Who Are Fashion Critics’ Reviews Actually Meant for in 2017?

image: Chanel

Chanel’s offerings were decidedly lackluster this season, as set forth by those bold enough to write honest reviews, at least. One of fashion’s most trusted critics, Cathy Horyn took on the collection in a single paragraph for The Cut, which told a reader everything he/she needed to know, sans any of the fluffy language employed by reviewers aiming to remain on Uncle Karl’s good list and keep the Chanel massive advertising checks coming in the mail.

The Chanel-dedicated section of Ms. Horyn’s latest review reads as follows: “Chanel’s shows don’t seem very modern, although there were new fringed bouclé suits and minidresses, along with lovely, oversize blouses and a group of breezy, tie-dyed evening looks, in Karl Lagerfeld’s collection. The show has become so much about the theatrical setting (this time a waterfall-drenched gorge), and the apparent need to fill the runway with nearly 100 looks, that the designs feel, well, drowned. In any case, you don’t really connect to the fashion. And this season, there was the extra obstacle of clear plastic hats, coats, and boots.”

The Washington Post’s Robin Givhan walked away with something of a similar take. This week she wrote: “The clothes may or may not be wonderful.” But, she writes, “the grand setting argues that the brand is important, therefore it’s products must be, too. And important clothes are worn by important people.”

She further noted, “This collection was not one of Chanel’s bests. It had some winning looks and some clunkers, too — especially the distressed and lace embroidered denim.”

Ms. Givhan’s review was particularly striking, though, as she – again – hit the nail on the head, so to speak, in a later paragraph: “That extra embellishing was probably unnecessary. Many Chanel customers, the ones with the dough at least, are a bit like Deadheads in their obsessive loyalty.” The most well-off will continue to buy garments and accessories. Others will spend on Chanel-branded cosmetics and eyewear for their high fashion fix – both groups largely (if not entirely) unaffected by the artistic merit of the runway.

“It doesn’t matter,” per Givhan, “if the style doesn’t really change from one season to the next, or if a season isn’t particularly inspired. It’s the back catalogue and the conviviality that they love and desire.”

A Consumer’s Review? A Reviewer’s Review?

Both women put forth thought-provoking reviews, ones that are becoming – or better yet, have already become – increasingly hard to find in the modern-day landscape of fashion with its all-powerful advertising entities and business savvy editors, who understand the need to please those that are endlessly shelling out to keep print publications alive.

With that in mind, it is a wonder who, exactly, they are writing for. If Ms. Givhan is right – and it seems she absolutely is – die-hard Chanel fans (or rabid Vuitton or Dior clients, etc.) are not swayed by reviews. As Givhan stated, “Fashion customers are as susceptible to ‘irrational exuberance’ as stock market speculators. So, it’s no wonder that the largest fashion companies here use their financial heft and cultural clout to finesse settings that leave guests open-mouthed with amazement and desire.”

Web-viewers similarly take in shows regardless of reviews and oftentimes before such reviews are published. For instance, despite the all-around not-so-stunning reviews from Horyn and Givhan, Chanel’s show landed quite favorably on Vogue Runway’s “The Top 10 Most Viewed Spring 2018 Collections” list, which tallies the number of views per show (and runway images) on its own site.

Dior, which was similarly uninspired this season – the New York Times’ Vanessa Friedman took on Maria Grazia Chiuri’s unending dedication to feminism via wildly expensive slogan sees, writing, “Single-minded dedication to a cause can be admirable, but it can also be blinding and lack subtlety — in fashion, as in life.” – also topped Vogue’s list of the most-viewed shows.

It likely is not a stretch to posit that many millennial and Gen-Z fashion fans do not give two darns about a fashion critic’s review. Such reports are not posted on Snapchat, after all. They do not come in video form or in 140 – err 280 characters.

It is worth arguing that Horyn’s reviews – which since she left the Times and then joined New York Magazine’s The Cut blog in 2015, are posted on the “blog’s” website, among a wide range of articles about fashion, style, and cultural topics none of which are behind paywalls (unlike the Times, WSJ, and Washington Post after enough clicks per month) – might be the most millennial-centric purely due to where they live.

Nonetheless, the question becomes: Who are these reviews meant for? In writing critically of such shows, who are fashion’s most esteemed voices writing for? It is no secret that the rise of social media, in particular, has changed the way fashion is approached and digested. Consumers no longer need to wait for reviews or magazines to see show images.

As such, relying on critics to tell us what garments and accessories are standout pieces in any given collection is a bit outdated when young fashion fans can simply look at photos or videos posted by influencers.Consumers no longer need critics to act as an interpreter of runway looks; there is, of course, the argument that the even the most enthusiastic fashion fan might lack the historical references to put any collection in a contemporary context.

But alas, Instagram is not the best place to make points about why a specific collection matters, why the designs are technically impressive and/or why last season’s collection was more appealing, for instance.

That does not, however, mean that fashion critics like Robin Givhan, Cathy Horyn and Vanessa Friedman, do not possess a wealth of powerful and useful (even in 2017) knowledge that adds value and legitimacy to the industry.

If Fabrice Léonard, the fashion journalist of Le Point, is right, there is still, in fact, a demand for criticism of this kind. He told writer/editor Jessica Michault not too long ago, “I think we need to continue the reviews because I think that the customers liked to stay informed. Even if the clothing arrives in the stores right away, people are still going to want to know the opinion of a professional.”

And with the rise of fake news – of the politically motivated kind – and of the just-plain-inaccurate iteration which inundates nearly every inch of the web, paired with the sheer insane amount of content that is available in fashion and beyond, I, for one, would argue that the work of more traditionally-minded critics (as distinct from the advertising-dictating, free-trip-taking kind) is actually more valuable than ever … if you still read, that is.


The Standout Spring 2018 Hairstyles From Milan Fashion Week

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Pixelformula/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock (9070658dc)
Model on the catwalk
Fendi show, Runway, Spring Summer 2018, Milan Fashion Week, Italy – 21 Sep 2017

When it comes to hair trends for the season, there’s something for everyone, from bold look-at-me color to festival-worthy waves, here’s a look at what some of the top designers showed duringMilan Fashion Week. See the gallery above for a comprehensive rundown, as well as runways in New York, London and Paris.

ALBERTA FERRETTI: A beautiful, sexy yet natural woman inspired hairstylist Guido Palau. The models’ hair was kept in romantic ponytails twisted back on themselves with elastics for a shorter effect. Using his Full Frame 07 mousse, Palau created a wet look and added shine with Shine Flash 02 glistening mist. The hair was pulled back but softened around the models’ ears and hairline for a little messy, casual look that was simultaneously very sexy.  The main feature was the texture and the softness around the face.

FENDI: Hairstylist Sam McKnight was inspired by a bold attitude. “The look at Fendi is a little bit quirky” and masculine, he said. Short haircuts close to the hairline were highlighted by blue, green and petrol shades in the same tones as the makeup to create that sharp masculine look. The Fendi woman is also strong, “but shares a quirky mystery at the same.” McKnight sprayed his own Cool Girl and Modern Hairspray mist on models wearing ponytails, pulled up very quickly for a natural effect.

PRADA: The hairstyle by Guido Palau was inspired by the boyish idea of a woman, shared with Pat McGrath’s beauty look. A group of models walked the runway with shorter hair with said boyish look, while another group sported soft ponytails. The key product was Palau’s Wax Blast 10 finishing spray.

GIORGIO ARMANI: The hairstyle by Aldo Coppola Agency was extremely graphic, in sync with the eyes, which were the focus of the makeup. Models wore a short black wig with a short fringe and sideburns, which defined a triangle.

ETRO: Hairstylist John Pecis was inspired by the atmosphere of a trip to India, with a touch of “a late Sixties — early Seventies look.” The idea was about a girl who just attended the ultimate music festival — think Jimi Hendrix or The Beatles. The hair was a little dampened and kept back off the face, conveying the idea of a girl on the move. But it was anything but messy: “We put an effort into controlling the hair and put it in a shape,” Pecis underscored. “It was like models had put their hands into their hair to push it back. The hair became dampened and heavy by starting with a volumizing mousse to hold the hair back and give a little bit of a wave. Then a curling iron was used to give a little bit of a wave, then a dressing cream was put over the top of that wave to feel like it was wet, even if it wasn’t.” It was all about an easy-yet-pretty look  “If you want to achieve it in your life you just have to use the right products to hold the hair in place,” Pecis suggested.

MISSONI: “A modern type of a bohemian woman” inspired hairstylist Anthony Turner, a quintessentially Missoni innocence.” This idea was reflected in a very light, easy yet cool hairstyle and in a beautiful texture. As the show was held outdoors, the hair had to be light and free to move. Using Moroccanoil products, Turner created low ponytails, and when girls were ready to walk he just “destroyed” them so that “even if there is a ponytail it’s gonna be very romantic,” Turner explained. Haircuts, Afros and curly hair were kept natural, maintaining each girl’s personal style.

MARNI: Hairstylist Duffy played on the idea of wet hair, as if the girls had just stepped out of the water. Hair was kept “supershiny, superwet-looking,” he said. But there was also an element of a “punky take on the Fifties,” though “it’s not Teddy Boy, it’s not rockabilly,” Duffy underscored.  The hair was well tightened on the back, using a lot of strong mousse and fixed with spray.

Kendra Wilkinson pays tribute to Hugh Hefner

Kendra Wilkinson pays tribute to Hugh Hefner. Kendra Wilkinson has praised the late Hugh Hefner for his “heart of gold”. The ‘Kendra On Top’ star has paid tribute to the late Playboy magazine founder – who died earlier this week at the age of 91 – and thanked him for making her feel like “the most special person on the planet”. In a series of tweets, she wrote: “For me it was the little things about Hef. The moments I I got to share w him w no cameras around… he always made me laugh … When we would stare at each other from across the room. Like no one else was there. We made each other smile. From the heart. No matter what mood I was in. He always made me smile. Always!!! … I appreciate that I got spend those 5 years with him. Got the time to open my heart n understand who he really was … I always ask myself… how was I so lucky? Out of all the women and people in the world. His shuffling feet walking by my door at noon. The time we were both just waking up. The pride in his eyes when I told him I was marrying the man of my dreams … He made me feel like the most special person on the planet while I made sure his hat was on sideways. His heart was GOLD … Hef just wanted to see beauty in the world. And his. That’s it! (sic)” Meanwhile, Kendra previously hailed Hugh for shaping who she is today. She said previously: “Hef changed my life. I couldn’t be more thankful for our friendship and our time together.”

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From red to cord: five autumn/winter 2017 trends decoded

Shopdealman reviews https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/scam-fake-reviews-internet-getting-bigger-shopdealman-shopdealman

Add a fraction of geography teacher to your corduroy, double the drama with a dash of disco or multiply the power of red by going woke. Whatever the variables, these are the equations that result in maximum style this season.


Woke red

Rihanna × Offred ÷ The Woman In Red

Bit sick of pink, millennial and otherwise? Us, too. Enter red – the colour of AW17, and one that has been associated with, over the years, the Labour party, Campbell’s soup tins and Netflix. What the emergence of red means is unclear, but it’s a satisfying full-stop kind of colour to wear, a statement for time-poor people, if you will. This adorable Chloé dress is one of the pieces of the season.

Where to buy it

Topshop is already on the LRD thing, with a subtle homage to the Chloé number.


Working Girl × Silicon Valley CEO ÷ Spotlight

Fashion is smartening up: the suit is back, often in check. This isn’t the 1980s, so discount Melanie Griffith’s office look in Working Girl and think of the slightly off note of sneakers with a pencil skirt. Raf Simons’ collection at Calvin Klein paired checked suits like this with cowboy boots. Or try over-the-knee boots, as at Vetements. Workwear that’s NSFW? That’s about right.

Where to buy it

Miss Selfridge is excelling in Prince of Wales suiting. A blazer is a good entry-level piece for the corporate chic trend.


Michelle Obama × Kurt Cobain ÷ Elmo

Cardigans have been in the fashion wilderness for the last decade. No longer. Ditch the hoodie and the alpha sweater for this, and the more vintage-y (technical term) the better. Lust after this one by Prada, make do with a beaded number from eBay, or wear as a twinset with a pencil skirt in the style of a high-school senior in the late 50s.

Where to buy it

Michelle Obama is the patron saint of cardigans. Her favourite store, J Crew, is a good place to find them.

Teacher × Alexa Chung ÷ Jarvis Cocker

Strokability is guaranteed in fashionable circles this autumn, with cord back on trend. Moving on from the thrift store so-fashionable-I-can-be-a-geek ironic appeal it had in the 90s, corduroy has been given catwalk spit and polish by blue-chip labels such as Marc Jacobs (seen here), Prada and Mulberry. The geography teacher is now a fashion muse. Who knew?

Where to buy it

Mango’s pink cords are straight out of Kirsten Dunst’s Virgin Suicides wardrobe, and all the better for it.

Studio 54 × Joan Collins ÷ festival glitter

Sister Sledge namechecked disco’s key fashion labels in 1979’s He’s The Greatest Dancer as “Halston, Gucci, Fiorucci”. Fast-forward to now and they might also have to add Saint Laurent (seen here), Mugler and Versace – labels where disco’s razzle-dazzle, out-and-out glamour rule. Saint Laurent’s disco boots, as worn by Rihanna, are the alpha footwear of the season, and demand a dancefloor with every step.

Where to buy it

OK, they’re not Rihanna’s £6,855 ones, but New Look’s glitter boots are pretty close.

Photographs: Getty; Rex/Shutterstock; Reuters; Open Road Films


The Week in Footwear: How Sympatex Wants to Make Recycled, Climate Neutral Shoes

Hip-hop artist A$AP Nast reveals a new side of himself—mid-century modern furniture collector—in a new collaboration with Converse.

Nast and Converse teamed up on a limited-edition footwear and apparel collection inspired by the distinct colors and materials of the design period.

The Converse One Star features a mustard yellow corduroy upper, fuzzy laces and the iconic Converse star in deep red leather. The Chuck Taylor All Star 70 gets a retro-cool update with plaid. Both sneakers include the phrase “Somewhere in Mid-Century” on the sidewalls. The same phrase takes center stage on T-shirts, offered in cream, cardinal and dark chocolate.


The Converse x A$AP Nast collection exclusively launches at the Foot Locker flagship store in Times Square on Thursday.

“Being born and raised in Harlem, I’m excited to drop my [first] design collaboration in my city. Fashion has always been a priority whether expressed through my style or rap—I am telling a story,” said Nast. “As a young creative, Converse gave me the opportunity to share my vision, passion and personal inspiration of a timeless era through the collection.”



Shop the Best Limited-Edition Sneakers Released This Month

Now that September is coming to a close, we’re looking back on the month’s best limited-edition drops.

The prerelease of Virgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike “The Ten” collection headlined the month, while other noteworthy drops came in the form of an all-terrain take on the fan-favorite Adidas Ultra Boost and a charitable iteration of Rihanna’s Fenty PumaCreeper.

Shop the month’s best limited-edition kicks below.

Rihanna x Fenty Puma CreeperThis special colorway of Rihanna’s Fenty Puma Creeper benefits the Clara Lionel Foundation, an organization the singer established in honor of her grandparents. The white leather look features embroidered details and is still available in a number of sizes from Puma’s e-commerce site.Puma

Rihanna x Fenty Puma Creeper Clara Lionel, $160; puma.com

Off-White x Air Jordan 1 The TenVirgil Abloh’s Off-White x Nike “The Ten” collection was full of highlights, but the Air Jordan 1 from the “Revealing” range was arguably the most sought-after style. If you can’t wait for the global release in November, the Air Jordan 1 can be picked up now for an average of around $2,000.Stadium Goods

Off-White x Air Jordan 1 “The Ten,” from $2,500; stadiumgoods.com

Adidas Ultra Boost All TerrainAdidas’ fan-favorite Ultra Boost sneaker gets a fall-ready makeover with this All Terrain rendition. It’s equipped with an extended ankle collar, improved outsole traction and a water repellant coating to power through the season’s weather.Adidas

Adidas Ultra Boost All Terrain LTD,  $240; finishline.com

There is More to Modern-Day African Fashion Than Traditional Caricatures

Fashion has over the past decade or so seen a gradual increase in the use of African-inspired prints and silhouettes, mainly derived from the West and East African regions. We have seen these influences on the runways of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Valentino, OAMC, and Thakoon, among others. Many thought that like any other trend, African-inspired garments and accessories would peak and fizzle after a season or two.

However, Africa as a reference point has, instead, proven to have significant staying power and has diversified further into other industries, largely because it responds to and speaks to the genuine needs and interests of a large sum of global consumers – black people.

Despite what may appear to be the case, this trend was not fueled by Africans in Africa. Rather, it was initially put forth by African diaspora millennials across Europe and the U.S. – and then carried further by big brands and other entities, alike. As this generation of black youth has come of age, we have seen them look to the cultural heritage of their parents and ancestors, largely borne of an absence of representation in the mass media.

No shortage of these individuals has looked to their ancestral sensibilities and applied them to their own lives (in many instances neglecting to do the necessary research into the various symbolism and appropriate usage of the pieces); they have built businesses, fashion brands, blogs, and other media outlets as a way to validate – and monetize – their interpretations of African culture. As a result, this generation plays a key role – albeit unintentionally – in leading the global narrative on Africa and its fashion (accurately depicted or otherwise), and – more generally – blackness.

In terms of fashion, many African expatriates have been drawn to some of the more performative aspects of African cultures, looking to traditional and traditional-inspired fabrics, beads, etc. What is often overlooked in the modern-day treatment of Africa is the fact that the continent has thriving streetwear, bridal, swimwear, footwear, and jewelry brands with offerings that are capable of seamlessly transcending borders. Still yet, where we can, we are also a vibrant tech-savvy youth documenting our reality and aspirations online.

Despite what you might see on the runway or in editorials, it is worth noting that African youths do not walk around in Kente dashikis and seShweShwe headwraps – similar to how the Japanese youth, for example, do not live their daily lives in Hikizuri Kimonos.

image: Louis Vuitton

image: Louis Vuitton

Such creations and styling, while the result of African influence, are – in reality – not an accurate depiction of the fashions created or worn by a majority of Africans in Africa today. Instead, they are juxtapositions of indigenous cultural and religious beauty standards, socio-economic circumstances, organic local fashion subcultures, as well as the Western ideals imposed through generations of colonialism and systematic racism with current global trends.

African fashion is a melting pot of ideas and aesthetics unlike anywhere else in the world. That is also often excluded from the global mass media’s coverage of African fashion. In fact, brands based in Africa, which have received the most consistent global attention, are often those that peddle aspects of African-ness that appeal to the white and Western gaze – namely colorful prints and beads – in ways which often lean towards being a form of caricature of that culture. By no coincidence, these are in line with the aspects cherry picked by African expatriates in furtherance of this trend.

Millennials now comprise 37 percent of Africa’s population and 70 percent of the Sub-Saharan African population is under the age of 30, making it the world’s most youthful continent. With that comes a constantly diversifying approach to fashion that deserves to be covered, respected and supported globally, and led by Africans in Africa.