Well it’s been quite a break for us at How Fashion Works but a little viewership love has helped us set our priorities straight and start writing again. So without further delay let’s get back to fashion!
Today’s post was inspired by the Super Bowl. Rarely do I see the realms of sports and style collide, but one of my favorite parts of the Super Bowl is the commercials. Whether clever or cute, Sunday night’s commercials kept me in my seat and waiting for the game to start again so I could get up and refill my beverage. These commercials are huge campaigns for the beer, car, chip (etc) companies, and fashion houses have slowly caught on too.
While fashion ads are mostly in print form and reign supreme in magazines (you won’t see them during the Super Bowl) brands have started using social media to their advantage and giving us some pretty great video campaigns to salivate over too. For years many fashion brands touted their stuff in perfume campaigns, who can forget Nicole Kidman in the Moulin Rouge-esque Chanel No5 commercial or way back when Kate Moss promoted Calvin Klien’s CK cologne?
Ok so I don’t really remember Kate Moss and the Calvin Klein commercial, but after researching it looks like it was a pretty big deal and helped Calvin Klein get back in the game (aka out of money trouble and making sleek silhouettes again).
Over the last few years (we’ll say since around 2011, anyone who did video to promote their clothes before that was well ahead of the game), brand’s have made video ad campaigns to show off their latest collections while setting a more dramatic stage to reveal the mood of the collection. Many hire big time directors (Sofia Coppola, anyone?) to shoot thoughtful and artful ads. These video campaigns are an extension of the print ads we see in the magazines (take for example the Lanvin print ad above and the video posted below). Here are a few of our favorites fashion video ads that we’ve seen over the years, including Lanvin and Sorel boots plus a brand new campaign from T by Alexander Wang that kept us laughing the whole way through.
Social media and the internet let us see the latest fashions while they are being presented. Fashion blogs are a way to see what celebrities and everyday people are wearing, the trends they are trying, and the products they are using. It’s no wonder the fashion industry is constantly having to present something new—we’re consuming so much information so quickly! But before the internet, people sought fashion magazines for their fashion news and trends (and the socialite gossip, of course).
Harper’s Bazaar (first spelled as Bazar) is the first American fashion magazine. First published on November 2, 1867, the fashion magazine is still published today. While the first issue featured articles on fashion and literature, the publication later included news of socialites, fashion trends, and was a place for some of the fashion industry’s most famous photographers and editors to showcase their work. See more on it’s nearly 145-year history at HarpersBazaar.com
Images and sources from HarpersBazaar.com and FashionEncyclopedia.com
Above is the picture of the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings” that would become the blueprint for the blue jean.
There’s a reason Levi’s are synonymous with blue jeans. It was Levi Strauss who invented the true-blue pants. An immigrant from Bavaria, Strauss worked at his family’s dry goods store in New York when he decided to move west in hopes of making a fortune during the gold rush.
It was in San Francisco that Strauss opened his own dry goods store that counted many of the miners as customers. Over the years he became a successful businessman but that was just a taste of the success that was yet to come. Enter Jacob Davis.
Davis was a tailor in Reno, Nevada and would frequent Strauss’ store. He wrote a letter to Strauss explaining his method of tailoring pants with metal rivets at the pockets and zip front, to reinforce them for the working conditions of the miners. In the letter he stated that he didn’t have the funds to patent the design, but was hoping Strauss would supply the monetary means so the two could go into business. An enthusiastic Strauss quickly agreed and the two were granted the patent for “Improvement in Fastening Pocket-Openings” on May 20, 1873. This date is often called the birthday of blue jeans.
Image via moderhistorian
Sources history.com, About.com, modernhistorian
We’re adding a new little segment to HowFashionWorks called “How to Spot.” We thought about how easy it is to eyeball a Louis Vuitton or Tory Burch piece because of their signature logos, but what about the brands that like to stay more discreet? In our inaugural “How to Spot” we point out a few ways to spot a Lanvin accessory.
Lanvin adds a whimsical touch to their handbags by weaving ribbon through the chain strap and finishing it with a bow and signature medallion keychain. Now that you know isn’t it easy to spot on these fashionable ladies?
And pointer number two….
Lanvin also uses grosgrain to set their shoes apart. Whether it’s the fine trim on a pump or flat, the laces on an oxford, or a decorative bow on the side, the French fashion house is know for their love of grosgrain details.
Product Images via Lanvin.com, NiemanMarcus.com, Barneys.com
Street Style Images via chictopia.com, fashioncoup.com, credstyle.com
While everyone is cooing over the latest printed and bright colored skinny jeans, let’s not forget that the original blue jean can provide sartorial satisfaction too. This brings us to our style school lesson of the day: selvedge (or sometimes seen as selvage, selvege) jeans.
More often seen on men’s styles, selvedge refers to the weaving process of denim and is noticeable when the cuff of a jean is rolled up.
Selvedge edging can only be created with a traditional shuttle loom. Because these looms (created in the 1800s and used to make early pairs of blue jeans) require a narrower denim strip than the machines used today, there is more denim used in selvedge jeans, hence why they are usually more expensive. What’s more, when jeans were first made, the tight weaving process was continued to the very edge, which is why selvedge edging won’t unravel or fray, giving you a natural, clean edge.
Sources: DenimTherapy, RawrDenim, Denimology
Images via blog.denimtherapy.com, TaylorTailor.com, ColdWinterCollectibles, Levi’s Jeans
Madonna donned the infamous cone bra during her 1990 Blonde Ambition tour. Designed by Jean Paul Gaultier, the cone bra epitomized his provocative aesthetic, giving him his “enfant terrible” reputation.
Gaultier took inspiration from the vintage Perma-Lift bullet bra created in the 1940s. These pointy brassieres were often worn by the famous movie actresses of the day and started the popular “sweater girl” look.
An obvious sign of sexuality, Madonna took this concept to the brink in her famous 1990 music tour by making it popular to wear underwear as outwear. Now More than 20 years later, Madonna has reprised her most famous costume for her MDNA tour.
Sources: NYMag, TheStyleNotebook, BulletBra.org
Images: InStyle, Flickr, Huffington Post, BulletBra.org
Tis the season to show off your shades and round sunglasses seem to be everywhere. We’ve picked a few of our favorites in a range of reasonable prices that will fit your fancy no matter if you’re following the trend or looking for a forever find.
1. Diane von Furstenberg
2. UO Spotlight
5. Ray Ban
Pedro Garcia is a family-run shoe brand that started in 1925 in Alicante, Spain. Today the third-generation of shoemakers, Pedro (the original Pedro’s grandson) and his sister Mila run the company. Eighty-nine people take part in the process of a Pedro Garcia shoe, ensuring that the wearer receives a finely crafted, thoughtful shoe that exhibits luxury in look and feel.
But what sets a pair of Pedro Garcia shoes apart from the rest is the cork sole.
Cork has many properties that make it attractive. It’s buoyancy, lightness, impermeability, and elasticity are the reasons we use cork with wine bottles. So really to take those features and add them to a shoe is quite innovative and ingenious.
The cork sole, which is covered by a thin layer of leather, gives you a comfortable feel, the result of the cork fitting to your foot over time and becoming more and more comfortable with each wear. But don’t expect to stretch out your Pedro Garcia shoes. Cork works in such a way that while it will form to your foot is also has the capability to keep its original shape intact.
Sources Pedro Garcia and The Cork Institute of America
The signature accent that launched a lawsuit and a thousand imitations, the red sole allows us to spot a Christian Louboutin pump from across the room. The famous finishing accent has become a status symbol, accompanying the strut of your favorite celebs and infamous Real Housewives alike. But where did Mr. Louboutin come up with this ingenius accent? In an interview with ABC News, Louboutin tells the story:
I had a girl working with me, trying on the shoes so when she was not trying on shoes, she sort of had nothing to do, so she was sort of waiting, and, so she was doing her nails, at that time… and I thought, why, this black has to be the red! So I grabbed her nail polish, and painted the soles.
Now in his 20th year of designing shoes, Louboutin takes his sole very seriously. Last spring, Louboutin filed a lawsuit against Yves Saint Laurent for selling shoes with a red sole, a concept his design house trademarked in 2008. Yves Saint Laurent ended up winning the case, but the battle wages on in a court of appeals.
Aside from the red sole, a Christian Louboutin shoe is a work of art, handmade and reflecting forward-thinking fashion. But for those of us who cannot afford the sometimes thousand(s)-dollar pair of shoes, there are ways to get a red soled shoe of your own. The UK company Save Your Sole sells well-made red soles that you can add to your own pumps, or you can do what Louboutin himself did and simply paint yours with red nail polish for a fun (but short-lived, unfortunately) red sole of your own.
Sources from ABC News and Fashionista
While shoes are a pivotal part of our look, sometimes we forget the exact name of each style. Without knowing the correct name, it could be difficult to tell a sales associate just what you’re looking for. Which brings us to today’s word: D’orsay pump.
Usually reserved for more formal styles, the cutout center of a D’orsay shows off just enough of your foot and can help elongate your leg and give you a fresh look that’s just distincitve enough from the classic pump or peep-toe.
Images via neimanmarcus.com