Tag: new america

THE TOP FIVE PRE-FALL 2014 COLLECTIONS

the editorial content of my site has vastly evolved over the course of this year. through all facets of evolution, runway is within the DNA of this space. runway built this space, gave it a voice and provided celebrity co-signs along the way. in breaking away from my steel infrastructure of runway reviews, i’ve made the conscious decision to re-configure the landscape of my content to delve into a deeper dialogue, to elevate the levels in which we view style. for the pre-fall season, i speak even more to the style patterns that i’ve outlined in my suit vs. sport piece. in keeping a tight five collections, i allowed for opinion to be backed by fact. the view of high fashion has forever been changed by the internet, and these five collections represent my own take on style, my own taste level while also revealing a burning trend which i have outlined and discussed for the past year. in the process of style transformation, we americans, are re-interpreting how style is defined. in the cut of a melting pot, culturally, these five collections represent a deeper look at who we are as people. as working individuals, as self aware persons who are striving for success that goes far beyond the surface.

alexander wang pre-fall 2014ALEXANDER WANG seemingly at the forefront of american fashion, the alexander wang label has long represented the intersection of high fashion and street style. this lane is one that is explored by many of the designers that have been selected this pre-season. simultaneously through his work at balenciaga, wang’s own vision has become more greatly pronounced in ways that silence both critics and competition. strict with a quaint 17 looks, the collection blends office attire with almost an academic feel. pops of neon are seen throughout, and mindful design injections of accessories, important for modern day labels, are were thoughtfully produced. footwear seemed to make a statement in this collection, the knee-high, almost remixed cowboy boot on each model was both an interesting choice and fucked up the style flow in the right ways. what i’ve long loved of alexander wang collections is his use of expectation, and how to move past that. there was a bit of a wall street, business commuter feel to this collection, which i liked a lot. i love the trade off of masculine aesthetics, and the ways that designers feminize these ideas to re-introudce the ways that we see ordinary, or otherwise mundane concepts of style. there is function in the clothes, there is style, and there is also room for inspiration. inspiration for others to recreate these looks with their existing wardrobe, with visits to a tailor. the mix of high and low, masc and fem, suit and sport, function and luxury- it’s all here. alexander wang is a visionary of design that understands commercial appeal with an idie ‘fuck your corporation’ type of cool. it will be interesting to see how these concepts play or runs into what wang will produce for show season. while not too strong a collection, a voice is felt- an expression understood.

gucci 2014 pre-fallGUCCI the only non-american fashion label included in this pre-season count of collections, gucci is returning to simplicity. there is a retro-vintage, almost disco-seventies vibe to the collections that have been produced by the italian super house for the past several seasons. timeless as ever, this collections shows strength in the use of leathers, and the use of bold color shouts with exclamation at the otherwise expected low-key tones that are normally associated with fall. leather clutches in a range of color, as well as a re-introduction of gucci’s old school drawstring shoulder strap bag are seen in the collection. accessories are the strength of gucci, as well as the strength of the label’s creative director, frida giannini. the collection almost seems like a hit for every other big label on the scene. the bold use of color is very burberry prorsum. the use of clean lines and slouchy silhouettes is a throw to céline, and the use of print in the collection and maximal style approach is a toss to gucci’s past creative directing king, in his modern fashion pursuits, tom ford. all smart conceptual decisions, the gucci signature of horse bit loafers, and accessories are thrown in to allow the collection to remain identified as gucci by it’s clientele. clean, commercial, and faultless in their borrowing of other label aesthetics- i like this collection. a strong set of design that is both mindful and aware of competition. the collection feels mod, it feels london inspired and the leather paperboy caps bring about a classic appeal that is both striking and undeniable. inspired by others, but still gucci.

reed krakoff 2014 pre-fallREED KRAKOFF a label so inspiringly distinct, reed krakoff is a genius of style that represents the modern day women of america in all the right ways. with his creative directing stint at coach now behind him, krakoff has long proved that he has both the vision and design know-how to re-introduce classics to the american consumer and have them fall over as though they’ve never seen anything like it before. that instinct is skill that cannot be taught, it’s something you’re born with. one of my all-time favorite american labels of modern day fruition, reed is a G in the fashion game. this collection, and his past collections rival céline, from an american view point. modest while young all the same, the collection shows strength in outwear, and use of horse hair is seen throughout. the damage of expected silhouettes signifies a liberated approach to female style. another label in new york, the handbags designed by krakoff follow in the same lane of his clothing collections. it’s the idea that everything classic can be rediscovered. super fresh use of leather is ever present in a krakoff collection, so that expectation was fufilled. the color palette is always interesting to me, and though this collection was an expected set of fall tones, i felt it to be very handsome. the collection coats have that familiar feel of masculinity. like it’s her husband’s coat, casually draped on her shoulders. it’s all so chic, so classic & effortless, which is the only way that fashion should be portrayed.

rag & bone pre-fall 2014RAG & BONE taking queues from 90’s images of english council estate kids, the rag & bone label understands how to re-interpret inspiration in an essentially cool way. an untouchable cool that can be nothing else but respected, a marriage of the street and mass commercial appeal is what we see when looking at their collections. this season was no different. a prime example of suit and sport, there was a gymnasium, athleticism feel in this collection that i loved. again in the lane of effortlessness, there is an appeal that you can throw any of the pieces in the collection on for instant transformation. kept clean in a cool black and white palette, the collection is straight to the point. though a pre-fall set, the collection holds versatility from season to season and remains true to what cool NYC girls are wearing, or need to be wearing. key evidence and proof of what i’ve been saying about the merge of suit and sport; i loved the use of luxe and lazy in this collection. the use of mesh and combination of lace was also super inspiring to me. though athletic, the collection still captures a feminine energy that is uniquely represented in new york, as a major fashion capital. a strong collection filled with simplistic design elements, this collection harps on my own sense of minimalism. from concept, to collection images, and even model casting- this is a full encompassment of style, as it relates to our modern times. well rounded design processed through an interesting scope of inspiration.

thakoon pre-fall 2014THAKOON another representer of new america, thakoon takes sport and often mixes floral frocks to produce collections that resonate with, yet again, modern women. that is the common thread with all these collections. while each is ranked, every single collection in this pre-season count is equally as valuable to the ways that we are represented as americans, in style. this collection is the only that presents a more feminine feel that is expected. while that expectation was somewhat morphed, through cut and silhouette- it’s new found tradition is also inspiring. thakoon always represents new york, as well as function is in the vein of what the future holds. a juggled set of florals, pin-stripes and loosely fitted coats, the collection is a good cap off of my pre-fall selection because it’s independent in execution. there is a dope approach that thakoon takes. skating expectations, no two collections look alike, im my eyes. proportion was altered in ways that were otherwise unexpected; pieces went without out symmetry, which fucked up expectation even further. in a dope way though. it fucked with your perception, in a way that opens you up to possibility, and an altered view of how things should look. thakoon represents a fearlessness that can be associated with an american approach to freedom. that freedom being expressed through great design, he’s not afraid to be off the cuff, quite literally, as a translator of style. while im not huge on floral print, or print in general, there was a fresh spring feel to his pre-fall collection, which i appreciate. super ill outwear and dope chopped concepts; great re-interpretation of feminine charm.

visit style.com for full coverage of 2014 pre-fall collections
click images to activate collection galleries

STYLE BY NEW AMERICA

as americans, we are being redefined. whether you know it or not, we are. regardless of whether you’re able to recognize it; we’re changing and evolving into a greater cultural community of boundless possibilities and limitless inspiration. though i’ve never been one to reveal too much about certain opportunities or ideas i have, in making a greater attempt to break my usual format, i have been doing much more mental marinating. often times taking topics & researching them much more thoroughly in order to develop stronger angles, better manipulation of language & overall vision. becoming bored with the fashion calendar & growing slightly less interested in show season, my decision to make a change is in progress. a greater discussion needs to be had. all these thoughts have been boiling through conversation, both internal & external, and through different themes i am choosing to write about here. the evolved form of internal conversation is definitely one that works more smoothly in categories. i look for themes in my everyday life and identify how these are being pronounced. the common theme of all being rooted in style.

one tuesday morning i found the universe speaking to me through a piece i read on nick wooster. but let’s pull it back. what is being an american to you? im aware that some of you may be reading this outside of my american parameter, but think, even if not american- what does being an american represent? it’s interesting to look at the ways in which we market and live as americans. the american dream. what does that mean to you? you envision white picket fences, cashmere cardigans, bright smiles- that’s the dream. it’s poised, polished & happy. from commercialized representations to more downtown, hip portrayls- the american dream has been redefined. i felt that my literary voice needed to be more well rounded; i felt like i wasn’t fully flexing & still am not exercising my full potential. sometimes i sit & think- is fashion enough? is writing enough? are impactful images enough? there are moments that everything seems worthless. why? it’s an american mindset. it’s the idea that good is not good enough, great is not great enough & the best is just you scratching the surface. though challenging, it’s this mindset that keeps us thriving.

if you look at musical artists, television shows, fashion labels & the fashion calendar- you can see an brewing redefinition of us, we the people, as americans. you look at albums like jay-z & kanye’s “watch the throne” – the use of the american flag was modernized, stylized & blurred for the single cover art for the lead single, “otis”- which scored platinum certification in the united states. this was just one of many symbols i recognized that represents what i see as a new america. if you look at major-indie acts like lana del rey, how she popularized & glamourized our american ways with her track, “national anthem”. in the accompanying visual for the song, she represented a kennedy/camelot-esque theme, casting rapper A$AP rocky as her JFK. in the video, del rey flips from character to character as both marilyn monroe & jackie o. inspired roles; using clips of the zapruder film to get her inspriation across more clearly. interestingly enough, A$AP has also adopted imagery of a new american theme, a native of new york city, the rapper-superstar-in-waiting’s album cover also uses the american flag in a way that has allowed a greater communication of artistic freedom to be felt. our bi-racial president, the upcoming election; the 1%, the overwhelming presence of style conscientiousness in us as americans & the root being the circus of a fashion capital known as new york city- all things considered, this is our DNA as people. these small groupings which are divided into social circles & sub-cultures is what we are. it’s the idea that we can be anything we want; a fusion of aspects that all work toward carving individuality through a range of elements. this post started out as many things before i settled on the title. my work here starts with a title; it’s inspired by a direction & a theme. then comes the challenge of articulating what im thinking. going back to the case of nick wooster- who was the inspiration for the re-titling & greater reconnection of this long drafted post. wooster represents the american dream, in the setting of american retail. a young boy from kansas who started out working at a retail store at the age of 16; now age 52, nick is a staple in the world of street style. far greater than that prestige of being well-received on a street level with the cool kids- nick is the men’s fashion director for both neiman marcus & bergdorf goodman, being more recently called upon by JCpenney to help revitalize their cool factor. a necessary move for the department store which is undergoing a major image overhaul. for any one up on game, nick is that dude.  his tatted arms, cool grey hair & satorially faultless sense of style all uphold his reputation as fashion director, as he lives & thrives through that title. if you don’t know his name, you’ve likely seen him floating around the internet, wondering to yourself- “who’s that dude?”

i think, for me, it’s important to see what resources, articles or different signs the universe is putting in front of you. i’ve been super lucky with this site to have been recognized & supported in my ideas of style and beauty. beyond simple ideas, these are beliefs to me & the challenge at this point is how we can elevate that level of execution. i find that my own train of thought is distinctively american in that, i need to know where i am going in order to attain a certain level of success. with my greater reputation being withheld in fashion; i started to think of american labels (once i finally admitted that i was bored with the fashion calendar). without hesitation, i thought of my major favorites- the ones you’ve seen me review here in the past few years. i thought of marc jacobs, proenza schouler, alexander wang, jason wu, marchesa- the cool labels. thinking of the ways that they’ve re-established the prestige of the american fashion scene in new york city. then i thought of more iconic labels that have more years in the game- labels like ralph lauren, ralph rucci, donna karan, nicole miller, michael kors, izzac mizrahi, vera wang. i was bored. while i can honor labels with history, i don’t often find inspiration in dulled concepts, old styles replicated in old ways or lack of innovation in design. i will say though, fashion is a temporary state & love, as well as hate, can shift from season to season. this is what makes it interesting & allows our redefinition to continue both onward & upward year after year. what could be more defining than the clothes we choose to wear? 

it’s not like im a complete outsider of fashion- i understand it, i love it- i live it. it is me. in my escapades throughout new york, developing my connections- i’ve been able to muster up invites at the snap of a finger but never ended up attending shows, despite the fact that i was in the city. i lost interest. i felt my own creative interpretations of fashion were being threatened. i still get the PR emails, like so many other digital journalists. i figured though- im not a machine. im not this robot that functions solely on the fashion calendar- i am fueled by inspiration. there’s no inspiration when the industry is so heavily controlled by corporation. it’s like seeing something shining like platinum from afar- you come closer. as you get closer you realize this thing that attracted you- it’s illuminating sounds & remarkable visage is a machine. you see people going into this machine, only to be spit out either dead or completely damaged. psychologically or mentally, discouraged creatively, stiffled by impossibiltites of financial competition & distribution demands. that’s not the fashion i know, but these aspects are american by nature, consider the demand for success that is expected of us. would you jump into the machine? no! you’d stand back & avoid the harm.

i had an interesting conversation with a girl i met in the city- we talked fashion & i was completely entranced because she understood fashion like i did- which doesn’t happen everyday for me. it’s that sense of mental rarity that i felt with her. we talked about this middle zone of fashion, where people exist simply for the creativity & history of it all. but then we discussed the impossibility & manic state of corporation which now drives it. it’s more clothes, faster paced- go forward, don’t look back. it’s too much. technology alone, is american made. now before i have you techies jump down my throat- listen to what i mean. look at the digital atmosphere in which you & i have been able to build a relationship. many of you have had conversations with me in this space, you’ve watched me on youtube & spoken with me via twitter or through email. whether facebook, twitter, youtube or google- all of these incredibly impactful digital forces are american made. we take the credit for all of that. we generate that revenue. but what price are we really paying? our macbook pros, iphones, SLR’s- these are all american made. we, as a people, are american made. as americans we are cultured; we are proud, we are strong & we will, have and continue to fight. but in this fight, whether creative or not, have we lost ourselves? technology has skewed our sense of real time.

season after season, we see the trends and runway shows so quickly that we’re bored by the time these clothes hit the rack. walls of exclusivity have been made transparent. fashion shows, as i have griped about before, are for editors & industry heads that control levels of influence through proper use of trend, advertising, publishing & marketing. this is what im getting at with this theme of reformation. from real time, our sense of who we are-  as americans; all that needs to be redefined. this is, problematically so, our own responsibility. who we are is intended to be self defined. expansion in america is being seen in retail as well, brands like nordstrom and the gap are taking on greater efforts of growth. as a westcoast born luxury specialty store, nordstrom is looking to enter into canada with plans to open a 285,000 sq foot location in new york city in 2018. san francisco born and based retail giant, the gap has named a new creative director after an extended absence of any real leadership. while other companies like uniqlo, H&M & forever 21 continue to thrive on the lower end of retail- remind yourselves that america is still the #1 retail market in the world. though recovering from a deficit that seen the entire world suffer, we as americans are the elite. brands come to our turf to dominate, new designers launch brands on our territory because we represent that fighting spirit for new opportunity. in this new phase, a re-establishment of style dialogue and the ways we see style, as americans, will be reformed. why? because we are new america. we are our future.