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29/04/2017

the week’s fashion trends

 

Going up

Coach x Rodarte Specifically the sequinned biker. Dreamy.

Naki Depass Everywhere at the AW17 shows. Google her now.

Acne Bla Konst No, this is not the new hygge, it’s Acne’s reworked jeans collection. Refined to three styles – baggy, straight and skinny – that’s the kind of minimalism we can get behind.

The dressing-to-match-art Insta Any inspiration for how to look more like a Jeff Koons sculpture is welcome.

ByOcular New glasses line launched by retail genius Caren Downie, ex-Finery. Think the artiest take on specs. We like the Boffin shape - clever in both name and style.

Withnail & I Forget Camberwell carrots. Celebrate the film’s 30th anniversary in great coats, foppish shirts and unkempt hair. Delightful weekend in the country optional.

Going down

Brooklyn Beckham’s first tattoo We weren’t expecting a picture of a Native American chief.

Pet hair watches We love pets. But harvesting their fur for a personalised timepiece? Not so much.

Kendall Jenner’s ‘jeans’ Deconstruction taken to its logical point or just frightful?

Avocados Avocaderia – an avo-dedicated restaurant – has opened in Brooklyn. When something sounds like a Kimmy Schmidt storyline you know it’s over.

Charcoal Copper is our bathroom cabinet mineral. Appaz helps increase collagen in skin.

Kale Brussels sprouts are the thing now, according to Harry Styles.

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27/04/2017

A look at the rising popularity

 

A look at the rising popularity and why labels are turning to the Middle East for inspiration

Modest dress is enjoying a renaissance. Fashion brands are increasingly embracing the long-held view shared by those in region that style does not have to equate to revealing a lot of flesh.

Building on the foundations of sensuality over sexuality, and demure over décolletage, the West is finally catching up with the Middle East in terms of tasteful dressing.

Women in the Middle East have long expressed their fashion taste through layering and soft silhouettes, with abayas that brush across the hips and catch at the wrist.

Dressing in clothes that are cut to conceal rather than reveal, the focus is shifted so a glimpse of ankle becomes more potent than a bare torso paraded for all the world to see.

Who has not gazed in awe as a woman sashays past, swathed from head to toe, as graceful as a swan? The difference now is that the runways in New York, Milan, Paris and London have caught on to the elegance such flowing lines convey.

Fashion has always acted as a barometer of attitudes in society, reflecting mood and thoughts, expressed through the length of hemlines and tightness of cut.

The severe tailoring of wartime Europe, for example, was swept away by Christian Dior and his New Look of 1948. Using yards and yards of fabric in the skirt, it was a heartfelt rebellion against European post-war rationing and austerity.

Now, as hemlines have dropped and outlines softened to the point of billowing, fashion is more gentle and more forgiving. By choosing loose-fitting and comfortable outfits, women with the busiest of lives can now get on with their day, freed from the tyranny of tight-fitting "body-con" styles.

Perhaps the timing of this is no coincidence. In an age of political division with leaders seeking to drive wedges between countries and races, the fashion industry is embracing a code of dress associated with the Islamic Middle East, and helping blur the boundaries that separate us.

"The misconception about women who cover being oppressed is being challenged," says Gaelle Dalati, the communications manager of fashion house Symphony Style Group.

"This is a chance to explain that modest dressing is about focusing on the inside, not showing off the outside. It is about dressing beautifully and elegantly and respecting who you are.

"Instead of modest dressing being seen in a negative light, now it is very fashionable – it is so elegant. It has changed the way people think about how we dress."

With more than half the population in the region under the age of 25, and with growing spending power, the GCC market is too large to ignore.

"International brands have picked up on this trend and have created collections catering to the modest woman – brands such as DKNY, Tommy Hilfiger, Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier, Zara, Mango, Uniglo," says Bong Guerrero, the chief executive of the Dubai style platform Fashion Forward.

"Modest fashion is one of the industry’s fastest-growing sectors and the demand is increasing for this style of clothing.

"According to the 2015-2016 State of the Global Islamic Economy Report, Muslims spend approximately US$230 billion (Dh844bn) annually on clothing, which is projected to grow to $327 billion by 2019."

With such large sums at stake, it is no surprise that Italian giant Dolce & Gabbana unveiled an abaya collection last year or that sports company Nike last month announced plans to release a sports hijab.

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19/04/2017

why aviators are this season’s biggest eyewear trend

 

Music to your ears, or rather for your eyes: geek glasses – the thick, dark acetate frames associated with Le Corbusier, SpongeBob SquarePants and last decade’s much-maligned hipster stereotype – are on the wane.

So claims the New York Times, anyway. It says that aviator-shaped glasses – thin, steel or titanium frames, based on the shape worn by pilots during the second world war – are this season’s frame of choice.

If this seems unlikely, then keep looking. Luxottica, the Italian company with the monopoly on eyewear (Chanel, Persol and Ray-Ban frames are all sold through them) has noticed the same thing: “Wired frames, and aviators in particular, have become more popular lately.” So popular, in fact, that Ray-Ban relaunched its aviator opticals this year. Vision Express has also seen a 40% increase in aviator sales, with metal frames jousting with plastic for popularity. Alexa Chung wore some to present her new collection; and the acme of this season’s specs, by Gucci, feature in May’s Tatler.

Aviators are also happening on an indie level. At Cubitts, a specialist London-based optician which handcrafts frames from water-buffalo horn, and plays Bon Iver in-store, the stainless-steel Bemerton frame – also based on this “pilot” shape – is out of stock. It’s interesting to note that these, its hippest glasses, are named after Bemerton Street which was destroyed and rebuilt in the now infamous 20th-century gentrification (or “slum clearance”) of King’s Cross.

So why now? The eyewear market is set to grow 19% by 2021, and we can probably thank geek glasses for that. If geek glasses were once signifiers of seriousness, worn by anchors or celebrities-in-confession, more recently they have morphed into an accessory. Perhaps the crucial moment was in 2011 when the then-White House press secretary, Jay Carney, was accused of wearing hipster glasses. Within a fortnight, he had ditched them. Or perhaps it was when Justin Bieber wore a pair in 2010. These are, after all, objects designed to aid seeing but that have become more about being seen. (Before they went mainstream, geek glasses were able to capitalise on this.)

In many ways, aviators provide a welcome relief. Take Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, both recent adopters of the aviator; in particular, the Carrera frame. They wear aviators to offset an overly feminine outfit. Part of this shape’s appeal is, after all, its masculinity (gender-blending is Hadid’s brand), not to mention further proof that fashion is focused less on the binary; most aviators are unisex. In the HBO documentary Gloria: In Her Own Words,” it is suggested to Gloria Steinem that her glasses –1970s oversized aviators – are a tool to prevent objectification. She explains that they are, in fact, a barrier between her and society, but it’s hard to ignore the fact that she is borrowing a menswear trend.

Attempts have been made to dethrone geek glasses before now. In the last few years, Perspex frames (or crystal frames, as retailers call them, the sort worn by Andy Warhol and Devo) got close. Cutler and Gross recently launched a new line of crystal frames which it describes as “a juxtaposition of modern construction and time-honoured style”, and Cubitts claims crystal frames are “relatively popular” for the same reason as wire ones: “They’re visible without being too heavy.” But, like many trends, that fad ended when it reached the Houses of Parliament – in this case, on the nose of the British home secretary, Amber Rudd.

The men’s style director at matchesfashion.com, Simon Chilvers, thinks it’s all down to the current 1970s trend. Alessandro Michele featured oversized frames in both his SS16 and AW16 womenswear Gucci shows. Chilvers describes Gucci’s glasses with a floral embroidered tracksuit as “the icing on the cake” – but also references Cliff Richard circa 1980 and US GQ’s creative director Jim Moore. The trend also nods to Elvis and General Douglas MacArthur.

The aviator shape – or “pilot lens”, as it was originally called – was developed for pilots to provide “real scientific glare protection”. Co-designed by eyewear manufacturer Bausch & Lomb and a pilot who witnessed a rather unpleasant accident caused by ineffective flying goggles in the 1920s, Ray-Bans were intended to be light and large, while giving “a good field of vision”, explains Cubitts founder Tom Broughton.

This large, lightweight design accidentally ties into several trends, including this season’s oversized fashion. It is “statement through size rather than weight”, says Broughton, although he thinks the look “overspills” more neatly into athleisure, a look that blurs the line between sportswear and elevated fashion, and which “isn’t going anywhere” according to US Vogue. A tracksuit, however elevated, worn with geek glasses is fine on Rihanna but risks becoming the stuff of parody on anyone else. Aviators, meanwhile, were originally sold as “sporting equipment” (the functionality of the frame is designed to aid scope of vision, and their lightness helps them cling to the face), worn by fishermen and golfers as well as pilots.

Aviators certainly fit in with spring/summer 2017, although naysayers may find it hard to divorce this style from some of the more controversial wearers who coopted them – such as photographer Terry Richardson and one-time CEO of American Apparel Dov Charney, two men who made “pornstar”-shape frames (as they came to be known) cool, while embodying the frames’ namesake a little too well. Although both men have denied accusations of sexual harassment, some people chose to distance themselves from this look.

All of which may explain variations on the shape. “The aviators we’re seeing are generally slender and pared back,” says Broughton. See Hadid’s larger Carrera frame, and the everyday style seen on the Balenciaga AW17 catwalk. On closer inspection, the Bemerton isn’t far off the frames worn by the dentist in American Gothic.

Trends in spectacles are notoriously difficult to trace in fashion. “We don’t generally go for what’s high fashion or on trend because our prescriptions tend to outlive the fashion cycle,” says Tyler Laurén Weatherly, director of communications for Archibald Opticians. Spectacles, at least the bespoke ones, aren’t cheap (Cubitts cost £125; Carreras can cost up to £500), and tend to be viewed more as investment pieces. “We are more passive about eyewear than, say, shoes or an outfit,” she says. Still, she concedes that “we pick frames according to both how they look and how they make us feel”.

As to whether aviators will overtake geek glasses is debatable. “I don’t agree that thick-rimmed frames are dead,” says Broughton. “Heavy frames still have a lot of appeal. But there is certainly more and more interest in thin, wire-frame shapes.” Weatherly agrees: “The traditionally darker and thicker frame has and always will hold its own regardless of incoming trends.” And Bieber was also seen a few months ago in a pair of delicate, gold-framed aviators – so maybe they have already reached critical mass.

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