Color and Fashion: Pantone Colors
By Paige McKirahan
As the leaves outside are beginning to change, we here at TalkingFashion are feeling chromatic and decided that there is no better time to discuss the colorful hues of the fashion world! Though it may seem that the evaluation of color in this realm could be everlasting, the best place to start is with Pantone’s Color Trend Report! Every season, those at the Pantone Color Institute create a report covering the top colors seen making their way down the runways at New York Fashion Week for the upcoming season. As trends regarding hue found in fashion collections tend to be an indicator of color trends across all mediums of the design world, Pantone’s guide is an easy way to see the inside the minds of creatives.
After evaluating the collections for Spring/ Summer 2019, we see a desire to look forward with empowering colors showing confidence, an uplifting spirit, and joy. The unexpected combinations show creativity and illustrate a cross between high fashion and street style that eclipses seasonality. The vibrant hues highlight authentic desires without overpowering design; read on to see the 12 colors and four neutrals in action as described by Pantone!
(All credits to pantone.com)
Keep an eye on the blog this week for more discussions of color, pattern, and style in fashion!
Scarves Throughout Time
By Paige McKirahan
Calling all scarf lovers! Have you ever wondered how this beloved trend came into circulation? Well, wonder no more! With origins tracing their way back to ancient Eastern cultures, the high-brow accessory has come a long way since its days of being used as a sweat cloth!
The use of a scarf as an accessory is said to be pioneered by none other than Queen Nefertiti in 1350 BC Egypt; the headscarf at that time was a status symbol that alluded to royalty and nobility, both of which were qualities possessed by the Queen. She is said to have worn a tightly woven scarf (or scarf-like fabric) under her iconic cone-shaped headpiece. China used the scarf as a symbol of status as well, but in the military more than in government or with royalty. Scarves were used as early as 1000 BC in Chinese military uniform to denote rank; higher ranks typically had scarves made of finer materials and lower ranks were cut from fabrics like cotton. It also has less glamorous roots in Rome, where its general purpose was not for style, but to help people keep clean. The utilitarian version of the scarf was used primarily in 10 AD as a sweat cloth with men wearing them so often that they became an accessory. They were worn either around the neck, draped over the shoulder, or knotted around the waist (similar to how they’re worn today!)
Chinese military statues illustrating the use of scarves around the neck, showing rank
(image credits to collegefashion.net)
As time progressed, scarves began transforming into something that was less functional and more fashionable. It is said that Napoleon gifted his wife Josephine a pashmina scarf upon his return from Egypt. At first, she was weary of the gift as it was exotic and not something that was typically worn in their culture (yet). Despite this, she is noted to have become an avid collector, accumulating over 400 scarves in three years that totaled to be worth around $80,000! When the cravat stepped on the scene in Paris in the 17th century, it emulated military styling in the way that it was tied around the neck or, on occasion, brought up around the bottom half of the face. The French Revolution popularized this style and encouraged wearers to experiment with color and style to demonstrate their devotion to a particular side.
A French Cravat
(image credit google.com)
From this point on, scarves began to make their way into the mainstream, especially after Queen Victoria’s ascension to the throne. In the early 1800s, she regularly wore glamorous silk scarves and shawls featuring a variety of eccentric patterns. This 19th century boom in popularity pushed manufacturers to experiment with a multitude of fabrics including cloth, cashmere, wool mixes, muslin, modal and of course, silk. Following this, the First World War transformed knitting from a hobby to a war duty, and women all over the world knitted scarves for soldiers in the air and in the trenches. Pilots used both knitted and silk scarves, with the silk providing protection from neck chafing.
Queen Victoria in blue silk scarf
(photo credit to hi-fi-audio.com)
Quite possibly one of the most important contributions to the widespread fame of the scarf was made by Thierry Hermes’ fashion house; in 1937, the French designer created the first luxury silk scarf, which was crafted from imported raw Chinese silk. The raw material was woven into high quality fabric that was stronger and heavier than any other scarf material of the time. For the final touch, images and patterns would be hand-printed onto the piece to turn them into beautiful, vibrant accessories. Though the scarves were coveted by many, they were widely unaffordable on account of their expensive construction. When rayon was invented in the 1930s, it perfectly mimicked silk for a fraction of the price; this advancement allowed more people to become involved with the trend. The outbreak of World War II forced this material to be rationed, and scarves became more of a necessity rather than a fun addition to an outfit. Women operating machinery needed a way to secure their long hair to ensure it would not be swept away, prompting them to wear the scarves to do so.
First Hermes scarf c. 1937
(photo credit to vintagefashionguide.com)
Nevertheless, scarves returned to their glamorous origins after the war when Hermes beloved style became a favorite of the globe’s most well know starlets. Audrey Hepburn and Brigitte Bardot both wore them either around the neck or on the head; Hepburn loved the style and even went as far as saying, “When I wear a silk scarf I never feel so definitely like a woman, a beautiful woman.” The Princess Grace Kelly herself wore a silk scarf on a 1956 cover for LIFE magazine, and made headlines when she used one as an arm sling later in the year. Even Queen Elizabeth II wore a Hermes scarf when photographed for postage stamps, and loved the style so much that she continues sporting it to this day!
Queen Elizabeth and Grace Kelly in Hermes designs
(photo credits pinterest.com)
This revival pushed scarves reputation as a luxury accessory and many fashion houses took it with stride as they began transferring their signature patterns, logos, and styles onto to fabrics. This continued through the ‘80s, but in the ‘90s, the market moved away from silk scarves and the public began searching for more innovative accessories. In the 2000s, we have seen some scarf revivals, especially in the past few years as many are beginning to favor vintage styles rather than modern aesthetics. Many “it” girls will now tie scarves around their necks, or even tie them to handbags to make them stand out from the crowd! Regardless of trend, we here at TalkingFashion have been scarf lovers from the start! If you want to emulate royalty or are simply looking for a stylish way to hold back your hair, check out our scarf collection; there is sure to be something for everyone from scarf savants to doubtful debutantes!
Fashion Without Boundaries: Genderless Designs Take Reign
By Paige McKirahan
Fashion is, in short, a form of creative expression; those participating in this expression should feel as if they have the freedom to wear what they want when they want, regardless of the restrictive gendered guidelines set by society. In a time that seems more accepting and open to new ideas than ever, discussions of gender fluidity are now front and center as debates of right and wrong flood the media. Though many aren’t choosing to embrace these societal changes, others see them as opportunities for self-discovery and evolution. Celebrities like Jaden Smith and Young Thug are prime examples as they flout gender norms with ease, wearing dresses and skirts simply because they prefer the style. In lieu of Fashion Week, we wanted to look at some designers that do not see gender as a barrier in style, aiming to create inclusive collections for all. With men and women’s styles now both walking down the runway in combined shows, the question of what is masculine and feminine is being posed. But, in reality, who gets to decide these distinctions? Do they even matter in the end?
Jaden Smith in skirts for various campaigns
(image credits to youtube.com)
Fashion has been crossing these lines for years and we have seen genders appropriating opposing styles since the ‘30s when menswear came into fashion for women during wartime years. But showing these both gender’s lines together truly allowed us to consider the distinct differences (or lack thereof) between the two. Materials and fabrics are the same, cuts are uncannily similar, and accessories are fluid. Many designers are also choosing to show these collections using androgynous models, further blurring the line between male and female.
Raf Simons puts this androgyny to great use as he was the first to have a combined men and women’s show for Calvin Klein. As Simons began as a designer of men’s fashions, he used that knowledge and incorporated previous stylistic choices into creating clothing for both genders with feminine edges. Men and women were both in suits with blazers, sheer tops exposing nipples, and varsity stripe motifs.
Raf Simons Calvin Klein Collection F/W 2017
(photo credit to elle.com)
Simons is one of the many designers using the runway to freely express the fact that men’s and women’s clothes can be interchangeable, but some designers are taking it to the next level and creating fully genderless designs. Offering a place in the industry for those who don’t find themselves confined by gender or simply do not want to abide by the norms, these labels have paved the way for this movement and have even prompted the Council of Fashion Designers of America to add a “unisex/non-binary” category to the NYFW calendar.
One of these labels in particular is blurring these lines in a big way; Becca McCharen- Tran and her swimwear brand Chromat are aiming to make shopping less alienating by not using exclusionary language in regards to gender, making everyone feel welcome. She knows that being in a swimsuit can make one feel vulnerable, and wants to be sure that her brand has plenty of options for people from all walks of life, allowing them feel empowered in one of their pieces. The Phluid Project is also a game changer in retail space; Rob Smith recognizes that it is not a comfortable experience for those who want to shop in departments that don’t fit their appeared gender and began this project to combat that. He created the shop as a space for people who want to view fashion in a safe environment, exploring boundaries. He wants to eliminate gender expression and the concept that fashion or makeup should define your gender as he feels the practice is outdated.
An Instagram post from Chromat displaying gender neutral swimwear
(photo credit to highsnobiety.com)
This trend has also made its way into the jewelry market as many people are now buying gender neutral pieces; it is now about the question “what does wearing this piece say about me?” rather than “was this piece made for me?” As more men are opting to wear jewelry, they are commonly choosing pieces that are characteristically more ‘feminine’. This new engagement takes them away from the traditional watches and cufflinks, moving more towards rings and bracelets that express their personalities. As we proceed towards acceptance of all and true freedom of expression, restrictions in the jewelry industry are truly breaking down.
To conclude this discussion, I want to leave you with a quote from Gypsy Sport Founder, Rio Uribe, as you consider this move towards unification: “All clothes are gender neutral. It’s really about who’s wearing the garments and how they gender themselves. I love when a piece can be worn by anyone, whether they are cis, trans, male-, female-, or non-binary-presenting. Personally, I think that if kids weren’t told that blue jeans are for boys and pink dresses are for girls, then we would all be dressed as our true selves. So I design for people who think like me, who are themselves regardless of society’s expectations and regardless of what section of a clothing store they like to shop in.” Here at Talkingfashion, we believe that style is genderless and seeing these ideas being reflected on runways brings us great excitement. Always remember-- wear what you love, everyday!
Art Deco and the Birth of Glamour
by Paige McKirahan
In a time when the stock market followed the length of lady’s skirts, a new era of art and fashion urged us away from the soft tightness of Art Nouveau and marked the beginning of bigger experimentation within these mediums. This new movement, affectionately known as the Art Deco era, spanned from the ‘20s to the mid ‘30s and brought airy silhouettes, abstraction, and fantasy to the forefront at the conclusion of World War I in 1918. After women took up hard physical work in the absence of men, they had no interest in returning to the constrictive lifestyle guidelines they once were forced to adhere to. The ‘20s became an age of financial prosperity and luxury aesthetics, with the youthful generation taking hold of post war society and creating a type of culture that prompted innovation and celebrated eccentricity.
As the economy grew, hemlines slowly climbed; by 1919, we saw skirt lengths hit mid-calf and they continued creeping up to hit the knee in 1925. During this time, dress forms moved to a more semi- fitted silhouette with dropped waists, starkly contrasting the corseted, high-waisted style of the preceding era. Up to this point, fashion had never seen a silhouette of this type and it allowed designers to innovate with new methods of seaming, draping, beading, and fabric use. Menswear and sportswear busted onto the scene and opened the door for the use of knits, leather, and rayon, all of which became important materials of the time. Of course, as we all know, this is the era of the flapper; this short lived phenomenon was a physical embodiment of glamour and the rejection of societal norms popularized in what is referred to as the Jazz Age.
Dresses by Coco Chanel c. 1925
(photo credit to langantiques.com)
Though Art Deco does continue with the 20th centuries’ celebration of the female figure, it takes a more sensuous approach with semi- abstract depictions of the body. Contemporary artistic movements such as cubism and futurism seeped into clothing design, favoring the styles’ interests in technological and geometric structures. This age also found inspiration in industrial landscapes with metallic color palettes and clean lines. Aside from the modern influence of the time, jewelry and clothing also found inspiration in archeological discoveries in Egypt; design motifs including pyramids, lotus blossoms, scarabs, and anything to do with ancient pharaohs became enormously popular along with Indian, Persian, and Chinese aesthetics.
Art Deco jewelry played with the geometric and industrial based trademarks of the movement and there were essentially two major schools of jewelry design: bijoutiers-artises and bijoutiers- joailliers. The former emphasized design over monetary value and the ladder used more precious materials to outline designs and compliment diamonds, prioritizing glamour over construction. Gold began to lose its popularity as platinum and its cheaper substitute, osimor, came into circulation as it was strong and required less metal to securely hold gems. Earrings had sharp corners and were feminine, accessorizing shorter hairstyles that were popularized in the ‘20s and ‘30s. Necklace lengths became longer in order to compliment shorter hemlines and deeper necklines, commonly featuring geometric pendants or tassels. Pearl necklaces were also a staple as the production of cultured pearls allowed them to be created in mass quantities. Popular jewelry materials of the time included a variety of synthetic plastics, such as bakelite, and other wares that could imitate gemstones, bone, and other expensive natural materials.
Art Deco Cartier Necklace c. 1929
(photo credit to langantiques.com)
Though fashion had to be rationed in the 1930s when the stock market crashed, jewelry arts seemed to continue to thrive and were revolutionized to become the focal points of outfits as buying and creating new clothing was not a priority. Large brooches, flashy ear clips, thick bracelets, and ornate dress clips were adorned with gemstones and diamonds in an almost theatrical way, allowing women of the time to create endless looks despite their limited wardrobes.
The key designers of this period, Coco Chanel and Elsa Schiaparelli, were well known rivals and fashion icons. Lovers of art and glamour, they are cornerstones in this new revolution of women’s style and created pieces that are still discussed in modern times. Chanel began her career in fashion in the early 1900s, but truly became a household name when she launched Chanel No. 5 in the early ‘20s. Then, in 1925, she released the now emblematic Chanel suit; the collarless jacket and well fitted skirt borrowed motifs from menswear and allowed women to move away from confining garments and into a new realm of comfort and freedom. Her little black dress design also was also revolutionary because it framed black as something that could be glamorous rather than a color used for mourning. Her bag designs were in a league of their own, being some of the first to incorporate shoulder straps and her classic double C logo. These Chanel pieces have endured for almost a century and have been seen in some of the most historically significant moments of all time (think Jackie O’s pink Chanel suit!).
Chanel’s iconic suit and little black dress worn by none other than Audrey Hepburn
(image credit to Google images)
Elsa Schiaparelli was a couture- minded designer who found most of her inspiration from artists of the era. She was a nonconformist, using eclectic and unique aesthetics to create clothing that were art pieces in their own right. She collaborated with artists frequently and Salvador Dali became her creator of choice as his surrealist tone complimented her outrageous taste. They created designs that are still coveted in both the fashion and art worlds and they can be seen in The Met where they celebrate her genius in their costume institute. She truly emerged into fashion when she presented her first collection of sweaters in 1927; the designs featured geometric shapes and were hand knit in her apartment in Paris. The groundbreaking couturiere then began using visible zippers in her pieces, which was unheard of at the time being a fairly new invention. She created a swimsuit with a built in bra and brought colored hosiery to the forefront of fashion, shooting herself to superstar status. Like Chanel, she also created a legendary perfume line and has been a true gift to pop culture for decades.
Schiaparelli and Dali’s most iconic collaborations
(photo credit to Google images)
As our generation rapidly moves towards a new ‘20s, it would be remiss to not wonder what types of trends we will see in a decade that has historically been so beloved in pop culture. Everyone from haute couture designers to filmmakers adored the Art Deco aesthetic and have paid homage to the glamourous style of the era with revivals occurring frequently throughout the past 100 years. Chicago and The Great Gatsby gave us a glimpses of the period on the big screen and designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Galliano, and Diane von Furstenberg resurrected this aesthetic on the runway. We see the 1920s as an of idealized portrayal of youth, glamour, sexuality, and this romanticization has only been strengthened over time. To prepare for the new roaring ‘20s, search our collection for some Art Deco pieces that truly never go out of style! Here some of our favorites: