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    Fashion History: The Present Era

    August 22nd, 2016

    Since the end of the 20th century the vicissitudes of globalization and the development of new technologies for design and production (including the creation of new “techno textiles”) increases the influence of the future of fashion. Synthetic materials such as Lycra, Spandex, and viscose became widely-used. Back to that time fashion turned to the past for inspiration, after two decades of looking to the future.

    Fashion History from 1980 – 1990

    The 1980s saw a definite rise in the popularity of designer styles, while high fashion had greatly declined during the 1960s and 1970s. Fashion shows were more important then ever and were transfigured into media-saturated spectaculars and frequently televised. Power and money dominated the styles of the 1980s and clothing was a sign of power. The better-heeled people around the world were literally rushing to pricy New York boutiques and Paris fashion shows to purchase directly from designers’ lines. Extremly popular were the baroque evening dresses and long, extravagant designer gowns which made a reappearance inspired by the past. While not everybody could afford the very expensive designer cloths, the mass producers on the other hand replicated the high fashions for the general public. A few fashion designers such as Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren for instance also produced ready-to-wear lines to appeal to less-affluent customers.

    Thierry Mugler and Azzedine Alaia were the two French fashion designer who best defined the look to that time. Thierry Mugler produced fashion designs that combined Hollywood retro and futurism, with rounded hips and sharply accentuated shoulders. Due to his glamorous dresses which were a remarkable success to that time, Mugler had made an end of the hippy era and its unstructured silhouette. On the other hand Azzedine Alaia was known for his inspiring combinations and was the master of all kinds of techniques that had previously been known only to haute couture. He included in his designs many new and underused materials, such as Lycra and viscose.

    Beside the prevailing fashion image of the time two Japanese designers such as Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto offered a very natural look and marked a total break of the extravance and glamorous fashion designs. Flat shoes, no make-up, reserve, modesty, and secrecy were the hallmarks of their modern look.

    In American fashion, Donna Karan and Ralph Lauren dominated the ready to wear styles in the 80s. While Karan brought a very personal and feminine approach to the severe, sober-colored, casual American look for urban women who greatly appreciated the understated luxury of her clothes, Lauren represented a classic look as sportswear and jeans that had been adopted for an active life. Unlike Karan, Lauren reached the widest possible range of social classes and age groups due to his affordable price points of his designs.

    Watch the clip to imagine the extravagant 1980′s:

    Fashion History from 1990 – 1999

    The economic recession at the beginning of the 1990s in the fashion industry literally destroyed the positive and optimistic mood of the 1980s. Women had begun to reject the moneyed, designer styles of the 1980s and opt for more comfortable, casual clothing by the 1990s. Ripped jeans, flannel shirts and baggy pants which were inspired by the rock & roll and hip-hop movement became extremly popular. The comfort and the desire of wearable clothes became the key factor in the fashion industry for most women in the 1990s and 2000s. Ready to wear retailer such as Gap and Banana Republic came to the forefront of fashion and retro clothing inspired by the 1960s and 1970s was popular for much of the 1990s.

    The Italian fashion house Gucci, founded in 1921 had begun selling luxury leather goods and gave up control of the company to Invest Corp. in 1990, was then employing an unknown fashion director, Tom Ford in 1994. Ford triggered a tidal wave with his chic and shocking collections, perfumes for men and women, revamped boutiques, and advertising campaigns. Hence the Gucci house was crowned with a great prestige and is today the second biggest-selling fashion brand, after LVMH worldwide.

    At the end of the 20th century Michael Kors, Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs were the most influental American fashion designer. Michael Kors’s knowledge and consciousness of trends enabled him to produce simple well-cut garments, whose sophistication and elegance appealed to a whole new breed of wealthy American customers drawn to the new vogue for minimalist chic. Marc Jacobs is one of the most notable American designers of the period in that, unlike many American fashion designers in the past, he was not so much the co-ordinator of a mass-produced garment as a designer in the European sense of the word. The already well-known designer Calvin Klein on the other hand started to market his fashions, perfumes, and accessories beside the US also in Europe and Asia and was achieving an unequaled success. Klein used carefully constructed advertisements containing images tinted with eroticism to promote his sophisticatedly functional mass-produced designs, which won massive popularity among the urban youth of the 1990s.

    In Italy, Dolce & Gabbana and Versace dominated the fashion industry in Europe to that time. Both, Dolce & Gabbana with their superfeminine and fantastical style and Versace with his brilliant, sexy and colorful designs, broke away from the serious and sober-minded fashions that dominated during much of the 1990s.

    Catwalk footage of supermodel Cindy Crawford at Calvin Klein runway fashion show in 1991

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    Streetstyle New York: Dress of the Week #4 – Adrianna

    August 4th, 2016

    Throwback Thursday

    (We met Adrianna in 2010 in New York)

    This week the Italian high fashion brand “Fendi” is all over the place. Our public model seems to be a huge Fendi fan. She is wearing shoes and a crocodile handbag from the Italian design house. Combined with a “Chanel” coat the entire dress looks very, very fashionable. See for yourself.

    Related Articles:
    1_Fashion History Classics: Invention of the Chanel Costume
    2_Fendi in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Fendi bag worn by Jessica, Streetstyle New York #42

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    Fashion Backstage: Speaking Fashion with ‘BURKHALTER couture’

    Juli 19th, 2016

    Interview blast from the past, October 2010, Geneva

    speakfashion: Stéphanie, what encouraged you to enter the glitzy and glamorous world of fashion?

    BURKHALTER couture: Well, I’ve already developed a special interest for classic drawing and oil painting in my earliest childhood. Being a very reserved and solitary child, I spent entire days in my room for drawing, contained in my world of fantasy. At the age of 16 I began an international Model career which made me travel in every corner of the world. With this experience I decided to unite fashion with drawing and I attended the prestigious fashion school ‘Marangoni’ in Milan. I obtained my diploma in 2005 and worked with many Italian fashion companies ever since. During this time I started to draw my own collection. In 2008 BURKHALTER couture was born.

    speakfashion: How would you describe your label and what’s the basic style of ‘BURKHALTER Couture’?

    BURKHALTER couture: BURKHALTER couture proposes a sensual timeless line, handmade in Italy. We understand ourselves as no season Haute Couture label with juvenile tendencies maintaining nevertheless some classical and luxurious style. Within this understanding I mainly design cocktail and red carpet dresses using typical high quality fabrics like satin, silk, taffeta stretch, and cadi revers. Our intense Haute Couture style addresses especially women who are sensual and sure of themselves. Although my collections are not limited I mostly create dresses since I love the fact that woman only look perfectly feminine in a dress.

    speakfashion: For you personally, what’s the biggest challenge in designing couture?

    BURKHALTER couture: The biggest challenge is always the transformation of my ideas. It is sometimes slightly tricky to get these crazy and nonspecific thoughts into an actual dress. After I have an idea in mind I usually start to work with materials, touch them, feel them and try to get them to work on the mannequin. Then I have to draw some sketches that are similar to the original but a little less crazy but more wearable.

    speakfashion: Is Haute Couture truly wearable for average people with an average lifestyle or is it still kind of an artsy hobby for wealthy women?

    BURKHALTER couture: I would say that basically everybody could wear Haute Couture. However, the haut couture approach is very expensive and requires a very wealthy target group for this reason. That means that the actual Haute Couture target groups are jet set women between 25 and 65 who are living literally in the high societies around the world. And that’s the good news though: Haute Couture won’t die because there always will be very wealthy people around.

    speakfashion: Ok, let’s talk about the budget then. What’s the price range of your actual collection?

    BURKHALTER couture: My collection starts with pieces for 1.500 Euros and can go up to 4.200 Euros depending on the actual piece, fabric and sewing. My best seller is actually this beautiful dress in gray cadi revers which I gave the name ‘Purity’ because of its clear line. My customers love the clarity of the line that gives them the opportunity to wear this dress for different occasions.

    speakfashion: Compared with ready to wear fashion what would you say: Is Haute Couture the true trendsetter that dictates the rules for upcoming Ready to Wear styles?

    BURKHALTER couture: Haute Couture is high end of sewing, high research and therefore the high end of a Ready to Wear. Haute Couture is the one and only trendsetter particularly because it comes out earlier than ready to wear and works as sort of the genesis for new collections. Both of them are working with the same base but the craziness and the ideas are truly pushed by Haute Couture designs. Although Ready to Wear is certainly the trendsetter for Fast Fashion.

    speakfashion: Well, that sounds obvious. Thanks for sharing with us. Would you let us finally know what’s next for ‘BURKHALTER Couture’?

    BURKHALTER couture: I’m thinking of moving into another country right now. I’ll probably go to the U.S. sometime soon since there are still a lot of opportunities to promote and evolve my label. We’ll see.

    speakfashion: Well, good luck then if you really going to hop over the pond and thank you for this interesting chat.

    Speaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter CoutureSpeaking Fashion with Burkhalter Couture
    Wanna touch base with ‘Stéphanie Burkhalter’?
    BURKHALTER couture – Geneva Headquaters

    BURKHALTER couture // 129, Rue de Lausanne // 1202 Geneva
    P: + 41 (0) 22 732 47 85 // Email to Stéphanie Burkhalter

    W: www.burkhaltercouture.com // View it on google maps.

    Catch up with BURKHALTER couture on Facebook or Twitter

    Related Articles:
    1_Latest Fashion News: Toni Francesc’s Fall 2011 Runway Show
    2_Burkhalter Couture in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Fashion Shows: Dior’s Fall 2012/13 Couture Show

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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the Mini Skirt?

    Juni 25th, 2016

    The so-called mini-skirt is a skirt with a hemline well above the knees that is generally no longer than 4 inches (10 cm) below the buttocks. In the olden days it was not usual, even a scandal if you attempted to show more legs then you should. Read the rest of this entry

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    Streetstyle New York: Dress of the Week #3 – Adrian Smith

    Juni 12th, 2016

    Throwback Sunday

    Sometimes Fun City is getting inspired from its smaller British sister. In the latest issue of our “Dress of the Week” we encountered Adrian Smith with a London inspired vintage style in the heart of SoHo. It’s a cute outfit that’s wearable for both, business and leisure time.

    Related Articles:
    1_MaxMara vintage coat worn by Cederic, Streetstyle New York #12
    2_Vintage in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Vintage worn by Davian, Streetstyle New York #17

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    Fashion Backstage: Speaking Fashion with ‘Cindy Steffens’

    Juni 2nd, 2016

    Interview blast from the past, September 2010, Vienna

    speakfashion:Cindy, before we talk about your hat-designs, just tell us quickly about yourself and how you came up with the idea of an own fashion label?

    cindy steffens:
    Well, since of my childhood ‘art’ and ‘design’ was surrounding me. I’ve known very early that I’m going to do something creative. After I finished my university entrance diploma in 1998, I started a fashion design education and afterwards I completed my fashion design degree 2005 in Hannover.

    speakfashion:
    Why did you decide to design hats?cindy steffens:I’ve done two different internships during my study where I discovered my love and passion to hats. I was so obsessed creating my own hat-designs and nothing changed until now. speakfashion:What’s the basic idea behind your style? Or in other words: What distinguish ‘cindy steffens’ from other hat designers?cindy steffens: On one hand I emphasize a certain technique in designing my hats. I knot feathers, twirl silk or I’m tearing fabrics to follow them up with the famous ‘bobbin lace-making’ method. On the other hand I’m using different and unusual materials like glass, metal, silk, hair-felt or real hedgehog-needles, root ages, lacquer, leather and rubber. Every so often I also reprocess real branches and original veil from the 30s.

    speakfashion:What’s the biggest challenge in designing hats?

    cindy steffens: The biggest challenge in designing hats is definitely to keep the hat in its usual and basic form. It is very exhausting and hard to deal with that. In this case I’m always working with hot water-steam, at least when I’m using hair-felt. On one hand I really like working with this material but on the other hand it is also very difficult to handle it correctly. It could happen that you get some wholes and bumps by accident for instance.

    speakfashion: How does your main target group look like?

    cindy steffens: My clients are on average between 25 and 45 years old. But I also have a client who is already 85. They all have one thing in common: They love to emphazise their personality by wearing an appropriate hat. Handsome women, trend-setter who set themselves apart from the general public.

    speakfashion: What’s the price range of your hats?

    cindy steffens: My prices start at a minimum of EUR 55,- and they can go up to EUR 150,- which is the more usual price of a hat since they are all hand-made in my shop in Vienna. And every hat has its unique design. That means, there is no best seller which I’d fabricate over and over again. If you buy a particular design you can be sure that this is the only one. Because of this uniqueness there is certainly no price limit to the top.

    speakfashion: Wearing classical hats were an indicator of social status in the olden days. When do people wear your hats basically these days? Is there a certain occasion for ’cindy steffens’?

    cindy steffens: Lots of my clients want to have an appropriate hat to a certain dress. The ‘Vienna balls’ are often a particular occasion for my designs. My clients are wearing my hats to weddings as well, whether the bride by herself or simply the wedding guests. And some of my clients only try to escape from their daily grind in wearing my sophisticated hat-designs as a nice accessory.

    speakfashion: Do you have already shown your hat-designs during a fashion week?

    cindy steffens: Yes, last year twice in Berlin and Vienna. This year I’m going to present my designs in Vienna as well. But I’m also attending different exhibitions in Europe during the year.

    speakfashion: What are your plans for the future? Any secrets you want to share with us today?

    cindy steffens: I’d like to extend my store in Vienna with a second person who can help me out in designing and merchandising my hats. I also would like to offer my designs in more cities and countries like Dublin for instance because I really love this city!

    speakfashion: Sounds great Cindy. Thank you for the chat and keep us posted on your story.

    Speaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy SteffensSpeaking Fashion with Hat Designer Cindy Steffens
    Wanna touch base with ‘Cindy Steffens’?
    Cindy Steffens- Headquaters in Hamburg
    Kleiner Schippsee 15 // 21073 Hamburg
    P: +49 (176) 995.010.11 // Email to Cindy Steffens
    W: www.cindysteffens.com // Catch up with Cindy on Facebook

    Related Articles:
    1_Fashion History Classics: Invention of the Cloche Hat
    2_Cindy Steffens in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Fashion Accessory: Bebe hat

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