The white boot was the hottest style from fashion month … should you buy them?

If there was one street style trend that stood out like a beacon at fashion month – shorthand for the New York/London/Paris/Milan shows that have been clogging our ‘Gram the past month – it was the white boot.

Ankle length and pointed, or block-heeled and round-toed, there was barely a day when the world’s most stylish women, including Yasmin Sewell and Karlie Kloss, weren’t seen in snow white kicks.

Model Karlie Kloss spotted in white boots during New York Fashion Week. Photo: The Urban Spotter for Net-a-Porter

As far as shoe trends go, they’re a 9.4 degree of difficulty given you barely have to look at grass to stain them. So how did they become so popular?

Part of the reason fashion girls in Europe got away with wearing them – and keeping them so pristine – is that they hardly walk anywhere.

Michelle Williams at the opening of the new Louis Vuitton boutique in Paris on October 2. Photo: PA

Look through their feeds and it appears these girls are walking from arrondissement to arrondissement, their boots seemingly made of teflon and deflecting all manner of gum or dog poo.

But after reading Connie Wang’s excellent piece in Refinery29 onblogger Zanita Whittington, I learnt the stars of fashion week spend most of their time repeating the same eight steps back and forth outside a show to get the perfect shot.

Lilly Collins dons a peek-a-boo style bootie at Paris Fashion Week. Photo: PA

Whittington, Wang writes, “asked her driver to drop her off two blocks away from the entrance to a show, and made an S-shaped journey, doubling the mileage she would have made if she had gone straight there” so she could get more shots.

This in part helps explain the white boot thing. And there are only so many days in a row you can wear trainers, so the white boot is basically a sneaker on wheels. Except you can’t Spray ‘N Wipe a white boot the way you can a Stan Smith (someone at Adidas is cursing my name right now).

White hot … Kaia Gerber, wearing a pair of Stuart Weitzmann boots, is one of the most famous fans of the trend. Photo: Supplied

When it comes to selecting and caring for your white boot, here are some tips. Look for a boot with a contrasting heel; black or bamboo both work and will cut down trips to the bootmaker. Small nicks can also be more easily disguised on a dark heel. And if you do buy a white heel, do not ever drive in them (unless you have white car mats).

Toe shape is also important. While I’m a huge fan of a pointed or knife toe (hello, Balenciaga!), the sharper the point, the more likely you are to nick it on the kerb, so consider a more round toe if you plan to wear them to work.

OK, now you have your heel and toe sorted, styling them is easy. Yasmin Sewell scored a winner in Paris by teaming her Laurence Dacade boots with a red gingham dress, and before that, a blue and yellow tartan dress.

Gigi Hadid teams her white boots with denim for casual cool. Photo: AP

And if you needed any confirmation that the white boot is the hottest style of the summer, one of its biggest fans over fashion month was the world’s most in-demand model progeny, 16-year-old Kaia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford.

As the northern hemisphere heads towards winter, there are no signs of the white boot waning in popularity. So make like a smug Aussie and get a pair now – you’re sure to be wearing them for at least 12 months. Just keep off the grass.

Get the look

Nail the white boot trend with these pieces.

Stuart Weitzmann, $1110.

Cooper St, $180.

Neous at Net-a-Porter, $745
Boohoo, $32.

How Harvey Weinstein used his fashion business as a pipeline to models

It was the kind of evening Zoë Brock was accustomed to, an intimate dinner party at an Art Deco hotel on a waterfront avenue in Cannes. The Australian model was ushered to an empty seat at a long table on a lush patio overlooking a swimming pool.

She didn’t recognize the man seated next to her, but would quickly find out he was Harvey Weinstein, a brusque American producer in town for the film festival.

That first encounter of champagne and small talk would end in a much less elegant fashion hours later in a hotel room, where Weinstein stood before Brock naked and solicited a massage. She said she locked herself in a bathroom to escape him.

Still shaken by that night in 1998, Brock believes the events were set in motion by men connected to Weinstein.

“Someone put me there next to him — that was on purpose. I am pretty sure that there are a lot of people that would like to sit next to Harvey Weinstein,” said Brock, 43, who was represented by a Milanese modeling agency at the time. “So why was it me?”

Weinstein, 65, is best known for his pioneering career in the independent film industry, but over the last two decades he has also carved out a significant business in fashion — executive producing the television show “Project Runway,” investing in the clothing brand Halston, and backing the high-end womenswear company Marchesa, which was co-founded by his wife, former model Georgina Chapman. The foray generated a profitable TV franchise, lucrative partnerships and cachet among the global jet set.

But that success was only one of the benefits for Weinstein. In interviews with the Los Angeles Times, nearly a dozen people with ties to the industry — including models, casting directors, publicists and executives connected to “Project Runway” — said that he used fashion as a pipeline to women. They said that models, oftentimes young and working overseas far from home, were particularly vulnerable.

In addition to Brock, more than 10 other former or current fashion models — including Cara Delevingne and Angie Everhart — have accused Weinstein of a wide range of sexual misconduct.

Someone put me there next to him — that was on purpose. I am pretty sure that there are a lot of people that would like to sit next to Harvey Weinstein.

Zoë Brock, model

In a previously unreported incident, former Brazilian model Juliana De Paula told The Times that Weinstein groped her and forced her to kiss other models that he had taken to his loft in New York a decade ago. When she tried to leave, she said, he chased her through the apartment, naked. She fended him off with a broken glass.

“He looked at me and he started to laugh,” she recalled. “I was shocked. I was completely in disbelief.”

Another model, Samantha Panagrosso, said Weinstein made unwanted sexual advances toward her during the Cannes Film Festival in 2003. When Weinstein began touching her legs under the water at a hotel pool and she rebuffed him, he pointed at another model, she recalled in an interview with The Times. “Look at her, I’m going to have her come to my room for a screen test,” she said Weinstein told her.

When Panagrosso told friends about his continuing advances, she said, they laughed it off: “Sam, don’t be so naïve, you know Harvey can make you a star.”

Since the New York Times and the New Yorker first wrote about Weinstein’s alleged assaults earlier this month, more than 50 women have come forward to describe their experiences, and he has been fired by Weinstein Co., the indie studio he co-founded in 2005 that has released films including “The King’s Speech.”

Six women have accused Weinstein of rape or forcible sex acts, and he is under investigation for sexual assault in Los Angeles, New York and London.

Weinstein has entered counseling and apologized for some of his behavior. But, through his spokeswoman Sallie Hofmeister, Weinstein has “unequivocally denied” any allegations of nonconsensual sex. As for the accounts of Brock and Panagrosso, Hofmeister said, “Their recollection of events differs from that of Mr. Weinstein.”

From left, Harvey Weinstein, his wife Georgina Chapman, Elena Perminova and Donna Air attend a Burberry fashion show during London Fashion Week in 2014. Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images for Burberry

Becoming a fashion fixture

Weinstein’s transformation into a fashion player was an unlikely turn for a movie producer at the zenith of his career.

By 2000, films released by Weinstein’s company, Miramax, had collected dozens of Oscars, including best picture awards for “The English Patient” and “Shakespeare in Love.” Weinstein had garnered a reputation for his bullying tactics and aggressive Academy Awards campaigns in pursuit of the gold statuette that burnished his reputation as a kingpin of prestige films.

He was also among a growing wave of major movie producers to expand into television. His “Project Greenlight” documented the travails of would-be filmmakers and made a splash when it launched on HBO in 2001.

Also around this time, the fashion world was being buffeted by change. Glossy magazines, such as Vogue and Elle, were putting A-list Hollywood actresses on their covers because they helped sell more copies than lesser-known fashion models. For high-end magazine publishers — and for models aspiring to break into Hollywood — Weinstein had the right connections.

And he thrived on being at the nexus of culture.

“For these powerful people, the most seductive currency is the one they do not own,” said a current business associate of Weinstein. “He used his Hollywood connections, which reflected well in fashion and in television — and even politics.”

It wasn’t long before the former fashion novice was just as much a fixture at New York Fashion Week as he was on the red carpet of Hollywood movie premieres.

Interviews with six people connected with Weinstein’s cable television show “Project Runway” help shed light on his fascination with fashion. These individuals declined to be identified, partly because of ongoing business ties to the Weinstein Co.

They said the success of “Project Greenlight” had increased Weinstein’s appetite for television — and what he wanted more than anything was a program that featured fashion models.

Weinstein’s spokeswoman said that “Project Runway” was developed as a replacement for “Project Greenlight,” which was ending its run — and not as a vehicle to meet women. He simply thought it was a good idea for a television show, Hofmeister said.

In the foreword of the 2012 book “Project Runway,” Weinstein wrote that he has “always been intrigued and inspired by the creative process.”

“I have learned along the way that talent can come from anywhere,” he wrote.

In the early 2000s, Weinstein introduced his Miramax executives to a German fashion model, Daniela Unruh, who was in her early 20s at the time, saying she had an idea for a reality show. Unruh pitched a program called “Model Apartment,” which would follow a group of models living together.

Executives were skeptical that such a show would be compelling, but optioned Unruh’s idea for a token amount — about $8,000, according to one former Miramax employee. Unruh receives modest royalties from “Project Runway.”

Her concept was retooled to focus on fashion designers competing for their big break. Development of the show gained traction when supermodel Heidi Klumsigned on, but the process was slow — and Weinstein was growing impatient.

“He kept asking: ‘Where’s my model show?’” recalled a former employee. “He wouldn’t drop it.”

Fearful of Weinstein’s reaction — because the show featured designers with sewing machines and not models — the producers figured they needed to amp up the participation of beautiful women. The producers concocted an awkward competition within the show that allowed designers to pick the model they found most appealing, which resulted in aspiring models, occasionally in tears, being dismissed.

“That was designed as a vestigial element for Harvey,” the television executive said.

Harvey Weinstein and Heidi Klum kiss on the runway at a 2008 “Project Runway” fashion show in New York. Scott Gries / Getty Images for IMG

“Project Runway” launched in 2004, and over the course of its 16-season run, more than 200 models have appeared, according to the Internet Movie Database.

The hit program grew into one of Weinstein’s most lucrative franchises. He leveraged its popularity to land a huge $150-million, five-year deal in 2008 with Lifetime, where he moved the show from Bravo.

And he eventually got his model-themed reality show on Lifetime: “Models of the Runway,” which lasted just two seasons.

But after dozens of women came forward this month to discuss Weinstein’s alleged misconduct, his name was quickly stripped from the credits of “Project Runway.”

Georgina Chapman and her husband, Harvey Weinstein, arrive for a screening of the film “Hands of Stone” at the Cannes Film Festival. Loic Venance / AFP/Getty Images

Deepening fashion ties

The same year that “Project Runway” debuted, Weinstein met his future wife.

Weinstein encountered Chapman, a British model and costume designer, at a party in New York in 2004, not long after he split from his first wife, Eve Chilton Weinstein, according to various published reports. Weinstein was in his early 50s and Chapman in her late 20s when they began to date.

That year she also co-founded the Marchesa fashion brand with Keren Craig, her longtime friend and classmate at Chelsea College of Art and Design. Weinstein worked behind the scenes to help them launch their label — again expanding his reach deeper into the fashion world.

Vogue was soon featuring the New York-based company’s clothes in its pages. Weinstein also asked actresses to wear Marchesa gowns to big award shows and events.

Within months, Renee Zellweger, fresh off winning a supporting-actress Oscar for “Cold Mountain,” strolled the red carpet in a strapless Marchesa dress at the London premiere of the Miramax-distributed “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason.” A procession of Weinstein-connected stars soon followed, among them Cate Blanchett, Scarlett Johansson and Felicity Huffman.

Harvey Weinstein and actress Felicity Huffman at Weinstein Co.’s Golden Globe Awards after-party in 2006 in Beverly Hills.
Actor Russell Crowe, Harvey Weinstein and actress Renee Zellweger attend an after-party at the Venice Film Festival in 2005.

Marchesa’s meteoric rise raised eyebrows — and questions about what accounted for it.

“Marchesa’s breathtaking success has the fashion world talking — and rolling its eyes too. Just how much of that success, observers wonder, is due to the Harvey Factor?” a Los Angeles Times article asked in 2006, a year before Weinstein and Chapman wed.

Competitors complained that stars wore Marchesa on the red carpet because they — and their agents, managers and lawyers — needed to please the powerful Weinstein.

“Now we have Harvey Weinstein married to the designer, who is able to put her dresses on … anybody in Hollywood,” said Julia Samersova, a former modeling agent who works as a casting director in New York. “Yes, it is really that simple. Who is going to say no to the wife of Harvey Weinstein?”

This week, amid the rapidly unfolding sex scandal, the actress Huffman confirmed, via her publicist, that Weinstein did demand that she wear Marchesa gowns at public appearances. But the publicist denied reports that he had threatened to withhold funding from her 2005 movie “Transamerica.”

Chapman, in an interview for the 2006 Times story, laughed off any suggestion that Weinstein was Marchesa’s guiding force. “If anybody looks at how Harvey dresses, they realize he doesn’t have terribly much to do with designing,” she said.

Neither Chapman nor Craig responded to requests for comment.

Who is going to say no to the wife of Harvey Weinstein?

Julia Samersova, former modeling agent

In 2007, Weinstein expanded his fashion holdings: Weinstein Co. and Hilco Consumer Capital bought Halston, the once-venerable American fashion house that had fallen on hard times. Weinstein became a member of the company’s board, and Jimmy Choo co-founder Tamara Mellon and actress Sarah Jessica Parker also got involved in the revival effort. But Halston soon foundered, and Weinstein departed the venture in 2011.

Some in the business, like Fern Mallis, the former executive director of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, have now sought to downplay Weinstein’s role in the industry — while also expressing support for Marchesa’s founders.

“I’m appalled like everyone else about his behavior and support all the brave women speaking out,” Mallis said. “He was not an ‘influence’ in the fashion industry, and I feel very bad for Georgina and Keren, who are very talented designers and built a terrific business with Marchesa.”

Other industry power players with ties to Weinstein have also denounced him, including Vogue editor Anna Wintour, and designer Tom Ford, whose 2009 film “A Single Man” was distributed by Weinstein Co.

Chapman, 41, announced last week that she was leaving Weinstein and would focus on caring for their two children.

Fashion industry consultant Fern Mallis, Harvey Weinstein and stylist Rachel Zoe attend a 2008 “Project Runway” show. Stephen Lovekin / Getty Images for IMG

A pipeline to models

While the fashion industry proved lucrative for Weinstein and burnished his reputation as a tastemaker, it also filled his world with even more young, beautiful women.

Several women who have publicly accused Weinstein of misconduct described incidents in which he used his fashion business ties and ownership of “Project Runway” as enticements or pretexts for meetings.

Former aspiring actress Lucia Evans told the New Yorker that Weinstein said during a meeting that she’d “be great in ‘Project Runway’” before allegedly forcing her to perform oral sex. Model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez’s 2015 meeting with Weinstein began with discussions of her working as a lingerie model before he allegedly grabbed her breasts and put his hand up her skirt, according to the New York Times.

In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, a television actress claimed that when she rebuffed Weinstein’s advances about a decade ago — saying that she had nothing suitable to wear to events he wanted to take her to, including the Cannes Film Festival — he would tell her that he could deliver 10 Marchesa dresses.

Separately, a former British model said that when Weinstein was pursuing her about a decade ago in London, he persuaded her to switch modeling agencies to a higher-profile one where he had connections. She also said he suggested he could help her launch an acting career. “The whole thing was a control thing,” said the woman, who spoke on the condition of anonymity over concerns about repercussions from discussing the matter.

This sort of behavior is not new to the fashion and entertainment industries, which are plagued by a culture of exploitation, said Victoria Keon-Cohen, a model who spearheaded a unionizing effort a decade ago in London and is now a filmmaker.

“There’s a very dominant feeling of favors for work,” she said, adding that this is especially the case in fashion, where “very vulnerable young girls and boys are trying to advance their careers.”

The Majestic Hotel in Cannes. Frank Micelotta Archive / Getty Images

An encounter in Cannes

Brock, the fashion model from Australia, traveled to Cannes in 1998 at the invitation of her Italian agent. Fresh off of working Paris Fashion Week, Brock, then 24, was eager to network.

Over dinner at the Majestic Hotel, Brock said, she and Weinstein had “a really good conversation,” chatting about a mutual friend — a female director whose film Miramax had recently distributed. “It felt like Harvey was family,” she said.

Eventually, some in the dinner group made their way to the Hotel du Cap Eden-Roc, a luxury property 30 minutes away where Weinstein had a suite. Brock said she soon found herself alone in the room with Weinstein.

Before long, Weinstein was naked and pleaded with her for a massage, Brock said. When she declined, Brock said, he asked to give her one. “I relented and let him touch my back and shoulders,” she said. “But I couldn’t handle his hands on me, so I bolted out of there, and bolted into the bathroom and locked the door.”

She still had to ride back to Cannes with Weinstein. On the way, an apologetic Weinstein offered to make Brock “a star” and be her “Rock of Gibraltar,” she said.

That night, she called her mother and actor Rufus Sewell, who stars on Amazon Studios’ “The Man in the High Castle,” to tell them what had occurred. Both confirmed speaking that night to Brock and hearing her account.

When she finally made her way back to the yacht where she was staying around 5:30 a.m., she said, she felt — and looked — like “a whore.”

“I was wearing yesterday’s dress, with yesterday’s makeup, and messed hair,” she said. “Having to crawl back into the boat looking like that made me look like the sort of person who would have slept with Harvey Weinstein to further my career. And I am not that person.”

Cipriani Wall Street in New York. Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

‘This is not going to be fun at all’

Nearly a decade later and halfway around the world, another former model experienced an upsetting encounter with Weinstein.

One night in 2007, De Paula and some model friends were introduced to Weinstein during a karaoke party at the lounge above Cipriani Downtown, a buzzy Italian restaurant in Manhattan.

Soon, a plan was hatched to go to Weinstein’s loft in Soho, said De Paula, who previously modeled in Brazil and has since had other jobs in fashion, including as a manager of a photography studio in New York.

Once Weinstein, De Paula and three models were inside the elevator, he began fondling the women’s breasts and making them kiss each other, De Paula said. “Forcing. Like putting both heads together,” she said.

She said the women tried to resist, but were “embarrassed” and unsure of how to fend him off. The elevator opened inside Weinstein’s residence, and he began disrobing. “My [alarm] bells rang,” she said. “It was, oh my gosh, this is not going to be fun at all.”

De Paula said that Weinstein ushered the three models into his bedroom, but she ran into the adjoining bathroom. She heard at least one woman yell “stop” multiple times, but didn’t have a clear view of the bedroom.

After a while, De Paula said, she fled the bathroom, ran through the bedroom and into the kitchen. A nude Weinstein followed her there, she said.

“He was moving toward me. I got scared, and I was afraid,” De Paula said.

He was moving toward me. I got scared, and I was afraid.

Juliana De Paula, former model

She reached for a wine glass, broke it, brandished it, and gave Weinstein an ultimatum: “You let me out of here right now, or this is going to have serious consequences.”

She said Weinstein, laughing, asked, “Are you serious?” before allowing her to depart.

The next day, De Paula told her then-roommate about the alleged episode with Weinstein. The roommate told The Times that he remembered the conversation, recalling a “distressed” De Paula describing the events at Weinstein’s loft.

“Mr. Weinstein says the story is a fabrication,” said Hofmeister, Weinstein’s spokeswoman.

A few months after the alleged incident, De Paula went to a Dec. 5 concert at Cipriani Wall Street where Aretha Franklin performed. Weinstein’s attendance was noted in a press release recapping the event.

“He came up to me, super nice — it seemed like it was somebody else,” said De Paula, who now lives in Brazil. “I didn’t have the courage to look at him. I looked down.”

Weinstein asked for her phone number. She declined.

Fashion looks inward

As with Hollywood, the Weinstein scandal has prompted the fashion industry to ponder how women are treated and whether it is doing enough to protect vulnerable participants.

Several people interviewed for this article acknowledged that Weinstein had, for years, a poor reputation in the fashion business, but little if anything was ever done to spotlight this. Some are hoping for big changes. On Tuesday, the Model Alliance, a nonprofit trade group, issued a statement saying, “No person should tolerate any sort of unwanted or inappropriate conduct, nor should our industry.”

Brock said that she hopes her personal story about Weinstein might help spur change in the business.

“I hope that from this moment on, young girls, from every country, start to value themselves as more than the objects the industry has always treated them as,” she said.

As competition rises, plus-size fashion gets more stylish

Roslyn Griner, vice-president of marketing at Addition Elle, says the stigma surrounding plus-size fashion is breaking down. PIERRE OBENDRAUF / MONTREAL GAZETTE

Plus-size fashion has long carried something of a stigma. It’s been known for unfashionable, utilitarian clothes — products created with a focus on size, not style.

But that perception is changing.

The plus-size apparel market is becoming more competitive, new companies are launching online, American brands have entered the Canadian market and “mainstream” retailers are expanding the plus-size offerings.

That has plus-size brands increasingly competing on style, and that has plus-size fashion being seen as, well, fashion.

“Plus-size has arrived,” said Roslyn Griner, the vice-president of marketing at Addition Elle.

The Montreal-based plus-size brand has been one of the companies at the forefront of the shift toward a more fashionable market.

“There’s still a little bit of a stigma about plus-size — that somehow it’s not fashionable, that it doesn’t deserve to be in the forefront of fashion,” Griner said. “I think it’s slowly breaking down.”

In September, for the first time, two plus-size fashion brands were selected to show as part of the official program at New York Fashion Week, one of the fashion industry’s four biggest events.

Addition Elle was one of those brands, doing a runway show at Fashion Week’s main venue.

One of the models walking that runway was Ashley Graham, a popular model who has appeared on the covers of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour and Elle magazines and has worked with both plus-size and “mainstream” fashion brands.

Addition Elle has had a longstanding relationship with Graham, who has modelled and designed clothes for the company. Because Graham is able to cross the divide between “mainstream” and plus-size fashion, she has played a big role in changing the perception of plus, Griner said.

But that shift in perception isn’t just coming from plus-size brands increasing their focus on styling. There’s also a larger trend at play.

“This is the era of body positivity, no airbrushing, really about empowering other women to love their bodies, to love who they are today and not (have) this unrealistic expectation,” Griner said.

It’s a trend that goes beyond a single brand.

“Before, plus fashion kind of had a negative tone to it, the same way we hear about anti-aging in the beauty world, and we hear that that’s changed. People don’t want to talk about anti-aging — you want to talk about embracing,” said Tamara Szames, a fashion industry analyst at market research firm NPD. “That’s really the perspective that we’re seeing on plus fashion: it’s no longer a negative thing, it’s a positive thing, to look at it as embracing who you are and feeling confident and being the best you possible.”

The move toward more stylish plus-size clothes is part of a larger trend, says Addition Elle’s Roslyn Griner. “This is the era of body positivity, no airbrushing, really about empowering other women to love their bodies.” (Photo: Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette) PIERRE OBENDRAUF / MONTREAL GAZETTE


In Canada, plus-size fashion is a $2.2-billion industry, Szames said. That’s about 15 per cent of the $15-billion women’s clothing market.

While the overall women’s clothing market grew two per cent during the 12-month period that ended on Aug. 31, the plus-size market was down two per cent during that period, according to NPD.

The decline in plus-size market share comes as “mainstream” brands are extending the range of sizes they carry.

“The interesting part about it is even though the market’s on decline, we see that millennials and xennials — that’s around 21- to 40-year-old females — are the ones driving the growth,” Szames said. “That’s about 27 per cent of the plus market, and that’s up six per cent from last year.”

It’s these millennials and xennials (a mini-generation between millennials and Generation X) who are driving some of the broader trend built around confidence and “embracing you,” Szames said.

Those demographics are particularly interested in trendy, fashion-forward and modern styles.

“That’s where the growth is,” Szames said.

The growing popularity of plus-size clothing among younger women is also challenging one of the old assumptions about the market — that plus-size women are older.

Addition Elle’s customers are relatively evenly spread out across every age group, Griner said.

Age is also playing less of a role in shaping what women wear.

“I think it’s antiquated to even think about developing and designing clothes for a person’s age,” she said. “It’s not about age anymore — it’s about your design esthetic.”

While mainstream retailers are extending their range of sizes, Griner said she thinks plus-size retailers’ experience in the market will give them an advantage.

“You’re not catering to one body type when you’re catering to plus,” she said. “So we have different fits, especially pant fits, that cater to the different body types. It’s about your fabric, the way it stretches and the retention of the fabric — these are all things that are really the expertise that a plus retailer brings to the marketplace.”

Designing clothes for smaller women and then just making those clothes bigger doesn’t really work, she said.

“If your fit model is starting at a Size 0, you can’t really grade up to a Size 18. You really need to start at an 18 to grade plus, and grade down to 14 and grade up to 26 or 28,” she said. “I think that’s the reason why women are so dissatisfied with the fit of extended sizing.”

The growing popularity of online shopping is also changing the plus-size fashion business.

“I think plus-size consumers are more adept at buying online,” Griner said. “Because she was kind of neglected at store level.”

Addition Elle has reduced its number of stores in response to these new realities, but Griner said that’s not a bad thing.

“Our overall sales have actually grown,” she said. “Our online penetration is now at close to 20 per cent of our total retail sales, so online has grown exponentially, whereas store traffic and sales are more flat.”

Physical stores aren’t going away any time soon, though. Customers still like to be able to try things on.

“The biggest barrier for shopping online for women is they want to be sure the product fits them,” Griner said.

But this means stores like Addition Elle have to start thinking about the “customer journey” in a new way, she said.

Customers may try something on in a store and then buy it online, or see something in an ad on their mobile device that brings them into a store.

“There is a customer journey that is starting in different places. It can start on an Instagram feed, it can start on your website, it can start in a physical store,” Griner said. “The customer journey is not linear.”

This approach has come to be known as omni-channel selling.

“I think the omni-channel experience is ideal, because a woman can come into our stores, experience our fit, know what fits her and then she feels confident, based on trying different things in our stores, to shop online.”

The brand is also experimenting with things like pop-up shops as it expands into the U.S. market.

“We’re in for a continued shakeup of the retail industry. We’re going to see new business models rise. You can’t take anything for granted — you just have to keep looking forward and look to see where the opportunities are,” Griner said.

For Addition Elle, the opportunity is to position itself as a mid-priced fashion-forward retailer, she said.

She calls it “that fashion destination for that woman who’s looking for the latest trends on the marketplace, that she sees at H&M, that she sees at Zara, that she can’t fit into.”

Fall and winter looks

Tamara Nakonechny, Addition Elle’s lead designer, said her favourite fashion trends this fall are “blazers, feminine sweaters and the colour red.”

“I love the resurgence of suiting,” she said. “I think the blazer is the key item to dress up any outfit. It is so much fun that we are seeing it in different textures and silhouettes. It is great worn with a dress pant and blouse for a more serious look or with a screen tee and jeans for a more casual feeling.”

For a fashion-forward mid-fall look, “wearing a fleece tunic dress with a pair of fishnet stockings and thigh-high boots is a really great way to pull off the luxury ‘athleisure’ trend that we are seeing,” she said. “And for our fashion-conscious career woman, a ruffle-edged wrap skirt with a lace ruffle blouse is an easy look to wear to the office and still looks good going out for drinks after work.”

There are also some new trends on the horizon for the winter season.

“Texture is key for winter. For people who do not love prints, this is a great option for refreshing your look,” Nakonechny said. “Texture comes in many forms this winter season, including cosy knits with interesting stitches, laces for a more romantic look, metallic jerseys for a rock ’n’ roll night out look and brocades for a more formal Christmas party.”

And some tips work all year.

Highlight your best features. We all have something that we love (about) our bodies. Don’t hide your body under a boxy tent. When you know what your best feature is, show it off,” Nakonechny said. “If you have great legs, wear a short skirt. If you love your bust, wear a low-cut top. If you have a waistline with great curves, cinch it. 

“Most importantly, wear your outfit with confidence. This is the key to looking good.”

Fall fashion blows ’90s trends into style

The 90s are coming back to influence fashion this fall. (Photo: Isbill Photography)

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The fall season can mean many things for people: football, pumpkin spice lattes or even a trip to the mountains. However, for fashionistas, the season may be an excuse to buy warm-weather clothing.

Sarah Merrell from Gage Models and Talent Agency spoke with WATE 6 On Your Side on the latest trends of the season.

Fashion Trends To Expect From LFDW

The fashion week train moved from London to Milan, to Paris and New York. Now, fashion week has choo-chooed its way to Lagos, with the Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW).

The event is set to hold at Eko Atlantic on the 25th to 28th of October, 2017.

Fashion week is a time when designers showcase their creativity on the runway, predicting the styles we expect to see in the coming fashion season. Here are the trends from the international fashion weeks held earlier in the year.

Milan Fashion Week

Model presents a creation for fashion house Gucci during the Men and Women’s Spring/Summer 2018 fashion shows in Milan, on September 20, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Miguel MEDINA

At Milan fashion week, designers threw it way back to the 80s with Gucci opening the day with models with fringed foreheads, spaceman shades, boxy suits and enough sequins to make a disco party look dull.

Versace supermodels reunion

Versace had top supermodels reunite at his show. There was so much glitter and shine, it’s not only your highlighter that will be popping next season. Add that to snakeskin clothing, see-through materials, stripes, more stripes, feathers and pink (yes, the colour). The runways were an artsy sight as many designers abandoned the traditional runway for more creative catwalks on the street and in the middle of a sports car exhibition.

Paris Fashion Week

A model presents a creation for Koche during the women’s 2018 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show in Paris, on September 26, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / FRANCOIS GUILLOT

The fashion train found its way to the city of love, a place where fashion dreams are born and murdered. At Paris Fashion Week, the oversized trend from last year was cut down to size and properly tailored attires were in. Everything looked much more classic, wearable and designed to flatter. Even Rick Owens, the over-the-top Los Angeles radical who took oversized to extremes, seemed to be cutting his cloth much tighter. Oversize wasn’t the only trend killed. Pastels and strong colours, which usually dominate trends up until the end of the year, got a fresh coat of monochrome paint with designers really focusing on the essentials of black and white. And let’s not forget the sportswear craze. Perhaps it’s because of the forthcoming World Cup or the desire for fitness and healthy living. Who knows!

New York Fashion Week

Fenty by PUMA

New York Fashion Week (NYFW) went from last to first on the global fashion calendar this year to much speculation. Some international, high-profile designers stayed on the fashion train until it got to New York. Then they stylishly shouted “Owa!” and showcased designs that made us sit up in awe. Rihanna opened the fashion week with her Fenty x PUMA collection filled with sportswear, having her models strut down a runway filled with pink sand dunes and motorcyclists doing stunts over the catwalks.  Oh, and there were also heeled flip-flops. Amazing!

Model presents a creation for Maki Oh

Maki Oh took Nigeria “to the abroad” and showed them the memories she had of her beautiful country, with layers and layers of those frills women adored and despised as children. Marc Jacobs “borrowed” from Afrocentric cultures with head wraps, prints, menswear-inspired womenswear and luxurious jackets. We would be mad that he didn’t give the cultures that inspired this collection credit, but it’s cool. Phillipe Plein is one designer that is fascinated with the black culture and he made that evident in this collection of modern-urban staples. He invited hip-hop artists like Future, Snoop Dogg and Teyana Taylor to his runway and she changed the way we see the catwalks. So much sass! We loved it. In case you missed all her catwalks, you LASTma official, you can check them here.

Lagos Fashion and Design Week

Heineken Lagos Fashion Design Week 2016, Day 4: Lisa Folawiyo

It’s safe to say that we have high expectations from LFDW. Perhaps designers at LFDW will move in that direction or showcase designs more traditional and in line with our culture. But we look forward to seeing what our designers would dish out to us. Bring it on, people!


Los Angeles fashion weeks’ bright spots include armor, angels and a zippy collection of convertible clothes

Siwy Denim Chief Executive Kris Park on the runway with models at Los Angeles Fashion Weeks’ Art Hearts Fashion show on Oct. 5, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Getty Images for Art Hearts Fashion)

Fashion Week (or more accurately weeks) in Los Angeles occurs each spring and fall with multiple organizations (currently including Art Hearts Fashion, L.A. Fashion Week and Style Fashion Week) holding events throughout greater Los Angeles shortly after the twice-yearly Paris women’s ready-to-wear shows have wrapped. (And, in the case of Art Hearts Fashion, even before they’ve wrapped.) Although the local shows rarely feature the instantly recognizable brands — or the production value for that matter — of fashion weeks in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, they provide some much-needed exposure for local, emerging and lesser-known labels. Here are some of the noteworthy moments from the recent run of L.A. runway shows.

Art Hearts Fashion

Looks from the spring/summer 2018 Siwy Denim “Zip Me Up!” collection. Getty Images for Art Hearts Fashion

Burning Guitars, Datari Austin and Siwy Denim presented spring/summer 2018 collections at Art Hearts Fashion’s Sept. 29 show at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills. The evening got off to a rocky start with the shows starting more than an hour late and the first two designers — Datari Austin and Burning Guitars — showing collections that were entertaining yet failed to meet the mark. Burning Guitars’ collection was bold, brash and too over-the-top for anyone but a rock-‘n’-roll frontman, while Datari Austin used fabrics that came across as a little blasé and — dare we say — cheap.

The highlight of the evening was the L.A.-based brand Siwy Denim and its spring and summer 2018 “Zip Me Up!” collection, which featured apparel that blended a modern ’80s vibe with sporty/edgy details. Think zippers, snaps, stripes and holes all placed in unexpected areas and designed for versatility and the capacity to transition an outfit from a casual day look to a bold night look in just one zip. The color palette included a sea of blues, white, black, light gray and olive. Kris Park, chief executive of Siwy Denim, wants the brand to be viewed as a lifestyle brand for all women and for all occasions.

“We wanted to show something different. Clothes that could be worn to work then unzipped to something more trendy to wear out,” Park told us.

We couldn’t help but notice that each of the models hit the catwalk carrying a cellphone, which could have been intended as a commentary on the ubiquity of technology, but for us simply turned the runway from exotic adventure into everyday occurrence.

L.A. Fashion Week

L.A. Fashion Week staged a five-day run of spring and summer 2018 shows at the Alexandria Ballrooms in downtown Los Angeles Oct. 4-8. The Oct. 7 slate of shows we attended (along with a celebrity slate that included “Insecure” actor Sarunas J. Jackson, model Selita Ebanks and Shani James), kicked off more than an hour and a half after its scheduled 7 p.m. start time with the debut of L.A.-based Radka Salcmannova.

Looks during Day 4 of LA Fashion Week featuring Radka Salcmannova at the Alexandria Ballrooms in Los Angeles on Oct. 7. Craig Bennett / Celebatography Inc.

A self-described “visual artist,” Salcmannova is a painter, photographer and indie filmmaker who began creating costumes for her own films two years ago. The armor-like, body-contouring dresses and matching face masks crafted from metallic silicone melted on mesh, had painterly texture accented by dangling threads and gold chains. The result was more theatrical than wearable. (“Mad Max” and “Game of Thrones” were overheard whispered audience commentary.) But that’s kind of her point. “I told the models that I wanted them to be a character like Wonder Woman,” said Salcmannova, who recently relocated to L.A. from New York. “My goal is to work with singers, actors and artists.”

Looks during Day 4 of LA Fashion Week featuring fashion brand Bishme at the Alexandria Ballrooms in Los Angeles on Oct. 7. Craig Bennett / Celebatography Inc

Next up was self-taught, 26-year-old Baltimore-based designer Bishme Cromartie, who already has a Hollywood following. (His e-commerce site is set to launch on Feb.16, 2018.) Cromartie told us that fans include singers Ashanti, Jill Scott and Andra Day as well as “Orange Is the New Black” stars Dascha Polanco and Jackie Cruz. Evening dresses and jumpsuits in fuchsia and silver hues (some in glittery stretch mesh) had architectural ruffled detailing, peaked shoulders and cape-like tops that Cromartie said were inspired by a butterfly’s transition. The accessories — vegan croc-print belts and mirrored butterfly earrings — stood out. “I sent two pairs of the earrings to Beyoncé. I work with her stylist Zerina Akers,” Cromartie said. “Once she wears them, it’s over.”

Looks from Mary Me Jimmy Paul runway show during LA Fashion Week.
Looks from Mary Me Jimmy Paul runway show during LA Fashion Week. Nina Hawkins

Amsterdam-based fashion duo Marie Burlot and Jimmy Rinsum rounded out the night with a presentation of their seven-year-old label, Mary Me Jimmy Paul. The show contrasted evening gowns (some with macrame-like texture) with utilitarian jackets — one had a built-in backpack that Burlot noted has been donned by Ariana Grande. The brand focuses on costuming musicians (styles are available by special order and have been worn in the past by Rihanna, Kesha and Lady Gaga). “Since we’re in L.A., we did our take on the red carpet look,” Burlot said. “There’s always a sense of humor in what we do. Some of the dresses were literally made of curtains, but we tried to make them flowy and glamorous. We call it ‘haute sportswear.’”

Style Fashion Week L.A.

Maybe because it was Friday the 13th or maybe it was coincidence, but night two of the four-night run of Style Fashion Week LA this month at the Pacific Design Center in West Hollywood proved to be a mash up of horrific musical performances mixed with an assortment of different fashion looks. The fashion lineup for the evening included Moods of Norway, Something by Sonjia and Mario De La Torre.

Moods of Norway kicked off the 9 p.m. grouping of shows with a collection entitled “In a Killer Mood,” which featured men and women’s looks that transported us to a James Bond-like world with models as spies. This collection had a strong retro feel with women’s slinky silk jumpsuits, floral motifs (accessorized with aviator sunglasses and curly wigs) along with fitted plaid suits, leather jackets and suspenders for the men.

Moods of Norway's spring/summer 2018 collection.
Moods of Norway’s spring/summer 2018 collection. Mark Gunter

Next up was Something by Sonjia, which proved to one of the best collections of the night. Designer Sonjia Williams is a Boston native and former “Project Runway” and “Project Runway All Stars” contestant. Williams is one of the few designers to show a fall/winter 2017 collection entitled “Archi-texture” which was inspired by Williams’ fascination with the clean lines and geometry of architecture mixed with the interesting textures and the tactile nature of fabrics. Her collection had an assortment of chunky/structural sweaters, high-waisted skirts, flowy dresses, scarves, gold platform sandals paired with black socks and black beanies (which we saw as a riff on the now-iconic pussy hats).

“I make strong pieces, not timid pieces,” Williams said, declining to assign specific meaning to the headgear. “My woman knows who she is and is not afraid to be that person.”

The color palette included burnt yellow, navy blue, tan, gray and black. Accents of tribal patterns, plaid and shearling were sprinkled through the collection. The silhouettes played with volume and proportions in way that created stand-out, figure-flattering looks. Two memorable looks were the oversized shearling vest (a favorite of the designer’s) and a coat dress that the designer said is so stiff with padding that it can stand up on its own like a suit of armor. Overall, Williams married urban and tribal aesthetics in a way that brought a fresh perspective to the runway.

Something by Sonjia's fall/winter 2017 collection.
Something by Sonjia’s fall/winter 2017 collection. Mark Gunter

Closing out the show was Mario De La Torre, who presented an all-white collection named “City of Angels,” with a range of different silhouettes. Fitted see-through cocktail dresses, evening dresses, A-line skirts paired with crop tops and bodysuits were some of the standout looks. De La Torre also included a range of different models on the runway representing women of all ages, body types and ethnicities. A pregnant model, baby and small girl all graced the runway for De La Torre’s show. De La Torre’s monochromatic white collection proved to be a nice palette cleanser that left us thinking maybe the City of Angels could use a little more of De La Torre’s angels.

Looks from Mario De La Torre's spring/summer 2018 collection.
Looks from Mario De La Torre’s spring/summer 2018 collection. Mark Gunter

The Top 10 Moments of Paris Fashion Week

Moments from Paris Fashion Week. Credit Photographs by Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times; Molly SJ Lowe (top right); Eli Schmidt (bottom right).


Two Designers Made a Splash in Paris

Chanel’s show featured six waterfalls, all rushing into a gully below the catwalk. Credit Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times

Gifts are often left on front row seats at fashion shows for guests. Rarely, however, are they placed on every seat. And they are never black hooded plastic rain ponchos, with the name of a designer across the back.

Such was the case at Rick Owens on Thursday evening. For his eerie, water-soaked show at the Palais du Tokyo, overlooking the banks of the Seine, models dressed in strange silhouettes that resembled alien cocoons and took a trip through fountain mists. The seated audience, bedecked in their ponchos, looked like they were taking a different kind of ride: a high fashion log flume, perhaps, as they were showered from on high.

Five days later, inside the Grand Palais, the elements emerged again, this time at Chanel. Karl Lagerfeld had commissioned a giant replica of the Verdon Gorge in the south of France, which took two months to construct and had six waterfalls, all rushing into a gully below the catwalk. The aquatic theme then continued with the collection, a playful 89-look procession of vinyl rain gear. But even imported Mother Nature can have her unpredictable way; half a dozen hats were blown off models’ heads by the sheer force of the cascades. Nevertheless, waterproofing has rarely looked so chic. — ELIZABETH PATON, European correspondent, Styles

Saint Laurent’s show was held at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Credit Eli Schmidt

Saint Laurent Had the Venue to End All Venues

A brand’s power and success can often be revealed in its choice of space, and Saint Laurent was a case in point. The French brand, now designed by Anthony Vaccarello, opened up Paris Fashion Week in the most beautiful place imaginable: at the foot of the Eiffel Tower. Showgoers sat on a set at the base of the Trocadero, and as models emerged, the Eiffel Tower glittered as if on cue. With such an impressive backdrop, the fashion needed to be powerful, and it was. For the show’s finale, couture-like feather and leather gowns came down the runway, one more beautiful than the next. — MALINA JOSEPH GILCHRIST, style director, women’s, T magazine

Teddy Quinlivan walking in Dries Van Noten, Christian Dior and Sacai, from left. Credit Nowfashion

A Model’s Progress

In a season in which casting directors appeared at last to be inching toward diversity and inclusivity on the runway — with leaps and bounds still to go — I was most struck by the omnipresence of the beautiful redhead Teddy Quinlivan. She’s been a familiar face for several seasons, but during this one, midway during New York Fashion Week, she came out as transgender. And in a rare cheering moment, the reaction was first celebratory (it was a brave revelation) and then resolutely normal.

Then she resumed her career without incident and swept the shows in Paris — Dior, Dries, Margiela, Chloé, Paco Rabanne, Haider Ackermann, Sacai, Miu Miu, Louis Vuitton — not as a token or an example, just another woman with a great look and sixth sense about how to mow down a catwalk. Sometimes, progress comes with a shout. Other times, no less worthy, with a shrug. — MATTHEW SCHNEIER, deputy fashion critic and reporter, Styles


The Givenchy show at Palais de Justice. The site had never hosted a fashion show before. Credit Firstview

There Were Some Particularly Special Sites

One of the characteristics of shows in Paris is the way they exploit (and reveal) fashion’s relationship to the city. Designers here don’t opt for soulless white boxes but instead race to outdo each other in access to the coolest, rarest, most insider venues. This season, there were shows in the Invalides (Napoleon’s Tomb), the Louvre, the Musée Picasso, the Musée Rodin and the gilt environs of City Hall (to name a few). It was like Fodor’s, but with better clothes.


Even in such vaunted company, however, two spaces stood out, in part because they aren’t included in any tourist handbook. The first was the Palais de Justice, the complex that houses the French equivalent of the supreme court, where Clare Waight Keller’s debut for Givenchy was held; the second the Russian embassy, where Comme des Garçons unveiled its collection. Neither institution had ever hosted a fashion show before, so it was everyone’s first time. — VANESSA FRIEDMAN, fashion director, Styles