Fashion Week, Venice Film Festival, VMAs, oh my!
Fall fashion so far? A feast.
Due to the pandemic and vaccine rollout, many major fashion events were pushed to later in the year and, now that it's later in the year, we're getting a year and a half worth of looks in one month.
September struck like the fairy godmother slipping celebrity Cinderella's out of their quarantine tie dye sweatshirts and into looks a year in the making.
But with great highs always come great lows.
This pandemic year also wrought a new generation of internet stars in the form of TikTok influencers. While people scoffed at Charli D'Amelio at Fashion Week in February 2020, the past year and a half has been an incubator for TikTok fame and now many of her peers join her in prominent positions at high profile shows.
There are even rumors that many TikTok stars will be attending the highly selective slate of celebrities at the Met Gala this year — please God let the Addison x Beyoncé table seating rumors be fake.
But even if I have to endure Addison, Charli, or even James Charles, known groomer and rumored Met Gala attendee, on the red carpet, it might just be worth it if the looks from Venice Film Festival and New York Fashion Week are indicative of the looks we can anticipate for the rest of the season.
Everyone was serving — and even if it wasn't good it was something! Anything! After so long deprived of high fashion, it's euphoric to see celebrities stepping out of their ultra casual wear and into intricate inventions of some designer's mind.
And yes, I'll still be in my sweatpants, still in my bed, judging the details of items I'll never be able to afford, but that's what fashion is about! The spectacle, the performance, the wearer turned into an art piece to be critiqued.
So many looks of this season are already iconic. And so many long-awaited pairings have come to fruition on the red carpet.
Obviously we are talking about the highly anticipated Dune press tour, and more specifically, Zendaya and Timothee Chalamet. Like, c'mon. Our expectations were high. And the two surpassed them immediately and did not quit.
There was also giant fan speculation around the relationship between Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, whose press tour for A Marriage (not to be confused with the other film of an almost identical name and almost identical premise, Marriage Story) employed the same PR mastery as Gaga and Bradley Cooper's press tour for A Star is Born.
That, plus the Bennifer Red carpet debut? All in gorgeous gowns with good, clean, low stakes drama? Nature is healing.
As if that weren't enough, the VMAs took place at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Sunday September 12th, offering up another occasion for sartorial spectacle. The night was overwhelmingly defined by experimentation and drama — with bold color palettes, dramatic shapes, and even props making their way to the carpet.
And as fashion week draws to a close and we all come down from the VMAs, the industry is in quick preparation for the Met Gala, the theme of which is " In America: A Lexicon of Fashion." This year's gala will see the incredible slate of hosts — in case you are nothing like us and somehow forgot, here's the recap: Timothee Chalamet, Naomi Osaka, Amanda Gorman, and Billie Eilish — we're looking back at some of the best looks of the season from the past week in anticipation of the Met red carpet.
Here are some of our favorites:
Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya
The obvious stars of Venice, Timmy and Zendaya each served up a procession of instantly iconic looks. The two managed to outdo themselves every night, without overshadowing each other.
The pair's first look of the festival set the tone for the rest of the week. Zendaya stunned in a nude Balmain gown made of "sculpturally structured leather" using a cast of her torso. The folds and shape of the dress were inspired by the intricacies of Greco-Roman statues, making Zendaya look even more like a goddess than usual.
Not to be outdone, Timothee Chalamet appeared beside her in Haider Ackermann, the same brand who outfitted him in his iconic silver suit at Venice in 2019. This time, the star wore a black sequined suit — but these were not the sequins you got from Justice when you were 13. The intricately sewed sequin fabric literally sparkled when it caught the light, making it another win for Timmy.
Woman of the people Dakota Johnson is so Relatable that it's surprising to see her out of her jeans and loafers. But when it comes to red carpets, she doesn't disappoint. Dressed by Gucci's Alessandro Michele, she looked ethereal in a sheer gown with a tulle underlay, teardrop bejeweled lining, and a crystal fringed cape.
Youtuber Bretman Rock is one of the most likable stars on the internet. His looks at New York Fashion Week were some of the best and most consistent of the week. Playing with texture, color, print, and gender, Bretman did not hold back as look after look was a risk that paid off.
Let's get this out of the way: Olivia Rodrigo deserved to win artist of the year. Who else had the cultural impact she did? Certainly not Justin Bieber, who actually won the award. But he didn't beat her out for Best Dressed, that's for sure.
Though SZA missed the red carpet getting ready for the VMA's, her look didn't disappoint. She wore a sculpted, 3D printed top by Nusi Quero with a sweeping champagne colored skirt.
What we're learning from the season so far: fashion is back and bigger than ever. It's an age of experimentation, celebration of patterns and color, and form. The Met Gala better bring that same energy
The theme of the 2021 Met Gala is a celebration of American fashion.
The Met Gala is back!
Vogue and the Costume Institute of The Metropolitan Museum of New York just announced that the Met Gala will return on September 13, 2021. The affair promises to be smaller and more intimate (read: exclusive) than ever and later than its usual date on the first Monday in May due to the pandemic. Yet, pending restrictions, the show will go on — thank God!
Bring me Rihanna in elaborate ball gowns with giant skirts, bring me Zendaya floating up the stairs (and Jason Derulo tumbling down them), bring me Harry Styles (hopefully with Olivia Wilde) looking ethereal, Billy Porter being carried in by shirtless models, and Amanda Gorman, rumored to be one of the hosts, who is just having a really great year.
The Inaugural poet, who was on the cover of the May 2021 issue of Vogue wearing a Louis Vuitton Men's garment designed by Virgil Abloh, has signed to IMG Models and has become much more than a literary star. A fashion icon since she performed at the Biden Inauguration in Prada, the 23-year old poet/activist is the perfect host to represent this year's Gala theme: In America: A Lexicon of Fashion.
The theme is part of a two-year exhibit, the first of which will premiere on September 18, 2021, and the second, In America: An Anthology of Fashion, will premiere on May 2, 2022 with a regularly scheduled Gala. The theme was decided by Andrew Bolton, the Wendy Yu Curator in Charge of the Costume Institute years ago, and feels timely as the country reckons with its identity.
The theme also celebrates the Costume Institute's 75th anniversary and pays homage to the American fashion community "to acknowledge its support, and also to celebrate and reflect upon American fashion," according to Bolton.
American fashion has been an underdog in the Western fashion landscape compared to more established houses in Europe. While American designers have often found themselves at the helm of major European powerhouses — like Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton — American brands find it harder to gain the same pedigree.
While fashion is exclusive in many ways, often the best parts of American fashion reflect the best parts of American culture.
In a recent tell all interview for Highsnobiety titled "Read This Before You Decide to Work in Fashion," which was overall a cutting insider's look at the fashion industry, Eugene Rabkin also highlighted the most redeemable part of the industry, what he described as "the aspirational class — the immigrants, the expats, the minorities, the restless souls with the kind of passion that often comes from desperation and the desire to make something out of nothing."
The designers highlighted in this year's Costume Institute exhibit promise to be members of this class — the people who have had the biggest impact on fashion by representing marginalized communities and using fashion as a tool for creativity and storytelling, rather than a marker of status.
There are many visionary designers who will be included at the exhibit and who we hope to see on the red carpet at the Met Gala for their pioneering work:
In a lot of ways American high fashion is synonymous with Halston. Starting his career as a hat maker, he famously made the pill-box hat that Jackie Kennedy wore at JFK's inauguration. He reached his peak in the 1970s disco era known for minimalist designs with precise cuts in rich materials. Despite being disparaged early in his career for his sexuality, he became a household name and an icon to the biggest celebrities and to the youth, especially queer youth.
Stephen Burrows Campaign
Stephen Burrows has been a fashion mainstay since his first collection in 1969. He participated in the now infamous 1973 "Battle of Versailles',' a benefit fashion show held at the Palace of Versailles. The show was a "battle" between American and French designers including Pierre Cardin, Christian Dior, Hubert de Givenchy, Yves Saint Laurent, Halston, Oscar de la Renta, Bill Blass and Anne Klein.The Americans won the battle, according to WWD, whose ensuing headline on November 30, 1973 was,
"Americans came, they sewed, they conquered."In the 2021 Met exhibition, the battle will be represented by a mural of Versailles by John Vanderlyn to commemorate its place is American fashion history.
Ann Lowe, Saturday Evening Post, 1964
Ann Lowe was a pioneer in dressmaking whose immaculately stitched gowns became mid-century mainstays among the elite. Born in a line of seamstresses — her grandmother a formerly enslaved dressmaker and her mother an expert at embroidery — Lowe made dresses which prioritized the details to accentuate a dress's hems and hangs. Her impact is resonant in the history of Black American designers, as well for her focus on precision and intimacy.
For a long time, her work was not credited under her name, and high profile work she did for politicians (including Jackie Kennedy's wedding dress) and the elite was credited under pseudonyms like "colored-dressmaker," but later in her career she got name recognition. Some of her pieces are already displayed in places like the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Museum of the City of New York, FIT, and even the Met.
Ralph Lauren 2020 Campaign focusing on diversity
Ralph Lauren is a legacy American brand which has been successful in defining the collegiate/preppy classics. But they're not just your grandfather's favorite brand. By focusing on good materials and timeless designs, they have managed to stay relevant — alongside recent collaborations with popular brands like Kith to appeal to a younger audience.
Willi Smith 1972
Willi Smith was a giant in the 1970 and 1980s whose legacy includes highlighting "streetwear" on a larger scale. He was also famed for his immersive creative experiences, which included showrooms, a newspaper called WilliWear News, a film shot in Senegal, and dance pieces and events — a full spectrum creative direction which streetwear brands today aspire to even approach.
Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss
Pyer Moss, NYFW SS20
Pyer Moss is one of the most vibrant contemporary brands. With recent press from Kamala Harris's pre-Inauguration coat and appearing on magazine covers on celebrities like Zendaya, the brand is known for its innovative and refreshing designs. Kerby Jean-Raymond started the brand in 2013 and has received many accolades for his take on luxury-streetwear, which prioritizes visual storytelling through vibrant colors, culturally inspired prints, and compelling shapes.
Andre Walker SS18
Andre Walker released his first runway collection in 1981 at a neighborhood nightclub and has been innovating ever since. From his own collections to consulting for Marc Jacobs and Kim Jones to recent collaborations with Off-White, Walker is a constant staple in contemporary fashion — focused on representing Black culture and reinventing classics.
Naomi Campbell for Anna Sui in 1991
Anna Sui is a pioneer who emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, distancing herself from major houses and instead reveling in the underexplored world of the grunge scene. She was a mainstay in the New York fashion scene due to her friendships with supermodels who modeled her clothes and gained a cult-like following alongside many awards and global recognition.
Prabal Gurung SS20 show, asking "Who Gets to be American?"
At their Spring 2020 show, Prabal Gurung posed the question: "Who gets to be American?" This direct challenge to identity through fashion makes them an important emerging brand. Prabal Gurung is not just innovative in design but embodies the values of successful, contemporary brands. Based in New York City, the brand is committed to domestic manufacturing to support the local community. Founder Prabal Gurung also started Shikshya foundation Nepal based on his "personal exposure to the poverty and inequity in his homeland of Nepal."
Beyonce in custom LaQuan Smith. Her husband is also in the photo.
LaQuan Smith started his brand at only 21 and is now one of the most celebrated Black, luxury designers. Famed for his innovative pieces and intricate details, Smith has amassed a cult-like following and a reputation spurred by high profile clients including Rihanna and Beyonce.
Peter Do Team
Peter Do, helmed by the designer Peter Do himself and made up of friends who met online, is an ambitious brand which has already established itself as one of the leading contemporary brands. After signing contracts with retailers like Dover Street Market and Net-a-Porter without any contacts or connections, their menswear inspired designs are instant classics that take the best of traditional tailoring and modify it for the current times.
Aurora James of Brother Vellies
Vogue, Aurora James
Brooklyn-based shoe designer Aurora James is no stranger to the Met Gala. Having previously designed Met outfits for celebrities like Solange and appearing on the September 2020 cover of Vogue, the award-winning designer is known for her African-inspired designs which draw from the continent and are produced in limited quantities in partnership with African designers.
She is also the founder of the 15 Percent Pledge, which started in the pandemic to urge retailers to give at least 15 percent of their shelf space to Black designers.
Shayne Oliver of Hood by Air
Hood by Air
Shayne Oliver started Hood By Air in 2006, giving new energy to streetwear in high fashion which was ahead of its time. The oversized garments, the gender neutral designs, and the bold urban influence set the stage for major brands like Vetements and Off White and won major awards. He recently announced the return of Hood By Air, and OG streetwear fans rejoiced, anticipating the new iteration of the beloved.
Virgil Abloh of Off-White
Gigi Hadid for Off-White 2020
Virgil is the current cultish superstar of American design. While currently the helm of the French label Louis Vuitton, he is still best known for his Off-White brand — one of the leading streetwear brands which has been seen on everyone from Serena Williams when she hosted the Met Gala, Kid Cudi in his recent dress on SNL, and even Hailey Bieber's wedding dress. He is also responsible for designing some of the most exclusive Nike sneakers in his infamous collaboration, The Ten. Off-White will undoubtedly be featured at this year's Gala and will remain a hallmark of the streetwear community.
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Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman: The Met Gala Co-Chairs of Our Dreams
We thought it couldn't get better after Harry Styles in 2019, but the 2021 Met Gala is already our favorite.
The Met Gala hosts were just announced and they're a Gen Z dream: Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman.
In any other year, the Met Gala would be held on the first Monday of May, but these are unprecedented times. Given that the gala was cancelled in 2020 and that the pandemic still rages on, there were doubts that 2021 would deliver a Met Ball. However, though delayed, the 2021 Met Gala will be held in September after (a potentially in person) New York Fashion Week.
However, to honor The First Monday of May in some way, Vogue Magazine announced the Met Gala chairs and co-chairs on Monday May 3rd, saying: "Gen Z superstars Timothée Chalamet, Billie Eilish, Naomi Osaka, and Amanda Gorman will serve as co-chairs, while Tom Ford, Adam Mosseri, and Anna Wintour comprise the evening's honorary chairs."
Each of the slated co-chairs has made distinct impressions on both their industries and the fashion world.
Timothée Chalamet is fashion's dream boy as much as he is everyone else's. The 25 year old star has been Hollywood's golden boy since his Academy Award nomination for his starring role in Call Me By Your Name (2017) and has consistently brought a blend of streetwear and high fashion to the red carpet ever since. With no stylist, he's forged relationships with designers on his own, resulting in an impressive array of iconic looks that play with color, shape, and gender expectations.
While we're eagerly awaiting his outfit choice for the night, the real question is: mustache or no mustache?
Naomi Osaka is the newest star of the tennis world, captivating audiences beyond the sport with more than just her athletic talent. From viral moments like rescuing a butterfly in the middle of the Australian open (which had us wondering if she was a real life Disney Princess) to using her platform to speak about issues like systemic oppression, Osaka is … just literally perfect? We'd be happy to see her doing anything, so watching her co-chair the Met will undoubtedly be a delight.
Her style has been noted on and off the court for her striking use of color and her signature sartorial irreverence. Osaka is not the first tennis superstar to act as a co-host — Serena Williams held the post for the last Met Ball in 2019 alongside Harry Styles and Lady Gaga, which are not bad footsteps to follow in. Naomi commemorated the announcement on Instagram with a slideshow of pictures of her co-chairs, the museum and ... Rihanna, with the caption, "oh we lit". We can't blame her.
Billie Eilish has been an instant icon in fashion for her streetwear-inspired oversized silhouettes and her unapologetic disavowal of what a young, female pop star should dress and look like. Experimenting with everything from her hair — which has been green, silver, black, and seemingly every color between — to bold prints and layers of jewelry, Eilish has become the face of experimental, daring fashion.
Her recent album announcement for Happier Than Ever has come with a completely new look to usher in her new era of music. Eilish debuted a blonde bombshell, pin-up inspired aesthetic on the cover of British Vogue, where she talked about being taken advantage of as a minor (which she revealed in her achingly gorgeous new track "My Power") and the hypersexualization of young girls in the industry. Eilish's new era seems to be one of taking control of her image and sexuality in a new way and on her own terms, and we love to see it.
Amanda Gorman is the newest star on the list, but has become a household name in her short time in the spotlight. The Inaugural Poet quickly became a star after performing her poem "The Hill We Climb" at Biden's Inauguration, which led to a spot at the Super Bowl and a deal with IMG.
The 23-year-old poet is focused on using her newfound fame to spotlight Blackness and on being a face for representation. She was recently on the cover of Vogue wearing an African-inspired printed dress by Off-White designer Virgil Abloh for the May 2021 issue of the magazine.
Her Prada headband and yellow coat were the fashion highlight of the Inauguration, and every one of her looks since then has proven her worthy of the Met Gala.
After the announcement, Gorman tweeted at the other co-hosts what we're all thinking: "See you soon legends."
See you soon legends @RealChalamet @naomiosaka @billieeilish https://t.co/DmZkXcW7DO— Amanda Gorman (@Amanda Gorman)1620057866.0
This year's event will undoubtedly be smaller and more intimate (read: exclusive), but the co-chairs make us excited to see how the event embraces and influences the post-pandemic era of fashion and culture.
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