Now It Can Be Told: “Black Fashion Designers” At The Museum at FIT

Without dwelling too deeply on the root cause (for the moment), it’s very rare to find black fashion designers represented in a great many of the recent costume exhibitions at museums great and small across the United States. At this moment, if you want to see a decent and wide-ranging look at black fashion designers, you would have to visit the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C., where designs from Tracy Reese,  other black fashion designers and other creative men and women are on permanent display. The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology (The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27 Street, New York City 10001-5992), since 1975, has continuously work to create exhibitions, programs, and publications that are both entertaining and educational. Black Fashion Designer is eye-opening, entertaining and above all else, quite educational. It’s a good start.

mimi-plange-dress-spring-2013-usa-gift-of-mimi-plange-2016-49-1

Mimi Plange, dress, Spring 2013, USA, Gift of Mimi Plange, 2016.49.1

Black Fashion Designers, opening December 6, 2016 (Fashion & Textile History Gallery, December 6 – May 16, 2017) at The Museum at FIT, examines the significant, but often unrecognized, impact that designers of African descent have had on fashion. The exhibition features approximately 75 fashions by more than 60 designers. Although there have been exhibitions (few and far between) on individual black designers, this is the first major exhibition in many years that highlights the global history of black fashion designers from the 1950s to the present. All of the objects on display are part of the permanent collection of The Museum at FIT.

patrick-kelly-dress-fallwinter-1986-france-museum-purchase-2016-48-1

Patrick Kelly, dress, Fall/Winter 1986, France, Museum purchase, 2016.48.1

Black Fashion Designers opens with a fall 1986 evening dress by Patrick Kelly, embellished with vintage buttons. Buttons were a recurring motif for Kelly, whose grandmother would mend the family’s clothing. Alongside it is a fall 2012 ensemble by Nigerian-born, British designer Duro Olowu, whose knowledge of international textiles and affinity for mixing prints is evident in an intricate lace cape.

The introductory section of the exhibition also includes a beautiful wedding gown by society dressmaker Ann Lowe, who is best known for designing Jacqueline Kennedy’s wedding dress. Lawrence Steele, a Milan-based African-American designer, is represented by a stunning black evening dress accented with Swarovski crystals. Lagos-based designer Amaka Osakwe was inspired by the rich history of Nigerian story-telling when creating her contemporary, cut-fringe dress. Another highlight is Laura Smalls’s red-and-white floral print dress—famously worn by First Lady Michelle Obama when she sang with rapper Missy Elliot on James Corden’s carpool karaoke.

ann-lowe-wedding-dress-1968-usa-gift-of-judith-a-tabler-2009-70-2

Ann Lowe, wedding dress, 1968, USA, Gift of Judith A. Tabler, 2009.70.2

Black Fashion Designers is organized into eight themes, beginning with “Breaking Into the Industry,” which examines black designers working in New York. During the 1950s and early 1960s, Arthur McGee and Wesley Tann challenged discrimination in the industry. Other designers followed in their footsteps, playing a major role in building New York as a fashion capital. During the 1970s and 1980s, for example, Willi Smith built a large, international fashion house from his quirky twists on classic sportswear, seen in a multicolored, striped ensemble. Today, Tracy Reese is an indispensable mainstay. Her multicolored striped gown shows her feminine and elegant style.

lawrence-steele-dress-spring-2002-italy-gift-of-lawrence-steele-2016-62-1

Lawrence Steele, dress, Spring 2002, Italy, Gift of Lawrence Steele, 2016.62.1

The next theme, “The Rise of the Black Designer,” focuses on the period from the late 1960s to the mid-1970s, when disco music and dance clubs inspired fashion. Stephen Burrows’s gold evening pajamas and Scott Barrie’s black-and-red silk jersey wrap dress, defined the era’s glamorous, body-conscious style. The fashion and mainstream press of the 1970s celebrated black designers such as Burrows and Barrie, in contrast to today, when only one percent of the designers shown on VogueRunway.com are black. Continue reading

Fashion and Entertainment Celebrates 30 Years of Peanuts in Fashion: Snoopy And His Sister Belle Make A Bold Fashion Statement At New York Fashion Week

All new Traveling Exhibit “Snoopy and Belle in Fashion Presented by MetLife” Debuts at the New Museum Sky Room

The much-anticipated new exhibition entitled “Snoopy and Belle in Fashion presented by MetLife” opens today at the New Museum’s Sky Room in New York City.  Bringing together Snoopy and his sister Belle with the world’s foremost design talent and visionaries, the exhibition features all new one-of-a-kind creations for the on-trend vinyl Snoopy and Belle dolls. After New York, the exhibit will travel to the Palais de Tokyo in Paris and other locations in Milan, Tokyo, and more over the next two years.

DESIGNER BIBHU MOHAPATRA CREATES LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM'S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK CITY FASHION WEEK. (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

DESIGNER BIBHU MOHAPATRA CREATES LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM’S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK CITY FASHION WEEK. (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

DESIGNERS JEFFREY COSTELLO AND ROBERT TAGLIAPIETRA CREATE LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM'S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK CITY FASHION WEEK. (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

DESIGNERS JEFFREY COSTELLO AND ROBERT TAGLIAPIETRA CREATE LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM’S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK CITY FASHION WEEK. (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

DESIGNER ISAAC MIZRAHI CREATE LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM'S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK FASHION WEEK (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

DESIGNER ISAAC MIZRAHI CREATE LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM’S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK FASHION WEEK (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

The international fashion leaders designing for Snoopy and Belle include: Anna Sui, Betsey Johnson, Bibhu Mohapatra, Calvin Klein Collection, Christian Siriano, Costello Tagliapietra, DKNY, Diane Von Furstenberg, Dsquared2, Dries Van Noten, Emanuel Ungaro, Isaac Mizrahi, Isabel Marant, J.Mendel, Kenneth Cole, Lisa Perry, MAC Cosmetics, Opening Ceremony, PhilipTreacy, Rodarte, Royal Asscher, Swarovski, Tracy Reese, VPL by Victoria Bartlett, and Zac Posen.

Snoopy and Belle In Fashion presented by MetLife” makes its premiere appearance as Peanuts prepares to celebrate the 65th anniversary of the beloved Charles Schulz comic strip in 2015, along with the brand’s first all new CGI 3D feature film from Twentieth Century Fox and Blue Sky Studios, the 50th anniversary of Peanuts on television with A Charlie Brown Christmas airing on ABC, and the 30th anniversary of the inaugural “Snoopy in Fashion” event of the 1980s.

DESIGNER BETSEY JOHNSON CREATE LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM'S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK FASHION WEEK. (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

DESIGNER BETSEY JOHNSON CREATE LOOKS FOR SNOOPY AND HIS SISTER BELLE IN A NEW EXHIBIT AT THE NEW MUSEUM’S SKY ROOM THIS NEW YORK FASHION WEEK. (PRNewsFoto/Peanuts Worldwide)

Continue reading

The 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards Winners

JOSEPH ALTUZARRA NAMED WOMENSWEAR DESIGNER OF THE YEAR

RIHANNA NAMED FASHION ICON OF THE YEAR

AWARDS SHOW TO BE WEBCAST ON CFDA.COM ON TUESDAY, JUNE 3RD AT 11AM

House Photography:  BFA: www.bfanyc.com

Last night, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) paid tribute to the winners and honorees of the 2014 CFDA Fashion Awards in collaboration with Swarovski at Alice Tully Hall, Lincoln Center. Film director and screenwriter John Waters was the host for the evening. For the thirteenth year in a row, the evening was generously underwritten by Swarovski. Highlights of the evening included a live tribute featuring sixteen models of color in Diane von Furstenberg dresses paying homage to Founder’s Award honoree Bethann Hardison for advocating diversity on the runways and Michael Kors leading the In Memoriam segment in which he honored the passing of Annabel Tollman, L’Wren Scott, and Art Ortenberg over the past year.

2014 CFDA Fashion Awards - Award Presentation with hos John Waters

2014 CFDA Fashion Awards – Award Presentation with hos John Waters

Nominees, honorees, and winners were determined by the CFDA Awards Guild which is comprised of CFDA members, leading fashion journalists, stylists, and top retail executives. Ernst & Young, LLP was the official accounting firm of the Awards.

Tonight, we celebrated creativity, experience, and conviction by honoring the diversity and vibrancy of individuals who define the influence of the fashion industry,” said CFDA President Diane von Furstenberg.

ACCESSORIES WINNERS - THE ROWMARY - KATE OLSEN & ASHLEY OLSEN WITH PRESENTER KERI RUSSELL(Center)

ACCESSORIES WINNERS – THE ROWMARY – KATE OLSEN & ASHLEY OLSEN WITH PRESENTER KERI RUSSELL(Center)

Dao-Yi Chow, James Marsden, Maxwell Osborne

Dao-Yi Chow, James Marsden, Maxwell Osborne

Lupita Nyongo, Joseph Altuzarra

Lupita Nyongo, Joseph Altuzarra

The evening’s Womenswear Designer of the Year honors went to Joseph Altuzarra for Altuzarra, presented by Lupita Nyong’o. The award for Menswear Designer of the Year was presented to Maxwell Osborne & Dao-Yi Chow for Public School by actor James Marsden. Mary-Kate Olsen & Ashley Olsen for The Row took home the Accessories Designer of the Year Award, presented by actress Keri Russell.

Sebastian Stan, Christopher Peters, Nadja Swarovski, Shane Gabier, Greta Gerwig, Tim Coppens, Irene Neuwirth

Sebastian Stan, Christopher Peters, Nadja Swarovski, Shane Gabier, Greta Gerwig, Tim Coppens, Irene Neuwirth

Greta Gerwig and Sebastian Stan presented the three Swarovski Awards, which honor and recognize emerging talent. The Swarovski Award for Womenswear was given to Shane Gabier & Christopher Peters for Creatures of the Wind. The Swarovski Award for Menswear was presented to Tim Coppens. The Swarovski Award for Accessory Design went to Irene Neuwirth. Recipients in each category will receive generous financial support from the company as well as exposure to the company’s vast and innovative crystal products and applications for fashion.

[74070] RihannaonRedCarpet.jpg_low

Rihanna was presented with the Fashion Icon award by Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour who praised the musician for her ability to tell captivating stories through the boldness and beauty of clothes. Rihanna thanked members of the audience: “the designers, the models, and everyone else who has inspired me.

The CFDA believes in designers at every stage of their career.  Last night we recognized a broad range of talent and influence from student scholarship winners and emerging talent to industry icons,” added CFDA CEO Steven Kolb.

It’s been an honor to partner with the CFDA in celebrating the very best in American fashion for thirteen incredible years, and the creativity of the award winners never fails to amaze.  We are especially pleased to support the industry’s next generation through the Swarovski Awards. It’s a privilege to help these dazzling young talents evolve and realize their visions as they take the next steps in their careers,” said Nadja Swarovski, Member of the Swarovski Executive Board.

The Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Tom Ford by Richard Buckley for his consistent, creative influence on fashion.

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT HONOREE TOM FORD

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT HONOREE TOM FORD

Continue reading

Sight & Sounds at… ENK 2013 Accessorie Circuit and Intermezzo Collections Shows at the Javits Convention Center

ENK Accessorie Circuit & Intermezzo Collections Photos Courtesy of ENK by Adrian Cabrero

Summerized Jewelry Product Images Courtesy of www.summerized.com

Onna Erlich Product images Courtesy of www.onnaerlich.com  

2013 ENK Accessorie Circuit and Intermezzo Collections 5

Anytime I got to a trade show at Javits Center in New York City, it has the potential to be an Alladin’s cave of potentially beautiful things, as well as an adventure in terror. You never quite know what you will be facing but hey, life’s an adventure, so why not play? ENK is the most prolific trade show producer in the United States, yearly producing a series of trade exhibitions that include nearly 10,00 design companies in New York City, Las Vegas and Shanghai. ENK shows–16+ annual exhibitions including Coterie, Accessorie Circuit, Intermezzo Collections, Children’s Club, ENKVegas, and ENK_largeENKChina in Shanghai–attract 250,000 domestic and international buyers and press, producing sales over $1 billion. Overall, more than 700 brands (big and small– including J Brand, Nicole Miller, Alex Bittar, Current/Elliott, Tracy Reese, Nonoo, Badgley Mischska, Erickson Beamon, Rebecca Minkoff, Vince, Cynthia Vincent, Andrew Marc, Dolce Vita, Equipment, Issa, Nanette Lepore, Tibi, Rebecca Taylor, Botkier) participated in this year’s Accessorie Circuit (featuring some of the world’s premier accessories and footwear designers) and Intermezzo Collections (contemporary ready-to-wear designers showcasing their Holiday 2013, Pre-Spring 2014 Resort and Spring 2014 Collections).

On the positive side of the fence, we saw and interacted with some very talented designers and craftspeople. Terracotta New York’s Alina Cheung and Yidi Xu (www.terracottanewyork.com) has a back story I found very fascinating. In 209 BC, 8,000 clay warriors defending the First Qin Emperor were sealed beneath China’s soil, as a once-powerful man sought lasting power for all eternity. Buried in an underground palace among rivers of mercury, these clay-fired, life-sized replica soldiers have come to be known as, “the Terracotta Warriors”. The Army is Art. Each soldier was crafted by hand and logotrial4colored with pigments from pink to blue to lilac. They vary in height and claimed individual facial features. And below each face sit carefully sculpted neck ties – the first of their kind.  The Terracotta Army is a harmonious whole, and yet no two are alike.

Over 2,000 years later, Terracotta New York was founded on principles reminiscent of this ancient wonder. Unique yet Uniform, Ambitious yet Artful. Created by two women who are no strangers to the corporate world and the ties that filled them, Terracotta New York seeks to encourage individuality and promote confidence by bringing the long-standing tradition of simplicity and pattern in menswear to luxury accessories for women. With a touch of feminine flare, women can have just as much fun with a bow tie and a penguin pattern!

Terracotta New York Scarves

Terracotta New York Scarves

San Francisco-based Summer Powell of Summerized (www.summerized.com) who creates jewelry that is at once Art Deco-edgy and seriously breathtaking. Influenced by her background in graphic design, Summer Powell’s 3d designs are fun, fresh, modern and lure. Summer lusted after massive diamond earrings, yet there was nothing on the market like the picture in her head. So she printed her own diamonds. After drawing them in CAD, she sent them to a 3d printer. Summerized jewelry designs are literally printed. They’re created in CAD 3d software, and realized using Selective Laser summerized_logo_whiteSintering, a 3d printing technology. With SLS, a laser fuses material and builds complex objects one layer at a time. Two weeks later, Summer had the biggest rocks in town! She’d created her first 3d printed jewelry design, and the Gemetrica Collection was born.

A lover of dichotomies, Summer is inspired by the intersection of body and technology, natural and artificial, high and low, Barneys and K-mart, New York street style and Northern California zen. Her work lives on the continuum of quirky to profound. Other influences include a lifelong interest in patterns, mythologies, ancient symbols, geometry, origami, world travel, flora and fauna, and op and pop art. Summer brings graphic energy into three-dimensional reality. She’s always merged 2 and 3-dimensional media, creating vacuum-formed speaker-inspired briefcases for VH1, a mesmerizing motion graphic-based animated clock, and temporary technological tattoos for partiers. Her background includes an MFA in graphic design from Cranbrook Academy of Art; creative direction at several design firms; co-founding Elevator, a NYC-based boutique design firm with clients like Viacom and the Oxygen Network; and creative direction for Silicon Valley startups.

Summerized Jewelry

Summerized Jewelry

Continue reading

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Announces Preliminary Schedule for the new York Spring/Summer 2014 Collections

Summer may be almost over, but the fashion industry is kicking into high gear as the 2014 Spring/Summer New York Fashion Shows are just a few weeks away from their debut. Mercedes-Benz Fashion (New York) Week draws hundreds of thousands of fashion fans to New York City, and today IMG Fashion, owners and producers ofMercedes-Benz-Fashion-Week_06 the Event, announced the preliminary line up of designers who will take center-stage at Lincoln Center, September 5-12, 2013.

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week truly embodies the global scale of the fashion industry and highlights the limitless boundaries of design. A leader in the global fashion event circuit; Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York has the highest number of international designers who choose to make this Event the home for their Collection debuts,” says Christina Neault, Executive Producer, IMG Fashion Events and Properties. “As well, with three fashion schools and numerous emerging designers presenting alongside their established colleagues, Lincoln Center is the place to discover the next rising star.”

Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in New York is internationally recognized as the world’s stage to premier the latest744px-mercedes-benz_logo_svg developments in cutting-edge fashion to the global fashion industry,” said Stephanie Zimmer, Manager of Brand Experience Marketing for Mercedes-Benz USA. “The excitement is building in anticipation of what will hit the runways from both the well-known designers and emerging talent showing this season.”

Over 100,000 guests, journalists, buyers and members of the industry make Lincoln Center become the heartbeat of the city for the 8 days of shows and events. Title sponsor Mercedes-Benz is joined by DHL, American Express®, Maybelline New York, TRESemmé, Samsung, Reel Code, Style Network, WGSN, Beck’s Sapphire, The New York Times, as well as Women’s Wear Daily and Getty Images.

September 5th

  • 9AM NICHOLAS K at STUDIO
  • 10AM BCBGMAXAZRIA at THEATRE
  • 11AMR ICHARD CHAI at STAGE
  • 1PM SUPIMA at STUDIO
  • 2PM TADASHI SHOJI at STAGE
  • 2:30-3:30PMC ANDELA at BOX
  • 3PM DESIGUAL at THEATRE
  • 5PM MARISSA WEBB at STUDIO Continue reading

PURINA ONE® TEAMS UP WITH TRACY REESE TO SHOWCASE THE TRUE NATURE™ OF CATS AT 2013 FALL/WINTER NEW YORK FASHION WEEK

Purina ONE launches True Nature of Cats with a leash-trained cat at  New York Fashion Week.  (PRNewsFoto/Purina ONE)

Purina ONE launches True Nature of Cats with a leash-trained cat at New York Fashion Week at the 2013 Fall/Winter Fashion Show. (PRNewsFoto/Purina ONE)

Purina ONE® showed the world how to really work the runway, turning heads at the 2013 FALL/WINTER NEW YORK FASHION WEEK at New York City’s LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS with cats on leashes during the 2013 FALL/WINTER TRACY REESE Collection Show this past Sunday.

As part of the PURINA ONE brand cat food’s TRUE NATURE™ OF CATS MOVEMENT and the launch of PURINA ONE® SMARTBLEND® HEALTHY METABOLISM™ WET AND DRY FORMULAS, Purina ONE joined forces with cat (and animal) lover, TRACY REESE, in challenging misconceptions about cats, beginning with the idea they can’t be leash-trained.

Purina ONE and designer Tracy Reese, left, showcase the True Nature of cats during the Tracy Reese Fall 2013 show at Fashion Week as part of their Healthy Metabolism launch, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. (Jason DeCrow/Invision for Purina ONE/AP Images)

Purina ONE and designer Tracy Reese, left, showcase the True Nature of cats during the Tracy Reese Fall 2013 show at Fashion Week as part of their Healthy Metabolism launch, Sunday, Feb. 10, 2013. (Jason DeCrow/Invision for Purina ONE/AP Images)

Continue reading