There are few bloggers who wear simplicity as perfectly as Maria Van Nguyen. Lucky for us, she also designs clothes. Inspired by some of the best minimalist designers—Jil Sander, Céline, The Row, and Margiela—Maria’s been honing her technical and design skills for the past three years at Parsons and collaborating with talented people like Christina Paik. As one of the first bloggers I followed and one of the few bloggers I still follow to this day, Maria’s growth as an artist and curator has been tremendously inspiring. So obviously I was beyond stoked to check out the lookbook for her thesis collection, Contentment. Much like her personal style, the only colours in Maria’s collection are white, black, and grey. She works with primarily natural fabrics like wool, cotton, and silks. Silhouettes are kept casual and unfussy. I love the soft light saturating every photo, so quintessentially Paik. Even the shoe choices—easy mules and classic pumps—are effortless but carefully thought out. What can I say? I’d wear absolutely everything from this collection and would hang every lookbook shot in my apartment.
Images via Christina Paik & Maria Van Nguyen
New York fashion week is over. As the fashion set jets off to London‘s more experimental pastures, we here at The Pack wanted to assess everything we saw in the past week. With all the hype surrounding Kanye West’s collection for Adidas Originals, the accessories frenzy over at HBA, and all the fuss about Tom Ford moving his (underwhelming)collection to Los Angeles, it’s easy to forget the actual clothes, especially ones as practical and literally ready to wear as the ones presented during NYFW. There weren’t a whole lot of surprises. Lots of beautifully executed 70s details from the usually safe players—Ralph Lauren, Rebecca Minkoff, Calvin Klein—and even from the usually not-so-safe players like Altuzarra and Zimmermann. Lots of earthy browns seen everywhere from Victoria Beckham to Calvin Klein to Derek Lam. Never thought I’d be drooling over brown, of all colours. And of course, plenty of fur collars and fur in general, at Altuzarra, Jason Wu, Michael Kors, and 3.1 Phillip Lim.
For obvious reasons, the collections that stood out the most were ones that strayed from the recurring themes of this fashion month, or ones who articulated their influences in a subtle way. Inspired by a new collection of photographs by Spike Jonze, Opening Ceremony‘s collection featured whispers of the 70s shape (in the way of flute hems and high turtlenecks) with plenty of other motifs thrown into the mix. There were prints and jacquards produced from Jonze’s photographs (not as gauche as it sounds actually), vintage Kodak printed shirts, and assymetrical knits that felt more 90s than disco. At The Row and Ryan Roche, garments were hardcore relaxed and executed with precise hands, but we all know both labels have been on this tip for a minute now. The all over pleats at HBA were unlike anything I’ve seen before. And the grunge meets sporty utilitarian looks at Public School seemed simultaneously nostalgic and unfamiliar.
I was excited to see one of the more diverse New York Fashion Weeks in a while. No idea if this signals something industry-wide or if it’s just in New York, which is usually the most racially diverse out of the four fashion weeks anyway. I’m crossing my fingers for London, but probably not holding my breath for Paris and Milan.
Click after the jump for more pictures of The Pack’s favourite collections from New York Fashion Week.
Jourdan Dunn—one of the world’s highest paid supermodels, first black model to walk for Prada in over a decade, named “Model of the Year’ twice—can now add another accolade to her growing list. Dunn has become the first black model to land a solo Vogue cover in 12 years (Naomi Campbell was the last). 12 fucking years. Honestly I’m not sure if I should be jumping for joy or crying.
Diversity is an issue that has plagued the fashion industry since, quite possibly, the beginning of time. Dunn herself has been a vocal critic of a lack of models of colour during fashion weeks. Some of the biggest, most respected designers in Europe, such as Raf Simons and Phoebe Philo of Céline are known for their love of an all white catwalk. Calvin Klein, Proenza Schouler, Victoria Beckham, even our beloved The Row are all guilty of this as well, season after season after micro-season. As a woman of colour, I can’t say it doesn’t bother me. Even at times when something this incredible happens, I can’t help but feel disappointed that diversity, in 2015, is still not a given, but rather a milestone to be treasured and celebrated before it’s quietly forgotten. Thank goodness for industry activists and allies like Iman, Bethann Hadison, Naomi Campbell, Nick Knight, and Diane Von Furstenberg, who continue to fight the good fight. Congratulations to Jourdan Dunn! ❤
The February issue of Vogue UK hits newsstands end of January.
Images via Jourdan Dunn’s IG and tumblr
There is something deliciously perverse about thick layers of knit stripped away to reveal naked, alabaster skin. Perhaps it’s because sweaters have never been thought of as a particularly sexy garment. They’re that thick and nubby outer layer your mom made you wear in the weeks after October hit, likely embroidered with an unsightly print.
Of course, thoughtful styling and beautiful editorials are impactful because they subvert our expectations, and the way designers and stylists are using sweaters this season is a long way from how your mom dressed you in them when you were a kid. The sweater dressing of now, as seen in this recent editorial from Tank magazine, and on the runways of The Row, Edun, and Calvin Klein, are elegant, dramatic, and usually monochrome. No longer interested in merely knitting tops, designers are going all sorts of wacky and applying the cozy texture to everything from skirts to dresses to pants. Us Northerners with the insane winters couldn’t be happier about it.
Something I’ve had to come to terms with in recent years: when your wardrobe consists of primarily blacks, whites, and neutrals, you have to get a little creative when injecting your winter wardrobe with a lil’ zest. You can wear comically large pants with tiny tops. You can channel Lenny Kravitz and wear a scarf that’s dangerously close to swallowing you whole. Or you can opt for a subtler technique and play with contrasting textures in your ensembles.
There probably isn’t a texture more different from the cozy knitwear than the decidedly un-cozy, industrial polyethylene. While the sweater is essential for colder seasons, experts aren’t quite sure what seasons polyethylene, otherwise known as the common plastic, is most suitable for. What is known is that polyethylene looks dope when draped effortlessly, its sheen both delightfully tacky and attention grabbing. If you’re into fashion trolling the public with your outfits, try pairing a luxurious cashmere cardigan with a dress that looks suspiciously like a garbage bag.
This mini editorial, also copped from Tank, reminded me of a summertime favourite, my Jeremy Laing polyethylene dress. I will report back with pics once I figure out an elegant way of wearing shower curtains in November.
Images via Tank
Photo via Tommy Ton
Unless you’re a model or a Vogue Paris editor, extravagance is the name of the game when looking to get noticed by street style photographers during fashion week, and with good reason. As perfect as black is, it just doesn’t pop in photographs like mixed prints and colours. In the decade since the explosion of street style, online fashion mags have even started posting shopping guides just before fashion weeks advising showgoers on what to buy if they want to get snapped. Of course, good bloggers should be considerate of how clothes look in photographs, but never at the expense of their personal style. There is something unseemly and kind of thirsty about getting dressed not for yourself, but to satisfy the attention of photographers and the fickle tastes of the commercial fashion industry. So in the true spirit of not giving a fuck, here is The Pack’s handy style guide for anyone looking to just blend in, in a stylish but practical, even irreverent kinda way.
A fun game I like to play is look at every Zara collection and guess the “originals”. I see flashes of Carven and Gucci’s fall 2014 collections in the leopard looks, Alexander Wang in the sportier ensembles, and Christopher Lemaire and The Row in the grey garments.
As Zara’s influence continues to grow among fashion-savvy women, so too have their discreet copycat skills. What makes them so good at channeling their influences can be boiled down to three things: good styling, adoption of vague ideas rather than exact copies, and a choosiness when deciding just which brands to emulate. Balenciaga, Stella McCartney, Celine are all fair game. Missoni, Jeremy Scott, Versace: probably not. Because my personal style has always leaned towards minimalism, I’m more than happy that those are the brands Zara chooses to flatter with imitation. Zara’s brilliance at interpreting their influences and styling them in a modern way has even made a fan out of Olivier Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, and I have to say I agree.
Images vis Zara.com
A few of my favourite fashion shots right now, courtesy of Tumblr, Love Aesthetic, Modern Legacy, Vanillascented, Tommy Ton for style.com, Vogue, Purplemagazine, Tank magazine, Artyfilles, and the Row. Happy weekend!
We first sang the praises of The Row back in February during the AW 2015 ready-to-wear collections. The designers and former child stars Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen stunned fashion journos and socialites with their cozy and elegant pieces. Not since Raf Simons’ Jil Sander and Phoebe Philo’s Céline has understated refinement been so powerful.
Of course there was a sense from the beginning of the twins’ fashion careers that they were much more than your cookie cutter celebrity designer. Launching The Row in 2006 and the contemporary clothing line Elizabeth and James in 2007, the twins’ success has been driven by Ashley’s business acumen and Mary-Kate’s creativity and eye for modern designs. In 2011 the Olsens also branched out into members-only e-commerce with Stylemint.com. Much like 90s’ mail order book clubs and American Girl doll clubs, subscribers get exclusive dibs on new items monthly at budget friendly prices. In the case of Stylemint, items include T-shirts and other basics, all designed by Mary-Kate and Ashley.
Judging by the sisters’ creative output across all three of their clothing lines, it’s clear that they’re obsessed with elevating the often-forgotten basic. In an industry that has a tendency to favour showstopping maximalism over simplicity, it’s easy to see why perfecting a T-shirt or trousers might seem like a dull and fruitless endeavour. Not so for the Olsens. More than anything, luxury for the Olsens is defined by quality and timelessness, and probably comfort too. This means The Row’s Resort 2015 collection is full of sumptuous fabrics like wool, linen, mohair, and cashmere, cut in easy-to-wear and feminine (but not girly) silhouettes. Waists are cinched to emphasize the female shape, but done so nonchalantly with bathrobe-like sashes as opposed to their uptight cousin, the structured belt. Footwear is kept classic, while the below-the-knee hemline is modest by most women’s standards. More than being timeless, these garments and their hemlines are also ageless, appealing to a broad range of generations. On first look, you probably wouldn’t wear these pieces on your next Tinder mission, but I’m arguing that you should. As covered-up as the ensembles are, there’s no denying how beautiful they make the female body look.
Damn, The Row gave slouch some grace. Unsurprising given the designers’ predilection for the silhouette. What are the Olsen’s known for if not their brand of frumpy elegance? More than 6 years into their design partnership, the sisters seem to have returned to their roots, turning desire into action. They started attracting attention cloaking their bodies in layers on the street and have managed to shape their line into a digestible reflection of that personal aesthetic. Their designs are charismatic and it’s safe to say their presence in the fashion world doesn’t have to be so tightly calculated anymore. The monastic slouchy knit overflowed in New York and London from Edun’s stunning use of texture to Jason Wu, Paul Smith and Rachel Comey.