CFDA shortens New York Fashion Week

Admit it, despite the glamour and thrill of seeing all the new collections, Fashion Week can be a bit exhausting. The Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) has taken note of this time and time again, but now, they have finally done something about it. The spring 2018 calendar for New York Fashion Week will be one day shorter, with Marc Jacobs still closing the shows on Wednesday September 6, at 6:30 p.m.

Previously, the shows officially ran from Thursday to the following Thursday, but some brands have begun showing as early as Wednesday, and a few even starting to show on Tuesday. Between over a week of shows, often back-to-back, editors, buyers and stylists were beginning to feel the grueling process of New York Fashion Week. It's also no longer like back in the day when the vast majority of shows were centralized at Bryant Park. Now, they are scattered all over the city from Midtown to Downtown, with the main venues at Skylight Clarkson Square.

New York Fashion Week calendar to be shorter by one day

Calvin Klein will be opening New York Fashion Week next season with a show on Thursday at 10 a.m. Tom Ford will also be showing that same day at 7 p.m.

While other time slot changes are still in the works, there has been no official announcement on how the new official schedule will look yet.

Many designers have announced they are opting out of New York Fashion Week all together. Proenza Schouler will now be showing on the Haute Couture calendar in Paris. Rodarte will also be opting out of New York Fashion Week and will do a presentation in Paris instead.

The notable absences from the calendar perhaps resulted in the shortening of the week. It's also no secret that the CFDA is trying to find a way to bring back appeal to the event which has been losing both attendees and designers. Perhaps this is just part one to their formula?

Photo: via New York Fashion Week Facebook page

Diesel Black Gold to go coed this June

London - Diesel Black Gold has jumped on the coed bandwagon and is set to merge its menswear and womenswear shows from June.

Both lines from the Italian label, designed by creative director Andreas Melbostad, will be shown during Men's Fashion Week in Milan. The combined show aims to strengthen the link between menswear and womenswear, which revolves around individualism and freedom from established divisions. Melbostad, who was hired in 2012 to oversee the creative direction of the brand's womenswear and later took on responsibility for the label's menswear line, designs modern, basic pieces which sit in line with the authentic concept of Diesel.

Diesel Black Gold to go coed this June

"With today's culture moving towards less gender conformity, combining the men's and women's shows feels like a natural step for us," said Diesel Black Gold creative director Andreas Melbostad in a statement. "With this new strategy, we can better communicate our creative vision when we launch our collections. It gives more momentum to our ideas about fashion, and at the same time makes the creative process a lot more challenging."

The collections from Diesel Black Gold will not be unisex, unlike some other others. Rather the coed shows will consist of 50 percent menswear and 50 percent womenswear. In addition to presenting its womenswear and menswear collections side by side in January and June, Diesel Black Gold is also set to reduce the number of collections it launches per year. The label is set to release two womenswear collections per year instead of four, while the pre-collections for men will remain alongside of the main collections.

"I have always been a big supporter of co-ed shows," adds Renzo Rosso, president of Diesel's parent company OTB. "We actually launched Diesel Black Gold in New York with a men's and women's show at the very beginning. Diesel Black Gold is now a point of reference for the contemporary market and it became crucial to communicate a strong, cohesive seasonal message."

Diesel Black Gold continues to focus on Europe and the US and is set to expand in the Middle East. However over the next three years the label aims to focus on expanding its presence in Asia, in particular strengthening its position in the Chinese market.

Photos: Courtesy of Diesel Black Gold

London - Emporio Armani has decided to relocate its fashion week show once more and is set to show its Spring/Summer 2018 collection in London on September 17.

The Italian label's show will coincide with the opening of Emporio Armani recently renovated Bond Street store. The move sees Emporio Armani return to London Fashion Week after more than a decade.

"London — dynamic, energetic and cosmopolitan — represents global culture, so it’s the perfect setting for my Emporio Armani collection," said Giorgio Armani to WWD. "After my ‘One Night Only’ event in 2006, I’m thrilled to be returning to London to unveil the new concept at the Bond Street store, bearing witness to the brand’s strong bond with the British people."

A post shared by Armani (@armani) on

The decision follows on from last year's move, when the designer decided to hold Emporio Armani's Spring/Summer 2017 fashion show is Paris, which coincided with the renovation of the label's store and its Café on Boulevard Saint-Germain-des-Prés.

The move sees Giorgio Armani continue to roll-out the company's new strategy, which sees the designer reorganise his labels and shutter Armani Collezioni and Armani Jeans to focus on the company's core brands Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani and A|X Armani Exchange. By Spring/Summer 2018 the former two brands will have been mixed into Armani's three main labels in order to attract a wider customer base and streamline his collections.

Gucci cruise show to be staged in Florence

Gucci's next cruise show will be staged in Florence on May 29 at the Palatina Gallery at Pitti Place. It is the first time Palatina Gallery will stage a fashion show.

Gucci has come together with the gallery as part of a cultural project with Uffizi Gallery and the city of Florence, as Gucci will be donating 2.2 million dollars to restore the Boboli Gardens which the Palatina Gallery overlooks.

Gucci is known for it's one-of-a-kind spots for their Cruise shows. The brand held their 2017 cruise pre-collection show at the Cloisters of Westminster Abby. It was the first time the famous church had ever been used for a fashion show. Their 2016 cruise show was held in New York City.

Gucci staging cruise show in Florence

Under creative director Alessandro Michele, Gucci has moved on from its stagnant days under Frida Giannini, and has seen robust sales growth.

His designs have become the favorite of red carpet celebrities and Fashion Week street style stars. There has not been a season since his tenure as creative director where you can walk through Fashion Week without seeing someone wearing one of his pieces whether it be his Gucci Princetown slippers or Dionysus handbags.

His more global approach to the Cruise shows is helping the brands, as they bring attention and demand to consumers in major markets such as New York, London, and Florence.

photo:via Gucci.com
In Pictures: Portugal Fashion

The 40th edition of Portugal Fashion, held from 22 to 25 March in the cities of Lisbon and Porto, has ended. During the event Portugal Fashion showed the great strength of Portuguese fashion industry once again and consolidated the autonomy of its platform for young designers.

In Pictures: Portugal Fashion

Portugal Fashion showed a total of 31 fashion shows, including 15 designers, 6 clothing brands, 6 footwear brands, and 10 young designers, as well as several alternative events featuring brands like Pedro Neto, Alexandra Moura, David Catalan and Nuno Baltazar. The building of the Customs of Porto served as the backdrop for the event which hosted 17 parades and a showroom dedicated to domestic and foreign buyers. Here are a few highlights from Portugal Fashion below.

In Pictures: Portugal Fashion

Images: Portugal Fashion

Innovative fabrics bark up Tokyo fashion tree at TFW

Wood fashioned into lace and sculpted into evening dresses: the Hanae Mori Manuscrit label led the way this Tokyo Fashion Week in showing the world the original craftmanship that helps set Japan apart from the crowd.

D resses of persimmon wood lace paired with soft falling black fabric were the star of the show at designer Yu Amatsu's autumn/winter 2017 collection for the brand that left fashionistas giddy with excitement. Discs of chestnut and walnut were used on a dress of interlocking triangular panels, an homage to Issey Miyake's iconic Bao Bao bag, while wood was fashioned into sleeve ties and delicate butterfly hair pieces.

Innovative fabrics bark up Tokyo fashion tree at TFW

Japan is famous for high-tech and specialty fabrics, which not only supply the likes of Chanel and other celebrated couture houses, but also provide constantly shifting inspiration for homegrown designers. Misha Janette, a Tokyo-based stylist, creative director and blogger who has lived in Japan since 2004, said Japanese fashion was often less about entertainment and more thoughtful with "amazing" material.

"They're really, really keen on working with young designers to create new fabrics... that sets them apart," she told AFP. "Each little village has its own special kind of fabric." Amatsu said the theme of his collection was "combine" -- combining fabrics to create something that was both different and more beautiful.

Innovative fabrics bark up Tokyo fashion tree at TFW

3-D silhouette

The persimmon was originally very hard. "Even the sewing machine needle couldn't go through it," he explained. So he striped it down to 0.14 millimeters wide and bonded it with fabric to make it stronger. He then stitched it into a lace butterfly pattern. "It's quite heavy so when you move with the dress it makes a 3-D silhouette," he told AFP.

Throughout he was careful to preserve the colour of the wood, making it look almost like pencil shavings or delicately processed tree bark, and there were belts and statement bags in the same material.

Inspiration comes from the world at large. "I'm always looking around to find something interesting which can be key for new designs, like the movies, music, architecture and so on," he told AFP. But wood was far from the only innovative fabric on the runway this Tokyo Fashion Week, which showcased the work of 52 designers.

Innovative fabrics bark up Tokyo fashion tree at TFW

Husband-and-wife label ROGGYKEI, known best for dressing US superstar Lady Gaga a handful of times, bases itself in Japan's second city of Osaka to be close to specialist fabric factories. The pair have no plans to relocate, recognising their "made in Japan" heritage was a big boon when they exhibited in Paris in 2012.

Good technique

The fabric is 50 percent polyester, 50 percent wool, which designers Hitoshi and Keiko Korogi said makes it more supple. They also use some processed fabrics which they dye and wash. There was a stole made out of a special cashmere woven from Mongolian yarn in Japan's Nara and coated to make it washable and yet prevent pilling. They presented tie-dyed and indigo-dyed stoles too.

ROGGYKEI also used discarded pieces of cloth that would otherwise have been thrown out, and mixed natural materials and chemical fibre. But at least one Japanese designer with an emphasis on cutting edge fabrics admitted to shopping elsewhere. Takuya Morikawa offered a high-energy, Americana-inspired collection of silk dresses, fur and a maroon velvet jumpsuit for label TAAKK, which he set up in 2012 after working for Issey Miyake.

"All the fabrics are originals," he told reporters. "The jacquards were made in Japan, but I had the embroidery made in China and India as it would have cost a lot to do in such good quality here." "Of course Japan has good technique, but I am not too hung up on it. I'd rather use good things from everywhere in the world." (AFP)

Photos: Roggykei, Hanae Mori Manuscrit AW17, Tokyo Fashion Week. Courtesy of Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week

ROGGYKEI makes Tokyo Fashion Week debut

They've dressed Lady Gaga and now they want to dress more fashionistas in Asia: the husband-and-wife team behind Japan's award-winning ROGGYKEI label made their Tokyo Fashion Week debut on Saturday.

Their edgy installation made much of the circle symbol of their brand, presenting circular skirts, capes and coats cut in the round, frayed hems and two-textured knit suits in an ancient meets futuristic look. Difficult to imagine on the high street, but easy to see the artistry that caught the imagination of one of the world's biggest music stars known for her edgy, boundary-pushing fashion.

It was a distinctive, memorable capsule collection showcased on models with blank faces and helmets of blue whigs stuck down low on the forehead, spear-like projectiles sticking out of slicked-back buns. Hitoshi and Keiko Korogi have never met Gaga, but the New Yorker has worn their designs several times since visiting Japan shortly after the 2011 earthquake that left more than 18,000 people dead or missing.

"She seemed like our clothes," Keiko told AFP. "She asked us to send costumes for her 'You And I' music video but she didn't wear them in the end." The Gaga effect drove six times more traffic to their website but while some shopped, there was less impact on sales, perhaps a reflection of the commercial limits of the singer's outlandish style.

Based in Osaka, more than two hours from Tokyo by bullet train, the couple said the theme of their collection was coexistence, between different peoples and between humans and nature. "We're inspired by social movements or political issues we see everyday. I feel we're losing our humanity," said Keiko.

They took part in Tokyo Fashion Week for the first time, invited to do so after winning a fashion award and they hope the experience will net them more buyers in Asia. "We hope our clothes are a chance for everyone to love fashion," said Hitoshi, whose nickname "Roggy" fuses with his wife's into the brand name. (AFP)

Photos: Roggykei AW17, Courtesy of Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week

A retired ballet dancer flipped the bird to her former profession on Saturday, making her Tokyo Fashion Week debut by laying bare the pain behind the beauty of classical dance. Chika Kisada fused ballet with punk -- leather jackets paired with a gothic-style black tutu-esque skirt -- and sent her models out in comfortable pink brogues with large net bows instead of pointe shoes. ​

​ Ballet-style net pinafore dresses were worn over knits with a leather-strap harness for a bohemian autumn/winter 2017 collection of little-girl fantasy meets the perils-of-the-real-world look. Dramatic gold face masks -- which mimicked the tiaras worn by ballerinas in classics such as "Sleeping Beauty" -- were rustled up with the help of a ballet costume maker whom she knows through her old life. ​

​ The 36-year-old turned to fashion after years of gruelling training and prizes failed to lead to the top-flight ballerina career that she had dreamt of "ever since I can remember". She danced for 16 years, studying "from dawn to dusk" and ended up at Asami Maki Ballet, one of the leading classical companies in Japan. Then she quit. ​

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​ "I didn't do anything for a while, but when I thought of jobs I can express myself through the body, it came to me that being a designer could be similar," she told AFP. While she launched a first fashion line 10 years ago, Kisada won an award last year for her eponymous second brand. ​

​ And if you think "elegance of ballet" and "vitality of punk" are an odd combination, then Kisada is out to prove you wrong. Ballet, she explains, is "not only" the beauty on stage. What the audience doesn't see, she explains, is the torment and agony that dancers endure in a notoriously competitive and rigorous art form. ​

​ "I experienced the gulf between front and backstage, and the frustration. I want to stick my middle finger up at it," she told AFP. "So I channelled that feeling into a punk spirit," she said. "I wanted to express that there is not only beauty. For example you see ugly injuries... and a painful expression behind a smiling face on stage." ​

​ Her ambition now is to dress independent women and crack the European market, having already acquired stockists in Canada, China, Lebanon and Russia. ​

Gender-bending fashion spotted at Tokyo Fashion Week bang on trend

If gender bending fashion is suddenly all the rage in the West, think Pharrell Williams promoting Chanel's new unisex handbag, then nowhere has the look excelled more than in Tokyo.

Japan, for decades a pioneer of the androgynous look in the style of Comme des Garcons, Yohji Yamamoto and Kenzo, is spawning young designers blurring the lines expertly between masculine and feminine.

Genderless-looking boys are gaining traction in fashion circles and on the streets of Tokyo -- gay but mostly straight men who dye their hair and wear make-up -- not in an effort to pass themselves off as women but to create a new standard of beauty.

Gender-bending fashion spotted at Tokyo Fashion Week bang on trend

"Our big theme has always been 'unisex'," says Takeshi Kitazawa, one half of the design duo behind trendy label DRESSEDUNDRESSED, sold by dozens of stockists in Japan and abroad.

"'Genderless' is now really common," he explains after his show at Tokyo Fashion Week, a parade of eight male and four female models each wearing interchangeable clothes. Staying true to its brand name, it was a half-dressed, half-undressed look of coats and trousers slashed at the side with deep splits and men -- rather than women -- parading down the catwalk in bare legs.

The only snatches of femininity were small red handbags dangled from the hand or strapped across the chest, on men as well as women, or delicate lace hems and high-heeled court shoes for women.

Gender-bending fashion spotted at Tokyo Fashion Week bang on trend

'Scary before'

"Isolation" and "control" were written upside down on caps, oversized 1970s-style glasses partially obscured the faces. It was not always possible to tell if it was a man or a woman -- and that was the point.

"Japanese men especially are really flexible. They wear women's brands and Japanese women are the same as well. Perhaps Japanese culture really is 'genderless'," said Kitazawa. With most Japanese designers ambitious to move into markets overseas, there is no trendier time for androgynous fashion than now.

Twenty percent of US millennials identify as something other than strictly cisgender and straight, compared to just seven percent of baby boomers, a survey by LGBTQ advocacy group GLAAD shows.

Transgender issues are back in the political spotlight thanks to Donald Trump's widely criticised decision to rescind US federal protections for school students to use the bathroom of their choice. Former gold medal-winning male Olympian turned woman reality star, Caitlyn Jenner, is a household name. American actress Kristen Stewart and British model Cara Delevingne are poster children for bisexuality.

"Now it's acceptable to discuss it. It's acceptable to come out now. It was so scary before," pop star Miley Cyrus told Time magazine for a cover story last week on young people redefining the meaning of gender.

Gender-bending fashion spotted at Tokyo Fashion Week bang on trend

No boundaries

Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garcons fame, a pioneer of fashion androgyny, will be this spring's subject of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's first monographic show on a living designer since Yves Saint Laurent, the legend who put women in trousers and tuxedo jackets, in 1983.

Currently on show at the Japan Society in New York is the exhibition "A Third Gender: Beautiful Youths in Japanese Prints" seeking to shed light on the complex rules that governed gender in early modern Japan. It focuses on wakashu -- male adolescents who were objects of sexual desire for both men and women and who appear to have constituted a distinct third gender in the Edo period.

Skirts in the form of shirt dresses, such as a tartan dressing-gown inspired number, each worn over trousers are clearly an autumn/winter 2017 Japanese trend for men as seen on the runway at Name.'s show.

ACUOD by CHANU is the brainchild of a Korean designer repelled by suits as appropriate dress for the 21st century man. He also sent down the catwalk shirt dresses, even quilted versions, worn over tight trousers. "I want to get rid of any boundary among gender," explains designer Chanwoo Lee.

"The mask is (part of that) as well," he added of black leather surgical masks covered in grinning zip metallic zips in which he dressed all his models, obscuring much of their faces. (AFP)

Photos:DRESSEDUNDRESSED and ACUOD by CHANU Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week AW17, courtesy of Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week

Indonesian-Muslim fashion seeks broader appeal at TFW

Loose-fitting "modest wear" combines with monotone sporty minimalism in the unconventional motifs of Rani Hatta's Muslim-influenced collection.

Eschewing the hijab, her female models cover their hair with a baseball-like cap worn over a tight hood and stylish big turtle-neck collar. The up-and-coming Indonesian designer is working to prove that fashionable Islamic style can remain faithful to religious teachings while also appealing to non-believers.

"Because I am an Indonesian, I make clothes for Muslims," Hatta told AFP after showing off her fall/winter 2017 collection at Tokyo Fashion Week. "But my design is very universal, so anybody can wear it." Her contemporary style owes much to her signature straight cuts and eye-catching wide red bands running across tops like gigantic stitches, adding a touch of colour to the mostly black, grey and white lineups.

Indonesian-Muslim fashion seeks broader appeal at TFW

The material, mainly cotton polyester and bonded fabrics, provide a non-traditional look, while loose-fitting pants and tops as well as long layered vests assure modesty. Hatta said religious requirements do not bar wearers from dressing stylishly. Young Indonesian Muslims in particular are finding ways to stay faithful to the teachings of their religion while exploring progressive fashion trends, she said.

'Very stylish'

"I want to show to the world that, actually, modest wear can be very cool, and can be very universal, not just a black long dress or something like that," Hatta said. "In my country, the younger generation think that wearing the hijab is really old fashioned and they don't want to wear it. So I made something more for us so the younger generation would be proud to wear hijab."

The Muslim fashion industry is rapidly expanding in the global market, with world brands like Italian fashion house Dolce & Gabbana and Japan's Uniqlo offering Islamic style products. Uniqlo in 2015 enlisted British designer Hana Tajima to design a range aimed at Muslim women in the run up to the fasting month of Ramadan, a big shopping holiday season.

Muslim fashion in Indonesia differs significantly from Saudi Arabia and some Gulf countries, where many women wear the niqab, which covers the face except for the eyes. Muslims are expected to make up nearly 30 percent of the world's population by 2050, according to Pew Research Center, and Indonesia is aiming to become a leader in global fashion with its budding modest wear trend. "We have 250 million people in Indonesia, and 70 to 80 percent are Muslim," said Lenni Tedja, director of Jakarta Fashion Week.

"The modest wear fashion is now very creative, very fashionable, very stylish, so that is why more and more young ones start wearing modest wear," she told AFP. She added that the Indonesian fashion business sees potential beyond Muslim consumers. "Our modest wear could also be worn by non-Muslim(s)... without the cover... so actually the market is very wide." (AFP)

Photos: Rani Hatta, courtesy of Amazon Tokyo Fashion Week