This week has been another news-filled saga, with more and more sexual harassment accusations coming out. Kevin Spacey has finally tumbled. I read about him years ago and told many of my friends, but of course his accusers weren’t believed until a week or so ago. It is getting to the stage now where you wonder if there are any stars in Hollywood who haven’t been affected by this kind of behavior, whether they were the victim or the culprit. Fashion isn’t much better, on the modelling side of things, and much of the focus has been on Terry Richardson. Although it is good news that publications are finally refusing to work with him, he is not the only person in the industry who behaves in such ways. Edie Campbell penned a good open letter in WWD on this topic, and her status as an insider can describe the situation a lot better than I can. On a happier note, Edward Enninful’s first British Vogue cover hit the newsstands this week. So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Thankfully, he pulled out all the stops with a Steven Meisel-lensed, Adwoa Aboah-fronted cover. The styling was great, the makeup was memorable, and the overall concept was so retro-glamorous that it could not be faulted. I am going to keep my copy for years to come. I know it will become a real collectors item. Finally, the last big news item of the week is that the Met Gala’s 2018 theme has been confirmed as relating to Catholicism and its depictions in fashion. Not only will it include inspired pieces, but garments worn by the Pope are going to be transported into the museum. Apparently it will be the biggest exhibition yet, but I feel like they say that every year so we shall see. Rihanna and Amal Clooney are the hosts, which I feel is a rather strange choice as neither of them are outwardly Catholic. However, Rihanna is the one Met Gala attendee that you can always count on to show up on theme and try hard so she is always welcome.
I’ve spoken about Kith quite a few times now because I really like the store. I think it is really cool and does a tremendous job of drumming up anticipation and creating a great sense of urgency around its products. Most of the time, I will look at something and think about it for a while before purchasing whereas with Kith you know that you have to get it instantly or it will be gone. Throughout the summer they have been releasing new logo tees every week, each of them generating a round-the-block line and selling out online almost instantly. The t-shirt program is surely highly profitable for them and a fun, creative outlet for the designers. However, the new Coca-Cola collaboration is a large feat for the brand, and for women’s Creative Director Emily Oberg who worked on the capsule collection. I really like Emily too. Based on interviews I’ve heard (like last week’s Improper Etiquette podcast), she seems like a genuine person with a good head on her shoulders. Plus, she has a killer Instagram so that helps in the social media age. The Coca-Cola collection itself features styles for both men and women, hoodies to swimwear and everything in between. The pricing is pretty standard for Kith’s limited edition drops too – fairly high but potentially worth it if you’re a fan/eager reseller. By the time you read this (Saturday), it will have launched the previous day and probably have already sold out. I’ll let you know if I end up buying a piece.
Continuing on the same theme of collaborations, Business of Fashion posted this interesting article about fast-fashion and designer collaborations like the H&M X [insert brand name] and the similar offerings from Target. The piece argued that the fast-fashion stores like the aforementioned should make the collaborations more like streetwear drops which generate buzz and have high resale values almost instantaneously. People camp outside for drops. People get in fights over drops. This is really what some people live for (and make profitable businesses from). The article came about after the news of the H&M x Erdem collaboration failed to generate the same level of noise that previous collaborations have (like Balmain, Alexander Wang, and Versace have, to name a few). The choice of Erdem did seem curious to me when the news was first announced because I didn’t realize that the designer had enough mainstream success to really warrant a collection. I don’t mean for that to sound negative but generally the brand that collaborates with H&M is one of the biggest brands in that moment in time, so for Erdem, a young London-based brand celebrated by the fashion set for the beautiful and intricate embroidered pieces, to receive the same honor seemed strange. However, H&M’s communications director reiterated that they are excited about the brand and that they have many others on the list for the future. Regardless of who the name on the banner is, the collection will sell well and there will be people waiting for the store to open to get their hands on the goodies. I’ll be interested to see what the pieces in this collection look like and how they can replicate the small details for a smaller price-point.
Fashion and religion. Sounds like a strange combination at first glance but surprisingly there is a lot of crossover. If this Refinery29 article is anything to go by, Andrew Bolton will be dissecting that crossover in great detail and placing all of the overlaps in a neatly curated exhibition at the Met starting next May. If this is the case, I am excited because this also means we could get some really amazing Met Gala looks next year. Fashion and religion don’t sound like they go hand in hand, but many designers force them to. Religion is often about modesty yet fashion can be extremist, baring all and showing off. Many designers use religious iconography in their pieces too. Think of Dolce & Gabbana’s various odes to Catholicism, like dresses with the Virgin Mary embellished on the chest and large crosses. I think this could be a really interesting exhibition to see and I can already think of a few pieces that I can imagine may be included – Nicki Minaj’s Versace pope outfit, Hussein Chalayan’s veils that got more and more naked by the outfit back in the 90s, and lots of Jean Paul Gaultier. There are also various different routes that this could follow as there are so many religions and interpretations of them out there. This could be one of the most thought-provoking Met exhibitions in years and I can tell already that I want the coffee table book when the time comes!
Really, I don’t. I went to the summer costume exhibition at the Met to check it out and, like almost everyone else who was visiting, I didn’t know what to think. It feels almost blasphemous to say that I didn’t like it or didn’t get it because there is this unwritten rule that if you are seriously into fashion (or claim to be) you must love Comme. Don’t get me wrong, there are some things from the brand I like. Dover Street Market is an amazing store with great merchandising techniques. The diffusion line with the little heart logo is branded perfectly. I can appreciate a really cool avant garde piece. I think they photograph brilliantly and I think they look really insane on the body (think Caroline Kennedy at this year’s Met Gala, or even Rihanna) but I don’t understand them and I know that the majority of people in my company at the museum felt the same way.
The exhibition was in a different gallery than the Manus x Machina one was last year and I didn’t like the space as much. It was lit very brightly with everything on stark white pedestals and some pieces were displayed well above eye-level, meaning it was easy to miss things if you didn’t realize you had to look up. The pieces featured spanned decades of Rei’s work. The exhibition was split up into various different segments, each representing a different aesthetic expression (e.g Clothes/Not Clothes) and there was no text explaining anything on the walls, nor credits for the clothing’s season etc – all of this information was to be found in a paper exhibition guide that was available at the entrance. Because of this, I found myself going around the exhibition faster than I normally would when I stop to read things because I didn’t actually read the guide until I sat down at the end and compared the guide with photographs I took. I still feel like I need further clarification though because I don’t understand the meanings of the pieces. I am a very imaginative person but I cannot immediately see the meaning of these clothes.
Ever since I got into fashion as a young teen, Comme des Garcons was a name I’d seen thrown about always in extremely high regard. On Tumblr, nobody dared disrespect Rei, thinking of her as the high priestess of fashion. I guess this mentality was ingrained into me without realizing it and for years I’ve always thought that I liked Comme, without actually thinking too much about it. Now I realize that I don’t like Comme, not because I think the clothes are bad but because I just don’t understand it at all and I can’t see the depth that others do. That includes most of the designers in the Japanese conceptualist movement, like Yohji Yamamoto, too. This year at the Met Gala, I was hoping for more out-there pieces because what I’ve seen from Comme des Garcons in the past and I do stand by my criticism of that red carpet. It was boring and could’ve been so much more if people were willing to push the boat out and not worry about looking hot for one evening.
I have compiled a little video, linked below, which is a get ready with me where I do my makeup, then once I have finished that I have included a lot of shots from the exhibition. I actually got a new camera recently and I’ve been playing with it, trying to work out its capabilities. The makeup video was actually just shot for fun, hence the unprofessional set-up, but once it was done I actually quite liked it so I decided to make something of it. The shots from inside the museum are taken on the same camera. I’m impressed with the quality.
Overall, if you’re in New York I think you should check out the exhibition and see what you think for yourself. I liked it, but I didn’t love it. It didn’t help me gain any further understanding of or appreciation for the designer, but I did enjoy seeing it. I’m a huge advocate for fashion exhibitions and preserving garments like art pieces, because I do think of fashion as a form of commercial art, so I will always go along and see things even if I’m not a huge fan as I will always find it somewhat interesting.
The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art decided to honor Rei Kawakubo, the legendary designer of Comme des Garcons, for their annual summer exhibition. The exhibition opening coincides with a fundraising gala, intended to raise money and awareness for the museum, more specifically the costume department, which has turned into a media spectacle in the past few years. Often touted as the most exclusive event in fashion, I’d argue that the Met Gala’s guest list this year was the most random and even disappointing in recent memory. Furthermore, the red carpet was also rather disappointing.
Comme des Garcons is avant-garde, out-there, fun, conceptual. It is not sexy, naked dresses. It is not pretty prom dresses. I understand that celebrities always want to look good but sometimes I wish they would forego the boring, normal gear that they could wear on any red carpet and fully indulge in the theme. Rihanna did this, of course. As did Caroline Kennedy, along with Pharrell and his wife. You also don’t have to wear the designer to be on theme. Understandably most of the celebrities in attendance were brought by a brand (e.g. Calvin Klein and the squad including A$AP Rocky) and as a result were dressed by said brand. However, you could still push the boat out a little.
I didn’t realize how infuriated I was with the whole Met Gala thing until this morning. I was walking home and I just felt irritated, then I remembered all of the things I’d seen the previous evening. First of all, the guest list of this event was nonsensical. What purpose does Migos, Wiz Khalifa, Kylie Jenner etc. serve at this event? Why did The Weeknd and Selena Gomez have to walk the red carpet together and continue their charade? Why did the person who coordinated the timings of arrivals schedule the aforementioned couple right after Bella Hadid’s family, The Weeknd’s ex-girlfriend and last-year’s entry ticket to the event? Everything was for clicks. And that’s how fashion is right now and it just drives me crazy. Fashion has become pop-culture in the worst way possible, no better than tabloid magazines. I could talk about this for hours (and honestly sometimes I do in real life) but I don’t want to drone on and on. Instead, see below my favorite looks of the evening – some on theme, some not:
I was super excited for the Met Gala this year, mainly because I’ll actually get to see the exhibition for the first time ever! From the previews I’ve seen, the Chanel bridal look with the immense train is a stand out piece, along with some newer offerings from brands like Dior (under Raf Simons) and Prada. I’m excited to see it and explore the differences between handmade, laborious pieces and technologically created. I’m sure it will be marvellous.
An invite to the Met Gala is one of the most coveted in fashion. Nowadays I feel that celebrities attend just to attend, not because they have anything to do with fashion. Next year I hope that they trim the guest list slightly to people who have an impact on/interest in/some stake in the fashion industry but given the increased commercialisation of the event I doubt this will happen. Perhaps it is a good thing given that it is a fundraiser for the museum itself. I wonder if any of the celebrities in attendance actually donate anything to the Costume Institute, other than their presence on the red carpet?
I have to say, this is the event of the year where you can get off with taking the biggest risks in terms of fashion, not somewhere you would need to water it down. In my opinion, a lot of people could’ve pushed the theme a little further than they did, have fun with it instead of wearing straight off the runway dresses, but overall I think it was a good red carpet, although not as good as last year.
Since Manus x Machina (hand vs machine literally; man vs machine in simpler terms) is the title of the exhibition, I expected lots of silver, robotic, slightly futuristic looks and we got plenty of them. The element of the theme that I was most looking forward to was a fully technology created outfit, perhaps some 3D printing. I had hoped for some Chalayan (a true boundary pusher) or even Iris van Herpen. As far as I’m aware, neither of the designers were represented. Instead there was a helluva lot of Balmain and Louis Vuitton. I did like cool uses of texture (embellished latex on Beyonce, for example) and also the celebrities who totally switched up their look for the occasion (Zendaya’s hair looked amazing and also Kim Kardashian really suited lighter eyebrows).
In a dream world, I would’ve attended the opening wearing vintage couture, perhaps Galliano’s Dior (see above Fall 2006 looks), as something to represent the manus section of the exhibition. In a society increasingly reliant on technology (e.g. think of the havoc caused when emails go down in the office), I’d like to think man could come out on top. Or you could do a combination, how about a machine made dress hand-embellished? The clash of the two techniques and the way in which we will adapt to suit is important. And as the sub-title of the exhibition says, we are in the age of technology. However, I am obsessed with couture and the craft behind it. Let’s hope it is an art that never dies.
I know you’ve probably seen a billion of these lists already, but I thought I’d chip in too. I love the Met Gala/Ball/whatever term you prefer, and look forward to the red carpet every year. It’s like the Oscars but better, because not only is there actors, but there’s musicians, models, designers, and basically anybody famous enough to warrant an invite – or rich enough to pay the $20,000ish for a ticket (which I’m sure some of the guests did…). The event is a fundraiser after all.
Each year there is a theme, based on whatever the theme of the exhibition is in the Costume Institute at the Met that year. The Chinese Whispers theme, later retitled China: Through the Looking Glass, seemed a tricky one from the start. How do non-Chinese people dress up in Chinese clothes without appropriating culture? And then when you see previews from inside the exhibition, it doesn’t just feature Chinese (or Eastern Asian) designers, but many Western designers who have been inspired by the East, the Orient… The whole idea of the exhibition was later described as a look at how fashion has been influenced and inspired by Chinese designs and traditions, or the idea of Orientalism as a whole. Read this Refinery29 article for a deeper understanding, because I don’t know too much about the topic. Basically, this year’s theme was tricky, perhaps why most people strayed from it.
Very few celebrities wore Chinese designers (shoutout to Rihanna for wearing a real Chinese couturier’s design), and most people just wore typical red carpet dresses. But hey, that doesn’t matter as long as they looked good, right? My personal favourite of the night was Beyonce because she’s literally the hottest woman ever, and she knows it. There were a few total misses (as expected), a few looks that just didn’t make sense in the Met Gala context (Elizabeth Banks in Michael Kors for one, too everyday maxi dress, not a gown, but her body is insane!), and lots of mediocre looks. Here are my top picks below…
Fashion is deemed very frivolous. It is not a matter that people think hold much weight, rightly or wrongly so depending on your opinion. That’s why the Met Gala is such a big deal. Often classed as fashion’s equivalent of the Oscars, the Met Gala (or Ball depending on who is saying it) is an annual charity event held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. The event honours the opening of that year’s exhibit at the Costume Institute in the museum. Basically, it is one of the few evenings in the year that fashion actually matters to people. Celebrities, designers and fashion-people in general attend. An invitation is so sought after that tickets cost around $25,000 to purchase, you know, if you’re not actually on the guest list. The prestige of the event is so much so that the first time that a very pregnant Kim Kardashian attended in 2013, there was a general uproar from press and fashion critics alike. Just as a little side note, she was banned the previous year by Anna Wintour but we all know how that has changed as she has since received that infamous Vogue cover that led many to proclaim Anna Wintour’s credibility dead and gone.
Chanel’s cruise show, on the other hand, is a little bit less of interest to regular people. Whilst gossip magazines and fashion magazines alike will include images of the best dressed attendees at the Met Gala, Chanel’s cruise show will likely receive less mainstream attention. However, it is always quite a spectacle. For the pre-collections (both Pre-fall and Cruise/Resort/whatever you want to call it), Karl Lagerfeld takes Chanel all over the globe, showing in many exciting locations and often drawing inspiration from such places. This year for the Cruise show, Chanel is going to Seoul, the capital of South Korea. I often think that the pre-collections for Chanel are better than, and certainly more exciting than, their regular collections. For reference, Chanel is always near the end of the show schedule in Paris meaning that by the time you see the photos from Chanel, you have seen at least 100 other shows (if you’re looking online, I doubt people actually go to that many) and have probably seen about 10,000 photos. I feel burned out looking at it all and I’m not even travelling. However, for the pre-collections, Chanel is one of the few brands that actually stage a show – many brands just show lookbooks or release photos from presentations – and they always put on a good one. Usually there is more of a story behind the collection and the different locations make it all the more exciting: think of it as all the important people in fashion going on holiday together.
This year, Chanel’s cruise show has fallen on the same date as the Met Gala. That is a problem. Now you may think “why not just change the date?” as that does seem like the most logical thing to do. However, the date has reportedly already been changed due to a clash with Dior. This isn’t the first time that a conundrum like this has occurred. The same thing happened for the pre-fall Metiers d’Art collection in Salzburg. It was held on the same day as the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show that was held in London. Because of the different locations (and the not-so-close proximity) people had to choose between one and the other. This meant that fashion editors, buyers, journalists, and basically anybody that matters in fashion attended Chanel and the rest (including the celebrities, for the most part) attended Victoria’s Secret. However, this time around it is different. The Met Gala is not the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: it actually matters. It is an event that people in fashion covet a ticket to and attendance is thought of as an honour.
So how are people going to decide between the two? I’m assuming that buyers, journalists and some important editors will go to Chanel and the rest to the Met Gala. Of course Anna Wintour, perhaps the most influential woman in fashion, will go to the Met Gala as the Costume Institute is now named after her and she is heavily involved in the running of the event. For that reason, I also assume that many important American Vogue editors may also attend. However, the celebrities will be divided. I don’t think celebrities are needed at a fashion show. Their only role is to grab a little bit of press which in the end doesn’t matter because press doesn’t always translate into sales, especially if said celebrities fan base is primarily made up of teenagers who cannot afford the brand’s product. I think that celebrities will see the Met Gala as a better event to attend. For one, the coverage that they will receive will be greater, both in volume and quality. Moreover, the event looks like a bunch of fun. I’d love to get a preview of the exhibition at the Costume Institute as the exhibitions are always hugely successful and very busy. However, many may attend Chanel if their loyalty lies with Karl.
The most divided sector will be the models. Each year, some models attend the Met Gala on the arm of a designer or are often there to represent a certain brand. Last year, Kendall Jenner, Jourdan Dunn and Chanel Iman went to the event wearing Topshop and to represent the brand. Similarly, Liu Wen wore Zac Posen, Cara Delevingne wore Stella McCartney, and Karlie Kloss wore Oscar de la Renta – all representing their respective brands. A few more models not listed also attended. Now I think it is pretty likely that these models will be invited to attend this year but will they accept the invitation? This goes back to aforementioned the VSFS vs Chanel Salzburg debacle. Both Kendall Jenner and Cara Delevingne were rumoured to be cast for Victoria’s Secret yet they walked Chanel. Considering that they are Karl’s favourites at the moment, I wouldn’t be surprised if they skipped the Met Gala and walked Chanel instead. Perhaps the rest of the models that walk Chanel will be less known ones. I don’t think that is necessarily a problem as often the less known girls are the best. When I say less known, I mean girls like Sasha Luss and Marina Nery who probably won’t be invited to the Met Gala as their social media following hasn’t hit the million mark. I don’t think social media should be an indicator of someone’s success but unfortunately it is nowadays. Anyway, my point being, the pseudo-supermodels will probably go to the Met Gala, the rest (if they get cast) to Chanel; that is fine with me.
So this is it, a cardinal sin, a faux pas, has been committed, through no fault of either party, by scheduling both events on the same date. It sounds rather silly when you think about it but it will be a big deal and a difficult choice for some. For example, for some models walking Chanel may grant them some prestige in their career and is definitely a good show to have listed on your models.com profile, but being seen at the Met Gala would do wonders from a publicity standpoint as it garners more attention with the masses than a Chanel runway does. The fact of the two events being on the same night might actually be a good thing though. At least the people who matter (for the most part) and those who are actually influential will be at Chanel, you know reviewing the runway and picking pieces to buy into their stores, and those who just generate publicity but little more will be elsewhere. Yes there will be some important people missing out (think Ms Wintour) but it is not the end of the world. After all, the Chanel show will be on style.com, the goings-on inside the Met Gala will not.
As someone who is not a model or at all important in fashion for that matter, an invite to either of the events would be appreciated but if you twisted my arm for a definitive answer, I think I’d choose the Met Gala: would you?