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.
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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.

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!

 

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

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.