New York Bridal Week Spring 2018 Sketches

Is New York International Bridal Week all about white bridal gowns? Not entirely. And Fashion Reverie has the sketches to prove it.

Every season Fashion Reverie publishes the spring 2018 sketches of from the collections of the season’s top bridal designers. And every season, the Fashion Reverie staff is amazed at home bridal designers ingeniously detail the brand’s inspiration into bridal collection that not only go beyond white bridal gowns, but also push the bridal market in a forward projection.

Image courtesy of Kelly Faetanini

Image courtesy of Kelly Faetanini

Inspired by Shakespeare and innocent feelings of seduction, Kelly Faetanini’s “dark romance” reference is evidenced in a spring 2018 collection that balances hints of black against shades of barely-there blush.

Images courtesy of THEIA

Images courtesy of THEIA

“[For spring 2018,] we are mixing cotton Guipures over nude silk charmeuse linings and adding in hints of color, a whisper of blush and breath of blue,” says Theia’s creative director Don O’Neill. “Our elegant beaded gowns continue to be a focus, featuring lots of pearl details.”

Images courtesy of Atelier PR

Mira Zwillinger sketch images courtesy of Atelier PR


“Some where over the rainbow skies are blue, and the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true.” Mira Zwillinger

—Staff

 

Fashion Reverie Spotlight: Joan Juliet Buck’s “The Price of Illusion”

Downloads364“All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players; they have their exits and their entrances, and one man in his time plays many parts … –“As You Like It” William Shakespeare

Joan Juliet Buck’s stage for almost her entire lifetime has been her ability to eloquently express her emotions through words. From being an actor, an essayist, a novelist, and an editor-in-chief, Buck has proven time and time again that she is one of those rare individuals that can use many platforms and stages to demonstrate her talent.

In her new memoir “The Price of Illusion: A Memoir,” Buck brilliantly details the circuitous and uncanny incidents in her life. And this fully realized life, though its wanderings, resettlements, and final denouement is played against the backdrop of fashion, film, theatre and eccentric characters. Joan Juliet Buck herself being the most vivid and unpredictable character of any in the memoir.

Fashion Reverie was graced with the incredible opportunity to interview Joan Juliet Buck a few weeks after the release of “The Price of Illusion: A Memoir.” And as in her memoir , this interview is revelatory.

Fashion Reverie: Why title your memoir “The Price of Illusion”?

Joan Juliet Buck: It was the title that fit the story. I didn’t know what the story would be until I finished every single draft of the book. When I finished every single draft—and there must have been about 15 drafts—I had an idea that there had been a lot of illusion in my life, and thus the title.

FR: What prompted you to write this memoir at this point in your life?

Joan Juliet Buck: Well, I’m getting on in age. When I reached the age of 62, I started looking back on my life and what I’ve accomplished. And when I looked back at my life, nothing added up. A lot of things that happened in my life if I tried to tell those things in a work of fiction it would seem like a round of hallucinations. So, I realized, first of all, I am only thinking clearly when I am typing or writing in my diary. I needed to think about every thing that had happened, and make sense of it.

When I started my book I started with some incidents that had happened much later in my life. I stared with a terrible incident that happened while I was on holiday with this guy I thought would be my Prince Charming. That was first thing I had to write about because I had to examine what was going on with me at the time.  I had to figure out that story, living in a house with people I didn’t know with a man I didn’t like, holding the corpse of a man who was my host on my knees. That was something I needed to figure out.

After that, I decided to go back to the beginning because the one book that everyone wanted me to write about was my time as editor-in-chief at French Vogue and funnel that knowledge into a book about French couture. Which is something I have never been interested in writing about. (I had written two novels in the 1980s that didn’t sell that well.)

I had to figure out how I ended up at French Vogue in a job in which I was miscast. And when I started writing about that experience, I began to understand that if it had not been for an illusion in Hollywood that began before I was born and continued after I was born—that Communists were running the movie industry, an illusion held by Senator Joseph McCarthy—my parents would not have moved to Paris when I was a young child. Not that my parents were Communists, but it was a ridiculous situation in Hollywood at that time. Everything that happened to me, good, bad or indifferent, all that comes from that fact that I grew up in Paris and the delusion that my parents were Communists and had to become expatriates.

And that is the big price of illusion and things you have to give up for that. And all the other illusions including being very happy to create the illusion for my father after my mother’s death, and making him feel that everything he lost, he had not lost, bringing him to live with me in Paris, and doting on him and making him feel as though he had never lost anything, when in fact, he had.

Joan_Juliet_BuckFR: As a child you moved around a lot from Los Angeles, to Paris, London, and Milan. And from what I’ve read in this book, there were some poignant celebratory times and some times that were isolating and lonely. Through all this meandering what stands out most was your attempt at finding your place in the world, finding out who you are and finding your truth as home. Why do feel that you have that sense of instability as a child, always searching for home. And have you found that now?

Joan Juliet Buck: My home is this book. I made my home out of writing this book. I realized in doing this book what degree I am a wanderer. My parents were wanderers and I’m a wanderer. Wanderers have a lot of textiles they can fold up and stick on the walls and floors of the next place they are going to be and call it home.

FR: You have worked as an actor, an essayist, a novelist, a fashion editor-in-chief, and a film critic. Which role or job do you like best, and why?

Joan Juliet Buck: I like acting because I get to play with others. I like being a movie critic because I liked explaining what I saw to other people. I love writing the essays I do for Harper’s Bazaar because they are improvisations and I never know what I am going to write, so it’s a form of acting. The one job that was kind of painful was being editor-in-chief. There were so many things to deal with in one day. I remember worrying about people wanting other peoples’ parking spaces.

FR: You had written for several American and international publications before you became editor-in-chief at French Vogue or Paris Vogue. You did solicit the position, but why do you think Jonathan Newhouse hired you for the position?

Joan Juliet Buck: Probably, because I had been associated with one Vogue or another for over twenty years. I was reliable, a hard worker, also French is my first language. I was one of them, but also one of the other guys

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FR: You detail in the book that Americans were elated with you being awarded editor-in-chief at French Vogue, but the French were perplexed. Why?

Joan Juliet Buck: My friend Clara called up and said, “I am speechless.” That was like screaming what the f**k on the phone. The people who knew me knew that I was not an executive, I was not career minded, I was not someone who worked in an office. I was this dreamy, slightly eccentric person who walked barefoot every day and read a lot of books. That is not the profile of someone is the editor-in-chief of a fashion magazine.

FR: While at French Vogue from 1994–2000, you changed the look of the magazine with weightier content and a different approach to editorial content, as well as significantly increasing circulation, yet Newhouse dismissed you, why?

Joan Juliet Buck: The first few years were glorious and the circulation went up forty percent; that was my triumph, triumph, triumph!! At that time, I was magic and could do no wrong. But, those types of runs end for everyone. Then, later the circulation of French Vogue dipped.

Essentially, someone told Jonathan Newhouse something about me. He was told I was drug addict. I don’t know who told him that. I don’t even know what type of drug I was supposed to be addicted to!! When there is a rumor about you, you don’t actually know what the rumor is because people are talking about you behind your back.

So, there was rumor, there was a plot and I was really unaware of what was going on. I was particularly venerable because at the time I had spent the summer with a man I thought was my Prince Charming and his best friend had ended up dead in my arms through a totally random chance.  That had put me in a traumatic state. I came back to work stammering and people started to suspect drug use. All those incidents and situations happened around the same time, so I was let go.

FR: Is the character Jacqueline Follet in “The Devil Wears Prada” a composite of you or based on you?

Joan Juliet Buck: I have no idea because I have no memory of Lauren Weisberger.  I wasn’t at American Vogue when she was Anna Wintour’s assistant. When I saw the movie I thought, “Huh, that’s weird, it’s the editor-in-chief of French Vogue who wanted Anna Wintour’s character’s job. But is it me or Carrie Roitfeld, I don’t know?

 

Images courtesy of JB Communications

Images courtesy of JB Communications

FR: What do you want readers to get from this phenomenal memoir?

Joan Juliet Buck: I readers to laugh, cry, recognize themselves and the people they love and the people they haven’t loved. I want them to see their whole lives in this book. I am hearing from people that they are seeing themselves in this book and that makes me really happy.

FR: What’s next for you?

Joan Juliet Buck: I have started something that I am very excited about that I cannot talk about quite yet. I have a simple life, I live in the country, I write and every once in a while I act. I performed in two plays this past winter. So, what’s next is more writing, more acting and springtime.

“The Price of Illusion: A Memoir” is published by Atria Books.

—William S. Gooch

 

 

Fashion Reverie Brand Spotlight: Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

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

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

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

Michelle Helene

Michelle Helene

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

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

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

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

Michelle Helene spring 2017 images courtesy of fashion360.com

Michelle Helene spring 2017 images courtesy of fashion360.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Michelle Helene fall 2016 images courtesy of fashiontrendsetters.com

Michelle Helene fall 2016 images courtesy of fashiontrendsetters.com

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

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

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

FR: What is your design aesthetic?

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

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

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

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

FR: Where can consumers purchase your clothes?

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

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

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

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

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

Fall 2017 images courtesy of Michelle Helene

FR: What’s next for Michelle Helene?

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

—William S. Gooch

 

Fashion Reverie Celebrates its Fifth-Year Anniversary

Image courtesy of medlim.net

Image courtesy of medlim.net

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

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

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

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

—William S. Gooch, editor-in-chief

New York Fashion Week: The Shows Fall 2017 Sketches

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

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

Nicole Miller fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

Nicole Miller fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

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

Dan Liu fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Dan Liu fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

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

Bibhu Mohapatra fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

Bibhu Mohapatra fall 2017 sketch courtesy of Think PR

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

 

Anniesa Hasibuan fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

Anniesa Hasibuan fall 2017 sketches courtesy of The Riviere Agency

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

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

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

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

—Staff

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

Image courtesy of hurriyetdailynews.com

Image courtesy of hurriyetdailynews.com

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

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

 

Phillip Lim fall 2016 image courtesy of julitastefashion.com

Phillip Lim fall 2016 image courtesy of julitastefashion.com

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

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

Ralph Lauren fall 2016 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

Ralph Lauren fall 2016 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

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

Happy New York Fashion Week!!

—Staff

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

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

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

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

Bespoke fall 2016 image courtesy of biinue.com

Bespoke fall 2016 image courtesy of biinue.com

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

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

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

Image courtesy of fashiontimes.com

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

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

 

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

 

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

Michelle_Obamas_White_House_Style1

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

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

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

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

Fashion Reverie: What is your position at Lasell College?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Images courtesy of smithsonian.com and Lasell College

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jackie Kennedy Onassis images courtesy of thefashionfoot.com

Jackie Kennedy Onassis images courtesy of thefashionfoot.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Melania Trump images courtesy of celebuzz.com

Melania Trump images courtesy of celebuzz.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

—William S. Gooch

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leather through the Design Prism of PRITCH London

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

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

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

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

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

Arina Pritch

The force behind PRITCH London, designer Arina Pritch

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

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

Images courtesy of Supreme Publicity

Images courtesy of Supreme Publicity

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

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

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie’s 2017 Fashion Predictions

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

Fashion Reverie looks into its Swarovski crystal ball and predicts:

Rebecca Minkoff spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

Rebecca Minkoff spring 2017 image courtesy of fashionisers.com

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

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

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

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

Target advertisement image courtesy of tvcommercialspots.com

Target advertisement image courtesy of tvcommercialspots.com

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

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

Images courtesy of vogue.com

Delpozo spring 2017 images courtesy of vogue.com

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

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

Dior spring 2017 images courtesy of fashionisers.com

Dior spring 2017 images courtesy of fashionisers.com

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Wireimage/dailymai.co.uk

Image courtesy of Wireimage/dailymai.co.uk

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

—Staff

 

 

 

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