Alexander McQueen: A Couturier's Timeline
By Paige McKirahan
It is very seldom that a designer steps into the fashion industry and stuns icons with such grace as Alexander McQueen. In celebration of his life, we have elected to spotlight this amazing fashion contributor as his day of birth is fast approaching. The couturier and fashion icon was born on the 17th of March, 1969 in London as the youngest of six siblings. After leaving school at the young age of 16 to pursue apprenticeships with a variety of high-profile tailors like Gieves and Hawkes that were masters of technical clothing construction. This experience was followed by time with Angels and Bermans, where he mastered a variety of pattern cutting techniques, including the razor-sharp style that has become synonymous with the McQueen brand. After this transformative stint, he became employed by tailor and designer Koji Tatsuno for close to a year before he traveled to Milan to be Romeo Gigli’s design assistant. During these apprenticeships, he also attended the Rosetta Art Centre, where he received a recommendation from Yvonne Humble that sent him on to the MA fashion course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. The skills that he learned during his time in these positions quickly earned him a high-class reputation in the industry as a designer with an affinity for flawlessly tailored designs.
This reputation was carried with him to St. Martins, where he was encouraged by the head of his course there to enroll as a student and receive a master's degree in fashion. He went on to do just that, and his 1992 graduate collection was so emblematic that the iconic stylist Isabella Blow famously purchased it in its entirety. Blow became a sort of mentor to McQueen, using her contacts and industry expertise to help launch his career. It was even rumored that she influenced his choice to go after his middle name, Alexander, when he finally had his big break.
McQueen and Blow (source)
During this time, McQueen grew as an artist with other designers in Hoxton, where he designed his second collection that led him to his "right hand woman", Katy England. England was appointed the creative director of Mcqueen's third collection and continued working with him from then on, being his "second opinion" on all of his major works. Following these collections, he then moved on to create the wardrobe for David Bowie's 1996-1997, which opened the door to a plethora of high-profile celebrity collaborations with icons like Bjork, Robert Lepage, Sylvie Guillem, and Russell Maliphant.
McQueen for David Bowie (source)
Through the end of the 90s and the beginning of the 2000s, McQueen built a reputation around his shocking runway displays; his lavish and unconventional style was like nothing the industry had ever seen, incorporating things like holograms and shipwreck scenes into his shows. He became one of the runway frontrunners, being credited with adding tur extravagance and drama to fashion. One of the most dramatic shows in of his career was for Spring/ Summer 2001 displaying a collection dubbed "VOSS". The centerpiece of the show was a class box based upon Sanitarium by Joel Peter Witkin; the box was unlit, making the reflections on the walls seem like large mirrors reflecting the audience's images back to them for over an hour. When the show finally began, the box became lit to reveal a gaggle of moths and a naked Michelle Olley relaxed on a chaise lounge wearing only a gas mask.
A photo from the VOSS show, 2001 (source)
In 1996, Mcqueen was appointed to chief designer at Givenchy, where he worked until 2001. Prior to this departure, he formed a partnership with the Gucci Group and they acquired 51% of his company in 2000. He remained as the creative director until his death, and this new ownership allowed his label to globally expand. He created men and women's ready-to-wear collections, accessories, eyewear, and a variety of fragrances that were available in boutiques all over the world at the conclusion of 2007. He remained at the top of the industry until his untimely passing in 2010, two days prior to the start of London Fashion Week. He still holds his title as one of the most iconic courtiers of all time and has received high honors including "British Designer of the Year" (1996 & 2003) and "International Designer of the Year" (2003). His brand continues to produce stunning collections and the McQueen legacy will live on longer than the industry itself.
Sources:Alexander McQueen. (2019, March 03). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alexander_McQueenBiography. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.alexandermcqueen.com/experience/us/biography/
Milan Fashion Week F/W ’19 Accessory Trend Spotlight
By Paige McKirahan
As we have now concluded our catwalk through the third week of our favorite month in fashion, Milan emphatically reinforced its stance as one of the top fashion capitals in the world with its out-of-the-box shows. Milan Fashion Week, running from February 19th to the 25th, boasted its largest season to date as 179 collections were on display in this Italian favorite, closing out the month of February. Serving as the birthplace for some of the industry’s favorite family-run fashion houses (think Prada, Missoni, and Fendi), there is no doubt that this dynasty-driven capital has no problem putting the haute in couture. In the wake of Karl Lagerfeld’s death, expectations were high and undoubtedly were met with collections like Moncler taking up entire street corners and Moschino’s homage to Price is Right!
Moschino's Price is Right set (source)
Eclectic headwear has truly established itself as one of this season's "it" accessory as classic winter styles with a twist have been seen in collections in New York, London, and now Milan. Anteprima, United Colors of Benetton, and Fendi all presented their own variations of the Russian-style cold weather favorite complete with fur and chinstraps. Armani took a less utilitarian approach to headgear as their jewel-encrusted berets paired with their rigid silhouettes proved to be the perfect touch of femininity. Agnona's approach headwear was purely functional as their simple, beige beanies were the perfect companion to their monochromatic looks.
From top: United Colors of Benetton, Armani, and Agnona (source)
Moving on to eyewear, Milan boasted pieces that were far from conventional. Gucci threw their own private masquerade with a horror-themed- twist as models made their way down the runway with face and eye coverings embellished with long spikes. Looking towards a more traditional approach, Fendi, Armani, and Prada are here to prove that the age of tiny sunglasses is out and oversized frames are back in. One new variation that looks like its still here to stay? Sunglasses lenses in bright hues!
From top: Gucci, Prada, and Fendi (source)
Switching the conversation to jewelry, it is evident that gold is now reigning as the primary material for this coming cold weather season. Donatella Versace made this evident in her Milan collection, with gold belts, earrings, and necklaces designed with a mix of delicate and chunky constructions. Vivetta and Fausto Puglisi took hold of the single earring trend that was popular in the S/S '19 shows last year and showed that this style is here to stay all throughout 2019. Marni's jewels included a variety of chain-like motifs in the chokers seen throughout their collection worked beautifully when paired with their vibrant punk-meets-conference room aesthetic. Moschino stunned with jewel-encrusted costume jewelry perfect for their Price is Right set, with gold and silver settings pairing seamlessly with Jeremy Scott's over-the-top clothing designs.
From top: Versace, Vivetta, Marni, and Moschino (source)
Looking to bags, this season the universal design theme leaned toward compact and handheld. As we saw last week in London, the idea of the "it" bag is transforming, and designers may still be trying to adapt to this accessory based shift. Nevertheless, we loved this season's affinity for miniature handbags perfect for a phone and wallet but not much else, forcing their carriers into decluttering. Check out some of our favorites below!
From top: Bottega Veneta, Vivetta, Moschino, and Tod's (source)
Now that this season's fashion month is almost over, have your favorite collections been in London, New York, or Milan? So far, we loved the wild look of London, but we can't choose just one as our favorite until we see what Paris has to offer!
Keep this article on hand for some great fashion inspiration for the next cold weather season, and shop our collections for some great headwear, pins, bangles, and dangling earrings of your own! For more FW coverage, be sure to stay tuned next week for our look at all things Paris!
Sources:Person. (2019, February 27). All of the Accessories and Jewelry You're Going to Want From Milan Fashion Week. Retrieved from https://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/g26432796/milan-fashion-week-fall-winter-2019-accessories-jewelry-trends/?slide=1Carreon, Justine. (2019, February 26). The Best Looks From Milan Fashion Week Fall 2019. Retrieved from https://www.elle.com/fashion/trend-reports/g26516529/best-looks-milan-fashion-week-fall-2019/?slide=55
Calling All Columbus Readers!
By Paige McKirahan
If you have found yourself in Ohio for the holidays, you may be left wondering how to spend your last week of the year in the Buckeye State. As one of the nation’s top three fashion capitals, Columbus has seemingly crept to the top of this elite list while no one was watching. According to Columbus Monthly, Columbus employs more fashion designers than ANY other city in the United States outside of New York City and Los Angeles. Our state’s capital is chock full of small boutiques working alongside huge fashion giants like Victoria’s Secret, Lane Bryant, Express, Abercrombie & Fitch, and previously Henri Bendel. Other popular, locally-grown shops like Homage are also gaining great visibility and contributing to the area’s reputation as a vibrant, evolving capital. We hope all of our Columbus fans bought some local goods for all of those on your list this season, because we sure do love being a part of this amazing network of fashion innovators!
Now that Holiday shopping days are over, though, what else does this amazing city have to offer? Does the cold weather and the holidays have you or your family feeling a little stir crazy this Christmas season? Well, grab you jackets and get ready for a full day of fun at Columbus’ greatest attractions on December 29th for FREE!
Thanks to The Columbus Foundation, local residents can spend their Saturday exploring central Ohio via free COTA rides all day long. The Wexner Center for the Arts, Ohio History Connection, Franklin Park Conservatory, and COSI are all participating in the free general admission event. The Columbus Museum of Art is also partaking in the winter fun; our CEO and one of our favorite designers, Charles Kleibacker, have both held positions at that venue. Be sure to check out all of the beautiful art they have to offer!
Whatever you spend the rest of your 2018 doing, we here at TalkingFashion want to wish all of our readers a Happy New Year and a FABULOUS New Years Eve! When picking out that perfect outfit for your night on the town, don’t forget to end 2018 wearing what YOU love and continue doing so for all of 2019!
We're Number Three: Columbus' flourishing fashion industry. (2016, March 30). Retrieved from http://www.columbusmonthly.com/lifestyle/20160323/were-number-three-columbus-flourishing-fashion-industry
Staff, N. (2018, December 13). Columbus Foundation celebrates 75th anniversary with free COTA rides, other freebies. Retrieved from https://www.nbc4i.com/news/local-news/columbus-foundation-celebrates-75th-anniversary-with-free-cota-rides-other-freebies/1657569111
Timmy Woods: A Fascinating Figural Designer
By Paige McKirahan
On the topic of figural designs that are both modern and vintage, our favorite current designer that is adopting this unique motif is Timmy Woods. Hailing from Beverly Hills, this handbag aficionado has gained international fame for her original, one-of-a-kind pieces that can be seen on televisions, in prints, on runways, in stores, and on red carpets all around the globe.
Her personalized handbags have made her a household name and can match anyone’s tastes from those going to Hollywood premieres to those looking for a new, affordable addition to the accessory closet. She has been seen on screens everywhere in programs including Jupiter Shop Channel in Japan, TVSN Australia, HSN, QVC USA, and the Thai Home Shopping Network. She works with both wood and leather when designing her bags; all of them are hand carved, making them a great gift that can also be used as home décor! If you need a last minute gift for the figural fanatic on your list, check out our Timmy Woods collection!
About Timmy Woods. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://timmywoods.com/pages/about-us-1
Designer Spotlight: Sugar Gay Isber
By Paige McKirahan
This week, we have decided to spotlight a designer that is not only prominent in our collections, but prominent in jewelry lover's collections over the globe. Gay Isber, affectionately nicknamed Sugar, is a Canadian jewelry designer based out of Austin, Texas. As a seventh generation Texan, she planted her roots in the south with Gay Isber Designs, her namesake jewelry and product design company. As the creative force propelling the business forward, she has been crafting jewelry for over 15 years; she has been featured in national and international media, and has created pieces for everyone from royals to rock stars. She has even been dubbed “a guru of the fashion and jewelry industry” in her home state, which eventually pushed her to receive the Designer of the Year award in 2016. Now that we know of her great successes, let’s learn more about her inspiration, background, and her beautiful creations!
(photo credits to shoplc.com)
Sugar is a self-proclaimed jewelry lover who advocates for conversational pieces that are enjoyed more with every wear. As a creator, she is uninterested in what other designers are producing and focuses more about how her materials inspire her or how she can continue advancing her skills; she feels that she is truly only as good as her last piece.
Gay began her amazing journey by starting off as a painter after graduating with a Master’s Degree in Humanities and Visual Arts. She wanted her paintings to be show stopping, and concluded she would stop art show traffic by creating a bracelet that emulated her artwork’s colorful aesthetic. By the show’s conclusion, she realized that most of the patrons were more interested in her bracelet than her paintings, prompting her to make the transition from art to jewelry. Despite this, she has continued painting as a hobby and many of her jewels look similar to her art.
As a full-time creator, Sugar says that she dreams about jewels and has worked with so many amazing people that make the effort worthwhile. Aside from designing pieces for Michelle Obama, Camilla and Prince Charles, Lady Gaga and Martha Stewart (to name a few), she has also created a line for Harley Davidson and have participated in fundraising events for the company benefiting breast cancer. She participates in a vast amount of charity fundraisers and sells her jewelry at those events, through The Shopping Channel, through her mailing list, and independent retailers. In addition to her career as a designer, she also has been teaching at Austin Community College since 2012 where she offers private or group classes.
Whether it be a custom piece or a simple design, Sugar’s jewelry is eye-catching and commonly features bright colors, beautiful gems, bead work or metallic accents. Looking for some Sugar of your own? We have enough to fill a candy store! Head over to our collection to find some great Gay Isber pieces that are sure to sweeten up this holiday season!
(All biographical information taken from gayisber.com)