Paris Fashion Week

Hi, all! As I mentioned in my last blog, I LOVE FASHION WEEK! So, I decided to watch all of Paris Fashion Week so that you don’t have to. There were so many incredible designs for the 2020 Spring season, and it’s always exciting to see the ready-to-wear designs that will trickle into fast fashion houses like Forever 21 and H&M next year. I know that watching all of these shows can be overwhelming, so below you’ll find some of my favorite shows and designs. I hope this blog inspires you to take a look for yourself.

Alexander McQueen

Alexander Mcqueen’s label was once theatrical horror couture, but it is now grown up and refined. The brand maintains impeccably tailored suits, lacework, and a touch of leather. This show was truly one of my favorites of the week. Some of the lace, tulle, and organza worn down the runway were upcycled from previous shows. As if there weren’t enough reasons to love this collection before they prioritized sheer sustainability! Designer Sarah Burton was inspired to do the intricate stitching by a group known as The Stitch School that teaches young boys and girls how to stitch.

Chanel

Chanel is a true Parisian label through and through. The influence of Paris is clear in the details, with the show even taking place on what appears to be a rooftop. I really loved the pleated jeans and tweed suits. It’s evident that the fashion brand Coco Chanel built lives on in her image. One of the most exciting parts of the show was when one of the women in the audience wearing her own tweed, Chanel-inspired outfit crashed the runway. It was amusing to watch security try to figure out who the imposter was among all of the models.

Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent was the first brand to create a ready-to-wear line in the 1960s. So it’s only fitting to see such a strong collection from these fashion innovators. I really enjoyed the color palette in this collection, especially the blues. To me, this show gives off a certain rockstar quality, with the women appearing both bold and demure while slaying the runway in Saint Laurent staples. This show took place opposite the Eiffel Tower, and Vogue called it an “open-air-spectacle,” further cementing the idea of giving the public access to luxury fashion. The show finished with the legendary Naomi Campbell, which is always a treat.

Mugler

Mugler is one of my favorite fashion labels, and they’re always creating distinctive, interesting pieces to accentuate unabashedly powerful women. Worn by stars like Lady Gaga, Kim Kardashian, and Cardi B, the brand is more relevant than ever. Something I enjoyed about this collection was how similar a few of the pieces were to Thierry Mugler’s own work. Bella Hadid particularly showcases this above. It was exciting to see a new take on male suits and shiny, sheer fabric. All of the pieces consistently complement the collection as a whole, which is always incredible to see.

Rahul Mishra

Rahul Mishra is a designer I had never heard of until I saw this show. Many of the pieces were handmade, and according to Vogue, “some of them required more than 3,400 hours.” While looking at this collection, I can’t help but think of a “Devil Wears Prada” quote: “Florals? For spring? Groundbreaking.” Although the idea of using flowers for spring is nothing new, what’s wrong with a spring staple? The embroidery on all of the pieces was incredible. The level of detail shows through on the bottom left picture, where the flowers start small, emerging from the center into larger, full-grown ones. Overall, I really enjoyed this take on a classic Spring collection.

Maison Margiela

I really loved this collection. I’ve always enjoyed the influence of military designs on fashion, and I own a number of military-inspired jackets myself. This collection clearly invokes the 1930s, which is a decade seared into the collective culture. I think the punky, knee-high boots are sick, and they’re all the more fitting as the designer, John Galliano is British. According to Vogue, this collection is a big middle finger to Brexit, as it emphasizes the great things that both the French and British accomplish together.

Givenchy

Givenchy is an iconic staple of Parisian fashion. I personally enjoy the minimalism of this collection. I think the denim skirt is an interesting and pretty idea that I haven’t yet seen, and I particularly enjoy the bottom left print. This designer was inspired by the boyish minimalism of ’90s NYC.

Balenciaga

This collection had some very interesting ideas. I enjoyed the large coats, and I love a shoulder pad look. Clearly, this collection is inspired by the ’80s, and I think that was a particularly bold decade. Overall, it was a refreshing differentiator.

Elie Saab

Last but not least, Elie Saab. There honestly was not a single bad look in this collection. All of these pieces were beautiful, and it made it extremely difficult to choose five pieces to display. I look forward to seeing more of this labels’ work in the future, and I was delighted to see the diverse choice of models.

Thank you for joining me this week in taking a look at Paris Fashion Week through my eyes. I hope you enjoyed the Spring 2020 ready-to-wear looks as much as I did. If you’re interested in learning where to easily access these kinds of shows check out Vogue Runway, where all these photos are sourced from. I look forward to more blogs like this in the future!

-Blake <3

Fashion History: Alexander McQueen

As a lover of fashion, there’s nothing that excites me more than this time of year. Fashion designers new and old show off their collections every week in all of the major fashion cities in the world. This week, in particular, belongs to Paris, which is exhibiting one of my favorite fashion houses, Alexander Mcqueen, tonight at 8 p.m.! You can bet that I will be in virtual attendance. Although there is something to be said for the label’s current design work, it certainly pales in comparison to the theatrics of its former self. I cannot help but reminisce on the creative controversy it once invoked. Words like provocative, lewd, misogynistic, absurd, disturbing, and sickening were all used by the press to describe former head designer Lee Alexander McQueen’s work. Through his showmanship and talent, McQueen riveted audiences at the turn of the century. He specifically captured my attention when I learned that he collaborated and designed for my idol, Lady Gaga. Although his time in the fashion world was cut short due to suicide, his legacy and mark in fashion live on. Here’s a look back at some of the shows that made McQueen a cult figure in the fashion world. 

1) Highland Rape 1992

In McQueen’s Words

“[This collection] was a shout against English designers . . . doing flamboyant Scottish clothes. My father’s family originates from the Isle of Skye, and I’d studied the history of the Scottish upheavals and the Clearances. People were so unintelligent they thought this was about women being raped—yet Highland Rape was about England’s rape of Scotland.” – from Vogue

This collection showcases the beauty of vulnerability. Considered one of his most controversial shows, it’s also one of his most personal. McQueen himself was a victim of sexual assault and this collection, in turn, feels almost autobiographical. Never shying away from darkness, he portrayed through metaphor a historical event he found deeply disturbing and personal. Throughout the show, you’ll find Scottish prints as well as incredible lacework. Not many fashion designers can claim they developed a silhouette but within this show is a design referred to as, “bumsters,” an invention that led to the low-rise jean trend of the ’90s. Although highly misunderstood at the time, it now stands as a testament to McQueen’s unabashed theatrical talent.

2) La Poupée 1997

La Poupée, or “The Doll,” was a fashion show that heavily focused on the constraints of the fashion world and the human body. The idea behind fashion is to emphasize or overexaggerate parts of the human body. Mcqueen was inspired by an artist named Hans Bellmer, who was known to chop up dolls and rearrange them into new creations. To me, this show represents how otherworldly fashion design can be. It represents how models are dolls for the fashion designer, and they can be transformed in front of the public in the designer’s eyes. Particularly, in this show, McQueen portrays this with a number of metal constraints that inhibited the models from appearing or walking normally.

3) No.13 1999

For me, this is one of the greatest fashion shows of all time. It’s full of beautifully tailored pieces that are serene and harmonic. The music is very calming and the turntables make the models appear like fashion ballerinas in a music box. Many of the designs feature a McQueen favorite: lace. However, he also experimented with many materials like wood. The show took a drastic turn in the finale; this is a performance that ever since has become a cultural staple that is referenced in many shows, including “RuPaul’s Drag Race.”

4) VOSS 2001

Presented in a glass cube with an asylum feel, Alexander Mcqueen again does the unnerving and unthinkable. Before the show starts, all of the journalists and attendants were forced to stare at their own reflection. This encouraged the audience to self-examine themselves and created a self-conscious, hyper-aware feeling. When the lights came on, it was clear that the models are unable to see out of the box. McQueen challenged a number of fashion norms by presenting models with taxidermy attached to them and bloodred luxury ostrich feathers on a dress. When the show seemed to have come to an end, it was shocking to see the glass fall to present a naked pregnant woman surrounded by moths. No matter what confusion McQueen’s work may stir in me, there’s nothing I respect more in a designer or showman than invoking emotion, understood or not.

5) Plato’s Atlantis 2010

McQueen’s show was live-streamed at the beginning of the decade and it shot through the cultural landscape of the developing web. Featuring gigantic infamous heels, bold prints, and futuristic designs, this show inadvertently is tied in closely with the rise of Lady Gaga. Bad Romance first premiered at the finale of the show, and it was written specifically with the runway in mind (walk, walk fashion baby, work it move that b**** crazy”). Many of the pieces in this show ended up in the music video for Bad Romance and cemented a long-lasting collaboration between McQueen and Gaga. This shows McQueen’s willingness to take fashion to extremes; beauty is not always comfortable.

Below are photos of McQueen’s clothes from the show on Gaga in the Bad Romance music video:

As you can see, McQueen left a void in the fashion world. He was a designer that understood how to make darkness, tragedy, and horror beautiful. Fashion is a theatrical presentation, and being able to convey something larger than clothes is an art that should be more exercised. I hope you enjoyed a look back at some of the shows that made Alexander Mcqueen one of the most renowned and respected designers of all time. And I hope you all enjoy the show tonight!

VSCO Girl Fashion

As September comes to an end, I couldn’t help but notice how warm it feels for the start of fall. Every morning I wake up and stare at all of the cute jackets and sweaters that I can’t wear, and it kills me. I’m sure you’re feeling the same way looking at your scarves, boots, and, of course, oversized long sleeve t-shirts. As we all try to cope with the 80-degree weather by buying cold pumpkin spice lattes and smelling autumn candles, I’m here to offer an impactful alternative option that will hopefully guarantee not losing “spooky season” to climate change. Have you thought of becoming a VSCO girl? Here are some environmentally friendly accessories we all shouldn’t live without…

https://www.standard.co.uk/insider/style/what-is-a-vsco-girl-what-you-need-to-know-about-the-genz-trend-sweeping-the-internet-a4241431.html

No, I don’t mean buying 30 scrunchies. What I mean is adopting eco-friendly alternatives to reduce your carbon footprint. The average American wastes 156 water bottles a year, which is not nearly as cute as this limited-edition Hydro Flask. You don’t have one? Weird, I personally don’t go anywhere without mine.

https://www.hydroflask.com/24-shave-ice-limited-edition/color,maitai,a,92,o,341

Saving the environment is in, and single-use plastic is out! VSCO girls are eco-friendly trend-setters who know that every mundane object is a chance to stunt. I love an environmental haul. It’s 2019, and we cannot be caught without our metal reusable straws, especially considering the fact that the U.S. alone wastes 500 million straws a year. I recommend getting a Final Straw 2.0. It comes in a cute case that can be used as a keychain to let everyone else know they’re not on your level. #SaveTheTurtles

Personally, I don’t wear too much makeup, but I will not step foot out of my apartment without having my brows done. I’m sure we’ve all been there, and sometimes we apply a little too much. There’s only so much that a VSCO filter can hide, so naturally, I clean up my brows with a Q-tip. I cannot tell you how many I personally throw out in a year, but that can all come to an end after this. The Last Swab is a reusable makeup swab for all of your makeup mishaps. So next time you find yourself saying, “and I- oooppp,” as you lose control of your brow pencil, you can clean it up with this environmentally friendly accessory.

While you’re snatching up polaroid cameras, scrunchies, and large t-shirts, I suggest using a cute oversized shopping bag made of long-lasting material, so you never have to be seen with a plastic bag again. Check out Colony Co. to snatch up this biodegradable, vegan-friendly, waxed canvas bag. 

Lastly, if you truly cannot resist the pull of VSCO fashion, at the very least buy durable scrunchies that will stand the test of time. I don’t have enough hair to put up, but I have rocked shared scrunchies on my arms in the past. VSCO girls share scrunchies; they don’t throw them away. Check out the Gimme Scrunchy… I’m sure JoJo Siwa can take the hit in sales. Gimme Scrunchy claims to sell bands that will not break as well. 

Going green is fashion-forward. These examples may come straight from an internet meme, however, I have spent the past couple of hot September days wondering, “if we all were more like VSCO girls would I be able to wear my crewneck Thread sweater today?” Who’s to say for sure, but I’m willing to find out.

Photo from https://thetab.com/uk/2019/09/06/vsco-girl-quiz-124174