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Fashion

Fashion, News, Runway Review

#NYFW Fall ’16: Public School Resists Fashion’s Gender Gazing Problem

February 14, 2016

Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne of Public School have a lot on there plate these days. In addition to designing for the label they have successfully built into a must-see, award winning fashion and style brand, the two also now occupy the helm of the legendary DKNY. In a time when many are lamenting the death of creativity in fashion as a result of designer’s being tasked with too much to do, these two clearly still have steam as we saw in their recent Fall 2016 Menswear collection that slayed the runway, and now their Fall 2016 ready-to-wear collection for NYFW.

What I love about Public School is that, even when fashion sticks to basic notions of gender identity and expression in terms of clothes, and the fashion house does play by those old rules in terms of having a separate menswear and womenswear show (which, to be fair, is actually somewhat recent for their company), the fashion house and the clothes they produce do emerge from an aesthetic that is agender. The payoff of this, besides the obvious gender radicalness of it all, is that they can play with color and texture in their garments, but above all with silhouette’s as the form and function of their designs don’t appear to constrain on the basis of rigid rules of gender identity and expression we find in most mainstream fashion houses and others operating at the top levels as Public School. For this show we see large ponchos, oversized trousers and jeans, and layers that work to conceal rather than convey particular attention to any of the markers much of fashion draws the eye to in an effort to distinguish those features that denote men’s clothes and women’s clothes and rigid notions of what femininity and masculinity are and could be in and through fashion and style. In sum, I appreciate the cerebral nature of what Public School does each season and this collection keeps that going.

Here are some of my favorites from the Fall 2016 ready-to-wear line:

 

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-edp

Fashion, News, Runway Review

#NYFW: Christian Siriano Made us a Believer in Yellow.

February 14, 2016

I’ve said it before, and I’ve said it again. Christian Siriano is one of the best in the evening wear game. The risks he takes with fabrics for evening, his use of color, his imagination that what one could wear for evening could be something more than just a gown but something more edgy and fun are among his strengths and what make his collections one to watch for me.

For Fall 2016, I am most transformed by his use of yellow. Yellow has never been a color I love, but in both his Spring 2016 collection and this latest Fall show, Siriano used yellow in ways that have made be a believer in this “Big Bird” couture. And I mean that in a REALLY< REALLY good way. The yellow wasn’t all the same, some verged on a more pale side, others vibrant, and at least one leaned very chartreuse. All of them, in my eyes, were by far my favorites from the collection and are among my favorite for NYFW so far, and I don’t know what to make of that as yellow usually calls up my shade button. Here are my favorites from among them:

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I also enjoyed what Siriano did with so much knitwear for evening, and some that could also work for day. In addition to the yellow knit pieces above, there was other that really caught my eye:

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Staying true to his strength and signature, Christian Siriano’s gave us so many dresses that gave so much life. Among my favorites and most “RCR” (red carpet ready) were these:

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Fashion, News, Runway Review

#NYFW Fall ’16: Alexander Wang Redefines “Beauty and Taste”

February 14, 2016

The only thing that says f*** the fashion establishment better than sex worker chic, is sex worker chic done through fabrics, separates, and styling that are the status symbols of said establishment. This was the Fall 2016 show of Alexander Wang, unarguably himself part of the fashion establishment, after a meteoric rise from his eponymous label to the head of legendary French house Balenciaga, and back. And so it was fitting that in his first show since leaving his Parisian perch, that Wang would give a collection that remixes those establishment symbols with his own signatures – especially that hardware – to make a clear statement that there was life before and after Balenciaga for him, and that fashion and style has a life that is bigger than the establishment and its symbols.

With this intention, Wang’s collection outfits a couture street fight in which the models looks prepare them for battle with the establishment: studded boots to kick its ass, stockings already ruined with labels emblazoned on them so one doesn’t have to worry about the running while they “fight the power.” Wang did struck me as the kind of thing Hedi Slimane has attempted to do at Yves Saint Laurent since he took over that house, much to the chagrin of many fashion critics, though the YSL customer seems to love it as Slimane’s work brings in lots of coins. Somehow, however, Wang’s approach went down a bit easier than Slimane’s grunge girls and Hollywood pilgrim looks at Saint Laurent. Maybe this supports the overall takeaway from Wang’s Fall 2016 collection: the taste and beauty standards of the industry that the establishment desires is no sustenance for the 21st century fashionista who insists on being and dressing free.

Here are three of my favorite looks from Alexander Wang Fall 2016:

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-edp

Glamourtunist

#NYFW Fall ’16: Cushnie et Ochs

February 13, 2016

by Dominique M. Davis

After seeing the Carly Cushnie and Michelle Ochs’s pre fall 2016 collection I was ready to be wowed by a ready-to-wear line inspired by culture of a reinvented sari, instead I was given couture cocktail, vibrant vixen, and sultry slayed from the fall 2016 collection. They went in a totally different direction, and it too wowed me just like their pre-Fall.

Lace, silk, fur and a fabric I could not quite discern gave the collection a cohesive after five, cocktail glam aesthetic. Traditional colors of elegance turned basic black, silver, ivory, red and gold into a collection of Avant-garde yet regal pieces into a cohesive line of grace and style.

Here are a few of my favorite looks for the Fall 2016 collection:

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Fashion, News, Runway Review

#NYFW16: Tadashi Shoji

February 13, 2016

by Dominique M. Davis

Ready-to-wear inspired by glorious tribal aesthetics, need I say more? Tadashi Shoji’s collection for Fall used triangular and geometric shapes to give way to the silhouette. The use of triangles throughout the collection added an intricate detail to each piece whether it was a part of the design pattern, placed strategically at the waistline to cinch the waist and added the appearance of an hourglass figure and/or used to accentuate the neckline; the use of shapes in this collection was well hewn. A scalloped neck and hemline with floral lace patterns added a creative and whimsical dimension to the structured and controlled design of the geometric clad collection.

Basic colors of ivory, black, pale gold, copper and violet with the use of velvet, lace, chiffon and embroidered sheer fabric brought tribal beautification to 21st century couture. Tadashi definitely slayed this collection and had the models giving me Vogue. Madonna was playing in my mind every time another garment graced the platform.

Here are my favorite pieces:

 

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Fashion, News, Runway Review

#NYFW16: KLS by Kimora Lee Simmons

February 13, 2016

It’s New York Fashion Week, folks. One of our early faves has been the latest collection from entrepreneur, model, and fashion designer, Kimora Lee Simmons. I am OBSESSED with this LBD (Little Black Dress) from the collection. I like it for work AND play. You can leave the office and go right to happy hour in this one.

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And if and LBD is a little to simple for your taste, this frock gives the same effortless chic of an LBD but does so with a color that goes both conservative but still fun, and of course the shoulder cutouts!

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I also like the cut of suit jackets and pants by Kimora Lee Simmons. This one gave me a modern Yves Saint Laurent “Le Smoking” moment …

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And then there was her elegant outwear. It looks gorgeous!

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– edp

Fashion, News, Runway Review

Givenchy: Couture, Spring 2016

January 29, 2016

Riccardo Tisci has never truly disappointed me, but I do have my gripes about the latest haute couture presentation for the legendary fashion house. The first is that it is so few looks, and the second is that the connecting threads were so bare that it was difficult to discern the complete story. I understand that the way couture functions here is as a gesture of things we will likely see come full bloom in the upcoming ready-to-wear shows, but I still wanted just a bit more. That said, the garments are all beautiful and expertly crafted, as always. Here are the three that most slayed, and had me hollerin’ “Yaaaassss! WERRRRRK!”:

 

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– edp

Fashion, News, Runway Review

Yiqing Yin: Couture, Spring 2016

January 29, 2016

Chinese designer Yiqing Yin, a favorite among the haute couture set, presented her first collection as a full member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, this season. And the collection certainly showed us why. I can see each of the following three looks being worn on the red carpet. They certain should inspire a truly stylish celeb to venture away from the usual red carpet fare, and go with a name we don’t here often enough during awards season:

 

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-edp

Fashion, News, Runway Review

Ronald van der Kemp: Couture, Spring 2016

January 29, 2016

The look book of Amsterdam-based designer Ronald van der Kemp has been among my favorite presentations thus far during Spring 2016 haute couture week. Here are three of my faves from a spectacular collection.

The strength of this presentation was especially in the superb styling of many of the looks, like this sleek and sophisticated jumper:

 

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The placement of the gold buttons on this skirt are perfect. I live!

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The picture below is of the back of a gown. The front was fantastic, but the back of it was absolutely ravishing!

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-edp

Fashion, History, News

Global Inspiration: Art, Fashion, and Spirituality (‘Fashion Conscious’: A Column)

January 21, 2016

by Dominique Michelle Davis (photo credit: Dominique Michelle Davis)

Over the holiday I had the opportunity to visit the Art Institute of Chicago Museum to view the Gates of the Lord: The Tradition of Krishna Paintings exhibit. The exhibit featured over 100 artworks from private and public collections in India and the United States. Unknown to me, this is the first major U.S. exhibition to showcase the unique visual culture of the Pushtimarg, a Hindu denomination from Western India. Founded in the 16th century by the saint and philosopher Shri Vallabhacharya (1479–1531), the Pushtimarg is a religious community dedicated to the devotion of Shrinathji, a divine image of the Hindu god Krishna as a seven-year-old child. What most captured my attention as I viewed the collection were the vibrant and rich colors of the mediums and textiles. The religious and artistic center of the sect is based in the temple town of Nathdwara (literally, “The Gates of the Lord”), near Udaipur in the state of Rajasthan, India. The paintings and pichvais (peach way).

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Within the past three years I’ve been drawn to spiritual teachings of Hinduism and Buddhism in search of meaning. This was an opportunity for me to explore and understand a part of Hinduism and learn more about what draws me to the teachings of Krishna. As I walked through the exhibition, literally going through the seasons within a Nathdwara year, I noticed the opulence of the pichvais (textile hangings, and miniature paintings). Gold, sequence, vibrant colors and detail of hand stitching captured my attention.

I was able to experience a story told through fabric, which brought me back to my original premise in a previous ‘Fashion Conscious’ column on Glamourtunist.com titled ‘Can Fashion Heal?’, of textile therapy as a therapeutic process for healing. Gates of the Lord comprises drawings, pichvais, paintings, and historic photographs borrowed from two major private collections in India, the TAPI Collection of Praful and Shilpa Shah (Surat, India) and the Amit Ambalal Collection (Ahmedabad, India). The textiles used to depict the Hindu god Krishna were not meant to be worn, they serve as a visual representation to be mindful of the teachings of Krishna and represent a depicted story of Krishna’s life. The elaborate detail that artisans use to construct the paintings and pichvais are time consuming because of the elaborate attention to detail that is needed to construct the pichvais.

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I wish I had the opportunity to interview one of the artists, but what I learned without such an opportunity was that the artistic practice in the Narthdwara community has been in existence for centuries. Currently, Parmanand Sharma, is the head artist called the mukhiya who works in traditional style of Narthdwara painting. Most artist in the Narthdwara community maintain a state of anonymity, however one artist within the community used his art to mass-produce paintings. Ghasiram Hardev Sharma was a mukhiya and also head of photography for the Shrinathji temple was a contemporary artist who has had great influence within the Narthdwara community.

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You never know how the muse will lead you in life, and where. This visit to view the Gates of Lord exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago has also inspired me to incorporate global awareness of artistic expression as a healing and therapeutic practice into my work. I was initially led to Buddhism and Hinduism following a chance discussion after attending the Puerto Rican Festival in the summer of 2012 with a close family friend. While there we came across a street vender selling various knickknacks. What caught my eye was a double-sided pendant. Each side of the medallion had different pictorials, one red and green, the other blue and red. Before purchasing the piece, I asked the merchant what it meant and she had no idea. I wore the necklace to work and was approached by a co-worker who immediately called out I was wearing the Om. I did some research and found that the other side was a depiction of Krishna, which led me to do further research about the culture of Buddhism and Hinduism.

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What initially attracted me to a religion of beauty were the visual aesthetics, the design, colors and gold. What may have been a superficial introduction has led me to find a deeper meaning for purpose. The power of beauty is real, and as superficial as that might sound, can have a much deeper purpose if you allow yourself to search for meaning in beauty. Inspiration can be found in all cultures and communities. This anecdotal story is just an example of how cultures may intersect, knowing or unknowingly, to provide a deeper understanding of life for the girl who just wanted a pretty pendant.