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Rifat Özbek, Spring/Summer 1991

Lucy Adjoa Armah

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Rifat Özbek’s spring/summer collection of 1991 exemplifies his ability to successfully commoditize the very essence of ethnicity without alienating the young, creative, Western urbanites who were his collaborators and would eventually become his customers. This situates him as an early agent in the emergence of a cosmopolitan aesthetic in fashion. As today’s industry becomes increasingly provincialized and the big four fashion capitals have to cede some of their influence to satellite sites, Özbe

“Coiled Corset,” Shaun Leane for Alexander McQueen, Fall/Winter 1999

Kate Bethune

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The “Coiled Corset” is an example of radical body adornment made by jeweler Shaun Leane for fashion designer Alexander McQueen’s collection “The Overlook” (fall/winter 1999). Leane, who originally trained as a jeweler and goldsmith, first worked with McQueen in 1995, when he made silver watch chains for his “Highland Rape” collection (fall/winter 1995). His creative collaborations with McQueen soon propelled him to work with new materials and on a much larger scale to create elaborate body sculpt

Hussein Chalayan, Spring/Summer 1995

Barbara Brownie

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Hussein Chalayan’s spring/summer 1995 collection, entitled “Temporary Interference,” was his second commercial collection. It contributed to establishing Chalayan not only as a fashion designer, but as a philosopher and artist for whom clothes are a medium for provoking questions and symbolizing complex notions about human ambition. With this collection, Chalayan explores man’s ill-fated attempts to elevate himself to the status of the divine. Helium-filled balloons pull full-length slip dresses

Pink

Emma Davenport

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Associated with cultural symbols of affection and sensuality, the color pink has often been used to depict and challenge gender identities. On the catwalk, pink has appeared in the work of a variety of designers including Versace, Chanel, Stella McCartney, and John Richmond. From pastel shades to dazzling brights, pink has been a frequent trend across all seasons, whether used to create a splash of warmth in the winter or a spot of coolness in the summer. Featured both in womenswear and menswear,

Ann Demeulemeester, Spring/Summer 1992

Elisa De Wyngaert

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The spring/summer collection of 1992 was Ann Demeulemeester’s first fashion show in Paris. She presented her looks alongside other young avant-garde Belgian designers, including Martin Margiela. The silhouettes of the collection featured some elements which would later become known as Demeulemeester’s signatures: feathers, a strong cut, and a kind of androgyny blended with poetic femininity. Yet these silhouettes also deviated from the monochromatic feel of her later work. Furthermore, Patti Smit

Stephen Sprouse, Fall/Winter 1988

Lorynn Divita

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Stephen Sprouse was a pioneer in merging street style and high fashion. During his early career at Halston, he was drawn to the downtown New York punk scene. Working with Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Andy Warhol, his fall/winter collection of 1988 had all of the hallmarks of a Sprouse collection, with Day-Glo fabrics, sheath dresses, and bold graffiti prints. It was also Sprouse’s last collection for a decade. Stephen’s career flourished again at the end of his life thanks to his famou

Christian Lacroix, Spring/Summer 1997

Lorynn Divita

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Lacroix will forever be known as the man who invented the high femininity look during the 1980s. His use of poufs, miniskirts, and corsets may not have been intended to start a debate, but that was the reaction, and his work even became the focus of a chapter of Susan Faludi's feminist tome Backlash. His spring/summer collection of 1997 showed his signature styles with French and ethnic influences. The rise of minimalism caused his look to fall out of favor, but his career continued as a creative

Yves Saint Laurent, Spring/Summer 1988 Haute Couture

Lorynn Divita

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Throughout his career, Yves Saint Laurent famously drew inspiration from all of the fine arts, including painting, opera, the ballet, literature, poetry, and the works of Shakespeare. The influence of various painters on Saint Laurent’s creations dates back to his famous fall/winter 1965 “Mondrian Poliakoff” collection. His spring/summer 1988 collection, a tribute to cubism and impressionism and the work of Georges Braque and Vincent Van Gogh, was a natural fit into his oeuvre, with jackets embro

Christian Dior Haute Couture by John Galliano, Fall/Winter 1997–1998

Waleria Dorogova

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Following his enthusiastically celebrated debut at Dior, for his second couture collection, John Galliano staged another highly theatricalized défilé in the notoriously gallant environment of the Jardin de Bagatelle. It was the first set design in a series commissioned from Michael Howells, who created complementing backdrops for Galliano’s garments and scenography. Aesthetical measures established in the first show for spring—traditional visual codes and the sartorial heritage of Christian Dior,

Article

The omnipresent significance of the eighteenth century and the masked ball for the House of Dior found expression in the design of “Angie” for the “Masquerade and Bondage” collection, a short variation on 1760s court dress, paraphrasing the fashionable life and cruel fate of Marie Antoinette. Using the surface of the hip panels as a canvas for narrative and caricaturized embroideries, the dress becomes an epitome of storytelling through dressmaking, evoking crucial episodes of French history. Gal

Alexander McQueen for Givenchy, Fall/Winter 2000

Lydia Edwards

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

“I can’t be too literal with my references,” Alexander McQueen said in 2000, when asked to pinpoint the theme of a recent collection. “It’s a number of references culminating together to make one idea.” Nevertheless, with a researched family history dating back to the 1500s, McQueen always acknowledged that “Every part of my background comes from something, be it the Jacobites or the Huguenots,” and influences from Giovanni Bellini to André Courrèges can be glimpsed in his collections. The pieces

Vivienne Westwood, “On Liberty,” Fall/Winter 1994

Lydia Edwards

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

“My job, more than anything, is to idealize women,” Vivienne Westwood has said of her work, including the fall/winter collection “On Liberty,” which premiered in Paris in 1994. Her appropriation of historic styles is well known, but in this collection a reinvention of the bustle, the nineteenth-century skirt support that accented a woman’s behind and allowed for elaborate skirt drapery, is more fluid than similar iterations have been. Westwood’s stark wire cage from 1990, for instance, was not so

Red or Dead, Spring/Summer 1996

Jenny Evans

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Red or Dead’s “New York Dolls” collection caused outrage in the British tabloid press. The Mail on Sunday described the show as the “sick face of British fashion” after models brandished bloodied knives, knitting needles, and scissors. The clothing was almost overshadowed by the show’s melodramatic kitsch depiction of a dystopian future inhabited by “disturbed housewives.” While the emergence of “Cool Britannia” was attracting positive global attention, Wayne and Geraldine Hemingway, Red or Dead’

Red or Dead, Spring/Summer 1995

Amelia Francis

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

The Red or Dead spring/summer 1995 ready-to-wear collection presents fashion pieces with a distinct moral statement: designer Wayne Hemmingway’s disgust at the practice of Western tourists exploiting the Far Eastern sex trade. This issue was particularly pertinent in the cultural context of the time. While this instance of a designer using his work to highlight cultural, ethical, and political dilemmas is by no means the first or last of its kind, the nature of the issue at hand, and the way it w

Jean Paul Gaultier Menswear, Fall/Winter 1989

Tony Glenville

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

It is firstly important to put Gaultier within the context of his times. From the first catwalk show he was considered an “enfant terrible” yet at the same time a superb craftsman, and a designer who acknowledged the history and heritage of French fashion. His view of the world was from Paris and however much time he spent time in London and declared his admiration for London club culture and youthful attitudes to style, he remains a designer whose reference points span Madame Grès to Barbès Roch

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1983

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

In 1983, twelve years after Gabrielle Chanel died, the Chanel brand was given new life by Karl Lagerfeld’s debut Chanel collection. His first couture collection was highly anticipated, but was met with mixed reviews. Some believed it was a good first effort that honored Chanel’s legacy, while others believed that the Chanel house should not have been revived because no one could replace her. Lagerfeld kept the silhouettes and classic styles that Chanel popularized in the 1920s and 1930s, but adde

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1984

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Shown at the Palais Garnier in Paris, home of the national opera, this fashion show was the most lavish and over-the-top fashion event in Paris at the time and began Karl Lagerfeld’s tradition of showmanship and set design. As with Karl’s first Chanel collection, this collection was panned for its deviation from Chanel’s trademark of easy comfort, with the classic Chanel suit made in a fitted silhouette that outlined the derrière. But it was also praised by others for updating Chanel’s image from

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1985

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection continued the development of Lagerfeld’s Chanel. Beaded looks were made to look like intricate tapestries and the hems of skirts were either floor-length or well above the knee, a deviation from Chanel’s strict rule of creating skirts 2 in. (5 cm) below the knee, no matter the fashion. The final bridal look was a white satin miniskirt suit. Two-tone, matronly pumps were a Chanel signature; the black stilettos in the collection underscored the younger, sexier direction of the house

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1987

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

Chanel’s spring/summer 1987 haute couture collection was shown in the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, where a student demonstration outside the venue required there to be tight security. On the stage, a fake statue of the Winged Victory was clothed in Chanel and holding a quilted bag. Critics derided the bustle-inspired “parabola” line and peplum hems that “obscured the real fashion originality” and “made the models look a bit like roosters.” Despite the criticism, the empire

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1990

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

In this collection, presented in the Champs-Élysées cinema, Karl Lagerfeld introduced the “slope,” a new iteration of the Chanel jacket that featured a narrow-fitting shoulder line. The clothes were influenced by a combination of eighteenth-century robes à la française and the mod 1960s, with open panniers that revealed miniskirts and thigh-high boots. The playfulness of the collection spoke to the young and daring attitude of the new couture customer. For the finale, Lagerfeld presented three br

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Fall/Winter 1991

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection is an example of what Bernadine Morris at the New York Times termed “the new age of haute couture,” where couture was about exploring directional, fashion-forward concepts instead of just creating opulent clothing. Presented at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Lagerfeld subverted stiff, prom-dressy tulle by molding it into gaucho pants, puffy parkas, and bubble dresses. Atypical fabrics like cellophane and plastic were used on classic tweed jackets. He also introduce

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1997

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection was shown at the Ritz Hotel in Paris, in the Windsor suite—in the mode of a traditional salon show. It drew positive reviews, with one saying it was “the height of refinement … how a couture customer wants to look.” Yet, it focused mostly on evening wear, with sheer, lightweight fabrics. Despite the raciness of the revealing dresses, they looked traditional and refined. To underscore the refinement, Chanel’s logo was absent from the garments. Picture hats and “feather-on-a-stick”

Chanel Haute Couture, Karl Lagerfeld, Spring/Summer 1994

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection was shown in Paris beneath the Louvre in the newly renovated Carrousel underground complex, the first time a fashion show had been organized underground. The collection attracted controversy because of three dresses printed with Arabic writing. When clerics in Indonesia protested, Lagerfeld apologized, destroyed the dresses, and asked journalists and photographers not to publish photos of them. The mannequins in this show were not just top models, but celebrities and actresses. Th

Bill Blass, Spring/Summer 1984

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection was all about simplicity, which led Nina Hyde at the Washington Post to comment, “Blass’s clothes have never been more simple, less contrived.” The hems were short because Blass believed that his couture customers had the money to keep their body in great shape. There were bra-like tops under conservative suits for day, and evening gowns in silk charmeuse draped in silk chiffon. Because of the simplicity of the clothes, the models’ hair was more extreme. Critics commended Blass’s

Bill Blass, Spring/Summer 1988

Michelle Honig

Source: Fashion Photography Archive 2015

Article

This collection was inspired by Matisse paintings that Bill Blass saw while at the National Gallery in Washington. Shown at the Parsons School of Design in New York, the clothes were short and full of froufrou due to the influence of “the sugar daddy of bonbon chic” and designer of the moment Christian Lacroix, and his short, little-girl styles. Hems were well above the knees, which concerned retailers servicing working women needing office-appropriate clothes. Even though critics liked his use o

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