Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Little Black Dress: A review of a Classic

Trends come and go, but for 90 years the little black dress has remained a powerful Fashion Icon, a constant on the catwalk, red carpet and in many womens' wardrobes. Wallis Simpson, The Dutches of Windsor famously said in its praise, "when the little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place." The little black dress is the chamelon of the fashion world.

Be it the safe choice, the rebellious statement, sexy or demure, the little black dress is both chic and armour within the fashion world and has never skipped a beat. Vogue stated in 1939 the simple little black dress is that made of all work, transforming itself for any occasion. The appeal of Little black dress is in equal measures its versatility and timeless glamour linked to women such as Coco Chanel, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Hurley.

In 1926 Coco Chanel showcased a simple Black Jersey dress in American vogue, which she described as the new uniform of modern women. Vogue nicknamed the dress the Chanel Ford. From this point on the concept of the little black dress- versatile, sophisticated and progressive was planted firmly in the public immagination. The popularity of the little black dress remained more or less constant throughout the 20th century. The 1950 and 1960 were its heyday, owing in part to the postwar boom in cocktail parties. The 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany's transformed the LBD into a style icon, so that by 1965 vogue awarded it the accolade of contemporary classic- authentic and ageless.
Today...It is still strong as it is placed in sought after and religously followed aspects of the fashion world such as Style God Tim Gunn's list of things a woman must have in her closet.

For contemporary designers...the constant objective was and is to update the black dress, season after season while allowing it to have the classic charm that made it a staple in the first place. In the 20th century, the black dress can be as progressive and revolutionary as it was in its Chanel beginnings.The Fashion and Textile Museum in UK invited over 20 of Britains leading designers to show their ideas of the perfect black dress. Constrained by color, designers experimented with texture, form, drape and silhouette while revamping the classic. As Catherine Walker says, the little black dress is the perfect canvas for pure line and form. The little black dress has the power to make all women feel special, sexy and sleek within its fabric. Further, the little black dress is an incredible and indespensable standard for many women within and during personal events such as moments of seduction, revenge, and unforgettable occasions are for many women a representation of black dress.

Improvements in manufacturing standards for ready to wear clothes and their introduction of new synthetic fibers, has both broadened the availability and affordability of the little black dress; allowing it to represent glamour accessible to women regardless of age, class or income. A constant essential piece in every womens wardrobe, the importance of the black dress is as universal, undeniable and strong as the woman who created it so long ago.--------------------

Tapti Tapan, Designer and Contributor

Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Fashion Designer's Life....

Designer, artist, or a creative soul, whatever you might want to call, we never sleep.We are always looking for ways, techniques, and inspirations to make our product better, more creative and more pleasing to the eye.
That’s what makes our profession different from any other. We are always on a run for ideas; we never know what will inspire us, whether it’s a bird, a tree, piece of furniture, texture on the streets or fabric, music or an emotion. It’s absolutely beyond our immediate understanding. The creative juices are always flowing, in our dreams, in our thoughts and in our hearts. We are constantly thinking how to make a product better, even when we are watching what other people are wearing. We are always thinking how I would have made it better or worn it different etc.
The day of a designer starts with perhaps meditating in the morning for calming our soul for a fresh start, for a new day or for some having a cup of coffee, running in the shower to get ready for a corporate job that doesn’t wait for us but we want to run to or after. After bathing, we perhaps look at our closest to decide whether we want to look creative today or perhaps professional, or should we go with the Chanel look or the Dior, or Cavalli for that matter. After all that’s decided then comes the accessories, the hair, makeup and the jacket depending on the mad and unpredictable weather of New York.On the train either reading WWD (Women’s wear daily, the bible of the Fashion Industry) or figuring out what’s the first thing we need to do once we reach the office or simply sleeping and for some who are always running late and wearing makeup on the train, while the people around are watching and wandering why the makeup cant be worn at home or why is it even important to wear makeup.The day at work, stress, stress, and some more stress.
Deadlines, communicating with over seas factories for issues and concerns, calling fabric, trim vendors, asking them when are we getting the buttons, when is the fabric reaching the office, negotiating prices, searching magazines for inspirations, getting the projects done for presentations for the buyers, getting projects done for meetings, color meetings, meetings with vendors, trend meetings, sales meetings.
Then we say to ourselves, if we have so many meetings how can we meet deadlines, how will we have time to create something which is so beautiful and divine and at the same time sellable. Alas lunch time, lunch is usually on our desk in front of our computer, while we are having lunch we are also emailing or figuring out what next, should we tackle an easier project first or something less complicated or should be just sketch and create away to glory and finally we look at our wrist to see what time it is, whether it is end of the day yet or not or can we go home early today or perhaps not.A designer not all creates but sees the process and makes sure everything a garment needs is there. From a sketch we bring it to reality, a reality which we see people wearing or perhaps even on the runway.. It’s just like a baby.

Tapti Tapan

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Preview of the New Season!

Spring/Summer 2009.....

While we sit snuggled up in coats, scarves and hats, the designers of the world of course are already thinking ahead to the next season which requires their fashion stamp: Spring and summer of 2009.
Although the well known designers of our world of course took the ground running, this was deffinitly a season for the newbie designers as well. While Project Runway gives one designer a break, we saw the runway give many others a chance to shine as well. For some, they took that and dazzled many, showing that the future of fashion just got a bit brighter. A great example of this is Russian designer Kira Plastinina. With a collection of fresh and funky looks, you can see by her pallete that she deffinitly is aware of clientel type tastes, and can fit the requirements well. While still daring and unafrai with mixing colors and patterns Plastinina's designs are always blended so well.

While we all know the classic Chanel suits which even if made decades ago will still be red carpet ready, the timeless ensemble was beautifuly altered with different cuts and color styles in order to create a modern look for the new season. The basics however, from regular skirst tops and knited items which Chanel is known best for, were still in view despite the upheaval. Despite any changes, the collection still keept the indpendent yet classic elegance which the line is best known for. To see a collection that was still able to keep to what the representation of what Chanel represents, and keep up with the times is just an amazing feat only able to be done on by an amazing label such as Chanel.

Carlos Miele
Despite his usual inventive forte for his pieces, Miele's picks for spring were still amazingly wearable while still having a cutting edge with the color choices and styles. Despite the obvjously innovative creations, the designer still held on to the cuts required to make a woman's body a masterpiece dressed in a masterpiece.

Charles Nolan
While maintaining an older style, the conservative view of this collection still has some young touches, such as free flowing skirts and a light feeling which echos from many of the choices for this season.
Monique Lhuiller
Whispers around the fashion world say that this new child of the fashion floor may be the next Valentino through her collection and presentation. The elegance and how the collection celebrates the women of confidence and sexyness.

The number on factor of this season is: COLOR COLOR COLOR. While we will not see the bright yellows and oranges of the last summer...examples of of bold colors for things such as tailored suits showed in presenations such as Gucci, while sensual patters will be a staple as shown by lines such as Just Cavalli. All in all, this promises to be a very sexy season!

Mira Hinic, Fashion Freelancer: Hetty

Monday, November 10, 2008

FACshion Sets Trend In A Great Fashion Week

The first of its kind, new trade buyer and consumer show FaCshion was the ideal showcase for a fusion of emerging fashion talent FaCshion has lead the way as the very first twice annual trade show that targets both the trade buyer and the fashionista consumer. With over 1100 visitors through its doors, the 2 day event at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane has confidently established its name on the fashion calendar.Midday saw the doors fling open on the Saturday, and the event kick off in style with an exclusive VIP champagne brunch giving the special guests including buyers from the likes of Topshop and Warehouse the opportunity to mingle with press and industry bodies whilst sipping champagne and lunching on sushi. This fashionable fusion made for a valuable opportunity to exclusively preview the exhibitor collections before the hoardes of general public. "The talent there was outstanding" - Stylish Miss
Among the 50 carefully chosen exhibitors, those to note included TraSsh Bags who by mixing both fashion with ethics provided a preview of their striking designs. With their beautifully cut statement pieces, Trout and Pout showcased their intricately tailored plaid kimono jackets which were emphasised to be "all made lovingly in the UK". For simplistically individual sculpted bags, Stephen Harkin presented an accessory range to behold, and contemporary menswear label Credau showed off their 100% original natural or recycled range. Other event highlights included top beauty professionals Dermalogica offering visitors free expert face mapping at their skin bar and iStylista who divulged their expert advice to all those wanting to try their hand at styling - there was without doubt much to see and do at this September's FaCshion.
"It was definitely worth it" - An Average Girl's Diary
Heads were turned to the catwalk as the models strutted into action at 1pm. Choreographed by the highly acclaimed Andy Turner (who can also add The Clothes Show Live main show to his credits) the show was accompanied by a pulsating soundtrack to compliment the selected exhibitors' collections. Later in the day guest speakers offered pearls of industry wisdom to the fashion throngs; they included Style Insider and entrepreneur Bethanie Lunn who gave one lucky attendee the chance of an expert makeover, successful Fashion Designer and Entrepreneur Kal Kaur Rai and Founder of, Sindhu Venkatanarayanan who discussed the impact of ethical choices in fashion. A resounding success, FaCshion provided the platform for a diverse selection of ethically minded emerging fashion talent - if this event was anything to go by we can't wait for the next one!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

International Fashion Event Announcement!

FaCshion - the event on everyone's lipsTrade Buyer and Consumer Show, FaCshion releases exhibitor names and media partners




FaCshion is the very first two-day exhibition that targets both trade buyer and fashionista in London. Due to the events originality, demand and results they deliver, FaCshion has the full support from key media partners including concierge service, Style Bible and press such as Attire Accessories and Who's Jack Magazine.

Louise Orcheston-Findlay, Editor of Who's Jack magazine states, 'Jack worked with FaCshion last year and saw the high calibre of designers it presented - some of which we have since worked with for our fashion pages. We love FaCshion because we can get a chance to see and speak to great talent before it becomes hard to reach'!With 50 exhibitors and 4 catwalks over 2 days - the event is set to attract thousands of fashionistas and industry members - offering an essential platform for fashion brands to showcase their collections as well offering the likes of buyers, stylists and even consumers an opportunity to preview, buy and use the stock of some amazingly talented designers. Head of Marketing, Diana Young is thrilled by the positive response the event is already receiving but simultaneously expected the support due its unique yet essential offering. Luke Gittens, Founder, says "FaCshion aims to break boundaries by creating an event for both trade buyer and consumer by supporting independent designers that seldom have the opportunity or the means with which to reach the masses."

Held on Saturday 13 September (13:30 - 18:00) and Sunday 14 September 2008 (12:00 - 18:00) at the Old Truman Brewery, presenting a range of emerging designers specialising in a variation of sectors from couture to customised fashion, ethical goods, knitwear, lingerie, footwear and accessories. Exhibitor, Sandra Bamminger of The House of Boing collection features womenswear combined with accessories and hats. She chose to exhibit at FaCshion because their new collection of hats have so far only been shown in editorials and not yet been presented to the great British public at large - 'stylish people living and visiting the Brick Lane area represent a great cross-section of potential Boing customers', says Bamminger.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

International Fashion Review: Ann Sofie

Having always thought that models had to look as miserable as sin, it was fabulous to see the girls at Ann Sofie-Back looking like they were enjoying every second of their catwalk troop.
Ann Sofie-Back is one of those brilliant designers who never seems to get the credit she truly deserves; always out on the edge of the inner fashion circle. A shy, creative type (she didn’t even put in an appearance at the end of the show, not to mention that the end walk was done at the beginning, prompting much confusion as to whether or not the spectacular spectacle was indeed over) has created yet another strong collection that stays true to her own unique and experimental style.

Like the earlier Modernist show, it appears that the palette for Autumn/Winter 08 is monochrome (although this time on the more grey end of the scale) with accents of flame red. There were also splashes of aqua; a colour hard to pull off and which didn’t entirely work well within the collection.
The collection was a fun and playful twist on traditional men’s tailoring, with asymmetric, oversized, draped men’s suit jackets in wool, and tuxedo jackets in black satin. Drapery is a key part of Ann Sofie-Back’s ‘look’ and she didn’t disappoint. Satin dresses, in blacks and red, hung asymmetricly across the models bodies, and included fabulous sleeve detailing in the form of spider web like lace.
Jersey staple cream t-shirts were incredibly soft and sheer, many splattered in the palettes accent red colour. The collection itself came across as feminine and extremely delicate, in many cases reminiscent of sensual satin night wear; brilliantly juxtaposed by the masculine jacket influences, which were occasionally styled together, allowing them to hang over beautifully sleek satin dresses. It reminded me of a chivalrous gentleman lending a woman his jacket after a romantic night out.
Knits again were asymmetrically draped, with part fitted and part left to organically take its own shape, which worked extremely well.
There was a good selection of trouser shapes, with some beautifully tailored and high-waisted, as well as skinny tuxedo pants.
The collection would generally only work well for those of an extremely waif like build (think the Olsen twins), as the asymmetry and drapery are obviously meant to engulf and hang off the wearer in a delicate fashion.
More wearable styles include the grey jumper dresses (now a winter wardrobe staple), embellished in silver trinkets and slimming pencil skirts.
My favourite pieces from the show are without a doubt the amazing asymmetric, draped leather biker jacket (simply ‘WOW’) and matching leather, embellished gloves, a silvery wet look pair of cigarette pants (though I wont be wearing them, I will admire any women that does) and the closing piece, yet again draped and asymmetric, but this time in the form of a white satin shirt with voluminous balloon sleeve.

Rebecca Baum
International Writer

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

International Fashion Review: Avsh Alom Gur

Now I would just like it noted that I reviewed and took notes from this whole show while standing on tip toes (sorry I just want it recognised the length that this fashionista will go to!)
The last time I saw Avsh Alom Gur was for his current S/S 08 collection; the seated rows were full (in fact I was comfortably perched on a bench for that one!) and there were a number of standing spectators. However, it just shows what six months in fashion can do! This time the entire room was crammed to bursting with the fashion pack wanting a piece of this design genius (hence why I was about five rows back standing on tip toes!)
As I’m sure you all know Avsh Alom Gur is now also the creative director of Ossie Clark and this has made him (to most) the man of the moment.
The collection opened with a corseted piece and print skirt, which I must admit threw me a little. This wasn’t the Gur I knew! Where were all the beautiful draped dresses? Fear not fashion friends! After what I thought was an uncharacteristic opening (which included chiffon floor length dresses, trimmed in dyed furs), Gur regained his signature look in the form of floor length chiffon maxi dresses, plenty of his famous prints and embroidery detailing.
Dresses were incredibly waisted, and you would need a great (and tiny) waist to carry them off successfully! But they were truly beautiful. Gur works chiffon in such a way that there is a perfect amount of drapery and gather, to allow them to fall just so, always presenting them in a kaleidoscope of colours (this time the main being a chocolate brown).
Also on offer was delicate pleating that emulated corrugated card, and this provided a fabulous contrast of something so rigid created in something as delicate as chiffons and silks.
There was a definite African theme running through the collection’s prints, embroidery, colour palettes and the silhouettes.
Sleeves again were a big focus in this collection and I have seen many a fabulous voluminous sleeve this week (which I love!)
Watching Gur is a textile treat! Where else can I see burnt orange velvet with pink embroidery that should look evil, But in reality looks so sumptuous and magnificent that I’d like to run out and buy it. The burnt orange and pink velvet outfit was definitely my favourite, such contrasts working so perfectly, with fabulous pushed up three quarter sleeves gathered and draped so organically; reflecting the lights of the catwalk.
The colour palette consisted of beige, orange (both bright and burnt), brown (in various shades), gold and emerald blues and pale green and of course the A/W favourite, monochromes.
As with previous seasons, Avsh Shalom Gur has continued to evolve the embellishment trends into both accessories (such as blinging belts) and a heavily decorated jacket.
There was also experimentation of fit with drapery in the form of fitted corsets with chiffon drapery that worked extremely well.
Although this collection didn’t feel the least bit wintery to me (not a bit of knitwear in sight!), it was without a doubt my favourite of the week, Gur did what he does best: beautiful designs in courageous colours, with fabrics he knows he can use to make magical dresses. Having read that he plans to scale down his own operation to fully look after Ossie Clark, I think he is balancing both remarkably. Long may it be so!

Rebecca Baum
International Fashion Writer