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Taoray Wang goes for royal inspiration for New York Style Week

Designer Wang Tao of Taoray Wang, hailed as "the Queen of the Suit", decided that this season for New York Style Week she would give everyone a touch of royalty. For her fall/winter 2018 collection, Tao found inspiration from Catherine the Great, Empress of Russia. The Russian monarch was a patron of the arts, culture, education and is famous for being the country's longest ruling-female leader during the Russian Age of Enlightenment.

Taoray Wang goes for royal inspiration for New York Style Week

The regal inspiration resulted in a collection of classic suit dresses in black and white, the kind that would be perfect for a state dinner. Suiting dresses and coats featured statement buttons, as often found on Russian coats, contrasted with more feminine accents like large belted waists with bows. The collection was about the full transformation of women from start to finish. She could be feminine and vulnerable in her approach, and switch to being a powerful, dominating force of nature.

Taoray Wang goes for royal inspiration for New York Style Week

Classic met modern through pieces like shawl collar suiting jackets, which were a nice update to what was once considered rigid workwear. They don't call Tao the Queen of the Suit for nothing.

The color palette include black, white, olive green and red. Red, of course, was used as an ode to the Russian spirit. Bold suiting lines were also softened in honor of the modern woman.

Taoray Wang goes for royal inspiration for New York Style Week

Today's woman is more fearless and confident and carries herself as royalty. Tao, who is known for dressing the like of Tiffany Trump and other notable female public figures, is all about the confident woman. Her designs transcend to find suiting appropriate for any occasion, from the public eye to ruling an empire.

Taoray Wang goes for royal inspiration for New York Style WeekTaoray Wang goes for royal inspiration for New York Style Week photos: Frazer Harrison for Getty Images

Shoe brand Asics recently just announced a new collaboration. The iconic line is partnering with London-based designer Kiko Kostadinov for a new shoe design.

Upon its release, the shoe style will be named Gel-Burz 1. Designed with Kostadinov's menswear background, the model features a color palette with darker colors. With Asics' trademark designs apparent throughout the shoe, Kostadinov added detailing and a lime green color to create a workout-friendly look. As he has been known for his dark, unique designs; his edgy addition to the shoe design adds a more high-end aspect to it. “Kostadinov’s original designs are eerie, dark and have begun creating buzz all over London,” Paul Miles, the chief marketing officer for Asics Corp. told WWD of the new shoe. “Asics partnered with Kostadinov on a shared vision of applying innovative fashion to a performance shoe and we are so excited to introduce the Gel-Burz 1 to the U.S.”

Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

Chinatown has long been one of the most historic parts of New York City, and a big tourist attraction too. This season, designer Snow Xue Gao found inspiration from Chinatown, as she built on her east meets west aesthetic. As part of her design process she began going to Chinatown to observe people going to work and women waking up to shop at markets in their pajamas. She also drew inspiration from her Beijing upbringing and Qipao dressing (pajamas made popular in the 1930's.)

Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

After taking photographs of various outfits, she developed a draping board and from there she thought about how to make each piece more wearable. The collection had a vintage feel to it, as Gao attempted to design a collection that would span all eras from the 1950s to the present.

This was far from a traditional vintage glamour inspired collection, however. This was a collection that had a taste of the avant garde, and displayed Gao's technical skills as a designer to both deconstruct then reconstruct garments for her interpretation of how she thinks people should dress.

Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

Traditional suiting in fine Italian wool plaids and jacquards were rendered to create a trompe l'oeil effect, and blazers were deconstructed and reconstructed to create bustiers or give the illusion of butterfly skirts.

Tailored suiting is a key component of her business, and although she has a penchant for more avant garde styling, her collection is very much a workwear collection. "Of course for the runway, we go crazy with styling," Gao said. "But if you look at each piece individually, you can see the high quality and tailoring technique. Many suiting pieces in our line are still very classic and simple."

Snow Xue Gao finds inspiration from Chinatown for fall/winter 2018

Gao knows how to play with luxe fabrics and color as well. Colorful silk dresses in jewel tones were notable pieces in the collection. There were three types of people this collection successfully won over: the suiting lover, the luxe fabric addict, and the avante garde street style customer. It's a tough feat to nail all three, but Gao successfully accomplished this.

photos: courtesy of Purple PR
Pamella Roland finds European inspiration for New York Style Week

One of the queens of the red carpet, Pamella DeVos of Pamella Roland is known for her signature evening wear gowns which always find a new flare of inspiration every season. She may have a signature aesthetic, but she's never stagnant. This season for fall/winter 2018, the designer found her inspiration from a trip to Prague.

Pamella Roland finds European inspiration for New York Style Week

Although she's been there many times before, this time she did a river cruise where she got to see different historical buildings, as well as new ones. So, she really took in the architecture and said to herself, "this is great inspiration." Europe has also become a key part of the designer's business.

Pamella Roland finds European inspiration for New York Style Week

"My European customers wants the big ball gowns, we're doing really well out there," DeVos said. "They want color and beading, it's very different from my U.S. customer."

While the more opulent glamour has become core to her business, she still hasn't forgotten her U.S. customer. "Because we are showing in New York, I've done things like take the beading off," DeVos said. "If customers want it then they can add it."

Pamella Roland finds European inspiration for New York Style Week

Customization has become a bigger part of her business. She has more customers dealing with stylists and customers who come in wanting more than what is on the rack. According to DeVos, stylists are really changing the business, and you better get a good stylist who knows you, really takes care of you and dresses you in what they think looks good on you, not what they want you to wear.

Pamella Roland finds European inspiration for New York Style Week

Pamella Roland's fall/2018 collection inspired by Prague

To that extent, DeVos designed a collection where there was something for everyone. Embroidery was still a big part of the collection as always, with ornate metallic threadwork, sequins, crystal appliqués, pearls and feathers. Baroque motifs were translated into luxe fil coupes and jacquards to represent the royal Prague interiors in fabrication.

Jewel tones in ruby, amethyst, sapphire, and emerald made up this season’s color palette. Metallic gold and gunmetal elements were used to create an authentic, crown jewel resemblance. The brand also added tulle and manipulated fabric to create dramatic, feminine silhouettes.

The one piece of style advice DeVos had for everyone woman was it's always about the fit. "You can have a beautiful dress, but if it's not a good fit it won't look good."

Photos: courtesy of Purple PR

Noon by Noor looks to the starry night for fall/winter 2018 collection

Noon by Noor designers Shaikha Noor Rashid Al Khalifa and Shaikha Haya Mohamed Al Khalifa always draw inspiration from their culture and homeland of Bahrain for their collection. It is the core of their brand DNA. This season at New York Style Week for fall/winter 2018, the designers looked to Bahrain's story night sky to create a whimsical collection.

Fantasy like accents were expressed with silhouettes, gold accented fabrics, Arabic script quoting "to the moon and back" and delicate feather hand worked embroidery referencing Bahrain's national bird the Bulbul.

Noon by Noor looks to the starry night for fall/winter 2018 collection

“We contrast fluid draped silhouettes with tailored masculine shapes, which attests to our brands aesthetic,” said Shaikha Noor.

The brand's strength has been in their tailored jackets, which do very well in the U.S. market. "We always think about how our jackets will appeal to the U.S. market and our international markets," Shaika Haya said. "We want to make sure it is modern and fresh, and for people to be able to understand it."

Noon by Noor looks to the starry night for fall/winter 2018 collection

This season Shaikha feels the Arabic scripts used in the collections will resonate really well with the U.S. customer, especially those seeking individuality. "It's something modern, and very specific to our culture, so it's great to see the detail in the cuffs and shirts, and people will be interested," Shaika Haya said.

The collection featured a diverse, yet cohesive array of pieces including oversized wool cavalry twill weaves, short pile faux fur jackets, classic Savile Row menswear coatings, and statement shearling sleeves, along with soft fluid chiffons and sleek silhouettes in gold lurex striped tailoring.

Noon by Noor looks to the starry night for fall/winter 2018 collection

There were both day wear and evening wear options, ranging from separates like a gold sweater with a long black skirt to a star embroidered embellished dress with a cape for the finale look. Noon by Noor made sure this collection had something for everybody, from the working women to the socialites and stars on the red carpet. There's a broader range than ever before, a brilliant move on the designers part for growing their customer base.

Photos: courtesy of Purple PR

NYFW: Raf Simons comments on society's drug use

It was going to be controversial by any interpretation, even by fashion's standards. Raf Simons this week showed his namesake menswear collection during New York Style Week, with a collection titled ‘Youth In Motion’, taking inspiration from the drug-addicted youth in Berlin in the late seventies. The film Christiane F. was a starting point, with the show notes reading: "Simons, like many Europeans of his generation, was exposed to the harrowing world of Christiane F. in high school, where the film and the book were discussed as a part of the currriculum of drug abuse and addiction.

While many laud the film as a realistic account of drug addition, the David Bowie soundtracked story has become an iconic fixture about disaffected youth, depicting the grim realities of anti-authoritatian, decayed urban silhouettes and the sinister escapes the disenfranchised are drawn towards. Christiane F. was herself a heroin junky; young, wafer-thin with dyed red hair, her 'look' has been a recurring influence in fashion shoots since the film's debut in 1981.

On a hoisted stage, models wore sleeveless hoodies printed with the slogan Drugs, latex gloves under rolled up wooly outerwear, and half-worn intarsia sweaters, with sleeves dangling on models' chests. The catwalk permeated through a mise-en-scene of a feast at its peak: half-poured glasses, empty bottles of champagne artfully arranged, and mounds of fruits - grapes, lemons - and stacked loaves of bread. Whether it echoes the opulent setting of mid-century couture salons or the peak hour of a party, where guests are significantly euphoric and in higher spirits.

NYFW: Raf Simons comments on society's drug use

The logo'ed drugs hoodies were an ode to Cookie Mueller and Glenn O’Brien’s tragicomic play from the 1980s and "served as a template for deadpan, color-coded patches listing drugs such as LSD, GHB, and 2C-B across sleeves and shins, giving the spiral of addiction a clinical anchor that was equal parts disturbing and funny," according to Dazed Digital.

The show is not a glorification of drug use

“Ultimately, ‘Youth In Motion’ seeks to neither glorify nor condone the culture(s) of drugs; rather Simons seeks instead to consider the persistent, almost ubiquitous presence of narcotics (prescribed or otherwise) within our society and acknowledge our often conflicted relationships with them; in turn opening up a more nuanced dialogue around the implications for a society where addiction and the causes of addiction remain largely taboo subjects, with – as both Christiane F. and the current opioid crisis demonstrate – often untold human consequences.”

As for the clothes, Simons has the knack to transfer the zeitgeist into a garment. The outerwear was the strongest, coming in peacoat, parka and knee length versions. Interestingly there was not a bomber jacket in sight. Suiting came in micro checks and featured slim trousers, another strong category. Satin lined coats and parachute pants. Ultimately, the drug-emblazoned hoodies will be sold out before they even reach the stores.

Photos: Catwalkpictures

Tom Ford puts 'Pussy Power' center stage at NY Style Week

Tom Ford on Thursday put female empowerment center stage at NY Style Week, kicking off the global Fall/Winter 2018 season with models prowling the runway as cat women, very much wearing the trousers.

If the biannual style fest battles an identity crisis as top-name labels flee to Europe, the 56-year-old Texan-born designer turned movie director was not one to let the #MeToo movement pass him by. On the first day of New York's first women's fashion week since the sexual harassment watershed exploded, the Ford woman of Fall/Winter 2018 is an alley cat, a superwoman with a "Pussy Power" purse. With barely a skirt in sight, the pant suit ruled. Models prowled the catwalk, their legs enveloped in tight pants, leggings or opaque tights of red, orange, yellow and green leopard print -- messy hair kept off their forehead protest-style with black headbands, owning the streets.

If pink pussy hats were the uniform of women demonstrators against the Trump administration -- a reference to the president's use of a vulgarity on a leaked Access Hollywood tape to refer to women's genitals -- then Ford's cat theme took the play on words to another level. Even without the animal print pants, there were jaguar and zebra print kitten heels, tight lame leggings, a riot of sequins, patchwork and snakeskin on oversized coats, and boxy blazers -- belted for business. All eyes were on the models' pins; apart from daring cut-out backs barely skimming the top of the seat and cut-out waists, there were few flashes of flesh. Dresses were restricted to high-necked minis.

Tom Ford puts 'Pussy Power' center stage at NY Style Week

In a throwback to hip-hop models wore silver ball hoop earrings, and there were lashings of black -- the color actresses opted to wear at the Golden Globes to protest against harassment. "Every single thing you design, at least in the luxury sector, has to be potent," Ford told Women's Wear Daily in an interview. "It has to be the most amazing thing. No one needs just another black skirt." "I get calls from our store managers all the time saying we need more things that are more expensive. When (they) say more expensive, they mean more special," he added. His models, led by 16-year-old Kaia Gerber, daughter of supermodel Cindy Crawford, debuted a new collection of cosmetics called Extreme and were watched by the likes of Julianne Moore and Zayn Malik.

Red carpet empowerment

Tadashi Shoji tapped into the post-Harvey Weinstein world by offering women a sleek, powerful red carpet collection oozing 1940s Hollywood glamour, modernized with cut outs, pleating and plenty of black. Women, he said, must never apologize for what they chose to wear or for wanting to look seductive -- regardless of how male harassers may choose to excuse predatory behavior given a woman's looks. "So I did very sensual, sexy dresses, this time. Our dresses are about the empowerment of women and making women's body look beautiful," the 70-year-old, Japanese-born designer told AFP. "Women have the right to enjoy life. It's ok. Why would you have to apologize? Men don't."

Real models

"Real people" modeled alongside the professionals at the quirky presentation of contemporary New York knitwear brand PH5, including a nurse and students from a nonprofit encouraging girls to code. They showcased colorful stripy jumpsuits, body suits, sweaters and long skirts, all made of knitwear. Colorful socks over shoes stretched up to the low thighs, with rockabilly-ish hairdos and dark glasses tying the looks together. "We are trying to build a brand, fighting between what sells and what we really want to create," said Wei Lin, 30, the daughter of a large knitwear manufacturer whose factory near Hong Kong makes the clothes. Millennial pop sensation Taylor Swift and actress Emma Roberts, niece of Julia, are already fans. (AFP)

Photo: Angela Weiss / AFP | Tom Ford AW18 /Catwalkpictures
Boss fuses tailoring and sportswear for fall/winter 2018

Hugo Boss' Boss menswear line has long been iconic for its fashionable, tailored suiting. As the market for sportswear continues to grow, the brand has taken their classic tailoring and fused it together with contemporary sportswear, and the end result was an inspiring new collection for fall/winter 2018 presented at New York Style Week: Men's.

Boss fuses tailoring and sportswear for fall/winter 2018

As Boss continues to build up their North American business, they took inspiration from the streets, imagery and icons of New York City. This season, the brand introduced a new silhouette in response to the athleisure movement. Tops were oversized and juxtaposed with cropped, tapered pants, giving a dressed up sporty look. Outerwear was made extra voluminous through the use padding. Most notably, the collection featured quilted pants, which few to no brands have done this season. Boss knows how to give something original, and that's where their greatest strength lies.

Boss fuses tailoring and sportswear for fall/winter 2018

Hugo Boss presents sports tailoring at NYFW: Men's

Of course, the brand still gave strong attention to their signature tailoring. Relaxed fit tailored pieces were done with yellow piping, and baseball shirts were done with very tailored silhouettes. Drawstring waists and ribbed cuffs were added to tailored pants to give more formal pieces an athletic edge.

In the spirit of sportswear, baseball was a huge inspiration for this collection. Outerwear pieces, like baseball jackets and capes were done with brand logo patches featuring pitchers, batters and the Hugo Boss initials emblazoned across them.

Boss fuses tailoring and sportswear for fall/winter 2018

The signature Boss double-breasted tailoring was on display with pieces including an ankle-length cashmere coat. As customers demand for more stretch offerings, tailored jackets were done in stretch-nylon.

The color palette included gray, blue, brown, off-whte, charcoal, deep navy and cognac, with some yellow thrown in for a pop of bright color.

Boss fuses tailoring and sportswear for fall/winter 2018

The end result was a collection for the new Hugo Boss customer. He's the guy who still values that tailored look, but is on trend with being more sporty. Yes, sports tailoring is happening, making what was once thought impossible possible.

photos: courtesy of the brand
Joules launches umbrella line with Fulton

Style and lifestyle brand Joules has signed an exclusive licensing partnership with Fulton, Britain’s leading umbrella maker and Royal Warrant Holder, to produce a line of umbrellas for the retailer.

Joules launches umbrella line with Fulton

The new collection features 12 designs that include colourful, hand-drawn prints that Joules is known for, such as dogs, dots, florals, stripes, and even ducks. The line will be available for adults and children from February 19, with prices starting from 15 pounds for children’s and 27 pounds for adults.

Joules launches umbrella line with Fulton

The collaboration marks the latest extension of the Joules brand through carefully selected licensed partners, an area of the business which also includes successful eyewear, bedding, sofas and toiletries ranges.

Joules launches umbrella line with Fulton

Colin Porter, chief executive of Joules, said: “It’s a huge pleasure to be working with Fulton. Their faultless attention to detail and commitment to quality makes the brand a natural partner for us. We’re confident our customers will love this new collection as much as we do.”

Joules launches umbrella line with Fulton

Nigel Fulton, chief executive of Fulton Umbrellas added: “We are delighted to be partnering with such an iconic British brand, and there is something for everyone in this carefully designed collection. The bright prints work incredibly well on our umbrellas, creating a fun and uplifting collection, appealing to men, women and children alike.”

Joules launches umbrella line with Fulton

The collection will be available from select Joules stores and on Joules.com from February 19.

Joules launches umbrella line with Fulton

Joules currently operates 118 stores in the UK and Ireland, as well as having a significant online business it also has a well-established wholesale business with more than 1,500 stockists worldwide including John Lewis, Next Label, Nordstrom and Dillards.

Joules launches umbrella line with FultonJoules launches umbrella line with Fulton

Images: courtesy of Fulton/Joules

Humans of Style Foundation launches new support platform

Humans of Style Foundation, founded by fashion model Kristina Romanova and singer-songwriter and lawyer, Antoniette Costa, has launched a global platform that aims to discuss the prevalence and effects of sexual harassment and assault in the fashion industry, and connect those who have experienced it with support.

Launched in New York ahead of fashion week, the platform is aimed at guiding and connecting individuals in the fashion industry who have experienced sexual harassment, abuse, misconduct and assault with pro bono and subsidised legal professionals, counsellors, and support networks.

Humans of Style Foundation was founded with the aim of creating a safer workplace for all professionals in the fashion industry from models and designers to stylists and makeup artists, and their application, which is based around real-time reporting hopes to bring a revolutionary approach to the issue of sexual harassment and assault in the industry, and facilitate an avenue for discussion.

"With recent campaigns such as #metoo and #timesup, social media has become an empowering tool to facilitate a collective voice. Every human deserves to have his or her voice heard. Every human deserves to have his or her rights protected. But not everyone can afford it," said Romanova. "Models and all others come to the bustling global fashion centres from diverse backgrounds, speaking diverse languages with big hopes and open hearts. They deserve good friends who will listen and offer advice if they run into problems."

Costa added: "In addition to the financial burden, not everyone knows how to navigate the system to get the help they need. We want to be the welcoming connection to assure dreams don't end up on the floor like the quick change of clothes before the Runway."

Image: courtesy of Humans of Style Foundation - co-founders, Kristina Romanova and Antoniette Costa