While men in skirts are not the new norm, gender barriers have been broken over the past few seasons. Recent developments in men’s wear have proven what the fem side of fashion has known all along: that clothes do not define us, but allow us to try on our identity of the moment without changing our core self. We could wear jeans and an old tee one day, a sparkly mini dress the next. The attitudes behind what we wear are variable and as fluid as expressions of gender. Since Street Wear is now luxury, the experimental and daring presentations of urban cultural movements now have the influence of high design. This concept is not new, but a handful of millennial designers and style icons are making it so.
From the mid 2000’s flamboyant excesses of Kayne West and Pharrell to the self-made stylists of our millennial generation, Hip Hop has converged with men's high fashion in unprecedented ways. The maverick and showy nature of the genre has styled its way out of its formerly heteronormative confines. Shanye Oliver, the 27 year old designer behind Hood By Air, has employed his time in New York club scene and hip hop and skateboarding cultures to manifest a new, and highly sought form of uni-sex edginess made queerer by transexual models. Rapper Asop Rocky has been deemed as high fashion savant, know for both his hipster weirdness and gentlemanly sleek ensembles. Rocky talks about fashion with as much passion as his get-money rhymes. And by the way, Givenchy does have a tough looking leather men's skirt, made famous of course, by Kanyne West.
Such innovations are not just artistic, but highly lucrative. As regular blokes pay more attention to their looks, they indeed pay. In just the past two years, men’s retail sales have grown 4.1 %, outdoing the small 2.8 % step up in women’s wear and is expected to grow another 8.3% by 2017 according to research by Euromonitor. Retailers across the globe are making big moves to accommodate these new casually dapper men. Southern California has become a capital of men’s wear, driving urban trends across the market. Tankfarm & Co, new to the Americana in Glendale is a prime example of a specialty, all-in-one stop for hip men who don't have high shopping stamina. The era of the fresh dressed dude has prompted brands like J. Crew to revamp their designs and provide a smaller and more curated selection. Have you heard the new term YUM? It stands for young urban males, a new style conscious group classified by under-30 bachelor induced wealth. And the luxury retail industry is hungry for them.
Speaking of men, 33 costume pieces of Mad Men, and their female counterparts, are now on display at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria, New York. The wardrobe, script notes, and mood boards as well the show’s immaculately historical sets make up the exhibit’s installations that reflect the fashion changes of the 1960’s. For show fans as well as nostalgics, pieces of note are character Megan's "Zou Bisou Bisou" mini-dress, 60’s era cosmetics and advertisements that would make anyone want to jump in a time machine.
Fans knew that Fashion Police would never be the same without its top officer, the late and great Joan Rivers. In January, ultra raunchy queen of comedy Kathy Griffin stepped up to replace River’s throne of sass, but after only seven episodes, announced last week that she is leaving the show. In a reflective twitter post, the feminist and LGBTQ rights advocate comedian citied the unattainable body images and intolerance the show promotes as reasons for her leave. This is comes as a third blow to the E! show following public scrutiny of cast member Giuliana Rancic’s racially insensitive comment about young African American actress Zendaya Coleman during an Oscar recap. As a result, Kelly Osbourne turned in her FP badge in February after five years as co-host. The show, known for its snarky Mean Girls-esque critiques of celebrity style, announced its hiatus on March, 17 and is said to return for a fresh start in September.
For 28 years, musicians, filmmakers and businesses have flocked to Austin’s South by South West music festival in hopes of being seen. This year, the fest, recognized for its stylish South Western cow boy boot wearing fans, got serious about fashion. Returning SXSW partner Decoded Fashion, a global event series that fosters partnerships between fashion and technology, began a new initiative SXstyle that offered mentorship programs and networking opportunities for emerging designers. Throughout the festival, a select number of startups had a chance to gain insight on marketing and messaging from executives in top companies such as Swarovski,Top Shop, Neiman Marcus and Google. Judged by a expert panelists, the chosen top ten startups were then showcased onstage for an audience of press and inventors and qualified for a cash prize. Decoded also hosted a speaker sessions that discussed the future of wearable electronics, new manufacturing technologies and e-commerce. The corporatization of SXSW has been much discussed over the past several years. This year, the amount of space designated for startups doubled in size and international entrepreneurial participation is on the steep incline.It’s clear that SXSW will never be able to go back its local roots but there will always be the music, and good old fashioned fashion blogger’s festival photos! Well, you know what we mean.
Who could take their eyes off FKA twigs? The British singer’s opening performance for Alexander McQueen’s retrospective London show Savage Beaty was a match made in freaky genius heaven. Like McQueen, the musician/film maker/ choreographer has blown up conventions of artistic control and is heralded as a fashion messiah in her own right. At the opening party, Twigs aka Tahliah Debrett Barnett wore a gasp-inducing rainbow feathered ensemble designed none other than McQueen. The gala teemed with celebrities and socialites including Kate Moss, who also sported a McQueen original of sheer lace. Had McQueen and FKA twigs had a chance to collaborate in person, one can only fathom the unworldly creations they would have gifted us.
Need a Spring trend refresher? Go ahead, little bunny, it doesn't take a egg hunt to find the hottest looks of the season. Folk prints, netting, and stripes, oh my!
France could join ranks with Spain, Italy, and Israel with a health law that would prohibit the use of underweight models. If passed, the bill would demand modeling agencies to prove their models have a body index of no lower than 18 or face fines and potential prison time. The bill would also require models to get regular checkups, and ban pro-anorexia websites. In 2007, French model Isabelle Caro became the face of eating disorder awareness when the model posed nude for a shocking anti-anorexia campaign before her untimely death at age 28. Eating disorders affect an estimated 70 million people world wide and the fashion industry continues to grapple with the responsibility it has in setting beauty standards.
Get ready, it’s fashion week in Tokyo! From the Harajuku city known as the capital of wild street style, comes a few fresh faced designers who are imagining the future of fashion through scientific and anthropological means. Consider Thai designer Ek Thongprasert whose second line, “2Q15” sprung from the idea of a future world in which Africa was the dominant world culture. One could easily imagine Thongprasert’s creations walking the streets of a new age. Native prints on tailored pants paired with gorgeously draped wrap-inspired jackets. Saturated colors that allude to traditional dyes and 3-D face decorations complete the elegant, if somewhat casual, tribal look. Former Marc Jacob’s pattern maker and current designer for Hanae Mori , Yu Amatsu, made his own brand’s debut through a geological approach. Aptly named A Degree Fahrenheit, Amatsu’s collection took inspiration from the heat-induced optical mirage seen most commonly above asphalt on a summer’s day. Amatsu stuck to grey, white and black tones to create light weight, form-focused garments that spoke of futuristic silhouettes through thoughtfully displaced zippers and unique use of drapery. Exciting? The shows just got started.