New York Fashion Week: The Shows Spring 2018 Pre-Coverage

 

Images courtesy of eonline.com

Images courtesy of eonline.com

New York Fashion Week: The Shows spring 2018 (NYFWS) season is only a week away, and many fashion pundits are asking the question if fashion weeks are still relevant. With so many designers opting out of NYFWS spring 2018 season this time around, the verdict is out on the need for fashion weeks. And with the retail market depressed globally, there is a lot of uncertainty in the fashion industry.

Technology has changed so much in the lives of most people, and in the fashion community technology, for some, has become more than a tool. For a significant amount of fashion industry professionals, technology is the order of the day. With some fashion showrooms proffering digital accessibility—which includes models—to their clients, the need for personnel is decreasing dramatically.

For NYFWS spring 2018 season this technology has facilitated many brands deciding to show collections online in real time. Though this new development is cost efficient, it does diminish the excitement and vibrancy of actual shows. Add to that the absence of Monique Lhuillier, Rodarte, Ralph Lauren, Nicholas K, Loris Diran, Charles Harbison and other from the NYFWS calendar, this season may not excite hearts and minds.

Images courtesy of fashionisers.com

Images courtesy of fashionisers.com

Still, the fashion community soldiers on with new names to the fashion week roster, as well as some interesting initiatives. The CFDA is partnering with LIFEWTR, showcasing three emerging designers from their CFDA + educational program. Rihanna is presenting her FENTY collection; there will be a showcase of Indonesian designers, and Skylight Clarkson and Pier 59 will present over 60 plus shows.

Fashion Reverie will be front and center bringing its viewers expansive coverage over the seven days of NYFW: The Shows. Let  creativity continue!!

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie Interview: Jill Dodd’s “The Currency of Love”

Currency_Love_bookSome call it fickle finger of fate; others explain circumstances as acts of divine intervention; still, there are those who try to find the cause and effect of everything. Whatever the situation or outcome, one can discern from Jill Dodd’s memoir “The Currency of Love” that life’s journey has many paths and detours, and it’s all about how you adapt to change.

From a fashion model to the love interest to the richest man in the world to a fashion maven, Jill Dodd’s life has truly been an adventure. Through it all, Jill Dodd persevered the peaks and valleys with courage, humor and a lot of good fortune. In “The Currency of Love” Jill Dodd details the rocky road, but she also details the glamour, the glitz and the good times.

Fashion Reverie was fortunate to talk with Jill Dodd about the vicissitudes of her life.

Jill Dodd

Jill Dodd

Fashion Reverie: Why this book at this time?

Jill Dodd: I have known I was going to write this book since I was in my 20s in the 1980s. A lot of people tried to talk me out of writing this book. Many of them thought it was too dangerous to tell all these stories and talk candidly about my experiences in fashion and in life. In spite of the opposition, I knew one day I would write this book.

I have been through a lot in my life. I have been bad relationships and an abusive marriage. I now have three children. I have been so busy being a single parent and running these fashion companies that there was no time to tell my story.

When I turned 50 I asked myself what I wanted to do that I had not yet done. And I knew it was the book. So, I put my nose to the grindstone, so to speak, and started putting 100% of my energy into this book. I worked on it every moment I had.

I do think this book is appropriate for the time with so many young people being infatuated with fame and money because of the Kardashians and all the media attention on wealth. I wanted to show the behind scene of the modeling industry; what it is really like behind all of that, and that the wealth and fame alone doesn’t fulfill you.

FR: Were you aware that at around the time this book was published, on the same date in fact, Adnan Khashoggi died? Was that a planned consequence?

Jill Dodd: It was really an unplanned consequence. I was looking forward to celebrating my book publication date and that morning I found out he had passed away. I was in shock for a whole week and that same night of his death I had to speak at a bookstore in Northern California at my book launch.

Jill_Dodd_The_Currency_of_LoveFR: Now, you started out as a mostly commercial swimsuit and lingerie model in California and not soon after you signed with Wilhelmina Model Management you decided to go to Paris and expand your opportunities. Why Paris, and did your opportunities expand?

Jill Dodd: Well, I did every type of modeling you could do in California at that time. We are talking about the late 1970s. California in the late 70s was the center of active sportswear, denim, tee shirts, and casual clothing. I did all the things you could do in California at that time, from print ads to modeling on news shows, to small non-speaking parts on television. At that time there was no high fashion in California. The only high fashion thing I did at that time was modeling in a runway show for Perry Ellis.

When I signed with Wilhelmina Model Management in Los Angeles, I quickly learned that in order to model in New York City and work for brand name American designers and the big fashion magazines I had to work in Europe first. Without the European tear sheets from French Vogue or Elle, the New York modeling agencies are not really interested in developing you as model. That was the traditional route at that time.

FR: At first you hated Paris, but in a short amount of time you grew to love Paris. How did your relationship with Paris change over time?

Jill Dodd: When I got to Paris in 1980, I didn’t speak a word of French. And in the early 80s the French were closed off and not very friendly to tourists and outsiders. No one would help you or explain anything to people who couldn’t speak French properly. The creature comforts in Paris were well below what I was used to in the US. It was hard to find warm water to bathe in; there was no heat in my hotel. It was hard to get food that was healthy because I didn’t have a kitchen in my hotel room. When you are modeling, you can gain weight easily on bread and cheese; however, bread and cheese were the cheapest things to purchase when you had no cooking facilities.

Also, it took longer than I expected to establish myself in Europe. I thought I would be in all the big European magazines in a few months. Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Over time I did fall in love with Paris because I learned to speak French. I learned that the French people are wonderful; once they realize you are not going anywhere, they really open up to you!!

Jill_Dodd_OlympeFR: In the early 80s a lot of European brands and design houses were becoming more attracted to an All-American beauty that was not just blonde American models. You were a part of that new breed. Why this shift in European taste, and do you believe this shift added to your success?

Jill Dodd: Let’s not glamorize the European fashion market in the early 80s. When I arrived in Paris there were no Asian and Hispanic models working, and only a few African American models that worked steadily.

The Europeans wanted an American look, but what they thought of as an American look was very Nordic. You know, tall, willowy blondes with blue eyes and big white teeth. They really wanted a look that came out of Hollywood; you know Cheryl Tiegs or Cybill Shephard.

I always had the healthy, California lifestyle look. I was sporty and athletic and that look was gathering steam in the early 80s, a whole industry around health was developing at that time. Self magazine had just started. You know Jane Fonda’s workout tapes and Olivia Newton-John’s “Physical” song. I believe that was my appeal. I landed the first cover of Paris’ version of Self entitled Olympe.

FR: What were some your favorite fashion brands you work with in Europe?

Jill Dodd: I worked with all the major European swimwear companies. I wore Kenzo, Jean-Claude Luca, Yves Saint Laurent, and Chanel in fashion editorials. I did a lot of runway shows, but mostly second-tier European designers. Many of the major fashion houses thought my hips were too wide for their design aesthetic. They wanted a size 0 and I was more a size 2 or 4.

Collages1408FR: Could you name one standout fashion moment in Paris for you?

Jill Dodd: The most memorable fashion moment was modeling on a scaffold in front of the Eiffel Tower with 12 other models, all in couture garments. Also, memorable was doing an editorial for Jardin de Mode.

FR: From the book we know how you got involved with Adnan Khashoggi. Now without giving so much away, what was the initial attraction?

Jill Dodd: I was attracted to his intellect and his spirit of fun. When I was dancing with him the first night I met him, I felt we had a spiritual connection that I hadn’t felt with anyone.

FR: You were always striving for independence; yet, you got into a dependent relationship with Adnan Khashoggi, why?

Jill Dodd: I was not in a dependent relationship with Adnan. I would not let him take care of me. I continued to model through the length of our relationship that was a little under two years. I refused any large gifts from him or him buying me a home. I insisted on living on my own through the entire relationship.

He did offer to pay my college tuition at FIDM and I accepted that. He wanted me to educated because he thought modeling was not a respectable profession. That is the only large gift I accepted from him.

Modeling, initially, was a way for me to earn money to go to fashion design school. I got so distracted by modeling that I forgot about my initial goals for a while. Adnan really helped put me back on track.

Collages1409FR: Even though Adnan, called you a pleasure wife, when did you realize you were really in a modern-day harem?

Jill Dodd: I was denial and didn’t realize until years later that I had been in a modern-day harem. I had trained myself to accept the things I could accept at the moment and keep moving toward financial independence. I put my own feeling aside because I was in love with him and I wanted to be with him at any cost. I needed him emotionally and I didn’t care what came with the relationship.

Remember, he was very, very kind to me. When he told me he wanted me to be his pleasure wife, I didn’t want to understand what that meant. I didn’t care about the details and I felt that way for a long time. However, over time reality started to set in that he had multiple wives and girlfriends. And, that started to bother me.

FR: Now your book ends in the early 1980s, why?

Jill Dodd: I wanted to book to have more focus and present an in-depth look at the time all these things were happening to me. If I had taken “The Currency of Love” into present day, I could not have delved deep into all the topics and culture of the 1980s. The book would have read like a Wikkipedia page.

After Adnan I had two abusive marriages; I was a single mother, and I ran several fashion companies. I thought this was too much to put into one book. So, I settled on my life before the marriages. I wanted the book to read like an adventure story instead of a bunch of facts.

FR: When and how did you start the women’s beach surfer brand, Roxy?

Jill Dodd: I started working at Jag swimwear in 1987. They had one designer there before I started working there. She left and I built that brand to 17 million dollar brand in my tenure there I wasn’t happy with my Jag salary and I was getting offers from other companies because of my success. I wrote to several men’s surf wear brands and told them a wanted to start a women’s division of their brand. I was contacted by Quicksilver and they hired me to start Quicksilver women’s division that over time evolved into Roxy. We had 20 different international licensees globally.

All images courtesy of Jill Dodd

All images courtesy of Jill Dodd

FR: What do you want readers to get from “The Currency of Love”?

Jill Dodd: I want to encourage people to follow their passion and live within their own integrity. I want to people to know that life can throw you some curves and knock you down; however, you have to soldier on because you never know what’s next. I hope women get from this book that they should live in their own truth and not be ashamed.

I also want people to think about an alternative source of strength. I know that I reach the end of myself all the time, and there are times we need to surrender to a higher power and ask for help. And that surrender has gotten me through some rough times.

FR: What’s next for you?

Jill Dodd: I am marketing “The Currency of Love” by doing interviews and speaking at book clubs. I have a piece coming out on 60 Minutes in Australia very soon. And I have speaking engagements in Great Britain, Germany, and France.

“The Currency of Love” is published by Enliven Books, a division of Simon and Schuster.
—William S. Gooch

Fall 2017 Campaign Feature: K-Swiss’ Generation-K

Collages1347

Elliot Tebele

In a very saturated market, how does a company give distinction and viability to their brand, particularly if it is a footwear brand? Well, K-Swiss has found a way to do just that; set itself apart from the Reeboks, the Nikes, and the Adidas.

Understanding that millenials and Generation X identify more with clothes that are comfortable, functional, reflect a lifestyle, and utilitarian in nature as opposed to clothes that connote wealth, prosperity, and luxury, K-Swiss has launched the Generation-K collection. The Generation K collection features three new hero sneaker styles for the season, combining signature K-Swiss design cues, with modern athletic styling. Described as ‘sophisticated athletic’, the Generation K collection blends athletic comfort with minimalist clean profiles, designed for K-Swiss’ modern muse, the young entrepreneur, to be worn from the boardroom to the street.

“The origin of this campaign came from a consumer insight, that today’s youth aspire to be CEO’s more than athletes or celebrities, said Barney Waters, President of K-Swiss in a recent press release.  “Entrepreneurs aren’t wearing suits, these days it’s t-shirts, jeans and sneakers.” … “Today’s youth don’t wake up dreaming of running a 6-minute mile, or dunking a basketball, they dream of having their own brand or their own company.  It’s a new aspiration of this generation, to be the CEO, to be the boss.”

Coco and Breezy

Coco and Breezy

With the assistance of Gary Vee, New York Times–bestselling author and CEO and co-founder of VaynerMedia, K-Swiss identified young entrepreneurs who are media influencers in their own right to spearhead the Generation-K campaign. These young entrepreneurs bridge the cultural gap between millienials and Generation X, speaking the political and cultural vernacular of K-Swiss’ target audience.

The most well known young entrepreneurs featured in the Generation-K campaign and video is Coco and Breezy. Coco and Breezy (Corinana and Brianna Dotson) launched their iconic eyewear collection in 2009, making each handmade piece personally. Within a short amount of time their eyewear was seen on major celebrities and entertainers. These twins have become of mainstay of New York fashion scene.

Anwar Carrots

Anwar Carrots

Street wear designer Anwar Carrots is fast becoming a legend in the street fashion scene. While balancing collaborations with major retailers and brands over the years, this street wear powerhouse launched two separate clothing lines, including the self-named Carrots. Today, Carrots’ store is the leading online destination for men’s street style with a global following.

Elliot Tebele

Elliot Tebele

Jerry Media founder, Elliot Tebele, starting his media empire at the young age of 24. His personal Instagram page boasts 12.4 million followers. Jerry Media is  a full service company that offers exceptional digital content and measurable audience growth for their clients.

Karen Civil. All images courtesy of The Brand Group

Karen Civil. All images courtesy of The Brand Group

Karen Civil as a preteen ran a fan site for Lil Wayne. Her drive and determination has made her one of the premier names in hip-hop journalism. Through her writing, she has championed several global causes and started a computer lab and orphanage in Haiti to promote education in underprivileged areas.

K-Swiss’ Generation-K collection will be available July 31, ranging in price from $65.00 – $100.00, at select retailers and nationwide at kswiss.com.

—Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

New York Fashion Week: Men’s Spring 2018 Pre-Coverage

Image courtesy of menswearstyle.co.uk

Image courtesy of menswearstyle.co.uk

It is that time again!! Yes, in a little over a week, New York City will be blessed with some of the best collections from mostly American-based menswear designers with smattering of menswear designers from other countries.

That said; New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) has been plagued with the defection of some its main designer attractions. For the spring 2018 collections absent from the roster are Tommy Hilfiger, Loris Diran, Gypsy Sport, Nautica, Brett Johnson, Malan Breton and many others. And word on the street is that several NYFWM regulars have defected to showing in London, Paris or Milan.

Image courtesy of stylefashiontrendy.com

Image courtesy of stylefashiontrendy.com

To add further fuel to the fire, NYFWM lost one its biggest sponsor, Amazon, in late February. All these developments puts NYFWM and the CFDA at odds with the original intention of separating the men’s collections from the women’s collections, instituting a separate fashion week, primarily for menswear. And its fifth season, NYFWM still fails to attract high-end European menswear brands to likes of Dior Homme, Versace, Dolce & Gabbana, Dsquared2, Burberry, Trussardi, and a host of other household names. (This lack of top European menswear brands keeps the European press away.)

Still, the CFDA soldiers on, giving emerging menswear designers much coveted opportunities. Menswear brands presenting for the first time for the spring 2018 season include Facto Miansai, Hecho, Sanchez-Kane, C2H4 Los Angeles, Life in Perfect Disorder, Descendant of Thieves, Maiden Noir, Hellot Emil, Daniel Hector Paris, Bristol, and Head of State.

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

NYFWM spring 2018 dates are July 10 through July 13.

—William S. Gooch

Fiona Lewis Reclaims her Life in “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)”

Fiona_Lewis1“Writing the story of their own life allows the author to parse their story into examinable segments while continuing to engage in the act of communion and creation.” —Kilroy J. Oldster

Self-examination is supposed to be the motivation behind memoirs. However, in an age where self-examination sometimes renders reveal-all memoirs that titillate the senses but rarely illuminate or celebrate life’s journeys, Fiona Lewis’ “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)” is a beautiful distillation of a life lived in full, cinematic color with all its fallacies and triumphs.

From her childhood in the proper, but repressive England of the 1940s and 50s to her life as a model and actress in the swinging 60s—many may remember her from her 1968 spread in Playboy parodying James Bond’s “Casino Royale” girls—to her married life to a top Hollywood director in the 80s, Fiona Lewis, while restoring a broken chateau in the south of France, reflects back on her life lived at full tilt.

Fashion Reverie was given the opportunity to speak with Fiona Lewis soon after the release of “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French).”

Fashion Reverie: Why this book at this time in your life?

Fiona Lewis: Ten years ago in my fifties, I had a kind of midlife crisis. I had bought a dilapidated chateau in the French countryside. While I was there, I started reflecting on what had happened to me in my life and getting older. I started to write about everything I had done and what happens to a woman who is getting older and everything seems to be in the past and not so much in the future. So, what do women do at that this critical time and reinvent themselves and their lives?

This topic is a universal topic that many women experience as they are aging and their children have become adults. Many women have to do something and create an adventure to change their life.

FR: How did you come up with the title of the book, “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)”?

Fiona Lewis: The title just came to me. As I was writing about the affairs I had had and also going through a bad marriage, I was thinking about the mistakes that people make in life with bad relationships and missed opportunities.

FR: This book is set against the backdrop of you restoring this dilapidated grand chateau in the south of France. You go back and forth in the memoir from childhood to restoring this grand chateau. One chapter will be a reflection on your life while another chapter will be about this restoration project. Why this juxtaposition and all the back and forth?

Fiona Lewis:  When I started writing this memoir, I started reflecting on everything that had happened in my life and though I was happily married and I had a very privileged life, something was missing. I didn’t understand why I was unhappy and unsettled. At the same time I was restoring this chateau, working with very incompetent French handymen. So, while writing this memoir I decided to go back and forth between life reflection and restoring the chateau.

FR: Your husband was opposed to your restoring this French countryside chateau, yet, you continued on, why?

Fiona Lewis: I thought in the end that he would enjoy the process. If you live in Los Angeles, you are not used to ruins, and that is where we were living at the time. When my husband first saw the chateau it was a complete wreck and he couldn’t understand why I would take on such a project. Also, my husband didn’t speak French.  He loved living in LA and he couldn’t imagine why someone would want to live in the middle of the countryside in France.

Still, I thought it would be good for him and that he would relax in the countryside and grow to love it.  And of course, I am a bit stubborn and I wanted to provide to my husband that I could make a go of this wrecked chateau.

FR: You grew up in the swinging 1960s, yet, there was a lot of ambivalence about the sexual freedom of that time. You experienced some of that ambivalence. Could you talk about the burgeoning sexual freedom of the sixties and your lack of ease with this new freedom? 

Fiona Lewis:  The change from the 1950s to the 1960s was so radical. Everyone was running around and having affairs with a slew of people, but of course we were ill equipped to handle this new sexual liberation or deal with the consequences. Most of us were properly raised young ladies from the 1950s which carried with it lots of expectations. Though we were having a lot of sexual escapades, we still expected flowers the next day, which mostly didn’t happen. It was very odd. We really weren’t ready for this new freedom.

I don’t think much has changed. Women are still looking for romance. In the 60s, we are so busy being hip and groovy that all we were really doing was having sex. And women’s liberation is so much more than that. That came later.

We didn’t speak out at that time that this new freedom wasn’t working for most women because women didn’t speak out at that time. And in England, the British never say what they’re thinking, you just try to be the cool and carry on. Many girls were unhappy, and I was one of them. We really didn’t have skills to adapt. It was an interesting time and for our parents it was a horror. Our parents wanted us to get marry and have children, not run around in a miniskirt. Everything changed very, very quickly.

Fashion_Reverie16FR: You modeled in the 1960s with Jacqueline Bisset, and you talk about in the book that you and Jacqueline were roommates. And though both of your were slender, you both were busty and the look of models were beginning to change. Could you talk about that time?

Fiona Lewis:  Jacqueline and I were not really that successful as models in England because it was the Twiggy era in which models had long slender legs and were flat chested. We were on chronic diets to stay thin. We even took laxatives, I am afraid to admit. We would try to strap ourselves in and flatten our breast, but it didn’t really work because we didn’t have those types of bodies.

We did have a little success but our look was not the current trend. We both had curly hair, so we were constantly ironing our hair to make it straight. We were doing our best, but later we both kind of slipped into acting, which you could do in those days. It’s much more difficult now.

FR: You knew the iconic British photographer Terry Donovan when he was just starting out. Could you speak about your experience with him?

Fiona Lewis: Actually, Terry Donovan was Jacqueline Bisset’s boyfriend and that is how I met him. In the 1960s in England, the class barriers came down. Cockney boys were suddenly photographers and designers, and it was very cool to have a cockney accent, when before it wasn’t. Terry Donovan was one of those cockney photographers that were very good and he did fantastic black and white photographs. And the cockney boys were thrilled to be taking out nice middle class girls because they had never been able to take out middle class girls before.

Terry would arrive in in his Rolls Royce and honk on the horn for Jacqueline to come down and she would be in the process of ironing her hair. We lived in this horrible, tiny flat because we had no money. I would always be cooking something on the hot plate.

I remember one time when he came over, I was cooking bacon and eggs, which is all we could afford at the time. And Terry Donovan exclaimed, “Blimey, you’re going to stink up the Rolls.” He was larger than life and so was David Bailey.

Fiona_LewisFR: You acted in some of Roman Polanski’s early films and you were involved with him romantically. What was it like working with him in the late 1960s?

Fiona Lewis:  When I started acting his Polanski’s films our affair was over and he was already in love with Sharon Tate. I played the small part of the barmaid in Polanski’s “The Fearless Vampire Killers,” and Roman taught me that when acting on screen, you have to take everything way down. You have to say your line almost in a monotone, never giving anything away. He was very good with actors. At the time, he spoke with a very thick French accent because he didn’t speak English very well.

FR: What I gathered from the book that in spite of your romances and heady love affairs, you were very unsure of yourself, not able to enjoy the moment. Where to you think this insecurity came from?

Fiona Lewis:  The kind of English family that I grew up in where my father was a judge, was not a demonstrative or affectionate family. The English don’t express themselves very much and they don’t coddle their children, so it’s hard to grow with a lot of self-confidence. When you don’t have self-confidence, being attractive doesn’t help because being pretty doesn’t always build self-esteem. I knew a lot of English women who grew up the same way I did, and end up sort of adrift.

You are always searching to get that self-worth from a man, which is never a good thing. That can lead to bad romances and relationships. For me, that was a hard thing to learn.  Looking back now, I realize that the best way to have a good relationship is not to need the other person to make you feel good about yourself.

FR: Of all the careers you’ve had, which career paths have you enjoyed the most, and why?

Fiona Lewis:  I have enjoyed writing the most, because when you are an actor you are always waiting for that next job and waiting for casting directors to choose you, unless you are a big star. When you are a writer, you control what you do every day. It is a very solitary life, but that suited me fine. I can create things without trying to get someone’s approval until the very end.

Images courtesy of JRB Communications

Images courtesy of JRB Communications

FR: Did this memoir serve as a kind of catharsis, and if so, why?

Fiona Lewis:  It does because I changed what the book was going to be about several times. I realized what is important in life and not to regret things that happened or didn’t happen to me. You do have to go forward everyday. If you have a relationship, you have to reinvent that relationship and not let it grow stagnant.

It is important to have perspective and to look inward, instead of looking outward all the time. I learned from this memoir to be grateful for what I have. You cannot do anything about the past, but you do have a say in your future.

FR: What do you want readers to get from  “Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)”?

Fiona Lewis: I would like women to see the journey and if they see themselves in any way to identify with things that I have learned and not feel alone. And of course, enjoy the book. This book takes place with my current husband who I was having problems with at the time and through a process of self-examination, I was able to rebuild my marriage.

“Mistakes Were Made (Some in French)” is published by Regan Arts and is available were books are sold.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie Exclusive: Kendall Miles Puts her Fiery Stamp on Footwear

Image courtesy of chicago splash.com

Image courtesy of chicago splash.com

Be brave enough to live life creatively. The creative place where no one else has ever been. — Alan Alda

In this volatile fashion market, bravery and perseverance is necessary for any designer to maintain their brand. But, it has always been that way.

Whether the market is up or down, it takes confidence and a winner-take-all attitude to survive the vicissitudes of the fashion industry. Fashion is risk adverse, so the weak-minded better take flight.

Taking flight is not in Kendall Miles vocabulary. This young designer embraces it all; all the risk in the fashion industry and all the triumphs. And in her short career, Kendall Miles has experienced both.

Kendall Miles’ shoe designs demonstrate that she has lots of great ideas, craftsmanship skills and a fashion-forward sensibility. But Miles also has great business acumen and determination.

Never one to mince words, Kendall Miles knows her own mind and has a clear idea of who her customer is. And above all, she is very, very brave.

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

Fashion Reverie: You have this passion for shoes. Where does this passion come from?

Kendall Miles: My mom has always loved shoes. She has this fabulous collection of shoes, from Manolo Blahniks to Prada and Gucci. Through my mom, I was first introduced to luxury shoes, superior in quality and designer. When I was younger, I can remember playing in her closet all day, wearing her pumps. I wore my moms shoes out to parties in high school. I was the only one wearing high heels at that age, by the way.

Shoes have always been my passion and then it became this thing between my mom and I. We have this secret language around shoes. If I did well in school, my mom bribed me with shoes.

FR: You launched your eponymous shoe line while you were a senior in college. How did that all come about?

Kendall Miles: That was really hard. I was in college in Los Angeles. I am originally from Chicago, but I was studying at the University of Southern California (USC). I’d had a bad breakup in LA and after the breakup I realized I had very few friends. So, to get over the breakup and with the extra time on my hands, I decided to launch a shoe line. Crazy right!!

FR: That said; how did you source leather, get finances, and mentorship for your first collection?

Kendall Miles: I was majoring in international relations, so footwear design was definitely off the beaten path. First, I had real ideas around shoes that women would want to wear and that lead me to sketching my ideas. The first person I took my sketches to was my mom and she loved them. That was my first stamp of validation. My mom had a friend who worked in fashion consulting. She’d worked for Nordstrom, and had a lot of fashion connections in LA. This friend sent my sketches out to people in her network and from there opportunities fell in my path.

The companies that were interested in me as a footwear designer set up a series of interviews with me to work for their brands. I thought working for someone else would be a good path for me, so I interviewed at global brands and nothing seemed to fit. I decided that I really should work for myself and have complete freedom over everything I was doing.

During that time, I met someone from Thomas Wylde—a company I interviewed with—we clicked, and this gentleman connected me with an agent in Italy. So all the challenges a designer can have working with Italian tanneries and factories was kind of smoothed out for me. An agent can facilitate factories and material sources.

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

FR: What was it like studying at the Arts Sutoria, and why the choice to study there?

Kendall Miles: It was actually really tough. They had a cookie cutter design method of how someone should design shoes. My sketches didn’t seem to meet what they were required. That made everything more difficult. But, my challenges there fueled me to work hard and I was getting validation from the other editors. Studying in Italy was an eye opening experience because there was so much to learn.

FR: What was the course concentration at Arts Sutoria?

Kendall Miles: We learned the process and principles around making different types of shoes. So, there were lots of construction courses. There were also sketch classes and pattern-making classes.

FR: How did you get your shoe line financed?

Kendall Miles: I did a round of angel investing.

FR: Who is your customer?

Kendall Miles: My customer base is anywhere from 18 to 55 years of age  She is strong, opinionated, well researched, and passionate about everything she does. And, she likes to make a statement.

FR: What is your design aesthetic?

Kendall Miles: My design aesthetic is very sexy, elegant, timeless; and there is an edge with a refined sexuality.

FR: Lets talk about your spring/summer 2017 shoes. What was the inspiration?

Kendall Miles: Cleopatra, and her relationship with Julius Caesar inspired the spring/summer 2017 collection. I played with the design motif of the breastplate that Cleopatra made from Cesar’s coins when he was murdered. I am an academic, so I do a lot of research.

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

FR: Let’s talk about your pistol-packing, James Bond-like shoes, where did that come from?

Kendall Miles: That particular shoe design motif came from spats that men wore on their shoes, dating back to the Gilded Age. I took that idea of having a component that you can attach to the shoe and remove at will, and I modernized this accessory.

FR: What are the price points?

Kendall Miles: My price points are $500 to $1600.

FR: Which celebrities are wearing your shoes?

Kendall Miles: Hailey Baldwin, Tinashe, Andra Day, Regina King, Naturi Naughton, and several others.

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

Images courtesy of Seventh House PR

FR: What can consumers expect from you next?

Kendall Miles: They can expect more fire designs. Designs that  light up your feet and are amazing.

—William S. Gooch

Sophy Holland’s “The Illustrated Man”

Illustrated_Man_PhotosGone are the days when tattoos were an indication of a seedy lifestyle, criminal background or a lack of sophistication. Nowadays, tattoos are seen on a wide group of folks that expands across the depth and wide of global populations. And that evolution and expansion now even includes women. Unfortunately, a highly illustrated, cornucopia of tattooed symbols and images are not as accepted on women as it is on the male population. Still, women are forging ahead, decorating their bodies with tattoo art in numbers unheard of in previous decades and generations.

In celebration of tattoo illustration, tattoo connoisseur, advocate, photographer/film documentarian Sophy Holland presented a collection of photographs of heavily tattooed, well-known men, “The Illustrated Man,” in and out of the fashion industry at the Agora Gallery in New York City. From  fashion director Nick Wooster to fencer Miles Watson and a slew of male models—Don Benjamin, Josh Mario John, Ricki Hall, Ian Elkins, and Kevin Creekman—Holland demonstrates that tattoos in a bounty of color, size, and variation can have a distinctive kind of beauty and power on the male physique.

Collages1262“The male subjects that I chose straddle the world of tattoo culture and fashion. They were either influencers, fashion models or icons in fashion. Over a six-month period I reached out to all the heavily tattooed male models, some had as many as 2 million followers on social media and a lot of them wanted to shoot with me. In turn their enthusiasm turned into the documentary that we shot with Dave Navarro. The documentary is a social commentary on how reality television—”Miami Ink” and “Black Ink”—has played a part in the rise of the tattoo culture. And also how advertising, entertainment and fashion in general has helped normalize tattoos,” detailed Holland.

This photographic series captures the reinvigorated tattoo culture that goes beyond, sailors, criminals and underground characters to the current mainstream tattoo culture that has been embraced by mainstream pop culture, fashion trends, and product branding. This exhibition also demonstrates that the cross-pollination of tattoo culture and fashion is being heavily fueled by Generation Y.

Sophy Holland. All images courtesy of Mao PR

Sophy Holland. All images courtesy of Mao PR

“I was very interested in the rise of the tattooed male and the rise of that aesthetic in advertising and fashion. I was also interested in the change of perception of tattoos from being seedy and something that was a part of the underworld to the dream boyfriend and the male pinup of today. Millenials and Generation Y are really looking to tattooed men as a dream guy and the tattooed male model is really hot and which is a big shift in advertising. I wanted to document on the tattooed man is being used in advertising to sell things,” explained Sophy Holland.

Holland also documents in her documentary of tattoo culture has become normalized, not only in the US, but globally. “When Zombie Boy was discovered by Nicola Formichetti of Mugler brand, he was the trailblazer for paving the way for men who are heavily tattooed. He blazed a trail to having tattoo culture to been as normalized, sexy and palatable for advertisers. Forty percent of people in the US are now tattooed, so we are just a five to ten years away from tattooed people being the majority in the US.”

Though this large-scale collection of photographs showed only one day at a special exhibit in NYC, the collection will continue to tour throughout the US.

—William S. Gooch

 

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

Collages1251

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

 

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