Dear… (A Comprehensive Look At The Most Questionable Moments in Fashion)

As a lover of fashion, I’m well aware the often times, many designers veer into the cringe-worthy territory of problematic life choices. Recently, the Novella team sat down for a brainstorming session on some new weekly pieces we could all bring to the boardroom table. Among the friendly banter and ideas being thrown around, we came up with an interesting concept. Why not call out those within the fashion industry that need a little slap on the wrist. In the end, we came up with the concept of Dear… Where I have the wonderful privilege of being able to discuss (and tear apart) some of fashion’s most epic nose dives for all of our reader’s gossip needs. So without further adieu, here’s fashion’s Hot Goss.

Dear Marc Jacobs…

The question we’re all asking after New York fashion week isn’t whether or not you’re one of the most talented and influential designers in the world, instead, we’re all asking why you seem to focus all of your design talents on making collections that are essentially culturally appropriative marching parades. Don’t get me wrong, you’ve made some jaw-dropping collections in the past. Louis Vuitton Spring 2012, Spring 2003, and Louis Vuitton fall 2011 all come to mind. So I know he has the potential of creating collections that are beyond beautiful, so why is that Mr Jacobs has been insistent on creating collections that take vital aspects of minorities cultures, specifically black traditions and culture. There really is something inappropriate about placing women who aren’t women of colour in dreadlock wigs or 70’s and 80’s Harlem inspired clothing. This subtle borrowing of black cultural without having black designers assist in the design process is just careless in the fact that a designer, no matter how experienced the designer may be, will never know the personal experience of the culture they’re borrowing from unless they were born into that culture or grew up in that culture.

However, Mr Jacobs seems to look past the complaints of those around him and continues to push the boundary on what is acceptable as inspiration and what is full blown appropriation. Recently, for his last show in New York, Jacobs focused all of his design talents on creating a collection fit an elegant woman of colour. Sadly, the collection had only a handful of black women walk the show. Which wouldn’t seem out of the norm in the fashion industry, but it’s extremely unsettling to see so little black women walk a show where the models are dressed in African inspired prints and head wraps that resemble those worn by African and African-American women. Now to some, it may not seem like such a big deal, however, when a show includes models like Kendal Jenner, Gigi Hadid, and Taylor Hill wearing traditionally styled Gele and Ankara headdresses worn by women from countries like Ghana and Nigeria, it becomes extremely problematic because those specific headdresses are seen as foreign and are often gawked at by westerners. But when white models sport them it then becomes fashionable and trendy. The same can be said for his collections that featured heavy hip-hop inspirations and dreadlocks. On one hand, “urban” clothing and dreadlocks are worn by black men and women every day and it’s seen as ghetto and lower class, but when people outside of a traditional black environment decide to grow their hair into dreadlocks or wear clothing heavily inspired by black culture. It then becomes extremely forward thinking and ambitious.

What the moral of this entire gong show is, is that Marc Jacobs should look into the social consequences caused by the appropriation of culture, especially that of black culture in the United States. And then look into the global repercussions of appropriating the cultures of minorities around the world are before creating collections that are culturally and socially insensitive.Remember Mr Jacobs,

Remember Mr Jacobs, black women were laughed at and made the butt of the joke for taking pride and wearing their Gele’s and headwraps in public for decades now. Making them feel as if they shouldn’t be wearing their traditional cultural dress outside of their own country and making them feel shame and embarrassment for doing so. So why make it harder for black women (and all POC who takes pride in dressing in their homeland’s traditional garb) by making them feel as if the one thing they have to take pride on, isn’t even their own anymore. Because someone else can buy and be praised for it, while they get shunned and mocked for it.

Sincerely,

Chris Zaghi

 

New York Fashion Week Spring 2018: The Highlights

New York seems to be in a peculiar place at the moment. On one hand, you have designers abandoning their spots in the city in exchange for spots in Europe, while other big-name designers have all together left behind the traditional runway shows and opted for lookbooks and presentations, leaving New York in quite the predicament. However, as newcomers flood into New York for a shot at international fame, the electricity that runs through the veins of the city ceases to die out. And in turn, that electricity gives the American fashion community the jolt it’s been needing for the past few seasons.

Cushnie Et Ochs

Cushnie Et Ochs has become a celebrity staple at this point. Every season, Cushnie Et Ochs’s band of loyal silver screen mavens storm red carpets around the globe, showcasing the brand’s body-conscious design. Very rarely will you find someone who can find a fault in the duo’s designs; it’s equal parts delicate and sensual while being headstrong and unapologetically confident. This season was no exception, taking inspiration from Mexican painter Frida Kahlo’s game changing use of gender defiance and self-expression, which fits perfectly with the brand’s narrative: Liberated.

Solace London

When it comes to making a great collection that’s equal parts wearable and artistic, designers should look no further than using texture and movement in their designs. This season, Solace London proved just that, creating multiple shapes out of the sheer movement of the fabric itself. But rather than just relying on soft fabrics to get a point across, Solace London used tougher materials like PVC, leather, and denim to contrast the fluidity of the silkier materials, creating a confident wardrobe that stays perfectly on trend with whats going on in the fashion world these days. Another pleasant aspect of the show was its colour scheme, which can best be described as a dessert lover’s dream with creamy browns and tart pinks and citrus hues catching the eye right away. The ball heeled mules are a fun little addition as well.

Ulla Johnson

There’s beauty in the ethereal, and designer Ulla Johnson knows that. Fashion these days has branched out into a do anything and be anything industry, which is something to celebrate. But sometimes it’s simplicity and light-as-air design that creates a truly beautiful collection. Think of it as a breather from the sensory overload that often accompanies fashion in this day and age. However, delicateness doesn’t mean weakness for the designer. Instead, the lightness and transparency of the ensembles create a strong sense of self-empowerment and self-aware sensuality that gives a modern twist to the traditional notions of femininity.

The Row

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have solidified their brand The Row as one of New York city’s most on trend and important fashion houses of the 21st century. Season after season the twins have pumped out collections that carve out niche spot within the fashion community. Now, clothing from The Row may not be for everyone, and that a good thing. Because The Row was never meant to be a brand that appealed to the mass market. Instead, the brand focuses on amplifying one’s physical beauty with simplicity. Very rarely do you find brands that focus solely on minimalist designs that’s beautiful without the bells and whistles. But that’s exactly what you’ll find at The Row (this season’s collection is no exception) where fluid frocks and coats float across the floor in light and neutral shades, while comfortable silhouettes round out the collection by creating an effortlessness.

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10 Standout Looks From NYFW:Men’s

Back in July, I had the chance to attend and cover shows during New York Fashion Week Men’s, and, even though the heat and humidity sometimes made me regret it, the many talented designers I got to witness firsthand was worth the trip.

To switch things up, I  gave talented local artist Fredsonn Silva Aguda images of ten of my favourite looks from the week and asked him to illustrate them for this article. I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.

Ever since Raf Simons was appointed the creative director of Calvin Klein, New Yorkers have been able to witness his genius at home. The designer took his spring/summer 2018 collection to the streets underneath a bridge in the heart of Chinatown. The location hinted at Blade Runner’s influence on the collection. Chinese lanterns hung from the ceiling emblazoned with the art of Peter Saville, who famously did album art for Joy Division and New Order. Raf continued to play with proportions as seen in previous collections, but maybe due to the location and its atmosphere, this collection seemed new but nevertheless still undoubtedly Raf.

Robert Geller’s newly launched Gustav von Aschenbach was a bit pared down from his namesake collection and offered oversized coats, jackets, and pants of varying widths and lengths made from high-grade Japanese textiles. I have been a HUGE fan of Geller’s for some time now and was excited to see his new endeavor up close. This look illustrated by Fredsonn was one of my favourites shown in the collection.

Another highlight from the week was designer Raul Lopez’s gender-bending and boundary pushing Spring/Summer 2018 collection for Luar. The collection took me back to my ’90s club kid days, but, styled differently, its pieces could be completely wearable (for some at least) today.

Although when I first saw this look at Palmiers du Mal’s presentation at the Gramercy Park Hotel it was hard to imagine being able to wear this look in spring and summer, as we all know mother nature often likes to toy with our emotions. It can be feel like Hades one day and the next it could snow. Either way this look could be worn whenever necessary and will keep you cozy and looking good.

I fell in love with the way designer Emily Bode mixed different patterns and textures for her debut Spring/Summer 2018 collection. The collection’s vintage feel still felt modern and you won’t have to dig through a bunch of clothes at your local vintage shop to look this good.

Raun LaRose ’80s inspired Spring/Summer 2018 collection felt more today than dated. The oversized shapes of jackets and pants or, in this case, shorts paired with sheer knee-high socks and sneakers could have easily been seen on the attendees packed into the designer’s presentation or on the streets of New York.

During designers Vincent Oshin and William Watson of label Death To Tennis Spring/Summer 2018 presentation, male models posed on pedestals and took selfies with camera phones, selfie sticks, and a polaroid camera. The collection offered great menswear staples including trench coats, tracksuits, sweats, T-shirts, and shorts.

Designer Barbara Sanchez Kane was inspired by her Mexican heritage and drew inspiration from life experiences for her Spring/Summer 2018 collection. This was definitely one of my many favourite looks from the collection.

Drawing inspiration from President John F. Kennedy and from travels during the presidential election in November of last year, designer Daisuke Obana offered everything from suits to preppy pieces perfect for summers on Martha’s Vineyard for his N.Hoolywood Spring 2018 collection.

’90s nostalgia was on full display for Patrick Ervell for his Spring 2018 collection. The collection included leather pants and shorts, trenchcoats and wind-breakers. At times the collection felt like it was missing something but true fans of the designer would be able to find pieces they have grown to love.

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Recap: Fashion Week Beauty Trends

Fashion Weeks have come and gone, but we often forget the ingenuity of many designers within the presentation of their lines. A lot of work goes into presenting a product, with specific hair and make-up designs to accompany each model. We have pieced together some of our favourite beauty trends from New York, London, Paris, and Milan Fashion Weeks to inspire you through the coming months and set you on the right track.

NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

                  

COLORFUL CAT-EYE

Perhaps the most talked about beauty trend from NYFW, Prabal Gurung’s monochromatic cat-eye left us reminiscing on the days when we first attempted to recreate scenic visions of model makeup from the catwalk. While Diane Kendal has more precision with her styling, we reminisce on the early days we once spent in front of the mirror, playing with bold colours and patterns, hoping to copy the handiwork of industry professionals. Not only are we obsessed with the shape of this look, we are consumed by hues of sky blue, green, and orange. The models wore sleeked back hairstyles to accentuate this beauty trend. Gurung’s line was inspired by powerful women within his life and emphasized messages such as “We will not be silenced.” Not only did Gurung manage to present an ethereal physical beauty within his Fall 2017 line, he also inspired an inclusiveness and empowerment for women everywhere.                  

 

BOBS, BUZZ, & BOYCUTS

A major trend of New York Fashion week was found through shorter hairstyles ranging from precise bobs to buzz cuts. Alexander Wang beautifully displayed this trend and proved that women can rock boy cuts better than men. This display brought a nostalgia for the early 90’s and proved its timelessness. While long, luxurious hair has certainly been a desired trend for women everywhere, we often forget the power behind a bold, short haircut. For all those inspired to finally take their scissors and complete their long-awaited desire for a shorter do’ — we salute you.

LONDON FASHION WEEK

                   

SMUDGED LIPS

For all the times you have unsuccessfully or incorrectly applied your lipstick, you can now think of it as a style choice, rather than an unfortunate run-in with your applicator. For those who have spent a long night out on the town and caught a glimpse of yourself in the window of the McDonalds you often frequent in the early morning, this is for you. For women who are on-the-go and have daringly applied dark shades of lipstick on a moving subway car, or quickly in the back of a cab before a “chance” run in with your ex and his new boo, this is for you. Preen by Thornton Bregazzi makes “accidental make-up” a way of the future and celebrates cherry red lips with an indirect application.          

BLACK VELVET RIBBON

Emily Wickstead artistically reinvents the black ribbon within a half-up, half-down hair style. Also seen during Marchesa, the black velvet ribbon is a 2017 style trend that we can get behind. A staple to any collection, the ribbon brings a sophistication to a quick and easy hairstyle choice. The ribbon can be used as a ponytail, or, alternatively, it can be restyled as a choker.

PARIS FASHION WEEK

                 

HAIR HEADBANDS

At Issey Miyake, hair is multidimensional, and once you add temporary hair-dye, greatness is achieved through it. Taking inspiration from the Northern Lights, Pecis created a hair headband on his models by adding blue, purple and green hues. This style choice reflects different colours when the model walks the runway as the colour will shift in the light. Our childhood fantasies of having bright, shimmery hair have been envisioned into a precise hairstyle that is as beautiful as it is bold. For those looking for an edge this year, or if you are simply looking for a way to keep your hair out of your eyes, take note.               

FRESH FACE

A major trend throughout all fashion weeks was found in the “no-makeup, make-up look.” MUAs, designers, and models ditched their plentiful products and sought out a more natural, minimalistic canvas on their faces. Lanvin took note of this trend and brilliantly executed a fresh-faced design to his runway. While there are times in which we find solace in our layers of foundation, concealer, contour, and highlight, the “no make-up” trend is telling us to love the skin we are in.

MILAN FASHION WEEK

            

GLITTER LIPS

Gucci inspired an unexpected beauty trend that reinvents the way we see lipstick. Shying away from a staple red or pink lip, Gucci took a step in the right direction by inspiring a dark lip that compliments its Fall 2017 line. With an exaggerated cupid’s bow and an edge of glitter, Gucci makes our gothic dreams to a beautiful reality.

DEEP SIDE PART

Designers like Bottega Veneta and Salvatore Ferragamo took inspiration from a deep side part. Within Veneta’s collection, models were layered with jeweled hair pieces to accompany their perfectly styled hair. This classic hairstyle goes a long way with subtle accessories. Whether you decide to dress it up with an accessory or keep it simple, you can’t go wrong with this hairstyle.

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Trend Report: New York and London f/w17

New York and London have just finished presenting their takes on fashion’s fastest growing trends. Designers had their hands in everything from florals to plaid, creating a fashion wonderland for all to see and appreciate. However, not every trend was something worth cheering over and not every trend from last year had the staying power to push into this season. In spite of all of that, five trends managed to dominate the runway this season at NYFW and LFW. Some of them are interpretations and modernizations of trends that have been going strong for a little while now, while others are fresh and following the beat of what’s going on around them.

Here are the 5 trends that swept the stage during New York and London fashion weeks:

Modern Plaids

Marc Jacobs, J. JS Lee, Anna Sui, Osman | Photos: Vogue Runway

The staple print of the 1970’s is back again with a vengeance this season. After slowly sneaking into almost every collection under the sun over the past year, this season’s take on the iconic intersecting stripes seems to have a bit more bite to it.

It seems that mustard is the go-to plaid punch colour this season. Designers like Marc Jacobs and Osman have created their own takes on mustard plaid coats that look beautifully modern, yet nostalgically retro.

Now mustard may have been every plaid loving designer’s sweetheart this season, but many other designers opted for more neutral tones instead. At Anna Sui and J. JS. Lee, Prince of Wales check coats and suits came in simple yet punchy neutrals of black and tan that pumped the heritage look of the check with a little youthful pizzazz.

Protest Apparel

Creatures of Comfort, Gareth Pugh, Prabal Gurung, Ashish | Photos: Vogue Runway

Political injustices that have been sweeping across the United States has inspired a plethora of designers and artists to push past what’s been socially acceptable as a collection to create what are now being dubbed “protest collections.

This season has seen countless designers present their personal opinions against the current U.S. presidency by incorporating graphic and stylistic design elements into their collections. For example, graphic tees and sweatshirts were the highlights at Creatures of Comfort, Prabal Gurung, and Ashish. Models strutted down the runway in garments that either directly quoted many of Donald Trump’s ludicrous catchphrases or directly opposed them by sending messages of peace and empowerment.

However, one collection really stood out by breaking down walls and really pushing the boundary of what politically charged fashion can be. This season at Gareth Pugh, models were dressed in military inspired outfits that so closely resembled modern Nazi uniforms that it felt uncomfortable to even watch the show — which was Pugh’s brilliant intention. Model after model stormed the runway in haunting makeup and beautifully tailored military garb that represented Pugh’s vision of what America’s future may look like if a fascist government sinks its teeth into it for too long. The runway music was a cacophonous array of jumbled songs, speeches, and easily recognizable American media that mimicked CIA audios of torture used on prisoners. The collection did not break from a completely black colour scheme, only adding to the doom and gloom that Pugh wanted to express. In the end, the collection is a strong representation of creative visions that designers will start to express as the world around them become little less bright as time goes on.

Alternative Florals

Preen by Thorton Bregazzi, Christopher Kane, Ryan Lo, Erdem | Photos: Vogue Runway

These aren’t your grandma’s delicate peony prints! Fall/Winter 2017 saw some of the most creative and downright unconventional floral prints seen to date. Colours were vibrant and outlandish, designs were ostentatious and gaudy, and the best part was that audiences loved every second of it.

Season after season, designers have slowly built up fashion lover’s appetite for more shocking floral prints. At Preen, one of the last biggest trends, the puffer coat was given a bright injection of watercolour florals. While at Christopher Kane, beautiful budding blooms exploded from simple slip dresses, adding a whimsical fairytale touch to the collection.

At Ryan Lo and Erdem, traditional English florals were spun into unconventional silhouettes to give a modern update to old world Victorian charm.

The Reimagined Suit

Theory, Thom Browne, Delpozo, Mulberry | Photos: Vogue Runway

Gone are the days of the 90’s power suit. Women now have a plethora of unique and interesting styles that are perfect for the boardroom. At Theory, Thom Browne, and Mulberry, plaids dominated. Adding a retro crispness to the modern suit. But the modern suit doesn’t just rely on a fresh print for an updated look.

At Mulberry and Delpozo, silhouettes were given exaggerated proportions to modernize the everyday suit’s silhouette. Broad shoulders and widened flared arms hark back to exaggerated Dynasty power suits, without leaving a tacky taste in your mouth.

However, the real winner has to be Thom Browne. For his fall 2017 collection, the master of suiting once again deconstructed the traditional suit and put it back together. Giving women the option of strong menswear-inspired looks as well as Edwardian era newspaper boy suits in whimsical gingham check. The collection presents an interesting take on the modern women’s suit. It showed that suiting doesn’t necessarily have to be cold and stoic — it can be interesting and even comical without taking away the commanding effect of the suit itself.

The New Trench

Derek Lam, Margaret Howell, The Row, MM6 Maison Margiela | Photos: Vogue Runway

It goes without saying that this season has been the season of the trench coat. Designers in every fashion capital have stormed the runway with their interpretations of floor-length trench coats, giving them modern updates, and unconventional silhouettes for the modern fashion aficionado to enjoy.

The most colourful of the bunch came from Derek Lam, who presented a lovely trench coat in red leather, conjuring up images of 1940’s Dick Tracey zoot suits. Meanwhile, Margaret Howell, The Row, and MM6 all opted for more traditional hues.

The most intriguing part of the modern trench coat is definitely the new proportions designers have given it. At The Row, trench coats were given extremely streamlined silhouettes by going sans buttons. While trenches at MM6, infused with traditional Japanese designs and tied at the waist with a very thin belt, almost resemble an unfinished kimono. Designs like these give the modern trench a fresh and exciting twist. This isn’t just your dad’s old London Fog coat anymore!

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