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'How To Read A Dress' Connects Centuries Of Women Through Fashion



Clothing is communication; it's a language we unconsciously absorb. And as with any language, the finer points bring the vocabulary together. When Janelle Monae walked the red carpet at the Oscars, we recognized the 18th-century influence in her dress. But that's not just for geometric effect. Wide French panniers indicated aristocracy; the neck ruff was an Elizabethan signal of leisure; the embroidered net suggests Empire gowns that ditched dress architecture in favor of gauzy embellishments. Through this lens, Monae's gown becomes a statement of luxury and celebration that deliberately reclaims and challenges a predominantly-white historical narrative and draws on three centuries of fashion history. It's just the sort of garment How to Read a Dress would love.

There are endless resources for costume historians, including Janet Arnold's exhaustively detailed Patterns of Fashion and Ingrid Mida and Alexandra Kim's The Dress Detective, which outlines academic methods for interpreting clothing as artifact. But those can be overwhelming to a novice — perhaps someone who has turned the TV to a period piece and seen something hilariously out of place, and just wants to know why it doesn't belong. For a knowledgeable introduction that has plenty of eye candy alongside its scholarship, Lydia Edwards' How to Read a Dresshits the spot.

A key word there is "introduction." Given that it covers nearly five centuries, the book makes quick work of some complex sartorial times. Edwards keeps a narrow focus on Western European styles and extant garments, and the overviews at the head of individual chapters — which cover anywhere from a decade to a century at a time — are brisk and brief. You'll likely be tempted to fill in the blanks with more research, such as when Edwards notes the significant shift from the relatively forgiving dresses of the 1830s to restrictive bodices and corsets in the 1840s, with only hints of what may have spurred such a dramatic change. (Maybe we're meant to end up dress detectives after all.)

But How to Read a Dress can't be an exhaustive history, and it's just as well it doesn't try. Instead, it neatly splits the difference between an art book and a glossary — a guided tour of a costume collection by a docent in the know. Each garment gets a page of point-by-point notes, with handy asides to show contemporary sketches of a pleating technique or give a closer look at the details of a print. And though few of the dresses perfectly conform to an ideal, the idiosyncrasies of style and construction in each gown end up being more interesting than textbook cases might be: they're reminders that while it works as historical artifact, a dress is also a reflection of something personal. A monochrome Victorian afternoon dress or a reworked bodice on an outdated Regency gown can hint at social class and regional differences, but they also tell us something about the women who wore them.

That sense of clothing as a living thing is at the heart of Edwards' work. The curated collection, featuring everything from funeral finery to department-store finds, offers an uneven but fascinating fashion primer that invites you to make connections across centuries, to wonder about the ways huge social shifts are reflected in everyday life, and tips you off about the placement of shoulder seams. Whether you're a costume nerd or just casually curious, How to Read a Dress will give you some insights into the language of dress. Period-piece TV will never look the same.Read more at:formal dresses perth


03:17 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Dubai has designs on future of fashion


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Three years ago, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, announced the formation of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) - to develop Dubai as a global design and fashion hub.

DDFC came out with the MENA Design Outlook Report, in collaboration with Dubai Design District, soon after, in 2015 - looking at all aspects of design, from lighting and furniture to fashion. That report also stated the MENA fashion market has outpaced the global growth rate by over 4.7 times since 2010.

Last year, the MENA Design Education Report revealed that to keep up with demand, the region needs 30,000 design graduates by 2019 - a nine-fold increase.

Against this backdrop, DDFC has appointed their new CEO, Jazia Al Dhanhani. Al Dhanhani has been part of DDFC since last year, working as Executive Director of Industry Development & Marketing. As CEO of DDFC, her key objective is, clearly, development. "Dubai has a pool of talent, but the talent has no direction," she says.

One of the first programmes she is pushing for is the DDFC Mentorship and Internship one. DDFC's board, chaired by Dr Amina Al Rustamani, consists of 14 board members representing a mix of key stakeholder groups - including government, academic, and private sector experts such as Patrick Chalhoub, Landmark Group's Nisha Jagtiani and fashion designer Reem Acra.

The right mentors for upcoming designers. "Designers have the product but they do not have the strategy and business plan." This is the gap DDFC hopes to fill.

Recently, two designers from the region were sent for the London Fashion Scout that takes place during London Fashion Week. Next month, DDFC will announce a special membership programme which also looks at local design so they can become more international in their approach.

It is obvious Al Dhanhani's focus is on the substance of fashion, over the style. "There are three keys: grow talent development; give the right business intelligence; and ensure regional fashion gets the right recognition."

A Dubai Fashion Week is not a priority; Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD) is. "It is now in its ninth season and has grown," Al Dhanhani points out. "Reem Acra sits on our board and she was telling us how she and several other designers no longer show at New York Fashion Week. The whole 'see now, buy now' trend has made fashion weeks less important. Which is why at FFWD, which takes place later this month, DDFC is supporting a talk on 'see now, buy now'. (this model makes what's on the runway immediately available in stores; traditionally, designers show a collection a season before at a fashion week)."

Moving on to design, what makes Dubai stand apart is that "we have an eco system for the industry -the Dubai Design District," Al Dhanhani says. Design is part of the city's DNA now. "The vision His Highness has is clear: from our gated communities to the cityscape, there is great detail paid to design."

Another project DDFC is incubating is the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI). The curriculum for this school is being developed with the support of Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Parson's School of Design.Read more at:formal dresses adelaide


03:18 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Welcome to the Cut’s Spring Fashion Issue


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In November, after Trump was elected, many of us on staff felt that it was hard to care about getting dressed. As the months have gone by, the climate is only more fraught, and much of the joy we’ve previously felt about fashion has been eaten up by larger concerns about geopolitics and justice in America. As a site that thinks a great deal about style and what happens in the fashion world, this created an internal conversation that I suspect will last for a long while.

At the same time, many interesting stories about style were shaping up. The fashion press made speculations about which designers would dress Melania. Debates broke out over what it means to dresslikeawoman. The “alt-right” attempted to co-opt the “dapper” look of Brooklyn hipsters from five years ago. Ivanka pimped her jewelry line on 60 Minutes (and later, Kellyanne Conway made a sales pitch for the fashion line on television). A pink knit hat became an international symbol of resistance.

Shopping shouldn’t be confused with political activism, but dressing has always been a way to send powerful messages about political beliefs. Trump and his ilk have an almost comically clear, Gordon Gekko aesthetic — dark suits for men, sheath dresses, barrel-curls, and heels for the women — and it turns out the dress code is just as prescriptive and limited as the rest of their ideas about how people should live.

This spring, when we set out to make a statement about what to wear now, we thought about nonconformity, power, and how women express themselves in opposition to dominant ideas about femininity. Over the month of March, each day the Cut will publish a feature — a photo shoot, or an interview, or an essay — exploring individuality and fashion. We spoke to actress Alia Shawkat about being an Arab-American while Olivia Bee photographed her in Los Angeles. Comedian Ali Wong explains why glasses are her favorite accessory (she calls them “shoes for your face”), and also why she named her daughter after Marie Kondo. Photographer Stella Berkofsky took voluminous pastels into a swamp with our fashion director Rebecca Ramsey and shot them on a young woman and a woman over 35. The gender-nonconforming musical duo PWR BTTM made Marc Jacobs’s platform decaled boots seem wearable on anyone. Jahleel Weaver, the creative director of Rihanna’s Fenty line, styled some of his muses, and author Cintra Wilson, who took a fashion road trip across the United States for her book Fear and Clothing, wrote an essay on why dressing how you want is an indelible part of the American dream.

We’ve organized this “issue” around a loose set of ideas about fashion at this particular moment — though all the clothing is available right now, it’s not exactly “spring” dressing because it’s more than a seasonal approach. It’s about the spirit of individual beauty, which cannot be broken.Read more at:bridesmaid dresses


03:31 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)