Tuesday, January 25, 2011

London Fashion Week - Autumn / Winter 2011.

This February, from Friday 18th until Wednesday 23rd the eyes of the fashion world will once again be upon London, as it hosts London Fashion Week 2011.

Giles Deacon, who usually shows in Paris, will be making his return to LFW. He will also be joined by Swedish design house, Acne, who will make their debut showing at LFW on September 19th. In addition, LFW staples, such as Burberry Prorsum, Matthew Williamson and Pringle of Scotland will also show their now collections at Somerset House.

The full London Fashion Week schedule is provided by the link below.


What Makes a Great Model Portfolio? Interview with Rory Lewis Fashion Photographer.

Your model portfolio is many times the first contact a potential client or agency has with you. This means that your portfolio images are extremely important to your modeling career. If you look at portfolios those models who don’t have a professional portfolio find it hard to get work. It’s a simple fact that being more relaxed and having fun during a model photo session will produce better images.

There are a few EXTREMELY important concepts to think about:

· Remember that this is truly a “first impression” business. You know the quote – “You only get one chance to make a good first impression.” – There is no business where that is truer than modeling. Every agency or client that you contact – your photos, comp card or modeling portfolio will always go in the door before you.

· Consider this: If McDonald’s were going to launch a new print ad campaign for the Big Mac. . . do you think that they would go to the nearest McDonald’s, order a few Big Mac’s and return to the studio to photograph them? Of course not! They would hire the most creative and skilled food stylists from New York or Los Angeles to build and photograph a Big Mac – the likes of which you nor I will ever have the opportunity to eat – but it sure will make us want to go out and buy one! What is my point?

· Set your standards HIGH! You MUST use a very critical eye when selecting any images to put in your modeling portfolio. Make sure that the pictures that you show have the ability to WOW agencies and potential clients.

· You are only as good as your worst image – and believe me – photographers, agencies and art directors WILL remember the worst image.

· Testing is a huge part of getting started in the world of photography, and is also vital to staying alive creatively along the way. When you’re more established, testing keeps you fresh and relevant to the current world of photography.

Image kindly reproduced courtesy of Rory Lewis Photography.

Clothing of the Future in the Year 2000 - A 1930’s Perspective.

Found from the archives of Pathe News, a 1930’s perspective on what we will be wearing in the year 2000.
If you’re well versed in Miu Miu, Christian Dior, Alexander McQueen and Salvatore Ferragamo you will not be disappointed with this ensemble. Look out especially for McQueen’s cantilevered heels which could have been straight off his Paris 2009 A/W runway show.
For the males, a touch of Calvin Klein’s utilitarian chic finishes off this remarkably valid prediction.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Fashion Week. The Industry Definition.

A fashion week is a fashion industry event, lasting approximately one week, which allows fashion designers, brands or "houses" to display their latest collections in runway shows and buyers to take a look at the latest trends. Most importantly, it lets the industry know what's "in" and what's "out" for the season. The most prominent fashion weeks are held in the four fashion capitals of the world New York, London, Milan  and Paris.

In the major fashion capitals, fashion weeks are semiannual events. January through April designers showcase their autumn and winter collections and September through November the spring/summer collections are shown. Fashion weeks must be held several months in advance of the season to allow the press and buyers a chance to preview fashion designs  for the following season. This is also to allow time for retailers to arrange to purchase or incorporate the designers into their retail marketing.

New York, London, Milan and Paris each host a fashion week twice a year with New York kicking off each season and the other cities following in the aforementioned order.

There are two major seasons per year - Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer. For Womenswear, the Autumn/Winter shows always start in New York in February. Spring/Summer shows start in September in London. Menswear Autumn/Winter shows start in January in Milan for typically less than a week followed by another short week in Paris. Menswear Spring/Summer shows are done in June. Womenswear Haute Couture shows typically happen in Paris a week after the Menswear Paris shows.

Over the past few years, more and more designers have shown inter-seasonal collections between the traditional Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer seasons. These collections are usually more commercial than the main season collections and help shorten the customer's wait for new season clothes. The inter-seasonal collections are Resort/Cruise (before Spring/Summer) and Pre-Fall (before Autumn/Winter). There is no fixed schedule for these shows in any of the major fashion capitals but they typically happen three months after the main season shows. Some designers show their inter-seasonal collections outside their home city. For example, Karl Lagerfeld has shown his Resort and Pre-Fall collections for Chanel in cities such as Moscow, Los Angeles and Monte Carlo instead of Paris. Many designers also put on presentations as opposed to traditional shows during Resort and Pre-Fall either to cut down costs or because they feel the clothes can be better understood in this medium.

Some fashion weeks can be genre-specific, such as a Miami Fashion Week (swimwear), Rio Summer (swimwear), Prêt-a-Porter (ready-to-wear) Fashion Week, Couture (one-of-a-kind designer original) Fashion Week and Bridal Fashion Week, while Portland (Oregon, USA) Fashion Week shows some eco-friendly designers.

In 1943, the first New York Fashion Week  was held, with one main purpose: to distract attention from French fashion during WWII,  when workers in the fashion industry were unable to travel to Paris. This was an opportune moment - as for centuries designers in America were thought to be reliant on the French for inspiration. The fashion publicist Eleanor Lambert  organized an event she called ‘Press Week’ to showcase American designers for fashion journalists, who had previously ignored their works. The Press Week was a success, and, as a result, magazines like Vogue  (which were normally filled with French designs) began to feature more and more American innovations. Until 1994, shows were held in different locations, such as hotels, or lofts. Eventually, after a structural accident at a Michael Kors show, the event moved to Bryant Park, behind the New York Public Library, where it remained until 2010, when the shows relocated to Lincoln Center.

However, long before Lambert, there were fashion shows throughout America. In 1903, an NYC shop, called Ehrich Brothers , put on what is thought to have been the country’s first fashion show, to lure middle-class females into the store. By 1910, many big department stores  were holding shows of their own. It is likely that American retailers saw that they were called 'fashion parades' in Paris couture salons and decided to use the idea. These parades were an effective way to promote stores, and improved their status. By the 1920s, the fashion show had been used by retailers up and down the country. They were staged, and often held in the shop’s restaurant during lunch or teatime. These shows were usually more theatrical than those of today, heavily based upon a single theme, and accompanied with a narrative commentary. The shows were hugely popular, enticing crowds in their thousands – crowds so large, that stores in New York in the fifties had to obtain a license to have live models.

Nowadays, access to New York Fashion Week is by invitation only, and only fashion magazine editors, fashion magazine journalists, models (and ex-models) and celebrities are invited. Other buyers are restricted to the showrooms and stores, and the articles in the magazines.

The dominance of the big four has been criticised for benefiting industry participants. For example, buyers, journalists, models and celebrities can limit their travel and simply move from one city to the other over the four week period. This arrangement has been criticized for stifling manufacturing employment in the UK and design talent in emerging fashion hubs such as Los Angeles.

What Is A Fashion Show? The Industry Definition.

A fashion show is an event put on by a fashion designer  to showcase his or her upcoming line of clothing  during Fashion Week. Fashion shows debut every season, particularly the Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter seasons. This is where the latest fashion trends are made. The most influential fashion week is Paris fashion week, which showcases twice a year.
In a typical fashion show, models  walk the catwalk  dressed in the clothing created by the designer. Occasionally, fashion shows take the form of installations, where the models are static, standing or sitting in a constructed environment. The order in which each model walks out wearing a specific outfit is usually planned in accordance to the statement that the designer wants to make about his or her collection. It is then up to the audience to not only try to understand what the designer is trying to say by the way the collection is being presented, but to also visually deconstruct each outfit and try to appreciate the detail and craftsmanship of every single piece. A wide range of contemporary designers tend to produce their shows as theatrical productions with elaborate sets and added elements such as live music or a variety of technological components like holograms , for example.
Because "the topic of fashion shows remains to find its historian”, the earliest history of fashion shows remains obscure.
In the 1800s, "fashion parades" periodically took place in Paris couture  salons.
American retailers  imported the concept of the fashion show in the early 1900s. The first American fashion show likely took place in 1903 in the New York City  store Ehrlich Brothers . By 1910, large department stores such as Wanamaker's  in New York City and Philadelphia were also staging fashion shows. These events showed couture gowns from Paris or the store's copies of them; they aimed to demonstrate the owners' good taste and capture the attention of female shoppers.
By the 1920s, retailers across the United States held fashion shows. Often, these shows were theatrical, presented with narratives, and organized around a theme (e.g. Parisian, Chinese, or Russian). These shows enjoyed huge popularity through mid-century, sometimes attracting thousands of customers and gawkers.
In the 1970s and 1980s, American designers began to hold their own fashion shows in private spaces apart from such retailers. In the early 1990s, however, many in the fashion world began to rethink this strategy. After several mishaps during shows in small, unsafe locations, "The general sentiment was, 'We love fashion but we don't want to die for it,'" recalls Fern Mallis, then executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America. In response to these shows, the New York shows were centralized in Bryant Park during fashion week  in late 1993. Lately from the 2000 to today, fashion shows are usually also filmed and appear on specially assigned television channels or even in documentaries.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Isabelle Caro, the face of anorexia, dies at 28

Isabelle Caro, a French model who became a symbol of the fight against anorexia when she was photographed naked for a controversial advertising campaign, has died at the age of 28. Caro rose to global prominence three years ago when posters featuring her emaciated body were displayed around Milan on the eve of fashion week, sending shockwaves through an industry criticised in some quarters for failing to tackle eating disorders among its models.

The posters were banned by the Italian advertising watchdog but the images went viral online, sparking a debate just months after the deaths of two prominent Latin American models.

Caro, who had struggled with anorexia since she was 13, chose to battle her demons in public in a bid to warn women away from the disease. She appeared on talk shows and wrote a blog and then a book titled The Little Girl Who Didn't Want to Get Fat.

She died on 17 November after returning to France from a job in Tokyo but news of her death was kept secret until this week.

The exact cause of death is not known but she was treated in hospital for a fortnight with an acute respiratory disease after returning from Japan. Her family held a private funeral in Paris. Referring to Caro's anorexia, Daniele Dubreuil-Prevot, her long-time acting instructor, said the French model "had been sick for a long time".

Vincent Bigler, a Swiss singer who became a close friend of Caro, told The Independent that Caro had been determined to help women like her who suffered from eating disorders.

"She was this thin girl with a fragile voice but inside she was amazingly strong," he said. "She was always very close to people like her. She would give out her phone number to anyone who wanted to talk about eating disorders. She even put her number on her blog. On her birthday this year she invited all her followers and fans to her party. That was the kind of person she was. She was very open-minded."

Bigler had got to know Caro personally after writing a song about her called "J'ai fin," a wordplay that roughly translates as "I'm done" but is also near-identical to J'ai faim, the French for "I am hungry."

In a video tribute posted on YouTube yesterday he wrote: "Thank you Isabelle for your courage and for the messages you passed on. I hope that up there you enjoy what you love: art, poetry, reading and the love of others."

Caro's poster campaign caused anger among some campaigners who feared that her skeletal image might inspire young women rather than encourage them.

On "thinspiration" internet forums yesterday there were a number of tributes glorifying the model's anorexia problems. One blog placed a picture of a painfully thin looking Caro alongside the words "die young, stay pretty".

But Caro had always rebuffed such criticism, saying she believed most young girls would be repulsed and not encouraged by the poster campaign.

"My anorexia causes death," she explained in an interview three years ago. "It is everything but beauty, the complete opposite. It is an unvarnished photo, without make-up. The message is clear – I have psoriasis, a pigeon chest, the body of an elderly person."

The Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, who shot the hard-hitting campaign, made a similar argument. "Looking at my ad, girls with anorexia would say to themselves that they have to stop dieting," he said at the time. "When you do something extreme, there are always people who oppose it. It shouldn't be the photos that shock, but the reality."

Yet despite her public determination to combat anorexia, Caro still struggled to fully overcome the disease. At the time of the campaign she weighed just 29 kilograms and had fallen into a coma the previous year.

Last year she was interviewed by the American pop star Jessica Simpson and said her weight had risen to 39 kilograms, but she still looked painfully thin. During the interview she told Simpson how she had started modelling during her last year of high school and had been immediately told to lose 10 kilograms. Despite her obviously frail physique she said she had never once been told by a modelling agency to put on weight.

"People are just used to seeing skinny people at the modelling agencies," she said.

Valentino: The Last Emperor

A fly-on-the-wall documentary shows the legendary Italian designer's last two years in charge of his fashion house.

It’s recently become clear that two industries - fashion and movies - make compatible bedfellows. Fashionistas flocked to see The September Issue, a documentary about Vogue magazine and its formidable editor Anna Wintour. The Devil Wears Prada, a knowing account of fashion biz machinations, was a big hit. The Sex and the City films derive part of their appeal from the chance they offer their target audience to ogle the clothes worn by its lead characters.

Next in line is Valentino: The Last Emperor, which can be seen next week on BBC Four prior to a DVD release in September, during London Fashion Week.

It’s a waspishly entertaining fly-on-the-wall glimpse behind the scenes that shows how the great Italian couturier designs his gowns, often rides roughshod over his employees, throws tantrums and gets into bitchy squabbles with his long-time professional and personal partner, Giancarlo Giammetti.

Even for those who care little about haute couture it exerts real fascination. This documentary about the legendary Italian designer was shot during the two years before he relinquished control of the fashion house over which he presided for 45 years.

It culminates in a lavish tribute to his career in Rome, a celebration, as someone says, ’worthy of the Sun King.’ When you see the style in which Valentino and Giammetti live, the comment doesn’t seem exaggerated.

The film shows their many luxury homes, in Rome, Paris, London, Gstaad, Tuscany and New York, apparently custom-built to contain Valentino’s oversized ego. He also has a 150-foot yacht, in which he sails the Mediterranean each summer. And wherever the two men go, they are accompanied by their five pet pugs, which provide comic relief in the film.

Valentino is astonishingly rich and well-connected, as befits a man whose international breakthrough was dressing Jacqueline Kennedy back in the 1960s.

The Venice Film Festival, where he arrived to promote the film and proved himself a star attraction. Valentino: The Last Emperor, at $1.2 million, is only a low-budget documentary. So it was staggering to watch the designer, by his very presence in Venice, effectively take over the festival for the day, hijacking it from real movie stars who were also in town, including George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Charlize Theron.

Everywhere he went, this dapper little man, now 78 and with a leathery, alarmingly orange tan, was cheered, applauded and screamed at by fans, just like a movie idol.

An Italian journalist  watched all this, rolling his eyes. “Here in Italy, there’s the Pope,” he said, “and then there’s Valentino.”

Then there was the official screening and party for the Valentino film, a gathering that for sheer star power and glamour easily outclassed any other in the festival. It brought together the worlds of high art, fashion, movies and Venetian history. The red-carpet screening was held in the city’s legendary opera house Teatro La Fenice, while the post-screening party was held at the Guggenheim Museum. Guests turned out in a manner appropriate for such opulent venues.

Valentino, in an elegant white tuxedo, presided over proceedings. But it was his stellar guest list, including actresses and supermodels all done up to the nines, that caught the eye.

Elizabeth Hurley (who briefly appears in the film) arrived in a plunging satin gown; guess who designed it. Theron, Claire Danes and Diane Kruger were among the movie actresses strutting their stuff, while Eva Herzigova and Natalia Vodianova headed the sisterhood of models on display.

The film was directed by Vanity Fair journalist Matt Tyrnauer, who offers a largely sympathetic portrait of these two men, though not to the extent of shutting off his cameras when they go into hissy-fit mode - which is often.

Still, the film seems a fitting climax to a remarkable career. “I felt very excited about a documentary of my life being made,” Valentino told me. He was even relaxed about the sequences that showed him being short-tempered: “There were moments of anger, but I was completely myself from beginning to end. That’s how I am. I wanted to show who I am, because I couldn’t care less.”

Tyrnauer confirmed as much, recalling he met the two men through writing a well-received 7,500 word piece on Valentino for Vanity Fair: “But the movie’s not based on that piece. It was the first time they have submitted to an in-depth analysis. It wasn’t easy. They’re private.”

It was a remarkable experience, Tyrnauer added, to live in effect with Valentino for two years: “He was wired for sound throughout the movie. They screamed at us [the crew] occasionally, and most of it is on screen.”

Giametti added: “We didn’t want it to look corporate or sponsored by us. But there were moments we would have preferred not to go in the documentary.”

It’s a film, then, of real treats, not least of which is watching Telegraph fashion editor Hilary Alexander grilling Valentino in an interview. As a child, she asks sweetly, did he ever want to be anything but a fashion designer? A train driver, perhaps? Valentino never did. No surprise there, then.

Yet for many, Giammetti steals the picture. It doesn’t hurt a bit that he is handsome enough to be a film star in his own right. His relationship with the legendary designer, as portrayed in the film, is intriguing; while Valentino may be the creative genius, Giammetti’s brilliant business brain has clearly helped his fashion house become an empire.

Valentino agrees that the world he inhabits is almost like a fantasy: “The world of fashion is a particular one,” he said. “It’s the subject of great interest. Shows of new collections are always full. It’s a world of dreams. I don’t think haute couture will ever die.”

And he should know. He has dressed many of the world’s most famous, beautiful and glamorous women.

He singles out Jackie Kennedy: “She was the lady who made Valentino, and I made hundreds of dresses for her.”

Yet his favourite dress was the elegant vintage black-and white gown which Julia Roberts wore to accept her Oscar for Erin Brockovich.

“I saw it on TV,” he beamed. “If movie stars love your clothes, that’s very important to me.”

Polaroid Test Shots - The End?

Polariod have announced, that not only are they discontinuing their range of cameras, but now also the associated instant film that is needed to take the picture. With so many model agencies asking for initial "Polariod Test Shots", what will the industry do to compensate for this time old first contact point. Are RAW digital images really the way ahead, or are there sometimes when Polariod film really is the King?