Tag Archives: Fashion Review

Charles James: Beyond Fashion #MetBall2014

Charles James Board 1The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute Ball is literally around the corner and the biggest night of the year for the fashion industry.  One red carpet night a year the fashion elite showcase their stylistic interpretations of each year’s themes.  Last year’s theme was dedicated to the great impact that punk has contributed to the fashion industry and I could not have been more excited.  This year’s theme is a complete dichotomy of punk but the influence and insurmountable contributions is bar none.  The theme of “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” is in dedication to the life and work of courtier Charles James.  The name and significance of Charles James is not well known outside of the fashion community so I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce you to Charles James and his legendary work.

  • Who’s the Designer:  Charles James, otherwise known as the “Great American Courtier”.  James started his design career in London, and then Paris, and arrived in New York City in 1940 (fun fact is that before he officially settled in New York City he spent time here in Chicago).  While he had no formal training, he is regarded as one of the greatest designers in America to have worked in the tradition of the Haute Couture.   His fascination with complex cut and seaming led to the creation of key design elements that he updated throughout his career: wrap-over trousers, figure-eight skirts, body-hugging sheaths, ribbon capes & dresses, spiral-cut garments, and poufs.   In addition to these design elements he also has a long list of iconic ball gowns from the late 1940s and early 1950s which are the Four-Leaf Clover, Butterfly, Tree, Swan, and Diamond.
  • What’s the inspiration & relevance:  The exhibit is a focus on exploring James’s design process, his use of sculptural, scientific, and mathematical approaches to construct revolutionary ball gowns and innovative tailoring that continue to influence designers today.  Approximately seventy-five of James’s most notable designs will be on display.   
  • Who’s wearing what? :    That is the big question but here are a few predictions so tune in to see if they happen to be right-Prada will be represented by brand face Lupita Nyong’o and Michelle Dockery; Prabal Gurung by Zoe Saldana; Givenchy by Amanda Seyfried; J. Mendel by Taylor Swift; Diane von Furstenberg by Margot Robbie and Olivia Munn; Tommy Hilfiger by Zooey Deschanel; with Jessica Chastain, Emilia Clarke, Naomi Watts, Jessica Pare and Allison Williamsalso attending. Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz will be there with a mystery celeb, but not usual house model Emma Stone.

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Tres Bien Spring/Summer 2014

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  • Who’s the Designer:  Brothers Hannes and Simon Hogeman debut their Tres Bien Spring/Summer 2014.
  • What’s the inspiration:  Since opening their successful Swedish online shop, Tres Bien, the Hogeman brothers had created a perfect niche for themselves the chaos of online purveyors as THE defining destination shop where the marriage of high fashion and streetwear said their vows.  This collection is a direct reflection of their taste and their shop and is best summed up in their own words as, “It all comes down to our taste which stems from growing up in Sweden with a general interest in fashion, style, and culture.  We were brought up in the nineties with Helmut Lang and Ice Cube.”  
  • Why it’s relevant:  The taste level of these two is only have of the genius the other half is the sensibility for how to create conflicting juxtapositions  such as Carthartt & Comme des Garcons or Stussy & Rick Owens jive and intermix but taking it a step further and presenting the ultimate high low pairing that is absolute genius.  These two have mastered this formula and need to teach an international Dabble course-no seriously I would sign up in a nano second. 
  • Where to wear it:  Fellas, Guys, Gents, everyone of the male sex this are you listening to me?  First save the site on your browser of choice.  Second make your calendar with the date of Friday, May 2nd when collection goes live on their site (psst, tomorrow is Friday, May 2nd).  And last but certainly not least: Shop, shop, shop!  These silhouettes are great basics for your wardrobe  and present a great versatility in color that you will be able to wear each piece for timeless seasons to come.  So what are you waiting for?  Hop to it!

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Noir Kei Ninomiya Fall/Winter 13-14

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  • Who’s the Designer: Kei Ninomiya from COMME des GARÇONS
  • What’s the inspiration:  In Ninomiya’s own words his inspiration was drawn from his want to, “fuse conflicting elements of organic and inorganic matter.”   His designs have always had a duality in their approach so it was no surprise that with this collection he utilized both warm and cold fabric textures with his choice to focus on handmade knits juxtaposed with laser cutting or incorporating this incredible knit fabrication interlaced with metal rings and drawing back to the the organic with a with biological motif.  
  • Why it’s relevant: New and innovative approaches to traditional fabrications is why style & fashion have a relevant purpose in all of our lives.  The idea of changing how we interpret a regular knit garment and manipulating the construction based on the point of view of drawing inspiration from nature is ground breaking.  Ninomiya is a bright shining star that reinforces the notion that “Art is Fashion & Fashion is Art”.  His approach to giving more depth to the technique of knitting based on the idea of “I see crows picking up wire or something on the ground to build their nests.  Like them, I thought I might make knits using odds and ends around me. I like to think of ideas to realize things that seem impossible.”  His knitting focused on geometric patterns of which he created his dresses and skirts based centrally on the idea of knitting the graphics three-dimensional based on the houndstooth pattern.
  • Where to wear it:  Everywhere, period. Kei Ninomiya’s collection is for the bold statement makers who appreciate fashion as a real artistic element.  After all, you know what my motto is –“Using fashion as armour to walk life’s runway”- and this collection just resonates that mantra so wear each piece with smize and werk that runway of life!

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#WWAW: Spring’s Biggest Trends? Rocked it!

So it’s officially Spring and long overdue for a #WWAW (What Would ‘Ana Wear) post.  With Spring temps finally gracing us with it’s presence and Memorial Day weekend around the corner it’s time to get a handle on what Spring trends to try out and work into your wardrobe rotation.  Ready, set let’s go and explore some trends shall we?

What’s the Inspiration:  Mixing and matching Spring’s biggest trends such as crop tops, florals, cut-outs and bucket handbags.  Every designer from Proenza Schouler to Christopher Kane had sprinkles of each of these key elements in their Spring/Summer 2014 collections.  There are so many trending zeitgeists that initially I tried to narrow down and figure out which one to start with as a focus and possibly do a series and then had an ‘aha moment’ to incorporate them all into one outfit.


Why it’s Relevant:  So the whole idea of trends is that they are temporary fads, but what causes the transition to style is to not have any restrictions and to embrace being a rule breaker.  As a style & fashion rebel I took on the challenge to not only incorporate 4 trends into one ensemble but to make them my own.  While many would not mix florals with cut-out spikes or stripes and ripped jeans I believe all trends can cohesively be worn all together.  The trick is to ensure that you stick to one color palette especially if there are a number of different juxtaposing trends. I chose to stick with the modern black and white palette with a pop of color accent in my blazer and complimenting this accent color in my accessories.


Where to Wear it:  These trends are key elements in my Spring/Summer wardrobe and the big bonus?  This ensemble is food/music/art festival ready.  Why you say, because any style maven who lives in Chicago knows that means you have mastered the art of layering and fully appreciate any ensemble that allows you seamlessly adjust to any change in Chicago’s bi-polar weather.

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What I’m wearing:  ASOS Floral Blazer/ ASOS Striped Bandeau (Similar)/ ASOS Ripped Skinny Jeans/ Marc Jacobs Bucket Handbag (Similar)/ Jeffrey Campbell Spiked Cut-out Booties/ Mirrored Sunnies 

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Male Crop Top: Rock or Stop?

Male Crop Top BoardThree years ago Kanye had the fashion web in a furry discussing his infamous wardrobe choice to wear a womenswear top from Celine’s fresh off the runway Spring/Summer 2011 runway.  This year rapper Kid Cudi follows in those same groundbreaking steps by wearing a male crop top for his performance at Coachella.

While many got angry at the idea of Kid Cudi wearing a male crop top with cut off jean shorts I believe he’s given way to the male crop top to become the next big trend.  Now don’t laugh, because many didn’t believe that meggings (men’s leggings) had any real life and now the likes of Shia LeBouf have been sporting this trend non-stop as of late.

Crop tops for men have been gaining life on the runway over the past few years.  Just as the midriff-baring top went high fashion for women receiving an update from designers like Proenza Schouler, Prada, and Topshop—younger eccentrics and established brands alike are re-imagining it for men.  Four years ago in Milan, over the top label Frankie Morello sent two versions of the abs-flashing top down the runway.  That same year, Calvin Klein showcased cutoff outerwear and cropped T-shirts stamped with the brand’s name.  Astrid Andersen followed suit the next year with her own cheeky cropped muscle tee and has started experimenting with it more over the past two seasons.  Other designers like Hood by Air, J.W. Anderson, and Sibling have been chiming in with their own inspirations and giving more life to this trend to transition from the body building muscle beach to the catwalk.  So what say you, is the male crop top a Rock it or Stop it?


Mary Katrantzou X Adidas


  • Who’s the Designer: UK luxury womenswear designer Mary Katrantzou will be teaming up with iconic sports brand Adidas for an Autumn/Fall collection that will be released this November 2014.
  • What’s the inspiration:  The inspiration for this capsule collection will be centered around Katrantzou’s “‘iconic, hyper-colour, kaleidoscopic’ patterns”-is anyone else screaming for joy besides me?!! (please excuse the high pitched squealing that I pass off as screams of joy).  Katrantzou goes on further to explain the reasoning behind her inspiration and want to partner with Adidas, “I grew up, like so many other kids around the world, wearing adidas trainers and I’m really excited about bringing my vision to such a global brand…They have a fantastic heritage and their ability to innovate in sportswear makes them the perfect partner for us to work with in this market.”  And I would have to 100% agree with you Mary especially due to Adidas willingness to collaborate with some of the industry’s most innovative designers such as Jil Sander, Jeremy Scott, Stella McCartney, etc.
  • Why it’s relevant: Mary Katrantzou is at the forefront of redefining our perception of prints and had created a beautiful niche for herself in clearly trademarking a signature style in her approach to prints.  Because of her we have the widely accepted notion that print on print is not only okay but prints are now considered a basic.
  • Where to wear it:  EVERYWHERE!! With this collaboration happening it’s a clear indication that the current athletic footwear trend of spring/summer will not end when Labor Day weekend rolls around but should be ushered into your fall/winter wardrobe.  Basically athletic footwear will be a key footwear silhouette for the next few season so don’t sleep on refreshing your fall/winter shoe game by introducing a pair from this capsule collection.  Lord knows I will definitely welcoming home one (maybe two or three but who’s counting right?)





Lug Von Siga Rips Off Maori Moko Designs

Lug Von Siga BoardTurkish designer Gul Agis follows in the footsteps of American fashion designer, Nanette Lepore in appropriating cultural designs and motifs of our Pasifika community.  Agis showcased her Spring/Summer 2014 collection at London Fashion Week titled “Tribal Attitude”.  She attributed the inspiration of the “bold”  and “exotic” prints that were the signature of her collection to her home country of Turkey and it’s rich heritage coupled with the Gezi Park protests that occurred in Istanbul last year.

After huge backlash from our Pasifika community outcrying her foul cultural appropriation of Maori moko designs,  Gul Agis finally responded and clarified that her “Tribal Attitude” signature prints were in fact of the Maori moko.  Aside from her appropriation of Maori design not being properly attributed in the initial onset when she showcased the collection at London Fashion Week, she goes on further to explain that she simply did an internet search found the Maori moko design online and decided to copy it.  Her second act is the most offensive due to the  lack of cultural understanding.  Her decision to “give it a contemporary look” rather than taking the time to truly understand the rich and deep history behind the Maori design and gain insight into its meaning speak to the ignorance that is so prevalent within the fashion industry.  It is no secret that the fashion industry as a whole is rampant with cultural appropriation and attributing it all to the blurred defense of creativity.

What are your thoughts?  With the level of talent and exposure our Pasifika community is receiving in the global foreign media these types of acts will definitely not the be last.





Roland Mouret for Banana Republic!

Roland Mouret X Banana Republic Board

  • Who’s the Designer: Luxury designer Roland Mouret is collaborating with US based high street retailer Banana Republic.
  • What’s the inspiration:  The inspiration is Banana Republic’s innovative Sloan bi-stretch fabric.  This fabric caught Mouret’s eye and it was history from there.  Mouret is a masterful craftsman and most notably with his trademark dresses.  Armed with this impressive fabric he has said, “When I saw that fabric I was so interested in working with it in my way” so don’t expect a replica of his own clothing line in a less expensive version but a “fitted dress for the Banana Republic customer.”  I don’t know about you but I’ve drooling over what the endless possibilities could be for this collection.
  • Why it’s relevant: Any stylish working girl in tune with her own personal style undoubtedly has a few basics in her closet and 9 times out of 10 these pieces are from Banana Republic.  This collaboration is a brilliant move on BR’s end due to giving their basics a nice updated refresh.
  • Where to wear it:  Naturally these pieces will be a great jolt to your work ensemble rotation but with what we know about Roland Mouret’s style aesthetic and impeccable skill for draping and fit that these pieces will be versatile in transitioning from day to night seamlessly.  The collection will launch both in-store and online on August 24, 2014 and the price points will range from $49.50 to $165.  So mark your calendars now and be ready to discuss the many different ways to style each piece!



Song For The Mute Fall/Winter 2014

Song for the Mute Board

  • Who’s the Designer: Melvin Tayana and Lyna Tyare are the design geniuses behind Australian luxury menswear brand Song for the Mute.
  • What’s the inspiration:  For their fall/winter collection titled, ‘GREY’ the duo build on the brand’s continued commitment of fabric driven garments.
  • Why it’s relevant: I must really sound like a broken record, but once again just in case you may have forgotten the other 100 times already said this: Fall/Winter 2014 is all about texture.  Tayana & Tyare focused on crafting garments from virgin alpaca/wool blends and further developed their paraffin and resin coated fabrics pushing the envelope in the construction to heighten the fabric texture.  In focusing on the fabric tactile to tell the story of the collection the duo keep the silhouette of the garments very clean and simple.  The shapes are  oversized and structured but with a streamlined, modern approach and is reminiscent of CDG.
  • Where to wear it:  This luxury menswear brand is not for the timid, unaware gent.  This collection should be worn by the likes of Ugo Mozie and Lupe Fiasco-who BTW just happens to be one who walked the final look down the runway at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Australia.  So in closing, if you are not dripping and oozing with personal confident swagger do not approach or attempt these looks because only bold stand out personalities can match the swagu these pieces are carrying!




John Rocha Spring/Summer 2014

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  • Who’s the Designer: John Rocha
  • What’s the inspiration:  Rocha’s spring/summer collection was inspired by the love of his life, his wife Odette.
  • Why it’s relevant: Spending a few months out of the year here in Hong Kong it is extremely hard not to fall in love with the fashion and style aesthetic that defines this beautiful culture.  One of Hong Kong’s most prominent designers is John Rocha.  Rocha’s signature mantra of effortless beauty, arduous effort are the defining metaphor for fashion itself.
  • Where to wear it:  His gowns are the perfect stand out pieces for any event that you are wanting to make an entrance.  When making the perfect statement needs to be done through appearance alone let Rocha’s impeccable textures, appliques and mix of fabrications do the talking for you.  After all, isn’t all you want to say is “Bam! I’ve arrived” (wait, or is that just me…)