Chanel and Her Rivals: Women and 20th-Century Fashion

On October 15, 2015 at the Hillwood Estate, Museum, & Gardens in Washington, DC, I will discuss women and 20th-century fashion, focusing on the great fashion designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel in the context of her profession, and compared to other female fashion designers of the 1920s and 1930s, such as Elsa Schiaparelli and Madeleine Vionnet. This was the golden age of the couturière, when female designers dominated Paris fashion. Yet when Chanel came back into business in the 1950s, the world of fashion had changed, and she faced mostly male rivals, such as Christian Dior, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Jacques Fath. What is the situation of female fashion designers today? Have they regained parity with men?

Learn more about this event here.

Add commentIn Appearances Blog September 6th, 2015

Designers & Books Fair 2015

On October 2, from 6–7 pm, I will be signing copies of my newest book, Fashion Underground: The World of Susanne Bartsch at the Designers & Books Fair 2015 being held at the Fashion Institute of Technology. When you purchase the book, you will be entered into a drawing to win a tour of the exhibition given by me! Up to 25 of the winner’s friends can come on the tour, which must be arranged through the director’s office at The Museum at FIT. Fashion Underground is on view at MFIT from September 18 – December 5, 2015.

For full details, visit Designers & Books 2015. For more information about the fair, visit the Designers & Books website.

Add commentIn Appearances Blog September 6th, 2015

1920s Style: Prohibition-Era Fashion

Glamour, sparkle, dropped waistlines, cloche hats, flappers, and boaters…alcohol was prohibited, yet in 1920s America, the evolution of fashion advanced in daring strides. From the everyday to the flamboyant, fashion during the “Roaring 20s” broke the rules. On September 30, the National Archives Foundation in Washington DC presents a discussion moderated by Tim Gunn, star of Project Runway, along with panelists Valerie Steele and John Dunn, fashion director for HBO’s Boardwalk Empire. A fashion show exploring this exciting period in American fashion history will follow the discussion. This event is currently sold out, but a waiting list is available to sign up for. Learn more here.
“Where there’s smoke there’s fire” by American artist Russell Patterson (1893-1977), 1920s. Flickr, via the Library of Congress.

Add commentIn Appearances Blog September 6th, 2015

Tokyo Above-Underground — at Verboten

It’s been several years since I organized the exhibition, JAPAN FASHION NOW, so I was delighted to get the chance to see some of Tokyo’s latest street styles last Saturday [August 29th] at “Tokyo Above-Underground: Fashion Show by Misha Janette.” Held in Brooklyn at the first annual Waku Waku festival, it featured 10 styles, as produced by 10 different companies. The audience was filled with American girls in sweet Lolita outfits, but according to Misha, Lolita styles are now old-hat.

Certainly, fashion changes in the blink of an eye in Tokyo. The last time I was in Tokyo, for example, I visited the cute little shop, Grimoire, to find examples of the latest Mori-girl (Forest Girl) styles, one of which I borrowed for the exhibition at the Museum at FIT. Now Forest Girl style disappeared, to be replaced by something called Vintage Fairy Tale.

Admittedly, many styles at the show were similar to their predecessors — Shibuya girl, for example, is updated Gyaru. Always a fan of Gothic Lolita styles, I naturally liked the new Japanese Gothic — and especially admired the model’s ability to walk in her shoes. The Kawaii Anarchy style (obviously appeals to trendy followers of the Decora style — think hyper-decorated, but now also in acid colors.

My personal favorite was Future Asian style by M.Y.O.B., a company started by two Japanese girls who were living in New York. The clothes are mostly black and white, and feature South Asian (Indian) and Middle Eastern touches.

Add commentIn Blog September 4th, 2015

Next Posts Previous Posts