New York Fashion Week weathers #MeToo storm

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Models pose backstage during Ovadia & Sons Mens’ New York Fashion Week show at Irving Plaza. (Getty Images/AFP)
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Above, a model is seen backstage during Ovadia & Sons Mens’ New York Fashion Week show at Irving Plaza. (Getty Images/AFP)
Updated 06 February 2018
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New York Fashion Week weathers #MeToo storm

NEW YORK: New York Fashion Week kicks off the global fall/winter 2018 season fighting to stay relevant blighted by sexual harassment scandals, an industry in chaos, and designers jumping ship.
More than 230,000 people flood the US financial capital to attend the style fest that generates nearly $900 million a year for the city.
It is currently scheduled twice-yearly in February and September.
But as social media influencers wrestle power from fashion editors and buyers, more labels than ever are opting out this season, abandoning New York for Europe or tearing up the runway show altogether.
Here is a look at the top trends expected to dominate when Fashion Week formally gets underway on Thursday, preceded by three days of men’s shows.
The sexual harassment watershed engulfing the US and rocking the fashion industry has seen the Council of Fashion Designers of America unveil new guidelines in an attempt to clamp down on misconduct.
“We have zero tolerance for unsafe environments and strongly encourage everyone in our industry to report abuse in the workplace,” wrote CFDA chairman Diane von Furstenberg in a letter announcing the guidelines, which also raise awareness against eating disorders and advocate greater diversity.
Misconduct accusations have seen celebrated photographers Terry Richardson, Mario Testino and Bruce Weber barred from collaborating with Vogue and Vanity Fair publisher Conde Nast.
The magazine empire has issued a new “Code of Conduct” to include bans on alcohol on sets, on under-18 models without a chaperone, and for nudity or “sexually suggestive” poses to be agreed beforehand.
But the Model Alliance has demanded “meaningful and lasting change,” saying “voluntary standards” without education, proper complaint mechanisms and independent enforcement “are not going to work.”
Marchesa, the label of Harvey Weinstein’s estranged wife Georgina Chapman, canceled their Valentine’s Day show, still reeling from the fallout of his downfall over multiple allegations ranging from sexual harassment to rape, in favor of “an updated format.”
Added to the schedule is a #MeToo fashion show — named for the movement against sexual harassment — on Friday to raise awareness.
“The only way to change things is to be united... and stand up and say, ‘That is not OK, we are not going to accept this anymore,’” organizer Myriam Chalek told The Daily Beast.
Alexander Wang, the New York king of cool whose urban chic is so adored by off-duty models, is making his swansong before this summer ditching the traditional February-September calendar in favor of June-December.
His departure follows the exit of Proenza Schouler and Rodarte for couture week in Paris on the same schedule, and Altuzarra, which moved to Paris Fashion Week.
“Why do something that’s not working?” Stephanie Horton, chief strategy officer at Alexander Wang told a recent industry event in New York. “The business model needs to change because the consumer has changed.”
Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the CFDA, predicts that other designers could follow suit.
“I think it’ll be a period of chaos, maybe, but chaos always calms down at some point,” he told the same event in New York.
Tommy Hilfiger is taking his see-now, buy-now fashion roadshow to Milan, Rihanna’s Fenty collaboration with Puma is taking a break, and rap superstar Kanye West chose to unveil his latest installment for urban sportswear brand Yeezy last week on Instagram, modeled by his wife Kim Kardashian.
British former Spice Girl Victoria Beckham is marking her last show in New York before celebrating her label’s 10th anniversary in London. Spanish label Delpozo is already moving to London and Tome to Paris.
Bucking the trend is Italian luxury house Bottega Veneta, showing at the American Stock Exchange on Thursday as a one-off to celebrate a new boutique on Madison Avenue.
Look out for the influencers — the breed of bloggers, Instagramers and celebrities whose followings can shift markets and who are particularly dominant in New York.
“We’re so embedded in pop culture, in media and entertainment,” explains Kolb.
Face and figure alone are no longer a guarantor of hitting the big-time. Instead it’s genes, having the right name and an Instagram following.
Think 16-year-old Kaia Gerber, look-alike daughter of Cindy Crawford already collaborating on a collection with Karl Lagerfeld, Kendall Jenner, half-sister of Kim Kardashian, and Gigi and Bella Hadid, daughters of “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Yolanda Hadid.
No longer just the face of brands, their huge celebrity following is a meal ticket for brands and they can monetize that. Think Calvin Klein’s recent underwear campaign featuring the Kardashians.


Fashion rolls up for Dior’s chic strongwoman circus

Italian actress Asia Argento presents a creation by Antonio Grimaldi during the 2019 Spring-Summer Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris, on January 21, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 22 January 2019
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Fashion rolls up for Dior’s chic strongwoman circus

  • “The circus is a world of its own, which passes from town to town, changing each one a little as it goes — a bit like fashion week,” the creator added

PARIS: Italian designer Maria Grazia Chiuri took Christian Dior to the circus Monday with arguably her most sublimely balanced collection for the Paris haute couture label.
A troupe of all-female acrobats of all body shapes led out the show inside a retro big top — complete with harlequin-pattern floor — built in the gardens of the Rodin Museum in the center of the French capital.
Chiuri is the first woman ever to lead the mythic French label, and her feminism is never far away.
All her nearly 70 models wore glittery skullcaps fastened under their chins — think aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart meets commedia dell’arte character Pierrot.
But there was nothing remotely clownish about the muted elegance of the clothes, featuring lashings of embroidery and beadwork, to summon up the spirit of the circus-set 1917 ballet “Parade.”
That legendary show pooled the talents of Pablo Picasso — who did the sets and costumes — the composer Erik Satie, writer Jean Cocteau and Sergei Diaghilev and his Ballets Russes.
Chiuri’s designs mixed the romantic and the muscular, cutting her dreamy organza and tulle dresses with whip smart ringmaster and lion-tamer jackets, leather corsets and high-wire jumpsuits.
“Every look has its own personality, just like circus characters,” she told AFP, “brave, funny, happy and sad.”
“The circus is a world of its own, which passes from town to town, changing each one a little as it goes — a bit like fashion week,” the creator added.

The tattooed lady, that staple of the Victorian sideshow, also got a drum roll with a look inspired by Maud Wagner, America’s first known female tattoo artist.
The designer, who sports a few herself, floated surrealist neck tattoos in a previous show.
Critics predicted her silk bandage roll gowns and architectural tutus would also be a hit with haute couture’s super-rich clientele, the only people who can afford the handmade creations which are shown only in Paris.
Chiuri said she took her powdery palette from the stage curtain Picasso painted for “Parade,” with bolder colors almost having to fight their way through what she called the “fine dust that sprinkles stage clothes.”
The designer has put her unabashed feminism at the core of the brand since she took the reins at Dior in 2016.
Previous shows have involved collaborations with women writers, musicians and choreographers.
This time she worked with the female-led British acrobat company Mimbre.
Chiuri said she was struck by how inclusive the circus world was, and how it offered “a possible equality... where beauty, origin, gender and age are no longer important. Only technique and daring matter.”
It was this that inspired the collection’s necklaces and bracelets of interlocking gold hands. An acrobat “puts their life in the hands of another, you have to really trust each other,” she said.
Feminism was the big theme of the day on the Paris catwalks, with Italian actress and #MeToo campaigner Asia Argento taking a starring role in her Roman neighbor Antonio Grimaldi’s spring/summer collection.
She wore an asymmetrically cut white sleeveless dress adorned with ostrich feathers designed to show off her tattoos as a cheeky take on the wedding dresses that traditionally close couture shows.
While Grimaldi praised her courage and “unconventional spirit,” Argento told AFP that she “loved his sculptural couture.”
Few designers anywhere, however, can match the sculptural verve of the Dutch Iris van Herpen, whose gravity-defying creations were the fruit of collaboration with New York artist and former NASA engineer Kim Keever.
Azzaro and Giambatista Valli rounded off the first day of the Paris haute couture shows that follow a week of menswear collections.
Both went with a leggy look, with tight bow mini dresses from Valli — some with parachute sleeves — that he developed out into full ball gowns.
He also topped a series of full-length sheath dresses with fezzes.
Azzaro too toyed with bows in a mostly two-tone black and white riff on the short skirt and the classic “le smoking” dinner jacket.