Fashion Reverie Brand Spotlight: Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

In a retail environment that is incredibly unstable and peripatetic, one ponders why anyone would enter a fashion terrain littered with some many landmines. (Just consider the list of young brands—Nasty Gal, Reed Krakoff, Pac Sun, and American Apparel—which had market value that have already disappeared or will soon exit the market.)

Taking all the naysayers and discouraging data into consideration, Michelle Helene heartily takes up the challenge and after six collections is still going strong, constantly evolving her design aesthetic. Intuitively understanding that mass consumption is not her market, Michelle Helene has positioned her brand to appeal to that consumer that wants very unique product.

By creating garments that employ artisanal techniques, Michelle Helene is setting her brand apart from a lot of new fashion brands on the market. Fashion Reverie was very fortunate to secure an interview with Michelle Helene after being blown away by her fall 2017 collection. 

Michelle Helene

Michelle Helene

Fashion Reverie: How did you come with the name of the company and how long has Michelle Helene been on the market?

Michelle Helene: The company name is my first and middle name. And this is my sixth season over a total of four years.

FR: How did you come to work in the fashion industry?

Michelle Helene: I studied fashion at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.  After college I went into the contemporary market. I started Michelle Helene about eight years after graduation.

Michelle Helene spring 2017 images courtesy of fashion360.com

Michelle Helene spring 2017 images courtesy of fashion360.com

FR: In your collections you tend to use a lot of artisanal techniques and craftsmanship, appealing more to a customer that is not interested in mass-market apparel, why that direction?

Michelle Helene: I always wanted to create garments that reflected knitting techniques I learned while at the Academy of the Art University. So, it was kind of weird when my brother moved to New Mexico and starting getting into knitting techniques. I remember when I moved from Los Angeles to NYC, I took some time off to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, so I traveled to Asia and I honed my craftsmanship skills.

I talked to my brother and we decided that we really wanted to start something that would express my craftsmanship. I wanted to produce something that was special and not necessarily mass produced. And that was how my fashion band, Michelle Helene was birthed.

FR: You use a lot of hand knitted details in your garments, can consumers expect that design aesthetic in all your collections?

Michelle Helene: You can expect knit and hand woven details in all my collections, particularly fall/winter collections. It is trickier to use knitting, hand weaving and crocheting details in spring/summer because the fabrications are so light. Those hand woven details are a critical signature of this collection that consumers will always find in fall/winter garments combined with fabrications I am now sourcing in Japan and Italy.

FR: There are a lot of cultural influences in all your collections and they are all cohesive, never looking out of place, which is a hard thing to do.  Why bring in all these influences when it would be easier to keep it simple?

Michelle Helene: My first collection was neutral tones, either black and white. The reason I did that is because I felt that if I could design a collection in one color and keep consumers excited because each garment had something different or a small detail that set it apart, I was really accomplishing something.

My inspirations don’t just come from one thing. I stand firmly behind that idea because my design concepts each season keep evolving.  For instance, one season I was at this tropical location and I was very happy. So, I decided to create a collection inspired by the tropics using a bold color palette. The initial inspiration kept evolving during the design process. I was also traveling a lot at the time between NYC and LA, so some West Coast Baja motifs crept in. And some other happy references entered into the picture. I think I would get bored if I only used one reference point. You have to keep evolving.

Michelle Helene fall 2016 images courtesy of fashiontrendsetters.com

Michelle Helene fall 2016 images courtesy of fashiontrendsetters.com

FR: Your collections go beyond current trends, why that direction and how does that pan out for your consumer?

Michelle Helene: I have always wanted to stand apart from other designers. And it is very important to me that my garments are timeless. I know that I am not reinventing the wheel, but I do attempt to create garments that will be in someone’s wardrobe five years from now or more. I also want to appeal to a wide demographic in terms of style, age, size, and price points.

My collections always start with color and from there we start dyeing the fabric. I don’t always try to look at the trends that are in market, I just create collections based on what I am feeling and seeing.

FR: What is your design aesthetic?

Michelle Helene: My aesthetic is hard to define because it is constantly evolving.

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

FR: Well, if your design aesthetic is constantly evolving, then who is your consumer?

Michelle Helene: My consumer varies. The person who invests in garments from my collection are buying clothes that are really unique because there is so much work that goes into each garment, particularly our handcrafted pieces. They usually want to wear something that tells a story. They are usually not following trends and are more interested in pieces that express their personality.

FR: Where can consumers purchase your clothes?

Michelle Helene: They can shop my garments online at the brand website, and I also do custom orders by inquiring within my website. I have been approaching a certain kind of consumer and often those consumers are met doing my travels.  With retail having such a tough time, I am coming up with new ways of selling my clothes.

FR: How do feel about the business model “See Now, Buy Now,” and how does that business model affect your company?

Michelle Helene: “See Now, Buy Now” doesn’t really fit my company at this time. Because of the dyeing and craftsmanship that goes into many of my garments, it could take up to two weeks to create one garment. “See Now, Buy Now” works better for collections that are available for mass consumption; that is not my brand.

Because “See Now, Buy Now” is more relative to mass-consumed products and fashion collections created for mass consumption, the clothes are made mostly in countries with unregulated, cheap labor and unknown working conditions. Consumers should be aware of that. That said; I have been thinking about the business model “See Now, Buy Now,” but in a different format than currently exists.

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

FR: What’s next for Michelle Helene?

Michelle Helene: My goals are to continue doing what I am doing and honing in on the processes of dyeing, weaving, crocheting and all the craftsmanship that is used in my collection, as well as mixing that process more with other fabrications. Hopefully, we would like to be doing all those craftsmanship tools ourselves. And working in a more environmentally friendly and sustainable way.

—William S. Gooch

 

Wednesday Sample Sales: Week of March 20, 2017

Fashion Reverie seeks to keep its loyal readers informed of great samples sales. Just remember, product disappears quickly, so it is important to get there early. Also, some sample sales won’t let you try on garments, so know your size. Happy Shopping!!

Heike_Sample_Sale_01

Image courtesy of HEIKE

BRAND: HEIKE Sample Sale

WHEN:  03/20–03/24 Mon.–Fri. (Doors open at 9am)

WHY:  Coats starting at $190. SPECIAL OFFER: BUY ONE, GET 50% ON DRESSES AND 30% ON COATS.

WHERE  307 West 38th Street, Suite 811

 

Image courtesy of thestylishcity.com

Image courtesy of thestylishcity.com

BRAND: Balsa Pop and Sample Sale

WHEN: 03/22–03/25; Wed.–Fri/ (1am–7pm), Saturday (12noon–5pm)

WHY:  Ready-to-wear at a discount

WHERE:   307 West 36th Street, 14th floor

 

Image courtesy of wwd.com

Image courtesy of wwd.com

BRAND:  Creatures of Comfort Sample Sale

WHEN:  03/23–03/26; Thurs.–Sat. (11am–7pm), Sunday (12 noon–6pm)

WHY: Up to 90% off women’s clothing and accessories. Includes merchandise from Creatures of Comfort, Acne Studios, Bless, A Detacher, LD Tuttle, Y’s by Yohji Yamamoto, Baserange, and more.

WHERE 127 Grand Street

 

Image courtesy of highfashionmagazine.com

Image courtesy of highfashionmagazine.com

BRAND: Reformation Sample Sale

WHEN:  03/23–03/26; Thurs.–Sun. (10am–7pm)

WHY:  Some of our favorite styles will be up to 80% off

WHERE 39 Bond Street

—Staff

 

 

 

Fashion News Alert: Bebe Shutters Brick and Mortars, Ivanka Trump’s Lawsuit, Ryan Seacrest Expands Fashion Line, Khloe Kardashian Launches Brand in UK, and Uniqlo’s ‘Beauty and the Beast’ Collection

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

It seems there is nothing but bad news for the Trump clan. Ivanka Trump is facing a class-action lawsuit from California-based Modern Appealing Clothing.

Modern Appealing Clothing claims that Ivanka’s clothing and accessories brands have an undue advantage related to the brands’ association with Donald Trump, the President of the US. Modern Appealing Clothing is seeking damages for unfair competitive edge dating back to November 9 when Trump won the presidential election.

Though Ivanka is no longer involved in her clothing brand due to a conflict of interest sales have skyrocketed since January 2017 of over 346%.

Image courtesy of mytotalretail.com

Image courtesy of mytotalretail.com

Bebe bye bye?

Another bites the dust!! Since the beginning of 2017 Wet Seal, The Limited, Bibhu Mohapatra, BCBG, and Gordmans have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Add retail store brand Bebe to the list.

In response to low retail sales and to concentrate on its online audience, Bebe has announced that is it closing all of its brick and mortar stores. If landlords are unwilling to negotiate current leases, Bebe will file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

In February Bebe announced that it would focus its efforts on denim and leggings to meet the need for casual apparel. Bluestar Alliance, which is a partner company of Catherine Malandrino, Michael Bastian, and Nanette Lepore recently purchased a 50% investor stake in Bebe.

Image courtesy of fashiongonerogue.com

Image courtesy of fashiongonerogue.com

Uniqlo and Beauty

In just one week Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” has grossed over $750 million. And a lot of brands are jumping on the “Beauty and the Beast” wagon. Add Uniqlo to the list!!

Just in time for spring 2017, Uniqlo has launched a capsule collection that includes tee shirts, a tunic dress, a blouse and a long shirt with some of the items decorated with characters from “Beauty and the Beast.” The collection is currently in Uniqlo stores and its e-shop.

Image courtesy of macyassets.com

Image courtesy of macyassets.com

Ryan Seacrest is growing his successful ‘Distinctions” collection, offering a sportswear/life wear collection.  Seacrest test-drove this expansion by offering a Rio-inspired sportswear collection during the recent Rio Olympics.

This new Distinctions sportwear/life wear collection is the brainchild of Distinctions creative director Mateo Gottardi.  According to fashionnetwork.com, Gottardi contends that this new extension to the Distinctions collection will offer male consumers “more freedom and flexibility in their dressing because that’s where our culture is today. Everything needs to go together effortlessly.”

Image courtesy of goodamerican.com

Image courtesy of goodamerican.com

Khloe moves across the Big Pond

Khloe Kardashian expands to the UK. Well, her fashion line, Good American, is!!

Good American, co-founded by Khloe Kardashian, has launched in British iconic retailer, Seflridges in an exclusive partnership. Good American is a casual lifestyle brand that expands to plus-size. Sizes range from 00 to 24.

Khloe Kardashian launched with her business partner Emma Grede based on a conversation that today’s women need “more freedom and flexibility in their dressing because that’s where our culture is today. Everything needs to go together effortlessly.” Good American launched denim items in January and is available in select Nordstroms and online at goodamerican.com.

—William S. Gooch

Celebrity Fashion Sightings: Week of March 13, 2017

This week’s Celebrity Fashion Sightings takes us from Hollywood Reporters’ Power Stylists Dinner to UCLA’s Innovators For A Healthy Planet celebration to the “Late, Late Show with James Corden.”

Images courtesy of Preface PR

Images courtesy of Preface PR

Speaking of the “Late, Late Show with James Corden,” “Powerless’” Vanessa Hudgens wore a Raisa & Vanessa fall 2016 jumpsuit. Hudgens completes this look with Cesare Paciotti black peep-toe platform heels.

Images courtesy of Preface PR

Images courtesy of Preface PR

“Riverdale’s” Madelaine Petsch wore a Caterina Gatta floral-printed dress to UCLA’s Innovators For A Healthy Planet. Now who wore it best, Madelaine or the model? You decide.

Image courtesy of gotcelebs.com

Image courtesy of gotcelebs.com

Grudge Match’s” Ireland Baldwin demonstrates that she is just as provocative as her parents, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger. Ireland wore STYLAND shorts to the Power Stylists Dinner, hosted by the Hollywood Reporter in West Hollywood.

Images courtesy of D'Orazio and Associates

Images courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates

“Slumdog Millionaire’s” Freida Pinto wore seafoam blue Amanda Wakeley dress with Le Vian diamond earrings and rings and a Narcisa Pheres diamond choker, at UCLA’s Innovators For A Healthy Planet celebration.

Image courtesy of Manfolk PR

Image courtesy of Manfolk PR

“The Bella and the Bulldog’s” Lilimar Hernandez was chic and stylish in the front row of Thomas Wylde’s LA’s Style Fashion Week debut. Lilimar rocked in a Clarisse suit by Mimi Tran Design.

—Staff

Wednesday Sample Sales: Week of March 13, 2017

Fashion Reverie seeks to keep its loyal readers informed of great samples sales. Just remember, product disappears quickly, so it is important to get there early. Also, some sample sales won’t let you try on garments, so know your size. Happy Shopping!!

Jill Sander Navy spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

Jill Sander Navy spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

BRAND: Jil Sander Navy Sample Sale

WHEN: 03/14–03/19; Tues.-Thurs. (10am–8pm), Fri.–Sat. (10am–7pm), Sun (10pm–5pm)

WHY:  Women’s clothing at a discount

WHERE:   150 Greene Street

 

Image courtesy of 1atelier.com

Image courtesy of 1atelier.com

BRAND:  1 Atelier Sample Sale

WHEN:  03/16–03/17; Thurs.–Fri. (1am–6pm)

WHY: Luxury handbags up to 60% off retail prices

WHERE 347 West 36th Street, 1502

 

Image courtesy of nawo.com

Image courtesy of nawo.com

BRAND: Reese + Riley Sample and Stock Sale

WHEN:  03/16–03/17; Thurs.–Fri. (10am–4pm)

WHY:  Up to 75% off women’s wear at the Reese + Riley Sample & Stock Sale

WHERE:  330 West 38th Street, Suite #608

—Staff

Tadashi Shoji’s Eau de Rose

Tadashi_Shoji_Eau-de_Rose_03Well, it’s about time. After more than 30 years in the fashion industry, iconic fashion designer Tadashi is launching his first fragrance.

Following in the footprints of most high-end designers/brand, Tadashi Shoji is entering the fragrance market after having dressed such well-known Oscar winners M’onique and Olivia Spencer, as well as Sheryl Lee Ralph, Kate Beckindale, Dita Von Teese, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Williams, Ruby Rose, Keke Palmer, Julia Ormand, and many others.  And over the past decade the Tadashi Shoji brand has branched into the plus size/curvy, kids, bridal, and accessories markets, so it is only natural that the fragrance market would be Shoji’s next frontier.

“In the thirty plus years that I have been designing, I’ve learned that all women regardless of shape, size, and culture all want the same thing—to feel beautiful and confident in their own being,” explains Shoji. And women will feel equally beautiful in Tadashi Shoji’s debut fragrance, Eau de Rose.

Images courtesy of Manfolk PR

Images courtesy of Manfolk PR

Inspired by the women Shoji dresses and the gardens of Japan, Eau de Rose is feminine, sensual and fearless. The dominating note of rose leads the feminine composition while the deeper exotic essence of Oudh Oil creates an amorous finish. Fresh and complex, the surprising combinations are as multifaceted as the Tadashi Shoji woman.

The top notes of Eau de Rose are bergamot, lemon, mandarin, grapefruit, rhubarb, and blackcurrant. The body notes are rose, jasmine, osmanthus, lily of the valley, and cedarwood, while the dry down scents are musk, frankincense, labdanum, patchouli, rose absolute, and oudh.

The Eau de Rose collection retails at $27 to $135. Eau de Rose will launch exclusively at Lord & Taylor and on macys.com in April.

—Staff

Fashion News Alert: Tyra Banks New Gig, Thakoon on Hold, The Olsens Settle, Sam L. Jackson’s Teams with Brioni, and Lindsay Lohan’s New Fashion Line?

 

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

If revamping “America’s Next Top Model” was enough for Tyra Banks, add host of “America’s Got Talent”  (AGT) to Bank’s impressive resume.  AGT fellow judge Howie Mandel announced on Sunday that Banks would be replacing AGT host Nick Cannon. Cannon via Facebook announced that he would be leaving AGT.

Tyra Banks will join fellow supermodel Heidi Klum and actor/comedian Howie Mandel and former Spice Girl Mel B as judges. Production for AGT season 12 will began soon.

Paradoxically, Banks’ good news follows on the heels that “America’s Next Top Model’s” (ANTM) cycle 24 ratings are down. Banks supposedly is blaming new host Rita Ora for the low rating. According to OK magazine, Banks, who still serves as executive director on ANTM, was very disturbed by the low ratings and wants Ora to exit.

In spite of the low ratings, ANTM has been picked up for another season. Will Rita Ora return? We will have to wait and see!!

Thakoon spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

Thakoon spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

Thakoon shuts it down

When is the time right for a fashion brand to freeze operations, reflect on the past and reposition itself? Apparently, that time is now for Thakoon Panichgul.

As one of the first brands to adopt the “See Now, Buy Now” business model, Thakoon has decided to put a hold on this business model and his fashion lines at large due to the fact that the “Seen Now, Buy Now” model was not what the brand though it would be.

Thakoon partnered with Hong Kong–based investment vehicle, Bright Fame Fashion, in 2015. Bright Fame Fashion facilitated the “See Now, Buy Now” business model for Thakoon, with the brand utilizing the business model for its spring 2016 collection. Clothes from the spring 2016 were immediately available in the Thakoon’s Wooster Street store.  A year and a half later, Thakoon and Bright Fame Fashion have determined that “the business model [See Now, Buy Now]is ahead of the current retail environment.”

“It was time for my brand to explore a new business model and this opportunity allowed us to do so,” Panichgul said via a statement. “We can now take the learnings from this to apply to the next evolution of Thakoon.”

Bright Fame Fashion will continue to partner with Thakoon; however, the Wooster Street store and site will close at later to be determined date.

Image courtesy of thefashionisto.com

Image courtesy of thefashionisto.com

Sam Jackson expands

Samuel L. Jackson joins the long-list of stars—Denzel Washington, Michael Keaton, and James Bond on-screen characters—that have been dressed by menswear brand Brioni. But Jackson is doing more than being dressed by Brioni, Samuel L. Jackson will be the front man for Brioni spring 2017 campaign.

Jackson will be featured in series of black and white campaign images that is part of the brand’s larger project entitled, “Tailoring Legends.” “Tailoring Legends” showcases leading men from a wide range of images demonstration their interpretation of Brioni.

Jackson has already been seen flaunting Brioni on 2017 red carpets including the Independent Spirit Awards and wearing a blue Brioni suit at the Oscars. The images from the Brioni spring 2017 campaign starring Samuel L. Jackson will seen be released on Instagram.

Image courtesy of instyle.com

Image courtesy of instyle.com

Cheap way out Olsen style

According to the New York Daily News, the Olsen Twins are settled a lawsuit brought by interns at their clothing brand, The Row. Lead plaintiff Shahista Lalani filed a lawsuit in 2015 against the Olsen’s company Dualstar Entertainment Group claiming that she worked over 50 hours a week with the same responsibilities as paid employees. Lalani also claims that she treated poorly at The Row and suffered from dehydration during her five-month internship.

The Olsen Twins and Lalani settled for $140,000 that was to be doled out to the other 185 interns that joined Lalaini in the lawsuit. Each intern will receive approximately $530. Hmm, small change for the Olsens!!

Image courtesy of people.com

Image courtesy of people.com

Mystery fashion

Lindsay Lohan is back, back in fashion that is!! After some career and emotional disruptions, Lohan is making a comeback not only in film but also in fashion.

On Monday, the mysterious Lohan placed a photo of herself on Instagram wearing a headscarf with the caption, “ New Fashion Line coming soon ….#fashion.” Recently, Lohan has been in Syria, helping refugees.

There is no word of when this mysterious fashion line will surface. But, with Lindsay everything is always a surprise!! Fashion Reverie will keep you informed.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

PORTS 1961 Men’s Spring Campaign

SS17Military-inspired looks and hashtags were the order of the day for PORTS 1961 men’s spring 2017 collection. Combine those reference points with collaborating with athletic wear brand Everlast and you have a collection that covers a lot of bases. “I wanted to give a message of less hate and more love,” explained creative director Milan Vukmirovic.

Images courtesy of PORTS 1961

Images courtesy of PORTS 1961

And in these distressed times a lot more love is what we all need. Vukmirovic expresses this desire for more love with love messages on tee shirts, hoodies, and capes accompanied by hashtag symbols. This menswear campaign photographed by Vukmirovic features Matthew Noszka.

—Staff

Celebrity Fashion Sightings: Week of March 6, 2016

There were slim pickings this week when it comes to celebrity style.  But, that does not deter Fashion Reverie. Fashion Reverie is always primed and prepped to find those gems of celebrity style from our viewers favorite celebrities.

Image courtesy of D'Orazio and Associates

Image courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates/ justjared.com

What can be said of Jennifer Lopez? After over three decades in the entertainment industry, she is still rocking great style. J-Lo wore a plunging grey dress with ruffle detail on the side, accessorized with Le Vian diamond bracelets, a Hueb diamond ring, and Djula diamond rings for her appearance on Bravo’s “Watch What Happens Live” with Andy Cohen. Melania eat your heart out!!

Image courtesy of Sydney Reising

Image courtesy of Sydney Reising

Singer Madison Beer looks cool and casual at a nightclub during Paris Fashion Week in Heron Preston’s Heron Bird windbreaker from the brand’s fall 2017 collection.

Images courtesy of D'Orazio and Associates

Images courtesy of D’Orazio and Associates

Some might think Gwen Stefani’s look at the 2017 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award was wacky, but Fashion Reverie thinks Gwen Stefani’s look is everything!! Stefani rocks the red carpet in a Libertine jacket, Wanda Inylon shorts and Cadadei boots. Stefani backs up her look with Borgioni diamond earrings, and rings from Hearts on Fire, Djula and Le Vian.

Image courtesy of Preface PR

Image courtesy of Preface PR

Singer Noah Cyrus wore a pink velvet MSGM skirt with matching belt to the 2017 NICKELODEON Kid’s Choice Awards.

Image courtesy of Preface PR

Image courtesy of Preface PR

“Love’s” Gillian Jacobs wore a blue, white and black plaid boucle dress with ruffle and bow detail by MSGM to the Build series in New York City.  Not one of Fashion Reverie’s favorite looks from Gillian, but then again you cannot hit it out of the ballpark every time!!

—Staff

Wednesday Sample Sales: Week of March 6, 2017

Fashion Reverie seeks to keep its loyal readers informed of great samples sales. Just remember, product disappears quickly, so it is important to get there early. Also, some sample sales won’t let you try on garments, so know your size. Happy Shopping!!

Image courtesy of nawo.com

Image courtesy of nawo.com

BRAND: Acquatalia Sample Sale

WHEN: 03/07–03/12; Tue (10am–8pm), Wed.–Sat. (11am–7pm), Sunday (11am–5pm)

WHY:  Women’s and men’s shoes and boots at a discount

WHERE:   150 Greene Street

Image courtesy of wwd.com

Image courtesy of wwd.com

Image courtesy of pinterest

Eileen Fischer image courtesy of pinterest

BRAND: MILLY Sample Sale

WHEN:  03/13–03/16; Monday (1am–7pm), Tues.–Thurs. (11am–7pm)

WHY: Clothing and handbags at a discount

WHERE 261 West 36th Street

 

 

BRAND: Eileen Fischer Spring Sample Sale

WHEN:  03/11–03/12; Saturday (10am–6pm), Sunday (11am–6pm)

WHY:  Samples of current spring merchandise starting at 50% off

WHERE 314 East 9th Street

—Staff

 

 

 

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