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The Faces of the Season

· Models · , , , , ,

The spring 2016 ready-to-wear shows have just concluded, and with each season comes a brand new crop of fresh faces. Sure, the industry is still a bit behind in terms of diversity, making for less than interesting castings across the board. However, there were a few positives that stood out. On one hand, newcomers who debuted last season, at the resort 2016 shows, and at the fall 2015 haute couture shows really shined; Lineisy Montero walked more shows than anyone else, while girls like Karly Loyce, Amilna Estevão, Pooja Mor, and Aamito Lagum also racked up some seriously impressive résumés this season. With the exciting success of these fascinating models transcending more than just one season, they’ve paved the way for even more captivating beauty during the latest show circuit. Cue the latest group that really broke through this season, some with previous modeling experience, others who took their first steps on the runway at the start of Fashion Month.

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Photo Courtesy BoF

A Problem Worth Solving

· Runway, Thoughts · , , , , ,

Fashion Month just concluded, and according to Business of Fashion, out of the 3,875 model bookings only 797 were models of color. This means about 79.4% of the models who walked in the recent shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris were white. Only 10.2% were black, 6.5% were Asian, 2.3% were of South Asian, Indian, and/or Middle Eastern descent, and just 1.6% were Hispanic or Latina. Though technically an improvement, there is only a three percentage point difference from the spring 2015 ready-to-wear shows a year ago. And whitewashed runways lead to whitewashed editorials and ad campaigns; out of the 611 covers published by the 44 biggest magazines in fashion in 2014, just 18% featured people of color, while about 90% of advertisements featured white models.

We’re going to drop the objective journalistic act for a second and say that this is bullshit.

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Photo Courtesy Vogue

Spring/Summer 2016

· Runway · , , , , , , ,

Yet another Fashion Month has flown by, leaving us with a lot to think about. Sure, there were tons of shows between New York, London, Milan, and Paris. But only a few truly stood out, and even less were exceptionally spellbinding; in some respects, this season feels a bit more commercial and sales-driven than ever before. However, there is always the necessary creativity and artistry that sparks our passion and keeps our interest in fashion alive. So, let’s break it down by city, highlighting the most impressive, noteworthy, and interesting moments of the spring 2016 runway season.

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Photo Courtesy Vogue

The Top Moments of the Fall 2014 Season

· Events, Runway · , , , , , ,
Photo Courtesy Vogue

Photo Courtesy Vogue

And that’s a wrap! In the blink of an eye, New York, London, Milan and Paris Fashion Weeks have all flown by, while January’s fall 2014 menswear shows are already a thing of the past. Yeah, the fashion industry seems like it’s moving faster than ever, leaving us all in some sort of disoriented blur. However, there are still some moments from both the men’s and women’s shows that took place over the past couple of months that really stood out. Whether fashion shows spectacles or simply stunning pieces and collections, here are the top 20 best moments, items, collections and more from the fall 2014 season (in no particular order).

  1. Underrated Talents
    Photo by me

    Photo by Scott Shapiro

    The fall 2014 menswear shows brought a lot of impressive work from the world’s top designers. But some of the best looks came from relatively lesser-known labels. In Paris, 22/04 and Y Project‘s shows of both menswear and womenswear presented some wearable yet totally unique styles. The two labels shared urban aesthetics in ultra-luxurious materials and construction, making them noteworthy ones to watch.

  2. Givenchy menswear
    Photo by Boutayna Fartale

    Photo by Boutayna Fartale

    Though underrated masters showed their skills, the big names were still on top of the game. For Givenchy, that game was basketball, which went surprisingly well with Riccardo Tisci’s Bauhaus inspiration. The master of street chic, Tisci created a to-die-for range of printed sweatshirts, sleek sneakers and awesome outerwear that will surely be on our wish lists this fall.

  3. Lanvin menswear
    Photo by Boutayna Fartale

    Photo by Boutayna Fartale

    Like Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, Alber Elbaz and Lucas Ossendrijver got a little urban for Lanvin’s fall 2014 menswear collection. Featuring sneakers that will probably sell like crazy, amazingly sleek outerwear and graphic tops, all worn by an army of models with the coolest haircuts around, the collection was easily one of the best of the season.

  4. Spectacular Sportswear
    Photo by me

    Photo by Scott Shapiro

    In case the already-mentioned menswear collections – and a bunch of this season’s womenswear collections – didn’t get the message across, let’s put it simply: sportswear has been huge lately. From the shoes to the outerwear to the fabric and more, it seems like everyone’s getting ready to run for fall 2014. But what’s more important is the practicality and usefulness of this trend. Yes, finally, an explosive trend that actually mixes style with comfort.

  5. Vogueing at HBA
    Photo Courtesy NY Mag

    Photo Courtesy NY Mag

    While few things could ever top the step dancing routine Rick Owens used in place of a traditional fashion show last season, designer Shayne Oliver came pretty close this season. At the conclusion of his extremely urban Hood By Air fall 2014 ready-to-wear show during New York Fashion Week, a series of dancers from different houses and teams fiercely vogued down the runway. A dramatic show finale at the beginning of Fashion Month, it was definitely a refreshing and unique way to show clothes.

  6. Off to Brooklyn
    Photo Courtesy AP

    Photo Courtesy AP

    Plenty of designers chose to step away from the typical New York Fashion Week venues at Lincoln Center, but no one would ever think to head over to Brooklyn. That is, until Alexander Wang decided to do so. Wang felt that Brooklyn’s Navy Yard reflected the mood of his collection, forcing industry insiders to trek over to the spot by water taxi (though it’s likely that a lot came by water taxi). For those who attended, the trip was worth it, as they got to witness one of the most impressive shows of the season.

  7. Team Simkhai
    Photo Courtesy Jonathan Simkhai

    Photo Courtesy Jonathan Simkhai

    One of the best moments during NYFW came from a single look, that being the logo sweatshirt shown in Jonathan Simkhai’s fall 2014 lookbook. Simply reading “Simkhai,” the oversized pinstriped top perfectly embodied his sporty-luxe aesthetic. We’re sure a lot of people will be team Simkhai this season.

  8. Diversity at Burberry
    Photos Courtesy WWD

    Photos Courtesy WWD

    This season unfortunately saw a substantial amount of shows with mostly white casts. While this lack of diversity is extremely upsetting, we do have to acknowledge those who saw the globe as the multifaceted place that it truly is. Cue Burberry Prorsum, where Christopher Bailey and co. cast a diverse cast that not only adequately reflected London’s multiethnic population, but that of the entire world. There are still several improvements that need to be made, but at least some people are finally living up to the truly global nature of the fashion industry.

  9. Moschino Madness
    Photo Courtesy Imaxtree via Tom + Lorenzo

    Photo Courtesy Imaxtree via Tom + Lorenzo

    It’s safe to say that Jeremy Scott’s first collection for Moschino was a little over-the-top. From a manipulated McDonald’s logo to Cheetos and nutrition facts printed onto eveningwear, things went a little crazy. To many, the collection was so ridiculous that it couldn’t be taken seriously, while others proposed that this was the type of fun that fashion desperately needs. Regardless, one thing’s for sure: the kitschy gear will likely sell like wildfire.

  10. Iceberg
    Photos Courtesy Style.com

    Photos Courtesy Style.com

    Dreamlike knitwear, perfectly tailored neoprene suits and pops of color? Yes, please. The fall 2014 Iceberg collection might have gotten lost in the midst of the Milan Fashion Week highlights, but this space-age fantasy was definitely one of the best ranges we’ve seen all season.

  11. Keeping Up with Kendall
    Photo Courtesy Raannt

    Photo Courtesy Raannt

    We just talked about Kendall Jenner‘s rise to fame and the polarizing effect it’s had on many people in the fashion industry. But with the Kardashian-by-association walking for A-list shows like Marc Jacobs, Giles, Givenchy and Chanel, it’s safe to say we’ve got a new face to watch. If her latest bookings didn’t convince you, her support from LOVE Magazine’s Katie Grand will probably work up something to do the trick.

  12. Rick’s Ladies
    Photo Courtesy Imaxtree via Fashionista

    Photo Courtesy Imaxtree via Fashionista

    Rick Owens’ latest presentation wasn’t as inspirational as last season’s dance show, but his appreciation for various types of beauty was just as great. Featuring young and old models of multiple sizes and ethnicities, the designer proved that there’s more than one look that fits into his edgy ensembles.

  13. Kenzo x David Lynch
    Photo Courtesy Kenzo

    Photo Courtesy Kenzo

    For their Opening Ceremony show in New York, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon literally made chocolate drip from the walls. So how did the team top their spectacle for the Kenzo show in Paris? By teaming up with legendary filmmaker, David Lynch, of course. Lynch is no stranger to designing settings, as his conception of Paris’ Silencio club truly showed his creative genius. The “Mysterioso” theme was conveyed through a maze-like runway surrounded by mirrors, while a large, distorted clay head stood in the center of it all. “He really designed the entire thing,” said Leon, mentioning that Lynch even contributed to directing the way the models walked. The director also created a 16-minute soundtrack for the show, adding the cherry on top of the surreal masterpiece that meshed fashion with a totally different form of creativity.

  14. The Chanel Shopping Center
    Photo Courtesy Style Anywhere

    Photo Courtesy Style Anywhere

    Though not a surrealist invention like that of the Kenzo show, Karl Lagerfeld’s “Chanel Shopping Center” set was definitely a highlight of Fashion Month. The designer transformed the Grand Palais into a supermarket decked out entirely with Chanel products, including Chanel spaghetti, produce and much more. Meanwhile, editors, models, Rihanna and others played around with the elaborate layout, making it a necessary fun time in the midst of the Fashion Week chaos.

  15. Chanel Sneaks

    Photo Courtesy T Magazine

    Photo Courtesy T Magazine

    In case anyone forgot, there were clothes that went along with the Chanel spectacle. And there were shoes, too, specifically some noteworthy sneakers. The sporty kicks showed up in Chanel’s latest couture show, and Kaiser Karl didn’t ditch them when it came time for ready-to-wear. Though there are plenty more designers who’ve mastered this style of footwear on a higher level, there’s no doubt that the Chanel sneakers are going to own the fall 2014 season.

  16. Vacuum-Packed
    Photo Courtesy Imaxtree via Fashionista

    Photo Courtesy Imaxtree via Fashionista

    Back on the topic of sets, Iris Van Herpen got in on the elaborate action, too. The ambiance featured fully dressed models like Iekeliene Stange and Soo Joo Park shrink-wrapped in giant plastic bags, hoisted in the air in fetal position…yeah. Don’t worry, the girls were given oxygen through tubes, though their petrified facial expressions didn’t make things any less shocking. The feminine yet futuristic collection supported the antics, including the crazy footwear. A far cry from sneakers, heel-less seven-inch platforms with shin guards that wrapped around the backs of the models’ knees were designed in collaboration with United Nude. Who do you think had a harder time, the models in the plastic wrap or the ones navigating the runway?

  17. The Comeback Kid
    Photo Courtesy New York Times

    Photo Courtesy New York Times

    To put it simply, Nicolas Ghesquière won Fashion Month. The iconic designer’s long-awaited comeback as the creative director at Louis Vuitton was phenomenal, displaying an ultra-modern, hyper-luxurious collection of understated strength. There’s not much to be said, other than thank goodness Nicolas and his immeasurable skills are back in the design arena.

  18. Super
    Photos Courtesy Imaxtree

    Photos Courtesy Imaxtree

    One of the highlights of Nicolas Ghesquière’s comeback collection was the top model cast; the show opened with another comeback, that of Freja Beha Erichsen, and the stunning Liya Kebede and Maggie Rizer added to the lineup. Season after season, we’re exposed to new crops of nameless, essentially faceless models who dominate the runways. But for the fall 2014 ready-to-wear shows, we got a fair dose of old supermodels, too. As Natasha Poly opened Prada, Naomi Campbell, Irina Shayk, Anne Vyalitsyna, Izabel Goulart and Lindsay Ellingson joined the cast at Philipp Plein’s Milan show. Meanwhile, Balenciaga brought out ladies like Caroline Trentini and Mariacarla Boscono, who also appeared at Givenchy (alongside Karen Elson, nonetheless). Oh, and Gisele Bündchen closed Balenciaga, too…casual.

  19. Riri’s Reign
    Photo Courtesy The Citizens of Fashion

    Photo Courtesy The Citizens of Fashion

    Street style and celebrity fascination are two inevitable yet obnoxious elements of Fashion Month. Yet somehow, Rihanna mixed those two things perfectly during her time in Paris, and everyone was all about it. Whether doing menswear chic at Lanvin or baring it all at Balmain, @badgalriri really killed it in the style game this season.

  20. Lovely Lupita
    Photo Courtesy Getty Images

    Photo Courtesy Getty Images

    It’s the little things that count. Lupita Nyong’o sat front row at the Miu Miu show fresh off her Oscar win for best supporting actress. On the last day of Fashion Month, it’s likely that everyone else in room was feeling substantially more exhausted than Hollywood’s it-girl. Yet the gorgeous budding fashion icon and face of the label’s spring 2014 ads was as charming as ever, taking selfies with fellow attendees and politely introducing herself to everyone in her row. After a hectic month of fashion shows, this type of positive attitude is the best thing you could ask for.

Well, that’s all for now. Here’s to looking forward to more spectacular moments during next season’s shows!

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The Ultimate Guide to Paris

· Inspiration, Shopping Guides, Travel & Culture · , , , , , , ,

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With Paris Fashion Week right around the corner, the City of Lights is on plenty of people’s minds. Sure, we’re looking forward to Fashion Month’s grand finale, including Nicolas Ghesquière’s comeback with his first collection for Louis Vuitton, the always-anticipated work by Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy and more stunning presentations from some of the world’s elite design experts. But there’s much more to be seen in this iconic city than just a few runway shows. Whether you’re a front row regular, a newbie fighting to make it into the standing section or simply someone taking in the abundant beauty, here’s your guide to navigating Paris.

Getting There and Getting Around:

packing

If you’ve been at it since New York Fashion Week, your bags are probably already packed. If not, pack accordingly. While this doesn’t mean striped crew-neck sweaters and berets (please, don’t), plenty of versatile black garments, stylish scarves, sharp outerwear and fresh footwear will serve as a solid base to the “Parisian chic” sensibility. Some smart tips would be to bring a pickpocket-proof bag, as theft is an unfortunate possibility, and of course, bring a few standout statement pieces to get in on the Fashion Week festivities.

Transportation is definitely an essential for Paris Fashion Week, and while some people are lucky enough to have a driver cart them around to all of the shows, many will have to rely on the cities resources to get from A to B (and everywhere in between). Boasting one of the best transportation systems in the world, the RATP’s Metro, RER, bus and tram lines will surely get you wherever you need to go, so don’t hesitate to pick up a Navigo or carnet. If you do choose the taxi route…don’t. Trying to get a cab is borderline torturous, wasting precious time and potentially missing shows. Instead, set aside some extra euros for the Uber app, which seems more efficient in Paris than many other cities. And if all else fails, the city is small enough to make walking a somewhat reasonable option. If you have the time, you’ll definitely be treated by the ubiquitous beauty at every corner along the way.

For any last-minute hotel plans, it’s always best to avoid the wild tourist traps. Why not treat yourself and go the luxury route? Easily one of the most elite would be Hôtel Costes, situated right on the high-end Rue Saint Honoré in Paris’ 1er arrondissement. The lavish lodging features a restaurant, bar, florist, perfume boutique and more. For something a little more “off the beaten path,” check out Hôtel Amour, the epitome of “Parisian cool.” A diamond in the rough, located in the stereotypically seedy Pigalle neighborhood, this spot features a delicious restaurant on a picturesque terrace and painfully chic chambres.

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Sightseeing and Museums:

Les Catacombes de Paris

Not only is it the fashion capital of the world, but Paris is also the home to some of the world’s best artwork. While museums like the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay and the Centre Pompidou earned their fame for a reason, it never hurts to switch it up a bit. Tucked away in Montmartre is the impressive Espace Dali, showing several of Salvador Dali’s sketches and sculptures. The Palais de Tokyo in the 16e arrondissement is a unique and provocative modern art museum where one can expect to see the unexpected, too. If the Jardin des Tuileries doesn’t impress you, head over to the far corner of the gardens and check out the Musée de l’Orangerie, which holds Monet’s iconic water lilies alongside other incomprehensibly fantastic art.

And while the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame and the Arc de Triomphe are all must-see landmarks, you won’t have trouble finding them during a casual stroll, and there’s really no need to climb them. Instead, opt for the Grande Arche of La Défense, the centerpiece of the ultra-modern commerce district just to the west of the city limits. The Catacombes de Paris are also an astonishing experience, while you can keep up your grim pleasures with a visit to Père Lachaise, the enormous cemetery that hosts Oscar Wilde, Jim Morrison, Edith Piaf and more. If it’s a church you seek, there’s no shortage of those, either. Right by Notre Dame, Sainte Chapelle trumps its more famous neighbor, noted by mind-boggling, kaleidoscopic stained glass. Overall, Paris is the type of city where you can literally stumble upon beauty and inspiration at any second, making it exponentially easier to find another captivating landmark or exhibition.

Père Lachaise

La Défense

Espace Dali

Sainte Chapelle

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À Manger:

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Let’s not forget about French cuisine. You could walk into any brasserie and get a perfectly done croque monsieur (or madame), satisfy your post-night-out cravings with a 4am crêpe or indulge in macarons so pretty you almost don’t want to eat them…almost. But if we absolutely have to talk about a few standout places, then Paris has definitely got those, too.

Les Deux Abeilles is one option, located in the 7e right near the Eiffel Tower, while Restaurant le Châteaubriand and its neighbor/sibling spot, Le Dauphin are also great bets. If you choose to stop by the Palais de Tokyo, why not grab a bite to eat at the trendy, Kris Van Assche-endorsed Monsieur Bleu? Le Schmuck is yet another fantastic restaurant, and it’s nothing like its name suggests; high-quality dishes and superb ambience confirm this place’s undeniable 6e arrondissement sophistication. But hey, who says these are all the best Paris has to offer? Like previously mentioned, this town is home to some of the best cuisine on the planet, which is noticeable just about everywhere.

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Casual Cafés:

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Not everyone likes to do their meals big, and not everyone wants to go out on the town for a drink. For that, there are great options for low-key boissons and conversations with friends. Despite its historical prevalence and reputation as a Parisian hotspot, Les Deux Magots is still a perfect place to grab arguably the best coffee in the entire city. For something a little out of the ordinary, Toraya is one of the oldest Japanese patisseries. Definitely try their to-die-for green tea hot chocolate. For an immaculate wine selection in an intimate setting, head straight to La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, which also has amazing champagne and exceptional tapas.

After Dark:

Silencio

It’s no New York or Barcelona, but Paris likes to party. And during Fashion Week, that’s exponentially more noticeable. While the City of Lights has the tendency to lean on the more selective side, there’s no shortage of hotspots. The go-to venues for the fashion crowd tend to be Le Montana, Le Carmen, Le Baron and of course, Silencio. Meanwhile, Derrière and Le Tango are a couple underrated favorites.

Le Carmen

Shopping, Shopping, Shopping:

Okay, where does one even begin when it comes to Paris’ shopping? This might as well be a guide of its own, as the fashion capital of the world is, by default, the shopping capital of the world. Let’s break it down piece by piece, focusing a bit on some of the best neighborhoods to get your own personal slice of Parisian chic.

Passy (Metro: Passy)

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Start off in the 16e arrondissement, the peaceful, upscale quarter of Paris that embodies all of the dreams you’ve had of picturesque streets and authentic French culture. Of course, such a sophisticated area is bound to have some great shopping finds. Passy is a go-to neighborhood, featuring any major chain retailer you could imagine next to some of the most astonishing boutiques. While vintage isn’t Passy’s strong point, any second-time-around pieces you might find would only be the highest quality Chanel, Dior, Lanvin or other A-list Parisian labels. A postcard glimpse of the Eiffel Tower in between stores doesn’t quite hurt, either.

George V-Montaigne (Metro: George V; Alma-Marceau)

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If Passy’s luxury finds don’t do the trick, George V and parallel Avenue Montaigne aren’t too far away. With the same beautiful scenery, old-fashioned buildings and fairytale-like cobblestone streets, this little area is home to some of Paris’ top maisons. For goods from the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Valentino, Chloé and many, many more, this area will definitely have what you seek.

Champs Élysées (Metro: Champs Élysées-Clemenceau; Franklin D. Roosevelt; George V; Charles de Gaulle-Étoile)

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Just behind the quaint George V-Montaigne area is the hyper-famous Champs Élysées. It’s substantially less secluded than the former; you’ll be navigating through immense crowds of tourists along this celebrated street, which is finalized by the Arc de Triomphe in all its grandeur. However, there’s something enticing about the juxtaposition of commercial labels like H&M and Zara with luxury giants like Louis Vuitton. Whether or not you’ll find an adequate piece of Paris fashion is debatable, but you can’t leave Paris without stopping by the Champs Élysées.

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Saint-Honoré, Vendôme, Madeleine and more (Metro: Concorde; Tuileries; Madeleine)

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The entirety of the 1er arrondissement is like shopping heaven, set in possibly the most dreamlike area imaginable. Sure, it’s still a little touristy, as the Louvre and the Musée de l’Orangerie are both right down the street. Yet the unlimited supply of acclaimed retailers is unbeatable. Rue Saint-Honoré – which holds Balenciaga, Givenchy, Sandro, Saint Laurent, Hôtel Costes, Colette and countless other beautiful boutiques – runs directly into Place Vendôme, the drop-dead-gorgeous square that’s lined with hotels, restaurants and jewelers. The Marché Saint-Honoré offers a selection of spectacular eateries, too, all perfect for a quick break during what could easily be an all-day affair. Walk just a bit further, and you’ll be in the Madeleine neighborhood, which makes it seem as if shopping heaven will never end.

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Haussmann (Metro: Opéra; Chaussée d’Antin-La Fayette; Auber; Havre-Caumartin)

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And who says it has to end? Though the Grands Magasins on Boulevard Haussmann are virtually surrounded by Metro stations, you could easily walk from Madeleine after embarking on the previously suggested shopping excursion. If you crave the convenience of a department store, Haussmann is all about that, with Galeries Lafayette and Printemps right next to each other. And department store is putting it lightly, as both shops are like nothing you could ever imagine. Each one features separate stores of equal inventory for men, as well as beauty products, ready-to-wear, shoes, handbags, jewelry and more under one roof. And that’s not all. Lafayette Gourmet serves as a grocery store of sorts, only with the highest quality products around. Meanwhile, Brasserie Printemps next door offers a selection for more of a sit-down meal, all under an incredible stained-glass dome. Oh, Galeries Lafayette has one of those beautiful domes, too, don’t worry. Shoppers can even stop by the salon at the top of Printemps if they’d like to get pampered in between trying on all of those international designer outfits, and to top it all off, both retailers offer a 12% tax refund to foreigners. Yes, it’s a little overwhelming, and breaking down on the floor and crying tears of joy is a possibility.

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Le Marais (Metro: Saint-Paul, Hôtel de Ville; Filles du Calvaire)

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A vibrant neighborhood with even more history and culture, Le Marais spans between both the 3e and 4e arrondissements. Sure, there are some high-end designer boutiques, but it’s the world-renowned vintage shops and jaw-dropping art galleries that really set this area apart from the rest. Verging on the hipster side, Le Marais is quickly reinventing a modern idea of Parisian cool, with a lively youth culture and eclectic sense of style. You can find one-of-a-kind stores like the Broken Arm or Les Vignoles for those items that will have your friends back home feeling insanely jealous, while the expressive, fun neighborhood is home to plenty of places made cool simply by their appearances. A historically Jewish neighborhood, Le Marais is one of the very few places in Paris that you’ll find things open on a Sunday, which will definitely come in handy for your day-off shopping, dining or art-hunting desires.

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Saint-Germain-des-Près (Metro: Saint-Germain-des-Près; Rue du Bac; Sèvres-Babylone)

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It doesn’t get more “Parisian chic” than this. The quaint neighborhood that embodies Rive Gauche style is home to even more high-end designer boutiques, including Karl Lagerfeld, Alexis Mabille, Sonia Rykiel and just about any others you can think of. Though not as off-the-beaten-path as some of the side streets in Le Marais, Saint Germain is far more peaceful than many other overcrowded Parisian shopping districts. Le Bon Marché is a fantastic alternative to the department stores on Boulevard Haussmann, featuring an incredible inventory in a less chaotic environment. With tons of authentic French cuisine and cultured, educated inhabitants, it’s not hard to feel at home when finding your new favorite outfit.

Okay, so maybe it will be a little hard to find time for even half of these things during the rush of Paris Fashion Week. But there’s still so much more to mention in this incredible city, as beauty, art, fashion and inspiration all pop up just about everywhere. Keep these things in mind during your next visit to the City of Lights, whether you’re attending fashion shows or simply wandering around. Enjoy!

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All photos in this article by Scott Shapiro

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Fashion Week Essentials

· Men's, Shopping Guides · , , , , , , , , , , ,

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New York and London flew by, Milan is in full swing and the grand finale, Paris is just around the corner. Yet there’s never any harm in prioritizing the essentials when it comes to a hectic, nonstop month of long, exhausting days. While the forecast at NYFW called for parkas and snow boots, there are still negotiable options for staying stylish even in a freakish polar vortex. Seeing some shows is never bad, but the experience is even better when prepared with the right items.

While this is definitely coming from a bit more of a menswear slant (sorry, ladies), there’s still plenty of versatility in this selection. No matter what city you’re in, whether you’re doing ready-to-wear, menswear or couture, here are a few suggested Fashion Week essentials.

  1. Dior Homme Black Tie Sunglasses, $354.59 at FarFetch: A little shade is always necessary in maintaining personal style, and these sunnies are chic enough to get you noticed without entering the ridiculous Fashion Week eyewear category.
  2. “Heartbreak” Raglan Sleeve Coat, $274 at Sandro: You probably didn’t forget that it’s still winter; the stinging cold is pretty inevitable. But there’s no need to torture yourself when running from show to show, as this sleek navy coat with a minimalistic concealed button placket will automatically make you one of the warmest and most stylish Fashion Week participants. And it’s on sale!
  3. Leica X2 Digital Compact Camera, $1,995 at Leica: Sure, your iPhone is still necessary for snapping some sweet Instagrams, but let’s face it, your images will be far from perfect. Meanwhile, a DSLR camera is often a burden to carry around and to figure out how to use. If you want high-quality photos of all the Fashion Week action with the convenience of a point-and-shoot, this is definitely your match.
  4. The 31 Hour Backpack, $1,250 at 3.1 Phillip Lim: It seems like most guys are only carrying around totes and those portfolio/document case bags during Fashion Week. While both are undeniably stylish, who wants to carry that around all day? Gift bags, personal items and other essentials would fit perfectly in a backpack, particularly this one from 3.1 Phillip Lim. With the sporty streetwear trend so huge at the moment, you’ll look just as good and feel 31 times better.
  5. Eau Thermale Face Spray, $12.99 at La Roche Posay: Okay, this might seem a little questionable, but really, it’s amazing. Soothing your skin in the midst of chaos is even better than you’d think, and you’ll be instantly addicted to this product.
  6. Maison Martin Margiela Eau de Toilette Replica “Jazz Club,” $113.74 at Colette: Seriously, this smells exactly like Silencio (if you haven’t been to the Parisian hotspot yet, you’ll know what this means eventually). Nevertheless, you’ll need something strong yet alluring to get you through long days, and this definitely fits the bill.
  7. Snacks, Price and retailer vary: “Fashion people” have to eat, too, and no one wants to encounter a hungry, pissed off editor/stylist/buyer/blogger/etc. Often times, gift bags at shows come with no grub whatsoever, so you’ve got to BYOF. Whether the healthiness of fruits and veggies or the convenience of potato chips, everyone’s got to fuel up somehow.
  8. Acne Studios Black Leather Trousers, $1,350 at SSense: Yes, leather pants are essential. Don’t question it anymore, just enjoy the sleek edge they bring to any and every ensemble.
  9. Rick Owens Black Leather Jacket, $4,614 at The Corner: Even more necessary than leather pants is a leather jacket, particularly a Rick Owens leather jacket.
  10. Transportation, Price and retailer may vary: You have to get around somehow, right? While plenty of editors have personal drivers and certain cities have top-notch taxi services, it never hurts to invest in a MetroCard to navigate New York or a NaviGo to make the rounds in Paris.
  11. Black Stingray Embossed Notebook, $69 at Alexander Wang: Even if you’re not a journalist, Fashion Week is an explosion of inspiration. Don’t let the thoughts and ideas that all of those shows provoke go to waste.
  12. Maison Martin Margiela Patent High Top, $890 at Barneys: Following the resourcefulness of a backpack, running around from show to show is exponentially easier with the right footwear. While some might advise against white sneakers, these Maison Martin Margiela kicks are some of the best imaginable.
  13. Neil Barrett Color-Block Neoprene Sweatshirt, $490 at Lane Crawford: A good statement piece is a must for Fashion Week, even for the most dressed-down attendees. Add some lively color to an outfit with this sweatshirt made in the new best fabric ever, neoprene.

All photos for this article via the items’ respective websites

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Another Iman

· Models, The Come-Up · , , , , , , ,

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Actually, make that Imaan with two a’s. But don’t think the spelling difference sets new face Imaan Hammam far apart from the iconic supermodel. Though the rookie technically debuted last year when she was hand-picked by Riccardo Tisci to open Givenchy, she really showed her stuff by recently taking New York by storm in her first full Fashion Week. Walking for the likes of Proenza Schouler, Hugo Boss, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Narciso Rodriguez and many more, the exotic beauty’s season is off to a great start. And with four international Vogue editorials in the past two months, Hammam’s proving her status as more than just another new face. Be sure to keep an eye on Imaan Hammam through the rest of Fashion Month and beyond.

 

Feature image courtesy of Vogue Italia

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London Calling

· Travel & Culture · , , , , , , , ,

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After the flurry – and flurries – of New York Fashion Week, Fashion Month is moving forward. Next stop: London, the city known for harvesting some of the freshest and most captivating new talent. We have to start by addressing the pink elephant in the room, that being London’s slightly lower popularity level in comparison to New York, Milan and Paris in terms of big-name designers’ collections. But London’s fashion industry is definitely a force to be reckoned with, presenting work from established names like Tom Ford and Burberry Prorsum alongside underrated experts like Mary Katrantzou and Roksanda Ilincic.

While the continuation of this month-long fashion festival is sure to bring even more exciting trends and concepts, London’s skilled designers have the tendency to march to the beat of their own drummer, and we couldn’t be happier. British menswear is noted for the implementation and mastery of bespoke tailoring via Savile Row, but don’t think that’s limited to just the guys. With such an immense influence on the practice of creating garments, there’s a reason London is one of the “Big Four” fashion capitals of the world.

While the next few days are all about London’s best fall 2014 ready-to-wear collections, hosting a Fashion Week in one of the world’s most incredible cities opens the doors for limitless things to experience off the runway.

Left to Right: Courtesy Shoreditch House, Courtesy Scott's Restaurant

Left to Right: Courtesy Shoreditch House, Courtesy Scott’s Restaurant

A members-only lounge like Paris’ Silencio, The Shoreditch House is a perfect meeting place to gather with coworkers or friends. Though less clubby than its French counterpart, the upscale atmosphere provides a relaxing space for food and drinks in the midst of the Fashion Week madness. Meanwhile, Shoreditch is quickly becoming one of London’s hippest neighborhoods. But if you’re in the mood for a bigger meal, stop by Scott’s Restaurant over in the beautiful Mayfair district, where you can get a high-quality version of the classically English fish and chips. Hey, there’s nothing wrong with getting a little touristy.

Left to Right: Getty Images, Getty Images, Courtesy Hale Clinic

Left to Right: Getty Images, Getty Images, Courtesy Hale Clinic

Why not compliment your touristy meal with some more sightseeing? Though it’s impossible to go into detail about every single artistic and cultural element that London has to offer, it never hurts to start with a couple great museum visits. Tate Modern is a great option for those who prefer contemporary art, located across the river in Southeast London. Meanwhile, the Victoria & Albert Museum in the coveted Kensington neighborhood provides everything from a David Bowie retrospective to archaeologic exhibitions. And if your inevitably extensive time at the V&A leaves you feeling a little exhausted, you can stay on the west side of London when visiting the Hale Clinic, a great place for any holistic healthcare from detox to acupuncture.

Left to Right: Getty Images, Courtesy Celestine Eleven

Left to Right: Getty Images, Courtesy Celestine Eleven

Despite all of these suggestions, let’s not forget that we’re still in one of the world’s fashion capitals. And what would a fashion capital be without shopping? Selfridges is always a good idea, while the department store’s personal shopping suite makes the process of navigating through the dreamlike selection of fashion goods exponentially less hectic. You can always stop by the Hale Clinic again afterwards, but it’s probably a better idea to reduce your stress as much as possible during Fashion Week. Though a bit on the pricey side, a two-hour consultation with Selfridges’ specially trained personal shoppers will have you feeling like the best dressed at London Fashion Week. If the big bad department store doesn’t do the trick for you, try Celestine Eleven, a boutique that’s more manageable without sacrificing an extensive inventory. Sorry, guys, but this place only features womenswear. However, this womenswear comes from some of the best luxury designers, while Celestine Eleven also carries home goods and more holistic products within a peaceful environment.

There’s much, much more to be seen during a trip to London, but when negotiating with the madness of Fashion Week, this will surely be a start. Of course, all of the endless excitement throughout London does nothing but help to inform the stunning and inspirational designs we’ll be seeing over the course of London Fashion Week. Enjoy!

All information courtesy of #TheList at Harper‘s Bazaar by Yasmin Sewell

Feature photo by me

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Fashion Month is Here

· Events, Runway · , , , , , , , , , ,

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You blinked, and the fashion world is back in its usual frenzy. While all eyes are on New York at the moment, it doesn’t end there, as the fashion set will head from the Big – currently frozen – Apple to London, Milan and Paris in no time. It seems like it’s always Fashion Week somewhere, with street style photogs snapping away at the most ridiculous ensembles and esteemed editors taking notes on the biggest things of the season. But throughout the four “majors,” there’s a lot to be seen over the course of this month-long whirlwind.

What does this mean, you ask? Well, take away all of the chaos and hype that’s enveloped the events and brace yourselves for some serious styles, because this is a crucial time to see what’s next in the ever-changing industry. Everyone’s anticipating where stories like those of Marc Jacobs or Nicolas Ghesquière will go; how will Jacobs’ shifted focus entirely on his namesake label change things for the labels he used to helm? As Ghesquière takes over one of said labels, that being Louis Vuitton, we anxiously anticipate his long-awaited comeback after his departure from Balenciaga. Speaking of which, what will Alexander Wang stir up this season? Will it be a continuation of his safe yet sartorially friendly work at Nicolas’ old post, or will he take the neon-flared girl of the future from his own Brooklyn show this past weekend to the next level?

And the revolving door doesn’t stop spinning just yet. After the departure of trendsetters like Jil Sander and Ann Demeulemeester from their own houses, there’s something compelling about the possibility of new designer takeovers. Meanwhile, there’s always the possibility of random, unexpected exits and entrances in this crazy industry. Let’s not forget the constant interest and excitement that always surrounds some of the big players, as Riccardo Tisci’s cult following at Givenchy is stronger than ever, the world can’t wait to see how Rick Owens will follow up his spring 2014 ready-to-wear step dance show, and there’s always something influential brewing in the mind of Miuccia Prada.

It’s definitely all about the clothes, but it’s hard to ignore that undeniable popularity contest that consumes Fashion Month. And no, we’re not talking about which peacocking blogger attracted the most street style photographers or whose Instagram got the most likes (though these could still be entertaining things to watch). What’s really pressing is whose collections will stand out as some of the most inspiring of the season, or whose show will save us from monotony by taking us to a new sensory extreme. And we can’t forget the models. Which girls from last season will stick it out this time around, and who can we expect to see dominating the runways for the next few weeks (spoiler: some of the many girls from the latest Prada ads will surely show up somewhere)? And on a more serious model-related note, will designers and casting directors finally embrace some more diversity?

If this unspoken popularity contest is truly present, then all the cool kids have got to go somewhere, right? Sure, there will be some badasses hanging in the bathroom à la Anna Ewers in Alexander Wang’s 90’s throwback ad campaign, but no one cares unless they’re sitting on the chicest toilets in the city. From Back Bar and the Boom Boom Room in New York to Silencio and Le Carmen in Paris, if we can’t directly get in on the Fashion Week action, we know where to find the “in crowd.” And if anything, we know whose Tweets and Instagrams to check out for some good ol’ vicarious living (we’re looking at you, Derek Blasberg).

Finally, while Des Phosphènes’ coverage of the fall 2014 ready-to-wear shows won’t be nearly as involved as that of the most recent menswear shows, stay tuned for some highlights from the current circuit.

Happy Fashion Month, and stay warm!

Feature photo via Fashionista.com

Let’s Talk About Race

· Models, Thoughts · , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Calvin Klein Collection - Front Row - Fall 2013 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week

After looking at the fall 2013 collections that were presented in New York, London, Milan, and Paris a couple of months ago, something became very noticeable: there is a disturbing absence of non-white runway models. Jezebel reported after New York Fashion Week that of the 4,479 individual looks shown through the week, a whopping 82.7% were shown on white models. Meanwhile, Asian models were featured in 9.1% of the looks, black models wore about 6% of the looks, non-white Latina models showed 2%, and models of other races were in about 0.2%-0.3% of this season’s looks. An even more upsetting fact is that high-profile labels such as Belstaff and Calvin Klein featured entirely all-white casts, and in total, 9% of this season’s New York presentations featured casts of only white models. Now I’m not big on statistics, but even I can tell something is completely wrong. In New York City, a place noted for its diversity, why are so many prominent fashion designers choosing to show their looks almost exclusively on white models? Instead of becoming more progressive, this season’s NYFW was even less diverse than the last.

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Unfortunately, New York showed more diversity than all four of the major fashion capitals combined. Based on the research by Kate Rushing for Style Minutes, 968 models walked in at least one show this past Fashion Month, and there were about 479 total shows between New York, London, Milan, and Paris. 87.6% of models were white this season, 6.5% were black, 6.1% were Asian, 2.1% were Hispanic/Latina, and only .31%, or three Israeli models, represented Middle Eastern descent.

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I won’t say that the issues regarding models’ weight are unimportant, but the perturbing amount of white models dominating Fashion Month is becoming an even greater distraction. What makes matters worse is that the fashion industry’s possible racism doesn’t stop after the shows are done. There have been countless instances of racism in editorials, particularly involving blackface. Most recently, French fashion magazine Numéro released a spread titled “African Queen,” which featured Ondria Hardin, a 16-year-old white girl. Hardin was essentially painted brown and styled in stereotypical and slightly pejorative looks. Though the ridiculous styling is offensive enough, Numéro didn’t even cast a black model to portray an “African Queen.” The magazine blamed the photographer, Sebastian Kim for the catastrophe, who threw the blame right back at them, ultimately distracting from the real issue. Meanwhile, the publication’s apology basically seemed to state “we’re sorry some people got offended, but we have some black models in other issues of our magazine so whatever you’re all wrong,” as if race is just a basic and unimportant subject.

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Perhaps that’s the largest problem with the fashion industry’s apparent prejudice against non-white models. It seems as if designers and casting directors consider racial diversity to be an accessory; it’s almost like they look at including a non-white model the same way a stylist would consider whether or not a scarf should be worn with an outfit. However, within the fashion industry, this obvious inequality causes competition between models to be the top black, Asian, or Latina model. You don’t see white models fighting for a runway spot or ad campaign, yet we’ve seen countless cases of the industry pinning non-white models against each other (Tyra Banks vs. Naomi Campbell or Chanel Iman vs. Sessilee Lopez, anyone?). Racial exclusion in the fashion industry presents an even bigger problem. Even a middle-American suburban girl with no particular interest in high fashion will notice this apparent white ideal, as the white girls who dominate runways will eventually dominate cosmetics and television advertisements.

As much as I love fashion, I think it’s time for this typically progressive industry to catch up the rest of the world. Race shouldn’t define a standard of beauty.