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    Happy Holidays!

    Dezember 24th, 2016

    Happy Holidays to everybody! Hope you’ll have a wonderful time with your families. We love this sketch made by our favorite Jennifer Lilya Illustrations.

    Lilya Illustrations

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    Fashion History: The Fashion Revolution Era

    Dezember 19th, 2016

    By the 1960s, the empire of fashion had begun to break up into various style tribes. The coming of age of the postwar baby boom generation, together with a strong economy, led to the rise of an international youth culture that completely revolutionized the fashion system. “Youth quake” styles were closely linked to popular music, especially in London, where young women first started wearing miniskirts, while men dressed like peacocks. Forth fashions were soon followed by stylish versions of hippie anti-fashion. Despite the rise of influential new designer and popular trends, the time had clearly passed when a single designer could dominate the look of a season or decade the way Dior once had with the “New Look” of 1947. Italy, Japan and New York became new centers of fashion.

    Fashion History from 1960 – 1970

    Until the 1960s Paris was supposed to be the center of fashion only. Prior to the 1960s fashion designers generally created styles for runway shows and clothing manufacturers mass produced the designers’ styles for the general public. At that time the youth generation with a power and culture that was all their own, now at an age to speak out, began to rebel against traditional clothing styles and created their own fashion trends. As a matter of fact, after trying to move forward with their traditional creations,  fashion designer couldn’t keep up with their specific trends and implement the youths’ popular creations into clothing for the masses. Even indomitable and matured women adopted a girlish, hip-style with short skirts and straightened curves in the 60s. Not to mention that at the start of the decade skirts were knee-length, but steadily became shorter and shorter until the mini-skirt emerged in 1965.

    A huge variety of clothing became popular beside the short miniskirts, including bell bottoms, hot pants and blue jeans. It was no longer shocking for women to wear pants on a daily basis. The basic shape and style of the time was simple, clean cut, neat and especially young. Synthetic fabrics were very widely-used during the 1960s. The colors of the styles were both clear and bright at the same time, very much mirroring the mood of the period. Hats weren’t worn anymore, only to special occasions and flat boots also became popular with very short dresses in 1965. Later on the boots even rose up the leg and reached the knee.

    Emilio Pucci and Paco Rabanne were two very influential fashion designers in the 1960s. Emilio Pucci’s sportswear designs and prints earned him a very high reputation of the high society. His sleek shift dresses, tunics, and beachwear, created a ‘Puccimania’ that liberated the female form in the 1960s. Paco Rabanne on the other hand produced resolutely modern designs, created garments from aluminum (Rhodoid) and pieces of scrap metal. His designs, as well as being experimental, were also closely in tune with what modern adventurous young women wanted to wear. Rabanne was also the first fashion designer to use black models in the conservative world of haute couture.

    The principal change in menswear in the 1960s was in the weight of the fabric used. The choice of materials and the method of manufacture produced a suit that, because it was lighter in weight, had a totally different look, with a line that was closer to the natural shape of the body, causing men to look at their figures more critically. The spread of jeans served to accelerate a radical change in the male wardrobe. Young men grew their hair down to their collars and added a touch of color, and even floral motifs, to their shirts. The polo neck never succeeded in replacing the tie, but the adoption of the workman’s jacket in rough corduroy, and especially the Mao jacket proved to be more than simply a political statement.

    The Swinging Sixties:

    Fashion History from 1970 – 1980

    The decade began with a continuation of the hippie look of the late 1960s, with afghans, Indian scarves and floral-print tunics. Jeans remained frayed and bell-bottomed, tie dye was still popular, and the fashion for unisex was mounting then ever.

    Due to the choices for available clothing that had become very diverse, it was nearly impossible to tell the do’s and don’ts in fashion by the 1970s. The “anything goes” in terms of fashion was increasing during these two decades of rapid social revolution and holds on until nowadays, at least for the freedom of choices.

    Jeans became an accepted part of the American fashion scene in the 1970s. Heading to the more casual sportswear, the American fashion designers adapted the best of what they learned from Europe to the massive American clothing industry. Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren became widely known in America after designing clothes for the men and women of a new world. It could be said two styles dominated fashion in the U.S.A. during the 1970s – the tailored, unisex look and the fluid, unstructured style with a strong feeling of the 1930s glamor and elegance.

    Kenzo Takada and Sonia Rykiel were the most influential fashion character to that time in France. Kenzo drew his inspiration from all over the world, mixing Western and Oriental folk influences with a fantastic ‘joie de vivre’ (joy of life) and an instinctive understanding of what his young customers wanted. He literally turned the fashion world upside down with his unusual prints, fluid lines and clever combined accessories. Sonia Rykiel, the so-called queen of knits in 1974, designed her first sweaters with reversed seams. She created a whole range of clothes that were extremely individual and yet could be worn almost anywhere.

    Men’s fashion changed more in the 1970s than it had done in a whole century. The typical male look was defined by narrow shoulders, tight-fitting lines, no tie, no interfacing, zip-up boiler suits, waisted jackets or tunics, sometimes even without shirt. Fashion designer of that time adopted the unisex look and transformed it even to the work clothes, like traditional suits and changed them to a more informal style therefore. Designers also introduced a revival of the 1930s elegance in men’s wear. The unearthing of old military clothing, preferably khaki and from the United States, English-style shoes, Oxford shirts, immaculate T-shirts, tweed jackets with padded shoulders, and brightly-colored V-neck sweaters.

    A huge change in fashion was also the influential increase of Italian’s fashion. Milan confirmed its status as the second center of international fashion after Paris. Capitalizing on the dominant trend of anti-fashion, Italy offered a glamor that had nothing to do with the dictates of Parisian haute couture. While profiting from a clearly defined style, Italian fashion was luxurious and easy to wear. The two most influential Italian fashion designers of the time were Giorgio Armani and Nino Cerruti. Armani’s first women collection in 1975, was dynamic, urban, and understated, androgynous in inspiration. Nino Cerruti presented his first women collection in 1976 while he was pursuing a menswear boutique in Milan for 19 years. A high-quality designer of taste and discernment, Cerruti occupied a unique position in Italian ready-to-wear.

    Haute couture is dead, welcome to the 1970′s fashion:

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    Streetstyle New York: Dress of the week #6 – Ivan

    Dezember 1st, 2016

    Throwback Thursday

    (We met Ivan back in New York in July 2010)

    Ivan didn’t tell us his last name. Maybe he couldn’t decide if he wants to be Ivan Gucci or Ivan Dolce. He could easily claim to be one of those designers, because he is wearing Dolce and Gucci from head to toe. Except his handbag. This piece is from Bottega . But we’ll categorize it certainly into the same high-end fashion level. Chapeau!

    Related Articles:
    1_Latest Fashion News: Dolce & Gabbana talk digital
    2_Dolce & Gabbana in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Gucci in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary

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    Fashion Backstage: Speaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke Walter

    November 21st, 2016

    Interview blast from the past, February 2011, New York

    speakfashion: Elke, as far as the story goes did you step into the fashion business accidentally since you couldn’t find the right garment for yourself. Is that true?

    Elke Walter: Absolutely. It happened during the 90s while I lived in France, certainly the designated mother country of high fashion. Ironically I couldn’t find my dress of all dreams even there. So I decided to create one by myself. At this very first experience with fashion design I experienced the beauty of fabrics. This was the start for me as a fashion designer.

    speakfashion: Back then you didn’t have much experience either in design or in working with fabrics. How did you teach yourself into all that?

    Elke Walter: Honestly, I hate being taught. But I have a good taste and a very good feeling for high quality. And learning by doing is very often the best way to approach an unknown territory. So it took me some hard days and sleepless nights at the beginning before something wearable came out. But after all people started asking me where they could buy those dresses. At this time I knew I’m on the right track. I’m not very good in sketching but I know what I like and what makes women look beautiful. I’m a natural born designer.

    speakfashion: Sounds very dedicated. But since you don’t have all the typical skills fashion designers learn while studying, how do you create your designs then?

    Elke Walter: I choose the fabric I want to work with and have my mind go into it until I know what has to be done with. Then I start my creation as a courageous act: I take my scissors and I cut. I never draw. I never make sketches. I create sculptures. This is how I started and I’m still working within this unusual design process. Finally the cut will be made after my first sculptural prototype.

    speakfashion: Since you have lots of experience as a self-taught designer: What’s the most important skill for upcoming fashion designers?

    Elke Walter: In my mind the most important skill for a fashion designer is to work out his own design signature. A very unique handwriting combined with passion and diligence is probably a must have for future success.

    speakfashion: And what’s the biggest challenge designers have to struggle with when they start their own business?

    Elke Walter: All designers are challenged by the same uphill struggle which is to design a beautiful head-turner that is both comfortable and wearable at the same time. A great garment has to be stunning from all sides. It doesn’t make sense to work on a beautiful front and ignore the back for instance.

    speakfashion: Talking about stunning dresses. What’s your design all about?

    Elke Walter: All my Ready to Wear and Couture dresses are made out of a rectangular piece of fabric. That’s my individual design signature. I decided to work with this rectangular structure because the base of all things is simple. Why shouldn’t be the base of fashion design simple either? The simplicity keeps open all the possibilities to proceed later on. For me there is no other way of cutting. It has become sort of a personal dogma. It makes my designs very special, very comfortable and there is a new challenge in designing different items every day.

    speakfashion: A special design sounds very tempting. Are all your pieces still handmade too?

    Elke Walter: In the beginning I did everything myself. After a little while I got some helping hands working in my Hamburg based design studio. But 2011 will be the year where we have to outsource the production to specialized German production companies.

    speakfashion: That means you’d broaden up your fashion line in the past since you need more and more outside vendors to help you out?

    Elke Walter: Yes, definitely. Meanwhile I’m running four lines. My all-time bestselling line ‘TOKYO’ which is made of black Japanese polyester and sold by retailers worldwide. ‘ADAN’, an abbreviation for ‘All-Day-All-Night’, is a line where I design street wear. I also have a highly exclusive line which is what it says: ‘Elke-Walter-One-Of-A-Kinds’. All designs are custom-made for special occasions of special clients. To bridge the gap between the lines I’ll put on another one this year ranging from street wear to cocktail and evening dresses.
    As for the fabrics I love modern yarns that make fabrics better to wear and more beautiful. Oh and I have to confess: I am a polyester maniac.

    speakfashion: So it seems you found yourself a niche where customers are willing to pay for sophisticated designs rather than to go for widely known fashion brands?

    Elke Walter: That’s true, yes. But you have to be able to react really fast to market changes if you want to survive in this niche. Do what big companies can’t: React fast to changing demands of women and you can get decent prices for your designs. Speaking of the reproducible lines my designs start at 300 Euros and go up to 1,500 Euros. My unique pieces range between 2,500 and 10,000 Euros.

    speakfashion: Did you experience a distinctive taste in different countries since you market your clothes all over the world?

    Elke Walter: Today there is no difference between the countries. Fashion is international. It is the attitude of women that makes the difference. In general I would say that women everywhere have the same token: Dressing up to be beautiful.

    speakfashion: This statement pictures a bright future for fashion though. What’s your plan for the upcoming season?

    Elke Walter: Oh there is a lot going on in 2011. First of all I’d like to bring out my men’s line. To broaden up our sales promotion we’ll open up a showroom in Milan and get some promotion assistance from our US and Japanese agent. In March we will have a runway show in the German Embassy in Tokyo as well. So stay tuned and keep an eye up for Elke Walter designs.

    speakfashion: We will Elke. Thanks so much for sharing all these ideas with us. Enjoy your trip to Tokyo.

    Speaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke WalterSpeaking Fashion with Couture Designer Elke Walter
    Catch up with Elke Walter
    Elke Walter – Hamburg Headquater

    Eppendorfer Weg 235 // 20251 Hamburg, Germany

    P: +49 (40) 47.29.65 // Email to Elke Walter

    W: www.elkewalter.com // Visit Elke Walter on facebook

    Related Articles:
    1_Fashion Shows: Tibi’s Fall 2012 Runway Show
    2_Elke Walter in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Fashion Shows: Nomia’s Fall 2012 Presentation

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    Let’s ask the Fashion Dictionary: What’s a Brooch?

    Oktober 28th, 2016

    Have you ever heard of a brooch? We’ll explain to you what it is.

    Must known fashion term #60: Brooch

    A brooch is a decorative pin that is attached to a garment or hat with the purpose of fastening or closing the garment. Brooches are often highly ornamental and are richly adorned with gem stonespearls, and decorations made of gold and silver.

    Today, brooches are mostly worn only for decorative purposes.

    If you’d like to learn more useful fashion terms just click yourself through our fashion dictionary or download our app on iTunes: ‘FAD – The ultimate Fashion Dictionary’.

    ps: Have you discovered a fashion term you’d like to introduce to our fellow fashion speakers? Feel free to drop us a line or leave a comment below and we’ll share it here.

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    Fashion History Classics: Who invented the first A-Line collection?

    Oktober 9th, 2016

    The term ‘A-Line’ is usually used to describe a certain type of clothing, usually a dress, skirt or coat that is shaped like the capital letter ‘A’. It is narrow at the top and flares away from the hip towards the knees. Read the rest of this entry

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    Streetstyle New York: Dress of the week #5 – Jessi Diaz Hernandez

    September 22nd, 2016

    Throwback Thursday

    (We met Jessica back in New York in July 2010)

    Jessica Diaz Hernandez is wearing our emphasized dress of this week. Her bebe shoes are truly the eye-catcher of her outfit and a good contradiction to the bright and summer-like yellow dress. “I hope you like it” is Jessica’s conclusion in the video. We don’t hope it. We know it.

    Related Articles:
    1_Fashion Style Tip: Vivienne Westwood yellow dress
    2_Bebe in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Fashion Backstage: Interview w/Burkhalter Couture

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    Fashion Backstage: Speaking Fashion with Roni Hirshberg of Generation Love Clothing

    September 13th, 2016

    Interview blast from the past, December 2010, New York

    Roni Hirshberg, co-founder of fashion label ‘Generation Love Cloting‘ is convinced, that anybody can become a Designer if he’s really passionate about his idea. ‘If you don’t feel it from your soul it’s not going to go to the next level’ Hirshberg acknowledges in her fashion chat with speakfashion.us. Hirshberg and her partner Audrey Bressa definitely feel their inner voice. What started as a crazy idea over beers its going to spread out all over the world in the meantime.

    Speaking Fashion with Roni Hirshberg of Generation Love. Brought to you by speakfashion.us

    Thumb through the Video
    Don’t have the time to see the entire interview? Just browse through. Below we emphasize the most remarkable quotes.

    ‘I think if you really love something, it translates.’ [01:13]

    ‘You might have a lot of ideas but if you don’t feel it from your soul it’s not going to go to the next level.’ [02:09]

    ‘We are really about the girl who wants to look casually chic from day to night.’ [04:17]

    ‘At the end of the day it comes to detail, quality and the craftsmen ship. That’s what’s gonna last.’ [05:33]

    ‘Anyone can become a designer no matter what background he might have.’ [07:11]

    ‘We definitely want to get carried out all over the world, that’s our future plan.’ [08:17]

    Catch up with Generation Love
    Generation Love Clothing – NYC Headquater
    434 East 79th Street// New York, NY 10065
    P: 212.600.4384 // Email to Roni Hirshberg
    W: www.generationloveclothing.com // View it on google maps.

    Related Articles:
    1_Latest Fashion News: Katya Leonovich’s Fall 2012 Presentation
    2_Generation Love in speakfashion’s fashion dictionary
    3_Fashion Shows: Mara Hoffman’s Spring 2013 Runway Show

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    Let’s ask the Fashion Dictionary: Who’s Sonia Rykiel?

    September 1st, 2016

    Sonia Rykiel was a French fashion designer who was born in 1930 in Paris and sadly just died on August 25th 2016.

    Must known fashion person #59: Sonia Rykiel

    Rykiel started her fashion career as a window displayer in a Parisian textile store. After not finding any soft sweaters to wear while she was pregnant in 1962, she decided to design her own knitwear maternity clothes and tiny sweaters 5 years later. Due to her love to knits she was soon crowned ‘The Queen of Knits’ by the Americans in 1967.

    Rykiel also became the first designer to put seams on the outside of a garment, and to print words on her sweater.

    If you’d like to learn more useful fashion terminology just click yourself through our fashion dictionary or download our app on iTunes: ‘FAD – The ultimate Fashion Dictionary’.

    ps: Have you discovered a fashion term you’d like to introduce to our fellow fashion speakers? Feel free to drop us a line or leave a comment below and we’ll share it here.

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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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