For Fashion Stylist Tracy Shapoff Taking Risks Pays Off in a Big Way

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A career in fashion is a risky venture. Unlike more traditional 9 to 5 jobs, most jobs in fashion don’t have set hours and often you go from gig to gig. If stability and job security is what you are looking for, then fashion may not be for you. Well, not at first!!Risk-taking is a natural state of being for Tracy Shapoff. After achieving as a fashion designer and trend forecaster, Tracy took a huge leap in career trajectory, moving from New York City to Los Angeles in pursuit new career as a fashion stylist. And all the risk-taking and hard work is starting to pay off. And her current appearance on this season of “The Bachelor” is sure to make her rising star shine even brighter.

Tracy Shapoff knows what wants and she’s is willing to do what it takes to get there. Not frightened by the risks and adversities of a creative career, Tracy meets challenges head on with tenacity and perseverance.

Tracy Shapoff sat down with Fashion Reverie and graciously spoke about her life, her passion and her bravery.

Image courtesy of life&style.com

Fashion Reverie: How did you first become interested in fashion?Tracy Shapoff: My grandmother was an incredible designer and seamstress. I learned how to sew from her and there are lots of creative people in my family. I very quickly realized that I had a strong passion for fashion.

FR: How would you describe your personal style? 

Tracy Shapoff: I would say my personal style is clean eclectic. I am kind all over the place. I love being trend forward and taking risks; but that all depends on my personality on a given day. Sometimes, I might wear very clean, crisp clothing that is monochromatic in scope. Other days, I could dress down, and other days I could be really trend. It just depends on what mood I am in. I am also a big theme dresser.

FR: So, you went to Kent State and majored in fashion, why Kent State, and what was that experience like?

Tracy Shapoff: I looked and considered some fashion schools in New York City—FIT and Parsons. However, my grandparents live in Cleveland and my mother had worked for a woman whose daughter attended Kent State. I knew that Kent was an amazing school. And at that time Kent was ranked in the top five when it came to fashion schools.

I wanted to have a complete college experience and I fell in love with Kent State at my first visit to the campus. I knew I would eventually move to NYC to work in fashion.

Kent State is very much a part of a college town, lots of partying, of course. I immersed myself in college life and activities. I joined a sorority while I was at Kent. I was able to study abroad in Florence, Italy because Kent has a campus in Florence. I had so many amazing experiences at Kent State.

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FR: How did the job at Sam Edelman come about?Tracy Shapoff: Prior to working at Sam Edelman, I had done trend forecasting for Kohls in New York City. My first job in NYC was designing for a private licensing company which didn’t pay well. Later, I got the opportunity at Kohls to do trend forecasting. I was there for three years.

I found the opportunity at Sam Edelman online. When I went in for the job interview the job was in retail, which I wasn’t interested in. The interview went so well that I was offered a trial job designing for Sam Edelman.

After only being there a few days, I realized Sam Edelman didn’t really have a fashion design department. I presented a proposal to the company about me creating a design/trend department. They bought the idea, and I ended up being at Sam Edelman for three years.

FR: You switched careers and became a wardrobe stylist. How did that all come about?  

Tracy Shapoff: While working at Sam Edelman I got to go on lots of editorial and magazine shoots that were using the footwear in editorials. I found out how much I loved styling from those opportunities. I knew that I had reached a ceiling at Sam Edelman, and it was time to move on.

I went out to Los Angeles for about a month to figure out if I would like to live there and to see if I could launch my styling career in LA. I researched a bunch of stylists that I loved and reached out to them about working with them as a styling assistant. I got a lot of positive feedback and started my new career from there.

FR: How did you sustain yourself in fashion as you are pursuing this new career in LA?

Tracy Shapoff: I have always been able to fall back on bartending to sustain myself between jobs or to supplement my income. I work a lot of hours between styling fashion jobs and bartending, when I need to. Sometimes, there is a long layover between styling jobs, so I have always been able to supplement my income with other work. Recently, I have had a lot of styling work, so I haven’t had to look outside of fashion for more income. 

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FR: How did you navigate this big career move?Tracy Shapoff: When I first moved to LA I thought I wanted to be a wardrobe stylist in film and television. Once I got to LA, I didn’t have the contacts to land styling work in film and television. So, I reached out to celebrity stylists for assisting work and quickly got work as a styling assistant for celebrities and over time I have acquired my own clients.

I am in a place in my career where I am still building as a fashion stylist, so I take on jobs that pay well and some that don’t pay so well. I am very fortunate to have a great relationship with showrooms and fashion PR firms where I can pull clothes from some of the best designers and brands in Los Angeles.

FR: What shows have you work on as a wardrobe stylist, and which celebrities have you dressed?

Tracy Shapoff: I have worked mainly on reality television as a wardrobe stylist with such shows as MTV’s “Undressed”—which was a dating show—“The Voice,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Champions,” and “Baker’s America.” I have dressed Channing Tatum, Gillian Jacobs, Octavia Spencer, Constance Wu, Toni Trucks, Claire Holt, Elizabeth Banks, and Jermaine Fowler, just to name a few.

FR: What has been your best experience as a stylist?

Tracy Shapoff: My best experience was working on the 2018 Golden Globes and getting to dress Dany Garcia whose company, The Garcia Companies produced the “Baywatch,” “Jumangi,” and “Rampage” movies. I was also to witness the Golden Globes red carpet up close and personal. 

Image courtesy of usweekly.cov

FR: How did “The Bachelor” come about?Tracy Shapoff: I was randomly looking at information on reality television shows and I noticed that “The Bachelor” had an online application for contestants. And I thought, “why not, give this a shot.” I didn’t think anything would come it. I got a call to come in for casting and the rest is history.

FR: Now you have worked mostly behind the scenes, but on “The Bachelor” you are in front of the camera. How was that different? What was that experience like?

Tracy Shapoff: I didn’t think I would like being in front of the camera, but I have to say, I had so much fun on the show. I really enjoyed staying in the house in Los Angeles for the first four episodes. Then I went with Colton to Singapore, and after that I was eliminated.

FR: What was Colton Underwood like, what was your experience of him? 

Tracy Shapoff: He is a sincere and genuine person. I was very comfortable around him from the first time I met him. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him, but I had watched him on his season of “Bachelorette.” He went beyond my expectations. We talked a lot with each other, which you don’t get to see on the show because most of it is edited out. We had a lot of fun together. 

FR: Did Colton pull your heart strings.

Tracy Shapoff: Yes, he did pull a couple of strings.

Image courtesy of realitytvworld.com

FR: What were your expectations of being on” The Bachelor,” and did the show come up to your expectations? Tracy Shapoff: I wasn’t sure what to expect because you could get sent home from the first episode or you could become engaged. I was completely open to whatever happened. I am very ready to be in a long-term, stable relationship. 

Honestly, I had only watched one season of “The Bachelor” and when watching the show, you think that the premise of the show is kind of crazy; however, once you are there is a very different experience. You are spending so much time with each other—which mostly gets edited out—that you really get to know the other person and that is your main motivation. Remember, there is next to no outside stimulation because you are in a cloistered environment and what is actually a few weeks feels like a much longer time span.

FR: Did you get what you wanted or expected?

Tracy Shapoff: I am not sure what I was expecting. That said; I learned things about myself that I did not realize I needed to know. The show opened me up to areas about relationships that I didn’t know I was closed off to. Of course, I would have loved to end up with Colton, but it didn’t happen. But I think “The Bachelor” got me one stop closer to meeting the right guy because I know now what I want and don’t want.

FR: Did being on “The Bachelor” ignite something in you that made you want to be in front of the camera more?

Tracy Shapoff: Not necessarily. I did like being on camera; however, I am very committed to my styling career. I would be open to hosting a fashion television show or being on a show about fashion and style or doing fashion commentary.

Image courtesy of realitytvworld.com

FR: What’s next for you? Tracy Shapoff: Well, “Women Tell All” already premiered. The finale of “The Bachelor” airs on Monday and Tuesday. I would be open to do another “The Bachelor.” Other than that, continuing to work hard as a stylist. I would love to collaborate with a fashion brand, helping to build that brand.

—William S. Gooch

What’s Happening with “Project Runway” Alumni?

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“Project Runway” is returning home to where it all started. The fashion competition reality television series is being rebooted on its original home network, Bravo, with a new cast of judges that includes Christian Siriano, media personality and former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth, Supermodel Karlie Gloss, and fashion designer Brandon Maxwell. Elle editor-in-chief Nina Garcia will continue as a judge on the show.As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Bravo acquired “Project Runway” again through an agreement with Bravo Media LLC and Lantern Entertainment LLC, whose bid to acquire the assets of The Weinstein Co. was approved by Delaware bankruptcy court on May 8. From 2004 until the present season, a plethora of contestants have appeared on the sixteen seasons of the show. While some found fashion design success, others have moved on to other things.

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Christian Siriano

Siriano is easily the greatest success story of all Project Runway contestants. The Season 4 winner has gone on to become a red-carpet favorite at awards show from the Golden Globes to the Academy Awards. His roster of star-studded clients has included Michelle Obama, Angelina Jolie, Angela Bassett, Billy Porter, Leslie Jones, Alicia Silverstone, Kathy Bates, and Meg Ryan. The designer’s runway show is one of the most coveted seats at New York Fashion Week: The Shows, and his front row is known to feature his A-list Hollywood clientele. His fashion star will continue to burn bright.

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Leanne Marshall

The Season 5 winner of “Project Runway” had a tough act to follow with Season 4 Christian Siriano’s win and market saturation, but she’s managed to make a name for herself as both a ready-to-wear and bridal designer. She’s the founder of her own eponymous label that has shown consistently at New York Fashion Week, with her bridal collection currently carried in over 18 boutiques internationally.

Image courtesy of wmagazine.com

Alexandra Vidal

Vidal came to “Project Runway” Season 1, well known for her swimwear and Miami causal wear aesthetic, but oh, how she has evolved from that. The designer is now best known for her cocktail dresses and evening wear, which has been worn by Naomi Watts, Joan Small, Faith Hill, and Coco Rocha. The collection is currently carried at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.

Image courtesy of imbd.com

Carol Hanna Whitfield

The Season six “Project Runway” contestant now has a studio in the heart of the garment district where she sells wedding gowns, wedding accessories, and dresses with a modern twist. Her pieces are also available on her Etsy shop. Dubbed “The People’s Designer” on her season, Carol Hanna Whitfield is a favorite in the bridal market.

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Austin Scarlett

The flamboyant fashionista is one of the most memorable and biggest fan-favorite in “Project Runway” history. Audiences couldn’t get enough of him, and he returned to “Project Runway” for “Project Runway: All Stars,” and his own series with Santino Rice, “On the Road with “Austin & Santino.” His bridal collections are sold at Neiman Marcus and other retail stores globally.

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Chloe Dao

Chloe Dao was the dark horse on “Project Runway” Season 2, where she was up against fan favorite Santino Rice and Daniel Vosovic. Since her “Project Runway” days, she has a very popular boutique in Houston, Texas, finding a local following in the city.

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Jay McCarroll

Jay McCarroll was the winner of the first season of “Project Runway but became even more famous for notorious turning down the $100,000 cash prize due to all the stipulations attached to the prize money. Since “Project Runway” Season 1, he was the protagonist of the 2009 documentary, “Eleven Minutes,” which chronicled his first runway show at New York Fashion Week. In 2010 he appeared on “Celebrity Fit Club.” McCarroll has had a clothing line on QVC and is currently an adjunct fashion professor at Philadelphia University.

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Santino Rice

Santino Rice came to the spotlight on Season 2 of “Project Runway,” and was a fan favorite making it all the way to the top three to show at New York Fashion Week “Project Runway” show. He ultimately lost to Chloe Dao, but his charisma and reality star personality helped him eventually land his own television show on Lifetime with fellow Project Runway alumni Austin Scarlett. He was also a judge for seasons 1–6 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race.” He is now involved in Los Angeles–based restaurant Wild Living Foods where he is the Remedy Bar Captain. Organic plant-based casual food is his new calling.

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Mondo Guerra

Mondo Guerra was a runner-up on season 8 of “Project Runway” and later became the winner of the first season of “Project Runway: All Stars.” After announcing his HIV positive status on the show, Guerra became deeply involved in HIV education and awareness and was the spokesperson for two national HIV campaigns. On season 10 of “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” contestant Blair St. Clair wore a gown designed by Guerra which set the fashion blogs ablaze. He’s still designing women’s clothing and accessories under his Mondo Guerra label.

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Michael Costello

Costello is also one of the more successful “Project Runway” alumnae with a list of celebrity clients that include Jennifer Lopez, Bebe Rexha, Beyoncé, and Alyssa Milano. The designer, who appeared on season 8 where he finished fourth and on the first season of “Project Runway: All Stars” where he was runner-up, Costello has not only dressed A-list actresses, but has also collaborated with Lou Eyrich to design gowns for Lady Gaga when she appeared on American Horror story. This styling effort resulted in a Primetime Emmy Award win for Outstanding Costume for a Contemporary Series, Limited Series or Movie.

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Emilio Sosa

Following his runner-up status on “Project Runway” Season 7, Emilio Sosa has designed costumes for “Porgy and Bess” (2012), “Motown the Musical” (2013), and most recently, “On Your Feet: the Emilio and Gloria Estefan Story” (2015). For the Off-Broadway production of “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” (2012).a Sosa won a Lucille Lortel Award, awards which recognize excellence in New York Off-Broadway theatre.

—Kristopher Fraser

 

Fashion Reverie Celebrates Seven Years

I know it’s hard to believe but Fashion Reverie celebrate seven years. Launched on March 2012 by our Editor-in-chief William S. Gooch III, Fashion Reverie celebrates, illuminates and gives and introspective voice to all things fashion.

In these past seven years, Fashion Reverie has tackled some timely fashion subjects. From the demise of garment manufacturing in the US to Victoria’s Secret’s fall from grace to New York Fashion Week troubles to the lack of diversity in fashion, Fashion Reverie has been front and center giving a detailed analysis on critical issues that affect the fashion industry and consumers.

Fashion Reverie would be nothing without our esteemed staff. A special shout out goes to Executive Fashion Editor Carl Ayers, Editor-at-Large Karyn Collins, Celebrity Style Editor Tijana Ibrahimovic, Beauty Editor Janine Silver, Associate Editor Kristopher Fraser, West Coast Correspondent Courtney Wilkins, Fashion Photographer Ken Jones, and Assistant to the Editors Stephanie Green. We also acknowledge other staff that have moved on to other opportunities—Cory Orlando, Coco Mitchell, Rick Karolic, Cameron Grey, Ernest Green, Geraldine Laiz, Nole Marin, Jeanine Kim, and others. 

We would also like to thank all the fashion PR firms that have been so generous to Fashion Reverie, with a special acknowledgement to the Bromley Group, Seventh House PR, Factory PR, Agentry PR, Purple PR, HL Group, D’Orazio and Associates, Atelier PR, Coded PR, Think PR, Michelle Tabnick Communications, Supreme Publicity, and many others. Thank you for keeping the doors of access open.

 

2019 promises to be a year of great change at Fashion Reverie and we have some very exciting initiatives and projects in the works. Stay tuned and continue to celebrate with us!! You will never be disappointed.

—Staff

Misty Copeland’s Third Collaboration with Under Armour

If you have ever seen Misty Copeland dance, you are not only impressed with her technical brilliance and purity, but also the beauty and elegance of her movement quality. Very few ballerinas have been as regal as Misty Copeland in “Swan Lake,” and the accuracy and pyrotechnical aplomb of her Kitri in the ‘Vision Scene’ of “Don Quixote” renders the majesty of style in the tradition of Grand Imperial ballet.

If you are not familiar with Misty Copeland’s artistry and skill in classical and neo-classical ballet repertoire, performed on the great stages of world, then perhaps, you are familiar with her campaigns for Under Armour. In this third Under Armour campaign, Misty and Under Armour have developed the third iteration of the Misty Copeland Signature Collection,” for the many other uncontainable women out there—those who wear many hats, who stand out in a room and who make their presence known.”

As detailed in Under Armour’s press release, the new line features a bold color palette, fresh cuts and flattering designs for an effortlessly stylish look. Like her previous two product launches, this collection is designed with versatility in mind, giving athletes gear to train in that also flawlessly transitions to the next part of their day. Each piece from the collection was designed with a 360-degree approach to dressing. In this spring 2019 collection, Misty Copeland wanted the pieces to be fierce and powerful, but also feminine with elegant embroidery, soft tailoring and contour wrapping.

Images courtesy of Under Armour

“My favorite thing about this line in particular is the mixing of shapes—the high-waisted leggings and these amazing inserts—that I feel make you look lean and long, but also combine different bits of structure that add a more street-style flare,” explained Copeland. “It’s extremely important for me as a ballerina, if I dance in these clothes in rehearsal, if I’m being partnered, I can’t have anything that gets in the way.”The collection includes crop tops, sweaters, legging sets, embroidered tanks, tees, joggers, and skirts that range in price from $40 to $140 USD. The collection—13 pieces—will be available for purchase at select Macy’s, UA.com and at Under Armour Brand Houses.

—Staff

Tea with Kristopher: Month of February 2019

The month of February arrived; love was in the air, the runways were reborn with the latest collections from New York Fashion Week, and the tea was still flowing hot. Fashion tends to be a bit sleepy after the New Year, but as soon as February hits, it’s guns ablazing. New York Fashion Week brings industry professional together and tongues are wagging.

Spice Tea

The Latin American arm of this major publishing house could be closing. This would be a sad moment in the history of fashion media, and the worst part is they could be seriously closing, like not just ending print, but no digital, either. The dreams of many young Latin American fashion journalists could be squashed if this happens.

Hot Tea

Style Fashion Week is coming to an end. The organization was not in a financial place this season to show during New York Fashion Week. What was once a mecca for independent, younger designers and freelance models was no where to be seen for the fall 2019 New York Fashion Week season. Could it make a comeback?

Industry Trade Tea

The NYFW: Men’s show dates this year were met with the ire and disdain of those involved in the menswear tradeshows in Vegas. Many blamed the CFDA for not taking into consideration that the dates overlapped, and how this isn’t a good look for New York’s menswear market if there is dearth of menswear industry people at the three days of men’s shows. Come summer, NYFW: Men’s is said to be aligning with resort season, so we’ll see how this will pan out.

Lemon Zinger Tea

A major women’s fashion brand is experiencing financial challenges due to expanding. While they still have a strong customer base, they are looking at scaling back brick and mortars and ways to cut costs. Sometimes being overly ambitious can be too dangerous. Slow and steady does win the race.

—Kristopher Fraser

New York Fashion Week Fall 2019 Blackout: Where Are the Black Fashion Designers?

If you are white, you are alright

If you are brown, stick around

If you are black, get back

Patrick Kelly image courtesy of pinterest.com

If you haven’t noticed, the fashion industry in recent years has embraced diversity and inclusion. Not long ago most prominent fashion brands only had a few models of color in their runway shows and even fewer curvy or plus-size models. (Even at New York Fashion Week (NYFW), there was rarely more than two models of color in the top shows.)All that appears to have changed. Valentino had mostly black models in the brand’s recent runway show during Milan Fashion Week. And according to a report on the fashionspot.com, the spring 2019 season was the most diverse season in Fashion Week history. After researching 229 shows and 7,431 runway castings, thefashionspot.com found that 36.1 percent of all castings across New York, London, Milan, and Paris went to models of color. (Essentially two in every five models were people of color.) That’s a significant—3.6 point—increase from fall 2018’s 32.5 percent. For comparison, when thefashionspot.com first started keeping track of runway diversity back in spring 2015, only 17 percent of runway models were nonwhite.

Pyer Moss fall 2019 images courtesy of huffingtonpost.com

Everything seems to be going trippingly well around matters of diversity until you look more closely. Yes, there are more models of color and models of varying size on the runway; yes, industry is even embracing transgender models of gender nonspecific models; and, the industry is seeing more people of colors at fashion shows. Still, this is not the whole picture.When the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) released it recent membership roster, out of over 470 fashion designers only 15 were black or African American. According to racked.com in 2015 only 2.7 percent of designers showing during NYFW was black. And according to an article in The New York Times of the 260 shows during NYFW in 2015 only three black designers had a global presence, namely Tracy Reese, Cushnie et Ochs, and Hood by Air (HBA). (Interestingly, in the four years since publication of this article Tracy Reese no longer shows at NYFW; Cushnie et Ochs have dissolved their partnership and brand now goes by the name Cushnie, and HBA is still on hiatus.)

Stephen Burrows image courtesy of The New York Times

“There were more high-profile black designers in the 1970s than there are today,” said Bethann Hardison, founder of the Diversity Coalition, in the same New York Times article, ticking off the names: Willi Smith, Stephen Burrows, Arthur McGee, Scott Barrie, Jon Haggins, [to name a few]. “We’re going backwards.”Mellody Hobson, the president of Ariel Investments, a Chicago-based investment firm with $10 billion under management said, “It’s a paradox, really. African-Americans have generally been the purveyors of style in our country for much of our history, and yet African-American designers have such trouble breaking out and creating businesses of any scale.”

Tracy Reese image courtesy of nytimes.com

What makes this phenomenon so odd is that African Americans’—though only 13 percent of the US population—buying power annually exceeds 1.3 trillion dollars as of 2017. And even more surprising the fall/winter runway seasons, which is mostly in February, occurs mostly during Black History Month.When The New York Times’ “Fashion’s Racial Divide” article was published in 2015, the Obamas were still in the White House. And First Lady Michelle Obama went out of her way to promote black designers—Tracy Reese, Charles Harbison, Byron Lars, and Duro Olowu—by wearing garments from their collections. It felt that black fashion designers were finally getting their just and deserved due on an international level.

Charles Harbison photo courtesy of elle.com

That was four years ago, and the Obamas were only able to create a moment for black fashion designers. And as well-thought out and researched as Vanessa Friedman’s 2015 New York Times’ article was, she overlooked one essential element to black fashion designers’ entrée into the inner sanctum of the fashion industry; money, money, and more money. Add to that opportunity and connections.The high cost of fashion school is not the impediment, nor parental resistance to an unconventional career. Ms. Friedman may not be aware that the black community challenges young people to aim high and that community is sophisticated enough to think outside of the box. There are too many examples to name of African Americans who have achieved success in non-traditional careers. And that success would be untenable without from the African American community.

Though African American enrollment in fashion school is low, for those who do graduate, achieving jobs as a part of a design team is even harder to acquire. [Within] the professional environments in which I worked, I rarely encountered another Black face. Wherever I worked, I was consistently the highest titled Black team member. I was also consistently making considerably less money than my non-Black counterparts,“ explained fashion designer Kibwe Chase-Marshall in a 2018 shoppeblack.us article.

LaQuan Smith fall 2019

And going to the next level of launching and establishing an eponymous fashion brand is even more tedious, requiring a lot of money. “When I opened my first boutique on Park Avenue in 1968, my biggest frustration then and always has been funding. Finding it today is even harder—it costs so much more to start up than it did back then,” explained Stephen Burrows in a 2018 thecut.com article.Brandice Daniels of Harlem Fashion Row conceded in the same thecut.com article, “It’s a challenge to be taken seriously as a designer by investors who could potentially fund a collection. One designer I’ve worked with for a long time has had several potential investment deals fall through. But I’d say it’s even more difficult to get invited into spaces where we can have access to investors.

In fact, Harlem Fashion Row and Google recently held a series of panel discussion about diversity and inclusion. Unfortunately, there were no great conclusions or answers, highlighting the institutional insidiousness of this industry challenge.

Backstage at Off-White Men’s Fall 2019 photos courtesy of elle.com

So, what’s next? Perhaps, fashion sensation and Off-White creative director Virgil Abloh has found the solution. “I’ve always been interested in documenting our ‘now,’ and admire how the younger generation is making change happen. I’d love to see the industry grow organically to represent a wider portion of the world and the people in it. Opportunity can make a world of difference.” It’s up to young, woke, fashion folk to change this situation. And they are already starting to do it!!—William S. Gooch

New York Fashion Week Fall 2019 Pre-coverage

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) fall 2019 season is a few days away. And this is Fashion Reverie’s seventh year covering the shows. Over the years Fashion Reverie has covered NYFW at a variety of locations from the prestigious Lincoln Center to the disastrous Moynihan Station to the adequate Skylight Clarkson and now Spring Studios. (Spring Studios get mixed reviews.) That also includes Industria Superstudios, Milk Studios, Pier 59, the Hudson Hotel, Cadillac House, the Highline Hotel and a series of other venues.

Through all these venues, NYFW has prevailed, well barely. Venues is still a major challenge for NYFW. Still, there are other issues. New York Fashion Week: Men’s (NYFWM) continues to suffer from defections. (Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Nautica, John Varvatos, Perry Ellis, and several others stopped showing several seasons back.) The CFDA has tried to solve the problem of the defection of top American menswear designers by loading the calendar with emerging Asian designers. But this influx of new talent has not solved NYFWM’s problem of attracting the international press. And the last two seasons the lineup has been milquetoast and disappointing at best. (Word on the street suggest that NYFWM’s is on its last proverbial leg. Then again, so is London’s men’s fashion week.)

Images courtesy of fashionista.com

The defection has also spread to New York Fashion Week: The Shows (NYFWS). With the disappearance of major corporate sponsors, NYFWS has also suffered. Add to that the exit of major American fashion brands that don’t get the bang for the money they spend at NYFWS and have opted to show in other international fashion capitals. And with a continuously declining retail market, things just don’t look that good for NYFW. Ten years ago every major media network, as well a plethora of media outlets fumbled over themselves to get coverage of NYFW. Now, major media coverage is minimal.Still, we solder on. Some noted designers have returned this season—Rodarte, Proenza Schouler, and others. NYFWM’s begins on February 4 and continues until February 6. NYFWS starts on February 7 and ends on February 13. Official venues include Spring Studios, Pier 59, Industria Superstudios, and Cadillac House.

—William S. Gooch

Fashion Tea with Kristopher: Month of January 2019

Photos courtesy of zaira.com

Happy 2019. Fashion Reverie is pleased to welcome you all back to the tearoom in 2019. We’ve got some new, piping, hot flavors, and we’re whipping out the fine China. Let’s begin the 2019 in style.Spicy tea

Say it ain’t so! Style Fashion Week will not be coming to New York Fashion Week for the fall 2019 season. The word on the street is that Style Fashion Week was not able to raise the money to present their designers in New York City. It’s a sad end to what was once a fun-filled event with flowing liquor. Now, the question is if New York Fashion Week: Men’s is to bit the dust next?

Piping, hot tea

There’s ire among the world of menswear editors and buyers as the dates for the Las Vegas tradeshows are overlapping with NYFW: Men’s. Many industry professionals are upset with the industry powers that allowed this overlap of dates. Tensions are brewing in the menswear market, and it ain’t looking pretty!!

Spilled tea

Two former top PR executives have left their long established firms and will be launching their own fashion PR firm. Their departure came as a surprise to many in the industry who had been working with both of them for years. With everyone attempting to launch individual fashion PR firm, the competition in fashion PR is getting tough and rough!!

Sweet tea

Kevin Carrigan, the former global director for Calvin Klein, is rumored to be returning to the PVH Corp.–owned brand. After Raf Simons, who just left the company, came on, board, Carrigan went to work for Ralph Lauren. Shortly after it was announced Ralph was leaving, Carrigan resigned from Calvin Klein. Sources say Carrigan is expected to return to his Calvin Klein. Can he make what’s old new again?

—Kristopher Fraser

 

Where Will the Celine Girls Go Next?

Image courtesy of newyorkmagazine.com

During her tenure at Celine, Philo amassed a cult following of so-called Philophiles. The Celine girl had a very distinct image, often very French, fashion conscious, or wealthy, checking all three descriptive boxes. The Philophiles were often easy to spot at Fashion Weeks, with their neutral or not too loud colored sweaters, black pants, the Celine heel of the season, and their Celine tote bags.         With Philo’s exit from Celine, her penchant for minimalism could become of the past for the hallowed brand. Philo was one of the few women in fashion who held a creative directorship at a major luxury fashion brand. She was the #Girlboss many dreamed of being, and she dressed many girl bosses of the world.

Image of Hedi Slimane  courtesy of fashionista.com

Prominent fashion journalist Tim Blanks described the collection as a “gust of toxic masculinity.” Hedi Slimane completely moved away from any of the deeply embedded design house codes that Philo had in place. With Slimane, it was a new era for Celine, and one that the Philophiles wanted none of. So the question on the industry’s lips became “Where will the Philophiles go next?’Revered fashion blogger Bryan Boy speculated that Loewe was a strong possibility for the Philophiles. The fashion house, also owned by LVMH, is currently led by creative director Jonathan Anderson. Loewe, in its current incarnation, contains Philo’s Celine design aesthetic in many ways (French in tone, luxury in nature, high-fashion but not too heavy on maximalism). The brand even have an ‘It’ bag (The Loewe Puzzle Bag) that hypothetical Loewe lovers could identify with.           

Loewe Image courtesy of loewe.com

Loewe is a better fit for the old Celine girls compared to Anderson’s eponymous label, J.W. Anderson, which is younger, edgier, and a little more maximalist. The old Celine girls are looking for a sense of approachable luxury for their next commitment, and Loewe could be the brand to fill just that.          

Bottega Veneta image courtesy of thecut.com

Another brand that has been talked about as the next destination for the Philophiles is Bottega Veneta, under the helm of Daniel Lee. Lee was the former director of Celeine ready-to-wear. He understands Celine’s design codes, knows how to increase sales and knows what the Celine girls want. Bottega Veneta already had a minimalist sensibility that Lee was able to take and make his own.

Dries Van Noten image courtesy of dezeen.com

A long-shot contender for the Philophiles next holy land is Dries Van Noten. The fashion house is most well known for their eccentric designs, which fell out of favor when minimalism reigned supreme in the nineties, but made a comeback in the early 2000s, as maximalism had a moment again. The Dries Van Noten collection last fall at Paris Fashion Week received rave reviews, and in an era of maximalism; perhaps, the Philophiles are ready to move on to something more statement making.

Dior image courtesy of fashionista.com

If they are looking for a French luxury label with a woman at the helm, there’s also Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior. Chiuri is minimalist in a way that differs from her predecessor, Raf Simons, bringing a strong sense of femininity that speaks to new wave girl power. It’s the type of spirit of design that Philophiles crave.          

Image courtesy of hollywoodreporter.com

Let’s not count out Chloé. It was at Chloé that Philo herself first made a significant impact. Chloé Creative Director Natasha Ramsay-Levi has been able to create signature ‘It ‘Bags, all while creating a boho-chic aesthetic for that girl who wants to look like she doesn’t take fashion too seriously.           Only time (and the sales figures) will tell where the Philophiles will find their next motherland. With the departure of Phoebe Philo, who doesn’t seem to be heading to any new fashion house anytime soon, they are like motherless children searching for a home.

—Kristopher Fraser

           

Billy Porter and Rinat Brodach: Together Re-imagining Red Carpet Masculinity

Have you ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes when a celebrity is preparing for their appearance on a major red carpet? How are they fitted for that show-stopping garment; how is the right look selected, and what is the time frame to select and fit the perfect red-carpet ensemble?

Fashion Reverie is fortunate to be able to provide to our viewers an inside look at “Pose’s” Billy Porter being styled and fitted for his red-carpet appearance at the 24th Critics’ Choice Awards. Styled and dressed by New York City–based Israeli-American fashion designer Rinat Brodach, Billy Porter made a dramatic impression on the 24th Critics’ Choice Awards’ red carpet. This has been a breakout season for veteran Broadway actor Billy Porter with several award nominations to his credit for his performance as the Ballroom MC Pray Tell in FX’s “Pose.” (Billy Porter won a 2013 Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical for his performance as Lola in “Kinky Boots.”)

Known for her unisex designs, Rinat Brodach earned her BFA in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art University and furthered her study with a year-long scholarship at prestigious The Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne in Paris. Brodach’s designs effortlessly and selectively enhance the female figure while capturing a gentle interplay between androgyny and sensuality. Woven into each garment is Brodach’s spiritual identity that exposes the light through darkness. Brodach is committed to a philosophy of truth, integrity, and quality, and maintaining a deep connection to the human soul.

For the 24th Critics’ Choice Awards, Rinat Brodach created for Billy Porter the “Tux Jumpsuit,” exploring the dialogue between male and female energy. A reinterpretation of the traditional tuxedo, the fine silk jumpsuit features asymmetrical lines and an oversized cummerbund bow.

“Billy Porter is the definition of raw and real. Working with him has been about so much more than fashion,” says Brodach as she reflects on the process of creating this look. She continues, “He is proof that focusing on the work despite rejection and criticism is what true artistry is about. It was such a pleasure to work with him and Sam Ratelle to produce this look. I appreciate them both for trusting me on this level.”

Photos courtesy of Michelle I. Arazi/RInat Brodach

Porter, a champion for rising talent, says, “Young designers, like Rinat, bring such incredible passion, raw talent and energy to collaborations. As an artist myself, I believe strongly in giving opportunity and exposure to new talent. And this jumpsuit is fierce!”

—Staff

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