A Models Health: Are We Doing Enough?

runwayFrench Fashion houses announced they will not be using size zero models on their runways and photo shoots. Due to accusations of encouraging eating disorders in the fashion industry, the country has banned unhealthy models working in fashion and are hoping this ban will encourage other houses to follow. They have also put a stop of girls younger than 16 in work where they would represent adults. Among them are Saint Laurent, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Gucci.

This news came just before New York Fashion Week started, and companies had to move quickly to enforce the new approach to Paris Fashion Week specifically. Allegedly Paris has been the biggest offenders in the unhealthy overly thin model debate, making this decision ever so important. Paris based magazines are also legally obligated to note when a photo of a model has been edited. There is a $45,000 fine otherwise. So how are size zero models being filtered out? Models are required to provide a doctor’s certificate that says their Body Mass Index (BMI) is healthy enough for them to work.

We’ve discussed before that BMI is not the most accurate or healthy way to state someone is in good health.

bmi-myths-main

When discussing what is the appropriate BMI, who is going to regulate this new measuring stick for a models “health”? Who is going to determine the correct amount of “Mass” a model should or shouldn’t have? As each model is of different heights and builds, aren’t we heading down a slippery slope when we try to put all of the models under the same umbrella?

As in sports, they have found that a vast majority of the athletes would have been classified as obese under the current scale and a quick visual of someone such as LeBron James would render that classification comical at best and grossly incorrect at worst. I do agree that there should be precautions taken to insure the models health and well being.

Again to note the professional athlete analogy, there is constant talk of not overworking these finely trained athletes. They are often sat and their playing time is monitored to ensure that their bodies are not overtaxed. In the case of models, should this consist of a combination of regular physical examinations and testing of blood pressure and all of the pertinent levels such as heart rate and cholesterol levels with a modified BMI scale? Should there be modifications and limits on the amount of days or assignments that a model can work a month?

If these types of safeguards were put in place then maybe it would help with the safety and health for the models and would help prevent tragedies such as the 14 year old Russian model who died in China recently. I am not sure if it would have helped her or prevented her death, but there should be a panel of experts convened to examine these factors and to assure that the models do not get lumped into an unsafe scale that categorizes them as too thin or too heavy when in fact that may or may not be the case. While using BMI is a broad guideline for the Parisian fashion industry to use for scale, its a good start to promoting healthy body and image.

Information courtesy Yahoo Lifestyle, Size 0 models are now banned from several major fashion shows, Lauren Sharkey, September 6 2017

The DailyBeast, RUNWAY TO HELL The Mystery of What Killed a 14-Year-Old Russian Model in Shanghai, Brendon Hong, November 1 2017

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Paris Fashion Week Spring 2018 Pt. 3

There are always unforgettable fashion moments at Paris Fashion Week. After a whirlwind month there is a plethora of fashion to love, hate or style just right. I know I have been inspired by many different brands that will keep me preoccupied until the next season, maybe even longer than that! Check out the final piece of my Paris review and of fashion month.

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I really just adored the materials and trendsetting silhouettes from Sonia Rykiel. There wasn’t anything obnoxious or haphazard, just a fresh pick of graceful, fun and beautiful styles so seasonally perfect I could cry tears of joy.

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The boxy shapes at Givenchy had a pragmatism to them. The lean silhouette was captivating and sheer material was used accurately and most importantly, appropriately. I didn’t cringe when I saw it because it was used to enhance an outfits statement rather the make a gaudy one.

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Balenciaga had a heavy mix of patterns that really wasn’t to my style, but there was a lot of attitude that I appreciated. I enjoyed the lengths of the sweaters, cardigans, dresses and skirts and thought those pieces were paired well together..

Valentino had two parts to the collection- A Haute Mess and The Chicest Gowns I’ve Ever Seen. See below.

Valentino Part 1: the Haute Mess. Weird materials and oddly draped dresses left me confused in addition to  having little purpose in the collection.

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But maybe it was just a tactic to keep its audience’s attention, because it quickly turned into the chic dress collection with beautiful color palette, day wear to evening, each one had my jaw dropping to the floor. There was so much charm and edge that was very sophisticated.

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It was a pretty pink nightmare at Alexander Mcqueen. Combining Victorian ruffles with Fifties shapes complete with creepy hair out of a horror movie. Its like the old china dolls in my grandma’s attic that I wasn’t allowed to play with came alive. Everything, from the organza dresses and denim skirts was just wrong.

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Windbreakers and neon colors gave a nod to the eighties at Isabel Marant. Complete with parachute pants and joggers, but there was a modern touch that made the styles feel new and not dated. The florals were fresh and metallic colors gave an edge to an otherwise dull idea. But mixing the old with the new can be cool like so; I might just have to raid mom’s closet this holiday.

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Chanel’s runway felt like children playing dress up…and there was in fact a child on the runway. From plastic material hats gloves and coats to wool fringe shorts to an accented dress that looked like my first bike’s handle streamers, it was pretentious and unnecessary. A lot of the shapes were good and there was plenty of classic Chanel tweed sets to go around. The “extra” put into the runway was not needed and cheapened the experience. I’m particularly disappointed at some of the unctuous reviews I read about this collection. Sure it’s nice. It’s Chanel, its supposed to be nice. I don’t need groundbreaking every season, but I expect a level of sophistication that I either completely missed or I just don’t know fashion.

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The constructed and occasionally flamboyant motif from Louis Vuitton was refreshing. Creative Director Nicolas Ghesquière said, “I thought anachronism was interesting. How today can we incorporate pieces considered as costume into an everyday wardrobe?” I thought it was a fun concept giving simple looks a classy edge, while formal, dressier pieces had an ease about them. I liked the reminder to experiment and that fashion is what we want it to be.

photos courtesy of WWD

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2018 Pt.2

As we begin the second part into our adventure of Paris Fashion Week, I am struck by the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words. As is often the fact when you visit incredible museums such as the Louvre, you see works of art that just take your breath away, and occasionally you see the piece that leaves you scratching your head wondering what the artist was trying for. The following designers had some of both. There were wonderful pieces and some that just left me scratching my head. Take a look and see if you agree. Here are more hits and misses from Paris Fashion Week.

 

My question of Ann Demeulemeester’s runway is how, where and why would I wear such ill constructed flimsy clothing. Just looking at these photos gives me a headache, thinking about trying to get dressed with all those ties and loops.

 

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Sequins, fringe and studs were all the rage at Balmain. I liked that many of the ensembles were glam daywear as opposed to strictly evening or even cocktail, though they could pass with Olivier Rousteing’s sophisticated tact. Most of the line was a black and white combination that retained its sharpness very well; probably because of all the trim and embellishments.

 

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Each x Other was inspired by Americana this season, I did like the bright reds, whites and blues, but I could have done without the costume-y finish of the show.

 

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The transitional pieces at Vanessa Seward were just simply cool. The main colors were muted, but there were styles in brighter warm shades, accented by gold or black pieces. I loved that even longer sleeves and hemlines seemed light, like you could easily add layers if you wanted to wear these pieces year round, even though they were designed with printemps (French for spring) in mind.

 

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I enjoyed the traditional and modest Chinese influence runway by Uma Wang. The different textures in material was very interesting. The mix of layers and tomboy colors against vivid, idyllic cinched velvet dresses with delicate flower patterns really created an striking contrast. Fancy, cozy or even brawny, whatever mood strikes, something spoke to that.

 

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Issey Miyake was inspired by Iceland, and the collection was stunning. Bold colors, graphic imagery of countryside, tessellation like patterns and perfect configuration of layers made for a structured and awe inspiring collection.

 

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The demure shape and playful colors from Lutz Huelle caught my eye. The German designer wanted the material to be weather resistant, which gave the already sensible runway a pragmatic edge. I liked the idea that the clothes are meant to be worn, and just because they have to be worn doesn’t mean they have to be boring. The minimal, high mobility designs were accented by dramatic colors and excellently placed cutouts, lace, buttons and drawstring.

 

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Every dress at Alexis Mabille was fancy but not overly frou frou. I thought the floral garlands the models wore in their hair were so crisp and feminine. I particularly liked them set against the darker navy colored outfits. Titled Paris Blossoms, the flouncing and laces and pleats whisked me away to a beautiful spring day.

 

Johnny Johansson of Acne said he admires fashion outsiders, “I see us sort of moon circling  around the fashion scene…They don’t really care about fashion the way I do and I like that energy of how they pull things together.” The boxy shapes were high fashion, but not so high fashion that you might never see someone wearing it. There was just something so low key and comfy about this collection, the fringe hem of a dress, a drawstring bag, the simplistic layers that didn’t have to be just so. It was a fun collection that I found encouraging.

 

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Elie Saab drew inspiration from the rainforest and the colors were mesmerizing. The python print and tropical leaf pattern were really excellent touches against bright blues, yellows and pinks. And of course there was signature sequins, delicate lace and beautiful silks in the intricately designed gowns only Elie can do. The whole collection carried a touch of playfulness and plenty of finesse.

 

I didn’t really understand or get a concept at Altuzarra. This didn’t really even feel like a spring collection. The pieces all had a heaviness to them, more like it was meant to be a fall collection. Its not that there was anything in particular wrong, there was plenty of nice enough attire, maybe not my style. That could be why it feels like nothing more than more clothes at fashion week.

Paris Fashion Week Part three will be posted shortly!

photos courtesy of WWD

Paris Fashion Week Spring 2018 Pt. 1

As they say in the movies, Paris is always a good idea. With the finale of fashion month in Paris, a city that couldn’t disappoint me if it tried, I can’t say the same for all the latest in fashion. While most lines shown in Paris are heritage brands that have seen and done it all, here is where life imitates art. While largely coming off as a well dressed spectacle, expression and artistic skill aside, take a look at a few of the collections. Beauty, after all, is in the eye of the beholder.

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I liked Aalto’s collection because designer Tuomas Merikoski reused a lot of materials and encouraged everyone to consider its responsibilities towards a damaged planet. The clothes were very elegant and had purpose. That and the easy way the collection was assembled had my attention from start to finish.

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While Christian Dior had an incredibly extensive collection that was a bit perplexing because of its sheer volumn, the designs had great shape and vitality and were purely Parisian fashion.

I also liked the classic attire at Koche that had literally a sporty twist using soccer (football) jerseys in many looks on the runway.

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The Yves St. Laurent runway started out classy, fun and girly, but quickly became sheer sheer sheer. This was followed by numerous feathered fiascos and ending on a low note with poufs and puffs that made the line ambiguous and disappointing.

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I thought Lanvin definitely played with basics this season, and didn’t do that much to elevate or find inspiration from anything. There was a small number of looks that rendered geometric patterns and mixed fabrics, but otherwise I found the runway kind of dull.

Rick Owens RTW Spring 2018

I can’t even deal with Rick Owens anymore.

Paskal’s collection was a bit ruched and ruffly for my taste, but the cheery palette and minimalistic structure were appreciated.

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From easy summer slip dresses to beachy sweaters, each look went cohesively from one to another. Between the coral shades and sequin appliqué sweaters, Dries van Noten was definitely a highlight of Paris Fashion Week.

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Chloe was inspired by equestrian with velvet material, earthy tones and a plethora of leather boots, multi-strap bags and appropriately adorned coats. The cream embroidered mini dresses were my personal favorites from the collection.

…Stay tuned for part 2 shortly.

photos courtesy of wwd and vogue

Milan Fashion Week Spring 2018 Pt. 2

Our trip to Milan continues with Part 2 of my review of Fashion Week. Much like a trip through the countryside, there are many colors, shades and interesting aspects that catch the eye. However, just as any trip that you take, there are some bumps on the road. Some of them are bumps that can be put up with and others you hope will be fixed but you know never will. So enjoy the rest of this trip as we tour the remainder of Milan Fashion Week.

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The Giorgio Armani collection was lustrous and colorful. The floral patterns and sleek metallics were mesmerizing. Every look had some pop of color and a fun accent accessory that made this collection a touch of optimism and whimsy. He said about his line, “I don’t see the point in showing sad women on the runway…just because it’s a sad moment, there’s no reason to do this.”

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I wanted to show every look from Versace, all 75. The print, the shapes, the line of the clothes was so striking. It was the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death, and Donatella honored him beautifully. Most of the line was in classic Versace prints, though towards the end of the collection there was more of a pop art print in bright colors and a Vogue cover collage. Though the color was a lot, a few ensembles were dressed down with black that made them seem more wearable.

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I wasn’t all that impressed initially by the Salvatore Ferragamo runway, however about 30 looks in, there were finally some nice dresses that closed out the show shown above.

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It was floral overkill at Marni. Again, and especially with when it comes to print, less can be more.

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I was also disappointed by Missoni, a collection I usually look forward to, just fell flat. A Men’s and Women’s collection made for a cluttered, chaotic runway, and at that the styles put together just failed to make a statement.

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After seeing so many wild collections shown in Milan, it was nice to catch my breath at Trussardi, where classic met sensible.

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Au Jour le Jour also had a cohesive vision of practicality. It was a streamlined, nicely presented line, at least one that didn’t have me racking my brain to visualize beyond the realm of runways and fashion week.

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The Stella Jean runway was inspired by South America. The a color palette immediately drew me in and found balance in traditional pragmatic cuts. Whether a matching embroidered top and skirt, a tropical fish print dress or a funky tiered skirt stabilized by chambray, the runway was fearless and creative.

 

Photos courtesy of WWD & Vogue

Milan Fashion Week Spring 2018 Pt. 1

The third installment of fashion month took place over the course of a week on September 20 in Milan. Not that anyone needs an excuse to visit Milan, but it says right on the Milan Travel guide the best time to visit is September/October. Not only are you escaping the cities peak season, but also hot temperatures. As the summer season winds down, these shows have us still wishing for those days and giving us a taste of next spring’s fashion: The Italian Way. Here are a few highlights.

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Gucci: The fashionista’s anti fashion fashion. Confused? Me too. Not the most coherent of collections. There’s so much on the runway its hard to keep track, it’s hard to see a vision. Less can be more.

Fendi failed to capture my attention this season. There was too much sheer and a weird plastic material, yet somehow still felt stuffy.

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Byblos used the primary colors as a base for this line and the effortless presentation really held its own.

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Vivetta Ponti collaborated with Russian painter Audrey Remnev for the season. Vivetta is very surreal in its ideal and while some looks were too frilly for me, I appreciated the 60s silhouettes and sweet appliqués.

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Max Mara was pretty uniform with many looks in classic color palettes of black, gray and beige. There was use of a delicate floral pattern that elevated this upcoming season’s  collection, used perfectly for spring.

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There was far too much see through sheer at Blumarine, which was disappointing because these black and white pieces shown had such incredible shape and movement that I would have loved to see more of.

Uncomplicated with an easy chicness seemed to be the goal at Tod’s. The snakeskin print added an art deco touch completed by tassled moccasins and french tied scarves.

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Prada used comic prints through most of the line and freestanding, like on a coat, it was pretty cool. But many ensembles clashed with multiple mixes of prints complete with a creepy spider design to torment me in my dreams.

Lucio Vanotti is a relatively new collection, he worked under Armani until he founded his own label in 2012. It wasn’t until last year that he had a breakthrough. Simplified and spontaneous, I enjoyed the straightforward color palette and length on many of the outfits.

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I love high functionality, clothes that move and Sportsmax gave me just that. There was even a yoga pant on this runway! I liked the contrast piping and colors that gave simplified styles a touch of elegance.

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Optimistic, sporty and refreshing, Bottega Venetta also had a great collection full of fluid and free moving pieces. I loved the dusty pink color used through most of the presentation, although I could have done without that chartreuse color that pop in near the end of the show.

Stay tuned for part 2 of Milan Fashion Week shortly.

Photos courtesy of The Cut, WWD & Vogue

London Fashion Week Spring 2018

Fashion month continued with a fury in London. With all the difficulties that London has faced over the last year, it’s great to see some designers continue to easily prove why London is a fashion capital with collections you miss. Take a look at some hits (and a few unfortunate misses) below.

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The rose gold button-down dress caught my eye, and then the yellow mini dress, then the blue floral print maxi dress and so on. The demure shapes are paired so well with current trends, like the off shoulder tops. Those colors are anything but shy and added zest to such unique styles to really become a league of their own.

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The rich colors really stood out at Anya Hindmarch. I liked some of the chunky shapes that still seemed weightless and the quirky, woven knit designs. The oversized cat bag may have been overkill, especially with other bags being adorned with toucans.

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House of Holland was another colorful line with whimsical stripes and referenced some fun vintage shapes.

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This edgy abstract collection from Paula Knorr was so cool. These metallic fabrics, black & white mix and elongated lines were very feminine and strong.

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Rope accents tied things together well at Roksanda. Even the puffy tiered sleeves held some elegance, where they would otherwise by puffy disasters. Many tops had an excessive amount of fabric, though Roksanda is known for statement sleeves, I could have done with less.

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The delicate knits at Pringles of Scotland were odd at first since knits are supposed to be for colder weather and this is a spring collection. Fran Stringer, Pringle’s Design Director says they get a bad rap, they aren’t just for winter. But as the models sauntered down the runway in beautiful matching knit sets in every color of the rainbow with Teva sandals, I was impressed. I think they could be a lot of fun to play around with and you can’t beat the versatility.

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From sequin to sun, you can get any and every kind of dress for spring from Molly Goddard. The layers were great and I liked that some of the models were barefoot on the runway. It was easy to imagine running around in May at the park on a Sunday afternoon.

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Burberry is one of the more recognizable and popular collections shown at London Fashion Week, but I don’t see the fascination. I’m not into the mixed patterns that dominated the runway, but some of the knits and the plaid lined coats were pretty nice. Maybe its just the pairings that are throwing me off.

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MM6 Maison Marginal presented a much more tailored and energized collection.  Sprinkled with graffiti like patterns and logos, the idea was to respect Margiela’s early craft which included deconstruction and repurposing. The simple white color provides a clean backdrop to really pack a punch in accessories, or to simply be left alone.

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Ruffly and voluminous in some attire, sleek and mod in others, Mother of Pearl had me interested yet confused. Some models carried pillows that matched their attire while others were donned with pearls and floor length scarves. That cerulean shade of blue was really beautiful and I wished there had been more of it.

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Jasper Conran had more sheer attire than I prefer, some of the items would had been really nice with a lined layer. I liked the royal blue coat and dress a lot though.

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The collection I had the most disdain for was Xiao Li. Another largely sheer collection with even larger shapes lacked any kind of finesse or refinement. I just couldn’t understand a rhyme or reason to the statement or design.

Photos courtesy of The Upcoming Uk and WWD