Seoul Fashion Week Fall 2017: The Highlights

Seoul is one of the best-kept fashion gems in the world. Like Japan and Sao Paulo, Seoul keeps itself pristine and pure. It rarely wanders into the realm of knock off fashion trends. And if it does resemble something we’ve seen on the runway before, chances are that the trend may have just originated there and not come in after the fact. The beauty of Korean fashion comes from its authenticity. Nothing really seems forced and that’s a horribly difficult thing to come by in today’s fashion industry. This season came with some of the freshest collections to date. The authenticity is there, the style is there, and that’s what makes Seoul Fashion Week such a joy to review — Here are its biggest stunners for fall.

Miss Gee Collection

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Have you ever wondered what Blair Waldorf would have looked like if she would have gone back to her old stomping grounds and became dean of Constance? Well here is your chance. At Miss Gee Collection, a clear private school influence was seen. With streamlined pantsuits accented with coloured trims and mock school crests and emblems. This collection screams Upper East Side private school couture, which, for one, I am in love with. There’s something so functional yet whimsical about collections that are based on school uniforms. It paints a story for you. You can almost see the Ivy covered walls of an elite private school neatly tucked away behind a set of giant elms and wrought iron fence when you see this collection.

Beyond Closet

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Now you can’t have ladies varsity style without throwing some men’s looks as well. For this season’s Beyond Closet show, models were sent out in outfits that would definitely put your local private school bad boy to shame. The great thing about this collection is that it refrains from solely showing uniform clothing; instead, a great mix of streetwear is woven in and out of the collection, giving the show a very relaxed and New York feel which works with the fashion industries’ current love for athleisure streetwear.

Kiok

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Berets have been everywhere this season from Paris to New York, so it doesn’t come as a surprise that the world is following suit. At Kiok, berets, Parisian flare, and strong deconstruction are all tied together in a neat little package. Many of the denim looks are outstanding and very relevant to today’s fashion trends. However, the best looks came in the form of polka dot print dresses, blouses, and blazers. The polka dots give the collection a comedic freshness that is sadly avoided in the fashion industry. Another really interesting thing about the collection is how well it’s styled. The layering between outerwear, formalwear, and sportswear perfectly mirrors what’s going on in the fashion world today.

J Koo

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Formalwear and evening wear are some of the most difficult pieces to design because they usually follow certain guidelines. For example, you can design a tuxedo made out of jersey, but it still wouldn’t be considered formalwear. At J Koo, the notion of formalwear and evening wear is revisited and reworked with knits and trenches. Giving the collection a very soft and casual feel without actually taking away from its elegance. Chiffon is sprinkled throughout and mossy greens break up the neutrals seen throughout the collection, allowing the evening wear to go beyond the realm of black, white, and jewel tones.

Kumann Yoo Hye Jin

Photo: Seoul Design Foundation

Herringbone is one of the greatest patterns ever invented. It’s fun, it’s bright, it’s eye-catching, and it’s elegant in its own right. So it came as no surprise when it showed up on the runway at Kumann Yoo Hye Jin. The beautiful citrine stone green pairs beautifully with the soft wool texture of the outerwear in the collection. However, herringbone isn’t the only pattern available in the collection. A great majority of the show’s outerwear is presented in sumptuous plaid wools that hark back to a more retro idea of outerwear. Denim and velvet also made spectacular appearances in the form of separates and dresses, which helped break up the various plaids and neutral tones throughout the show. Giving its would-be shoppers a wide variety of choices to mix and match with, which is a plus in anyone’s books.

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Eckhaus Latta Rethinks the Sex Sells Concept in Their Latest Campaign

Underground fashion darlings Eckhaus Latta have gained notoriety in the mainstream circuit for their none-binary clothing, uninhibited casting choices, unconventional runway shows, and material driven designs. But it’s their SS 2017 campaign that pushes the brand’s honest approach to fashion the furthest: it features a variety of real-life couples engaging in various sexual acts in the brand’s clothing.

Photos courtesy of Eckhaus Latta Instagram

For the campaign, Eckhaus Latta tapped Korean-German photographer Heji Shin, who recently took a break from shooting fashion to create a sex education book for teens.

“For us, it was really important to think of sex as something really natural and not something fabricated, hyper-sexualized, or taboo,” Eckhaus told W Magazine. “We weren’t covering people in oil — that’s actually their sweat, you know?” Latta added. “We’ve really wanted to play with the principles around advertising, but it had to be authentic and it had to be real people. If it was simulated, it would have really lost the whole intention behind the shoot.”

Photos courtesy of Eckhaus Latta Instagram

Lets be real, fashion campaigns that aren’t driven by the ‘sex sells’ concept are few and far in-between. The Eckhaus Latta campaign is bringing consumers back to reality by not airbrushing, depicting people connecting, representing all kinds of couples, and not being overly stylized. The honesty is refreshing and has created the least controversial depiction of sex I’ve ever seen in an advertisement. Maybe the reason why viewers find the ads so unnerving is the limited way we’ve been offered to consume sex: hetro, staged, dishonest, and passionless.

Photos courtesy of Eckhaus Latta Instagram

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What Novella Loves — Spring Edition

Our content team is a motley crew, each member with their own quirks and stories that define our stranger than usual weirdness in the ways they clash and meet over pitches and wine at every meeting. But if there is a consistency in the diversity, it is our impeccable — yes, impeccable — taste in all things stylish and beautiful. What Novella Loves showcases these two defining qualities of our team.

It’s April, and for those of you who’ve been bemoaning the lack of definitive Spring signs, we bring to you this Spring Edition.

Even though I don’t own one, I believe it’s a must-have accessory. I am obsessed with the timeless and chic design by Chanel. What I love most about a classic black Chanel bag is its versatility. It can be worn with anything and never go out of style. I love the chicness it can bring to an edgier look like we saw on the streets during NYFW. A real original, the classic Chanel flap bag is something every girl should own.  Claire Ball, Editorial Contributor

Victoria Beckham which has recently announced her new collaboration with Target with a cool graphic T-shirt from her collection in LAX that was printed with the slogan “Fashion Stole My Smile”. I found this tee fun and amusing, as it shows a sense of humour concerning her poker face that has become her trademark. This shirt comes in black or white and is available for around $150, which might be a bit expensive for a graphic T-shirt but a reasonable price for a designer one.  Liat Neuman, Fashion Contributor   

I have to convince myself that it’s actually spring everyday. With the still inconsistent temps, if I am forced to bundle up, why not still be stylish. Montreal-based designer Xian’s wool blend coat with 4 snap detail closure can keep me warm and still looking good on the days where we go from sunny to grey and chilly in one day to the next.  Drew Brown, Editor-in-Chief

My pick for my spring must have is definitely going to be The Enchanted Forest by the Vagabond Prince.  The unisex scent comes from a very niche perfumer, so it isn’t the easiest scent to get your hands on outside of the US. However, I’m hopeful that one day I’ll be able to snag a bottle of this mysterious blackcurrant fragrance that has reviewers mesmerized by its fairytale scent!  Chris Zaghi, Fashion Editor

I love my Mer Bag. As our editor-in-chief likes to point out, I can fit my studio apartment in my backpack and still have room left — the smallest size available for a basic backpack is H24 W12, so you can imagine the possibilities. It’s waterproof, weatherproof, and made with industrial materials to last. The highly functional bags come with simple designs best suited for any purpose other than a gala dinner, unless the gala dinner involves cycling, bmx, or skateboarding, in which case, it’s even good for that. Every time you order a Mer Bag, Rob Nelson, who founded the company back in 2001, hand makes it himself at his studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Rob is also a really nice guy with an adorable dog the size of a bicycle.  — Hoon Ji, Managing Editor

The best bags are the ones that keep getting better with each wear. For the past two years, my go-to has been the Mansur Gavriel bucket bag. The New York based company started with these iconic bags in 2012 and became the instant must-have items on social media. The bag comes in different variations with a wide range of colours for exteriors and interiors. The materials used in the bag are high-quality leather crafted in Italy. Over time the leather becomes buttery soft and makes you want to wear it more.  I love throwing everything in my purse rather than digging through compartments to find my keys; this bag is just effortless cool. — Michelle Cheung, Social Media Coordinator

María Magdalena; Subversive Fashion With Spanish Flavor

Designer Alejandra Jaime Mendoza | Credit: María Magdalena

“Symbolic, metaphoric, surrealistic, and subversive” — that’s how Alejandra Jaime Mendoza the Spanish designer behind María Magdalena of the controversial name describes the essence of her brand. Only two seasons into hitting the catwalk of the main events for emerging fashion designers in Spain, Mendoza’s understanding of fashion is already making headlines.

Mendoza has recently showed her second collection for Samsung EGO, the platform dedicated exclusively to emerging talents during Madrid Fashion Week. María Magdalena added that Spanish flavor to the event with ruffles and silhouettes that resemble those of the traditional ‘Sevillana.’ Baroque-inspired pieces like silky dolly dresses with puffed sleeves, shiny fabrics, and metallic sets contrasted with hoodies and fishnet tights, exhibiting the clash of cultures that inspired her collection Integration.

Credit: María Magdalena

The concept goes back to the 2000s in Seville when two social groups with different styles were in opposition. Mendoza wanted to highlight the importance of integration in today’s society, so she took details of both styles and fused them to create a single and unique collection. “I love to make an impact on my audience, to make people have fun, but also to make them think about the issue I’m talking about,” she explains.

Mendoza says that she always works from an idea that she wants to transmit — something that she has the need to share with other people. That’s why there is always a powerful symbolic meaning behind her collection. Even the name of her brand, María Magdalena, which doesn’t go unnoticed, has a connotation.

María Magdalena represents to me the role that unfortunately has been attributed to women over the years in the sense that she has always been in inequality in relation to men,” Mendoza explains. The designer wanted to shed some light on the figure of the woman, letting her have the position she deserves: equal to men.

Credit: María Magdalena

Fashion acts for Mendoza as a platform to channel her inner world and discuss social issues along with psychological and philosophical matters. “My goal is to create useful things for society as well,” the designer explains.

When she has the concept in mind, Mendoza develops it and tries to find a way to translate it aesthetically into draws and fabrics. In fact, materializing the idea is her favourite part of the whole design process. The worst bit? Promotion. But that’s just because, contrary to what you may think, Alejandra Jaime Mendoza is a very shy person. However, she is slowly coming to terms with being in the spotlight from time to time.

“Integration”; the latest collection of María Magdalena | Credit: María Magdalena

Before tapping into fashion design, she studied at a law school for two years to later realize that it wasn’t for her. She decided to change the course of her life and enrolled in Design and Fashion Management at CEADE. It was there that Mendoza found her powerful creative side and focused more on design.

Today, at only 26 years old with a lot of stories, experiences, and anecdotes, Alejandra Jaime Menzoda has her feet on the ground and loves to share her achievements with her team and friends who always support her and make her fight for her dreams as the talent behind María Magdalena.

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The Most Stylish and Stunning Drag Instagram Looks of 2017… So Far

Ever since the rise of social media and queer-centered programming such as RuPaul’s Drag Race (airs Fridays at 8 pm if anyone is interested). The global appreciation for drag and drag culture has shot to astronomical heights over the last few years. However, drag has been an important form of entertainment and expression since ancient times. These days, drag and drag culture have expanded to become a very inclusive and supportive network of artists that bring their own styles and flavours to the broad spectrum of drag culture. For this round of Top 10 Instagram Moments, we’ve found a group of queens and drag artists whose stunning personal styles and personas have made for some really amazing Instagram moments. Here are the most stylish and stunning drag moments of 2017 so far!

@ALLABOUTVALENTINA

Valentina‘s has quickly stolen the hearts of drag race fans and social media perusers alike. With her infectious personality and uplifting optimism, Valentina has already shown herself to be a clear front-runner among the shows pick of stunning queens… and only two episodes too! Apart from her showstopping appearances on Drag Race, Valentina recently appeared on Access Hollywood for an interview about her career and experiences on drag race. It seems that this queen is making herself right at home in the spotlight where she belongs.

 

@RYBURKE

A staple of modern club kid culture, Ryan Burke is the go to Instagram account to follow if you’d like to see everything from Leigh Bowery inspired costumes to high fashion glamour looks. This look right here really encapsulates what Ryan is all about; graphic avant-garde looks are what she does best!

@BIGANDMILKY

Milk is another queen that came from the new era of club kids. Her conceptual, and more recently, gender fluid and androgynous looks always have either a political or social motive behind them. Recently, Milk showed the world just how she felt about her home country’s current president. Now, this look isn’t the most glamorous, but it serves to show that drag can be more than just female impersonation. It can be a cry for justice and truth in uncertain times.

 

@SASHAVELOUR

It seems like this season of Drag Race is going to have it’s most recognisable, copied, and envied queens of all the seasons. One perfect example of this is Sasha Velour. This New York city drag icon has been the face of Brooklyn for years now. Proving that New York produces some of the best drag acts in the world. And for good reason, just look at her fashion sense. It looks like she has Manhattan oversized Comme Des Garcon realness on lock.

 

@SIGOURNEY.BEAVER

The most beautiful thing about today’s drag scene is that inclusivity has become a main focal point for many of the world’s queer havens. In the past, drag itself was a strictly cis white male profession., now, drag has evolved to include everyone. No matter their age, body shape, skin colour, religion, and gender. Yes, that’s right, even gender too! Never has there been such a rise in women taking interest in drag like there is now. Take the ever stunning Sigourney Beaver. Who’s out of this world glamour and curvaceous body were the perfect mix to create this picture perfect Jessica Rabbit meets Daenerys Targaryen outfit.

 

@PEARLIAISON

Queen Pearl is part of the iconic Drag Race alumni of season 6. Along with winner Violet Chachki, Pearl is regarded as one of the most original and iconic drag queens in recent history. Recently, Pearl drag persona has evolved from vava voom blonde bombshell to fully realised drag artist. In this look, you can see her vast theatrical influences. Pearl has everything covered here, from Venetian carnival sleeves to a gorgeous Midsummers Night Dream headpiece.

 

@PEPPERMINT247

Peppermint landed her rightful place on this list for something extra special and important. Peppermint is actually the first contestant in Drag Race history to enter the competition as a transwoman. Unlike other contestants on the show who began their transitions after their appearances on the show, Peppermint walked into the workroom as a proud (and exceptionally stunning) transwoman of colour. Here we see Peppermint giving a taste of black culture and beauty, 1980’s flare, and New York spunk all in one.

 

@RYANXHEMMINGE

Like I mentioned before, Drag and Drag culture are no longer identified in a singular form. These days, everyone can express their individuality through makeup and costume. Take Instagram user Ryan H. Who’s stunning makeup looks go far beyond the realm of his Instagram makeup artist contemporaries. I definitely think CoverGirl should open up another more spot on their Cover boy roster for this uber-talented lad.

@CREMEFATALE

More and more women are finding empowerment in their sexuality and femininity by doing drag. Queen Creme Fatale is one of them. With some of the most outrageously beautiful and versatile painting skills. Here we can see the extent of Creme’s skills, serving a high fashion, high glamour club kid fantasy.

@URBANDECAYCOSMETICS

Lastly, we have Urban Decay Cosmetics. Who have realised that queens aren’t just an entertainment highlights anymore but they’re also great business women and marketers as well. With the launch of their  Makeup Meltdown and Rehab cosmetics products, Urban Decay invited queens @THEONLYALASKA5000, @JIGGLYCALIENTEOFFICIAL, @SUTANAMRULL, and @KATYA_ZAMO to test drive their products to see if they work to prep and wipe away the toughest of makeup looks.