A Fall Fête: A Review of My Favorite F/W 2016 Shows

For the Fall 2016 fashion shows there was three major standout trends I’ll refer to as the three “F’s”, which stand for Fur, Fringe, and Fearlessness. Fur (real or imaginary) being a longtime staple of this time of year, was used more as an accent on skirts or sleeves rather then its normal role as a full-blown coat. Fringe was used in surprising new ways, such as the rows of Rococo style braided tassels in several offerings from the Balmain show. Finally, fearlessness could be observed in variety of ways throughout the numerous fall shows. From the all-black model lineups and political statements at Zac Posen that caused such a stir, to Lady Gaga pounding the runway for Marc Jacobs ready-to-wear line, to the sheer diversity of looks presented across the board this Fall was without a doubt the beginnings of a new era for the fashion world. Building on that excitement and change, Sarah Burton put all three F’s on full display in her collection for Alexander McQueen’s runway show.
Alexander McQueen: There was quite a bit of juxtaposition in Burton’s latest collection between hard and soft. This delicate dance was more than appropriate for a time of year that normally boasts not only blistering winds and shivering bodies but also untouched blankets of pristine snow and silently breathtaking landscapes. Burton chose to open the show by showcasing some of the harder elements including oversized overcoats that were asymetrically lined with fur on the lapels, leather dresses with strong rounded shoulders, and short frilled looks that had bondage inspired necklines. All of these looks were outfitted with emoji-like embellishments or prints (such as butterflies, lips, and birds) that only Burton could give a classy and muted edge to. The racy boudoir theme only got more amplified as a smattering of sheer, lacy baby-doll dresses and gowns made their way down the catwalk as well as several pairs of seperates featuring simple lace bras, stark long overcoats, and dress pants that had buckles attached to the ankles and thighs furthering the S&M theme. Some of the dresses had ruffles, many had elements of leather which took a more interesting turn when applied to some very unique bustiers. Towards the end of the show, a set of entirely sheer gowns were shown the most successful of which had long flowing capes featuring space motifs, and the least flattering showing the models bare chests and panties with lots of overdone and cartoonish embellishments. The show closed out with a series of beaded and feathered floor-length gowns that were swallowed by coats that looked like the models had rolled out of bed with their comforters still wrapped around them. Overall, Burton’s collection provided us with the very dreamlike avant garde qualities that this storied house is known for all while maintining the much more wearable design aesthetic that Burton has been known for since she took the helm.


Balmain: Olivier Rousteing’s sensibilities have always been very modern and very French, so the concept of both starting and ending his fashion show with one of the daughters of the most famous families in the world played perfectly into both of these desires. Perhaps the most notable feature of this particular collection was the color palette which never strayed far from the soft baby pinks and serenity blues that actually are the colors of the year. The standard uniform of Balmain that Rousteing has created mostly consists of smoking jackets with intricate filigree work, braided tassels that hang from blouses and skirts in abundance, and overall a very French sense of what wearability truly means. While this colection was in no way revolutionary by Balmain’s standards it did offer up some unique distinctions such as the addition of fur to the sides of skirts or used as sleeves in one look. Ruffles, also a staple of the label under Olivier’s guidance, abounded as embellishments to the sides of sheer high-waisted pants or as Elizabethan inspired tops. Sheer patterned leggings, thigh-high heels, wide belts and chokers also ruled the day and made appearances throughout the 60 looks presented. The only real misses came when Rousteing side-tracked away from the established colors of the other looks and ventured into a camo-green for two outfits that looked blantantly out of place with the rest of the show. This small misstep aside, perhaps the most innovative departure in this particular show was the pink corset-cum-skirt that was paired with a robin’s egg blue shearling coat and turtleneck. This technique also showed up in looks worn by Jourdan Dunn as well as Kendall Jenner’s finale dress which were, you guessed it, as fearlessly chic as their designer.


Jonathan Simkhai: After celebrating the collections of two houses that have had both long and illustrious careers, I thought I would turn the spotlight on the fresh and untested face of Jonathan Simkhai’s new eponymous label. A recent participant of the Vogue Fashion Fund/CFDA Awards and (spoiler alert for Amazon watchers) cowinner of the $300,000 prize, Simkhai is best known for his overtly feminine cocktail dresses that often pair geometric designs with lacy exteriors. If his most recent offering coming off of this massive win (an honor that has been shared in the past by such legends as Alexander Wang and Joseph Altuzarra) is any indication of what’s to come then he may be in it for the long haul. Many of the silhouettes in this collection ranged from long and flared at the bottom to long and tightly gathered, and many were paired with some form of knitwear. The first few looks came in a crisp white, most with fur and in one case the hem of a dress was edged in lamb’s wool. This set the tone for a collection that had a wide range of different types of animal fur or at least what passed for it as one dresses fringe closely resembled mole-hair. Huge over-sized furs did seem a little bulky compared to the airiness of the rest of the collection, but one white fur paired nicely with a pair of fringed pants and saved them from becoming too cumbersome. Halfway through the show we got a taste of the geometric cut-outs that Simkhai is known for which showed up on several dresses and even a blazer, but which was best represented by a calf-length dress that was outlined by a woolen border. The finale looks were a steady stream of black, blue, and white lazer-cut dresses and separates that one can easily imagine could be worn to any awards show. Looking at the collection one can really tell that this young man was absolutely the right person for Vogue and the CFDA to put their trust in, and I sincerely look forward to seeing what Simkhai creates for us in the future because his at least is certainly bright.

Five Fierce Winter Finds

Me #4

As the blustery winds of my first real snowstorm whip outside my window, I am reminded of just how much my life has changed within the past year. I graduated from college and made the big decision to pack up and move from Florida, the only place (and climate) I have ever lived in, to Long Island for my job. While sitting here reminiscing and watching the white flakes pile high, I am inspired to show you five of my Winter essentials that I have gathered to survive these next few months in comfort and style.

1. Michael Kors Jacket
My first item is actually one that I purchased about two years ago for my first excursion to New York. It’s a single breasted, very sophisticated button-up coat from Michael Kors that despite the fact that it isn’t a long coat, is actually very warm and cozy. The jacket is insulated and it has numerous pockets to keep other winter necessities like chapstick in. At $80.00 it was a steal from the original cost of $400.00 when I purchased it with my employee discount at Saks Fifth Avenue: Off Fifth. I love this coat because it has served me well for the past two years, and though I think my exact coat has been discontinued, you can find very similar versions at Michaelkors.com.

Me #5

2. Voluspa Makassar Ebony & Peach Decorative Candle
Intoxicating notes of dark ebony wood mingling with freshly picked peaches and the faint smell of crisp apples are wafting from this incredible candle as I write about it. I discovered this stylish and deliciously foreign scented candle at my job at Nordstrom, and was immediately obsessed with the festive tin as well as the mesmerizing smell. At only $19.00 this candle is a steal as it will not only fill your rooms with its moroccan fantasies of spice and intrigue, but it will provide you with an eye-catching piece perfect for any stylish home. Available at Voluspa.com.

Voluspa

3. Diesel “Night Sky” Shirt
One of my admittedly many Christmas gifts to myself, I am personally obsessed with the splattered silver paint design of this shirt that is crafted to resemble the night sky filled with twinkling stars. One feature of this button-up that was pointed out to me by the very helpful (and very hot) sales clerk was that the more distinctive patterns on the shirt actually spell out the company’s name in a subtle but incredibly unique way. Galaxy print is a fad that I am admittedly a sucker for so I may be a tad biased, but I absolutely love the dark pitch of the shirt combined with the silver outlines and I think it makes a very strong style statement. Listed at about $190 this shirt was more of a splurge item for me but the compliments and the style combinations I have been able to create with it have made the price well worth it. Unfortunately I was unable to locate this particular item on Diesel’s web store but they may still carry it in some of their physical store locations across the U.S.

Me #6

4. Sephora x Pantone Universe Color of the Year: Serenity Matte Lipstick
Every time that a new year rolls around I wait in eager anticipation to see which new stunning color will win the Pantone Color of the Year award. This year yielded an incredible surprise as two colors were chosen instead of the traditional one, and the results are spectacular Serenity blue and ravishing Rose Quartz pink. To commemorate this momentous occasion by partnering with Sephora’s makeup line for a collaboration line of eye-shadows and lipsticks that truly represent the new year. The lipstick I chose was the pastel serenity blue to match and offset my new royal blue hair color, and the matte finish (something I am a stickler for in lipsticks) works wonderfully towards that end. Sometimes you have to have a little fun with your look and I think representing one of the colors of the year in a fun and playful way was the perfect option for me to try something new in 2016. Only $18.00 and packaged in a cutely innovative plastic case, this lipstick is a must have for parties or even just for adding a playful pop of color to your new year, new me look. Available at Sephora.com.

Pantone

5. YSL Black Opium Perfume
My last fierce find is a scent that has aroused the minds and sensibilities of many of my friends and colleagues since I first started wearing it back in December. Those who know me well, know that I am addicted to rich, warm, and flowery scents and this YSL perfume contains notes of all three of my criterion. The bases of this perfume are cedarwood, vanilla, coffee, and patchouli with the strongest element being the last. Winner of the Allure Magazine “Best of Beauty” award for Best Sexy Fragrnace of 2015, The glam-rock aesthetic bottle and the enveloping floral scents of jasmine and mandarin make this perfume a must have for special occasions or frisky encounters. With four different sizes as well as a roller, sampling this perfume is a cinch. Available at Nordstrom.com.

YSL

Springing Spring: A Review of My Favorite S/S 2015 Shows

Alexander Wang: Barcodes are back this season for Alexander Wang who presented his Spring/Summer 2015 collection for the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week event. After the huge explosion of online blog posts drooling over his barcode embellished tees for the Resort 2015 collection, it seemed only appropriate that Wang should revive the concept by sticking a few of those coded lines on the front of two of his Spring looks. Several of the garments also got a smaller scannable codes placed strategically at the neckline giving a ready-to-buy affect. However, the biggest influence of the day was most definitely the athletic sneaker. Literal sportswear has surprisingly received a recent revival in many collections (in the Spring collections of Chanel and Dior most notably) and Wang is the perfect spokesperson for its cause in the haute couture world. Several of the swishy tennis dresses had mesh-like fronts that were representative of these shoes sleek breathable designs, with one design even having literal “shoelaces” tying up the top of the dress. The sports sneaker’s influence didn’t stop there though as was reflected in the sporty design of Wang’s diverse collection of handbags for the show. The show closed out with several geometric printed tops and Wang running down the runway waving to his avid fans and smiling all the while at another job well done.

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Alexander Wang

Clutch bag at Alexander Wang

Clutch bag at Alexander Wang

 Preen by Thornton Bregazzi: Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi’s Preen Spring Ready-to-Wear collection for 2014 was arguably one of their most visually memorable and most beloved collections to date. Luckily, this power couple have tapped into that creative vein again and have incorporated several of those winning elements into their Spring/Summer collection for 2015. The visual asymmetry and lightness of both fabric and mood that Preen is known for was out in full force for the Spring. Long flowing striped dresses in blues, reds, and whites seemed to dominate the first part of the show, with varying floral prints overlaid and dispersed throughout. Some of the looks even managed to look almost like tailored business suits, especially in regards to the first three designs. The asymmetrical floral patterned dresses in the middle of the show really harkened back to that beloved 2014 runway in terms of print and design. Zippered sportswear inspired overcoats and active-wear followed with an enviable oversized sweater thrown in to remind us that it has not even reached winter yet. With fashion’s obsession with putting out an ever increasingly fast pace of new (and out of the current season) collections, this nod to the current season seemed appropriately old-fashioned. The show was closed out by a showing of beautifully fringed mini-dresses that remind us that Spring is a time for fun and frolic (even if that time is far off).

"Tailored" look at Preen

“Tailored” look at Preen

Preen

Preen

Beautiful sweater at Preen

Beautiful sweater at Preen

Fringed party dress at Preen

Fringed party dress at Preen

Temperly London: Apparently the obsession with the sheer trend has given it a lot of staying power. Therefore, the challenge for many designers is how to incorporate it into their collections in new and exciting ways. Luckily, Temperly London, through perseverance and sheer innovation has worked the concept really well in their recent Spring/Summer 2015 show for London Fashion Week. By cutting out geometric designs in the sheer fabrics that she used to add an element of flowiness to her garments, Temperly gave fans a new twist on their treasured trend. Long silk robes juxtaposed under tailored jackets gave an ethereal quality to the runway show, and made the clothes look effortless. Sheerness didn’t stop there though, as seen in the completely see-through dresses that were patterned with looping vines (or maybe ventricles) that whispered across the stage. Tartan and paisley patterns were also given a new form with the mixed colors of tartan composing several skirts, and the traditional red paisley print being used as cut-outs for sheer panels on a couple of the later looks. The overarching theme of innovation really elevated what could have been only simple designs into something of sheer brilliance.

Sheer robe at Temperly London

Sheer robe at Temperly London

T London #2

Sheer dress at Temperly London

T London #3

Sheer geometric paisley at Temperly London

T London #4

Detail at Temperly London

Finally, Florence

Sadly, the last leg of the trip came upon us and we will soon be going home after the final five days in Florence. However, despite my general melancholy over leaving Europe soon I am beyond joyous to have arrived in this gorgeous mecca of art at long last! Visiting Florence has always been a dream of mine ever since I was a small child, and this place really delivers on all the promises it made to my young imagination. From the massive architecturally elaborate cathedrals, to the magnificent marble statues, and even down to the cobblestone streets Florence as a city is one giant artpiece. As per our continuing tradition, on our arrival day we took a walking tour of this grand city all the way over the oldest bridge in Florence which is appropriately named the “Old bridge.” Along the way we not only saw the numerous designer shops that littered the streets such as Furla, Diesel, and Chanel but we also encountered several very talented artists who were selling their prints in the streets. This dichotomy of high-end products placed alongside local and world-reknowned art is what makes Florence such a unique destination, and allows it to live up to its title of the “City of Artists.” Although Florence was more of a noticeably tourist area due to its smaller size, you could easily ascertain who was a native of the city solely by their fashion sense. Similar to the residents of Milan in overall taste, the Florentine women wore flowy silk tops with strappy sandals and small clutch bags while the men sported designer polo shirts, fitted and snug jeans paired with flashy designer belts, and fashionable sneaker style shoes. Even bakers and shopkeepers still dressed with the easy air and attentiveness to detail that Italian people are known for. Of course, being surrounded by as well as producing some of the world’s most famous designers probably plays a huge role in the Italian fashion taste. Speaking of notable designers who helped to make Florence such a fashion center brings me to talk about our first museum trip in Florence to the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum. Born in Bonito, Italy Salvatore Ferragamo was always fascinated with the human anatomy, and most notably with people’s feet. His fascination with shoes was evidenced even as early as nine years old when he designed his first pair for his older sisters to attend thier confirmations. His work ethic (gleaned from growing up in a poor family) pushed him to move first to Boston and then to Hollywood, California where he quickly gained his fame designing glamorous shoes for famous starlets such as Audrey Hepburn. Known for creating shoes that were custom made, Ferragamo’s obsession with feet provided him the insight into crafting shoes that not only looked fabulous on the outside but were just as pleasurable to wear because of their made-to-measure proportions. Credited with introducing the wedge (due to lack of resources during WWII), Ferragamo’s shop in Florence became world-reknowned for its designer’s fantastic made-to-order footwear. Salvatore Ferragamo wasn’t the only rising star in Florence though, as evidenced by the fact that the globally recognized brand Gucci also had its roots in this city. Our second museum visit was to the Gucci Musuem where we learned about Guccio Gucci’s own rise from poverty to become one of the biggest and most well-known names in fashion. Inspired by the wealthy guests that frequented the hotel that he worked at in London, a young Guccio Gucci returned to his home in Florence and started producing his own line of travel bags and accessories. As his designs got increasingly more popular, Gucci started to branch out into home goods and other products eventually creating a lifestyle brand that was carried on by his eldest son. The result of so much fashion and art melded into one small expanse of a city has solidified Florence as one of the most artistically bent cities in the world. However, as most people may know Florence is not only praised for its magnificent artwork or its fashionable districts, rather Florence is also highly revered for its food and even more for its wine. Therefore, I could not come to Florence and not go on a wine tour in one of the vineyards that are in such close proximity to this beautiful city. The tour that I and four other girls chose was one that started off in a wine school in Florence and then transported its eager participants to two different vineyards with plenty of wine tastings interspersed throughout the trip. Both of the wineries resided in the Chianti Classico region of Italy, which is most famous for some of the most delicate, heady, and fruity wines in the world. A guided tour through both location’s cellars ensued and then we were given multiple glasses of wine to sample at each stop. As a whole, this particular portion of the trip became one of my favorite memories from traveling abroad and I will always be grateful for the experience. As a whole, Europe offered up some of the most amazing sights and adventures that I have ever lived through in my life. If I had to classify each stop in terms of artistic temperment I would say that London is the major hub for affordable and high end retail and obvious royal influence. France I would label as the home for luxury and attention to detail in every aspect of living. Milan is most certainly my pick for most interesting and expensive fashion capital, and Florence I would say would be the center for artistic and cultural influence. On this trip I learned so much about fashion and how it has weaved its way into our daily lives, and how influential it truly is on every aspect of life. Overall, I have been incredibly blessed to take this trip and to gather so much new information and experience that I can translate into future success for myself, and for this I am the most grateful. Can’t wait to visit Europe again someday and to continue to see where my life takes me!

“Perseus with the Head of Medusa”

View of the “Old Bridge” in Florence.

One of Salvatore Ferragamo’s famous wedge designs in the Salvatore Ferragamo Museum.

Gucci bags in the Gucci Museum.

Me and my friends at the second vineyard in the Chianti Classico region.

Meet Me In Milan

Since Milan is known as the center of the world for prêt-à-porter (or as it is more commonly referred to: “ready-to-wear”) clothing, I was fully expecting to get a lot of shopping done on this leg of the trip. Not only was I not disappointed by the variety of designer shops and affordable stores there, I was also pleasantly surprised to find that we had arrived during the peak season for sales in Milan. Filled to the brim with fashion choices, Milan was quite the industrious center and was very modernized considering the fact that it was once just a small Italian city. Our first planned activity in Milan was a walking tour of the major shopping districts near the first shopping mall in the world, which is called the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II and named after the first king of the Kingdom of Italy Vittorio Emanuele. While on the tour we were informed that the original reason why people began to flock to Milan was because fashion designers had started to set up shops here and had begun to compete with each other in this area. The biggest two competitors in this city were the world reknowned designers Giorgio Armani and Gianni Versace. These two designers could not have been more dissimilar in their chosen styles of dress, and yet this was the very fact that probably made them such ardent rivals in order to prove that their aesthetic was more appealing to the masses. Giorgio Armani was the undisputed king of dark colors and simple silhouettes, while Gianni Versace was the sultan of shining colors and embellishment. The fierce competition between these two world class artists was one of the major draws of Milan during that time as well, because each individual was trying to outdo the other with their grandiose displays of talent. Eventually the battle between the two designers got so fierce that they both decided to stage a runway show on the same day at the same time in order to see whose turnout was more successful. This raging war was brought to a sudden halt though when Gianni Versace was tragically shot and killed in Miami, leaving Giorgio Armani without anyone to test his skills against. Since the end of this famous fued, Milan has continued to prosper and has become quite the industrial center for fashion and shopping. This was clearly evidenced by the fact that nearly every single person that I saw in the streets had some sort of designer product or accessory on their person, and was dressed in easy to wear high fashion. Even the nightlife in Milan is focused on the promotion of high-fashion brands. For instance, one night in Milan me and a small group of girls decided to try to get into Roberto Cavalli’s self-titled club “Just Cavalli.” Once inside, it was clear that the entire club was focused not just on partying, but also on displaying a clear brand message to the attendees, which included several product placements including Roberto Cavalli label vodka. This kind of promotion of a lifestyle for a brand is very helpful in creating and maintaining a label’s longevity in the market. While still visiting Milan, our group decided to also venture out into the biggest silk producing city in Italy, which is known as Como. In Como, we attended an exhibit on the production and manufacturing of silk products in the Silk Musuem or Museo Didattico della Seta as it is known in Italian. Inside the museum were several old machines (that were actually still functional) that were used in tandem with silk worms to create their luxurious finsihed product before modern machinery was introduced. Como itself was the main hub for silk production because it is the most arid and rainy part of Italy, and it contains the most water. This area also had an abundance of mulberry bushes, the leaves of which are the silk worm’s primary dietary choice. The scenery and landscape of Como was simply astounding to see and it was a nice break to be surrounded by nature and water after being so crowded all of the time in Milan. Since this is the second to last leg of my trip I am getting sad to leave Europe, but I am ecstatic to finally be able to see Florence for the first time though!

The entrance to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II.

Walking in one of the older, but still very rich shopping districts in Milan.

The stunning view on Lake Como.

Me enjoying the Como breeze.

The French Mystique

After a long and eventful stay in England I was ready for a more relaxed pace in France. My introduction to this city was very low-key and involved a tour of the major tourist sites via bus. We saw the Eiffel Tower and learned all about France’s history and importance in the art and fashion realms. As our time in France was limited to only five days we had to pack more visits into our schedule. Our first stop was at an exclusive French luxury lobbyist group known as Comite Colbert. Our guide for this visit detailed how Comite Colbert, which was founded by famous perfumer Jean-Jacques Guerlain in 1954, gathered together the biggest and most well known French luxury brands (including fashion, furniture, and glassware brands) in order to promote their specific type of luxury worldwide. In a sense, that was my biggest takeaway from France as a whole was the idea of perpetuating the degree of luxuriousness that the French as a whole have attained. From the shops, to the restaurants, and even to the tourist attractions France exuded this kind of quite elegance throughout. Another interesting experience was our group’s visit to the Dries van Noten exhibit in the Louvre. Inside, we discovered this incredible man’s inspirations for his own collections displayed side-by-side with the finished products that he created. One of the collections that I admired the most in this exhibit was one where he had taken his inspiration from the keys and body of pianos, and then translated those details into intricate filigreed patterns for tailored jackets. Another very special side trip that I made with a group of my friends was to the fabulous French queen Marie Antoinette’s Palace in Versailles.  Of course I had heard of the over-the-top style of this particular monarch (her extreme lavishness and spending eventually got her murdered by the desperate French peasants) but the degrees of opulence in every corner of her palace truly astounded me. From the expansive paintings on every ceiling in every room, to the marbled floors, to the sprawling and lush garden, and even down to the crown molding on the floorboards every single detail of the palace was meticulously crafted. If French luxury has a specific origin then it definitely comes from this woman’s attention to fashionable living. However, despite all of these obvious grandiose displays of wealth and prestige scattered throughout the city, I was surprised to find that the French people themselves did not seem all that glamorous. Almost everybody that I observed in this city dressed with the kind of slouchy indifference that I would usually associate with America. Sweatpants and sneakers abounded as well as hoodies and loose-fit pants, which really struck me as strange considering the French people’s reputation for good taste in clothing. One of our lectures for the class portion of this study abroad that I’m on really opened my eyes as to why this is the case though. My teacher told us that while France is one of the foremost producers of luxury goods they are not one of the top consumers of said goods. Rather places like America, Japan, and the U.K. far outbid the French for the amount of luxury goods purchased and consumed. This obvious divide was made even more apparent by the fact that almost every single person that I saw with a high-end retailer’s shopping bag was not speaking French or was clearly from outside of that country. Despite this realization however, France still held quite the mystique for me especially at night when the Eiffel Tower was lit up and glittering. Now I am just looking forward to spending time in Milan and seeing all there is to see in that beautiful city as well.

Me next to the Eiffel Tower!

Two of the dresses in the Dries van Noten exhibit.

A display in the gourmet chocolate shop Laduree.

Marie Antoinette’s famous “Hall of Mirrors”

The garden of Versailles.

Getting the London Look

One aspect of London that I did not expect at all was how upscale it truly is. However, I was very pleasantly surprised to see the full availability of high-fashion here in England. From Haute Couture stores like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Dolce & Gabbana, to huge department stores such as Harrod’s or Selfridge’s, and trickling all the way down to more affordable high-end stores like Zara and Topshop. London as a fashion capital, really does have something for everyone. There are a whole bevy of upper-class sections in London that cater to the sophisticated elite such as Bond Street near Piccadilly and several shopping sections around Kensington Palace, which I found quite fascinating. Bespoke (custom made and tailored clothing) brands litter roads like Savile Row, which resides in the menswear section of London, and are extremely popular with the upper class. Street style wise as well Londoners are very fashion-forward and trendy. I’ve noticed a lot of women wearing Chanel flats with flowing colored pants and a simple designed sheer top. The bags here are very economical and small as it is kind of hard to maneuver here with a big bag especially on the Tube (a lesson I’ve learned the hard way). Another kind of bizarre rule that I ran across was the fact that numerous stores in London but especially the more exclusive stores do not want large groups to wander together through their stores together. I assume this is because they don’t want people to steal from them (as this is easier in bigger groups and there are no security sensors at the doors). Some other fashion related tidbits I have learned relate to how the Royal Family influenced fashion throughout the ages. An exhibit in Kensington called “Fashion Rules!” detailed how the clothes worn by Queen Elizabeth and her sister Margaret as well as some of Princess Diana’s own gowns and how they influenced trends as well as changed along with the times. After seeing Diana’s dresses I finally understood why she was such a huge fashion icon for so many people during her lifetime as well. Our group was also incredibly lucky to be able to visit the Worldwide Global Style Network (WGSN) which forecasts and discovers trends across the globe. This was another extremely unique experience in London because the company only has centers in London, Los Angeles, and  New York. However, the company was started in London as a way to determine what macro and micro trends in  fashion were occurring worldwide in order to give designers a leg up for competing on a global stage. Used by numerous fashion houses to help select the newest and trendiest hues and cuts for their clothing, the website also showcases which designers have been the most influential for creating trends as well. After we had explored London for a couple of days, our group took an excursion to the city of Bath two hours outside of London. Bath was fascinating for several reasons, the foremost being that every single building in the city according to their laws had to be built out of the same kind of locally grown limestone for aesthetic purposes. As a city Bath itself was rather beautiful, which made sense to me after I learned that Bath used to be one of the most premiere cities to visit in England due to the fact that it housed the only naturally occurring hot spring in all of the country. While in Bath we got to visit the Fashion Museum, which was home to  several Georgian era gowns and suits worn by the extremely rich during that time period. In the museum we saw how the styles of this age waxed and waned between overly decorated, to more staid styles depending on the economic conditions of the time. Overall, I would say that the various fashion exhibitions and sites of London have really solidified London as a very relevant city for trendy fashion followers in my own mind.

A window display at Dolce & Gabbana

One of Princess Diana’s gowns at the V&A Museum

A window display at Harvey Nichols

This dress featured prominently in the Fashion Museum in Bath’s ads.

Entrance to the Roman baths in Bath.