So many fashion houses have adopted certain features for clothing, which later on become their business cards. It seems simple at first sight, but looking into it, we realize that those are the characteristics that make those brands stand out. Examples of such can be the following: black and red lace in Dolce and Gabbana collections, expressive asymmetry in Antonio Berardi clothes and so on.
In the 80’s, Ralph Lauren really became a force to be reckoned with, as his signature polo shirts for men, with their ubiquitous polo pony and rider, became coveted items for many different demographics. Available in every color of the rainbow, they lined his coffers and allowed him to put more money into his glamorous women’s wear lines; he especially enjoyed producing couture pieces and overseeing glossy runway shows.
Over in London, things were distinctly more aggressive: Punk and themes of dissonance could be felt strongly (Brexit, much?), with plenty of tartan, more safety pins than even Johnny Rotten could handle and Vivienne Westwood staging an entire protest about climate change for her show. The strong mood could clearly be felt over the Channel, too, as British designer Sarah Burton's vision for Alexander McQueen this coming season established the poshest and most brilliantly executed iteration on punk we've seen in a long, long time. And talking of being combative, if you don't pick up on the "army" theme of many of the season's biggest shows (Bottega Veneta, Chloé, Miu Miu) and end up buying a pair of combat boots, I'll eat my bucket hat.
A designer with a notorious past, Christian Dior was also known for being in cahoots with the enemy during WWII, when he dressed Nazi wives and French collaborators in his designs. Despite this questionable choice, he still rose to prominence during the late-forties when the war was over…primarily due to his unparalleled mastery of line and shape. He gave women a desirable “flower silhouette” which always featured a nipped-in waist, a full, voluminous skirt, and a feminine, corseted bodice. Often, the hips of his suits and dresses were padded to balance the bust line and accentuate the wasp-waisted effect.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Belgian fashion designers brought a new fashion image that mixed East and West, and brought a highly individualised, personal vision on fashion. Well known Belgian designers are the Antwerp Six: Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Dirk Bikkembergs, Dirk Van Saene, Walter Van Beirendonck and Marina Yee, as well as Maison Martin Margiela, Raf Simons, Kris Van Assche, Bruno Pieters, Anthony Vaccarello.
It was during this period that many design houses began to hire artists to sketch or paint designs for garments. The images were shown to clients, which was much cheaper than producing an actual sample garment in the workroom. If the client liked their design, they ordered it and the resulting garment made money for the house. Thus, the tradition of designers sketching out garment designs instead of presenting completed garments on models to customers began as an economy.
There's a puff-sleeve personality for everyone, according to the runways. Maybe you'll like yours neat and rounded out at the shoulder for autumn (see Givenchy), or maybe you'll want something decadent and entirely inappropriate for anything that involves dipping sauces (see Emilia Wickstead's gigantic-sleeved floral dresses). Whatever route you choose to go down there is a huge amount on offer from edgy to prim.
When Christian Dior launched his “New Look” collection in 1947 he radically changed the direction of mid-century fashion, bringing the world a new idea of luxury from post-war Paris. Bustier bodices, bell-shaped skirts, rounded shoulders and cinched waists made Dior’s work different and irreverent. Dior took the world by storm, never producing an unpopular collection during his administratcion as the head of Dior brand.