Hrithik Roshan – the man keeps getting better with age, and so do his clothes. While he has the gym and his lineage to thank for his looks, it’s Anaita Shroff Adajania who’s responsible for his dapper appearance. “He used to wear his trousers too high and clothes too tight. When I started styling him, I told him to wear his trousers lower and clothes looser,” smiles the stylist, costume designer and fashion director of Vogue India.
It’s been 20 years in the industry for Anaita. She’s worked on a sizeable clutch of commercial and film projects, and has an enviable client list, with regulars like Deepika Padukone, Kangana Ranaut, Aishwarya Rai and Katrina Kaif… Her first assignment was for commercials like Maybelline and Lux, and then in 2001, at the behest of Rahul Bose, she styled for the film Everybody Says I’m Fine! She then went on to style for her friend Karan Johar’s songs. Incidentally, it was him and Aditya Chopra who bullied her into acting in DDLJ. Remember Sheena, Kajol’s friend in the movie? That was her. But she believes that role is best forgotten. “I’ve never aspired to be an actor. I am bad at it,” she laughs. While Manish Malhotra did the clothes for Kajol in the film, Anaita put together her own outfits. “I went shopping for my wardrobe with Karan,” she says.
Much as she wishes, with the film becoming an epic hit, no component of it is unforgettable. But perhaps she can take comfort in the fact that a lot of her styling work, which is where her heart lies, is just as unforgettable.
A page from Anaita’s look book
Photo: prom dresses under 100
The distinct looks Anaita created for the Dhoom series became quite a hit — be it Esha Deol’s shiny little golden dress, Aishwarya’s bronzed look in dangerously low-cut clothes, or Katrina’s risqué black leather outfit or tasselled red-and-gold corset. And then, there are those trendy and avant-garde red carpet looks that she creates for celebrities. “I love styling for the red carpet, because I can finish my work and go home instead of waiting on the sets,” she laughs and adds, “Earlier, people made safe choices for the red carpet. I changed that with a look I created for Deepika. I gave her a green backless Gauri and Nainika gown and braided her hair. My favourite look, however, is when I made her sport an Alexander McQueen skirt and a ganjee, with a huge uncut diamond necklace.”
In Chennai for an event at the Phoenix Market City where she curated looks for a few women from the city, Anaita says “One part of my job I love is working with real people and making their fashion fantasies come true.” Sometimes it’s important to sometimes break out of a mould. “Very often we create an image of us and stick to it for life. I hate the fact that everybody wants to look like each other. You are the showcase to yourself."
She may have access to the best brands from across the world, with the added luxury of big budgets, but when she started out, the styling scene was a stark contrast. The youngest on a set was sent to the markets to buy T-shirts in generic colours, and the concept of a stylist didn’t exist. “We had to talk to local stores and source whatever they had, and get things tailored. Shoes were just not available. It was difficult, but ideas even then were amazing. Today, we are spoilt; the budget has increased from Rs. 15,000 to anything upwards of Rs. 50 lakh. The world is my shopping centre. People follow seasons and talent agencies let you see peoples’ work and choose accordingly,” she says.
But a stylist’s role doesn’t end with just putting together a look for a client; there’s a lot of impromptu thinking, and sometimes, making do with whatever resource you have. At the IIFA Awards one year, Hrithik was wearing a beautifully tailored suit, but the pocket square to go with it hadn’t arrived. “We were in one of the villages in the United Kingdom, and we couldn’t find a shop, so I just cut the top of a tie and stuck it into his pocket,” says Anaita.
There is often a misconception that a stylist’s job is glamorous. “You have to be on your feet, rushing to bazaars. Yes, you get to meet beautiful talented people, but it is a lot of running around with regard to sourcing.” With people becoming style conscious, there is a surge in the number of stylists. The field is getting competitive. There are people who had earlier worked with Anaita, and she’s proud to see them blossoming. “I’ve spawned. Before my own child, I’ve had others.”
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The Swedish are coming! The Swedish are coming!
Actually, in fashion, the Swedes — impossibly gorgeous, blondish, stylish — have arrived. Fashion labels from the country have been cropping up at fashion weeks around the world (and on fashion backs that attend them) for some years now.
But with the exception of Acne Studios, a world-beating empire built on jeans, their stores have not reached as wide. Actually getting the garb that Swedes take for granted can be a challenge.
Our Legacy, one of the most beloved of the current crop of young Scandi-labels (which include the ready-to-wear collection Cmmn Swdn, and the raincoat line Stuttherheim), has been selectively available at specialty stores for years, but a trip to one of its own stores meant traveling to Stockholm or Gothenburg.
More cheering to those whose travels, while global, don’t wend quite that far afield, was the arrival in late 2014 of an Our Legacy store in London, its first outside Sweden. It stands on Silver Place, a tiny side street in Soho, a sliver virtually unreachable by car or cab, in a thicket of mall-like shopping.
Inside the store, recently expanded to two floors, the mood is calm. Clothes and shoes (a high boot here, a running sneaker there) sit in clear-plastic cubbies. Our Legacy’s baseline styles are unchallenging — variations on button-down shirts, wide-legged trousers, bomber jackets and peacoats — but jolted into interest with unusual fabrics.
One recent collection cut those button-downs in a viscose and wool blend fur with what looked like dryer lint. A marled sweater, available in crew neck and mock turtleneck options (choose your comfort level with the outré), was jazzy in baby alpaca and polyamide.
The label’s outerwear gets a share of blogger attention, but its affordable suiting is well cut and unostentatious, and, at £225 (about $320) for a blazer and £170 for trousers (about $240), has an unusually good ratio of bang to buck.
The success of the London store and the warm international reception for Our Legacy (Britain is now the label’s largest market) has emboldened the founders to consider other global openings.
“I spend more time in New York now, even than in London,” said Jockum Hallin, who founded Our Legacy with Cristopher Nying in 2005. “It’s a dream to be able to open here one day. We’re slowly preparing for that.”
As the Swiss watch industry readies itself for another challenging year, the expectations among most players in the global watch auction market are decidedly bright, with the top five houses — Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips, Antiquorum and Bonhams — pinning their hopes on sales of vintage watches in prime condition.
Aurel Bacs, the Phillips consultant who is currently considered the sector’s star rainmaker, predicts that values for vintage models won’t decrease and that average transaction prices will go up. “Over all, we will see fewer watches on the market that are mediocre, boring or in poor condition,” he said.
“We believe the future is vintage, where scholarship matters,” Mr. Bacs continued, referring to the kind of knowledgeable approach to timepieces that many say he has helped to make part of Phillips’s hallmark.
And, after just a year back in the watch auction business, Phillips is already expanding, moving from three annual watch auctions to at least four — two in Geneva and two in Hong Kong — and adding more specialists to its 15-member team. Auctions in London and New York are also on the drawing board.
That upbeat outlook was echoed by Christie’s, the house that leads the industry in dollar sales (and which Mr. Bacs helped build before striking out on his own in 2014). “Every year sees more auction records with watches, and 2016 will not disappoint,” said John Reardon, Christie’s international head of watches in New York. “Vintage watch collecting is growing in scale and value in a way we have never seen before. Condition and rarity are ruling the day in driving prices to new levels.”
Mr. Reardon noted that an increasing number of collectors are bidding via the Internet, showing they are “increasingly more comfortable in buying confidently.”
During 2016, he said, Christie’s plans more theme auctions, following on the success of its Omega Speedmaster event in December. Sales totaled $1.3 million, including a record $245,000 for a chronograph that went to the moon in 1972, sold to the Omega Museum. “We find theme auctions an exciting platform that pushes the boundaries of scholarship and excites the marketplace with new buyers and new sellers,” Mr. Reardon said.
Admittedly, the global watch auction market is small. Christie’s estimates sales revenue for the four top houses — Christie’s, Sotheby’s, Phillips and Antiquorum — at about $300 million annually. That total, he said, is less than 1 percent of the estimated $4 billion in annual pre-owned watch sales.
Sotheby’s pegs the four houses’ annual sales somewhat higher — as much as $350 million. “This year won’t be difficult,” said Daryn Schnipper, who leads the house’s international watch division, in New York. “People want variety, and auctions give them a cross section of brands. Diversity is key.”
As choice lots will be the income producers this year, Mr. Bacs said, “we will see fiercer competition among houses and collectors for the finest pieces. It will be important to have cash reserves.” And, as a result, he added, some of the world’s smaller auction houses may close.
Antiquorum does expect a challenging year, given that its watch auction prices fell 10 percent to 15 percent last year. “It’s a reflection of the general economic climate,” Julien Schaerer, the house’s managing director, said. “The smart buyers, the important collectors, will see 2016 as a great investment opportunity, but it’s going to be a really difficult market for some of the smaller houses.”
While Antiquorum’s sales to buyers from the United States, Europe and Japan picked up in 2015, Mr. Schaerer said, the numbers have not offset the weaker Asian market, particularly after the value of the renminbi dropped precipitously during the summer and has continued to decline. “Asia, particularly China, has been driving sales and if they weaken, there’s a big effect,” he noted.
The economic turmoil in China — and the disappearance of its formerly free-spending buyers — appears to be a universal concern. Mr. Bacs estimated that Chinese collectors bought 10 percent to 20 percent fewer watches at auction in 2015, compared with the previous year. And, he added, it is “very hard to predict how they will behave at auction in 2016.”
At Bonhams, Jonathan Darracott, head of watches for Britain, Europe and Asia, said that among Chinese buyers at auctions, “modern watches with complications were fetching higher prices, but now that’s fallen by the wayside.”
Mr. Bacs said he believed Asian interest in modern timepieces at auction would continue to decline over the next five to 10 years. “As vintage increases, modern decreases,” he said. “But there won’t ever be a death.”
Bonhams has noted that new auction markets are emerging, including India and parts of Africa. “When one market closes, another opens,” Mr. Darracott said, bringing with it different tastes.
And, from Mr. Darracott’s perspective, the recent focus on scholarship has attracted a different kind of collector, regardless of geographic location. “We have always had collectors who buy because they like” a specific watch, he said. “But now, many buy because it is particularly unusual or rare. It’s no longer purely aesthetic.”
As an example, he cited the Rolex Military Submariner, a rare military-issue timepiece that has “really started to come to fore.”
When it comes to brand favorites at auctions worldwide, Christie’s consultants believe that Patek Philippe will retain its star position. “It’s the holy grail of watchmaking,” said Marcello de Marco, a member of Christie’s watch team in Geneva. “Remember, Rolex was a tool watch back in the day, with quite high production compared to others.”
Yet with top vintage timepieces from Patek and Rolex in short supply and prices continuing to rise, auctioneers say they see a surprising trend toward a broader auction universe.
“It is now just as likely that a top lot comes from Audemars Piguet, Vacheron Constantin, Longines, Universal, Omega — and the list goes on,” said Mr. Reardon, at Christie’s. Mr. Bacs, for his part, said that in his opinion, several of these brands have been undervalued for years.
Mr. Darracott said that for top vintage brands, “prices are going so high they are bringing other watch brands up with them,” for example the Railway and Speedmaster watches from Omega.
And, according to Ms. Schnipper of Sotheby’s, auctiongoers are also “very, very interested” in independent contemporary makers. “We’ve seen no falloff,” she said. “The interest will continue.”
Over all, the auction experts say, evolution and growth seem inevitable, especially as the watch sector is still considered to be decades behind the traditional art markets. “Vintage watch collecting is still in its relative infancy,” Mr. Reardon said.
The global Muslim population is expected to grow faster than any other religious group over the next 35 years, according to population growth projections from Pew Research Center. By 2050, there will be around 2.76 billion Muslims around the world, compared with 2.92 billion Christians.
In other words, Dolce & Gabbana are tapping into a huge growing market that has already been shown to have a taste for luxury fashion, Forbes reported.
"High-end fashion is positively booming in the Middle East," the article noted. "Sales of personal luxury goods in the Middle East hit $8.7 billion in 2015 — up from $6.8 billion the year before."
Dolce & Gabbana's announcement was met with excitement by Muslim shoppers and fashion commentators, although the fashion brand is not the first to venture into this territory.
"Tommy Hilfiger, Oscar de la Renta, DKNY, H&M, Net-a-Porter and Monique Lhuillier have all put out hijab lines for Muslim women in the last few years," Tech Insider reported.
The new collection includes hijabs, or headscarves, and abayas, a robe-like dress worn by more conservative Muslim women.
"Sold only in the Middle East, London and Paris, the pieces are trimmed in black lace and accessorized with oversized sunglasses, cocktail rings, stilettos and statement bags. Printed daisies, lemons and roses tie the pieces to beach pajamas and '50s-housewife dresses in the Spring/Summer 2016 collection," The Atlantic reported.
The article noted that the relationship between Western fashion brands and Islam has been a bumpy one because "the very things the industry celebrates — materialism, vanity, sensuality — are anathema to many faiths."
However, the latest line of hijabs and abayas has, so far, at least, entered the market without a hitch, signaling that the future of fashion will be bright for young Muslim women.
"Perhaps a new generation of Muslim fashionistas can now see themselves better reflected in an industry they admire," The Atlantic reported.
‘Craftsmanship, heritage, passion and perfection’ are the central tenets of Gianfranco Lotti, the luxury leather goods house established in Florence in 1968. Italian to its core, the company’s namesake founded the label to ‘give something back’ to his Florentine home – the city in which art and craftsmanship are synonymous. From hand-worked python skin clutches to exquisitely crafted men’s weekend bags, Gianfranco Lotti values artisanal quality above all else.
In 2013, the brand welcomed new creative director, Melissa Loyd Maish, who previously held senior positions at Salvatore Ferragamo and Bally. With her arrival came an expansion of the company’s offerings and the introduction of its ‘One Piece Only’ service. This foray into the bespoke market offers the brand’s committed clientele the chance to work alongside Maish in creating unique leather goods, from initial design sketches through to final manufacture.
The process begins in the Salon Privé of Lotti’s flagship on the Via de’ Tornabuoni in Florence, the heart of the city’s fashion district. Historically home to royal processions from the Palazzo Pitti to the Ponte Santa Trìnita, the street now houses an array of high fashion boutiques among which the Lotti design studio is nestled.
Located a stone’s throw away is the house’s atelier; such proximity makes for a highly integrated and communicative process between creatives and artisans, ensuring control from concept to realisation. The process constantly emphasises the value of handcraft, minimising machine interference with the brand’s ethically sourced leathers.
All creations bear the house’s signature lock – a symbol for the brand’s commitment to tradition and heritage as hallmarks of quality. Yet if Lotti’s manufacturing process remains traditional, the house’s aesthetic is distinctly contemporary.
bareMinerals creator Leslie Blodgett never underestimates how important it is to talk to other women.
bareMinerals creator Leslie Blodgett's make-up brand has been built on the input of women.
Prior to Leslie coming on board in 1994, the brand was known as Bare Escentuals. However, in the last 22 years Leslie has turned the company around, making it both a household name and celebrity favourite.
Talking about when she first started the business, Leslie reveals she sought the opinions of other ladies. Without the help of social media, which hadn't yet been created, the cosmetics queen was still able to get the information she was looking for.
"In the 90s when I was just starting this company I reached out online, before there was Facebook or social media, and I was talking to women who were just like me," she told Cover Media as part of the Be Real campaign. "So I found out that, sure we love beauty products and that we want to improve and emphasise our features but it's really just getting to know people. And the more people I know that have the same issues as I do, it's empathy. And the community, our brand, was built around getting other women's feedback and input. And I think it's just constantly being connected to other people, and sharing and getting to know them. It's not superficial. That's what it is."
As well as being concerned with beauty, Leslie is also a big advocate for how much a healthy lifestyle can change how you feel about yourself. Looking your best starts with feeling your best, and Leslie makes sure she follows a balanced diet. Exercise also plays a key role in the beauty maven's life. "Everything that I have done comes from inside of me and talking to other women," she smiled. "And I think we made that leap, by feeling strong inside. For me it's physical fitness and eating well. I need to begin with feeling physically in shape and healthy, and then I can take on the world."
Alisha is clever, sassy and doesn’t care what people think of her. They probably have a bad sense of fashion anyway and wouldn’t know a Gucci from a Gaultier.
Or worse, they leave home without kaajal. Perhaps they don’t think that anyone will notice, but Alisha observes everything. She’s a fashion detective.
“No, it’s not a real profession”, Lianne Texeira says with a laugh. She adds, “It’s a figment of my imagination, born out of a love for Agatha Christie and fashion.” Texeira both created as well as plays the character of Alisha from the web series of the same name, which started beaming on December 4. The character of Alisha is a Goan-Mumbaikar living in Bandra. As a consulting detective for the fashion industry, she solves small crimes alongside her best friend Tania, played by Sara Hashmi.
Alisha is sharp and creative in a backdrop of high fashion glamour, a refreshing combination. Each episode is about a different crime that Alisha has to solve. Backstabbing, high-climbing friends, designer foes and missing vintage purses have all made appearances.
Texeira feels that Alisha is an extension of her own personality. Many aspects of Alisha’s life are drawn from her own. For instance, Alisha, like Lianne, misses the US, where she went to university. But she also wouldn’t give Mumbai up for the world. “I’ve always known that I wanted to come back,” says Texeira, adding, “I have always wanted to work in Bombay and nowhere else”. Once she came back, three years ago, she started her blog, Mermaids Wear Mascara, worked on a few fashion films, wrote a couple of articles, and began dreaming up Alisha.
“I was indifferent to whether it would work out or not,” says Texeira. “I just had so much fun writing the series. Worst comes to worst, I thought I would just put it up on my blog. But one day, I pitched it to the digital media company Culture Machine, and that was the beginning. They loved it and got everyone on board.”
The series is directed by Akanksha Seda, and each 20-minute episode takes three days to shoot, in locations across Mumbai, both in studios and outdoors. Texeira is now thinking of writing a novel based on Alisha.
She has a few tips for those thinking of starting a fashion blog. “Don’t write about something everyone else is already doing. Avoid covering famous artists and designers. And follow your instincts and personal style; like Alisha, don’t follow trends. Be honest to your art,” she says.
He’s the star of Balmain’s current men’s ad campaign, alongside his brother Fernando. However, showing off his best angles isn’t all that’s keeping Armando Cabral busy these days. His days of running around for castings and doing entire fashion weeks are part of the past. He’s in the position now where he can also say no to modeling gigs he explains, as he is fortunate enough to have established loyal clientele he regularly works with. Nowadays, his main priorities concern his eponymous footwear brand. Particularly in Japan, the Italian-made shoes are selling like hotcakes.
Aged 33, born in Guinea-Bissau, raised in Portugal, and based in New york. Armando Cabral is every bit the modern nomad which forms the inspiration behind his shoe line. ‘Whether it’s for business or modeling, I’m constantly on the go. It’s this global nomad experience that I’m trying to convey through my shoes. Traveling to all these places around the world feeds my soul, and allows me to create a story design-wise. In each city I travel to, I take inspiration from the way people live and how they wear their clothes et cetera,’ Armando tells me when I speak with the 6 feet 2 tall Business Administration graduate.
‘When I was modeling full-time I always said, ”If I ever have the opportunity, I would like to start my own brand.” I started developing the concept of my shoe brand in 2008, but as a model I’d never done any sketches, plus I had no idea how to make a shoe from scratch. I started talking with Sir Paul Smith and Dries van Noten about shoe design, and I basically did that with every designer I’d work with, whenever I had the chance. I would ask them about the factories, gather information regarding who to work with, and how everything works basically. Backstage at shows, I would carefully study the shoes I had to walk in,” the current face of Balmain explains.
He started materializing things after contacting friend and former ID magazine Fashion Director, Simon Foxton. ‘Simon was one of the first people I called, and I expressed the idea of designing shoes to him. He told me he’d be happy to help me out with the creative direction of the brand. Subsequently I got in touch with (former Hugo Boss Senior Footwear Designer) Rucky Zambrano, to help me out with the design and conceptualizing the idea. Rucky’s been in the industry for over 25 years, and he also contributed significantly to the success of brands such as Prada ,’ the model slash entrepreneur shares.
Within the United States Armando Cabral’s main stockists include Bloomingdales New York, Miami and Beverly Hills. Online retailers include Mr. Porter and Matches. The shoes which vary from high-top sneakers in tanned Italian leather, to classic dress shoes, range in price from $375 to $700. Outside the US, the brand is stocked by top retailers including Dubai’s Level Shoe District, Club 21 Singapore, Matches Fashion in London, and Super A Market in Tokyo. It’s particularly in Japan, where the Italian-made shoes are having a moment. According to Armando Cabral’s founder, ‘Japan would definitely be our number one market. In fact, our second collection was exclusive to Beams in Japan. The Japanese are very much open towards young brands, and they’re always on the lookout for new products. After the Japan, the US is our most important market in terms of volume.”
Considering his footwear following is predominantly located in Japan and the United States, one would assume that Cabral would establish his first flagship store in one of these two markets. Instead, he went for his former hometown Lisbon. ‘The decision to establish the first flagship in Lisbon was based on a variety of factors. Part of it has to do with the emotional attachment I have to the city. It’s home to me as well as my family. Then, geographically speaking it can serve as a hub for our European and African client base. We have a significant following in Africa, particularly in the Portuguese-speaking countries such as Angola, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. These people don’t go to London for shopping – they go to Lisbon instead,” Armando elaborates. He further adds, ‘Particularly in Angola there is a strong buying power, and we work with a multi-brand store in Luanda as well. There is that connection between our culture and our language. I would like to see Armando Cabral being stocked mostly in African countries. As an African I would be proud to see the product all over the continent.’
Back to that flagship he opened late October, on Lisbon’s Praca do Principe Real. It boasts men’s shoes, a small assortment of women’s shoes, plus bracelets, cufflinks and rings which reference to Africa. ‘We try to convey a lifestyle through the store. And even after you buy a product, we’ll still be able to accommodate you. You can have somebody take care of your shoes inside the store, plus every month we host an in-store event for our clients,’ Armando says regarding the recently established flagship.
Despite his love for Portugal, his footwear collections are entirely produced in Italy. Nonetheless, made in Portugal has become significantly more popular within luxury footwear circles in recent times. ‘When I started the brand, I initially wanted to produce everything in Portugal, since you get great quality at a reasonable price point. However, Rucky Zambrano who was helping me out throughout the early stages, was living in Italy. So financially speaking it wouldn’t make sense to get him on a plane to Portugal, considering also that he had factory contacts that would be supportive of us,’ the footwear company founder explains. Change is on the way however. ‘At the moment we’re very much considering to take production to Portugal. Now more than ever before is the perfect time to do this, since people in fashion understand that made in Portugal is quality also. Moreover, consumers are finally starting to understand this as well, since you have brands such as Lanvin producing their shoes in Portugal.’
Part of Armando Cabral’s new years resolutions is finishing the company’s e-store, which will go online prior to New York fashion week. As far as shoe design is concerned, the male model who now also knows how to make a proper sketch, will continue to focus on inner beauty, as opposed to focusing solely on the outside. ‘When creating a shoe I always ask myself the question. “If I were a client, would I buy this shoe?” I’ve owned many pairs of shoes in my life, and I’ve worn many of them on the runway. What I’ve come to realize is that beauty sometimes compromises comfort. So beauty is definitely part of our shoes, but what makes you love it, is how you feel in it.’
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Did the French government go too far in its attempt to ban excessively thin models from the fashion industry, with stiff fines and the prospect of jail time for brands that break the new law?
No one in the industry will defend the deliberate hiring of an unhealthy model, but initial opinion is divided over the controversial new French law. The ruling, which passed last week, had been in the works for months.
As reported, models who want to work in France will have to provide a doctor’s note confirming their overall health and an appropriate Body Mass Index. Furthermore, any commercial photographs of models that have been digitally altered will need to include a disclosure stating so. Any parties who fail to comply, whether model agents or fashion houses, can face six months in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros, or $81,288 at current exchange.
France joins Israel, which in 2012 passed a law banning underweight models, as well as Italy and Spain, which have adopted similar measures. Still, the exact parameters of the French bill haven’t been fully disclosed yet. It is likely to include all commercial photos of models, including editorial material, and envision fines for those who hold the rights to the images as well as those who are subsequently reproducing them. Specifics are slated to be released by a ministerial order at the beginning of 2016.
The ruling already has its detractors. Take Oliviero Toscani, the Italian photographer behind Nolita’s controversial antianorexia campaign in 2007, which featured the model and actress Isabelle Caro, who died in 2010. Toscani said the required health certificate is pointless: “How will it work? You can always say: ‘She was 10 pounds more when she was booked.’” He also said the mandate regarding retouched photographs proves a deep ignorance of the profession on the part of the lawmakers: “All photos are retouched. Not [just] Photoshop, but even the way we use light can alter the appearance [of a model].”
“There’s something shocking about getting rid of the artistic dimension: Without retouching, there wouldn’t have been Philippe Halsman and Irving Penn’s photographs,” offered designer Jean-Charles de Castelbajac.
Added Friquette Thévenet-Mondino, a seasoned stylist and former fashion editor in chief at French Elle: “All photos are retouched. We’d be better off putting the mention ‘retouched photograph’ in the front of the magazine once and not on every single photo.”
Diane von Furstenberg, who as chairman of the Council of Fashion Designers of America has championed the organization’s health initiative regarding the regulation of models since 2007, could not be reached for comment. Steven Kolb, the CFDA’s chief executive officer and president, declined to comment.
A spot check of industry and media executives revealed a cross section of opinion.
Carlo Capasa, ceo and president of Camera Nazionale della Moda: “The Italian Fashion Chamber started taking care of these problems years ago by signing the first ‘ethical code of self-regulation’ in December of 2006. This document doesn’t list rules, but guidelines — especially encouraging companies not to hire models younger than 16 and who have a Body Mass Index lower than 18. Italian companies immediately started following these guidelines and I would underscore how, sometimes, self-regulation works better than actual laws since it is rooted in common sense. I can actually say that now in Italy, I don’t see models that are too skinny on the catwalk; not just because of our designers’ aesthetic sense, but especially because here, we are all very sensitive to this problem.”
Trey Laird, ceo and chief creative officer of Laird+Partners: “I think they’ve gone too far. Certainly you want to not have people unhealthy and in danger. That’s something that shouldn’t be endorsed or promoted, but I don’t think it’s the government to dictate the weight of a girl.” And as for the rule on retouching? “It’s ridiculous. It’s like watching ‘Kung Fu Panda’ and saying this panda is not real. How much do you need to note? If you’re going to have Julia Roberts on the cover of a magazine and you take out some wrinkles or change the color of her dress to match with the logo…do you need to put a big warning on it like a pack of cigarettes? At some point, enough is enough. There are bigger issues for governments to worry about.”
Susan Scafidi, founder and academic director of Fordham’s Fashion Law Institute: “There are two primary differences between the French law and previous legislation in Israel, as well as earlier efforts in Madrid and Milan. One is that the French law has teeth — real penalties directed at modeling agencies in the form of fines and even jail time. The other is that Paris is the traditional global capital of the fashion industry, and since most successful models work internationally, the French law is poised to have global impact. The effectiveness of the law will not depend on rounding up large numbers of chic modeling agency heads in old-fashioned paddy wagons, but instead on an in terrorem effect and on cooperation by various players in the industry. Will the agencies be nervous enough about being made an example to feed their models a buttery croissant or two, even at the risk of losing a booking? Will casting directors and designers let out their seams a bit, or will they automatically choose only the skinniest models available? Or will agents instead scramble to find lenient doctors willing to overlook a few protruding ribs? There could be a challenge to the law in the form of a right to work argument or discrimination claim on behalf of models who are too thin or even anorexic, which is one reason why similar proposals in the U.S. have not gained traction….Ultimately, the greatest effect of the French law may be to add momentum to the current trend toward body diversity on the runway.”
Damir Doma: “I think it’s important to take a closer look at what’s going on. It seems the agencies alone cannot regulate it by themselves — or maybe they don’t want to. Fact is, as long as there is a demand for extra-skinny models, the agencies will continue to deliver. Unless, as in this case, someone is trying to regulate [from the top]….It’s important to stay credible, which in my case means [finding models with] a personality and naturalness. We do cast via agencies, but also on the streets and through our personal network.”
Robbie Myers, editor in chief of Elle: “According to the Guardian, ‘The tough new legislation is aimed at combating the growing problem of anorexia in models and rising numbers of young people with eating disorders.’ A law to ‘protect’ a population of what, 400 runway models? But it’s OK to be a seriously underweight civil service worker? Or truck driver? This really isn’t about protecting a class of people, this is about pushing back at an industry that defines beauty. I’m not defending the use of underweight models at all — my team and I look on in horror when these skeletal young women who can barely make one lap up and down the runway slump by us at a show. But you can’t legislate beauty standards or legislate bad taste away, as much as the French have tried to do that in the past….We’d be much better off legislating for everyone to have access to affordable, healthy food than making models get a doctor’s note saying they’re fit enough to wear fancy clothes for pay.”
Caroline Rush, ceo of the British Fashion Council: “The BFC does not enforce BMI, as it is an inaccurate measure for young women, as outlined in the Model Health Inquiry. We encourage a focus on looking after models and their health and well-being with healthy food and drink provided backstage at shows.”
Rebecca Minkoff: “We always aim to cast healthy models for our runway shows, look books and e-commerce shoots. We have an obligation as designers to show our customers and young women everywhere that healthy is chic. I think the ruling in France is a great step.”
Michael Gross, author of “Model: The Ugly Business of Beautiful Women”: “I think that the Photoshopping thing is far more interesting than the body mass thing. I don’t think you can legislate this. I must have interviewed 100 models; some of them could eat like horses and not put on any weight. It’s like legislative morality; it just doesn’t work. I think that the motivation behind it is good, but the actual mechanisms won’t work. Models have to be sample size; it’s that simple. They could legislate the age of models.”
Jean-Baptiste Mondino, photographer: “What’s extremely disturbing to me is to think that one law will change everything. First of all, we have to say that we care about our models, because I see a lack of compassion and tolerance toward the girls. The designers have to start providing different sample sizes of dresses and different shoe sizes to fit different girls. They need to have time to rest when they arrive and they need not suffer. Like athletes or other people whose work has to do with their body, they have issues — they come with destroyed feet, have spine problems. We need to take precautionary measures. But when are we breaking the law and when are we just doing our job? The law should be more precise on that.” On retouching: “The black-and-white photography in old Hollywood was all retouched. Do you really think Katharine Hepburn’s skin was this smooth? Retouching is part of the beauty of photography. The moment we choose the lens we are already starting to alter the final image. A wide-angle camera like it was popular in the Seventies will stretch the girl and make her taller and thinner. The image is never a reality. Everything is fake in photography. If you want to reflect reality, then you should ban makeup, too. It’s like editing in movies. Do you want a couple to really make love in front of the camera? Really?”
Chantal Thomass, lingerie designer: “I don’t feel directly concerned because in lingerie, you need girls with shapes. Agencies send me girls with breast and hips….Sure they’re thin: We typically ask for a size 32B and a slim waist. Look at Victoria’s Secret’s Angels: they’re thin but not very skinny. I see 40 models in two hours and select two. I don’t have time to check their health record book….Of course, if a girl looks ill, we inquire; we aren’t monsters.”
Stacey Bendet, designer of Alice + Olivia: “I don’t agree with an industry trying to control the health of individuals. Can you imagine if bankers had to submit how many steaks they ate in a week? It is each individual’s own responsibility to control their health. As an industry and as leaders, we need to promote health, wellness and positive examples of body image…Controlling it to this degree seems a bit irrational.”
Nicole Miller: “Everyone agreed to promote the healthy model idea, but everyone seems to ignore it. I don’t see an abundance of anorexic models, but a few that are clearly too thin. I think since the minimum age has been raised, there are less naturally super skinny girls going on castings….I agree there has to be some control, but I am sure plenty of unscrupulous doctors will be more than happy to sign certificates. I think everyone in the industry should do their part by not sending girls with health issues on castings, or not hiring them if they do attend the castings.”
Heather Marr, personal trainer to models: “There is definitely starting to be a shift in the industry focusing not just on a model’s appearance but on their health as well. Girls now are training and eating smart for a healthy, fit body as opposed to under eating, smoking and overexercising.”
Rebecca Dayan, former model and artist: “I feel that it’s a little bit arbitrary, the BMI. I read that the BMI has to be 18.5. For instance, I’m pretty healthy, I’m over model size, and I’m under that [BMI], because your weight has nothing to do with how skinny or fat you look. I’m happy that France is taking this into consideration as a way toward change, but I’m not sure it’s the best way. I’m not sure giving fines and putting people in prison is the way to go about it….I think it’s definitely a conversation that is important and it’s something that needs to be talked about and I’m not happy watching friends of mine that are models have the complete wrong image of their body.”
— With contributions from Alexandra Steigrad and Ally Betker
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Kristin (Lacey Chabert) lost the lease on her fancy clothing boutique in LA. So she’s moving back home to Ohio with her daughter, Emily, into her childhood home. It’s just sitting empty—there’s never any explanation of where her parents are—and her Aunt Sarah lives just around the corner. Emily’s dad died a long time ago; it’ll be good for her to be around family.
But Emily is not happy. Kristin tries to get her excited about the move: White Christmas! Hilarious Aunt Sarah! But Emily is not having it. She writes a very well-worded, rhyming letter to Santa asking him to grant her Christmas wish to stay in LA. Kristin makes her own Christmas wish—for Emily to have the best Christmas ever.
Back in Ohio, Aunt Sarah (Kathy Najimy) is talking to Danny Collier (Brennan Elliott) at her diner. She mentions that Kristin is moving back to town; didn’t he used to have a huge crush on her in high school? He argues that everyone had a crush on her, but he was a band geek.
In Ohio, it’s Emily’s first day of school. She thinks maybe she’ll be kind of popular because she’s from glamorous LA, but naturally, she gets sat with Abigail and her mean girl posse who tease her because her mom—a fashion designer—makes her clothes. Mean girls need some new material.
But Abigail gets it honestly. Kristin is on her way to the PTA meeting when she runs into Abigail’s mom, Melissa (Mariah Carey) from high school, who is head of the PTA. She brags about her life and spearheading the school Snowflake Pageant.
Then during the meeting, Melissa shames Kristin for being a single mom and makes fun of her for her high school superlatives. Who does that? And to top it all off, Melissa tells Kristin that auditions for the Snowflake Pageant are closed—no exceptions.
So Kristin goes straight to the source: the music teacher, Mr. Collier, aka Danny from the diner. He is excited to see her again, but Kristin doesn’t really remember him at first. She pleads her case for Emily—she loves to sing and being in the pageant could be a great way for her to make some new friends. Danny says to bring her by after school to audition. I’m sure this is definitely because he is a good teacher and has nothing to do about his crush on Emily’s mom.
Meanwhile, Emily had a terrible first day at school, but she befriends the school janitor, Thomas, who looks suspiciously like Santa Claus and has a habit of disappearing. Coupled with Emily nailing the audition for the pageant, her first day turns around pretty quickly.
At her first rehearsal, Melissa is Mrs. George-ing is up on the side of the stage during Abigail’s routine, and Emily starts to get nervous. Maybe she should be in a group, too. But Danny encourages her. She’s good enough to have a solo.
The next day, Emily and Kristin are picking out a Christmas tree when they run into Danny, and he offers to drive their tree home for them, which then turns into helping them set it up (during which Danny and Kristin have a MOMENT), and then staying for dinner.
After Emily has gone to bed, Kristin shows Danny Emily’s journal about missing home in LA. Danny notices Emily’s poetry and says she’s very talented. He suggests maybe Emily could write an original song for the pageant, and he can help her.
Kristin also gets roped into helping out at the pageant, when the costumes turn out to be a train wreck. Kristin is recruited to take over, against Melissa’s wishes. So Melissa buys Abigail a store-bought costume, which is RUDE, especially because Abigail is jealous of the awesome costumes the other kids have.
Meanwhile, Emily and Danny have been working on her song. It’s her new Christmas wish; she’s revising it so it’s about her mom, too. She fills Thomas in—she’s figured out who he really is—and he promises to be at the show, even though he has big Christmas Eve plans.
Danny starts spending a lot more time with Emily and Kristin. They’re in the middle of decorating the tree together when Kristin’s best friend from LA, Hailey, shows up with exciting news. She’s been shopping around Kristin’s designs to department stores in LA, and one of them is offering Kristin her own collection. She can move back to LA! A week ago, this would have been great news. But now, Emily is upset and rushes off.
Emily talks to Thomas the next day. Santa is granting her first Christmas wish, not the new one in her song. She doesn’t want to move anymore! But Santa Thomas suggests that maybe her new wish can’t be granted until she performs the song. Once she does, everything will probably work out.
On the night of the pageant, Sneaky Melissa tries to get Kristin in trouble for excluding her daughter from the costumes—even though it was HER fault—but two can play at that game. Kristin made an extra costume for Abigail because she’s not an idiot.
In the audience, Sarah and Hailey don’t want to watch this show; they want to gossip about Danny. (Don’t we all.) He’s being all weird and closed off because he thinks Kristin is moving away. But thankfully there’s an intermission, and Kristin is able to talk to him.
Kristin tells Danny she’s turning down the job. She can’t uproot Emily again. She can start her own business here. Plus, she never thought she’d feel this way again. Their almost-first kiss is interrupted by the gluten-free bake sale announcement, and then it’s time for Emily’s song.
It’s a bit awkward when everyone realizes Emily is singing about her mom getting a boyfriend, but like Christmas MAGIC, Danny and Kristin finally have their first kiss, and Thomas disappears. Christmas wishes do come true.
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Often dubbed fashion’s Gilbert & George, Viktor&Rolf is known for pushing the boundaries between fashion and art. The Dutch duo of Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren took the concept even further in their latest haute couture presentation in July – their first since discontinuing their ready-to-wear business.
Ever the showmen, the duo put themselves at the centre of the show – or rather an act of performance art, which called on a certain déjà vu of their previous collections as early as the 1999 Russian Doll series, where model Maggie Rizer stood on a revolving turntable.
The haute couture collection, aptly titled “Wearable Art”, saw models donning deconstructed golden frames from which printed fabrics protruded. The designers unhinged the frames from the models and then hung the skirts-turned-paintings on a blank wall. The prints referenced works of art from the Dutch Golden Age in the 1650s, such as Jan Asselijn’s The Threatened Swan.
“We are fashion artists. This season especially we wanted to showcase this in a literal way. We consider haute couture to be like a laboratory, with every collection posing its own set of unique technical challenges,” Horsting says.
The challenge for this couture collection in particular, the duo say, was to work with “un-clothing-like elements” as structurally imposing as the frames.
Haute couture is more than just a testing ground for Viktor & Rolf – it has also freed them from the creative restrictions that come with the gruelling pace of ready-to-wear and retail.
“[We feel] that ready-to-wear, with its many deadlines and fierce competition, is creatively restraining,” Snoeren says. This sentiment towards today’s fashion industry is shared by some of the most prolific and influential designers in the trade – for example, Jean Paul Gaultier ended his ready-to-wear business last year and, more recently, Raf Simons stepped down as creative director at Dior.
Viktor and Rolf have voiced their frustrations and referenced them in their designs.
Their 2008 autumn-winter collection, for example, features the word “No” rendered in 3D as a key motif reflecting on the status quo of the fashion industry.
The duo’s decision to end their ready-to-wear collections was announced in February. The label’s majority shareholder, Renzo Rosso – whose company OTB also owns Maison Martin Margiela, Marni and more – calls it a strategic decision to position the Viktor&Rolf brand in the highest luxury segment of fashion.
For the duo, the notion of luxury is in sync with their ideal muse who they strive to capture in their creations – individuality.
“Luxury is synonymous with self-evident rarity and quality,” Horsting says. “We are attracted to women who possess a unique mindset – women who are intelligent and stylish.”
Now focusing solely on their haute couture and fragrance businesses, the duo have found their anchor in creativity.
“We now have much more time to create. It feels like a breath of fresh air,” Horsting says. By presenting only two collections a year instead of up to 10, the duo can now take their time on the design and execution with the craftsmen in their own atelier. “It’s very different from working with a factory, even though we’ve worked with the best,” Snoeren says.
Their efforts in pushing the boundary between fashion and art have been consistent since the start of their career in the 1990s.
Their works are featured as much as in galleries and museums as they are in high-end boutiques and select shops. Groninger Museum in the Netherlands, for instance, features Viktor&Rolf designs in a permanent collection.
The launch of Le Parfum in 1996 – a bottle of perfume with a lid that’s designed to be impossible to open – probably better illustrates their commitment to the merging of fashion and art. The perfume, as the duo describe, “can neither evaporate nor give off its scent, and will forever be a potential-pure promise”.
Theatrical productions are often seen at Viktor&Rolf shows that evoke emotions and inspire ideas, using ultraviolet lights that make white objects glow or models with their faces painted in fierce red.
They collaborated with theatre director and visual artist Robert Wilson in 2009 to design costumes for the German opera Der Freischütz by Carl Maria von Weber. The two designers used almost 1 million crystallised Swarovski elements to create ultracolourful and flamboyant costumes that looked like flower bombs.
“We have always used fashion as a primary means of artistic creation,” Snoeren says.
The synergy between the two since the very beginning has set the foundation for their creations. Growing up as best pals in the Netherlands, they started collaborating after graduating from the Netherlands’ Arnhem Academy. They showed their first collection in 1993 at a competition called Salon European des Jeunes Stylistes, and it wasn’t until the late 1990s that they started showing regularly in Paris. The duo have been working alongside each other for more than 20 years now and say that meeting each other was their biggest career breakthrough.
“As teenagers, independent of each other, we were both inspired by perfume advertisements,” Horsting says. “We enjoyed the glamour and mystery these images convey. For us, this fascination served as an entry into the fashion world.”
Snoeren says their collaboration has been a continuing conversation. “Our friendship forms the base of our creative relationship,” he says.
“It’s a relationship that allows us to create as one. There’s really no difference as to who does what. Also, there is not much separation between life and work in the sense that we communicate daily about everything. ”
Their bond also holds the key to the duo’s longevity in fashion. “We just really enjoy coming up with ideas together,” Snoeren adds. “Fashion itself is very inspiring – its possibilities and impossibilities allow us to create the unexpected.”
Now focusing on their haute couture collection, the duo are optimistic about their future prospects.
“In this day and age, where we live by visuals, the craftsmanship involved in the creation of haute couture is more relevant than ever,” Snoeren says. “It is like a beacon, reminding the world that a dress does not come out of a computer, but is made by human hands. Couture is the ultimate expression thereof, and the world needs this awareness.”
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The collaboration between the rock band the Flaming Lips and the pop singer Miley Cyrus has so far yielded, among other things, a cover of the Beatles classic “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”; a trippy short film titled “Blonde SuperFreak Steals the Magic Brain”; matching torso tattoos; and a recently released album, “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” inspired by the singer’s affection for animals.
Music critics have done some head-scratching over the results. But in the unlikely partnership between the band’s frontman, Wayne Coyne, who is 54, and Ms. Cyrus, who is 23, the amateur sociologist sees a golden opportunity to examine the generational divide.
A few recent articles have suggested tension between the two groups. The older demographic (born roughly from 1961 to 1980) bristles at what it perceives as an entitled attitude and constant need to be praised; the millennials (born from 1980 to 2000) seem dismayed by X-ers’ skeptical worldview and preference for antiquated forms of communication like email.
Might the BFF status between Mr. Coyne and Ms. Cyrus hold a key to intergenerational harmony? Reached by phone in the Midwest, where he was on break from touring with “Cyrus,” as he often referred to her, Mr. Coyne gamely considered the matter.
“I think because I’m so old and because she’s so young, we reach around and meet in back,” Mr. Coyne said. “As opposed to her being slightly behind, or me being slightly ahead, in years. Then it would get confused.”
He first met Ms. Cyrus when she was 20 or 21, he said, and was unsure how well they would work together in the studio. The former child star is famously outspoken, although Mr. Coyne doesn’t attribute that to a generational trait so much as to her youth and celebrity.
“Everybody who’s 20 or 21 owns the world anyway,” he said. “And then if you’re Miley Cyrus, you really own the world. For some reason, we seemed to know things about each other, enough to know we’d like each other. She works the way I do. We both have the same quality of saying, ‘Yes.’”
Mr. Coyne told Billboard that Ms. Cyrus was “probably influencing us more than we’ll be able to influence her,” because her endless energy and lack of a self-censoring filter were a benefit to the Flaming Lips, a band that has been together more than 30 years.
Indeed, the band is currently promoting a 20th-anniversary remastered edition of “Clouds Taste Metallic” — an album released when Ms. Cyrus was 2
So is Mr. Coyne saying that aging, self-questioning Gen X-ers can get a creative jolt from pairing up with millennials?
“A lot of things that ended up being on the ‘Dead Petz’ record, I was there when she was making it up,” Mr. Coyne said. “I’d ask, ‘Are you embarrassed by that?’ But that’s what’s powerful about it. She doesn’t have any filter. There’s no reason to have any filter. It’s so badass.”
One area where Mr. Coyne is unlikely to follow Ms. Cyrus’s example is in the sex department. Although “Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz,” like much of her recent music, is overtly sexual, with single-entendre song titles like “Bang Me Box,” Mr. Coyne said he can’t imagine himself applying the same frank sexuality to Flaming Lips music and live performances.
“When it’s her being sexy, I think it works great,” he said.
As for himself?
“I’m doing the best I can, I’ll say that.”
At the heart of a Sydney e-commerce business renting out Hollywood A-lister gowns is a couple that wants women to feel good.
GlamCorner, the brainchild of Dean and Audrey Jones, allows women to browse online through a selection of 700 designer dresses for all kinds of occasions, select the one they like, pay a very reasonable rental fee, and have it sent to their front door in a matter of days.
The rental is for four days and customers don’t even have to dry clean the dress before returning it in a prepaid post satchel. It also solves the problem of spending hundreds on a dress you’ll only ever wear once.
GlamCorner, founded in 2012, has been such a success so far that Dean has said goodbye to his $300,000 a year investment banking job to run the business full-time with his wife Audrey, who is a financial planner by trade.
And they have done everything they can to ensure that renting a frock from GlamCorner is a refreshingly simple and seamless process.
Customers can even take up the Try On offer and have two dresses sent to them for $30 for a 24-hour period.
“We are very precise when it comes to the measurements we provide online,” Dean told The Huffington Post Australia.
“We give very detailed information and most customers use the Try On service ahead of their event and then book the dress for a day or so before the event date. They can book three months in advance.
“If it’s an emergency, which happens a lot, they’ll order two to try on and keep the one they like most, rent it, and send the other one back.”
Customers will get an SMS reminder on the last day of the rental to remind them to pop the dress back into the post.
Available sizes range from 6 to 18 and GlamCorner also has accessories.
They have stylists on hand to offer advice and suggestions for those who might not be sure what they want or need.
“It’s really helpful for customers to have someone in the know about fashion that they can talk to and who can steer them in the right direction about what might work best for them and their body shape,” Dean said.
“We’ve got girls as young as 16 going to their grade 10 graduation right through to mothers of the bride using our service.”
“We want to expand our range even more because we are here for every woman, not just those who are a size 8,” Audrey said.
“We want to cater for every Australian girl out there,” Dean said.
“Not everyone is a size 8 model -- it’s as simple as that. We want to be able to provide for everyone.”
The rental cost is dependent on a few factors, but is based on between 10 to 20 percent of the retail cost ranging from around $500 to in the thousands.
Designers featured include Alex Perry, Badgley Mischka, Jimmy Choo, Wayne Cooper, Cristallini, Tadashi Shoji, Alice and Olivia, Rachel Gilbert, Catherine Deane and more.
The couple, who met in an accounting class at university 9 years ago, are passionate about giving women confidence and helping them look and feel their best.
“Every woman deserves the chance to experience wearing designer fashion -- even if it’s just for a night,” Dean said.
“That’s what we’re all about -- giving them that experience.”
Audrey had the idea to start the business while standing in front of her wardrobe, faced with the well-worn dilemma of having nothing to wear.
“I had nothing to wear, so I started thinking how great it would be if I could rent something, but didn’t know if there was somewhere I could do that,” she said.
“So I started Googling around -- it was a really great business idea. I found Rent the Runway in America which is a really big company, like $600 million big, but there was only a few places in Australia at that time and they weren’t doing it well.
“We decided to go for it -- I quit work and with a few little dresses, started to check the market, and that’s how we actually started this business.”
A year ago the business was going so well that Dean left his job and joined Audrey.
He said his background in investment banking stood him in good stead to run the logistics and financials of the business.
“Fashion is a very different field, but I’ve found that when it comes to raising capital, the experience I have in investment banking and corporate finance helped me have the right conversations with the right sort of investors,” Dean said.
“And not just to understand the mechanics of how this business works, but how to finance its growth strategy.
“We started on a shoestring budget and no marketing, but we used social media early on to see if there was tangible demand for this business model -- and sure enough, there was.”
Three years on, GlamCorner handles thousands of rentals every year, which Dean predicts will rise into the tens of thousands by mid next year.
“Really popular items are booked back-to-back -- sometimes it’s like e-commerce meets air traffic control here with dresses coming in, dresses going out, repairs, maintenance, dry cleaning and getting them back on the shelves -- it’s a pretty awesome operation,” Dean said.
The Joneses use data collection to guide future purchases and hope to double their collection by mid-2106.
“We’re a really data driven company -- I guess we’re a technology company with a fashion soul -- we appreciate good fashion, but we also appreciate good data," Dean said.
“Using our data, we can see over time what designers, styles and materials are the most popular and use that to make good purchasing decisions.”
GlamCorner also has a refund policy, and offers discounts to those who refer their friends to the service.
“Customers who refer a friend and they make a cooking, that customer gets a $20 credit on their account,” Dean said.
“If they refer 5 friends, that’s $100 that goes to their next rental. That repeat business is really important to us.
“We’re their new solution for that part of their life.”
GlamCorner also launched a review feature on their website, which has turned into a valuable tool for customers.
“We offer customers a 10-15 percent discount if they fill out a review at the end of their experience,” Dean said.
“They can upload pictures to the site, leave comments about their size, body type, how the dress fit etc.
“I’ve been so surprised by the level of feedback already -- there’s a real sisterhood there, giving advice to other women and that is the best style advice you can get.
“It’s a massive point of differentiation for us.”
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You don't have to search hard to find what looks like "Native American" fashion. But the truth is the indigenous communities that are "inspiring" Native clothes are rarely included in their creation, from design to manufacturing.
The result is a lot of clothing without acknowledgment — and wearers without understanding — of the history or meaning behind the designs. That often leads to Internet-wide cries of "cultural appropriation," a much-debated term that's come to dominate any discussion of current Native American clothing.
Lost in these conversations, though, are the voices of Native American designers, whose work often flies under the radar while we debate "Native" clothing made by others. So Mic spoke to a handful of Native American designers to get their take.
What we learned: The line between cultural appropriation and appreciation is often determined by a gut feeling — and that the debate is but one piece of Native fashion today. Here's what they want you to know.
1. Native design is not all buckskin, fringe, feathers and beads.
In November, the largest traveling exhibition dedicated to Native American fashion, Native Fashion Now, opened at the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It includes the work of over 70 designers, spanning the range of what "Native" fashion can be.
There are shirts and gowns that rework traditional motifs like bulls or beadwork. There are knee-high boots covered in beads. There are dresses that look like they're molded from space-age cellophane. Then there are T-shirts screen-printed with "Native Americans discovered Columbus," by 26-year-old Jared Yazzi, a Navajo designer.
"Today, Native American design can be anything," Pat Pruitt, a designer with Laguna Pueblo and Chiracahua Apache ancestry, told Mic. As a metalsmith, Pruitt works exclusively with stainless steel and titanium, creating distinctive jewelry that only occasionally references his indigenous background. Most people think of a "romanticized" concept of Native fashion, he said, an umbrella his work doesn't really fall under.
"It's Native design," he said. "I mean, I've designed it and I'm Native."
In a similar vein, the Native American designer Patricia Michaels embraces her indigenous ancestry even though her designs skew modern, without many stereotypical Native American references. She incorporates her culture into her work in ways that lend symbolic special meaning, she said.
"I'm a designer who happens to be Native American and I can't shake the fact that when I make something, it has meaning behind it," Michaels, who is Taos Pueblos, told Mic.
2. In fact, there are over 560 Native American tribes and nations.
That meaning can vary greatly by designer. What is often categorized as Native American style or fashion is based on stereotypes or styles typical of nations in the Southwest, which have historically gotten more media exposure.
But there are plenty of Native designers not of those tribes; the term "Native American" applies to more than 560 tribes and nations in the United States. And like any other cultural groups, Native Americans' style and customs have evolved with every generation.
"Our communities are formed of people from tribal bloodlines," Elizabeth Perry, an Aquinnah Wampanoag designer and artist, told Mic via email. "We look different, have different languages and histories. Don't expect everyone to be the same, and don't expect all designers to be the same."
Yet Native American culture is often perceived as a "blanket ethnicity," Bethany Yellowtail, an Apsáalooke fashion designer, previously told Mic. Lost in that blanket ethnicity are the rich histories of communities that haven't historically had the opportunity to benefit on a large scale from their artistry and work.
3. There are plenty of Native American designers out there, even if you can't tell their clothes are "Native."
Social media has become an important promotional platform for Native designers, as have museums and larger non-Native companies that are helping raise their profiles. In September, Martha Stewart included three Native designers and boutiques as contestants in an online competition spotlighting handmade American products.
Those designers, who are gaining bigger audiences every day, are the ones best positioned to design with Native American inspiration in mind.
"Artistic motifs tend to be distinct in each region, and it is the Native designer, and not the outside world, that has the cultural knowledge and sensitivity to know how and where specific designs can be employed without eroding those cultural beliefs and values," Perry said.
4. What's sacred for one community may not be sacred for everyone.
As a result, what counts as "sacred" varies from tribe to tribe — which can lead to an awful lot of confusion.
"The complexity is there's so many different tribes," Pruitt said. "You know, you're dealing with 500-plus nations that each one is distinctly different and each one has very distinct cultural items that are precious to them."
The war bonnet, often recreated and sold as a feathered headdress, is a sacred item in many Native communities. While war bonnets are not a part Pruitt's community, he said he still has respect for the tradition.
"I do know what it signifies, where it comes from," he told Mic. "So I choose to support my Native brothers, because that is theirs."
5. If you're tired of talking about cultural appropriation, so are they.
The conversation about Native American style or symbols being appropriated by non-Native cultures has heated up in recent years. When the cultural copying or inspiration misinterprets the symbolism or glosses over its origin, as many Native American-inspired items appear to do, it can sting, particularly for a community that's long been marginalized and had its sacred traditions misunderstood.
"I'd say appropriation, such as stealing designs, erasing the artist's name and tribal origin, are a continuation of the colonization process, as much as naming a car after a sacred ceremonial observance or trotting out a sports mascot are also part of the same intense degradation of Native American people that has gone on literally for hundreds of years," Perry said.
But that doesn't mean only Native Americans can be inspired by Native American culture. Designers repeatedly mentioned how they hope the conversation steers in another, more positive direction. They hope to focus on the current achievements of Native designers while empowering and encouraging people at all levels of the fashion industry to take it upon themselves to research the histories of their inspiration.
"[Cultural appropriation] is not broadly an unreasonable concept, I just think it's over-cooked," Jamie Okuma, a Native American fashion designer from the Luiseño and Shoshone-Bannock tribes, told Mic via email. "So much so that it leaves a bad taste in the mouth and you don't want another bite. And that defeats any progress made."
Shoppers can do part of the work, though.
"There is opportunity that if you find something that, hey, you think might be Native, you can probably go search out artists that do stuff identical or very similar to that line of work and buy directly from them and have a very engaging experience," Pruitt said.
Designers repeatedly pointed to how easy it is to buy directly from Native American artists. It's one key difference between cultural appropriation and appreciation.
"Cultural appreciation means that you support the authentic, unkillable, poetic, daring, humorous, life honoring spirit that is embodied in the work of Native American designers," Perry said.
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Over 35 million people in the world are currently trapped in slavery. Of that number, 50% are children, and 70% are women. The global commercial sex trade is the fastest growing criminal industry in the world. What do these harrowing statistics have to do with wearing a dress? Thanks to Dressember, much more than you think.
When Dressember founder Blythe Hill started a fun style challenge with her college roommates—wear a dress every day for a month—she had no idea it would eventually grow to become a powerful tool in the fight against human trafficking. In her powerful TEDx talk, “How a Dress Can Change the World,” she describes how she felt when she started learning about the thriving sex trade in our world. Molested herself at a young age, the information started a fire inside of her.
But what could a college kid in Orange County do to fight an international terror organization? “Naturally when I started hearing about this and felt an urgency to do something about it, I looked to my own unique talents and skill set for a way to engage in this issue,” she says. “And that’s where for years I kept hitting a wall, because I’m not a social worker, I’m not a psychologist, I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a cop. What I am is someone who’s interested in fashion and trend analysis, writing and wordplay. My interests felt shallow in the grand scheme of things. And for years I felt powerless, and I remember thinking, “There is nothing that I can do about this.”"
Fast forward to the present, and that “silly” style challenge has raised over $630,000 for the International Justice Mission (IJM), a massive organization of lawyers, investigators, social workers, and community activists that rescues the poor from violence in the developing world. Take a second to watch their heartbreaking—and hopeful—video, and then I’ll explain how this year, we’re all going to get involved.
Ready to get join the Dressember movement? Great, me too. Luckily, it is actually as simple as it sounds. Head over to Dressember site (yes right now) and sign up to become an advocate. This means that you’re pledging to wear a dress every day throughout the month of December. If you want to join a Dressember team to collaborate in your fundraising efforts, you can. Then, simply spread the word. Ask family and friends to sponsor your efforts, and by the end of the month, you’ll have actively contributed to ending human trafficking. Yes, by wearing a dress.
In 2013, its first year of being a full-fledged campaign, Dressember drew 1,200 women in 32 countries to collectively raise over $165,000. Last year, 2,600 participants nearly tripled funds raised, coming in at over $465,000. This year, as Blythe continues to grow the organization, she is hoping to double the number of women registered (about 5,000) as well as the funding, which would mean about $1 MILLION raised. Let’s do it.
As for where that money goes, Blythe says it essentially goes wherever the need is within the multi-faceted organization that is IJM. “I don’t tell them how I want them to use it, I just trust that they know where the current need is,” she says. “It could go anywhere from funding the rescue operations to survivor aftercare or law-enforcement training programs, any number of things that they do.” But Blythe is far from a simple donor. She is getting more and more involved with IJM’s mission—going on trips to their international field offices, speaking at fund-raising events in the U.S., and staying in regular contact with the organization.
“I went to Guatemala two summers ago and then this September I got to go to another brand new field office in the Dominican Republic,” Blythe says. “I got to meet the staff in both offices and hear about the work they’re doing in those areas, meet some of their clients—the survivors—which is always so incredible, and then got to check out the aftercare facilities. I’m trying to take at least one field office trip per year. Stateside, they had a student conference and donor dinner in Nashville a few months ago that I spoke at. And in L.A. they do those all the time so I go to those often, share the Dressember story, and continue to hear more about the most recent work that they’re doing.”
If you needed any extra motivation to participate this year, take it from women who have done it. “I remember getting one email from a woman after Dressember that was like, “I can’t even put words to it, but Dressember had such an impact on me. It was such a powerful experience,”" Blythe says. “Waking up and choosing to put on a dress every day—there is an element of sacrifice there. It’s not the most difficult thing you can do, but it’s not super easy. It gets cold enough in December that it is a challenge and a sacrifice. Women will write in and say, “I don’t know how to describe it, I just know something powerful happened in me and to me through Dressember.” One woman wrote, “I’ll never be the same after participating.”
“It’s also pretty cool to see women who kind of hate dresses but choose to participate because they are passionate about ending trafficking—the impact that they’re able to have and the fact that they choose to do it and sacrifice their personal comfort to do it is pretty powerful. And then they’ll write in, “It was hard, but it was worth it. And…now I’m getting back in jeans immediately.”"
Blythe’s advice once you’ve signed up? Go all in. “Be courageous and bold once you decide to do it,” she says. “Sometimes I wonder whether there are women who commit to the challenge and do it but then don’t really tell many people what they’re doing—maybe they’re worried about asking for money, worried it will be a burden on people. But I would say be bold and view it as an invitation—you’re inviting people to care about the thing that you care about without pressuring them, just if they feel compelled to support you they can. I know asking for money can be hard. And I think it’s also huge to donate to your own campaign, because people see that and really believe that you’ve bought into what you’re representing.”
And with women participating in Dressember all over the world—Chicago, Montreal, New York, Finland—those temperatures are bound to drop pretty low, so Blythe advises wearing fleece-lined leggings, pants under dresses, and lots of layers! “I’m like “Please no one get hypothermia from wearing a dress in December!” she jokes.
Otherwise, her main tip is to be creative with what you have. “There can be a tendency when people hear about Dressember to think “Oh I don’t own enough dresses” or “I need to go shopping,”" Blythe says. “But there are a lot of ways you can just be creative with what you have, whether it’s wearing the same dress all month like I do, borrowing from roommates or friends or sisters, or going to a secondhand store. You can totally change up the same dress with sweaters or other accessories.”
So what are you waiting for? Become an advocate, check out the beautifully-designed (and ethically made) Dressember dress, buy some buttons (pictured above), make a one-time donation, or just share this article and spread the word about this truly amazing mission. Basically, don’t just sit there. Find a way to get involved, and play a role in ending one of the greatest injustices in our world.
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London-based Canadian label Erdem has won a fourth straight British Fashion Award.
Montreal-born designer Erdem Moralioglu was honoured with the establishment designer award at the annual event organized by the British Fashion Council.
The prize recognizes a ready-to-wear designer with a strong retail and e-commerce footprint who is also "a bastion of British fashion."
Moralioglu was also in contention for the red carpet award, but lost to Tom Ford.
The Canadian has been on a winning streak at home and abroad.
He's become a mainstay at the British Fashion Awards, where he nabbed womenswear designer of the year honours last year and the red carpet award in 2013.
In 2012, Moralioglu took home the new establishment award.
In January, he was named international Canadian designer of the year at the Canadian Arts & Fashion Awards in Toronto.
The ready-to-wear brand has become known for its richly coloured custom-designed prints and modern feminine creations.
Karl Lagerfeld collected yet another accolade: Outstanding Achievement. The award was presented by Anna Wintour, a longtime friend of Lagerfeld's.
"Karl represents the soul of fashion," said Wintour, dressed in Chanel couture. His image "is as iconic as the outline of a Chanel suit."
To describe Lagerfeld as prolific would be an understatement. He designs eight collections a year for Chanel, is creative director of womenswear at Fendi, shoots advertising and promotional films as well as campaigns for both houses, contributes to many fashion glossies, and is still going strong after more than 50 years in the business.
The big winner of the night was Jonathan Anderson, who designs his J.W. Anderson label as well as Loewe, both owned by LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton. Anderson, 31, was named designer of the year for both menswear and womenswear.
"I'm kind of embarrassed and don't know what to say," Anderson said. "I started off designing menswear, and then did womenswear to make sense of it."
Other winners included Alessandro Michele, creative director at Gucci, who picked up the award for International Designer for the impact he has made on that house since taking over from Frida Giannini last year. Not since Tom Ford's heyday at that label in the late 1990s has Gucci attracted so much attention from the fashion elite and the buying public alike.
Topshop’s latest holiday campaign is a who’s who of young supermodels including US rising star Bella Hadid and British model Ella Richards. Here they share what it’s like being “it” girls in the modelling industry.
Q. How is it having a sister in the same industry?
A. We’re always busy, so it’s nice to see each other at work. Fashion week is great because we finally get to hang out.
Q. What advice would you give to models starting out?
A. You’ve got to be nice. Friendship is probably the most important thing in the fashion world, otherwise no one really respects you. If you’re mean you’re not going to go very far.
Q. Are you on Santa’s nice or naughty list?
A. The naughty list. I was born naughty!
Q. What scares you?
A. In the early days, modelling was nerve-wracking – I had to open my first big show with Anna Wintour and Kanye sitting in the front row and I was shaking. Luckily make-up artist Pat McGrath calmed me down. She’s the sweetest thing.
Q. What’s the best bit about modelling?
A. Walking in the shows. When I step out on the catwalk I can’t explain the feeling – it’s more than excitement. I get goose bumps and my heart is racing.
Q. What’s on your holiday gift list?
A. A new surfboard and a really festive jumper.
Q. What makes a role model in the fashion world?
A. Someone who’s not afraid to be themselves. It’s about speaking your mind and knowing what you want in life, without worrying what other people think. That’s what people look up to.
Q. What are you most proud of?
A. My biggest achievement is becoming a model. I’ve worked with so many big designers and talented people and not a lot of people can say that.
Q. Where do you see yourself in five years?
A. I hope I’ll be getting married with a kid in a big house – that would be nice!
Q. Have you inherited any musical talent from your granddad (Rolling Stones rocker Keith Richards)?
A. No! I tried learning the piano but my teacher kept me on nursery rhymes for about a year. You can’t be playing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when you’re 14…
Q. What will you be doing this holiday season?
A. Eating too much and watching The Holiday.
Q. What’s the best beauty trick you’ve learned from make-up artists?
A. One make-up artist taught me how to make a body scrub just by mixing sugar and honey. It really works.
Q. What’s the coolest place you’ve been in the world?
A. I’ve travelled to so many places around the world for work, but without a doubt the coolest place for me is the tiny Polish village where I was born. Life there has its own rhythm – people respect nature and traditional values.
Claire’s, a prominent retailer in accessories and garments, recently launched its first outlet at Centaurus Mall in the capital. The event kicked off with a ribbon cutting ceremony with a free piercing booth in place and a fashion show that showcased the outlet’s collections.
“We brought Claire’s to Pakistan for the first time in Karachi earlier this year. It was a huge success, so we thought of opening the store in Islamabad as it was an untapped market,” said Aswad Javeri, director of the Cosmo Group and Madras Jewellers, the business group that owns Claire’s.
The store, which caters to young girls and teens, houses items featuring popular Disney characters, such as Elsa and Anna from Frozen, and Hello Kitty. Mobile covers, back-packs, glasses and jewellery items are also available at the outlet. “We cater to those between five and 16 years of age. However, our cosmetics are for all age groups, especially nail lacquers that are for less than Rs1,000. Everything at the store is priced below Rs2,000,” shared Javeri.
Speaking of competitors in the market, Javeri claimed, “We feel we don’t have any competition because we sell about 25,000 units at our store. Our product range is so diverse that nobody stands close to us in the market.”
One of the attendees at the launch, Komal Shabbir, shared, “Previously, I would buy accessories for my daughter from Claire’s in Karachi or in London. I’m extremely glad that Claire’s has finally come to Islamabad. My daughter is very excited.”
Running a total of 4,000 stores around the world, Claire’s has outlets in North America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “At Claire’s, we bring the most fashionable products available in the market. All our collections are launched at the same time worldwide,” stated Javeri.
In the two years since he started his own label, Arthur Arbesser has swiftly made a name for himself and now the Milan-based designer is lending his skill to the cult-like home design consortium Hem.
A 2015 LVMH Prize finalist, Arbesser took on the creative director role at Iceberg earlier this year. Five months after launching his collection in 2013, he won Vogue Italia’s and Altaroma’s “Who Is On Next” competition. For Hem, the Viennese Arbesser has created eight different throw blankets, including a few that take a playful approach to melding contemporary architecture with his Austrian upbringing. Incorporating geometrical patterns — Arch and Stripe — the throws are made of 100 percent wool and retail for $120 or $150. Another borrows from the stylized repetition of Italian architecture from the Thirties. Launched internationally on Hem’s site, his throws will be delivered in the U.S. in roughly five weeks. Shoppers can also find them in the Hem store in Berlin, as well as its pop-up store in London.
Founded last year by Jason Goldberg and Petrus Palmér, Hem aims for “Designs That Inspire” by offering furniture, lighting, accessories, rugs and other home decor items. Goldberg is a proven e-tailer, having also started Fab before moving on to Hem.
In a promotional video, Arbesser said the new alliance “represents the spirit of the world of Hem. But at the same time it’s very true to my own world so I think that’s the perfect outcome for a collaboration.”
He isn’t the only designer with a new home-related collaboration. Christian Lacroix’s creative director Sacha Walckhoff has teamed with Savoir Beds. The “B” bed by Sacha Walckhoff for Savoir features podlike cubby-holes and a headboard made entirely of pocket springs, upholstered in “Powder” blue Novasuede by Alcantara, which is more commonly used for car, aircraft and yacht interiors.
Among 223 contestants from across the country, Hyderabad-based make-up artist Tamanna Rooz won the National Competition for Bridal Make-up, organised by All India Hair & Beauty Association at Ahmedabad recently. “For the competition, we had a time limit of 40 minutes and it’s a great feeling to have won it,” Tamanna says.
The go-to make-up artist for Sania Mirza, Tamanna wanted to learn professional make-up and hence, took courses in Russia and Lebanon too. “I’ve always been an artist and I’m good with brushes. But my parents were keen on me becoming a doctor or a teacher. It was my friends who encouraged me to take up make-up professionally as I used to help them out during fashion shows. And it worked out well in the end,” says Tamanna, who has worked with Manchu Manoj’s wife Pranathi, Charmme and Anam Mirza among others.
With the wedding season upon us, any current bridal make-up trends to look forward to?
“This year, having strong, smoky eyes and a bold lip colour is quite the rage. Berry and gold are the colours for this season. Earlier, the brides had to look soft and delicate but that’s not the case now. Also, contouring is in as everyone wants to go for a sculpted look with sharp features. However, it’s important to not go overboard with the base make-up. Keep your skin natural and go for a dewy finish. Also, you can’t change someone’s features, so distract from the flaws and redefine them while bringing out the best,” she says.
Celebrity and wedding photographers love to work with her because her make-up doesn’t require much editing after the shoots. “My make-up can be called ‘photoshopped make-up’ because there’s no smudging or melting. Even if my bride takes a dip in the pool and comes out, her make-up, hair and outfit will remain intact. I like to work with minimal pins and make the process pain-free for my clients,” she says.
She adds, “I think I’ve grown as an artist while working with Sania. She’s always travelling and attending back-to-back events. Her skin is dehydrated and tanned. I do a lot of research and get the best products from Dubai, Europe and the UK, which work instantly and take away dark circles, pores, etc. I make sure her skin doesn’t look tired anymore.”
Another current star Tamanna is all praise for is Akhil Akkineni. “Despite being a star kid, Akhil is quite humble and down-to-earth. Unlike the earlier trend in Tollywood where men were loaded with dollops of pancake, I like to go for light make-up. He had some acne issues so with the help of the airbrush technique, his skin looked natural and no photoshop was required during a photo-shoot,” she adds. “I would like to set up an academy,” says Tamanna about her future plans.