Feminist Fashion at Chanel

Chanel is, was and always will be, a powerhouse in the fashion industry, but the Spring/Summer 2015 show has affirmed to us that the brand's first Mademoiselle was a rebel with a cause - to bring women their right to freedom in fashion.

Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld cleverly staged a feminist protest at the end of the show, with models clad in colourful signature tweed walked down the runway with plaques that would make any woman (or feminist man) roar with passion. Phrases such as "Make Fashion Not War", "Be Your Own Stylist", "Ladies First" and the radical "History is Her Story" were slapped on the plaques, held in hand with integrity.

With the brand's muse, Cara Delevingne, shouting battle cries as the models marched, it was no surprise the attendees took out whatever device in hand to capture the moment. It's common sense to know that fashion's expectations of women are often the target of feminists, and even though contradictory to Lagerfeld's choice of models and fitting of clothing, this may pave way for more designers to let their stance on feminism show.


Jean Paul's Joyous End

It may seem like the end of an era, but things can only get better from here on in as Jean Paul Gaultier's last Ready to Wear show took place in the fashion capital of Paris. Presiding in the famous Rex theatre, a blast of glitter, glamour and celebration filled the place as models walked in outfits symbolising the variety and valour of the modern woman.

The many faces of women were seen right throughout, including the misunderstood female boxer, the classy women of Golden Hollywood, the generation obsessed with social media and selfies, the pure sensuality of Cabaret and the bravery of the female wrestler. And alas, his pro-ageing stance was personified by beautiful, middle-aged women in beauty queen attire, wrinkles and all in sight. 

What was so charming about the show was his ode to the prolific fashion editors who have helped him throughout his years at the top. In honour of these wonderful women, models walked clad in outfits that Carine Roitfeld (above), Franca SozzaniGrace Coddington and the pen-wielding master, Suzy Menkes, are usually seen in.

Cheers to you, Mr. Gaultier, may your Haute Couture line forever prosper. 


Hussein Chalayan - Behind the Burqa

1998 - The "In Between" Collection, representing Islamic women in an angelic manner

Season after season, powerful messages are injected into the collections with extremity or subtlety by the '90s super designer, Hussein Chalayan. Last year, he opted to show thriftiness by showing dresses made with fake nails and perspex hat parasols. For Spring/Summer 2015, it is no different, and this time he is seeking to continue his subliminal message of Islamic acceptance. 

Being Turkish, he knows full well about how Islam is perceived in the Western world, and to complement his controversial 1996 and 1998 collections, his move is timed quite well to poke at the recent instability in communities caused by the coverage of Isis. Collection aside, Chalayan's collection was topped off with a trio of elegant gowns with a Burqa-clad woman panelled at the front. Although the message is not as in-your-face as in 1996, which leaned more towards representing Islamic women as sexual beings, this trio of gowns may further the harmony and integration between the Islamic and non-Islamic peoples, even if they are "just dresses".

1996 - Chalayan's controversial looks which played on sexual freedom and modest Islamic principles

In a time when the traditional Islamic garment has been wiped of its beauty due to the ignorance, fear and stereotyping of close-minded non-Islamics, I applaud Chalayan for somehow contributing to a change of perception.

Images: Deborah Counsell, New York Magazine and Paris-Paris


Fashion for Freedom

Just days away from the vote for Scottish independence, the Great Dame of Fashion, Vivienne Westwood, has run models down the runway with badges voicing her stance on what the outcome should be. For the first time since 1707, the citizens of Scotland are able or unable to become a sovereign state, depending on the outcome.

Clad in clothing that carries Vivienne's signature aesthetic, badges with the word "YES", were pinned on a number of looks, firmly stating Westwood is on the Scots' side. Despite the politically correct message, the collection itself was underwhelming - nothing new, just recycled styles that make the label known. But who can blame the woman, in recent months she's been involved in a number of campaigns for the betterment of the world. 

You go, girl!

Images: Style.com

OUTRAGE | Don't Mention The Garment Workers

A misconception about people who love and/or work in fashion is that they are permissive to the infringement of human rights for the sake of luxurious and indulgent garments. Wrong. The activist group, War on Want, hung a banner on the Waterloo Bridge at the beginning of London Fashion Week brought fashion week show-goers to voice their opinion on the wearying issue of sweatshops.

In addition to the banner, fashion writer and activist, Tansy E Hoskins, caught fashionistas attending shows expressing their opinion on the matter. With the recent Primark tag hoax, a push for fair trade certainly reminded designers and brands to emphasise social-corporate responsibility, and this may quicken more ethical practices within the production process of fashion.


Images: Ecouterre and Tansy E Hoskins

No Makeup on the Runway

In an industry where beautification goes beyond tedious skincare, Marc Jacobs took a non-artificial approach to displaying the garments for Spring/Summer 2015. The models, usually clad in heavy makeup, wore none at all. Shock! Horror!

Except for a shaggy wig reminiscent of the signature haircuts of The Beatles and The Ramones, the models looked fresh and free, albeit overshadowed by the hardness of the utilitarian clothing. But, in combination with the garments, was itself was a statement about the restraints which women are fed as the way to be by the industry. Going against the grain of trends shown throughout New York Fashion Week, a few of Marc Jacobs' garments conveyed the underestimated strength, confidence and toughness of women.

 Whether a dress, a coat or a jumpsuit, the balanced collection presented the  two sides of the coin of femininity. Beyond question, Marc Jacobs was subtle in his approach, but simplicity is the way to go to remark on body confidence and to encourage the acceptance of oneself.

Images: Style.com


A Stand for Marriage Equality at NYFW

Betsey Johnson, the acclaimed rambunctious New York designer, made her stance on marriage equality in glittery glamour at her Spring/Summer 2015 show. The designer's collection is called "Pre-Nup", and whilst alluding the audience that this may be another eye-blindingly white bridal show, that isn't the case with this happy-go-lucky designer.

In a display of heart-tugging love, models conveying different gender identities and sexualities walked side by side in an effort to stand up for marriage equality and acceptance. Who better than Betsey to celebrate the dynamic relationships within the LGBTIQ community possess in style. But whilst the message was clear, it may have overshadowed the clothing, which were references to the differing subcultures, withe Betsey stating to Canada.com, "The clothes are my first shot at all kinds of brides".

As per usual, the designer ended the show with her energetic display of cartwheels and splits, this time with one of her beautiful granddaughters. To top off the show, or mini marriage equality rally per sé, Betsey was carried off by her royal drag highness Sharon Needles in a loving embrace and peck on the lips! 

Outrageous! Well for the ignorant and close-minded I guess...

Source: Oyster


Top 10 Fashion Quotes of August

Olivier Zahm, Editor in Chief of Purple Fashion

"Fashion is the enemy of men... If men get too fascinated [by fashion], they have no time for anything else." - Olivier Zahm, Editor of Purple Fashion

"Authenticity - whenever you have that in any creative medium, I think people are drawn to that, and that's really addicting to human nature." - Matthew Williams, Designer and Co-Founder of Been Trill

"You have to be bleak to be deep" - Sibling

Carlo Brandelli, Namesake Designer and Tailor

"I can't get that Fashion DNA out of my bones... It never goes away, it's not my choice... You can't help yourself, you keep coming back"- Carlo Brandelli, Namesake Designer and Tailor

"I always knew I was beautiful as a woman, because that's how I was raised [by my mother]. It wasn't about looking at something in a magazine." - Alek Wek, Model

"Is there really still a climate change debate going on? That was so 2004, it's time to get on with it and focus on implementing the solutions" - Vivienne Westwood, Namesake Fashion Designer and Activist

Miuccia Prada

"There are people who are very happy with little. And us, we are never excited for anything, or never enough." - Miuccia Prada, Creative Director and Designer for Prada and Miu Miu

"For me, perfection is the end... I don't believe in perfection; I believe in making mistakes" - Alber Elbaz, Creative Director of Lanvin

"Clothes are the paint I use for my paintbrushes. I'm not concerned with fashion as such." - Simon Foxton, acclaimed Fashion Stylist

Anthony Turner, Hair Stlyist

"I don't think if I wasn't being true to myself I would be where I am now. All this time, I never forget where I've come from." - Anthony Turner, acclaimed Hair Stylist

Images: The Standard, 032c, Miss Owl, Models.com