New York Fashion Week Fall 2021 Sketches

All of us would like to get a jump of what some New York Fashion Week (NYFW) fall 2021 collections will look like this season. Well, that sneak peek is possible.

Every season, Fashion Reverie publishes a few sketches from some fashion designers that suggest the inspiration behind their upcoming collection. This season is no different, Fashion Reverie has a few designers that gives viewers a slight glimpse into their fall 2021 collections. And most of them a new to this sketch preview.

Image courtesy of Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra

Bibhu Mohapatra is no stranger to Fashion Reverie’s sketch preview. For his fall 2021 collections, Mohapatra looked to the sanguine spirt of the 1920s. “As we sanguinely enter the `20s of this century with hope and optimism, history is made,” explains Bibhu Mohapatra. High governing power is entrusted with the task of leadership of women who are no longer nameless or invisible. These women are the modern-day muses and role models of our time.

The quote melds perfectly to the time we are living in. With Kamala Harris, who is of South Asian descent, assuming her roles as Vice President of the United States, there is no wonder that Mohapatra, who is also South Asian, to be inspired by her ascent. Fashion Reverie expects this fall 2021 collection to contain a bevy of beautiful gowns that will combine a 1920s aesthetic and some South Asian influences. And wouldn’t it be great if VP Harris dons one of Bibhu Mohapatra’s gowns for some of those formal state dinners.

Image courtesy of Epperson

Epperson

When we asked for details of his upcoming fall/winter 2021 collection, Epperson replied, “Each season is like another paragraph added on to my story. I am a smaller designer. I try to choose fabrics that are not complicated to get: wools, cottons, silk taffeta, and muslins, and treat them to wash and wrinkle. Mixing that with the shape I’m going to make them into makes them uniquely mine.”

Epperson notes that “Women are always wearing armor.” He’s created breastplates out of a lattice of interwoven woolens, much like an oversize vest on one side and several other pieces forming the other.  He likens these garments to a shield of honor. While the collection is basically black, it’s not somber. The designer describes his latest work as solid.

Image courtesy of ADEAM

ADEAM

As with every collection, ADEAM’s fall 2021 collection draws inspiration from Japan, designer Hanako Maeda’s home country. For this collection, Maeda is inspired by Japan’s contemporary art.

At the of 2020, Maeda visited the STARS exhibit at Mori Art Museum that showcased the works of six artists who shaped Japanese art from the 1950s to the present. This idea of bringing traditional Japanese artistry to the modern international audience inspired the fall 2021 audience.

This season, Maeda concentrated on craftsmanship which lead to the fabrication of crinkle-pleated poplin. As well as other pleated fabrics in the collection. The color palette this season is inspired by washoku—scarlet red, violet shades, muted rose quartz and ice blue—the traditional colors of Japanese nature.

Image courtesy of Thale Blanc

Thale Blanc Statements

Deborah Sawaf will be showing spring/summer 2021 this month, as she is a designer who shows to season. Deborah believes that women want to wear something simple yet beautiful. “They want to get out of the basic pants they’ve been wearing for months on end.” She opines that women, especially moms, are going to try to keep the model of working at home, if their children need to do the same. “A key piece that speaks to this aesthetic shift is a kind of track pant with a Euro/LA twist that I believe will be the piece of the season.” The collection this season is going to be different, yet not over the top and flashy. “This is a time when we need to be careful, mindful and real in our approach to fashion.” Deborah hopes to show live in September, but always wants to do something a little bit different. We can’t wait to see the ongoing evolution of this brand.

Image courtesy of APOTTS

APOTTS

Aaron Potts launched his eponymous brand in 2018 after graduating from Parsons School of Design and working Anne Klein, Emanuel Ungaro, Ellen Tracy, Kaufmanfranco, Badgley Mischka, and Escada. APOTTS embodies unisex sensibility and practicality while maintaining a focus on creativity and diversity.

This fall 2021 collection if for all genders, sizes, and ages. Real style is about spirit, not about physical differences, or trends. This collection is clean, modern trans-seasonal clothes that become a uniform.

—Vivian Kelly and William S. Gooch

Fashion Reverie’s Model Watch: Fall 2021

2020 has brought a crop of models who are the ideal—they can walk a runway, shoot a look book, and become a memorable character in a magazine editorial. Each of the models on our list possesses that compelling quality that pulls you in and leaves you wanting more. Meet our model class of 2021.

 

The Men

Maurits Buysse

Mother Agency: IMM Bruxelles (Brussels)

Instagram: @mauritsvbuysse, 1,037 followers

This young Belgian was scouted in Times Square and went on to walk in the Dior, Hugo Boss, and Louis Vuitton spring 2021 shows. His booker, Hugo, tipped us off that he is featured in a short film, “Behind the Blinds” coming out this spring. In his downtime, Maurits designs clothes, and prepares exotic dishes in his kitchen.

Fernando Cabral

Mother Agency: Marilyn Models

Instagram: @fernandocabral07, 16.9K Followers

This Portuguese native’s recent modeling work includes “The Trench” campaign for Matches Fashion, and the Etro fall/winter 2020 campaign. He’s had editorials in Purple, Elle Romania and walked the spring/summer 2021 Fendi show. In addition to a growing list of impressive editorial work, Fernando is an entrepreneur.

Fernando Lindez

Mother Agency: Uno Models (Barcelona)

US: Wilhemina Models LA

Instagram: @Fernando_Lindez, 205.7k Followers

This Spaniard is on a roll: he’s currently one of Models.com’s top 50 ranked models.  Fernando possesses a compelling beauty that is part waif,  part pretty boy, and all heart throb. His bookers refer to him as “el guapo” (the handsome one). His editorial work includes Vogue Espana, and Esquire Spain. Fernando just won the Reader’s Choice title for “Breakout Star: Men” in the Models.com Model of the Year Awards 2020. He’s walked in the Jacquemus, Versace, Isabel Marant spring/summer 2021 shows, and in Etro’s fall/winter 2021 show, and also stars in the Ami Paris campaign. We’d love to see him come stateside for New York Fashion Week (NYFW) week in September.

 

The Women

Alexa Kissling

Agency: Marilyn Models

Alexa is a versatile model who can go from Grace Kelly or Tuesday Weld debutante to a punk princess in a heartbeat. Super stylist, Mimi Lombardo, brought her to our attention as one to watch. Her recent editorial in Billy Magazine shows-off Alexa’s range. While she’s currently a dark horse, we look forward to seeing what she’ll book in the coming months.

Mao

Agency: Metropolitan Models

Instagram: @xingxingmao1, 21.9k followers

Mao is one of the few Asian models to gain significant traction in the fashion space. She’s starred in a head-turning number of campaigns including Max Mara, Louis Vuitton, Chloe, Maison Margiela, Prada, and Diesel X Coca-Cola. Her ability to transform herself into a brand’s ideal woman has also earned her turns walking for Louis Vuitton, Paco Rabanne, Max Mara, and Fendi at the spring/summer 2021 fashion week shows. 

Sihana Shalaj

Mother Agency: Scouted by Mollie (London) and IMG Models

Instagram @sihana, 4.03k followers

This Kosovo raven-haired beauty has an old-time Hollywood male screen idol’s cleft chin, heavy brows, and intense brooding eyes that grab one’s attention, even in a simple run of the mill headshot. Highlights so far include walking the Saint Laurent spring/summer 2021 and Haider Ackermann fall/winter 2020 shows. She’s also got one of the coveted Saint Laurent look books under her belt (summer 2021), as well as Givenchy pre-fall and spring/summer 2021. Indie magazines i-D and Pop have shot her, celebrating her stark androgynous look styling her as a young Patti Smith.

Joanna Krneta

Agency: One Management New York

Instagram: @jkrneta, 4,898 followers

Joanna’s austere punk gamine look speaks to fashion’s ongoing love affair with androgyny. With her shaved head, she resembles a modern-day Joan of Arc. So far, she’s walked Armani Prive Haute Couture spring/summer 2021, and the Gabriela Hearst spring/summer 2021 shows. Her cover for the Harper’s Bazaar Serbia’s August 2020 issue shows-off her potential. In addition to modeling, this Serbian beauty is an Irving Penn enthusiast and budding artist.

Sacha Quenby

Mother Agency: The Squad (London)

Instagram: @sachaquenby, 5.48K followers

Superstar makeup artist, “Mother” aka Pat McGrath, and stylist, Carine Roitfeld, are both fans of this elegant British beauty. Sacha has the striking bone structure of a young Iman (Mohamed Abdulmajid-Bowie) and shows that she can cover a range of characters. She depicts a Sade-like chanteuse character in “Sweetest Taboo” for Vogue Paris’s November 2020 issue. Sacha plays an elegant bourgeoise at the Bottega Veneta spring/summer 2021 show, and a beautiful gypset princess at Etro‘s spring/summer 2021 presentation. Her co-starring role in Zara’s ‘Amazing’ fall/winter 2020 campaign shot by Steven Meisel, rounds-out her growing portfolio of work.

Madeleine Fischer

Mother Agency: Women Model Management

Instagram: @madeleine_fs, 1.60k followers

At first glance, Madeleine looks like just another cute blonde California skater girl you’d see on the Venice Beach boardwalk.  On closer inspection, this Berlin native has the innocent vibe of a young pouty lipped Kate Moss. Both can go from cool edgy downtown girl to bourgeois princess in the blink of an eye.  Madeleine’s waifish looks landed her on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar Germany’s October 2020 issue, and got her work with dream team Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott for British Vogue. Madeleine has also walked in the Chanel spring/summer 2021 show and the Longchamp spring/summer 2021 look book further rounds-out her budding portfolio.

—Vivian Kelly

New York Fashion Week: Fall 2021 Pre-Coverage

New York Fashion Week (NYFW): Fall 2021 season will once again be another digital fashion week. There will be a few shows that do in-person presentations; however, for the most part digital presentations are the order of the day.

The fashion industry was hoping the COVID-19 pandemic would be more of a thing of the past this time around. Unfortunately, that is not the case. We are still in the middle of the health pandemic—some contend that we are in a third wave.

Still, the fashion industry soldiers on. The CFDA has announced it fashion calendar for the fall 2021 season. And surprise, surprise, the calendar has a new name,”The American Collections.”

That said, the name change will not change NYFW much, well, not a first. What has changed is the lack of NYFW events and parties. COVID-19 has certainly clamped down on the frivolities and the partying. And that aspect is not coming back any time soon.

What is still evident is the incredible fashion by American designers. And those names will include NYFW regulars Carolina Herrera, Tom Ford, Christian Siriano, Naeem Khan, Badgley Mischka, Bibhu Mohapatra, Alice + Olivia, Nicole Miller, Rebecca Minkoff, Dennis Basso, Libertine, Adam Lippes, Veronica Beard, Gabriela Hearst, Jason Wu, and Jonathan Simkai. Newcomers this season include Mr. Saturday, Rentrayage, The Stolen Garment, Keiser Clark, Venicew, Geoffrey Mac, Dur Doux, Maisie Wilen, and others.

NYFW fall 2021 season takes place from February 14-17.

—Staff

The X Factor: 2021 Fashion Collaborations

Image courtesy of the respective brand

Gucci x The North Face

The first major collab of 2021 is with mega brands Gucci and The North Face. The collection is not comprised of only bags and accessories, but offers ready-to-wear (including padded coats, shirts, skirts, and dresses), luggage, shoes, tents and sleeping bags. The brands are jointly and separately committed to sustainability. The luggage in the collection contains Econyl, a nylon fabric made from regenerated materials, and the packaging was designed to reduce environmental impact.

Image courtesy of the respective brand

Louis Vuitton x Maison Tamboite Paris

Over the past decade, bicycling has reemerged as the go-to mode of transportation. Democratic in that it is accessible to people of most geographic, age, and economic ranges, there is still a way to separate yourself from the rest of the pack. Enter Louis Vuitton and the 107 year old bicycle manufacturer, Maison Tamboite.

Maison Tamboite is renowned for making bicycles the old-fashioned way—handmade, made to order, and comprised of steel, wood, and leather. The Vuitton version adds the element of luxury, not just with their monogram flower motif and LV logo incorporated into the design, but also with the addition of LED lighting, a tracker, under the seat shock absorbers, and airless tires. There are two models and four color options to select from, and you can even personalize it with your initials engraved on a leather patch above the rear wheel.

Image courtesy of the respective brand

Loewe x My Neighbor Totoro

Japanese animation is currently all the rage, and viewers are rediscovering anime movies and series from decades ago. Countering all the chaos currently plaguing the world, Loewe designer Jonathan Anderson teamed with Studio Ghibli and created a capsule collection dedicated to the cult 1988 animated film, “My Neighbour Totoro.” The film is about two young, school-age sisters and the playful creatures they encounter in their home and nearby forest.

The collection is a based on images derived from the film. Some of the images are transformed into allover prints on apparel such as shirts, jumpers, and jackets, and some images are recreated as hand-painted motifs applied to wallets, pouches, and bags. Loewe designer Jonathan Anderson stated, “The message is one of dreamy serenity and hands-on creativity—of being at one with nature and with one’s own inner child—which is especially important right now and, I think, always will be.”

Image courtesy of the respective brand

Amina Muaddi x A$AP Rocky

Known for her flashy heels, footwear designer Amina Muaddi has teamed up with another fashion flasher, rapper A$AP Rocky, for her latest release of statement heels and mules. This is not Muaddi’s first time at the rodeo; she has collaborated with Rihanna for Fenty and Alexander Vauthier for his footwear line.

Now she has worked with A$AP Rocky’s creative agency AWGE for her latest offering. The sandals and mules are available in four styles with 10 variations, with her signature pyramid heel taking center stage with a crystal butterfly attached at the toe. There is a gladiator-style, lace-up boot with crystal-encrusted straps and the Flacko Sandal pays homage to AWGE with an ankle strap adorned by the AWGE logo.

Image courtesy of the respective brand

Dior x Stussy

They’re at it again. Dior commissioned famed streetwear designer Shawn Stussy to create a menswear capsule collection for fall 2020, the brand has asked him to do a slight spinoff for the Chinese New Year, celebrating the year of the ox.

The capsule collection carries over some of the design elements from the fall collection, primarily Stussy’s graffiti font, but focuses on red and blue color highlights and adds oxen appliques on almost every item, ranging from jackets to the iconic Dior saddle bag to their logo-maniacal high top sneakers. For those who prefer a more subtle appreciation of designer brands, there are also tee shirts, pins, and jackets where only the Dior logos are apparent.

Image courtesy of the respective brands

Coach x Champion

In 2017, athletic apparel brand Champion saw a resurgence. Once again, what was old was back in style, and a new generation of fashionistas flocked to the stores to snatch up anything with the Champion logo. Fast forward to 2021, and the brand is still going full steam ahead, but this now with a collaborative partner found in Coach.

The connection between the two is not obvious at first, but it makes sense. Champion is a 100+ year old athletic apparel company, and Coach’s first bag was inspired by a baseball glove. Now the two have linked to bring forth Coach x Champion, a limited-edition collection that marries Coach’s craftsmanship with Champion’s athletic appeal. The collection includes leather jogger pants, bags, sweaters and shearling jackets with a reworked logo that combines Coach’s signature storypatch with Champion’s C-logo jock tag.

Image courtesy of the respective brands

Converse x Telfar

Telfar Clemens. We’ve mentioned him on our Fashion Reverie before. He’s the Liberian-American designer from Queens, New York who’s the creator of the “Bushwick Birkin,” the popular and much-sought after Telfar Shopping Bag. In 2017, Clemens won the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund in 2017, and also collaborated with White Castle to create uniforms for 400 franchises as well as a retail capsule collection. In early 2020, he announced an upcoming collab with Gap (which was ultimately postponed due to COVID-19), and later in the year announced an upcoming collaboration with Ugg that is slated to launch in the fall of 2021.

That said, for spring 2021, we get the Converse x Telfar collection, a two-part athleticwear capsule that includes tee shirts, hoodies, sweatpants, and sneakers. The first part, named the “pre-collaboration collection” includes 2 pairs of Telfar-adorned classic Chuck Taylors, retro-inspired tee shirts, and a track suit. The main line is set to be released later in the spring.

Images courtesy of the respective brands

Lee x H&M and Simone Rochas x H&M

H&M has become known for their celeb and designer mashups. From Beyonce and Madonna to Karl Lagerfeld and Balmain, these collabs have been on every budget fashionistas calendar for over a decade. In 2021, we get not one, but two collections to look forward to.

The first is Lee x H&M. This is an ambitious collaboration centered on sustainability that looked at every stage of denim production which resulted in H&M’s first 100% recycled cotton jeans and a new cotton-free denim made from renewable man-made fibers. The women’s collection has wide and loose jeans have a 90s throwback feel, and denim corsets add a feminine edge. The men’s relaxed fit five pocket jeans are cut from 100% recycled cotton, while relaxed carpenter jeans are made with water-saving dyes. There are denim accessories, such as bucket hats and tote bags, to round out the more sustainable collection.

The second H&M collaboration of 2021 is with Simone Rocha. This is the first time the designer will release clothing for men and children, as she is widely popular for her romantic, embellished womenswear. This collection will align with Rocha’s brand aesthetic by incorporating florals, pinks and reds, beading, tartan and bespoke fabrications for the whole family.

—Carl Ayers

Nick Graham Pivots

Image courtesy of pinterest.com

COVID-19 has caused a lot of shakeups in the retail and fashion industries. Though retail has experienced some bounce back with online sales, the fashion industry continues to suffer. Several fashion brands have closed shop, with others on the periphery of bankruptcy and extinction. What is a fashion brand/designer to do?

The verdict is still out on what some brands are doing or adapting to this dramatic downturn. However, American menswear designer Nick Graham has pivoted his company toward something new and environmentally friendly.

Nick Graham spring 2017 show images courtesy of Getty Images

Since 2013, Nick Graham’s menswear brand has been one of the go-to menswear brands for those consumers who want stylish affordable suits. His New York Fashion Week (NYFW) shows during New York Fashion Week: Men’s were one of the most coveted fashion shows of the season. His theatrical fashion shows that have featured Brazilian samba dancers, astronauts, and a variety of birds were not only a hit for fashion industry professionals, but his dress shirts and suits were virtually jumping off the shelves.

All that is gone now, with NYFW going virtual. These virtual fashion weeks are a huge adjustment for the industry and fashion brands have had to do a quick pivot. And Nick Graham has also had to adjust.

Still, pivoting is something that Nick Graham is accustomed to and very good at. In fact, his initial interest in fashion was something of a pivot. “I do recall buying a sewing machine at a church auction. I am originally from Canada. Alberta to be exact. There was a girl who lived up the road and I really wanted to meet her, so I thought, ‘what if I made her a dress.’ I was 14 and had no idea how to sew. But, interestingly, I taught myself how to sew from that experience,” explained Graham.

Image courtesy of Nick Graham

That early experience, whether Nick Graham knew it at the time, shaped his future. In 1985 Graham launched his famous under brand Joe Boxer. “I moved to San Francisco, and started Joe Boxer in 1985, because I needed underwear at the time. I saw an opportunity and ironically the first customer for Joe Boxer was Bergdorf Goodman, detailed Graham.

Joe Boxer eventually was carried in major retail stores with K-Mart coming on board in the early 2000s. However, Graham wanted more. “I got out of the business of men’s under garments for a while, in 2013, I decided I wanted to start a menswear collection. Before I started my menswear collection I had worked with a lot of retailers, but I always wanted a label in my own name with men’s suits and dress shirts. I have an English background so, I like the English style, Paul Smith, Savile Row, but very approachable and affordable.”

Nick Graham spring 2019 images courtesy of fashionreverie.com

As much as Graham’s menswear was popular, COVID-19 has put a halt to almost everything. Pandemia, as we call it, accelerated the expansion of menswear into atheleisure wear and streetwear. That expansion was already happening before the health pandemic,” explains Graham. “The suit business is not good right now, and the dress shirt business is also soft. Who wants to get dressed up to go to dinner in their kitchen? All the big menswear companies on seventh avenue are struggling with that. It is down to what do you wear for your ZOOM calls … And the evolution of working from home is never going to go away.”

So, how has Nick Graham adjusted? “I have started a company called Airband, which is creating respiratory and fabric technologies. We also make masks. Product from Airband is just rolling out right now. I am also branching into air filtration,” details Graham. “Air quality is a big issue around the world because of pollution and climate change. It is the fashion business at all; however, we are working with hospitals and fire departments. I like it and for right now for me, it’s cool.”

Image courtesy of twitter.com

Nick Graham’s pivot is a move in the right direction, a pivot toward what communities need!! However, the fashion community misses his theatrical runway shows, and his menswear collections.

Maybe, when things normalize, whatever that means, Nick Graham will be back, accelerating pulses with his menswear perspective on what cool dapper men want to wear. Nick, we miss you!!

—William S. Gooch

Crazy, Insane Stories from New York Fashion Week

Image courtesy of stylecaster.com

From the outside New York Fashion Week (NYFW) must look like a well-oiled machine. Calm, cool, collected people working hard with grace and drive. Not so, well sometimes not so!!

There are many times win NYFW is not a well-oiled event. Models trip and fall. Clothing seams rip seconds before a garment is supposed to walk down the runway. You could arrive at a venue only to realize you don’t have a steamer for all your wrinkled clothes. Antsy PR interns make your life a living hell.

Fashion Reverie has curated a few stories that highlight how crazy NYFW can be behind the scenes. Some of these stories are legendary, other stories are well-guarded secrets. Well, not anymore!!

Image courtesy of crfashionbook.com

Suzy Menkes

There is not a huge amount of folks who remember what NYFW was like before Bryant Park or Lincoln Center. Before NYFW took up residence at those hallowed venues, fashion designers did the best they could staging their fashion shows at whatever venues that could get.

Michael Kors had acquired a loft space for his fall 1991 show. During the show the ceiling at the loft space fell and hit famed fashion editor Suzy Menkes in the head and bits and pieces of the ceiling fell on The New York Times editor Carrie Donovan. Apparently, the bass was so loud from the music, the ceiling came apart and descended on the guests.

“We were on look six, and I heard a huge explosion. I thought someone got shot,” Kors once explained of the moment. “A model said ‘No, the ceiling caved in and hit Suzy Menkes.’”

Fortunately, no one was hurt. However, this fashion shot heard around the world, so to speak, caused Fern Mallis, who was then the head of the CFDA, to look for a permanent place for NYFW. “Michael is really the shot heard from Sarajevo that started the war,” Mallis has said of the moment. “It was the ceiling collapse over his show that caused me to organize Fashion Week. Before the organized shows, if there were 50 shows, there were 50 locations.”

In 1993, NYFW moved to Bryant Park, facilitated by Fern Mallis’ company, Seventh on Six. In 2010 NYFW moved to Lincoln Center.

Image courtesy of Carol Alt

Carol Alt
During fashion week 2010, I was headed up to Lincoln Center. Moving NYFW to Lincoln Center was new and I was excited about going. But I also knew that I was going to have to fight my way in the back door. I knew everybody at Bryant Park. But this was a new set of security people.

As I was two blocks away from the receiving line backstage, and the new security, my dress zipper just let go. It just ripped open. And my dress was literally falling off me. It wasn’t a warm day by any means. 

And the photographers met me as I stepped out of the car …  I remember running, pushing everybody on the way, and running past everyone.

That was not my usual way of being and everyone was concerned—the back-door security tried to stop me but once they saw my dress, they let me go. I ran backstage where I was intercepted by Nicole Miller who looked at me, looked at the dress, grabbed my arm and ushered me to a corner. She pulled a new dress right off the runway and handed it on me. 

She said go back out and do your thing. I threw the new dress on which she helped me do … I then proceeded to turn around, walk back outside and pose for the photographers on the red carpet! 

Thank God Nicole was so quick thinking … This is my introduction to NYFW at Lincoln Center. 

Carol Alt is a supermodel, television host, actress, entrepreneur, and author who has appeared on over 700 covers including Vogue, Sports Illustrated, People Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, and many others.

She was the host of her own television shows, “A Healthy You with Carol Alt” on Fox News and “Carol Alt’s Living Room” on FNL. She’s appeared in over 60 films.

Image courtesy of Amanda Fields


Amanda Fields

I was booked fora big show and this show producer wanted to do a fitting for all the girls at the same time. She gathered the models together and had a great way of looking at us in the clothes and then have the models swap outfits then and there. One of the girls was having a really hard time with a pair of boots. She was an experienced model so it wasn’t that she could not walk in them due to her abilities … one shoe would not go on her foot. They were the correct size, but the way it was made did not allow her foot to slide into it.

They said they would get another pair for the show.

Cut to the show day … I now have that look. And … those shoes.

Unbeknownst to me they seemed like a fine pair. I had assumed they’d replaced the faulty boot.

It’s mid show, I had already walked in my other two looks, and now it was time to change to my last look of the show.

I get dressed, feel good, and put one shoe on and get to the other and my foot stops short. I think it could have been the way they attached the mid sole … the area that would go over the top of the center of your foot … along with the material. I was almost in a panic … I wanted to be professional and not let the designer down! This look had to go out on the runway!!

It took not one, not two, but three dressers to help me get my foot in the boot! I felt like the ugly stepsisters in Cinderella trying to put on the glass slipper!

Finally, literally with only one more model left in line before I was supposed to walk out, my foot made it in. Then, I had to instantaneously collect myself and have a calm face and strut like it was the easiest shoe of my life.

No one was the wiser. One of the stylists from that show to this day remembers that moment and we still work together and laugh about it all the time!!

Amanda Fields is a model based in Los Angeles. She has appeared on many television shows and films including “Project Runway,” “A Star is Born,” “La La Land,” and more. Amanda has also worked with many top designers including Monique Lhuillier, Randolph Duke, Alberta Ferretti, Badgley Mischka, Christian Siriano, Nikolaki, Christian Audigier, and Malan Breton.

You can find her on social media @therunwayqueen across all platforms.

 

 Photo by Talaya Centeno/Penske Media/REX/Shutterstock (6064690ab)
Miguel Adrover
Miguel Adrover Fall 2012 RTW, New York

R Scott French talks about Miguel Adrover, late 1990’s

Miguel Adrover was showing a collection inspired by the nomad shepherds of the Middle East.  Adrover chose to show his collection in a very small, deconstructed venue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.  The venue was on an upper floor or rooftop of this building.  There was one entrance in and out, leaving many to feel they were in a fire hazard scenario.  To further complicate matters, he also “cast” a herd of goats to walk on his runway for his finale. 

Obviously, this all spelled a recipe for disaster. The show begins, the finale arrives, and the goats refused to walk the runway, leaving models to pull their sheep down the runway.  Some goats jumped into the audience to escape the cacophony of the music and lights.  It was a disaster; however, it got worse.

As some were leaving the show, Anna Wintour was seen downstairs contemplating going in, but chose to leave when she saw the reality of the situation.  The PR team said that Anna Wintour left due to feeling unsafe and/or due to her busy schedule not allowing her to stay. However, some PR folks detailed that the exchange at check-in claimed that some junior members of the PR team didn’t recognize Anna and  told her that they could not let her into the show as she “was not on the list.” 

Adrover was the darling of industry for several years and it was widely known that Anna was his media mentor.  My call, Anna was told she wasn’t on the list and left.

Adrover was being investigated by the CIA in wake of 9/11 due to his seeming obsession with Middle Eastern inspirations.  He soon shuttered his doors and now runs a coffee café in his native Majorca, Spain.

Image courtesy of buffalonews.com

William S. Gooch, III

Okay, I’m just going to say this, if you have a job at the shows at NYFW and you DON’T know who Fern Mallis is, go home. Pack up your things. Find another way to earn a living. We’re going to stick a fork in you because you’re done!

Fern Mallis is hailed as the Godmother of Fashion, she didn’t create NYFW, but she helmed and shaped it into the creature is it today. She is the benevolent ruler of New York fashion and a woman who has a well-earned reputation as being both extremely hard working and extremely kind, never one to stomp her foot and say, “Do you know who I am?”

It was July 2017, and everyone is in the line to get into a show at Clarkson Studios during Men’s Fashion Week.  Fern Mallis walks up to the head of the line and asks to be let into the show. The 19-year-old intern in charge of the clipboard gives her a dismissive “hmmm” before declaring, “Sorry you’re not the list.”

At this point, the line goes BONKERS. Random people are saying, “Hey she’s Fern Mallis, you need to let her in!” That should have been a clue that the intern needed to radio a supervisor or call someone else for help. The intern did none of those things. The intern casually told Fern Mallis, “you’re not on the list.”

People are yelling at Fern, “I’m making a call! I’m sending a text! We’ll get this figured out.” Fern, ever the queen of polite casually waved people off and said “don’t make a fuss. I’ll see if I can find someone to talk to,” and walked away.

She found someone within seconds to help. A higher-up organizing the show accompanied Fern to the runway show, explaining to ushers (who immediately recognized her) that Fern was a VIP, who needed a front-row seat and maybe a bottle of water!!

Once Fern was safely inside, the producer now loudly screaming at the weeping intern in full view of the line that she was FIRED!

image courtesy of dailybeast.com

Cameron Grey Rose

I was hired as a production assistant for a NYFW show. We were the first show of the day at 9 am. We began arriving at 6 am, tripping over ourselves, walking into walls trying to remember where we put our coffee down. The models were arriving and the ones who were already made up were taking naps on the floor; however, others were sitting next to them waiting for their turn to get in the makeup chairs.

One thing that should be noted, to save money on labor, many designers recruit volunteers from FIT and other design schools. The volunteers are often very young, lacking experience and maturity. For many, it will be their first professional NYFW experience.

I knew for a fact when they were recruited, they were told explicitly not to wear makeup. There was too much risk it would transfer to the clothes. I had personally bought a couple of tubs of makeup remover wipes just in case a few didn’t listen.

I was sorting through some accessories while yawning when I heard the designer clap his hands. “Everyone, the makeup is for the models ONLY! If you are not walking in the shows get out of the makeup chairs and wash your face!”  

I was stunned. Who was he talking to? I then watched in horror as a FIT volunteer tried to discreetly slink out of a makeup chair. I was so angry. I grabbed a tub and marched right up to her, telling her to scrub that makeup off right now! I even did that angry Mom thing of once she had wiped the makeup off, I grabbed her chin and turned her face to check her jawline for foundation.

If any of that makeup had transferred to the clothes they could have been ruined!

—Cameron Grey Rose

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The Modern Fashion Model, A “Fashion Reverie” Series: Part 1, Supermodel Heather Payne

The first installment of this series focuses on a supermodel turned successful fashion designer/entrepreneur.

In 1996, author-journalist, Michael Gross wrote a New York Times tell-all, best-seller, Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women. His book is a blow-by-blow accounting of the underbelly of the modeling industry. He named names, places, and dates. The book shook things up in the modeling world, but business continued as before.

Unfair play in the modeling business has been going on for decades. One of the most notable perpetrators is mega-agent, Jean-Luc Brunel, who had a decades-long association with the late Jeffrey Epstein. Brunel was the subject of a “60 Minutes” episode on the modeling industry called “American Girl in Paris” that aired in 1988. Even then, it was evident that models were easy targets for unscrupulous men such as Brunel. The latest allegations against designer Alexander Wang further inspired this series.

So, what does fairness boil-down to in this glamorous playpen? Fashion Reverie spoke with a wide swathe of industry professionals both in front of and behind the camera who generously shared their time and experiences. Our interview subjects provide a peek behind the industry’s curtain and spoke-out to help those who want to venture in and better navigate these treacherous waters.

Image courtesy of bellazon.com

Part 1: In Front of the Camera: Supermodel Heather Payne

Heather’s Story

A scared young model is sitting in the chilly stairwell in a drafty building in Milan. She’s been there for three hours and will wait another hour to be seen by the powers that be.  These all-powerful people are the casting agents for some of the upcoming Milan Fashion Week shows. After a few hours, the parade of beauties blur together and the girls are indistinguishable to the exhausted casting agents.

“Hello. Walk for me over there so we can get a picture of you. Okay. Thank you.” That’s it. The agent munches on another saltine mid-sentence, fantasizing about when she can have her next cigarette.

The young model from Canada has three girls in front of her before it’s finally her turn. Unlike many of the fledgling models, she’s not zoning-out on her music, wishing she were home or back in her warm hotel room. Instead, she takes it all in and knows she must make these people see her as a person, not just another pretty face.

She bears a resemblance to supermodel Kate Moss. That’s good, but it’s not enough. She approaches the agents, puts on her game face and a big smile and banishes thoughts of being tired, hungry and scared.

“Hi! I’m Heather. How are doing today?” The surprised agent looks up, no one has asked her how she is today. She looks into a pair of lively dark brown eyes, and is drawn in. “Marco, she calls-out to her assistant, who’s flicking through Polaroids taken earlier that day.  “Come over here and meet Heather. Let’s give her something to try-on.”

It’s well over fifteen years since that Milan cattle call when Fashion Reverie spoke to Heather. She’s in her New York City apartment and has two successful fashion collections under her belt: PAYNE NYC and Emerging Heroes. The shy young girl has made the transition from supermodel to successful businesswoman.  

Our conversation spanned from her early days breaking into modeling, walking the Victoria’s Secret show, collaborating with legendary Vogue photographer Steven Meisel to the present. She’s still modeling and is the face of her PAYNE NYC and Emerging Heroes brands. Below, are some of the highlights of her remarkable journey.

Calvin Klein ad featuring Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss courtesy of pinterest.com

Fashion Reverie: Why and how did you get into modeling?

Heather Payne:  Modeling was just something I thought about doing, the Elle covers were always pretty, but I wanted to work as a photographer for National Geographic. I was fortunate that Kate Moss had starred with “Marky Mark” (Mark Wahlberg) in the campaign for CK Calvin Klein.  That paved the way for a more androgynous look. Kate and I were shorter than the supers of the time, and slight. I was able to very quickly rise up in Canada. I came to New York and it was really fast. Kate’s agent, Sarah Doukas, scooped me up and said, “Don’t change anything.” In the 1990s.  they stood behind you and pitched you like a person.

FR: Coming to New York is one thing, but how did you get a leg-up with so many girls also wanting to be stars?

Heather Payne:  There are so many ways to rise up; I don’t know the exact science, but I can say that In the 90s, it was different because there was a little bit of everything. When they asked for you, they asked for you by name, by skill set. They were really aware of personality and as a model you had to think of a photoshoot to be more like acting, like doing movie stills. The trick is longevity. The girls who last had someone notice something special about them, and then everyone followed along and wanted to shoot them.

FR: In the 90s and 2000s when you were most active as a model, there was a cabal of stylists and photographers who were “supermodel makers.” The girls they selected went on to become “it models”: Kristen McMenamy, Amber Valetta, Guineviere Van Seenus, etc. Some of the most notable photographers, Steven Meisel, Bruce Weber, and Mario Testino were “star-makers” for male and female models.

Heather Payne:  Those photographers had the veto power for everything unless it was Anna Wintour. I worked with Steven for a Dolce & Gabbana perfume campaign. Steven was an artist, and the camera was his medium. Today, it’s very much about the client and social (media).

Heather Payne Victoria Secret images courtesy of supermodelpictures.com, pinterest.com, and victoriassecret.fandom.com, respectively

FR: Victoria’s Secret became one of the biggest model star-making machines of all time. What was it like doing the show? Why do you think Victoria’s Secret has lost popularity with the public?

Heather Payne: Oh, Victoria’s Secret! I was so scared. I was never a fan of doing a show. There’s so much time to sit around and get nervous, and so much yelling and chaos backstage. There were some of the tougher girls like Naomi Campbell and a changing of the guard around that time (1998).

One thing I learned very quickly; there aren’t any buyers at these shows. They’re selling to middle America. The show is a spectacle, a one-off. You were either a high fashion model or a VS model. The transition was that Rihanna had that show with models in the wheelchairs and that was the breaking point. They (VS) didn’t change with the times and I don’t think they could have pivoted and become inclusive in a believable way. They didn’t hire new young people to tell them what people wanted. Brands like Sports Illustrated, though are going with the times; they’re doing less retouching. Look at the recent issue with Paulina Porizkova.

FR: What happens to models after they’re “done”?

Heather Payne: Some go back home. Others go into health and wellness, some create perfume lines like Leilani Bishop. It’s nice to see people who picked up on the creativity and did something else with it.

FR: How did you make the transition from modeling to your next career?

Heather Payne: I came back to New York and got married. Someone gave me advice and told me to go to real estate school. I sold two buildings right away but then the market fell apart. Then, someone told me to take what I learned from fashion and fitness. They advised me, “Go home, sit in the middle of your apartment and think about things.” I’d noticed that no one looked good in the gym and initially thought about designing for men because lululemon was around and dominated that market for women. It was more convincing to do women though, so I went in that direction.  A category existed but it needed to be fixed, so I learned how to draw a human being, got a pattern maker and sewers. I had an edge because you learn to be a fierce editor from having modeled.

Images courtesy of PAYNE NYC

FR: Your PAYNE and Emerging Heroes companies have both been very successful and prove that you’re a good businesswoman. How do you feel your modeling work helped you transition to being a designer and businesswoman?

Heather Payne: I was one of the frontrunners to go to market with the concept of active wear for everyday other than Stella McCartney and Yohji Yamamoto for Y-3. I was picked up by fourteen doors and did everything for PAYNE on a regular ready-to- wear retail schedule. I noticed that the world is really changing and had a manufacturing distribution partner who was kind of old school in their approach. They were delivering late and that’s not me. Lululemon was interested but the people I originally was in talks with weren’t there anymore.

These days, putting out a collection is more than sticking it out on the rack, in a store; It also needs to be online. The company is me—I design everything.

Now I have Emerging Heroes, which I started in 2018. I decided to do something to give back and to tell real stories to make a positive impact. My leggings are different than the usual leggings in that they have that high-end finish, and they curve out the inner crotch, so they look like pants and make your body look great. Add comfort to this, we’re in a pandemic!  From a distance, they (my leggings) look like shiny leather pants.

The switch to the masks was a switch by necessity and to lift spirits while giving back. My factories were open, and I got going with the masks. I’m inspired by a lot more interesting patterns I’m seeing now in the streets. There are three sizes: kids, women and large—a half inch larger than the women’s.

FR: INCLUSIVITY may have been the word of 2020. Do you believe that models of color, plus-size models, trans models, etc. will become mainstream in ad campaigns and on the runway, or is this just a fad?

Heather Payne:  I see how quickly things are moving and changing. There are some positives that have come out during this forced pause. Now, it’s about somehow becoming a more natural version of yourself. There are ads that are inclusive but who can afford the fashion they’re modeling?  A kid wearing the $10,000 Fendi coat? Does the rich woman in Paris want a Chanel jacket worn by a guy?  Could be. Who knows?

 What’s interesting to know is how much work are these models getting? There aren’t a lot of shoots going-on, so they lower your rates and it’s not going to go back up unless you grow a tail. 

Images courtesy of pintrest.com

FR: We’ve all heard about the allegations of sexual harassment against designer Alexander Wang. What can models do to protect themselves against these sorts of behaviors?

Heather Payne: In my experience It’s been going on for so long. I didn’t experience it as much as other people. I would go to my agency and freak out and was told multiple times, “Why do you have a bad attitude? You’re a beautiful woman and he’s a man, what do you expect?”

There’s insecurity because there are 400 girls behind you, waiting. There are some letch-y old photographers but with the new brigade, maybe it will get better.

 It’s even harder for the boys. Fashion is run mostly run by powerful men, mostly not straight. It’s very flirty and the men don’t make as much money as the girls, at all. They live in a dorm with nine guys and are straight out of Nashville. Guy or girl, you say something and you’re “a troublemaker” or “difficult.”

 You’re supposed to be an object, and not take offense. I did get into quite a few fights with my agency.

There’s a lot of sensationalism in allegations, and people do get destroyed, but if there’s enough evidence … Still, I try to see some of the positive.

FR: What advice do you have for young models?

Heather Payne:  I survived because I listened and paid attention, even though I was shy and scared, and out there at such a young age. I would notice what would work or not work.

 I think making myself a human being and not a mannequin helped. People always talked and gossiped. I wouldn’t even go to the bathroom after lunch because they would talk about the models when they weren’t in the room.

I was also excited about the art of it. It’s so cool to be in an editorial when you’re part of the process. Look at the great work Linda Evangelista and Herb Ritts did together. I like when the question you have when you’re looking at a fashion photograph is “who is she, why is she there?” 

Image courtesy of Emeriging Heroes

FR: Last and most importantly, how did modeling help you make the transition to fashion designer and businesswoman?

Heather Payne: Modeling taught me to not be afraid to ask. If it’s something I’m selling, it’s easier to sell a product that makes people happier rather than selling yourself. It’s also helped me to learn how to communicate with people. People want a personality, not just to be sold something. Everything is so quick, people are struggling. All of us in business need to pay attention to what our customer wants and deliver it to them.

—Vivian Kelly

The Rise of the Small Artisanal Designer: Spotlight on Rory Worby

Image courtesy of WAG magazine

It’s early 2021, and a whole new world is emerging in the fashion space. The once mighty Forever 21 has fallen, department store giants are flailing, and the search for what is unique and special is the order of the day. 

 Small, independent fashion designers, like Rory Worby, are offering the kind of fashion consumers are currently craving. The message to invest in special pieces is striking a chord, and customers are lining-up for her hand-painted scarves, kaftans, kimonos, and small home accessories. Rory’s items have a two-week waiting period, and clients are willing to wait. Rory’s success may well signal a shift away from the fast fashion mentality America has been captivated with for the past twenty years.

Image courtesy of Fashion Group International

Fashion Reverie interviewed the artist-turned-fashion designer to find out more about her bespoke creations and the process behind her amazing manipulation of fabrics. At the time of the interview, Rory had just won The Fashion Group International’s (FGI) prestigious “Rising Star Award” in the scarves and fashion jewelry category.

The Rory Worby creative journey starts in Rory’s magical creative space, an all-glass home studio in Pound Ridge, New York, which she considers to be an extension of her home. Rory’s journey was an organic one that began in the late 1970s. Her mom was a self-taught artist turned interior designer. Her dad had floor plans all over the place in their Long Island home, and their teenage daughter soaked it all in. Even then, Rory knew she wanted to be an artist.  She laughs, “I painted on everything and got in trouble for painting on the closet door.” Some of her parents’ friends noticed the tee shirts she painted and bought a few. Soon she was walking the beaches of Fire Island wearing a bikini and one of her tees selling her creations to beach goers.

 

Image courtesy of Louis Vaccaro

Next came art school in Boston where she studied to be an artist and a course in Fashion Illustration at FIT (the Fashion Institute of Technology) in New York that piqued her interest. Post college, Rory did portraits and worked for Atelier Baron in the Mary McFadden building, hand-painting fabrics with other artists she hired for Sassoon Jeans and Mary McFadden.  After more years working in textile design sales, and fabric research and development, she felt the pull to go back to being an artist. Rory explains, “I never really set out to be a fashion designer, I was and will always be an artist. Yes, [what I do] is fashion but it’s wearable art.”

As for her recent Rising Star Award, Rory views the recognition as “phenomenal” and says the exposure serves as a springboard going forward. “It’s also proof of concept. It reinforces that what I’m doing is right, and gives me that push to keep on the path I’m on. With anything, you question yourself. When I painted the first pieces of fabric, I asked my husband ‘Do you think this could be something?’ His firm ‘yes’ helped give me the push to go forward with it.”

Image courtesy of Rory Worby

Part of her vision for her brand is to expand into home accessories. One side would be the fashion accessories and the other, the home side. “Because of the pandemic, we’re trying to create more home spaces. I don’t things will ever go back to the way it was. People will want to continue to make their home environment more desirable because they’ll continue to spend more time working and living at home.” She also feels that consumers are ready to embrace pieces that are both eco-friendly and special. Being eco-friendly is important to Rory and other small high-end brands such as Frederick Anderson and Thale’ Blanc who are trying to do their part to effect change. Rory uses silk, which is natural, and natural dyes whenever possible. Certain colors require low impact dyes and she assiduously re-cycles the water she uses in her custom design process.

Specialness, she’s noticed, is a reoccurring theme at the pop-ups and boutique trunk shows she’s had during the COVID-19 pandemic. “People are wanting to buy things that can be passed down, that can be heirlooms. Even popular TV shows such as Netflix’s Edwardian period hit, “Bridgerton” have contributed to this mind shift. Rory exclaims, “I binge-watched it! The show excites and inspires me. Maybe I’ll put a little embroidery and embellishment on my pieces.”

Image courtesy of Rory Worby

When asked what her favorite pieces are, she quickly responds, “Some of my collaborations with my customers. They love that they can help choose the fabric and the pattern.  It makes them feel a part of the creative process.” One of her favorite examples is a kimono a man wanted to give his girlfriend that incorporated her favorite flowers and colors. “You want them to love it, that’s the end point of it all.”

—Vivian Kelly

Fashionable Moments from the 2021 Presidential Inauguration  

Images courtesy of vanityfair.com

With baited breath, the country, if not the world, awaited the inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It has been a tumultuous road to get to this point, but finally, the moment arrived, and the country, if not the entire world celebrated. And how do most people celebrate? They put on their finest outfits and come together.

As we are still battling the global COVID-19 pandemic, safely coming together is difficult. The presidential inauguration events were drastically scaled down, but the fashion was not. That said, the fashion choices, particularly the colors and hues of the outfits, took a poignant and symbolic turn.

The most prominent color of the inauguration was blue, the color of the Democratic party. But blue is also seen as a calming, tranquil, steady color—attributes most needed for the times at hand. There were also seen many shades of purple. Purple is typically seen as the color of royalty, but as the United States is not a monarchy, the presidency is the closest thing we have to royalty. Moreso, the color purple is the blending of blue and red, and on this occasion, the blending of Democrats and Republicans, for, as former president Obama once stated, “we are not red states or blue states, but the United States of America.”

Purple is also one of the colors of the suffragette movement, signifying freedom and dignity. The chief color of the moment is white, representing purity, which has recently been worn in unison by the women of Congress, and donned by Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez, and Katy Perry at this week’s inaugural events.

Fashion has always been a way of subtly or overtly expressing oneself. Fashion can reflect who you are or be a projection of who you want to be. It has always been a mirror of the current world and often foreshadows changes to come. The outfits worn to the inauguration spoke of unity and hope—what the country needs the most right now.

Image courtesy of Instagram

First Lady Dr. Jill Biden

For the three major events of the inauguration—Tuesday’s COVID-19 Memorial Ceremony at the Lincoln Memorial, Wednesday’s inaugural ceremony, and Wednesday evening’s virtual concert—Dr. Biden dressed in the three major color schemes of the festivities.

On Tuesday, she wore a purple dress and A-line wrap coat from designer Jonathan Cohen‘s upcoming fall/winter 2021 collection. Dr. Biden accessorized with a printed mask of remnant material from the designers studio line.

For her husband’s swearing in ceremony, Dr. Biden opted for a robin egg blue Markarian coat adorned with Swarovski crystals by designer Alexandra O’Neill. For Wednesday night’s virtual inaugural concert, First Lady Biden wore a custom ivory coat, and matching embroidered dress by Uruguayan American designer Gabriela Hearst. Hearst noted that the gown had floral embellishments to reflect “the federal flowers from every state and territory of the United States of America,” and “the Delaware flower is positioned at the heart level of The First Lady” to honor the Bidens’ home state.

Images courtesy of Pyer Moss and Instagram

Vice President Kamala Harris

Throughout her campaign, Vice President Harris made it a point to celebrate young American designers, especially African American designers. For Tuesday night’s COVID-19 Memorial service, she wore an all-black outfit under a camel coat tailored with a pleated curved wave pattern across the back. The coat is from the brand Pyer Moss, whose designer, Kerby Jean-Raymond, turned his office into a PPE donation center at the beginning of the pandemic.

For her swearing in, Harris wore a purple shift dress and matching coat by Christopher John Rogers and a custom pearl necklace by Puerto Rican designer Wilfredo Rosado. Harris’ pearls represent her Howard University sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA), the first African American Greek-letter sorority. On Wednesday night, Madam Vice President changed into a black sequined dress under a floor-length silk-lapelled tuxedo coat by Sergio Hudson and coordinated her outfit with Jimmy Choo Romy shoes and earrings by Irene Neuwirth. Hudson stated “we kept the silhouette very structured and tailored, because that’s who the Vice President is. But the liquid sequins give her glamour and shine, because her influence and the way she’s broken barriers is a light for so many of us. She shines so we can all shine.”

The Former First Ladies

Under a maroon coat, former First Lady/Senator/Secretary Hillary Clinton wore a purple Ralph Lauren pant suit. The power pant suit has become synonymous with Clinton’s fashion style over the past few decades, and this outfit was reflective of the pantsuit she wore in her 2016 concession speech.

Laura Bush wore a knee-length dark gray dress under a powder blue overcoat reminiscent of her ensemble for her husband’s inauguration in 2001. Styled with a pearl necklace, sheer black tights, black loafers and a gray face mask in a matching shade to her dress, Mrs. Bush kept it classy, comfortable, and appropriate for the occasion.

Looking like the second coming of Tamara Dobson (Cleopatra Jones), Michelle Obama stole the show in a Sergio Hudson ensemble. Comprised of a burgundy turtleneck and overcoat, with matching high-waisted wide-legged pant accentuated with a gold buckled belt, the monochromatic outfit, along with her flawless makeup and perfectly coiffed hair was one of the top visuals of the ceremony.

Images courtesy of Instagram

The Performers

To sing the national anthem, Lady Gaga wore an haute couture Schiaparelli ball gown custom made for the event. The look comprised of a fitted cashmere navy jacket and washed red silk faille skirt accompanied by Cornelia James leather gloves. If that wasn’t enough, she accessorized her outfit with gold flower ear cuffs, golden in-ear monitors, and a rather sizeable gold brooch shaped as a flying dove holding an olive branch. Ever the statement-making performer, a number of viewers compared her outfit to what one might expect to see in a Hunger Games movie.

Dressed head to toe in all-white Chanel, Jennifer Lopez sung a medley of “This Land is Your Land” and “America the Beautiful” infused with a line of the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish and a bit of her hit “Let’s Get Loud.” Her Swarovski-bedazzled outfit was comprised of a ruffled silk blouse, sequined wide-leg pants, and a floor-length tweed coat, accented by Chanel pearl earrings, pearl bracelets, and pearl belt. The day before, Lopez arrived for a sound check—where she is rumored to have changed outfits at least twice —in a houndstooth matching overcoat and pant ensemble.

The young lady who highlighted the show was Amanda Gorman, the first National Youth Poet Laureate of the United States, who, center stage at Capitol Hill, read her poem “The Hill We Climb.” Gorman donned a full-length yellow Prada coat, a nod to First Lady Dr. Jill Biden who first saw Gorman perform in 2017, while wearing a yellow dress. Gorman chose to wear Prada because of designer Miuccia Prada’s strong feminist statements. Everyone was awed by Gorman’s prose and marveled at her wardrobe selection, and within hours of the inauguration, the coat was sold out everywhere online.

Images courtesy of Twitter and Instagram

The Bidens

Entering the stage for the ceremony, three of the Biden granddaughters caused camera shutters to go into overdrive. Natalie, Naomi, and Finnegan were dubbed the “Neapolitan Trio,” as their outfits resembled the popular ice cream combination. Natalie in a custom pink coat, Naomi in a white Adam Lippes coat, and Finnegan in a camel coat by Brandon Maxwell were unified in the monochromatic looks. However, they would not outshine the subtle sense of individuality shown by Maisy Biden as she paired her Nike Air Force 1 mid “Sisterhood” sneakers with a monochromatic navy outfit. What a great nod to the historic female power moment of the occasion, and her grandfather’s new first class air travel.

Images courtesy of Twitter and Meena Harris

The Harris’

Everyone did a double take when Ella Emhoff, Kamala Harris’ stepdaughter, entered the stage. Dressed in a Miu Miu coat, coupled with her Thom Browne outfit the evening before, Ella, a student studying at Parson’s School of Design in NYC, secured her seat at the fashion table for the foreseeable future. Her young step cousins also brought some youthful delight to the stage in matching faux-fur coats custom made by children’s brand ILovePlum. What makes this especially adorable is that the coats are an homage to a pair of coats their grandmother Maya and her older sister, Kamala, wore when they were young girls. As they brought the cute, their dad, Nikolas Ajagu, brought the cool with his Dior Nike Air Force 1’s. As Senator Amy Klobuchar was speaking at the podium, we caught a glimpse of Nikolas coming down the steps behind her. Tv viewers could briefly see only his sneakers, but for the eagle-eyed hypebeast, that was enough for them to rewind their DVR to confirm that he was indeed wearing the $2,000 pair of sneakers. Mixing comfort and style with formal attire, as often done by Vice President Harris, Nikolas has been subsequently dubbed the Secretary of Drip.

Images courtesy of democratandchronicle.com and Twitter

The Gentlemen

We cannot forget about the men when it comes to the fashion of the day. Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff donned a dark grey Ralph Lauren suit for the occasion. But the day was focused on one man, President Joe Biden. For his attire, of course he opted for an American designer, selected to be dressed by Ralph Lauren, in a custom navy suit and overcoat. Completed with a satin blue tie and wool scarf, the entire ensemble was made in Rochester, New York’s Hickey Freeman plant. New York Senator, and now Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Shumer wore a cashmere Hickey Freeman jacket for the inauguration ceremony. He was also in attendance at the plant in 2019 when the company announced plans to invest $8 million to expand its operations and introduce new product lines, adding up to 80 jobs.

Wednesday’s inauguration was magical —because of the importance of the occasion, and because of the sartorial symbolism. There seems to be a fresh breath of air and fashion sense in the executive branch. Even though the previous administration included a former model (Melania Trump) and fashion brand owner (Ivanka Trump), there seemed to have been few fashion moments from the White House. With the vote of over 81 million Americans, and two families stepping into the limelight, it seems a change has come.

 

—Carl Ayers

 

2021 Budding Fashion Brands

Welcome to 2021. It is time for a fresh start, and we are all in need of a reset from 2020. New year, new you, right? Whether you want to drastically change things up or slowly slip into the new year, as a reader of Fashion Reverie, we know you want to stay stylish either way.

A great way to begin the year is by adding a few new pieces to your wardrobe. We know a lot of consumers are being more methodical and strategic with their spending, and that’s a good thing. A well curated closet is better than one which is overflowing yet void of personal style. To have your wardrobe speak for you, you may need to think small. Everyone knows the big brands and retailers, but small, newer brands tend to be more personal and nuanced. Also, during this current economic downturn, small brands truly appreciate the support of new and returning customers.

To help guide you smartly, expand your closet, Fashion Reverie has assembled a variety of brands to usher you along your journey of discovery. Not only are these brands diverse in the varied backgrounds of their designers, but the designers themselves are just as diverse in their approach to design. Where they all overlap is in the fact that they all should be on your radar in 2021 and for years to come.

Christopher Lowman

The vision of Christopher Lowman is to inspire the world by putting out a product that connects with genders of all races.

AKNVAS

Utilizing his draping skills learned in Paris, Christian Juul Nielsen creates a collection that is inspired by the past while looking towards the future. The menswear-inspired silhouettes are simple, giving the person wearing them a sense of importance.

Mia Becar

The collection, meticulously handcrafted in Italy from the finest materials, reflects designer Betzabe Gonzalez’s love of color, bold silhouettes, her travels, and her passion for artisanal traditions and techniques.

Rinat Brodach

Rinat’s main goal is to make clothes for all and give her customer the power to be their true self. She says it is beyond making clothing; it’s giving you tools to feel and be your best self. 

Epperson

Rodney Epperson seeks to celebrate the individual, mixing texture, prints, and shapes together through deconstruction, then reconstruction, to create avant-garde wearable pieces.

Ines x Ciner

Noted bridal designer Ines di Santo wanted to create collections of conversational jewelry that take women on a journey of visual chapters. Each piece represents fantasy and beauty, and each is handcrafted with the techniques used to create hand crafted jewelry.

Reese Cooper

The connection between the environment and the community can be seen throughout Reese Cooper’s work. He is inspired by everyday life, infusing nature with utility in his designs.

Aera

Designed by Tina Bhojwani and Jean Michel Cazabet, Aera’s mission is to make products that are considered in all aspects to encourage the consumer to buy less and buy better. They have created style inspired by iconic women which has timeless appeal and will remain relevant.

APotts

Designer Aaron Potts has ideated a way to respond to the ever-changing world that is questioning standards based on beauty, size, race, age, and gender. Climate change and world travel make trans-seasonal, gender-neutral clothes a necessity. Customers want effortless dressing options, quality, and fresh, thoughtful inspiration.  APotts proposes solutions.

YGN – You Go Natural

As a young mother, Monique Little created YGN out of her own need for a head wrap option that was easy and didn’t dry or break her hair. Monique created these head wraps so she could look and feel good every day.

Soonil

Born into a family of art collectors and fashion entrepreneurs, Soonil Kwon’s journey to becoming a designer was paved experiences from his early life. He is inspired by global travel and the continued inspiration of his surroundings.

Venim

The vision of founders Leslie Fong and Kaycee Houchin is to make gendered clothing the exception. This design duo is less moved by the immaculate newness of the runways, but drawn to the complicated relationship an object will have with its owner over the course of its lifetime.

Bentz

Melissa and Kim Bentz seek to unite high fashion, unique style, and hope. Their love of celebration and design makes a go-to brand for all. The Bentz spirit is “imagine hope.”

Victor Li

Presenting cross-culture inventions and techniques through design is paramount as Victor Li draws inspiration derived from his travel adventures. The end result is a collection of signature pieces that combine timeless tailoring with a fresh, inventive palette.

Images courtesy of their respective brands

Sai Sankoh

West Africa meets the glamour of old Hollywood. Sai Sankoh blends vintage style and modern fashion, highlighting vibrant colors and prints from her collection.

Cheers to a new year of discovering new brands while continuing your great sense of style.

—Carl Ayers

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