that Chanel’s favorite jersey fabric had been used for men’s underwear at the turn of the twentieth century, Lagerfeld even incorporated men’s T-shirts and briefs into his designs.Nonetheless, Lagerfeld’s ability to continuously mine the Chanel archive for inspiration testifies to the importance of Gabrielle Chanel’s contributions to women’s fashion in the twentieth century. Still today Chanel is up and running with the most timeless garments yet.

Chanel Show

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Dior’s Couture Fashion

Here are a few beautifully designed outfits by Christian Dior from fashion week. Keep in mind that these outfits are called haute couture and are usually not worn as everyday clothes (like many runway outfits).DiorDiorDiorDior

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Fashion Illustration

fashion illustrations

Fashion Illustration is a medium in which creative expression can be given free rein and designers can explore ideas before the realities of budgets, fabrics, or physics intervene.  Fashion designers’ sketches reveal inspiration as well as color and style. When learning to transfer ideas onto paper, designers are taught to find their own style. Each designer should have theier own unique design that sets their designs, or even their drawings, apart from any other designer. Nothing captures a fashion moment or mood quite like a designer’s first drawing for a dress.

Here are a few pictures of distinct fashion illustrations. (I couldn’t find many specific designer sketches.)Sketch by Tracy Reese

 

IllustrationOld Illustration

Illustrations

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What is Haute Couture?

Japan Theme)The term “haute couture” is French. Haute means “high” or “elegant”. Couture literally means “sewing”, but has come to indicate the business of designing, creating, and selling custom-made, high fashion women’s clothes. Made from scratch for each customer, haute couture clothing typically requires three fittings. It usually takes from 100 to 400 hours to make one dress, costing from $26,000 to over $100,000. A tailored suit starts at $16,000, an evening gown at $60,000.

During fashion’s “golden age,” after World War II, some 15,000 women wore couture. Socialites such as the Duchess of Windsor would order whole collections at a time. Despite the small market, designers maintain haute couture operations partly because the prestige helps sell other products, such as perfume, cosmetics, and their ready-to-wear lines available in stores.

Today only 2,000 women in the world buy couture clothes; 60% are American. Only 200 are regular customers. Often, designers will loan clothes to movie stars or other public figures for publicity. ValentinoValentino

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Two of the Busiest Weeks of the Year

Fashion week!Fashion week is a fashion industry event, lasting about one week, which allows fashion designers or “houses” to display their latest collections in runway shows and buyers to take a look at the latest trends.  The Fashion Week fall shows are held the preceding winter (February). The spring shows are held the preceding late summer (September). The most recent show was in September 2008 for Spring 2009 Fashion Week.  Fashion shows are attended by journalists, editors, buyers, celebrities and social types. The Fashion Week shows are invitation-only and each fashion designer is responsible for the guest list.

Most importantly, fashion week lets the industry-and fashion lovers-know what’s “in” and what’s “out” for the season. The most prominent fashion weeks are held in the fashion capitals like Milan, Paris, London, and, of course, New York City. It is an excellent opportunity for American (and a few international) designers — ranging from Oscar de la Renta to Zac Posen — to show off their upcoming collections. The fashion shows are often entertaining, accompanied by loud, mood-setting music and changing lighting. The press writes about and photographs the runway collections for newspapers, magazines, internet and television so the general public can see what is going on in fashion. In the early and mid 2000s, fashion weeks sprang up around the globe to draw attention to designers elsewhere.Paris Fashion Week; Dior

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