Happy 2018!!!

Fashion Reverie would like to wish everyone a happy and prosperous 2018. 2017 was a year of great change and challenges. Still, we soldiered on. Bring a stronger commitment to excellence, truth, equity, and justice to 2018. Remember, change is constant, but so is the universe’s benevolence. Enter 2018 with great faith, perseverance, and joy.

—William S. Gooch, editor-in-chief



Fashion Reverie’s Top Stories of 2017

2017 has been a challenging year for the fashion industry. Leadership changed at several top fashion brands, and kept changing. Cases in point, Bouchra Jarrar took over the helm at Lanvin after Alber Elbaz was ousted and her tenure, if you want to call it that lasted less than eight months. The Public School duo of Maxwell Osborne and Dao Yi-Chow took over DKNY and after a year the duo exited DKNY. And add to that Phoebe Philo leaving Celine.

The retail market also had struggles in 2017. Rumors circulated throughout the year that the Nordstrom company was looking for a buyer. Though Nordstrom keep denying the rumors,there was truth to the fact that Lord &Taylor was closing their signature store in New York City. And iconic French store Colette closed its doors, as well.

That said; Fashion Reverie was front and center bringing its viewers all the goings-on in fashion. Below you find some of Fashion Reverie’s top stories in 2017. Our top stories are in no particular order or ranking; chosen on the basis of internet traffic, social media likes, and market viability.1) Adnan Khashoggi died in June of this year. At one time, this Saudi Arabian billionaire was one of the richest men in the world, with a net worth in the early 80s of over $4 billion. Coincidentally, model/business owner Jill Dodd’s tell-all book “The Currency of Love” came out around the same time of Khashoggi’s death. “Currency of Love” details Jill Dodd’s career as fashion model in Europe, her brief affair with Adnan Khashoggi, and her career as the creative director of the surfer brand Roxy.

Fashion Reverie was fortunate to get an interview with Jill Dodd. And she was candid and forthcoming about everything. “The Currency of Love” is good reading!!2) Fashion Reverie was so pleased when Carl Ayers came back to Fashion Reverie as managing editor. His first article for Fashion Reverie made this top 2017 articles list. Carl Ayers’ Fall 2017 Men’s Fragrances article included four top men’s fragrances that took our viewers’ olfactory senses to Paris, Kenya, Greece, and Venice. And it was all worth the trip!!3) 2017 was the year that Fashion Reverie returned to shooting fashion editorials. Inspired by Botticelli’s masterpiece “Primavera,” our return to fashion editorials was a resounding success. Shot in Central Park with garments from Bibhu Mohapatra, Black Halo, and Love Sam, photographer Ken Jones and stylist Renessta Olds returned to fray to make “Graces, Charm and Beauty” one of Fashion Reverie’s best fashion shoots.4) Misty Copeland had two historic debuts during America Ballet Theatre’s spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House. Misty Copeland became the first African American ballerina with American Ballet Theatre to dance “Giselle” and Kitri in “Don Quixote.” Fashion Reverie was front and center when Misty debuted as Kitri. And she danced it her way.5) Sometimes, it just takes a little time. That was the opening line of Fashion Reverie’s review of Loris Diran’s fall 2017 show during New York Fashion Week: Men’s fall 2017. And whatever time it took for Loris Diran to create one of the best shows men’s shows of the season, it was definitely worth the wait!!6) The movie “Fame” inspired so many folks to pursue a career in the arts. And Fashion Reverie was fortunate to get an interview with “Fame” ballerina Antonia Franceschi after her ballet “She Holds Out Her Hand” premiered with New York Theatre Ballet. Antonia’s conversation with Fashion Reverie left no stones unturned, and with unfettered honesty, she talked about “Fame,” her career with New York Ballet, Balanchine, and her new career as a choreographer.7) Kristopher Fraser came on staff as an associate editor in late July. And his feature articles have been well-researched, provocative, and sometimes snarky. Kristopher tackled a subject that puzzles many folks in the fashion industry; the advent of social media influencers. Kristopher scored a hit with this article and we are glad he is on board!!8) Nobody writes about beauty better than our beauty editor Janine Silver. Janine Silver’s Think Pink article laid down the law on why the color pink was summer beauty color of 2017.9) Cameron Rose came to Fashion Reverie after honing her craft at the Hollywood Reporter. Cameron brought her expert writing skills to an incredible article on the television series “The Bold Type.”10) Fashion Reverie had an incredible New York International Bridal Week in October. Reem Acra’s bridal fall 2018 show stood out this season. Inspired by saintly spirits, Reem Acra’s bridal collection was every thing a bridal collection should be and more. And there was something for almost every type of bride!!11) Taylor Swift continues to dominant pop music. Fashion Reverie was fortunate to have an inside track on all the jewels she wore in her recent music video “Look What You Made Me Do.” Talk about jewels, jewels, and more jewels.12) The fashion industry lost one of the most creative souls in the industry in 2017, Azzedine Alaia. Fashion Reverie looked back as his career and the brilliance of his designs

—William S. Gooch

Happy Holidays!!

In this year of disruption and change, it can be comforting to know that some institutions and media outlets hold true to their signature perspective. Fashion Reverie is primed and committed to continue to bring viewers a detailed and highly introspective look into the expanding and ever-changing face of fashion.

This holiday season, Fashion Reverie would like to thank its viewers, the fashion designers/brands and the public relations firms that represent them, and above all our talented staff editors and writers for much success in 2017. We would also like to wish everyone a very Happy Holiday and a prosperous New Year,

In 2018 expect more detailed and nuanced coverage of all things fashion. Fashion Reverie will celebrate six years of fashion coverage in March of 2018, and will continue to expand and stay true to our signature voice and point of view. Again, Happy Holiday season!!

—William S. Gooch, editor-in-chief

Last-Minute 2017 New Year’s Eve Looks

                                           Image courtesy of APERWEB

Has your holiday schedule been so busy that you haven’t had time to think about what you are going to wear to that fantastic New Year’s Eve bash? No need to fret, Fashion Reverie has assembled some great looks from some great brands that fits your budget and will make folks stand up and pay attention to you. And also, if you act fast you get those looks just in time for that great New Year’s Eve party.Could you ask for anything better? Of course, you couldn’t; Fashion Reverie always delivers!!

                                               Images courtesy of THEIA

THEIA is primarily known as a fashion-forward bridal brand. (Fashion Reverie is always front and center at their bridal shows.) However, THEIA creates fall/winter, spring/summer, and holiday/resort ready-to-wear collections each year. Creative director Don O’Neill has done an excellent job designing some great holiday garment that will make you shine at that New Year’s Eve party.You can purchase these great looks online and receive just in time before your party and prices ranges from $300 to $600. THEIA is sold in over 350 stores, including Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and many specialty stores.

                                             Images courtesy of Ideason8 PR

Known primarily for its Jackie O collection, which launched in 2006 and paid homage to Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Black Halo has expanded its design aesthetic to include a wide range of feminine silhouettes that appeals to wide demographic. For this holiday season, Black Halo has centered their holiday collection on a rich holiday red color palette.Now don’t be mistaken, there is lots of glitter and glam in this 2017 holiday collection, as well as the current trends of statement sleeves, cutouts, and asymmetrical cuts. You cannot go wrong with a great holiday garment for Black Halo’s 2017 holiday collection. And if you don’t believe you can order it online in time for New Year’s Eve, Black Halo is in Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus, and Bloomingdales.

                                           Images courtesy of Nicole Miller

Nicole Miller has been a go-to brand that chic fashionista for over 25 years. And in recent collections, Nicole Miller has injected an interesting dose of youthful vigor and fashion-forward sentimentality. For this holiday season, Nicole has created some great black cocktail dresses that cause heads to turn. Remember, you cannot wrong with that special little black dress!!

                                             Images courtesy of Sachin & Babi

For the 2017 holiday season, Sachin & Babi teamed up with Macy’s. For their debut collection at Macy’s Sachin & Babi has created some season appropriate sparkly, flirty and fun dresses for that young female that wants to stand out and be noticed with breaking the bank.SB by Sachin & Babi perfectly captures the energy and glamour of the holiday season in New York City with sophisticated statement pieces and exquisitely crafted, eye-catching items. Dresses start at $118 and go up to around $275.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Haute Holiday Gift Guide

Aside from religious importance, the holiday season is a time we dedicate to celebrating the people closest to us. We show how much we cherish one another with thoughtful gifts that we hope will bring joy to the lives of the recipient. Usually, those gifts are personal and not too expensive, but sometimes we want to give something lavish and luxurious. This season, we decided to tip the scales in favor of the glamourous life and find opulent presents that we guarantee won’t be under most Christmas trees.

                           Image courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Christopher Jump Rope ($545)For that fit friend who likes to exercise in designer athletic gear, give them a Louis Vuitton jump rope. Made of a leather strand and handles that are covered with Monogram Eclipse canvas, the new Christopher jump rope gives a high-end feel to a low-impact workout. And it comes with its own signature, carrying pouch, of course!

                   Image courtesy of gucci.com

Gucci Embroidered Kingsnake Cushion ($1,250)The Chinese calendar says 2017 is the year of the rooster, but in fashion, it is the snake—the Gucci kingsnake, that is. Seen on the brand’s most sought after garments this season, the snake motif has taken a firm hold on the fashion world. But don’t be like everyone else. Show off a bit of individuality by not wearing it on your back, but by displaying it on your sofa. This velvet, embroidered pillow adds the perfect amount of bite to any home décor.

                        Image courtesy of Ermenegildo Zegna

Ermenegildo Zegna Pelle Tessuta Vicuna Domino Set ($1,295)Sometimes, it’s the simple things that bring us joy. And when simple things are exquisitely made, then even better! This domino set is made of vicuna calf leather, is expertly hand painted, and is stored in a carrying case that is as well crafted as the game pieces. Pelle Tessuta, meaning, “woven leather,” articulates Ermenegildo Zegna’s penchant for craftsmanship and technological innovation that is exemplified in each item the brand creates.

                      Image courtesy of bridgecatalog.com

Versace Tableware ($60–$1,425)We all know that one person who is the ultimate host. Why not help them REALLY wow their guests by giving them Versace tableware. The fashion house makes everything from cutlery and candy dishes to decanters and dessert trays. Don’t fret about what pieces to buy. With such a wide selection, you can buy a few items now, and buy more next Christmas—you’ll already know what to get them.

               Image courtesy of Michael Kors

Michael Kors Smartwatch ($350)These days, technology and fashion go hand in hand, so it’s natural that advancements in tech would crossover to jewelry and watches. This season, Michael Kors released his own smartwatch, compatible with both Androids and iPhones. With three designs to choose from (Bradshaw, Grayson, and Sofie), there’s one for every chic lifestyle, no matter Uptown or Downtown. 

                     Image courtesy of colette.fr

Saint Laurent x Polaroid Originals Vintage Polaroid SX-70 Camera ($590)With most of us walking around with a 12-mega pixel camera in our smartphones, almost anyone can be a shutterbug. But why not go retro? In collaboration with Polaroid, the house of Saint Laurent created a vintage Polaroid SX-70 camera exclusively for the Parisian boutique, Colette. Coupled with their black and white film (for an additional $35), whoever receives this can be on their way to becoming the new Andy Warhol or Helmut Newton.


        Image courtesy of farfetch.com

Balenciaga Macro Scarf ($635)Sometimes, we just want to be noticed. No one goes unnoticed in this huge, luxurious scarf. Made of cashmere and wool, and measuring roughly 1’ x 6.5’, this scarf is as warm and comfortable as it is loud and ostentatious (in a good way.) And if the size alone doesn’t draw attention, “BALENCIAGA” is emblazoned on both sides of this reversible neck warmer.

             Image courtesy of californiahomedesign.com

Missoni Ottoman ($645)The holiday season can mean a lot of hosting at home, and with large crowds, seating is a commodity. Extra chairs and stools aren’t always the answer, as they may be bulky and actually take up more precious room. But an ottoman, something that can be used as an accent piece and can be easily stored, may be the answer. Missoni’s ottomans and cushions make relaxing on the floor luxurious. So, why not gift a posh poof? If you bring it to the holiday party, at least you’ll know you have somewhere to sit.

—Carl Ayers



Fashion Reverie’s Unique Holiday Spirits Round-up (with mixed drink recipes)

                                Image courtesy of draughtlinemag.com

The holiday season is a terrific time for giving gifts, celebrating traditions, commemorating with friends and family, and reflecting on the past year. Amid the festive gift giving and celebration of family traditions and great food, that extra special touch that can give your holiday celebrations a memorable twist is the holiday drinks and libations you serve for friends and family. Fashion Reverie has assembled four unique powerful holiday spirits, as well as some holiday drink recipes, that can make your holiday season more festive and special. Just remember to drink in moderation; holiday celebrations are best remembered if they are remembered with fondness and joy!!

Vodka is a spirit that is not readily associated with the holiday season. When it comes to holiday revelry, one usually reflects on run, gin, wine, champagne, and sometimes whiskey.

                              Image courtesy of seventhhousepr.com

This holiday season experiment with something different; surprise friend and family with  Zirkova One+Together . A Ukrainian vodka, Zirkova One+Together believes that every one of us is unique and a vital part of the tapestry that we call humanity. Zirkova One+Together acknowledges the greatness in each of us, empowering everyone to just be who they are and unite with others in the spirit of optimism and possibility. Sounds like the perfect spirit for the holidays!Zirkova One+Together is meticulously handcrafted in two expressions—Zirkova One (to be sipped straight, neat, on the rocks or in a martini) & Zirkova Together (which marries the flavors with which it’s mixed for cocktails), and is produced by merging centuries old techniques with modern day technology, using quadruple distillation, the purest artesan spring water, and the finest center-cut Ukrainian wheat and rye spirits.

Rudolph’s Relaxer

Zirkova One+Together vodka

3 oz Zirkova vodka

1 oz Grand Marnier

Cranberry juice

Top with ginger ale, garnish with a slice of pear

                   Image courtesy of Tanreo Tequila

Tequila is another non-traditional holiday spirit. Well, that depends on your cultural traditions!! If you really want to get the holiday parties started, you might want to consider, Tanteo Tequila. Tanteo® Tequila is the original 100% agave spicy tequila. With both original Jalapeño and smoky Chipotle expressions, Tanteo is distilled, infused, and bottled by hand in the hills of Jalisco, Mexico. The result is an award-winning artisanal product that is anything but ordinary. Tanteo Spirits Company in New York City and is available in bars, restaurants, and spirits shops across the United States.

Santa’s Sting

3 oz Tanreo Jalapeño or Chipotle tequila

1 oz peppermint schnapps

Top with club soda

Serve in a tall glass, garnish with a candy cane.

                               Image courtesy of wickedlemonade.com

Now, if you want to really get lit for the holidays, and experience some southern comfort, experience Southern Wicked Lemonade. And it’s southern moonshine. That’s right, legal moonshine!!

Southern Wicked Lemonade is an array of certified all natural, organically sweetened, gluten-free cocktail created from a process of fruit infusion and spirits. Southern Wicked Lemonade is committed to a healthy spirit alternative, using all natural ingredients, organic sweeteners and fruit infusion.

North Pole Punch (makes 2 quarts)

16 oz Wicked Lemonade Raspberry Moonshine

16 oz fruit punch

12 oz strawberry syrup

10 oz lemon juice

10 oz pineapple juice

15 dashes of bitters

                                        Image courtesy of shopify.com

Now, if you are fully committed to conventional holiday spirits, there is no better holiday spirit than Hendricks Gin. Hendrick’s Gin is a brand of gin produced by William Grant & Sons in Girvan, Scotland, and launched in 1999.  In addition to the traditional juniper infusion, Hendrick’s uses Bulgarian rose and cucumber to add flavor. Hendrick’s uses a blend of spirits produced from a Carter-Head Still (constructed in 1948), of which there are only a small number in the world. In contrast, the spirit derived from the Carter-Head still is much subtler with light floral and sweet fragrances. 

Elves Day Off

3 oz Hendricks Gin

2 oz apple liqueur

Juice of ½ a lemon

Top with lemon-lime soda

Pour over ice, and add 3 cranberries as garnish.

—William S. Gooch and Carl Ayers

Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Stocking Stuffers

                             Image courtesy of potterybarnkids.com

The twelve days of Christmas are upon us. And instead of singing about turtledoves and French hens, we’ve compiled a list of twelve gifts, consumers actually want. These stocking stuffers are small gifts guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit!!Bear-y good!Sugarfina, the global purveyor of high quality confectionaries, has taken their gummy bear collection to new heights. In time for the holiday season, Sugarfina has released a limited edition of 24K Gold Champagne bears. While Sugarfina has a standard collection of champagne and rosé-infused gummies, the 24K gold bears are in a league of their own. Made with Dom Pérignon, each brut and rosé bear is hand-gilded in edible 24K gold, making for a snack that looks as good as it tastes.O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree, how lovely are thy branches

Deck the halls and stock the bar. Pickering’s Gin has created Christmas Baubles that will adult-ify any home for the holiday. Sold in sets of six, each plastic ornament contains 50ml of Pickering’s gin, enough to brighten your holiday. Simply unscrew the cap of the bauble and drink the shot, or pour the gin into your holiday beverage. Afterward, screw the cap back on, and rehang the ornament on the tree. They are reusable, so you can refill them with your booze of choice. Thank you Pickering’s for helping keep the party going!! 

Delicious, delicate, delectableThe macaron is the quintessential Parisian pastry, and macaron is the place to find this dainty desert. At La Maison, they have created over 150 flavors of macaron, from vanilla to champagne, fig to apple calvados. Made by hand using natural ingredients, and free of chemicals and preservatives, the light snacks dance on your tongue and melt in your mouth. After trying just one, you will attest that La Maison du Macaron lives up to their promise of taste, elegance, flavor, and comfort.Silent Night

Let’s be honest, the holiday season can leave you tuckered out. From schlepping from store to store to get the perfect gifts for your loved one or from hopping from party to party with all of your friends, our bodies get worn down. When the holidays are over, most of us just want good, sound, peaceful sleep. Lectrofan has developed a device to help us get the rest that our body needs. The Lectrofan is a sound machine that redefines the science of sleep. By making advances in adaptive audio and ambient noise analysis, Lectrofan has created a noise-neutralizing device that clears the way to blissful slumber. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry

Christmas can be one of the most social times of the year. A number of us host holiday parties to celebrate with our friends, and one of the biggest downsides of hosting is the post-party cleanup. Edie Parker has created confetti coasters to help (partially) alleviate mess. Made of acrylic, these coasters add festive décor to your party while preventing rings on your tables.A Little Slice of Heaven on Earth

For some, Christmas is a time for travel and relaxation. There are those of us who actively try to avoid the cold and snow during the holidays and head to a warm climate. If you can’t escape to the tropics, you can bring the tropics to you. Coqui Coqui has a collection of candles that takes your nose on a tour of the Yucatan. Coco Coco is inspired by the palm trees scattered along Tulum’s white sand beaches; the lime and mint Menli fragrance reflects the lush gardens of Coba; and the scent of Rosas Secas reflects the town of Valladolid. Alongside 10 more scents, you can have the olfactory experience of your life via also the company’s linen sprays, massage oils, and hand soaps. With Coqui Coqui, you may not need that roundtrip ticket from Aeroméxico.
I Want To Get Away

Sometimes we need a little motivation to make major plans. If you’ve been thinking about planning a trip to Paris, this petite handbag may give you the extra push that you need. Ban.do has a clutch with a chenille patch that simply reads “bonjour.” Big enough to store your cell phone, yet small enough to be used as a wallet—Perfectly Parisian—this pochette is apropos for your selfies with the Eiffel Tower, and it even has a special compartment for your passport (hint hint)!Sparkle from your hands to your toes

Holiday sparkle doesn’t have to be limited to your Christmas tree. You can add sparkle and glitter to your nails with Lust Cosmetics nail polish. Founded by Samara Walker, Lust Cosmetics nail lacquer is vegan, gluten free, and cruelty free. The brand’s nail lacquers are “8 Free”colors inspired by seasonal and fashion trends with a feminine touch. And for this festive season, Lust Cosmetics has an exclusive holiday collection that comes in a five-color kit with such sassy names as ‘high fashion diva,’ ‘spicy in the city,’ and ‘pumpkin spice where?’. Though this five-color holiday collection is a little pricy at $125, it is definitely worth it. Remember, all collections are made in the US. So, you can be festive and socially correct at the same time!!If You Love Her, Put It In Writing

Nothing is more meaningful than a personalized gift. Sure, you can have a locket or ring engraved. But you can also turn it up a notch and get a bracelet custom made with your actual handwriting. Etsy craftsman CarolJewelryArt can turn your personal note into a beautiful piece of handmade jewelry. This is a wonderful way to express your love during the holiday and year round.365Cool

Roka has released their Falcon TI aviator shades that will keep stylishly fly every day of the year. But there is more than meets the eye with these sunnies—they are chock full of performance technology. The titanium frame and ULTRA lenses are light as a feather. The pads on the nose and temples areas have proprietary tech that keeps them from slipping. The lenses are anti-scratch, anti-fog, and anti-reflection coatings. Whether you’re running around the mall, running errands or running cross country, these frames are what you need to have with you.Jackery Bolt (portable charger)

We’re all on the go, and we all need a pocket charger to power up our phone batteries. But there are power chargers, and then there is the Jackery Bolt. A few things separate this charger from its competition. First, it has the Android and iPhone cables attached, so you don’t need to carry the cords with you. Secondly, it has a USB port, so you can charge three devices at once. Thirdly, it has a built-in flashlight- a feature that is always good to have. So whether you’re charging your phone and tablet on the fly, or searching for your keys in the dark, Jackery Bolt has you covered. Cocoon Eye Shades

Ensure your rest is unhindered with Cocoon Eye Shades. This sleep mask is made with microfiber for a soft touch against your face and is shaped like sunglasses to reduce pressure against your eyes. The team at Cocoon thought about your total comfort, so they also including a pair of earplugs. So whether you use this mask when traveling, while relaxing poolside, or for drowning out visiting relatives, be prepared to disconnect from the world for a bit.

—Carl Ayers




There is a ‘Movember’ winner!!

                            Image courtesy of Mountaineer Brand

Fashion Reverie would like to thank everyone that participated in our 2017 ‘Movember’ giveaway!! This was a very successful giveaway and our readers should more exciting giveaways in 2018.Our 2017 ‘Movember’ giveaway winner is Kevin C from San Diego, California. Fashion Reverie hopes he enjoys his prize of the Mountaineer Brand beard kit. Readers stay tuned for more giveaways in 2018!!


Social Media Influencers or Celebrities, Which Nod Brings More Value?

                      Image courtesy of shutterstock.com

Fashion is never static. And that can be a good thing. One season ruffles could be the big trend and the next season boxy shoulders and oversized jackets could be trending. The mercurial nature of fashion is expected and constant. What is not a constant, particularly in this age of technology is a fashion brand maintain and expanding its consumer base.For the past few decades, some fashion designers/brands have looked to celebrities to expand the brand’s market viability. Over twenty years ago, Elizabeth Hurley wore Versace safety pin dress, known as “THAT Dress,” demonstrating that when a popular celebrity wears a designer’s garment, the combination can give the brand more market viability. (Elizabeth Hurley was becoming an A-list celebrity with starring roles in “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Passenger 57.” The safety pin dress helped make Hurley and Versace household names.) Lady Gaga helped further catapult Alexander McQueen to fame by wearing many of his custom designs. And Madonna increased Jean-Paul Gaultier popularity by wearing his cone bra on her ‘Blond Ambition’ tour.

    Lady Gaga in Alexander McQueen image courtesy of vogue.com, Elizabeth Hurley in  Versace image courtesy of vogue.com, and Madonna in Jean-Paul Gaultier image courtesy    of glamour.com

Lately, Fashion Reverie and many fashion publications are pondering a difficult question: does a celebrity nod still bring value to fashion brands? That depends on how you pose the question or whose opinion matters.Some fashion brands opinions are changing as they continue to turn their attention more towards digital and social media influencers. In a recent article in WWD, it was revealed that eighty percent of brand collaborations for the first half of 2017 were co-ventures with influencers, not celebrities. As influencers continue to gain followings as large, or even in some cases larger than celebrities, companies have shifted their marketing dollars.

Images of Hailee Steinfield for Miu Miu spring 2011, Rihanna for Balmain fall 2014, and Jennifer Lawrence for Dior fall 2015 courtesy of realstylenetwork.com, justjared.com, and thefashionspot.com, respectively

That isn’t to say that celebrity presence has disappeared entirely, or that these fashion design houses will ever stop dressing celebrities, but there is a cultural and economic shift in marketing. Where some years back, A-list actress would be the first choice for store campaign, fashion brands and some fashion houses have become much more interested in Instagram partnerships with bloggers and influencers who boast six and seven figure followings.This marketing business model concentrates on the relatable factor of influencers versus celebrities to younger consumers. However, this business model doesn’t always work or having staying power. When asked, Fashion Week and editorial stylist Anthony Leroux contends, “Balmain is one example of how [celebrities] run a brand. Look at what the Kardashians did [for] it. You can just put a face on a brand and call it a day. I don’t buy clothes because of a face, so I don’t care if it’s Beyoncé or Kendall [Jenner] up there. Celebrities dilute brands.”

     Kendall and Kylie Jenner in Balmain campaign image courtesy of harpersbazaar.com

The truth is while most influencers give the impression of leading these normal, everyday lives, lives comparable to consumers, with a bit of fashion and glamour thrown in, many of them are highly compensated, and often come from affluent families or have accumulated their own wealth. As tight-lipped as the fashion industry is about the payout for collaborations and campaigns, it’s no secret these influencers are well compensated. According to a recent article in Forbes titled “Earning Power: Here’s How Much Top Influencers Can Make On Instagram And YouTube,” influencers can make up to $5000 per post, and up to $100,000 per campaign for Instagram. For Youtube, where beauty vloggers have found major influence, it’s even more, with rates going up to $300,000 for a video partnership.With the average worker earning $51, 939 yearly, the average social media influencer is earning more. Still, what is the return on investment (ROI) for these fashion brands?

           Images of influencers Chiar Ferragani, Bryan Boy, and Manny Mua courtesy of    theblondsalad.com, accessoriesmagazine.com, and youtube.com, respectively

While most brands decline to reveal how much ROI they get from influencer collaborations, according to an April 2017 Forbes article “How To Measure The ROI of an Influencer Marketing Campaign,” influencer campaigns can net 11 times the ROI of banner ads when done correctly. Influencers are also at an advantage because they can work with multiple brands to build credibility.“If you become a face of a brand like Selena Gomez for Coach, you’ll see sales rise immediately after someone like that is signed,” said Alex D’Alessio, a New York City–based advertising art director. “However, an influencer has the power to sell more types of clothes from more than just one brand because they are not signed or contracted to an exclusive deal, so more brands can work with them. Those influencers can reach millions of people with different brands, rather than one celebrity signed to one brand where the majority of those interested are already consumers of that brand.”

Images clockwise courtesy of fashiongonerogue.com, popsugar.eu, and eonline.com, respectively

Though some fashion industry professionals might disagree, social media influencers have become the new celebrities. Especially, with some influencers being known by millions of people globally, and becoming the primary association with certain brands (Marcel Floruss at Hugo Boss, hello!). And while some of the old fashion guard might not feel influencers’ fire, they have become the new go-to. Social media is the new mall and Instagram is the new billboard.— Kristopher Fraser

Fashion Reverie Model Exclusive: Michelle de Swarte

                Images courtesy of thejc.com, pinterest.com, and the uprise.org.uk

Is there a life after a successful modeling career? Just ask Cindy Crawford, Christie Brinkley, Heidi Klum, Jerry Hall, and Christy Turlington. Cindy Crawford has her skincare line; Heidi Klum has made a mint creating and producing “Project Runway,” licensing that reality fashion show around the world; Christie Brinkley has appeared on Broadway and had a reoccurring role on Parks and Recreation; Jerry Hall has married one of the richest men in the world, and Christy Turlington has a PhD.It is a given that a modeling career can be very short—lasting just a few years for most models. And while supermodels can have a career that may extend over a couple of decades, the smart ones are always looking to transition into other lines of work. Michelle de Swarte is one such top model.

Fashion Reverie first met Michelle de Swarte when she served on a recent panel discussion about mental illness and the fashion industry. Very outspoken and candid, Michelle impressed the Fashion Reverie staff with her honesty and sense of humor. We later learned that Michelle de Swarte has made that difficult transition from a career that centers primarily being seen and not heard to a career where she speaks her mind and finds humor in human behavior.

From having fashion campaigns from H&M, Burberry, Betsey Johnson, Cartier, Tommy Hilfiger, Michael Kors, MAC, Sephora, and many others to making folks laugh at everyday foibles, Michelle de Swarte is one of the few top models that have transitioned to successful careers outside of the fashion industry. And she is still building momentum.

Michelle de Swarte candidly spoke with Fashion Reverie about her life, modeling, and of course, being funny.

Fashion Reverie: How did you get into modeling?

Michelle de Swarte: I got into modeling when I was scouted. When I was about 17, a friend of mine wanted to model but it didn’t work out for her. She took me along to a casting and I got signed to a British modeling agency. I didn’t understand how the fashion industry worked at the time, so the first time around modeling didn’t really work out that well for me. I shaved my hair off and that particular agency dropped me. I thought modeling was over for me at that point.

Some years later, I bumped into a booker from Select Models at a shopping mall and she wanted to sign me. (Now, remember Select, as well as many model management companies were not interested in me when I was 17.) At any rate, I was signed to Select Models and moved on from there to Storm Model Management. I was sent very quickly to the US and in my first month in the US I booked Harper’s Bazaar and a few more things. I originally was only supposed to be in New York City for two weeks, but I loved it and stayed.

                   Images courtesy of vogue.it, pinterest.com, and runwaymayhem.com

FR: Why did you like New York City?Michelle de Swarte: I didn’t necessarily like New York, but it looked like this was going to be the first time I was going to have some sort of career as a fashion model. At that time in Great Britain—we are talking the early 2000s—there wasn’t really a career to be had for models of color, to actually live in the UK and make a living as a model. Models in the UK at that time got the odd job, but you couldn’t make a good living as a model.

FR: That is very interesting because in the US we all think of British models like Naomi Campbell and Jourdan Dunn doing very well in the United Kingdom.

Michelle de Swarte: They have, but Naomi’s fashion career is mostly in the US and other European countries. Even to this day, when has a British fashion brand hired Naomi Campbell to front their campaign? Additionally, Jourdan Dunn has made most of money in the US. UK clients came on board after Jourdan Dunn became a big success in NYC.

FR: What was your initial impression of the fashion industry when you started having a serious career as a fashion model?

Michelle de Swarte: My first impression was one of chaos. I also found it really had to get my head around things that had great relevance in the fashion industry but had very little importance to folks outside of the industry. The urgency around those fashion particulars really blew my mind and I also found very funny. But, I learned early on that to be successful I had to take the industry seriously, even if it seemed ridiculous.

FW: Could you name some of the famous fashion brands you worked with early on in your career?

Michelle de Swarte: Early on I worked for Tommy Hilfiger, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Missoni, Gap, H&M, and Versus, just to name a few.

FR: Wow, that is a very prestigious list early on in a modeling career.

Michelle de Swarte: Yes, it is. But, but at the time I wasn’t thinking about the prestige of the fashion brands. I was more excited about the paychecks.

    Images courtesy of pinterest.com, fwmagazine.com, and fashionmodeldirectory.com

FW: Who were some of your favorite designers you loved working for, and why?Michelle de Swarte: I loved working for Issey Miyake; he is one of the nicest men you will ever meet. Tom Ford was great to work with. When I first walked in his show—Tom Ford was designing for Gucci at the time—I fell three times. Tom Ford was so nice about it; he was so lovely about me falling down. This was my first runway season. I have also worked with some really nice photographers, like Steven Meisel.

FR: I know that this is a taboo subject in the fashion industry, but could you talk about the kind of money you and other models were making at the start of your career?

Michelle de Swarte: I remember a booking agent telling me once after I booked one of my first jobs that I had to go out and purchase an expensive handbag. I couldn’t understand why this was necessary for my career. This bag was going to cost about $2000 and I had just gotten a check for $5000, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on a designer bag. The agent explained to me that it takes money to make money. In other words, I had to look like I was making a lot of money to book the jobs that paid well.

That is one of the reasons that a lot of models don’t want to talk about what they’re really making. They want to appear as though they are making more than they actually are to keep their day rate up.

Magazine editorial rates at magazines are quite low; you are fortunate if you get paid $250. If you are walking in a show and getting $10,000 to walk in that show, if you are from another country, you are lucky if your take home pay is $4000 after they take out taxes, other deductions, and agency fees. A new model coming to NYC from another country is lucky if she is making $30,000 her first year.

When I first came to NYC, I helped out a lot of model friends financially because I was booking a lot of commercial jobs that paid very well, while some of my model friends were booking editorial jobs that don’t pay well. A good example of this is a friend of mine that was seen everywhere. She had tons of editorial work and really had her moment. However, she wasn’t paid well because most of her work was editorial work. She only had one big commercial campaign that was a Jean-Paul Gaulthier fragrance campaign.

How a lot of new models, particularly from other countries, survive in NYC the first few years is getting money advances from the model management companies. The advances keep you in debt to the management companies, plus they charge you interest on your debt—5% to 15%. The model management companies now charge models for everything, from test shots to comp cards, travel expenses to everything. When I first got in the industry at least test shots were free of charge.

FR: In your experience, what fashion brands did you not have a good experience with?

Michelle de Swarte: There were not many. I have had an all-around good experience for the most part. I had a great experience with photographer Terry Richardson, but a lot of models can chime in on that. My experience with Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) was not great because they can be very rude.

I walked in a show for D&G and later shot a lookbook for the brand. For D&G, the hair and makeup team picked the models that they wanted to work with. Being a model of color, I was the last one picked. It felt like being in a gym class and picking sides. The makeup artist who got stuck with me was angry because none of his makeup matched by complexion. He didn’t know how to style my hair. My hair ended up looking like tumbleweed or a bowl of oatmeal with no water. Because my hair and makeup looked horrible, D&G didn’t want to pay the agency fee for my services.

FR: You have always been outspoken, where does that come from?

Michelle de Swarte: Maybe my being outspoken came from my being from South London; maybe it came from starting modeling at the age of 20, which is considered a late start. I never put all my eggs in one basket, realizing that a modeling career can be very short. Now, I can say what I want and it doesn’t affect my career.

FR: You have transitioned from modeling to hosting television programs and doing stand-up comedy. Why that transition?

Michelle de Swarte: In my late 20s I became really aware that I didn’t have a formal education and I wanted to do some other things. I had always been told that I was funny. Now, being told that you are funny in the fashion industry doesn’t necessarily translate to being funny in the regular world. Still, I thought I would give comedy a go.

I started doing stand-up comedy in NYC. I found an agent and I now do standup in the UK and the US. Stand-up comedy doesn’t rely on the way you look. In fact, being easy on the eye doesn’t help you at all in stand-up.

                            Images courtesy of youtube.com and kmestudio.com

FR: Could you talk about some of your stand-up gigs?Michelle de Swarte: I have done stand-up on the BBC and I have appeared on Comedy Central.

FR: But you still model.

Michelle de Swarte: Yes, I do. Modeling is like a bad boyfriend you have a good time with. You talk about leaving, but when a great job comes along, you dust off your heels and dive right in. I am still on Wilhelmina Models board, so the work still comes in.

FR: What’s next for you?

Michelle de Swarte: I have been a part of Gloria Steinem’s initiative “Woman with Gloria Steinem,” I am still a part of that. And I am continuing to write and do stand-up.

—William S. Gooch





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