Kira is Designing Her Life

Kira, from her very first blog post

Kira, from her very first blog post: While She Walks!

Kira Ross is completing her Junior year of high school. In many ways, she is like other high school students. And yet, she isn’t. Because Kira is not afraid to stand out. In fact, she wants to be different, and expresses that through her clothes – original designs she makes herself. Here is Kira …

MKG: Did you always love fashion?

KIRA: Yes, I always loved dressing myself in the mornings. It was my way of making the school day more interesting. It wasn’t until a few years ago, that I started sewing my own clothes ad I became more ‘hands-on’ with my fashion interest.

MKG: What is it about fashion and self expression?

KIRA: I like wearing things that are different; I prefer to stand out than to be like everyone else. There’s a wall you have to get over – it’s more about whatyou think of yourself than what others think of you. Once you climb that wall, you just keep going further. Continue reading

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Walking Down the Aisle in Wedding Pants?

Elizabeth Suzann, a Nashville-based designer, offers her Florence pant in washed silk crepe-back satin for $365 for brides

Elizabeth Suzann, a Nashville-based designer, offers her Florence pant in washed silk crepe-back satin for $365 for brides

Yesterday’s New York Times Style Section posed an interesting question: is today’s bride choosing to wear pants instead of the classic bridal dress? The answer is – in some cases … yes.  For women who simply don’t want to wear a dress or want to make a different statement on their day as a bride, designers are creating more bridal options, including pants. In the article, Edwina Ehrman, the Curator of Textiles and Fashion at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, who was also curator of the exhibition, Wedding Dresses 1175-2014 for the museum, explained: “Wedding dresses, like every other garment in our wardrobes, reflect social and cultural change.”

Could it be a sign of the times? The need to be less restricted and conventional? Or could it be something more fundamental? Continue reading

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Showroom Style at Meredith Banzhoff

Optimized-P1050796When you first step into Meredith Banzhoff’s west-side showroom in the heart of New York’s garment district, you are drawn to the clean, crisp, and colorful clothes and the custom design of the showroom. And as Meredith herself showed me her studio, I felt her personal connection to her clothes and her environment. It’s all personal for Meredith, in fact; she refers to every shirt by her name and much of the furniture and handiwork is from her native Pennsylvania. The four original shirts – four original “girls”- were given names: Bella, Catherine, Liz and Jane. These four are the originals, born from a desire to create the epitome of comfort, construction, and tailoring. Meredith’s commitment to “40 Points of Measure” is the foundation for the design of her shirts. The brand is now three years old and though it has grown to include shirt-inspired pieces, the core is still the classic, made in New York shirt.

I knew when I first interviewed Meredith Banzhoff that I would visit her studio and get fitted for a custom shirt of my own. And that is just what I did – to my utter delight! I ended up with a navy, Isabella shirt, perfectly-fit with just the right combination of stretch. I look forward to seeing where Meredith Banzhoff* is headed!

*TFIO readers: want to own your own Meredith Banzhoff shirt? Through April 15, 2016: you can purchase any of the four “original girls” styles for 30% off the original price. Just use Promo Code: TFIO30%

The four original girls: Bella, Catherine, Liz, and Jane (Meredith's favorite)

The four original girls: Bella, Catherine, Liz, and Jane (Meredith’s favorite)

Measuring the perfect-fit

Measuring the perfect-fit

Meredith Banzhoff Showroom

Meredith Banzhoff Showroom

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Rally Behind Rallier!

Oliva Rose Fay

Oliva Rose Fay, wearing a Rallier  dress from her debut collection

Incorporating social missions into fashion and accessories brands is an undeniable and exciting trend. There is such a synergistic relationship between wearing a brand you love and supporting change you believe in.” ~ Olivia Rose Fay

There are some stories that tug at your heart. Some fashion stories that soar beyond fashion to the core of the human condition. One feature on TFIO about fashion and philanthropy was not enough to tell the entire story of Olivia Rose Fay, the CEO and Creative Director of Rallier. Rallier officially debuted its first collection, consisting of 15 dresses, just last month, February 2016. But Olivia’s inspiration and purpose started when she was a young girl watching her grandmother, who had immigrated to San Francisco from Shanghai in 1954. Olivia’s grandmother supported her family by designing dresses, eventually opening her own dress store called Lily’s.

At the age of 28, Olivia has already begun the process of conceptualizing her own legacy by looking at a cause that matters to her most: education for girls and gender inequality. Continue reading

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Zac Posen: “We Live in a Diverse World”

Photo: Imaxtree

A look from Zac Posen’s 2016 Fall Collection – Photo: Imaxtree

Two nights ago designer Zac Posen sent 25 black models down the runway for his Fall 2016 show – inspired by Princess Elizabeth of Toro (a Ugandan lawyer who became the first East African woman to be admitted to the English bar). Said Posen: “We live in a diverse world and it is essential it is represented in the fashion industry—it has always been critical to me, as well as a key component of my collections—whether it’s shapes, sizes or skin color—as my customers are global and part of all diverse groups.”

The fight for diversity on the runway has been long and slow-moving. But Posen is making an important statement and it is a welcome and refreshing change in the right direction. Hopefully, it will inspire other designers to do the same. I’m buying it!

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A Fashion Trio for the Ages: Hepburn, Givenchy, and Sabrina

Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, wearing Hubert de Givenchy creation: photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Audrey Hepburn as Sabrina, wearing Hubert de Givenchy creation: photo courtesy of Paramount Pictures

Last night TCM aired one of my all-time favorite Audrey Hepburn movies, 1954’s Sabrina. Sabrina tells the tale of a chauffeur’s daughter who pines over the handsome playboy son of the wealthy, Long Island family for whom her father works. After her father ships her off to Paris to attend cooking school and kick her crush, Sabrina returns two years later sporting a complete makeover, including a new haircut and Parisian style. When Sabrina accepts an invitation to a fancy dance from her former crush, she promises to wear “a lovely evening dress with yards of skirt and way off the shoulders.” And so enters Sabrina, as the belle of the ball, in the strapless, iconic Hubert de Givenchy dress that would launch the french designer and one of the greatest collaborations in film and fashion history: Hepburn and Givenchy. And here, the story behind the story gets more interesting … Continue reading

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Spotlight on Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac Mizrahi

Until then, fashion was all craft to me, merely sewing and knitting. That night I started communing with the muses, ones that would appear when I was being creative to show me the way. That night I consciously made the decision to become a fashion designer; those pictures galvanized me into action in pursuit of the career I eventually realized.” ~ Isaac Mizrahi: a retrospective of his work – “Isaac Mizrahi, An Unruly History” opens at the Jewish Museum in New York City on March 18

I have always been charmed by fashion designer, Isaac Mizrahi. Born in Brooklyn, New York, he had aspirations to act but those dreams were coupled with tremendous stage fright. He grew up surrounded by fashion – his father owned a children’s manufacturing company, and his mother had a “major obsession with clothes.” He learned to sew at an early age for his mother’s friends and for himself. But his passion for fashion and design struck him hard in July 1977, with the issue of Vogue Magazine’s special portfolio by Richard Avedon, showing the year’s fall collections. It was those images that inspired Isaac Mizrahi to become a fashion designer – and the acting world’s loss was to become the fashion world’s gain.

 

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Where Fashion Meets Family

Designer Meredith Banzhoff

Designer Meredith Banzhoff

My intention is to create shirting-inspired pieces that tread the line of traditional and edgy. My goal is to push the envelope of what shirting means and give it a feminine twist while maintaining a clean timeless aura. The Meredith Banzhoff woman is confident with a touch of attitude.” – Meredith Banzhoff

At five years old Meredith Banzhoff knew she wanted to design clothes. Throughout her young life she watched and absorbed her family’s traditions that were to become her heritage of quality and care for clothing. She watched as her father had custom clothing made for him and as her grandfather, a lawyer, always dressed with proper shoes, shirt, and tie. Since her grandparents lived near her, their influence on her thinking was strong. Now Meredith is a smart and savvy fashion designer with a singular and solid point of view for her designs and brand. And Meredith is only 29! We spoke about her philosophy on clothing and why taking proper care of one’s clothes makes all the difference …

MKG: How did your commitment to fit and proper tailoring begin?

MEREDITH: I have wanted to design clothes since I was five years old. My mother would get me patterns to make my own clothes. I grew up riding horses – Ralph Lauren‘s style was always an inspiration to me. And watching my father and my grandfather care for clothes and their attention to detail was ingrained in me at a very early age. As a young girl I was drawn to the quality of clothes rather than the quantity and when I bought things for myself I would choose quality shoes and clothes that would last longer. As I got older, I decided to major in business, major in fashion design, and minor in fashion and beauty communications; this was my focus. During college I had the opportunity to study abroad in Italy and that exposed me to true master tailoring in womenswear. Continue reading

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Spanish Passion!

Paloma del Pozo - photography credit Myriam Alvarez

Fashion designer Paloma del Pozo – photography credit Myriam Alvarez

After a recent visit to Madrid, Spain, I asked my friend Myriam to share her thoughts on Spanish fashion …

“No wonder red and yellow are Spain’s national colors. The land of Picasso, Miro, and Dali, among many other artists, is driven by one thing: passion. It’s intensity can be felt in their passionate discussions about bull fighting, the sound of their Spanish guitars, and the clapping of their Flamenco dancers. This intensity can also be found in the works of a new generation of young Spanish fashion designers who are not afraid to show the power of their roots. One such designer is Paloma del Pozo, who finds inspiration in the art world and is fearless when it comes to changing and challenging the rules. Her designs travel in time and yet are mordern and fresh. The colors she chooses are bold and unapologetic. She uses high quality fabrics and paints on them as if it were her own canvas, giving her collections a unique touch. Paloma reflects in her work the spirit of her country – a place where family comes first, where endless nights are shared among friends with tapas and vermouth, and where music and art collide in vibrant celebrations that last for days. The modern Spanish woman is no longer afraid to show her taste for risk, without losing sight of her own style.” ~ Myriam Alvarez

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“Made in NY” Is Focus for New York Fashion Week

New York

New York

NY Fashion Week kicked off yesterday, with the city creating the Made in NY Fashion Initiative, a $5 million investment designed to tout, support and nurture the New York fashion industry. According to the New York City Economic Development Corporation, there will be a full-on “Made in NY” campaign, with ads to run on 75 buses, 600 taxi tops, five billboards, and in ferry and airport terminals and fashion publications. The ads feature the work of local NYC designers such as Prabal Gurung, Public School, Chromat, A-Morir, Rosie Assoulin, Tim Coppens, Ohne Titel, Eugenia Kim and Alexis Bittar. The campaign, which is starting now, will run through Oct. 15.

Good news for the local industry.

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