New York Fashion Week: Men’s Spring 2020 Pre-coverage

Image courtesy of precious7

New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) is here again; however, this time around it is five weeks early. NYFWM usually takes place the second week of July, but this time the CFDA has positioned NYFWM’s alongside the resort collections.

As has been noted in previous articles on this site, NYFWM’s has been struggling for the past two years. Since the exit of Amazon Fashion and Cadillac as major sponsors, as well as the defection of major menswear brands Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, John Varvatos, Nautica, Perry Ellis and a hot of other menswear designers to Paris and other fashion capitals, NYFWM is not a shadow of what is it once was when it launched in 2015.

Image courtesy of nymag.com

For the spring 2020 season there are so few menswear designers presenting collection that NYFWM’s season like an odd patchwork of disparate designers, mostly emerging, that are using to opportunity to attempt to get some traction in the New York fashion market. A traction that is quickly diminishing, particularly as European luxury menswear designers have overwhelming embraced streetwear.

That said; New York Men’s Day (NYMD) will kick off NYFWM on Monday, June 3 as they have for past 12 seasons, holding court this time at the newly anointed Hudson Yards. New York Men’s Day will present spring 2020 collections by a returning Timo Weiland, David Hart, Amirok, Feign, Abysm, Ka Wa Key, Tanaka, Vasilis, Todd Hessert, Tanaka, and the NYMD All-Star Designers including Private Policy, Lucio Castro, Krammer & Stoudt, Woodhouse Army, and Descendant of Thieves.

Image courtesy of pittimagazine.com

Unfortunately, other menswear designers presenting is kind of up for grabs. There are some NYFWM’s stalwarts that have not totally abandoned this event, namely Grungy Gentlemen, Linder, Nihl, and Freemans Sporting Club. Not showing this season are regulars Carlos Campos, Todd SnFeng Chen Wang, Landlord, Palomo Spain, Bode, Dune, Willy Chiavarria, and others.

New York Fashion Week: Men’s will take place on June 3 to June 6.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Tea with Kristopher: Month of May 2019


Fashion Reverie hopes you are enjoying the mostly warm days of May, but now it’s teatime. Grab a chair and a plate of scones as Fashion Reverie pours some delicious tea for you.

Scandalous Tea

The news of Topshop going out of business has hit every major news headline by now, but not enough fingers are being pointed at Philip Green. While some are pointing to Topshop’s declining sales or less than stellar financial management, behind the scenes many are saying it was Green’s sexual picadilloes and cover ups that hurt the company.  Green and Harvey Weinstein could make very compatible bedfellows!!

Influential Tea

A prominent fashion non-profit has many in the industry scowling after a new president without the approval of the board of directors. This new president non-elect now has one of the most coveted positions in the fashion industry. Apparently, he was pushed to the top post by another top fashion figure. Wield your power!!

Fancy Tea

Things are looking tough for this French luxury brand as they are struggling to keep up with other French luxury brands. Their minimalist approach to style in an era where everyone is doing maximalism, streetwear, or tailoring in contributing to lagging sales. You can’t get by on a name recognition alone, consumer habits change too quickly.

Yesterday’s Tea

New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) summer edition is practically dead. The event which has now aligned itself with the women’s resort calendar is already expecting record low attendance. Few international press and buyers are expected to attend, and even those editors on the domestic front are shocked by the bare bones list of shows and presentations. Unlike the winter shows, which follow right into the main NYFW, summer NYFWM’s doesn’t have that luxury, and most industry professionals are bowing out.

Kristopher Fraser

From Clicks Back to Bricks: The Re-emergence of Brick and Mortars

Image courtesy of nssmagazine.com

Wondering what Serena Williams will wear when she steps onto the tennis court for the 2019 Paris Open Queen on Sunday, May 26th? Her black Nike catsuit caused some controversy at the 2018 Paris Open. But no matter what she wears, Nike will share the spotlight with her on the court, online and at Nike Champs-Elysees store. A Serena Williams–inspired flowing cape-jacket designed by Virgil Abloh, in collaboration with Nike, will be on sale. Abloh and Nike have also created a limited-edition T-shirt and hat, which will be released on nike.com in Europe, North America and P75 store in Paris once Serena takes the court.  Talk about timing!

This is a winning marketing trio integrating retail, ecommerce, and entertainment. Nike has always been ahead of the game in providing experiential retail, which is considered the game-changer of the future, since it opened its first flagship store in New York 25 years ago. As the great American humorist Mark Twain once told a reporter, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” This can be said of “retail is dead” rumor set off by the battle between e-commerce and retail.

The “who’s beating who” wrestling match between ecommerce and retailers got verbal in April when CNBC reported that in February “online US retail sales was higher than general merchandise sales for the first time in history”—or in other words, online shopping had brick-and-mortar sales down on the mat in a stronghold. Greg Maloney, President & CEO, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL) and a frequent contributor to Forbes.com delivered a smack-down with an article that made CNBC cry “Uncle” and change its’ story within 24 hours.

Image courtesy of rangeme.com

“Look, I’ve long taken issue with some of the ways the topic has been covered and I think it’s clear which side of the fence I am on when it comes to the future viability of physical retail, but I’m also not the Pollyanna you might think,” Maloney wrote pointing out specific errors in the CNBC story. “There have certainly been challenges for the sector and online retail has made its impact felt to be sure, but it’s just not the death-blow that some people want to make it out to be.”

Granted this week Nordstrom, JC Penney, Macy’s, and Kohls reported disappointing first quarter profits for 2019, the retailers are revving up for the future with a marketing strategy whose time has come. Maloney says a “concept of convergence” is occurring, where there is “a realization from retailers that to properly compete they need to have a presence everywhere, online and off.” And the same goes for e-commerce. Nike’s Serena Williams–centered strategy for the 2019 Paris Open is an excellent example of covering all the bases.

Image courtesy of cityreality.com

Fifth Avenue in New York City is a “must shop” spot for tourist visiting the Big Apple. Since the coming of the age of e-commerce in 1991, Generation Z shoppers, don’t need a luxury allowance to spend money on the “Millionaire’s Mile” anymore.  Now they can step into Nike’s Fifth Avenue flagship store and try on new shoes and customize them to fit. 

Big brands had traditionally been dependent on independent retail stores and chains, like Macy’s, to be the frontline for customer interaction. Believing that e-commerce was the key to expanding their customer base, they invested in online virtual marketing where the computer mouse was king, and every heart’s desire was just a click away. But not anymore—the game has changed. 

Both retailers and e-commerce brands realize that a consumer revolution is afoot.  E-commerce is rushing to recapture their customer base, that has been returning merchandise at a high rate, and not transitioning into return buyers. As a result, e-commerce businesses are building more stores, which offer more assistance, services, and an ambience created to inspire spending. Maloney says that a report by JLL, revealed the fact that the top 100 “digital-native brands” (previously exclusive online stores) have announced plans to open a combined 850 stores over the next five years.

Image courtesy of nycgo.com

“’The clicks-to-bricks’ retailers’ expansion plans, demonstrate the value these brands place on having a physical presence with which to engage shoppers,” the JLL report states. Apparel and accessory brands account for almost three-quarters of ‘clicks-to-bricks’ retailers. New York remains the top city for both pop-ups and first permanent locations, according to the report, but other “marquee markets” like Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, are also popular.

One of the largest ‘clicks to bricks’ expansion across the country will be from Adore Me, the women’s intimates’ company—that has stolen much of Victoria’s Secret’s thunder, plans to open up to 300 additional stores in the next five years. “Allbirds, the wool sneaker company, opened a 4,800-square-foot New York flagship in SoHo, with plans for more stores in four cities in the next year”, the JLL report states. “The ‘clicks-to-bricks’ retailers’ expansion plans demonstrate the value these brands place on having a physical presence with which to engage shoppers.”

When Nike opened a new flagship store on Fifth Avenue in November 2018, Heidi O’Neill, president of Nike Direct, was enthusiastic about loving her role in ushering a new age of “retailtainment.”  “I get to think about the evolution of retail every day, as we craft our vision of a modern, digitally transformed store. It was just three or four years ago that the industry declared brick-and-mortar retail dead. If you believed the whispers then, we wouldn’t have any physical stores—just a grim landscape of empty storefronts as far as the eye can see. But a funny thing happened on the way to the death of retail. It turns out, when you actually talk to consumers, they still want to shop by touching and trying on. They still want to connect, to step into a space and feel something.”

STORY brick and mortar image courtesy of dnsindustries.com

The term “retailtainment” was coined in 1999 by George Ritzer, an American sociologist, defined as “the use of sound, ambience, emotion and activity to get customers interested in the merchandise and in the mood to buy.”  New York has always been a popular location for digital brand pop-up shops and already the city’s retail landscape is changing as exclusively digital stores are leaving the virtual realm and manifesting their presence in the physical world. Soho continues to be the best testing ground for brands to try out their foray into retail. Both ecommerce businesses and retailers have caught onto the idea of “retailtainment” to “catch and convert” new customers and keep loyal customers coming back.

Dr. Elinor Greenberg loves shopping—period—whether online or in a brick or mortar store. She came of age in the 60s, when life was rooted in the experiences of the physical senses. For the Baby Boomer generation, shopping was a sensual experience. Shoppers could touch and try on garments, getting an immediate sense of the fit and feel and then the instant gratification of “cash and carry” leaving with purchase in hand.

Shopify image courtesy of shopify.com

Elinor, a psychologist and seasoned catalog shopper, is now an avid online shopper. Like any busy 21st century professional, the convenience of clicking a mouse, with delivery of your heart’s desires within 24 hours or two days, is ever tempting. But these days many online shoppers, whether Gen X, Millennials, Gen Y or Gen Z are clicking less and walking more, due to disappointment in online garments. Dissatisfaction with the feel of the fabrics, fit of the garments, and in some cases inferior construction, is causing consumers to hit the bricks and shop in stores.

“Instant gratification is one of the major reason’s consumers prefer in-store shopping. Being able to try on and test the merchandise is great, but shoppers also like leaving the store … bags in tow,” says Mahoney. “This is really just the beginning as online has the ability to be one of the greatest incubators for physical store retailers to date.”

Image courtesy of  Erik Pendzich/REX/Shutterstock 

Both online and brick-and-mortar stores are seeking to expand their universe of marketing, but the question is should there be one strategy or channel “to rule them all” or a blending of different channels.  In the end it’s all about money and resources, so companies will choose either multi-channel marketing or an omni-channel strategy.

Retailers are trying out these new ideas, in hopes of boosting their profits. Nordstrom is building a new women’s flagship store in the heart of Manhattan, which will open in October 2019. Macy’s is developing a relationship with Story, an in-store concept that changes every month.  “We are truly seeing a blending of the channels,” says Maloney. “It is clear that at this point it should be a significantly more evolved conversation. I for one yearn for the day that we can just talk about retailing.”

—Francesca C. Simon

Matthew Jordan Smith: Giving Back and Moving Forward

Establishing a career in fashion is a very challenging endeavor, especially when so many aspirants want their piece of the pie in an industry that is seen as glamorous, exciting, and extremely profitable. Competition, if you want to call it that, is fierce and unforgiving.

Still, despite the irregularities and changing vicissitudes of this peripatetic industry, fashion has produced some of the greatest curations of moving art of the 20th and 21st centuries. And though many folks struggle to get a foothold in fashion, for those we succeed, the glory far outweighs the sacrifices.

Matthew Jordan-Smith is one of those fashion industry professionals who has succeeded. For those who are familiar with Jordan-Smith’s work from “America’s Next Top Model” and his books on photography, there is no doubt that the man has craft and skill. But, Matthew Jordan-Smith is so much more than the artist behind the camera. His recent interview with Fashion Reverie illuminates his depth of character and his photographic brilliance.

Fashion Reverie: How did you become interested in photography?

Matthew Jordan Smith: My father should take all the credit for that. My father gave me a camera when I was twelve. He not only taught me how to take pictures, but how to process my own pictures. That is when I was bit by the photography bug, and I have been going ever since. 

In the beginning, photography was a hobby, then I began reading books by Gordon Parks, James Vander Zee and I discovered that African American photographers were making a living out of photography. That changed everything for me. Later I went to art school and majored in photography. I moved to New York City, working as a photographer’s assistant, and I have been working at my craft ever since.

FR: How did fashion photography enter your career path?

Matthew Jordan Smith: Fashion came into my sphere as a student at art school. I had this one photographer that was always talking about Vogue, Zoom and other fashion publications. Because of this professor I fell in love with fashion because it was fantasy and you are creating every aspect of the image, as opposed to shooting sports where you are documenting exactly what is happening.

FR: What was the one big job that really opened the doors and helped advance your career?

Matthew Jordan Smith: There were lots of big breaks for sure; however, the first big opportunity came from Susan Taylor, the former Essence magazine editor-in-chief. She gave me an eight-page spread on business women. The next assignment at Essence magazine was shooting Anita Hill—that was in the early 90sand the assignments keep coming from there.

FR: Many people may know your appearances on “America’s Next Top Model.” That said; when did you begin to work with Tyra Banks?

Matthew Jordan Smith: I started doing test shots with Tyra Banks when she first moved to New York City as a young model. This was also early in my career. I was still working as a photographer’s assistant back then and I would work with Tyra at the end of my day and at the end of her day and we would go back to my Brooklyn apartment and do test shots.

FR: You have worked in a lot of different genres, fashion, commercial photography, celebrity photography, etc. Which genre do you like best, and why?

Matthew Jordan Smith: My favorite genre is the world of fashion and beauty because it is really where you are creating. You are a visionary and taking that inspiration and turning that into an image.

One of my favorite fashion magazines is Vogue Italia. I love the work of Stephen Meisel because his photography speaks to what is going on in society and he infuses those contemporary moments with fashion and beauty. Fashion takes on a stronger role when you infuse fashion with social issues and cultural trends.

I love fashion as social and cultural commentary. It would be almost a sin to experience all the things that are going on in the world and not show that through your art. And what can make that special is mixing in the fantasy of fashion.

FR: What is most favorite fashion editorial that you have photographed?

Matthew Jordan Smith: You always think you last editorial was the best. However, I did just shoot in editorial in Japan that I absolutely adore. It is something brand new with a perspective I had never attempted before. It is bold, beautiful and it was my favorite thing right now. It has not been published now. It is based on a designer in Japan. Their work is very electric, and I shot it that way.

Other than the current editorial, my favorite fashion editorial was my first editorial I shot for Essence magazine in the Caribbean. We shot in St. Lucia, we had two different stories coming on at the same time. And I oversaw the production and crew. That memory will last me a lifetime.

FR: Who is your favorite celebrity that you’ve photographed?

Matthew Jordan Smith: My favorite would be Aretha Franklin. I have photographed her over a 13-year period, and we had a great relationship. And looking back over all the images, the images say so much and speak volumes to me about who Aretha Franklin was and the many things that we didn’t know about her.

When she passed away, we had been trying to do another shoot for eight months. It would have been for an album she was attempting to put together. However, because of her illness, we were not able to shoot the cover of her next album. Still, in the last eight months of her life we talked to each other a lot, probably more than we had talked in all the thirteen years I had worked with her. I cherish those conversations now more than ever.

FR: Could you talk about your book, “Future American President”?

Matthew Jordan Smith: The birth of that book, believe it or not, was the birth of my photography. When I was just starting out as a photographer I was given books about Gordon Parks and James Vander Zee. Those books showed me what was possible. Before I got those books, I didn’t realize that photography could be a career and you could go around the world doing your craft. I thought of fashion as a hobby. If you don’t see people who look like you accomplishing what you are passionate about, you may bit think it is not possible for you.

That idea was the petrie dish, so to speak of Future American President. I got the idea to go around the country to every state in America and photograph young children that I didn’t know and try to inspire them that anything is possible. I would ask families about their children, have conversations, and then I would photograph them.

FR: Were people willing participants?

Matthew Jordan Smith: The idea that people might turn me down, kept me from doing this for a long time. I knew that folks would feel funny about someone, a stranger, walking up to them asking if they could take pictures of their children.

With that in mind, I took my two previous books, Sepia Dreams and Lost Found, on the road with me so folks would have a reference point about my work and see that I was legitimate. That changed everything around and very few people said no.

FR: Did anyone know you from “America’s Next Top Model”?

Matthew Jordan Smith: When I started this project, I had just met Zendaya’s father. So, asked her if I could photograph her and would she write the introduction to this book. She agreed.

Now, many of my subjects, which were young children, didn’t know me or even Tyra Banks, but they know Zendaya because she was on a Disney TV show at that time. With my books and Zendaya writing the introduction, that was my in.

FR: You are now an ambassador for Nikon. Could you speak about that?

Matthew Jordan Smith: I am honored to be the first African American ambassador for Nikon. I have been sponsored by quite a few companies in my career. The first one was Microsoft, who sponsored me for eight years. And from that other companies followed suit. Nikon approached me and it has turned into a great opportunity, facilitating some wonderful things.

FR: Did this ambassadorship with Nikon prompt your residency in Japan?

Matthew Jordan Smith: No. I first went to Japan in 1999 and continued working and visiting Japan about 20 times before taking up a residency there. The more I went back, the more I loved it.

Tokyo is like New York City on steroids. And so, I decided to make Tokyo my base.

All photos courtesy of Matthew Jordan-Smith

FR: Why do you call Tokyo, New York City on steroids?

Matthew Jordan Smith: Tokyo is way more crowded than NYC. It is all things you love about NYC minus the things you don’t like about NYC. Tokyo is extremely clean, and everyone is extremely polite. There is a sense of pride about every aspect of life that takes away the stresses of life. All the things that could be stressful about living in a big, urban city, you are not stressed out about in Japan.  It is not perfect, but I love the quality of life I have there.

That said; I come back to The States a lot. In fact, I have been back four times already in 2019.

FR: What’s next for you?

Matthew Jordan Smith: I am working two projects right now that are personal projects. The personal projects go beyond commissioned work. Personal projects like an exhibit or books have a much longer life than a campaign or editorial.

I am now pitching book on Aretha Franklin. I photographed her for 13 years and I have all these amazing photos that no one has seen. I hope to get a book deal with about these Aretha Franklin photos.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Return of the Naked Dress

Photos courtesy of instyle.com

She’s back and better than ever, and no this isn’t in reference to a celebrity who is making a comeback. The naked dress, which was trending a few years ago thanks to Beyoncé, Jennifer Lopez, and Kim Kardashian, is back and more glam and glitz than ever. It’s no secret that sex sells—ad agencies have proven ad nauseum that a beautiful woman in a skimpy outfit can sell product. In this age of celebrity royalty, marketers understand that no one sells sex better than a physically fit celebrity.The naked dress has become a cyclical staple of the celebrity red carpets, trending in-and-out of style every few years to being reinvented and welcomed back like a long-lost friend. The idea behind the naked dress is strategically placed embellishments and just the right amount of peek-a-boo skin before it borders on indecent exposure chic.

Photo courtesy of cnn.com

The naked dress isn’t an invention of this decade. This fashion phenomenon goes back even before Hollywood’s va va voom glamazons–Marilyn Monroe, Jayne Mansfield, Mamie van Doren, and Carol Baker.  Even Barbra Streisand wore a very revealing Arnold Scassi sheer black pantsuit when she won the Oscar for “Funny Girl.”  Marilyn Monroe famously wore a bedazzled, barely-there gown when she sang “Happy Birthday” to President Kennedy at a birthday celebration in New York City before a crowd of 15,000 people in 1962. Monroe’s rendition of “Happy Birthday” with her nude-toned skintight dress will go down as an iconic moment in entertainment history.

Photo courtesy of alux.com

Cher’s exposing skin moment comes in a close second to Monroe when she won the Oscar for “Moonstruck” in 1988. Cher, who worked closely with designer Bob Mackie, had Mackie create a dress that was bold with strategically placed black sequins, and all about her very fit body. This wasn’t the first time Mackie outfit her in a nude dress either. At the 1974 Met Gala the designer created a sheer feathered dress for Cher that at the time was one of the most provocative looks ever seen at The Met Gala.

Photo courtesy of pinterest.com

No one would make a statement that bold again until actress Rose McGowan bared it all at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards. The actress showed up with Marilyn Manson as her date (as if that wasn’t controversial enough), wearing a sheer black shimmery-beaded gown with a leopard thong. McGowan owned the look and rocked the red carpet, creating one of the most memorable moments in MTV VMA’s red-carpet history.McGowan was clearly ahead of her time. Over the years naked dresses would be seen on Toni Braxton at the Grammy’s, Rihanna giving a Marilyn Monroe moment at the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards, and then came the 2015 Met Gala, or as it should have been renamed “The Battle of the Naked Dress.” Beyoncé walked the red carpet in a naked dress by Givenchy, Kim Kardashian West wore one by Roberto Cavalli, and Jennifer Lopez was snatched in a skin revealing Versace gown.

Image courtesy of popsugar.com

Post 2015, naked dresses were not commonplace or red carpets; seemingly filed away a moment in fashion history. Enter the 2019 Met Gala. Emily Ratajkowski walked the runway in custom Dundas, Kendall Jenner was sexy and feathered in Versace, and Stella Maxwell was starry and sheer in Moschino. The crown jewel of all naked dresses that night went to Kim Kardashian West, who coaxed the legendary Thierry Mugler out of retirement to design the first dress he had created in twenty years. The form-fitting dress left very little of Kardashian West to the imagination, and while it was quite on theme for this year’s Gala (Camp: Notes on Fashion), it was a beautiful celebration of both the female form and a reminder of what we have missed from Mugler all these years. (The dress was designed as though Kim K had surfaced out of the ocean; a kind of Venus rising from the sea.)Although the naked dress has an appeal for celebrities who are always looking for media coverage, the naked dress doesn’t the same appeal for the average consumer. It also hasn’t found popularity among fashion magazine stylists and editors, even in summer editorials when are lot more skin is showing.

Some stylists and fashion editors have found the naked dress distasteful. Several years ago, Carolina Herrera voiced her grievances to New York Magazine, “[Some designers think] it’s so modern to be naked or almost naked. They think it’s going to attract younger people if they do those dresses. No! The almost naked! Oh God! They’re just trying to get people to pay attention to them. In life, there should be a little mystery. [These women are] supposed to be fashion icons, and yet they’re not wearing anything.”

Photo courtesy of nytimes.com

The current fascination with nude or naked dresses is another attempt by the fashion industry to excite, titillate and stimulate conversation. Maybe the proliferation of nude and/or naked dresses will appeal to consumer’s this time around. Hmm, maybe not. Remember, you must have a slammin body to look good in naked dresses!!

—Kristopher Fraser

Emily Burnett and Sterling McDavid of Burnett NY Boldly Go Where Few Brands Dare Venture

Launching a luxury fashion brand is a risky venture; particularly when you consider the current market saturation and the high concentration in the US on fast fashion. Still, there are brave, fashion souls who take up the challenge.

Emily Burnett and Sterling McDavid, of Burnett NY are two such brave souls. And their bravery is paying off.

After only two collections, Burnett NY has been picked up by some major fashion retailers. All of this is a testament to Emily and Sterling creative mien, business acumen, and the brand’s model of inclusivity.

Emily Burnett and Sterling McDavid are proving that dreams due come true. And unlike the “Odd Couple’s” Felix Unger and Oscar Madison, two dissimilar personalities sharing in an apartment in New York City and almost driving each other crazy, these two New York City creatives have crafted a brand where a woman’s fashion needs and desires come first. And they are not driving each other crazy!!

Fashion Reverie: Burnett NY is the brainchild of Sterling McDavid and Emily Burnett. How did you two come together?

Sterling McDavid: I met Emily about four years ago when I was on the search for my wedding gown. I went to many fashion houses in search for the perfect designer to make my gown. I couldn’t find any designers whose sketches matched the idea in my head. However, when I met Emily she was able to realize my vision; it all just came together.

I was engaged for two years, so it was early on that I got to know her. We worked together for some time and at my last fitting I looked at her and said, “why have you established your own brand.” At the time Emily had been a creative director for Dennis Basso for ten years.

After my wedding in August 2017, me and Emily got together to work out a partnership and how we could build a fashion brand together. A month later we had a business plan and we had come up with a strategy of how to build a fashion brand that moves the needle in women’s wear.

One of the first things that we recognized was that we were two women running a fashion brand. It may be hard to believe, but in this industry that is unusual. It is a rare to have a female creative director and a female running the business side of the brand. In addition to that we felt that the fashion industry historically has not been inclusive. We wanted to be inclusive, not just with race and ethnicity, but also with size, age, and gender fluidity. We genuinely wanted to be for all women.

With this vision we felt the best way to actualize our vision was to raise money from female investors. With that in mind, we found a diverse female investor group from all over the global.

Burnett NY Pre-fall 2019

FR: So, you wanted a diverse group of female investors that differed from the usual investment sources.Sterling McDavid: Our investors range in age from 30 to 70 years of age. They are from all different ethnicities, as well as different body sizes. And they are all regionally located. When we started this brand, we realized we wanted diverse opinions on are advisory board.

FR: Why does this diversity make a difference to your fashion brand?

Sterling McDavid: It makes a big difference. Emily and I only have two points of view and any time you bring in different cultures and perspectives, it can really help a brand grow in the right way; particularly around cultural sensitivity. For example, our East Indian investor has made us aware of things that work in her culture and what things don’t. 

FR: Oftentimes, when fashion brands use plus-size models in their runway shows, the plus-size model is there only for effect or to give the illusion that the brand is inclusion. And unfortunately, many times the garments on those models are not flattering. Your fall 2019 runway show was different. It appeared that you took the time to really put the right garments on the right models. Could you talk about that?

Emily Burnett: It was important for us from the beginning to target women of various sizes. It wasn’t about taking a sample size and putting it on a size 12. We wanted to include models that were sizes 12 and 14 and consider how they would they look their best wearing in our runway show. We wanted the clothing to flatter those body types. And what a larger woman would wear if she were going out and what garments would complement her body type.

Sterling McDavid: We wanted to inspire women with what they are wearing and not have the clothes wear them. Emily is very good at designing garments for a variety of body types and shapes. Every size twelve is not the same, so it helps that we have an in-house atelier where we custom make garments.

FR: Why did you leave Goldman Sachs and go into an industry that is peripatetic and uncertain?

Sterling McDavid: I have a traditional finance background. I went to business school at the University of Texas and I started my finance career at Goldman Sachs. My parents both had an entrepreneurial background and my goal was to get as well versed in the world of finance as I could get. And so, when I had the opportunity to go off on my own and start something, I grabbed it. Prior to starting Burnett NY with Emily, I had started two other companies.

Growing up in Texas and Emily growing up in Arizona, you don’t realize that you can have a creative career, even more a career in fashion. We had lots of support from our parents who believed we could be anything we wanted at be; however, fashion just didn’t exist for us until we got older.

I know now can be immersed in a creative environment without being the creative force. I can still bring my finance skills to this endeavor.

FR: To my knowledge Burnett NY is one of few fashion brands—excluding Sally LaPointe, Rodarte, and formerly Cushine et Ochs—comprised of two women as the leading forces behind the brand. Could you talk about that?

Emily Burnett: We think it important to show to women that you can live your dream. But more importantly, that we can create items for other women that lift them up and inspire them. It interesting to us that there are so few fashions brands were women are the leading forces. We just don’t understand that. So, putting feminine faces as the focal point of this brand is so important to us.

Additionally, we have a social mission with our brand. A portion of the proceeds from our sales goes to benefit UNICEF Girls education and empowerment programs. Burnett NY encourages young girls to live their dream, and maybe do what we are doing, even better.

FR: What is the design aesthetic of Burnett NY?

Emily Burnett: Our design aesthetic is boldly feminine. Our idea of the Burnett NY woman is a woman who is boldly confident in herself and confident with others. When she walks into a room she presents herself in a strong way. Still, she is very feminine. Burnett NY dresses women in power suits without having women look overtly masculine.

FR: Who is your customer?

Emily Burnett: We cannot be everything to every woman. However, our woman is that demographic of 30 years old to 60 years of age. She is always sophisticated, educated about fit, fabrications, and construction. Burnett NY is a luxury brand and it’s important that the materials reflect our price point because our consumer is very familiar with luxury garments.

Sterling McDavid: Our customer is also very multi-faceted. She could be a CEO but also have an intense fitness routine.  

Emily Burnett: Everything in our fall 2019 collection has an evening aesthetic that could transition from work to a cocktail hour to a gala in the evening. Which explains all the separates in the collection which helps facilitate our customers busy but exciting life.

FR: What was the inspiration for your fall 2019 collection?

Emily Burnett: Our inspiration was a bold, iconic power woman. Think of Michelle Pfeiffer and Sigourney Weaver from the late 80s and early 90s. They have ambition and passion, but they are also sexy and very, very feminine.

FR: I noticed that you had a lot of flowing skirts in your fall 2019 collection. Why that direction?

Emily Burnett: I loved the idea of this power suit with lace embellishment and flowy pleated skirt. I like to have a lot of movement in the clothes. Movement in the clothes facilitates a lot of grace and a kind of charm. That said; I still am heavily drawn to the more architectural pieces in the collection. So, I mix the flowy and architectural together.

FR: What are your price points?

Emily Burnett: Our starting price points for our separates go from $995 up to $2500. Our evening gowns go from $2500 up to $9000. Dresses are in the realm of $2500 to $4000.

Photos courtesy of Burnett NY

FR: What’s next for Burnett NY?Sterling McDavid: We think a lot about this business in the long term, so even when you built the business plan, we thought about different things the brand could accomplish down the road. We do see bridal collections in our future, and accessories as well. Our present goal is to focus on our customer and meet her needs.

FR: And Neiman Marcus recently picked up And Burnett NY.

Sterling David: Correct. That is a now for us. We are only in our second season and we have been picked up by Saks, Neiman Marcus, and Net-a-Porter.

—Wiliam S. Gooch

 

 

Fashion Tea with Kristopher: Month of April 2019

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

It has been a very chilly April, but thankfully the tea is still being served up piping hot. The first full month of spring always brings about big news in the fashion industry, and this month was no exception. Get your teacups ready, Fashion Reverie it about to pour a few cups of interesting fashion tea.A top luxury brand’s Madison Avenue flagship is hemorrhaging money due to his inability to listen to the advice of his former PR firm. When cautioned to scale back on some of his designs for the American market, the designer ignored this advice, and him and his PR eventually parted ways. His inability to adhere to their advice is costing him a pretty penny. Let’s see how much longer his store lasts.

A top fashion company will be moving their offices to none other than Hudson Yards. While rumors that the company is cash strapped have been floating, they don’t seem to be too hard up, because rents there are real estate prime, top dollar. After all, Hudson Yards is the new playground for the ultra rich.

Image courtesy of teatimetutorial.com

Things aren’t looking pretty for J. Crew. Not only is the company’s turnaround plan failing, but their employees also are exiting by the droves. Employees are jumping ship so fast it looks like a re-enactment of the Titanic. At this point, J. Crew is looking lost at sea with a buoy or lifeguard.A particular top model management company is witnessing an influence and prestige downgrade as they lose some of their models in development to other agencies. Additionally, to losing two of their top models this year to one of their biggest competitors. Oh, how the mighty might is falling. Name recognition is now not enough to maintain industry traction.

—Kristopher Fraser

Five Timeless Fashion Statements from Modern Hollywood Films

Image courtesy of fashiontrendsetter.com

One of the universal truths of fashion is that we can always find great looks in Hollywood. To some extent this is because we tend to look to celebrities and A-listers who populate the most noteworthy movies for fashion inspiration. It’s also thanks in part to the fact that films naturally put fashion in the perfect place, pairing actors with ideal outfits and just the right settings. The result is that, quite often at least, a given outfit in a film looks better than anything we might see even on a runway, magazine cover, or blog page.Considering this, Fashion Reverie wanted to take a fun look back on fashion from five popular films in the past decade. These looks have been perfect for the actors wearing them and the situations they were presented in, and they’ll be among the lasting fashion imagery of modern Hollywood.

Image courtesy of popsugar.com

Emma Stone —“La La Land”

Emma Stone’s yellow dress in 2017’s “La La Land” seemed to become an iconic piece of Hollywood fashion overnight. It’s what she wore in some of the film’s most beloved scenes—such as the City of Stars song and dance. The dress was instantly memorable, and particularly with the way certain scenes were filmed; that yellow dress really popped off of the screen. Supposedly the dress was actually based on a real red carpet look of Stone’s, and in that sense it’s sort of the epitome of celebrity fashion on screen. Any girl without a particular aversion to yellow would love to have this dress on hand for a warm spring or summer night. 

Image courtesy of InStyle.com

Sarah Jessica Parker — “Sex and The City”If you ever watched “Sex and The City,” you probably picked up more than a few fashion tips along the way; fashion and style was an essential part of the show. The same was true of the movie, and while there were a lot of great looks in it, Sarah Jessica Parker’s Gucci rose dress stole the show. It was literally an off-white dress that was about 70% covered in beautiful, detailed rose graphics. And though not everyone could have pulled it off, it was a wonderful combination of bold elegance, and lightheartedness–incidentally not a bad description of the show’s and film’s style overall.

Image courtesy of usweekly.com

Anne Hathaway — “The Devil Wears Prada”If there’s a defining fashion film from mainstream cinema in the 21st century, it has to be “The Devil Wears Prada.” This movie simultaneously delved into the business side of the fashion industry and demonstrated a virtual runway’s worth of incredible looks and outfits. Singling out one look from Anne Hathaway in this movie is sort of a shame; she and other castmates looked wonderful and glamorous throughout much of the film. However, Hathaway’s black dresses (there are a few) make particularly lovely statements. (The Prada gown she wore to The Met Gala in the film was divine.) They black dresses are simple at a glance, but Anne Hathaway is putting on a clinic on how and when to pull off this classic look.

Image courtesy of thehollywoodreporter.com

Jessica Chastain – “Molly’s Game”“Molly’s Game” isn’t quite as noteworthy as the other films in this roundup, but it may be in time, because it has a chance to be recognized as one of the last and best casino Hollywood movies. This is a 2017 film about back-room celebrity poker games in an era in which the word “casino” increasingly refers to lineups of digital games available at websites from Canada and the UK, or jingling slot apps for free play on mobile phones. These kinds of casino games can’t make for much of a movie (which is why this could be a dying genre), but the subject matter of “Molly’s Game” absolutely did. Accordingly, Chastain’s character demonstrates the stylish side of high-end poker culture, in numerous scenes and with numerous looks. Her black-and-nude dress in a scene in which she’s hosting a high-roller game, though, cuts a particularly striking image.

Image courtesy of vox.com

Constance Wu – “Crazy Rich Asians”Most of the actresses listed above were known for their style, or for great fashion style in past movies, before the aforementioned films came out. Constance Wu was a little bit more of an unknown to major audiences before starring in “Crazy Rich Asians.” However, Constance Wu  became an overnight sensation when “Crazy Rich Asians” started dominating the box office. It’s an exquisitely styled film in every sense, and there are more than a few great outfits throughout its runtime. The sheer, pale-blue Marchesa gown Wu wears to the massive wedding at the center of the film, however, is a marvel. It’s not the sort of look one might seek to replicate in everyday life, but it should be an inspiration the next time you need a standout look for a formal event!

—Staff

Spring 2020 Bridal Sketches Preview

Fashion Reverie prides itself on providing its viewers with inside information that they sometimes cannot find anywhere else. With New York International Bridal Week being only a few days away, Fashion Reverie’s staff has curated some select bridal sketches from the upcoming spring 2020 season.

From the accompanying sketches, viewers will observe that the 2020 bridal season promises to be a fantastic season. Enjoy!!

Sketch image courtesy of THEIA

THEIA is one of the bridal brands that Fashion Reverie anticipates every season. Creative Director Don O’Neill every season creates bridal collections that are both innovative and consumer friendly. For the spring 2020 season, Don O’Neill continues his penchant for light, ethereal bridal gowns. And in a nod to the brand’s namesake, THEIA the goddess of light, the spring 2020 collection is similarly ethereal, utilizing a Grecian design aesthetic with hints of floral vines and laurel motifs.

Image courtesy of Atelier PR

Francesca Miranda has set a standard for beautiful bridal gowns that speak to that bride who is looking for glorious expression of majesty. For the spring 2020 season, the bridal brand embraces whimsical romance with a touch of springtime elements expressed in vine embellishments with dipping décolletage and off-shoulder design elements.

Image courtesy of marthastewartweddings.com

An all-time favorite of Fashion Reverie, Ines di Santo for the spring 2020 season looked to fantasy and a fairy-tale world for her inspiration. “Our bride spends time in a shimmering lunar garden filled with celestial wonder. She dances through branches with fluorescent blossoms,” explained di Santo. Let celestial beauty reign!!

Image courtesy of marthastewartweddings.com

Those industry professionals who did not enjoy the privilege of attending Justin Alexander Signature fall 2019 bridal show last October missed a glorious bridal collection. This season Justin Alexander Signature spring 2020 collection promises to be just as exciting. The collection draws inspiration from the “transformative nature of spring,” explains Justin Alexander.

Image courtesy of marthastewartweddings.com

If there are adjectives that could describe Mira Zwillinger, the words sublime sophistication and definitive charm fit the bill. And that just a few adjectives. If you have ever attended a Mira Zwillinger bridal show, you immediately understand that Mira Zwillinger is pushing the proverbial envelope without hitting consumers over the head with her design aesthetic.For spring 2020, the design duo at Mira Zwillinger was inspired by the power of wish making. “… Our wish was to incorporate technology outside the fashion world to create something new and innovative,” details Mira.

Image courtesy of Naeem Khan

Naeem Khan is credited for reinventing the modern bridal gown. Every season Naeem Khan includes sequined jumpsuits, sweat suits, and even an occasional athleisure wear garment. And the genius in Khan’s bridal collection is that though many of the bridal garments could double as eveningwear, they work equally well as bridal wear with Naeem Khan’s special touch. This sketch from Khan’s spring 2020 collection reveals that there will be more than white gowns in the collection, probably some pastels, and there will romance galore with a dose of Khan’s version of va va voom.

Image courtesy of HL Group

New to Fashion Reverie this bridal season is MORILEE by Madeline Gardner. The reference of desert beauty carries over from the fall 2019 bridal collection to this spring 2020 collection. “Through the wind and sand, the silhouette of simple, structured shapes will capture the natural spirit of the bohemian bride.”

Staff

New York International Bridal Week Spring 2020 Pre-coverage

Image courtesy of Ines di Santo

With New York International Bridal Week being less than a week away, bridal designers are gearing up to present their latest collections for bridal press and invited guests. Unlike New York Fashion Week (NYFW), Bridal Week is still an ordered event, and has not been kidnapped by social media influencers and sundry crashers who only view Fashion Week as a way to build their social media audience. Bridal Week is still industry. Thank God for that!!True to form, some of New York International Bridal Week fashion staples will again show their collections, and that includes the always innovative and entertaining Ines Di Santo, THEIA, Mira Zwillinger, Reem Acra, Gracy Accad, Francesca Miranda, MORILEE, BERTA, and others. Thanks to Rachel Leonard of The Bridal Council for all her great week in bringing New York International Bridal Week front and center, and using that platform as a vehicle to keep media informed of what is going on in the bridal market all year long. 

Image courtesy of Marie Claire Australia

Fashion Reverie will be front and center bringing our viewers fantastic coverage of spring 2020 bridal season. And we will bring coverage, as we always do, of bridal designers and brands that you may not of heard of before. Stay tuned!!—William S. Gooch

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