Italian Dress: Geography’s Role on Major Designers and Traditional Fashion

Below is an extensive research paper and its corresponding presentation I completed as assignment in my course, “Dress, Society and Culture” at the University of Georgia.


Introduction

From Fendi to Ferragamo, Italy is often recognized as a fashion-conscious country, which has been established by the iconic designers that are rooted in Italian history. Considering the notion that various Italian cities have regional cultures, most Italian designers have developed as a product of the specific place in which they originated, rather than the country, as a whole. Thus, Italian dress can be classified as highly regionalized, reflecting the traditions, values and culture of a specific Italian society.

Italy can be divided into three main regions, including the north, the center and the south. Traditionally, the north encompasses cities such as Milan, Lake Como or Venice; the center includes Florence and Rome; the south contains Naples, the Amalfi Coast and the island of Sicily. Not only is the country separated by physical regions based on geography and climate, Italy’s administrative roots are more decentralized. Specifically, da Cruz (2000) comments on the state of Italy post-World War II, saying that a “consistently insecure governmental structure resulted in the absence of a unified Italian fashion center, thereby estranging the country’s fashion artists from competition in the mid-century global market.” Thus, not only was the country somewhat excluded from the worldwide trade, but it was also unable to establish a single, booming “fashion capital,” such as Paris, New York or London.

Furthermore, White (2000) defines the post-war period as “an era of rapid economic, social and cultural change in Italy” (p. 5). Although many luxury Italian brands were established in the early twentieth century prior to World War II, it was not until the mid-to-late twentieth century that they picked up esteem, as a whole. In fact, 1965 marks “the emergence of Italy as a major international stylistic and economic force in international fashion” (White, 2000, p 6). Because most brands developed within a more segmented country prior to World War II, the several designers who are a product of Italy are a representation of the region in which they originally served, rather than the whole country. While the list of Italian fashion designers is expansive, this research focuses on one from each region—Prada, Gucci and Emilio Pucci.

Prada, which surfaced in Milan in 1913, was founded by Mario Prada as a luxury leather goods business; in 1978, Muiccia Prada assumed ownership from her mother, making her the third generation of the Prada family to oversee the business (Bolton & Koda, 2012). The central Italian designer to be researched is Gucci, founded in Florence in 1921 by Guccio Gucci. The “small family luggage and leather goods firm survived World War II to become part of the great post-war upsurge of Italian craftsmanship” (Mower, 2006, p. 15). Also, in 1950, Emilio Pucci “opened a boutique on Capri dedicated to simple, yet beautiful resort clothing that embodied the island’s natural beauty and refreshingly bright colours” (Mansour, 2018). Thus, these iconic Italian brands have a rich history, shaped by the region in which they began.

Because these three brands all came to fruition throughout the twentieth century,this research will focus mainly on modern Italian dress in each region. While understanding the history of each brand is important, their influences are still relevant in today’s cultures. While regional cuisine, weather, economic climate and overall cultural norms certainly played a role in the development of traditional Italian dress, how did Italian designers—specifically Prada, Gucci and Emilio Pucci—evolve as a product of their respective regions?

Prada and Milan

Prada is often associated with elegance, as the brand has its roots selling to Italian elites in the early twentieth century. In fact, in 1919, “Mario received a warrant for his goods from the Italian royal family” (Bolton & Koda, 2012, p. 29), which allowed him to use the House of Savoy’s distinct coat of arms in its logo. Thus, Prada’s designs are exclusive, sophisticated and chic. After Muiccia Prada took over in 1978, she upheld the original aesthetic, but also began to experiment with ‘ugly.’ According to Williams (2018), Muiccia “has been using her ugly-chic designs to market insider cool for decades.” The current aesthetic of Prada combines sophistication with ‘ugly’—a style that certainly appeals to the worldwide fashion industry, but more specifically to the Milanese.

On a personal level, Muiccia Prada’s garments are influenced by Milan. She explains how she seeks inspiration from individual interests in life, in society, in culture when designing (Bolton & Koda, 2012). Thus, the city she grew up in, the city where her father began the famed fashion house and the city in which she currently resides—Milan— influence her each and every day, in new and innovative manners. Also, Steele (2003) aligns the brand with Milan saying, “Prada’s style is modern, drawing on the northern Italian tradition of having discreetly elegant clothes beautifully made by local tailors and dressmakers” (p. 107).

Although Milan is often considered the present-day fashion capital of Italy, Milan came to fruition as a prominent financial center and a prosperous manufacturing city (Lecco & Foot, 2017). Thus, it is interesting to note that Muiccia Prada’s sophisticated and minimal designs were often influenced by the city, itself, and its overall atmosphere. In fact, she admits how her garments are inspired by industrial materials and techniques, as she utilizes synthetic fabrics, technical materials and military-influenced garments (Bolton & Koda, 2012). These types of designs are a leading example of how Prada has seen success in designs that are ‘ugly.’

After taking over the label, Muiccia updated the conservative merchandise. “In 1985, she introduced a line of lightweight backpacks in a fine-gauge nylon satin, trimmed with leather, that pretty much transformed urban life” (Bolton & Koda, 2012, pp. 29-30). Named the pradabag(pronounced as one word), the simple design soon became highly desired by Milanese working women and men, alike. Thus, it is evident that Muiccia’s first success within the family business was influenced by the active Milanese people and the need for a utilitarian, sleek handbag.

Although Muiccia Prada has clear influences from the people of Milan, she also seeks inspiration from their lavish lifestyles. According to Bolton and Koda (2012), “her style is both deeply rooted in the sartorial conventions of bourgeois Milan—the drab palette and sober luxury of tailored clothes that are meant to convey substance and respectability—and incorrigibly ironic about them” (p. 30). Whether designing to support the simple, austere clothing of the city’s inhabitants or poking fun at them, she analyzes the Milanese people—the jobs, their family structure, how they commute, what they do for fun—and creates garments with them in mind.

In an analysis of Prada’s Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear collection, Mower (2018) exclaims, “placing fashion on an equal footing with an art performance is a prerogative Muiccia Prada has always asserted. It puts people on the edge of their seats, straining to correctly perceive what this oracle of fashion will have to say about the state of the world.” Throughout several decades, Muiccia Prada has remained true to her Milanese roots as a designer, yet has continued to challenge the world around her.

Gucci and Florence

Ornate, eccentric and glamorous, Gucci embodies symbols of wealth, ranging from well-to-do Florentines or hip-hop artists of the modern day. Although Guccio Gucci certainly established the label as elaborate and luxurious, Alessandro Michele—the current Creative Director—has continued these types of designs, while also creating a “new romantic and flamboyant, multi-hued aesthetic” (Finnigan, 2016).

According to Foot, Silver and Erhlich (2017), “the present glory of Florence is mainly its past.” In fact, the city still honors its history in terms of religion, art, power and wealth (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017). Thus, Gucci strives for opulence. Much like Florence is known for particular art (Michelangelo’s Davidor Botticelli’s Birth of Venus) and architecture (Cattedrale di Santa Maria del Fioreor commonly ‘the Duomo’), Gucci is also known for particular symbolism, such as the “bamboo, the green-red-green webbing, horsebits and the famous GG initials that were originated by Guccio Gucci” (Mower, 2006, p. 14). According to Mower (2006), Gucci’s products “were handmade at Gucci work-benches in Florence, constructed with the finest materials” (p. 14).

Florence, itself, is an opulent city and Gucci’s overall aesthetic is certainly mirrored in this. Goldsmiths and jewelers are concentrated on the Ponte Vecchio, a symbol of Florence (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017), making precious metals and jewels both a part of the city’s commerce and Gucci’s collections through the years. Therefore, “Gucci also perceived the status attached to the sporting pursuits of his leisured customers” (Mower, 2006, p. 25).  Also, the brand utilizes the finest leather from the cattle of the local Tuscan region. Thus, the brand established an ostentatious target customer early on and has rarely strayed from that.

Florence “is far more dependent on tourism” (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017) and of the three designers explored, Gucci is certainly the most saturated in the modern fashion industry. From GG belts and Gucci t-shirts seen in streetwear to the sheer number of times the brand is name-dropped in hip-hop lyrics, Gucci is certainly well-known. Hence, both the city and the brand are favored by the general public. Mower (2006) adds “The name of Gucci became yet another attraction luring American tourists to Italy, a force that transformed the country into the sexiest possible holiday destination” (p. 15). Also, “When the hip-hop outsiders become multi-millionaires, they put Gucci at the top of their shopping list.” (Mower, 2006, p. 30).  Truly, Gucci has been, and still is, a sought-after brand.

As a tribute to its Florentine roots, Gucci recently opened Gucci Garden, a concept-store, museum and restaurant, all rolled into one. According to Goldberg (2018), “The aim is to hearken back to Florence’s roots as a hub of activity–where markets, restaurants and various shops lined the Palazzo where the ‘Garden’ is now based, selling handmade crafts and delicacies.” Not only does Gucci strive to represent a Florentine influence with their products, but with their overall brand image and mission.

According to Mower (2006), “Gucci is quintessentially Florentine” (p. 16). Even today, Gucci’s Creative Director—Alessandro Michele—seeks to revive Gucci’s past. In an analysis of the Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear collection, Mower (2018) describes Michele as “a designer who rummages around in the past and ends up finding himself there. The past living in the present: There is a global powerhouse of a brand built on Michele’s ability to keep magicking up that fantasia.” Even though the Gucci family is no longer involved with the brand, Michel understands their founding vision and respects their Florentine roots.

Emilio Pucci and Capri

Emilio Pucci’s “brightly colored, synthetic clothes emphasized physical exuberance as well as a feminine intellectual charisma” (Casadio, 1998, p. 7). Thus, the brand’s overall aesthetic can certainly be characterized as bold, whimsical and distinct. With once glance at a Pucci print, the viewer can easily imagine the garment’s use in a seaside town, such as Capri.

Although Emilio Pucci was born to a wealthy Florentine family, he spent much time in the south of Italy, on the island of Capri. Soon after launching his fashion career, Pucci crafted a collection in 1949 in Capri, the island which had a strong influence on his use of color and thematic prints (Casadio, 1998). Not only was Capri a source of inspiration to Pucci, but he also utilized the island and its craftsman for his garments. According to Casadio (1998), “Pucci also had his clothing produced in Capri, by small-scale tailors along the coast, not long because of the low production costs, but also because he adored spending his free time on the beautiful island. There, free from distractions, he was able to dedicate himself to completing his design” (p. 12).

As a popular resort town in southern Italy, Capri is famous for its beautiful scenery, a mild climate and flourishing vegetation (“Island of Capri,” 2015). Pucci, himself, was a frequent visitor of the island for vacation or solace but, in 1950, he opened a boutique, La Canzone del Mare (The Song of the Sea), at Marina Piccola, “a decision that provoked much curiosity and created a scandal among his aristocratic friends and relatives who considered work rather beneath their status” (Casadio, 1998, p. 12). While visiting Capri on holiday was status-quo for Pucci’s contemporaries, deciding to live and work there full-time certainly was not.

A major influence that Capri made on Pucci was through the vivid colors seen throughout the landscape. In fact, Casadio (1998) adds“color played a primary role. It was a signifier, an indicator of emotions, a metaphorical language that recalled the depths of the sea, iridescence, and the infinite tonalities of shadow” (p. 17).

In an analysis of Emilio Pucci’s Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear, Phelps (2018) exclaims how “the visionary founder set the codes for color, swirling print, and sportif decades ago. Now, according to the design team lead, the internal thinking is focused on ‘locating the future of Pucci.’ Like its past, the house’s future appears to be ‘on holiday.’” By establishing the brand in a city of lavish escape, Pucci set the tone for the brand’s image of bold, lightweight resort-wear.

Conclusion

Although some countries can identify a single fashion capital, Italy lacks this ability. After World War II, Florence claimed the title of fashion capital by hosting the annual Pitti Palace shows and exhibitions, but Milan saw growth in the apparel industry and seized the title by the 1970s  (Foot, Silver & Erhlich, 2017). However, having multiple hubs of fashion has only allowed the country to flourish in the textile, leather, manufacturing and overall fashion industries.

“With Milan and Tuscany as saturated production centers, and Venice, Rome, Sicily and Florence as inspirational landmark in the evolution of the Italian aesthetic, the growth and influence of Italian fashion is ever present and ‘Made in Italy’ is one of the most recognizable stamps of quality and innovation in contemporary fashion” (da Cruz, 2000). As seen through the examples of Prada, Gucci and Emilio Pucci, Italian fashion is highly regionalized. Although the ‘Made in Italy’ label carries the same degree of superiority, despite the specific city that it came from. According to Paulicelli (2015), “one of the most appealing factors Italy possesses in the eyes of foreigners is the idea of ‘authenticity’, a cultural capital that is linked to heritage and the past.” This regard for ‘Made in Italy’ products comes chiefly from the authenticity of the craftmanship. Italian dress, which is regionalized and therefore unique, varies visually from city to city, but carries an overall sense of quality, despite its city of origin.

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References

Bolton, A. and Koda, H. (2012). Schiaparelli & Prada: Impossible conversations. New York,   NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Casadio, M. (1998). Emilio Pucci. New York, NY: Universe of Fashion.

da Cruz, E. (2000). “Made in Italy: Italian fashion from 1950 to now.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York, NY: The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Finnigan, K. (2016, May 8). Farewell minimalism: How Gucci brought the fun back into     fashion. Retrieved October 29, 2018 from https://www.telegraph.co.uk.

Foot, J., L.A. Silver & B. Ehrlich. (2017, September 20). Florence, Italy. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com.

Goldberg, C. (2018, January 9). Eat Chic: Gucci is serving up exclusive products–and pasta–in   Florence. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.harpersbazaar.com.

Island of Capri. (2015, January 23). Retrieved on October 22, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com.

Lecco, A. and J. Foot. (2017, November 29). Milan, Italy. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.britannica.com.

Mansour, L. (2018, February 22). Prince Of Prints: The history of Emilio Pucci. Retrieved September 16, 2018 from http://aeworld.com.

Mower, S. (2006). Gucci by Gucci: 85 years of Gucci. New York, NY: The Vendome Press.

Mower, S. (2018, September 24). Spring 2019 ready-to-wear, Gucci. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.vogue.com.

Paulicelli, E. (2015). Italian fashion: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 20(1), 1-9.

Phelps, N. (2018, September 20). Spring 2019 Ready-To-Wear, Emilio Pucci. Retrieved October 22, 2018 from https://www.vogue.com.

Steele, V. (2003). Fashion, Italian Style. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

Williams, R. (2018, August 5). How Prada is rising nostalgia and ‘ugly fashion’ to turnaround. Retrieved October 29, 2018 from https://www.businessoffashion.com.

White, N. (2000). Reconstructing Italian Fashion. New York, NY: Berg.

 

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White After Labor Day: Social Faux Pas or Social Construct?

Early September marks Labor Day and the end of September signifies the official start of autumn, but does that mean you have to send you white pants or ivory blouses to the back of your closet?

According to Fitzpatrick (2009), the “no white after Labor Day” rule was socially constructed by members of society’s upper crust in early twentieth century, as a way to separate themselves. She says, “Along with a slew of commands about salad plates and fish forks, the no-whites dictum provided old-money élites with a bulwark against the upwardly mobile. But such mores were propagated by aspirants too: those savvy enough to learn all the rules increased their odds of earning a ticket into polite society. “It [was] insiders trying to keep other people out,” says Steele, “and outsiders trying to climb in by proving they know the rules.”

Thus, if you ask me, white after Labor Day is certainly acceptable, especially in hotter climates such as Athens, Georgia. Also, the queen of etiquette herself— Emily Post— debunks this myth. In an advice column on the Emily Post website, it states: “It’s more about fabric choice today than color. Even in the dead of winter in northern New England the fashionable wear white wools, cashmeres, jeans, and down-filled parkas. The true interpretation is “wear what’s appropriate—for the weather, the season, or the occasion.” Also, with the rise of reasonless dressing, this notion has even more credibility and relevance.

So, now that you know you are allowed to wear white after Labor Day, how should you do it? Keep reading to find out!

How To Wear White After Labor Day
  1. Stick with the basic, tried-and-true staple in every woman’s closet— the white v-neck tee. Layered under a chunky sweater or worn with dark denim jeans and a lightweight scarf, this tee can be worn 365 days of the year.
  2. For the dead of winter, a white or cream wool peacoat can be a striking statement. Just as Emily Post emphasized, it’s more about fabric than color.
  3. Believe it or not, white jeans can certainly still be worn into autumn and in early spring. Pair them with a blouse, leather jacket and your favorite booties!
  4. Whether it be a fabulous studded clutch, a jacket or a mini skirt, white leather is a great material to utilize the color in the cooler months.
  5. Who doesn’t love a chunky sweater? And what could be better than a warm, cream or white sweater to pair with your favorite skirt and a pair of tights? Nothing.

While these are just a few ideas on how to style your “winter whites,” there are tons of ways to do so and still look fabulous. Forget the antiquated social construct, and keep those whites toward the front of your closet!


Fitzpatrick, L. (2009, September 8). Why We Can’t Wear White After Labor Day. TIME. Retrieved from content.time.com.

Remembering Margiela

Bonjour Paris! During my four days spent galavanting the streets of Paris, I visited numerous museums, monuments and other notable spots. However, my favorite spot was Palais Galliera, which is a fashion and fashion history museum. Currently, the exhibit consists of a tribute to the ever-creative Martin Margiela and his various clothing lines.

Margiela, a man of Belgian descent, attended the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in Antwerp and then worked as Jean Paul Gaultier’s assistant from 1984 to 1987. According to Palais Galliera’s information website, “Margiela’s conceptual approach challenged the fashion aesthetics of his time. His way of constructing a garment involved deconstructing it, exposing the inside, the lining, and the unfinished parts, and revealing the different stages of manufacture: pleats, shoulder pads, patterns, bastings and all. He pushed the scale of a garment to extremes, enlarging the proportions to 200% in his “Oversize Collection”, for example, or by adapting dolls’ clothes to the life-size human form in the “Barbie Collection”. He printed trompe-l’oeil photos of dresses, sweaters and coats and established a new form of “cloven” shoe inspired by traditional Japanese tabis, i.e. with the big toe separated from the others.”

Although I was familiar with Margiela’s clothing and aesthetic prior to my visit, I was amazed to see the clothing in-person and be able to analysis the minute details. Personally, I find it incredible that Margiela was able to design in such a unique, peculiar way and receive notability for that type of eccentricity. It seems as though attending a Margiela fashion show in Paris in the 1990’s and early 2000’s was not merely an event to display garments. Rather, it was an experience that married art, fashion, political occurrences, current events, human rights and forward-hiking ideas under one roof.

 

 

If you ever find yourself in Paris, be sure to make a stop at the Palais Galliera!

These Boots Were Made For Walking…

…and that’s just what they’ll do! Although it seems that snakeskin print has been in style for quite a few seasons and may be hitting its full maturity soon, designers continue to find new and exciting ways to implement this animal print into their garments. Most recently, numerous brands have implemented a snakeskin bootie into their collection.

Vince Camuto offers a Destilly 2 Bootie, Charlotte Russe carries Bamboo Faux Snakeskin Chain Heel Booties, Steve Madden created their US-CASH booties in a black and white snakeskin, Free People offers a Vegan Going West Boot and even Billabong created their Luna Ankle Bootie, which is the pair that I own! 

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2018.

Although this trend more recently infiltrated the mainstream with more affordable designers, it is not new on the runway. According to Perrie Samotan of StyleCaster, “Gucci showcased knee-high python styles on its Fall 2014 runway, cool-girl label Vetements had models wearing a handful of different colors and styles for Spring ’15, and Rag & Bone, Isabel Marant, and Chloé have each produced their own unique reptilian take.”

Because it seems as though snakeskin has been popular for a few years and continues to be seen on the runway and worn on the streets, perhaps it is here to stay, as more of a classic rather than a trend. Cordelia Tai of The Fashion Spot claims that snakeskin print is the new cheetah print and “you want to wear your faux snakeskin with neutral (or pastel) pieces and contrasting textures.”

Whether pairing with a white frock, distressed black denim or even a pencil skirt, snakeskin booties are truly a great item to have in your closet. In a sense, they act as a neutral, but truly do add so much fun to any ensemble. Who knows what snakeskin print item will be created next!


References

Samotan, P. (2015, December 17). Make Snakeskin Boots the Next Thing You Buy. StyleCaster. Retrieved from http://stylecaster.com.

Tai, C. (2018, February 5). We’re Calling It: Snakeskin Print Is the New Cheetah Print. The Fashion Spot. Retrieved from http://www.thefashionspot.com.

A Fast Fashion Frenzy

Consumers often look for tags in garments to indicate the size, care instructions and fiber content; however, in November 2017, Turkish shoppers recently found more than the standard information in their clothing.

According to Associated Press (2017), “Shoppers at the fashion retailer Zara in Istanbul have found unusual tags on their garments — complaints by Turkish workers who say they have not been paid for the merchandise in the store.” Apparently, the notes read “I made this item you are going to buy, but I didn’t get paid for it”  (Associated Press, 2017). While unfair compensation is a major issue surrounding the fast fashion industry, it is not the only problem. In fact, Selin Girit (2017) reports that “Zara has previously come under fire when it was accused of slave and child labour, as well as exploiting Syrian refugees.”

IMG_2444

Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Despite this fiasco, Zara is still seeing growth. According to Walter Loeb (2017) of Forbes, “At the corporate level, the company has been busy, entering new countries and expanding its on-line markets.” Also, at the end of the fourth quarter in December 2017, “the business can minimize its markdowns and accelerate online service for its various divisions” (Loeb, 2017).

Personally, I rarely think twice about the creation of a garment or the implication of my purchase when shopping. I do actually care about the people who are manufacturing the clothing, but often, that process seems so far-removed from my shopping experience at a local boutique or shopping mall. Therefore, I believe that news headlines such as these may actually help change the dialogue surrounding the fast fashion industry. If more people increasingly become aware of the dangers of fast fashion and continue to read such disheartening headlines, perhaps it will be reflected in overall consumer behavior. Of course, this type of change cannot and will not happen overnight, but it is my hope that, as a global society, we are inching toward a more sustainable perspective.

What one source scornfully calls fast fashion, another source deems its customer service. In describing Zara, Loeb (2017) writes,  “The company operates with a very special kind of business model. Every division commits initially to a small quantity for fashion merchandise and then replenishes it in response to customer demands and preferences. This merchandising strategy enables stores to feature new and different products very quickly. Zara, for instance, can deliver a new garment in as quickly as 15 days – from design to store shelves in Spain and nearby countries. Delivery to the U.S. takes just a few days longer. That generates an excitement for customers that keeps them coming back.” While this on-demand model certainly keeps customers interested, it provides little consideration for sustainability, the global environment and, most importantly, those who labor to manufacture the garments.


References

Girit, Selin. (2017, November 15). “Turkey: Zara shoppers find labour complaints inside clothes.” BBC News. Retrieved from www.bbc.com.

Loeb, W. (2017, December 22). “How Inditex And Zara Are Winning, While H&M Is Losing.” Forbes. Retrieved from www.forbes.com.

“Zara clothes in Istanbul tagged to highlight labor dispute.” (2017, November 3). Associated Press. Retrieved from www.apnews.com.

Mad for Metallics

With only two days until Christmas, holiday festivities are in full swing. And what screams “festive” louder than metallics? Nothing, of course! Traditionally, people have always worn metallics—primary gold and silver— around the holidays.

Personally, I will be donning a shimmery ensemble for my family’s Christmas Eve festivities tomorrow evening. I plan on pairing LOFT’s Slim Shimmer Tie Waist Pants with a black Layered Ruffle Sleeve Sweater from SHEIN. To add just a bit more shine, the outfit will be complete with a pair of black and white Sam Edelman Mel Platform SandalsMini Madeline Earrings in white and gold from Mignonne Gavigan and a black fur-trimmed clutch that I picked up from Marshall’s in September. Dressing around the holidays is certainly more fun, especially when mixing and matching different metallic hues.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

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Valentino, Spring 2018.

However, the 2017 holiday has poised society to continue donning the shimmery hues into the winter, and perhaps even the spring. 2017 saw it’s fair share of metallic hues from Cara Delevigne’s silver scalp at the Met Gala to Kim Kardashian’s metallic Paco Rabanne frock. Nevertheless, metallics are certainly making the transition into 2018. S. Yotka (2017) of Vogue notes “Disco-worthy sequins might be the season’s most dominant trend. At Valentino, Piccioli closed the show with full-length dresses smothered in silver sequins. Look for them on the red carpet this winter.” Along with metallics on the runway, the trend will emerge more prominently in the beauty industry, too. “Award-winning colorist Jack Howard, of London’s posh Paul Edmonds salon, tells us the future is all about all things metallic — namely, silver and gold. “We’re beginning to see a huge increase in guests asking for metallic-inspired color in the salon,” he says. “I think that it’s partly due to the transition of the trend from glossy finishes to metallic on the catwalk. We’ve also seen the metallic element continued into makeup looks” (Murray 2017).

Additionally, the metallic hue knows no boundaries. As depicted below, sequins and shimmers can be found in a variety of garments— from jumpsuits and sweatshirts to clutches and booties. Whether you are mad for metallics or have been reluctant to try this daring trend, now is certainly the time to do so!

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

SHINE ON.


REFERENCES

Murray, G. (2017, December 14). “The 2018 Hair Color Trend We Did Not See Coming.” Refinery29. Retrieved from www.refinery29.com.

Yotka, S. (2017, October 1). “Everything You Need to Know About Valentino’s Rosy, Shimmery Spring 2018 Collection.” Vogue. Retrieved from www.vogue.com.

Slogan Sass

Slogan tees have certainly been around for a while in the fashion industry. However, more recently, designers have grown more creative and more progressive with their use of slogans on various garments.

According to Alyssa Hardy (2017), “What you wear can say so much about your personality and beliefs. Lately, with so much uncertainty in the world, brands across the country are coming up with ways to incorporate these causes into something that everyone can wear: the classic white tee.” Therefore, the slogan tee has certainly become a political statement, in addition to a fashion statement. Additionally, slogan tee dates back to the 1960s with the birth of individuality in the fashion industry, and survived through many decades of evolving fashion. Why are these statement pieces still relevant in today’s street style and runway shows? Racked author, Elyse Hauser, think that social media may have an influence. “Maybe that’s why the slogan tee has boomed in popularity during the Internet era. It’s how we talk to each other. Text messages. 140 characters or less. A new post every day” (Hauser 2017).

Perhaps social media is responsible for the continuation of this style, but also, the blossoming of brands that dedicate a major portion of their brand to slogan pieces may have made a contribution. For example, Wildfox features lines of graphic tees and slogan sweatshirts each and every season. With their global partnerships with brands such as Coca-Cola and Mattel, they are able to create quite popular designs. Personally, I just purchased a Wildfox slogan sweatshirt from the Marshall’s in Athens, Georgia and I cannot wait to wear it with leggings to class and over a swimsuit once summer rolls back around.

Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

Additionally, major fast fashion retailers such as, Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Urban Outfitters, Nasty Gal and Asos, among others, all stock various slogan tees. On the other end of the spectrum, couture designers like Gucci, Dior, Paco Rabanne, Moschino and Givenchy have incorporated the trend into their recent collections. In addition to unique slogan tees for the individual, some brands designed these tees for coordination with a friend. For example, Show Me Your Mumu featured “Big Sis” and “Lil Sis” tees this season and last season they saw success with a “Fun Brunette” and “Smart Blonde” slogan tee pairing.

Slogan tees can tell a story. Whether that story is a political one, a personal one or simply a playful one, the message is seen by numerous people via a slogan tee. These garments give the individual the power to show what causes she fights for or if she is an avid coffee drinker. Some like to wear their heart on their sleeve, but others like to put words in its place.


References

Hardy, A. (2017, October 30). T-Shirts With Protest Slogans That Actually Help Causes You Care About. Teen Vogue. Retrieved from https://www.teenvogue.com.

Hauser, E. (2017, March 7). Sassy Slogan Tees Are Here to Stay. Racked. Retrieved from https://www.racked.com.

Jeans: Through the Years

As my fifth semester at the University of Georgia draws to a close, I am currently finishing up final projects and exams. For my Trend Forecasting & Analysis course, I was tasked with completing a analysis of a twenty-first century design trend in the form of a digital booklet. My professor gave an in-class example using swimwear, one of my classmates is charting the change in bras/bralettes and I decided to analyze jeans through the years.

Because we are now in the year 2017, this analysis required research of seventeen years to give a full evolution of jeans from 2000 to present. Through reading online articles, looking to style leaders and celebrities from each year and sifting through fashion magazines at UGA’s Library, I was able to compile a digital booklet that chronicles how women’s jeans have been re-designed and re-thought in the twenty-first century. Humanity is blessed to have a variety of genes, but fashion is blessed to have unique jeans.

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Shop With Sheila

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am rarely seen without Sheila Fajl’s Everybody’s Favorite Hoops in Brushed Gold dangling from my ears. Thick yet lightweight and , these hoops are so versatile, look fabulous with every ensemble and can easily translate from day to night.

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017. 

Sheila Fajl, a Brazilian-born and Californian-raised woman, stands for beauty in all of her jewelry products. “Beauty, to her, is in the soul. It is in how you wear your body, and has nothing to do with standards or size,” according to the designer’s website. With a focus on Sheila’s roots, all of the products are handmade by artisans in Brazil, and are, in fact, some of the most “eco-friendly” products in the jewelry market.

As an avid Sheila Fajl wearer, I have been given the unique opportunity to serve as a Sheila Fajl Brand Ambassador. Along with that privilege, I can now offer friends, family and Talk Trendy To Me followers, 10% off of any Sheila Fajl purchase. To shop with my discount, please visit Sheila Fajl’s website via my page. Happy shopping!

Performing a Fashion Count

According to E. Brannon and L. Divita (2015, 91), a fashion count is “a method for researching fashion change that consists of finding a suitable source for fashion images, sampling the images in a systematic way, applying a standardized set of measurements or observations to each image, and analyzing the data to reveal patterns of fashion change.”

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Mary Kate Donahue, 2017.

As a part of the curriculum for my “Trend Forecasting and Analysis” course, I was tasked with completing a fashion count. In performing the assignment using the October 2017 issue of Vogue, I chose to analyze fur color. In setting standards for the fur color, I agreed that the fur could comprise any part of the garment—an entire jacket, the hemline trim, a hat—but I would only consider fur worn by women. Additionally, I set the color standards, including the primary colors (red, blue, yellow), the secondary colors (orange, violent, green), the tertiary colors (red violent or pink, blue violent or purple, yellow orange or tan), as well as black, white, grey and brown—considering animal fur is often this natural shade. In terms of types of photographs, I determined that I would only count colored photographs; considering black and white photographs would have skewed my data.

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Data from the fashion count on fur color.

Because I utilized a the most current issue of Vogue, I figured that several of the photographs would feature the Fall 2017 and/or Winter 2018 designer collections, meaning fur would potentially be a common textile. Overall, fur appeared twenty-seven times throughout the issue. Although more neutral fur shades, such as black and tan, seemed to be the most prevalent, various colored fur was often accounted for. Most notably, I discovered multicolored fur in three different photographs; one garment featuring a blue and white fur shawl, another garment featuring a purple, black, red, yellow and blue fur purse handle, and also a black and yellow fur hat. In addition to designs with multicolored fur, other garments featured various colors—from pink trim around the neck of a coat to a yellow fur vest. Therefore, in terms of fur trends, designers may be moving away from the more traditional look of genuine fur or faux fur, manufactured to imitate living creatures.  Instead, these designers are embracing bold and vibrant-hued faux fur to add a fun element to various garments.

A potential explanation behind this shift in fur trend could be the rise of awareness surrounding animal rights. According to G. Cook (2017), “Yvonne Taylor, director of corporate projects for PETA, acknowledges that ‘most designers don’t work with fur, and certainly the majority of consumers don’t wear it,’ but insists that the protests are still necessary.” Therefore, a movement toward brightly-colored, faux fur would align with both designers’ intentions and consumers’ requests. However, because Vogue features editorial advertisements from the few couture designers (Burberry, Fendi, Gucci, among others) that still do work with authentic fur, more natural fur colors—such as, tan, brown and white—are still prevalent in the fashion count.


References

Brannon and L. Divita (Eds.). (2015). Fashion Forecasting. New York, NY: Bloomsburg.

G. Cook. (2017, September 19). Making Sense of the Anti-Fur Protests at London Fashion Week. Business of Fashion. Retrieved from https://www.businessoffashion.com.