Fashion News from 10 Downing Street

Samantha Cameron, courtesy British Vogue

Samantha Cameron, courtesy British Vogue

Samantha Cameron, wife of former British Prime Minister James Cameron, will be launching her own fashion line the beginning of 2017. This is a story of perseverance, patience, and creativity. Cameron, a distant cousin to Diana, Princess of Wales, was preparing for this during her six years as the wife of the Prime Minister. She took that time to learn the craft of dressmaking and was at her sewing machine every day. Her new fashion line, Cefinn, which is named after the initials of her four children, is designed to “create an urban uniform for busy women” and to bridge a gap in the market for a British brand that offers a wardrobe that could take women from day to evening. Cameron told British Vogue: “I felt that there was a lot of American and French brands out there that fit that bracket of designer contemporary with the right price point and the right styling, but there aren’t that many British brands which fill that space.”  I love this story!

 

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NYFW Pays Tribute to Bill Cunningham

Image Source: Getty / Slaven Vlasic

Image Source: Getty / Slaven Vlasic

This is New York Fashion Week and one of its staples is noticeably missing from the scene: New York Times fashion and street style photographer, Bill Cunningham. He was a Fashion Week presence for nearly 40 years, and he and his signature blue jacket are absent – Cunningham died in June at the age of 87. To kick off the event, Day One of Fashion Week held a charming tribute to Bill Cunningham, as working fashion photographers donned blue jackets and arranged their chairs in the shape of his camera. Now that’s a fashion moment!

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Madonna Havana Good Time!

Madonna's Instagram from Havana

Madonna’s Instagram from Havana

Last week Madonna traveled to Havana, Cuba, with family and friends – to celebrate her 58th birthday. She posted this image on her Instagram – one of many from her trip – wearing white lace accented with red, to match the white and red of this ’57 Chevy. It’s the Madonna I know – looking Like-Her-Virgin self, having a fashion moment for us to enjoy. There is something about this image and this story that really touches me. I love Madonna’s style, I love that her celebration involved dancing on conga lines and on tables – enjoying the music scene with the locals, and I love that she was there with her children and her old friends Debi Mazar and Rosie O’Donnell.

What is it that draws me to it? Is it that I will be celebrating my 58th birthday in a few years? Is it my own Latin roots? Maybe. But I think it has more to do with feeling a part of it. And just seeing Madonna Havana Good Time!

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Kids Hit the Target

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Photographer: Ackerman and Gruber

Very shortly in mid-July, Target’s mainstay kids’ labels, Cherokee and Circo, will be replaced by all-new kid-inspired exclusive label, Cat and Jack. In other words, Target will be throwing out what has been working for them, to take a chance that kids’ visions will lead them into the future. To do so, Target will have conducted heavy research, interviewed hundreds of kids, and talked to companies like Walt Disney and Nickelodeon. “That was a big decision, because Circo and Cherokee were successful,” says Julie Guggemos, head of product design and development, who’s been at Target for almost 26 years. “The kids’ business wasn’t broken. It was strong.”

All the more reason then, that this is a big leap of faith for Target. But kids clothing is one of the more reliable categories for retailers and a $30 billion market in the U.S. According to Bloomberg BusinessWeek, “Cat & Jack is a crucial step in a long-term plan to revitalize Target, the second-largest discount retailer in the U.S. Executives are funneling their attention and resources into four broad areas—babies, kids, style, and wellness.”

Kids hit the Target. Will it be a bullseye?

 

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Rocking the Runway and Dressing for Success …

Sima (left) and Maggie (right) with the collected donations for Dress for Success

Sima (left) and Maggie (right) with the collected donations for Dress for Success

Collected donations (including those from the fashion models) for Dress for Success

Collected donations (including those from the fashion models) for Dress for Success

When faced with a challenge to develop a fashion show that truly gives back to charity, Kent Place Upper School co-Presidents of GLAM’D (Girls Learning and Making a Difference), Maggie and Sima, discovered the mission and the meaning behind the organization, Dress for Success. The result was an inspiring look into the world of Dress for Success and a fashion show that rocked the runway at GLAM’D’s recent inaugural event.

Maggie explains how they chose Dress for Success: “Sima and I chose to support Dress for Success because their mission and philosophy paralleled beautifully with our own goals for GLAM’D. We love that we were able to make this event about female leadership and networking; we did not just donate clothes or money – our event was centered on Dress for Success’ goal of women helping women.” Continue reading

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Gucci Runways Go Co-Ed

Gucci

Gucci – during the Autumn-Winter 2016/2017 Milan Fashion Week

It seems only natural to me to present my men’s and women’s collections together. It’s the way I see the world today … It will not necessarily be an easy path and will certainly present some challenges, but I believe it will give me the chance to move toward a different kind of approach to my storytelling.” ~ Alessandro Michele, Gucci creative director

Italian brand, Gucci, will present its men’s and women’s collections in one fashion show starting in 2017. There is no word yet if the new shows will launch in Milan for the Men’s Fashion Week or in New York for the women’s shows.

I see combined runways as a positive change; not only from a business perspective to streamline the buying process but also for the conversation that it will bring. Breaking down gender barriers is a modern point of view. I’m buying it!

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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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Iris Apfel Designs Sexy Tech

Iris Apfel, courtesy of Wise Wear

Iris Apfel, courtesy of Wise Wear

I didn’t give a damn about going to the party or being at the party – it was getting dressed for the party. And there’s truth and poetry in that.” Iris Apfel, Documentary, IRIS

At 94 Iris Apfel is still a fashion influencer: most recently, designing a collection of wearable technology which she describes as pieces “on the conservative side,” but are staples that can be “mixed with a few more la-de-da pieces.” Leave it to Apfel to take something that is generally considered non-sexy and give it life to actually look like real jewelry. In a new collaboration with Wise Wear Apfel has created sleek tech pieces that also serve an important purpose. They can track activity, give mobile notifications and they come with an array of safety functions, like alerting a select number of contacts when an emergency ensues. The bracelets are also waterproof and have a battery charge that can last up to three days. And she doesn’t stop there: Apfel hopes to expand the line with even bolder and brighter additions like statement necklaces, brooches, and men’s belt buckles. Each piece retails for $300 and can be purchased at Wise Wear.

Ever since I saw the documentary IRIS about her life with her husband Carl (and I featured her on TFIO), I have been in love with artist, visionary, and composer, Iris Apfel. She is an original – with a style that has nothing to do with age.

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The Hero Behind Zero Waste

Daniel Silverstein

Daniel Silverstein in his own zero waste design

It’s been three years since I first met New York fashion designer Daniel Silverstein and that is hard to believe. In that time, I have seen a young designer grow in leaps and bounds in his creation of beautiful designs with a mindful and ethical purpose: zero waste. Now located in Brooklyn and affiliated with Manufacture NY, his journey is reaching new depths and creating a vehicle for change in the fashion world. I applaud Daniel for his energy, positivity, integrity, and for his commitment. We talked about what is on Daniel’s mind now and for the future …

MKG: Why did you move your design studio from Manhattan to Brooklyn and what has the move meant to you and to your brand?

Daniel: I moved from Manhattan six months ago because I felt stuck.  But at the time, I didn’t realize the significance of moving my business to Brooklyn and Manufacture NY – now of course it makes perfect sense. What prompted the change was the fact that I wasn’t having a large enough impact on zero waste designs. I was too focused on succeeding in the industry as it is. I have always worked behind closed doors, developing my designs and techniques in a private, almost secret space with a small team. But moving to a community space (without any walls) has given me a new approach, with the benefits of support and access to equipment. The people with whom I work are excited about my zero waste design efforts and are helping me build and facilitate my message. It is a huge blessing for me and a really exciting time. I had an incredible professor at FIT who told me that there are 2 kinds of designers: good designers and great designers. The good designers get work, and great designers change the way people dress. I always knew that I wanted to be one of the great designers making a positive impact. Continue reading

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