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

 

Fashion Reverie Celebrates its Fifth-Year Anniversary

Image courtesy of medlim.net

Image courtesy of medlim.net

Times goes by so quickly. And in an industry where change is the order of the day, the passage of time is even more accelerated.

When Fashion Reverie Publications, LLC launched five years, we had no idea that fashionreverie.com would become a significant source of fashion news and fashion content for so many viewers around the world.  Since our launch we have given voice to a significant number of   fashion designers, fashion industry professionals, authors, and artists. The number is too overwhelming to calculate. And the Fashion Reverie’s staff is so thankful to all the fashion public relations firms, model management companies, and freelance journalists that have helped facilitate the creation of the many features, editorials, and posts.

Though this is a dark time for freedom and democracy around the world, Fashion Reverie will not be deterred in bringing our audience timely and relevant fashion news and features. A priestly writer once extolled, “without a vision the people perish.” In agreement with this very wise proclamation, there will be no drought at Fashion Reverie because our continued vision is presenting the factual truth about the ever-expanding fashion universe.

Join us in the celebration of this five-year landmark.

—William S. Gooch, editor-in-chief

New York Fashion Week: The Shows Fall 2017 Sketches

Fall 2017 promises to be a season of great change. Remember, the fashion industry is a microcosm of what is going on politically and culturally in the world at large. That said; it is yet to be determined how the fashion industry will interpret the winds of change. If New York Fashion Week: Men’s is any indication of what to expect from New York Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFWS) this season portends to be one of looking back to a more gentler time, as well as conjuring up images of protest, resistance and anarchy.

Whatever the reference points or archival nods and inspiration, the creative process for most designers start with sketches and mood boards. Fashion Reverie revers the creative process of the designer/brand, which later translates from the runway to amazing creations, spawned from smaller inspirations. That said; Fashion Reverie has collected illustrations and mood boards from some of the top brands showing at NYFWS who have an interesting story to tell for fall/winter 2017.

Nicole Miller fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

Nicole Miller fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

For Nicole Miller’s pre-fall 2017 collection, Nicole Miller reinterpreted punk fashion funneled through of prims of modernity and youthful sophistication. Her fall 2017 collection expands upon themes seen in the pre-fall 2017 collection. “My Fall 2017 collection is an exploration of New York’s darker street edge. I wanted to move from St. Mark’s Place presented in Pre-Fall to dig deeper into the underground scene of the city. The collection looks to the future, mixing influences of mysticism and symbols with a modern take on grunge.”

Dan Liu fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Dan Liu fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Dan Liu’s fall 2017collection will invite his audience to join the fall fairytale theme that will be presented with his fall 2017 collection. As always, he will transport guests to another world of whimsy and delight.

Bibhu Mohapatra fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

Bibhu Mohapatra fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

Though Bibhu Mohapatra is in the process of restructuring his company, for fall 2017 his woman is still strong, evoking the strong power woman of the 1980s. All this is evidenced in exaggerated shoulders, a cinched waist, and always, always glamour and elegance extraordinaire!!

 

Anniesa Hasibuan fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Anniesa Hasibuan fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Anniesa Hasibuan’s debut collection at NYFW: The Shows last season was a critical success with her hijab-centered show. She has been featured in ELLECosmopolitanRefinery29, and more. This year, her line is all about drama. She is ready to make another huge impression with dramatic silhouettes, embellished fabrics and embroidered detail and as always “bling-bling.”

Leanne Marshall fall 2017 mood board images  courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Leanne Marshall fall 2017 mood board images courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Leanne Marshall’s fall 2017 collection is centered on finding new life and new beginnings from the old. The earthy colors of the collection symbolize the cycle of life and pops of red in the collection portray a source of power and strength. The designer is weaving an eco-centric theme into this collection revitalizing remnant and excess fabrics into a new fashion story.

—Staff

New York Fashion Week: The Shows Fall 2017 Pre-Coverage

Image courtesy of hurriyetdailynews.com

Image courtesy of hurriyetdailynews.com

There has been a lot of change since New York Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFWS) spring 2017. We have a new, very unpopular president. Public School’s Dao Yi-Chow and Maxwell Osborne has exited DKNY, Peter Topping has left his creative post at Oscar de la Renta, Bibhu Mohapatra is restructuring his fashion brand and several designers, Sophie Theallet, Tom Ford, and Marc Jacobs have vowed to never dress FLOTUS Melania Trump.

Although all these somewhat tumultuous changes may cause consternation and unrest in the hearts of many, the fashion industry embraces change better than any other industry. In the words of Heidi Klum, “one day you are in, the next day you are out.” All so true in the mercurial world of fashion!!

 

Phillip Lim fall 2016 image courtesy of julitastefashion.com

Phillip Lim fall 2016 image courtesy of julitastefashion.com

For fall 2017, if New York Fashion Week: Men’s is any indication, expect some political fashion, Trump beware!! Also expect more vintage fashion and homages, a glance back at gentler times. And don’t forget the absence of Tom Ford, Tommy Hilfiger, and Vera Wang, as we have already covered at Fashion Reverie on our weekly Fashion News Alerts.

Another, for some, happy absence is the departure of Moynihan Station as a NYFWS approved venue. That said; additional venues this season include Industria Superstudios and the Highline Hotel, as well as the return of Skylight Clarkson, Pier 59 and Spring Studios.

Ralph Lauren fall 2016 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

Ralph Lauren fall 2016 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

There will be a few returns to the NYFWS roster this season including the much- anticipated return of Richie Rich, Philip Plein, and Club Monaco. Newcomers to the NYFWS roster is the Brock Collection, RtA, Theatre Products, Hakan, Akkaya, Laurence & Chico, Romeo Hunt, Beaufile, Christoper Esber, Nina Tiari, Mimi Prober, and Rookie USA.

Happy New York Fashion Week!!

—Staff

New York Fashion Week: Men’s Fall 2017 Pre-Coverage

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

Will 2017 be a pivotal year for change in men’s fashion? The verdict is not out yet. 2017 has already been a year of significant change in politics. And whether this new political direction causes fear and consternation or gives momentum for retraction and tribalism, change is here!!

In this age of change many designers are opting this season to combine their men’s and women’s shows as way to cut down on the expense of runway presentations. That said; many mainstream brands such as Burberry, Marc Jacobs, and John Varvatos have opted out of showing during men’s fashion weeks in London, Paris, Milan, and New York.

Bespoke fall 2016 image courtesy of biinue.com

Bespoke fall 2016 image courtesy of biinue.com

This absence of mainstream brands has forced London Fashion Week’s fall 2017 season to go back to its original oeuvre of presenting emerging designers. And while major menswear brands did not exit Paris Fashion Week, the woodsmen and a country, rural aesthetic demonstrates that a new menswear movement is afoot with many menswear designers choosing to move away from the urban warrior aesthetic that has been a constant in fall/winter menswear fashion for several seasons.

Things move more slowly in the US, so we can expect NYFW to embrace the trend of woodsmen style while still staying true to some street style and an urban aesthetic. New York Men’s Day that is co-sponsored by Cadillac will feature Jahnkoy, You As by Tony Liu, Bode by Emily Adams Bode, Willy Chavarria, and Matthew Adams Dolan, as well as returning labels Matiere, Garciavelez, Landlord, Woodhouse, and N-p-Elliott.

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

Though New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) has successfully presented emerging talent, it has not attracted established luxury European brands. Missing from the NYFWM’s fall 2017 roster will be Public School, Siki Im, Michael Bastian, Greg Lauren, Malan Breton, Artistix, Edmund Ooi, Concept Korea, Asaf Ganot, and many others.

New York Fashion Week Men’s fall 2017 starts on Monday, January 30 and runs through February 2.

 

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

 

First Ladies’ Style as Interpreted by Lasell College’s Jill Carey

Michelle_Obamas_White_House_Style1

Michelle Obama at White House State Dinners and Kennedy Center Honors. Images courtesy of Getty Images

As the Obamas leave the White House and the Trumps settle in, the media will focus its attention on the style of Melania Trump and reflect back on the style of Michelle Obama. Interestingly, a century ago very little attention was paid to the fashion and style of the First Lady, exception being Frances Cleveland, wife of the 22nd President, Grover Cleveland.

That is not the case in 2017. Fashion pundits and the media consistently examine, comment, and criticize the style of the First Lady. Since Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the fashion style of the First Lady has been an important aspect of the First Lady’s character. And though Rosalyn Carter and Barbara Bush were not distinguished for the fashion sense, with FLOUS-elect Melania Trump, a former fashion model, we can expect a parade of great American and European fashion design.

Fashion Reverie had the unique opportunity to speak with Jill Carey, associate professor of fashion at Lasell College. She is the curator of the Lasell Fashion Collection and an expert of the style of First Ladies.

Fashion Reverie: What is your position at Lasell College?

Jill Carey: I teach fashion history at Lasell College. I have also curated the Lasell Fashion Collection that I started in 1996.

FR: Is the Lasell Fashion Collection centered on First Ladies?

Jill Carey: Not entirely, the collection begins in the early 19th Century and we have pieces through the millennium. We have examples of European and American design, as well as 20th century designer fashion. It is a wide range of working and exhibition collection. Pieces from the working collection are used in the classroom.

Images of Hillary Clinton courtesy of thedailybeast.com. Lasell College image of Leo Nabucci black pantsuit in the style of Hillary Clinton courtesy of Davis Parnes

Images of Hillary Clinton courtesy of thedailybeast.com. Lasell College image of Leo Narducci original black pantsuit  courtesy of David Parnes

FR: How did you become interested in the fashion style of the First Ladies?

Jill Carey: Because I teach fashion history, I believe First Ladies are the face of the nation. And I believe their style identifies the style of the times and of their husband’s administration. I do believe their garments and dress demonstrates the social and political life of the nation. First Ladies’ appearance is extremely important, not only for American society, but also for global cultures as well.

FR: When did you decide to curate garments from the First Ladies past and present and what were some of the challenges collected these garments?

Jill Carey: Lasell College does not have a curation of First Ladies’ fashion as such, but what I have put together is research  particular to First Ladies. We have pieces in our collection that reflect and relate very closely to some of the First Ladies’ fashion choices. We have specific pieces that relate to First Ladies style in a particular way. We do have a wide selection of Arnold Scaasi garments that relate to what Barbara Bush wore to her husband’s inaugural ball.

Images courtesy of smithsonian.com and Lasell College

Frances Cleveland images clockwise courtesy of smithsonian.com. Bodice with leg-of-mutton which is in the style of First Lady Frances Cleveland courtesy of Lasell College/Stephen Cicco

FR: Depending the era, which First Lady would you say brought the most style to the White House?

Jill Carey: There are three First Ladies that are pivotal when it comes to White House style. The first is Frances Cleveland, Grover Cleveland’s wife. What is interesting about her is that she was 20 years younger than her husband and when she came into the White House she embraced Parisian style. As she evolved as the First Lady, she became more interested in American dressmaking design. The most important American dressmaker for Mrs. Cleveland was Lottie Barton, who was from Baltimore, and she created wonderful garments for Mrs. Cleveland.

Jackie Kennedy is of course my obvious next choice. There is so much information to support that once Jackie Kennedy became a style icon then the expectation for the First Ladies’ style became more apparent. She really set the First Ladies’ style apart from other First Ladies. She wore Oleg Cassini in the White House, as well as Givenchy and Chanel. She also used American designers such as Norman Norrell. She also purchased pieces from Chez Ninon, which was located in NYC and had individual pieces made for Mrs. Kennedy.

Finally, we have Michelle Obama whose evolution as First Lady has been remarkable. She always referred to herself and Barack Obama as “part of the American story.” She enlisted Jason Wu to design the first inaugural outfit, as well as the second. She is stylish and practical and prefers lesser-known American designers—Bryan Lars, Charles Harbison, Duro Olowu, and Tracy Reese. She has been on the cover of American Vogue three times and voted one of the best-dressed women in the world. Michelle Obama also wears J. Crew, a brand and style that ties into Michelle Obama’s affection for casual elegance and simplicity.

Michelle Obama's Vogue Covers. Images courtesy of vogue.com

Michelle Obama’s Vogue Covers. Images courtesy of vogue.com

FR: How did  Michelle Obama’s style and her husband’s presidency find a symbiosis, reflecting the times we live in?

Jill Carey: Michelle Obama is a magnificent First Lady in every way. She is beautiful and intelligent. Obama’s presidency has been an intellectual presidency, and Michelle and Barack Obama, together, are a presidential couple of the people. She has embraced a style that really speaks to the American people. There are aspects of her wardrobe that every woman in the US could embrace.

FR: How has American interest in the style of the First Ladies evolved over the years?

Jill Carey: Jackie Kennedy solidly established the American public’s interest in the style of First Ladies. After Kennedy was assassinated, she coined the phrase ‘Camelot,’ referring to John F. Kennedy’s administration. From that point on the media focused heavily on the fashion and style of the First Lady. There is now a global interest in the style of the First Lady and that all began with Jackie Kennedy Onassis.

Nancy Reagan 1981 inaugural gown image courtesy of smithsonian.com, Leo Narducci gown in the style of Arnold Scasi's inaugural gown courtesy of Lasell College

Nancy Reagan 1981 inaugural gown image courtesy of smithsonian.com.  Yolanda Cellucci gown from the Yolanda Boutique in the style of Arnold Scasi’s inaugural gown courtesy of Lasell College

FR: Which First Ladies have attached themselves to elite fashion houses and brand and their affiliation with said fashion houses have made those brands more well known and accessible to American consumers?

Jill Carey: Michelle Obama is the primary First Lady who comes to mind because she introduced the American consumer to emerging designers or designers that were not household names. Nancy Reagan and Barbara Bush wore Arnold Scassi and Oscar de la Renta a lot; Nancy Reagan even wore John Galliano. However, Barbara Bush and Nancey Reagan’s choice of designers already had a lot of traction in the fashion industry when they started wearing those said designers/brands.

Still, Michelle Obama has catapulted the careers of the designers that were not so well known. Consider Jason Wu and Tracy Reese. Barbara Bush did help Scassi’s career because he did not have a fashion empire at the time.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis images courtesy of thefashionfoot.com

Jackie Kennedy Onassis images courtesy of thefashionfoot.com

FR: Michelle Obama has been criticized for the wardrobe budget that was bestowed upon her by Congress. Has the wardrobe budget for the First Lady grown over the years and have other First Ladies been duly criticized for the expense of their wardrobes?

Jill Carey: There was concern that Jackie Kennedy was spending too much on her wardrobe. But, it wasn’t openly criticized like the negative criticism Michelle Obama received. There was concern that Jackie was supporting European designers and not enough American fashion designers. There was also criticism that Jackie was spending too much money redecorating the White House, so the concern of the cost of her wardrobe was connected to the expense of redecorating the White House. Nancy Reagan was highly criticized for what she was spending on gowns during the Reagan administration.

There is a lot discrepancy on what is gifted to the First Lady and what garments are paid for out of the White House budget.  First Ladies travel a lot more internationally now, and they are hostesses to a huge array of events and receptions. And sometimes the First Lady  stands in for the President when he cannot attend special events. The expectation is that the First Lady will look sophisticated and well turned out for all of her duties, so of course this demands a substantial budget for wardrobe.

FR: What kind of style will Melania Trump bring to the White House and who will be her designers of choice?

Jill Carey: Her style is elegant minimalism. She also dresses in a monochromatic style and one of her signatures is her pairing of American style with  luxury accessories.

We know Ralph Lauren designed the white pantsuit she wore at the Republican Convention Acceptance Party. That said; we assume that Ralph Lauren will be one of the designers that she chooses while she is in the White House. With Trump’s very pro-American rhetoric and all the discussion of homegrown manufacturing, Ralph Lauren fits in with the coterie of American designers that Melania will probably wear. This  could also be a great opportunity for an American accessories designer to come to the forefront, designing Melania’s handbags, shoes, and jewelry.

Dressing Melania is very controversial right now. Many designers—Sophie Theallet, Marc Jacobs, Tom Ford, and others—have come forward expressing that they will not dress her because of the anti-Muslim, xenophobic, anti-LGBT, and the racist slant of Donald Trump’s rhetoric and speeches.

Melania Trump images courtesy of celebuzz.com

Melania Trump images courtesy of celebuzz.com

FR: Melania was a fashion model before she married Donald Trump. While modeling she has done a lot of fashion editorial that were quite revealing. How does Melania Trump’s current personal style elucidate her previous image as a fashion model?

Jill Carey: I have been thinking about First Ladies who come into the White House with young children. Melania has a ten year-old son with President Trump. He is on the threshold of his adolescence. What she done as model prior to her marriage was a part of her past life, and I hope that as First Lady she will evolve to an image and role model that is acceptable to the American public.

Melania’s spin doctors and advocates are already spinning and capitalizing on her role as a mother. This election has been so controversial and polarizing that media is focused on much more than what Melania has done in her previous career. Her role in the White House will be primarily as a hostess.

Lasell College Fashion Collection images and image of Jill Carey courtesy of Lasell College

Lasell College Fashion Collection images and image of Jill Carey courtesy of Lasell College

FR: How do presidential administrations and their policies affect fashion?

Jill Carey: The fashion industry really stands alone and set its own standards and trends. Perhaps, in the past conservative administrations may have had some influence of fashion and style, but today things are very different. The Obama administration did have a positive impact of J. Crew’s collections and market viability.

There is a lot of conversation on President Trump being a minimalist but I don’t believe that will direct affect on fashion. Trump’s cabinet is all multi-millionaires and billionaires and maybe we see advances in the luxury market that trickles down to consumers. Lastly, fashion does reflect what is going on in the world so maybe some protest fashion will emerge because of the Trump presidency.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leather through the Design Prism of PRITCH London

Pritch_London_FeatureAre you a rocker chick? No, well maybe you are that downtown fashionista type that has adopted an urban warrior aesthetic. That doesn’t describe you, either? Let’s see, hmm, well you love leather, of course you do!!

Whether you are an urban warrior, a rocker chick or a confirmed style maven, all fashion signals point to a love of leather. Leather is that one timeless, fashion must-have that defines your style, your mood, and your fashion point of view. It is a staple in your wardrobe, a go-to item to complete your look, and your daily fashion fix.

Now, that your love of leather has been established, the next challenge is finding leather garments that are fashion forward but still timeless. Enter PRITCH London.

 Collages1062PRITCH London could be deemed an unusual brand because it’s brand name could be a combination of two polar opposites, princess and b**ch, dark and light, or maybe not. Based in London and officially launched in 2012, PRITCH London conjures up non-conformist luxury inspired by the energy and vigor of London. This energy and zest is made evident in innovative leather garments that reflect a fashion-forward and rebellious style projection.

“Leather is a very complicated material to work with and it is very challenging and I love challenges,” explains PRITCH London founder Arina Pritch. “You cannot stitch leather more than one time, so the uniqueness of leather as a material is unbelievable. Most people look at leather as the material you design leather jackets with, but you can make anything out of leather. And that is what I am trying to show in my collections. Leather can be an accessory piece; it can be anything. It all depends on your imagination.”

Arina Pritch

The force behind PRITCH London, designer Arina Pritch

 Giving a nod to her penchant for edgy, dark, mood-evoking images, the logo for PRITCH London is the raven. “The raven is a very mystical bird. It is a bird that can survive among other species or fine on its own. The raven is a reflection of my own persona. It is a bird that represents duality and contrast,” explains Arina Pritch. “I attempt that contrast in PRITCH London collections.  The majority of the pieces you can wear to any occasion, easily transitioning from day to night.  One of the slogans of the brand is “a rebel in a conservative society,” which speaks to the duality of the brand. Leather can be feminine or masculine, rebellious of conservative, sexy with hints of modesty.”

With the success of the brand’s primary line, PRITCH London, Arina has developed her bespoke line, which is taking special pieces from PRITCH London and customizing those items for select customers. “PRITCH Bespoke is a full design experience for our special clients in which that client becomes their own designer. We will develop everything from sketch to completed garment, depending on what those special clients want.”

Images courtesy of Supreme Publicity

Images courtesy of Supreme Publicity

PRITCH London has also expanded the brand to include hybrids, going beyond solely leather garments. “For the brand I am beginning to mix fabrics with leather or mixing different kinds of leather in one garment. One jacket could have a variety of skins. It takes a lot of craftsmanship to be able to pull this off. It very difficult to mix leather with other materials because different machinery is required to accomplish this task; that is why you don’t see these hybrids often in the market and it very expensive to produce.” This aesthetic is aptly realized in hybrid garments that are a combination of organza, denim, and of course, leather. Add to that PRITCH London’s new collection of loungewear.

Although PRITCH London is not mass-produced, the brand is tapping into the growing market of consumers who want special garments and have the deep pockets to afford it. And for if you can afford to purchase PRITCH London’s tan and leather trench from the spring 2017 collection, buy it!!

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Fashion Predictions

As unpredictable as 2017 might be, Fashion Reverie is going out on a limb and predict what fashion industry professionals and consumers might expect for the new year. Who would’ve have predicted that Donald Trump would become the leader of the free world, so our predictions cannot be more of a stretch than the presidential election.

Fashion Reverie looks into its Swarovski crystal ball and predicts:

Rebecca Minkoff spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

Rebecca Minkoff spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

1)   With all the designers/brands defecting from New York Fashion Week: The Shows—Rebecca Minkoff, Tommy Hilfiger, Rachel Zoe, Rachel Comey, and Tom Ford—to Los Angeles for their fall 2017 collections, and with Jeremy Scott and Hedi Slimane setting up shop in LA, Fashion Reverie predicts that LA Fashion Week will get a lot of momentum in 2017.  Though IMG sponsored LA Fashion Week for several years, LA Fashion Week really was a disgruntled stepchild to New York Fashion Week. After IMG pulled out of LA Fashion Week, not much was left, just a handful of credible designers who showed consistently among a wide array of jean and tee shirt lines. That will all change in 2017.

Alexander Wang/H&M image courtesy of magazinehorse.com

Alexander Wang/H&M image courtesy of magazinehorse.com

2)   Fashion Reverie predicts that luxury designers will incorporate more athlesisure wear into their high-end collections. As more millenials move away from designer brands to brands that fit their daily lives—work, gym, a night out on the town—this destination-obsessed demographic will look for brands that reflect their lifestyle and passions. Being adorned in overly embellished, glam garments doesn’t vibe with this eco-friendly crowd. And unlike the generation before them, millenials don’t really care about labels. Luxury brands will have to get in step.

Target advertisement image courtesy of tvcommercialspots.com

Target advertisement image courtesy of tvcommercialspots.com

3)   The fashion industry in 2017 will move away from celebrities endorsing or being the face of campaigns and bring fashion models back to the forefront. In 2016 we saw Gigi Hadid as the face of Tommy Hilfiger, as well as collaborating with Hilfiger on a diffusion line. Target, Old Navy, Estee Lauder, Amazon Fashion, Vera Wang, Celine, Versace, Dior, Stuart Weitzman, Diesel, La Perla, any many other brands are using top models in their campaigns. And while most of these iconic brands always used fashion models in the past decade celebrities were outpacing fashion models in their acquisition of fashion campaigns.

Why this turn around? Perhaps, the answer lies in the reality that the music industry is in decline and there are so few film celebrities that appeal to millenials. Supermodels like Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid, Grace Bol, and Lucky Blue Smith, Sean O’Pry, and Michael Shockley appeal to young consumers more than celebrities at this present time.

Images courtesy of vogue.com

Delpozo spring 2017 images courtesy of vogue.com

4)   Everyone loves accessories, whether it is that great Kate Spade bag, a pair of Yeezy Boost, or red-bottom Louboutins. And if you cannot afford Ferragamo, the Ferragamo belt might be within your budget.

That said: one of the biggest accessories of 2017 will be statement earrings. You know the big oversized earrings that will make any woman stand out and be noticed. Delpozo, Altuzarra, Anniesa Hasibuan, and Proenza Schouler incorporated big earrings in their spring 2017 collections.

Dior spring 2017 images courtesy of fashionisers.com

Dior spring 2017 images courtesy of fashionisers.com

5)   The worlds of politics and fashion are not as diametrically opposed as some people might think. Remember, fashion is always influenced by what is going on socially, culturally and politically. For 2017 expect fashion that reflects the global cultural divide with a call for tolerance, respect and social consciousness. (Remember Vivienne Tam’s Obama and Mao Tse-Tung iconography in her spring 2013 collection.) We witnessed the lean toward this call for unity in spring 2017 collections that used digitals slogans in their collections. Dior rallied the call for feminist solidarity with Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s phrase, “we shall be feminists” in its spring 2017 collection.

Images of Patrick Kelly, Eric Gaskins, Mimi Plange, and Stephens Burrows garments, respectively courtesy of fitnyc.edu

Images of Patrick Kelly, Eric Gaskins, Mimi Plange, and Stephens Burrows garments, respectively courtesy of fitnyc.edu

6)   In December 2016 the Museum at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT)  launched an exhibit dedicated to black designers. The exhibit includes great looks from Willi Smith, Stephen Burrows, Patrick Kelly, Cushnie et Ochs, Public School, Tracy Reese, Charles Harbison, Mimi Plange, Zelda Wynn Valdes, Eric Gaskins, Scott Barrie, Epperson, Duro Olowu, and many others.

Fashion Reverie predicts that this incredible exhibit will inspire emerging designers of color and 2017 will be a break year for black designers. The industry is already embracing more black models; black designers are next in line.

Image courtesy of Wireimage/dailymai.co.uk

Image courtesy of Wireimage/dailymai.co.uk

7)   Fashion Reverie predicts that there will be a major expose of fashion model pay. This national expose will shock consumers and rock the fashion industry. Fashion industry professionals are aware that many models walk in top shows for no pay and that very few models are making huge sums of money. But this industry fact is a widely coveted secret, and most fashion models are terrified of speaking out because of retaliation from the industry. 2017 will be the year of shouting the truth from the rooftops.

—Staff

 

 

 

Fashion Reverie’s Top Stories of 2016

While 2015 was a year of shifts and controversy, 2016 topped the charts as a year of surprises and unexpected developments. Change is always the order of the day in the fashion industry; however, who would have expected Peter Topping to leave his creative post at Oscar de la Renta less than a year after or Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow would exit DKNY. And even more surprising was the election of Donald Trump to the highest office in the US.

Still, Fashion Reverie has been front and center throughout all the vicissitudes of change and fashion shifts, bringing its viewers all the fashion news, exclusive interviews, trend reports and coverage that makes the site one of the go-to online publications for all things fashion.  And in its upcoming fifth year, expect more in-depth coverage, more exclusive interviews and a wider array and fashion and cultural features.

Image courtesy of Atria Books

Image courtesy of Atria Books

1)   Is the golden age of fashion photography over? Well, that depends on the industry professionals you talk to. In  “Focus: The Secret, Sexy, Sometimes Sordid World of Fashion Photographers” Michael Gross chronicles the exodus of fashion photography in the 20th Century and where the art form is the age of digital manipulation. Fashion Reverie was given the unique opportunity to be one of the first fashion publications to interview Michael Gross about his compendium on fashion photography. Though somewhat encyclopedic in scope, “Focus” is injected with lots of humor and scandal, and Gross was a joy to an interview and of the great fashion sages of the industry. View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=16510

Images courtesy of Think PR

Images courtesy of Think PR

2)   Fashion Reverie was fortunate to interview Bibhu Mohapatra a week before his spring 2017 runway showing for New York Fashion Week: The Shows. In this interview Mohapatra revealed his passion for Belle Epoque style that he so deliciously fused into his spring 2017 collection. With Mohapatra being one of the hottest collections in the current pantheon of luxury brands, acquiring this interview as a real boon for Fashion Reverie. View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=16922

Images courtesy of Simon and Schuster

Images courtesy of Simon and Schuster

3)   2016 was the year for fashion books. And in a year where book sales are down and many book retailers have shuttered operations; surprisingly, there were a lot of new fashion books on the market. Fashion Reverie was primed and eager to present and review these books for its viewers.

One of the most anticipated fashion books of 2016 was supermodel Pat Cleveland’s “Walking with the Muses.” Fashion Reverie’s interview with Cleveland is injected with the supermodel’s own special brand of nuance, wit and humor; traits that are such an indelible part of Cleveland’s charm. “Walking with the Muses’” rag-to-fame story is in the tradition of America’s version of the rising phoenix cultural mythology. But for Cleveland her story goes beyond the stuff of fairy tales; it is her life. And she so eloquently communicated her journey to Fashion Reverie. View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=16845

Image courtesy of tinypic.com

Image courtesy of tinypic.com

4)   IMG has been criticized for not maintaining and attracting luxury designers to show during New York Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFWS). While that particular criticism may have some relevance, what is obvious about the evolution of NYFWS is the wealth of new designers from outside that US that show at NYFWS. One such designer that garnered a lot of press during NYFWS: spring 2017 was Anniesa Hasibuan. This Indonesian designer showed an entire collection of models completely attired in beautifully embellished in Muslim dress. Hasibuan demonstrated that there a women can be completed covered and be chic, sophisticated and regal. Now if only mainstream media showed these kinds of Muslim women!! View article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=17210

Image courtesy of casamastudios.com

Image courtesy of casamastudios.com

5)   Natasha Nyanin was new to Fashion Reverie when she penned her spring 2017 trend prediction article. That said; first time out she hit the ball out of the court. With her spring 2017 trend prediction article, “Spiritual Awakenings,” Natasha tapped into the upcoming Zen-inspired designs and “Raw Coast” aesthetic that centers on references to minimalism rooted in environmental and coastal classics. Fashion Reverie expects much more from Natasha. View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=16891

Patricia_Gucci_image

6)   One of the most exciting Fashion Reverie interviews of 2016 is when we got to conduct an interview with Patricia Gucci about her memoir “In the Name of Gucci: A Memoir.” In this seminal book about her father, Patricia Gucci from love letters between her father and mother Bruna Palumbo, Patricia Gucci brings readers into the inner life of Aldo Gucci and what it was like to be a part of the Gucci brand during its heyday. View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=16024

Image courtesy of Miles Ladin

Image courtesy of Miles Ladin

7)   In this year of fashion books, another tabletop fashion book that came to the attention of Fashion Reverie was Miles Ladin’s “Supermodels at the End of Time.” Miles Ladin graciously spoke with Fashion Reverie about what it was like to photographer some of the world’s top models during the age of the supermodels. His film noir–like photos are iconic, particularly his photo of Naomi Campbell and Linda Evangelista sitting at a table at the end of the evening looking jaded and weary. View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=17365

Images courtesy of Cadillac House

Images courtesy of Cadillac House

8)   Andy Warhol’s legacy lives on. And Cadillac House and the fashion industry celebrated that legacy with the “Letters to Andy Warhol” exhibit. The “Letters to Andy Warhol” exhibition features rarely seen material from the museum’s archive, including artwork and Warhol’s personal correspondence, plus artistic contributions from several modern-day cultural creators including Brian Atwood, Sienna Miller, Sean Lennon, JJ Martin, Zac Posen, Chiara Clemente, Aimee Mullins, David LaChapelle, Francesco Clemente, Nick Rhodes and more. View the article http://fashionreverie.com/?p=17554

Images courtesy of Atelier PR

Images courtesy of Atelier PR

9)   Finding innovative brands is one of the core features of Fashion Reverie. When we were invited to attend YolanCris’ debut bridal collection during New York International Bridal Week, we jumped at the chance.

Like the many women and muses that inspired El Greco, Van Dyck, and Rubens, YolanCris’ Bridal Studio Collection 2017 pays homage to the many aspects of feminine charm, beauty and sophistication. And boy did the brand pay tribute!! View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=17295

Image courtesy of Starworks Group

Image courtesy of Starworks Group

10)   Can you think of a better to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday than a limited edition shoe inspired by PEZ dispenser. Huh, yes you heard me right!! British shoe designer Camilla Elphick has tapped into a cultural landmark and historic occasion by introducing the latest addition to her infamous Pez collection for the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II’s 90th birthday — her spring 2016 patriotic nod to the queen, The Corgi Princess PEZ.  View the article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=16205

Images courtesy of vogue.com

Images courtesy of vogue.com

11) For several seasons Fashion Reverie has pined for an invitation to attend Delpozo’s runway shows. Not until, Natasha Nyanin came on staff did the wish become a reality. This very talented young editor did an excellent job reviewing Delpozo’s spring 2017 collection. View article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=16993

Image courtesy of timeinc

Image courtesy of timeinc

12) There were many deaths across the cultural landscape in 2016, But, perhaps no one will be missed more than Franca Sozzani. Editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia for over 26 years, Sozzani with the help of photographers she personally mentored—Herb Ritts, Mario Testino, Steven Meisel, and Bruce Weber—elevated Vogue Italia from a fashion publications that focused on Italian fashion to a global compendium of style, innovation, and fashion-forward sophistication. View article at http://fashionreverie.com/?p=17870

—William S. Gooch

Bye, Bye Franca

Collages1052 The fashion industry mourns the death of Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia. Sozzani transitioned on December 22 after a long illness. Sozzani severed as Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia for 28 years, starting in 1988, the same year as Anna Wintour took the helm at American Vogue.

In her 28 years at Vogue Italia, Sozzani took the magazine beyond a publication that celebrated Italian couture styles and embraced fashion as seen through the lens of culture, politics, and evolving attitudes. Sozzani conceded, “Fashion isn’t really about clothes,” [  ]“it’s about life.”

Italia_Vogue_Black_IssueSozzani shocked the fashion industry by producing fashion editorials that highlighted plastic surgery, domestic violence and a 2010 editorial that mocked the BP oil spill. In 2008, Sozzani spearheaded the 2008 groundbreaking “Black Issue,” an issue totally devoted to black models, black beauty, and black social issues.

After starting studying philosophy and architecture in Milan, Franca Sozzani spent a short time in ‘Swinging London’ soon marrying, but just as quickly divorcing. After returning to Italy she secured an assistant position at Vogue Bambino. An editor position followed at Lei in 1980 and in 1982 she moved on to Per Lei. While at both publications Sozzani nurtured the young talents of Steven Meisel, Peter Lindbergh, Mario Testino, Bruce Weber, and Herb Ritts. Understanding the power of imagery, Sozzani gave many of these young photographers free rein, helping to forward the careers of these burgeoning photographic geniuses.

Bye_bye_FrancaWhen Sozzani arrived at Vogue Italia, she already had a coterie of brilliant photographers who could realize her vision for the magazine as well as photographers Sozzani could farm out to the many Italian fashion houses to shoot campaigns that would later appear in Vogue Italia. In just under a decade Sozzani has become a major powerbroker with Italian fashion houses, manufacturers, and industrialists.

In 1994 Sozzani became the Creative Direction of Italian Conde Nast. With that appointment, Sozzani became one of the most powerful women in global fashion, facilitating Vogue Italia’s transition to a fashion publication that celebrated the confluence of fashion, music, politics, and world culture  and reaching a global audience.

 Collages1051

With all these accomplishments in the late 90’s, Sozzani began to be involved in more philanthropic pursuits such as Gianni Versace, AIDS initiative, Convivo, as well as being appointed global ambassador against hunger by the United Nations World Food Programme, and a goodwill ambassador for Fashion4Development. Sozzani co-founded Child Priority with Jonathan Newhouse to provide work opportunities for underprivileged children.

Franca Sozzani is survived by her son Francesco who produced a documentary, “Franca: Chaos and Creation,” in 2016 that premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

—Staff

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