Fashion incubator nurtures Philadelphia talent for second year.
Philadelphia is not typically seen as a hotbed of high fashion design, but Macy’s Center City has been trying to change that with its Fashion Incubator initiative, now in its second year.
The program, a collaboration between the city, Center City District, Macy’s Center City, and several educational institutions with fashion design programs, was created to help support emerging local talent and build Philadelphia’s reputation as a center of design.
The second class of students began on Friday. As if in a scene out of Project Runway, the new class of designers in residence were shown to their work stations in the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator’s 800-square-foot production center, housed in Macy’s Center City. For the next year, leading business professionals and fashion industry insiders will mentor and critique them.
We were able to check in on one of the teams, Melissa Choi and Pia Panaligan from Philadelphia University. They founded their company, Senpai + Kohai, last fall.
Fashion Meets Impressionism at the MET.
Looking back in time, one era in merged the arts and fashion into a single medium better than any other. The Impressionist movement, which endured from 1867 to 1886, primarily in France, is now being celebrated with Impressionism, Fashion, and Modernity, an exhibit that opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this week, its second stop after Paris’s Museé D’Orsay. It’s there that you’ll find an assortment of paintings and sartorial artifacts connecting the worlds of art and fashion into a single channel.
The exhibit is a time capsule from an era which its curator Susan Alyson Stein says “came of age when fashion as we know it today was coming of age.” It progresses though a series of eight parlor galleries that explore Impressionism’s diaphanous evolution throughout the mid-19th century — an aesthetic revolution which Stein attributes to the fact that “fashion breeds change, which stems from the constant appeal of novelty.” Works by artists including Edgar Degas, Berthe Morisot, and August Renoir are on view, some featuring historical trend setters like Baudelaire’s mistress Jeanne Duval, and the Empress Eugénie of France.
Upper Lawrenceville works hard to fashion a new image.
‘The neighborhood is back to where people feel safe. Now we can concentrate on our vision.’
McCandless Avenue is a steep shot down from Stanton Avenue to the Allegheny River, and it lies at the heart of a new neighborhood plan for Upper Lawrenceville.
Where it meets Butler Street, it could be the hub the neighborhood lacks. Where it meets the Allegheny, it could provide river access the neighborhood craves. And with strategically planted trees, curb cuts and landscaping, it could detour much of the stormwater that rushes down it.
The plan designates these roles for McCandless. It had the support of standing-room-only crowds at meetings in October, November and January at the Ancient Order of Hibernians hall on Carnegie Street, where residents poured out ideas to improve housing, greening and retail opportunities.
The western border on Butler intersects with 51st Street/Stanton, where the stone wall of the Allegheny Cemetery reinforces the division between Upper and Central Lawrenceville. Several blocks in, the intersection with McCandless could be activated for a warmer neighborhood welcome. The eastern border taps Morningside at 62nd Street; the southern border with Stanton Heights stutters along a wooded hillside full of dead ends and public steps.
Market forces that have transformed Lower and Central Lawrenceville are already marching in, with new home buyers and storefronts on Butler. The planning process gives Upper Lawrenceville a way to direct the market to respond to its self-image — distinct from its trendier, less industrial and increasingly expensive sisters.
“We are scared to death of gentrification in the 10th Ward,” said Deirdre Kane, a 39-year-old native who, like many old-timers, still refers to the neighborhood that way. “We heard it from people from their 20s to their 70s: ‘I don’t want to be priced out of my house.’ “Most homes are modest and working class. Many offer sweat-equity opportunities appealing to young people.
“It’s the only affordable place to move if you absolutely want to be in Lawrenceville,” said Ms. Kane, a steward of community gardens. “And hipsters are not afraid of a little grit or a place that’s still a little sketchy.”
Evolve, an environmental design consulting firm, was hired to lead the planning process. Under the guidance of Christine Mondor, a principal at evolveEA, the plan calls for McCandless to become a demonstration model of stormwater solutions.
If the plan were enacted today, street trees with elongated and deep root wells would march the length of the corridor, turning it into a green boulevard. Intersections would be bumped out to slow traffic and accommodate tree circles.
“With a chain of continuous tree wells to slow, clean and infiltrate [water],” Ms. Mondor said, “by the time you get to the flat area, you can divert water into McCandless Park, which has a proposed redesign. At the [riverfront] plaza, you’d have significant infiltration.”
Mr. Eash said revamping McCandless would address several complaints residents have about the avenue.”They say, ‘People drive too fast.’ They say, ‘We want more street trees.’ And then there was the larger, critical issue of stormwater mitigation.”
The Lawrenceville Corp. is writing grant applications seeking funds to begin implementing changes on McCandless, he said.
Reuse of the former McCleary School and a marketing strategy for selling alley houses are other priorities of the plan.”The alley housing was such a major issue” several years ago, Mr. Eash said. Many were derelict and used for drug dealing. With the worst of them demolished, he said, “now we can see them as assets.”
The alleys are too narrow for cars to park and the houses are tiny, but he said several people at the meetings said, ” ‘Hey, I ride a bike. I’d love to have a place like that.’ ”
Ms. Kane said the planning process was uplifting “because of the range of people old and young coming together who all want the same things.”
“I’ve lived here all my life, and I couldn’t believe how many people I didn’t know,” Ms. Bittner said. “It seemed like this happened quietly, people coming over time, but with everyone in one room, you feel the impact. And they were concerned about things the older people wanted.
“The older residents deserve this. They stuck it out, came to block watches, picked up trash. They worked and worked. You work and work for change and wonder if you’ll see it in your lifetime, then all of a sudden you see that it has already come.”
Vizag Fashion Week: last day’s show cancelled.
Case against organisers on a complaint by VHP leader that models’ dresses had Vinayaka image on themThe Vizag Fashion Week, which commenced on February 1 amid protests by women’s organisations and the arrest of its members, came to an abrupt end after the police registered a case against its organisers and cancelled the final day’s show on Sunday.
The charge levelled by the secretary of the city unit of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Radhakrishan, was that the dresses showcased by James Ferreira, a Mumbai-based designer, and worn by the models for the show, had the images of Lord Vinayaka on them. A case was booked under Section 295A of IPC against the organisers of the fashion show.
Fashion designer James Ferreira was taken aback by the development and denied that there was any vulgarity portrayed on the dresses. He did not intend to hurt anybody’s sentiments, he told The Hindu.
Talking over the phone, Mr. Ferreira said: “In the history of fashion there have been a number of times when the images of gods and goddesses have been used on clothes. I don’t know why people are objecting to it as there is absolutely no vulgarity portrayed. It is tragic and I feel really bad for the country that such a situation has arisen. I had showcased the same collection in New Delhi last year and it was well received.”
Vizag-based designer Jules Idi Amin, reacting to the protests by women’s organisations, said: “I am a woman and designing clothes is a creative pursuit. I would request those who are opposed to the show to concentrate on the several serious social issues that women face everyday instead of trying to scuttle the fashion week.”
Stockholm Fashion Week: is Swedish style having its own Ikea moment?
Harriet Walker goes to find out.
As the snow melts and re-freezes and Stockholm turns its eyes to the autumn 2013 catwalk shows, it’s easy to forget there’ll be a spring and a summer before then. This of-the-moment feel is one of the Swedish fashion scene’s main strengths: more and more pieces from homegrown brands have, in recent years, strolled straight off the runways and into the shops. Reasonably priced, well made and commercial without being too obvious, is Swedish fashion having its own Ikea moment?
“There’s a certain pragmatic aspect,” says Melissa Drier, the Berlin correspondent for Women’s Wear Daily and in town for the shows. “Sometimes they’re just good clothes that you want to buy. It’s not necessarily directional, but there’s a gentility to them, and then at the same time, a little bit of rock and roll too. ”For anyone who’s in the contemporary part of the market, Sweden is a real base,“ she adds.
This is the sector that most brands showing in Stockholm fit into: everyday pieces at mid-range prices, not so high flown as the designer bracket proper but more considered, design-wise, than the upper echelons of the high street. And it’s a niche that is doing well despite the downturn, as shoppers of every type converge on it, from above and below according to either aspiration or thrift.
“Many of the brands are quite small, and they’re struggling” says Susanne Ljung, host of Stil, a weekly public radio fashion show. “But there’s an optimistic vibe – you can trace influences from ‘Swedish Modern’, a term introduced in New York at the 1939 World Fair. It’s a blend of modernism, craftsmanship, beauty and comfort.”
Labels on the schedule differ vastly, of course, and range from established names such as J. Lindeberg to H&M’s indie arm Cheap Monday, with countless up-and-comings in between, and even the odd heritage brand looking to bolster its fashion credentials.
It isn’t quite the same melting pot that gave birth to the Belgian designers in the late Eighties, but the current geographical vogue for all things Scandinavian hasn’t hurt designers here in terms of international recognition.
Fashion Spy: how to avoid a fashion faux pas.
That ancient knitted crop top is not cool and it never has been. Read my tips, whilst you’re on a closet-clearing mission, to avoid future wardrobe disasters.
The Short Skirt
In theory there’s nothing wrong with a short skirt. In practice how short is too short? Place your arms by your side. Is your skirt shorter than your fingertips? If so you’ve been flashing your behind. The trick here is to wear your mini with opaque tights that offer extra coverage or slip on a pair of shorts underneath.
To counteract the amount of leg on show wear your skirt with a high-necked slouchy top to cover your chest. Take inspiration from Alexa Chung and wear flats with your skirt to turn trashy into trendy. Avoid the Bridget Jones ‘skirt off sick’ routine at all costs.
The Ill-fitting Bra
Beat unnecessary sagginess and back pain by getting measured by a professional. We know 80% of women wear the wrong bra size meaning many of us are bulging here, there and everywhere. If you’re questioning your cup size or have developed random back fat get measured pronto. Much like skincare the key to success is a good base and trust me your clothes will look so much better over body flattering lingerie. For ladies with fuller busts visit a shop like Bravissimo to be fitted for the correct bra. Alternatively department stores like John Lewis and Debenhams offer comprehensive fitting services. Whilst being fitted try on different styles of bras to test which feels most comfortable.
What to Make of PPR’s Christopher Kane Investment.
Back in 2006, when I first spoke with experts and investors from across the fashion industry about backing emerging fashion businesses, there was a lot of enthusiasm, but very little action. Many looked at these kinds of deals, but nobody actually put their money down. In this context, French luxury conglomerate PPR’s announcement, earlier today, that it has acquired a 51 percent stake in emerging London label Christopher Kane is particularly significant. Indeed, it’s been a very long time since a major luxury group has taken a majority stake in a young designer fashion brand.
In 2005, roughly five years after PPR’s much-hyped investments in Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen, the general consensus amongst the fashion cognoscenti was that these investments were underperforming. McQueen and McCartney had only a few stores each in the world’s main fashion capitals and were a long way from being businesses that could contribute to the bottom line of their parent company. They required huge capital injections to grow — and their future was uncertain. And, as if to further bolster the argument that building fashion brands from the ground up wasn’t something large conglomerates were particularly good at, PPR rival LVMH’s only from-scratch fashion investment — in Christian Lacroix — resulted in the brand’s sale after more than 15 years of poor results.
But fast forward a few more years and today, both Stella McCartney and Alexander McQueen have grown into medium-sized businesses with over €100 million in annual revenue each by pursuing business models that fit, respectively, with their unique brand DNAs.