The beret is… divisive. I know this first-hand, as I wear them regularly, in black, grey and raspberry. And while much discussion may be found online as to the angle at which one should be worn (pulled forward, or jauntily to the side, or covering your whole head, your hair croissanted up inside), of more help I think is the following tip. The trick to wearing a beret is to avoid eye contact with strangers. Then, when they shout something at you such as, “Bonjour!” (you’re from Hove) or, “Ooh Betty!” (you’re too young to get the reference), it’s far easier to pretend you haven’t noticed and carry on walking. Because in your head you’reMarlene Dietrich, as opposed to “all French people”. You’re Faye Dunaway. You’reDebbie Harry, pretending she’s Patty Hearst, pretending she’s a leftwing terrorist called Tania, with a machine gun and a cosy head. You’re Rembrandt, idiot.
It slides in and out of favour, the beret. The first examples were found by archaeologists in bronze age tombs, with berets also seen on sculptures in 12th-century Europe. Some were bigger, some floppier, but all were made of felt, the oldest form of cloth, created by pressing wool, hard. Shepherds used to fill their shoes with tufts from the sheep; as they worked and sweated, felt was made. Berets were adopted by peasants, then royalty, then the military, then artists. But in 2002 the market had all but dried up – 40 years earlier there had been 15 beret factories in Oloron-Sainte-Marie (France’s beret capital); by then there was just one. “We suffer from the savagery of fashion,” said Bernard Fargues, head of Beatex, the last beret maker in town. Which means today their luck could be changing. The beret is back.
In Maria Grazia Chiuri’s A/W 17 collection for Dior, every look came topped with a beret – the models were styled as romantic revolutionaries – and Rihanna wore hers in the front row, too. Vogue said the beret is “shaping up to be one of Fall 2017’s most ubiquitous items for gals and guys”. Which of course I applaud. Because there are few accessories as odd as the beret, few that signify conservative uniform as well as revolution and rebellious rock’n’roll. I mean, my dad has a beret. No, he has two, one French, after Picasso, one Spanish, like a Basque separatist. I’ve worn one since I was a child, photographed gazing wistfully out across a reservoir, then at art school, and on days when it rains. I lean towards a beret worn with buoyancy, after Princess Diana, and one fitted snugly, like Eddie Izzard protesting against Brexit.
A beret is perceived as a hat with power, whether the power to remain poised in a storm or to keep your hair on tight while you change the world. Today, with all that baggage, it is also perceived as a bit mannered. A bit whimsical. For example, a lot of Tesco’s fancy dress costumes come with a small polyester beret. We once bought a beret the size of a Pringle for my late cat (RIP). So, much as I love them, I understand the desire to roll an eye at the sight of one approaching on an urban street. For a hat that can fold up to the size of an Oyster card, this one comes with a lot of crap to carry around. But it’s worth it, as long as you realise that by wearing a beret, you’re always on the frontline.
Fashion Week is a circus, and no one relishes the big top more than Jeremy Scott.
The designer’s February runway show had fashionistas sweltering in an 80-degree room as they waited for attendee Kylie Jenner to appear, 45 minutes late and with TV crew in tow. Gate-crashers stole seats, relegating top editors from Elle and Teen Vogue to watching a live stream of the presentation in a screening room. Model Gigi Hadid stormed the runway in velvet bell-bottoms emblazoned with the face of Jesus; Anna Cleveland sashayed in a gaudy, Vegas-era Elvis cape.
The industry Web site Fashionista.com called the event a “s – – tshow,” while other critics scoffed at the C-listers, such as Sofia Richie, mugging in the front row. But for Scott, that embrace of chaos, celebrity and kitsch is the whole point.
“I’ve always been inspired by pop culture,” the 42-year-old designer told The Post. “I’ve always been very democratic about my view of fashion and iconography.” As for his haters?
“I would say that they’re stuffy and they could go to another show.”
They do so at their own peril. This Fashion Week marks the 20th anniversary of Scott’s namesake brand — his show on Friday will be a retrospective of his career — and, love him or hate him, his postmodern, cartoon aesthetic is everywhere.
It’s on TV, with Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus strutting in his eye-popping designs at the MTV Video Music Awards. It’s on newsstands, where reality stars are on the cover of Vogue. It’s even on the Paris runway, with revered labels such as Vetements and Gucci splattering images from “Titanic” or Disney cartoons onto their clothes.
Having begun her career with small roles in CSI: NY and 90210 – as well as a small stint as a ‘briefcase girl’ on Deal or no Deal –Meghan Markle shot to fame in 2011 when she was cast as paralegal Rachel Zane in Suits.
Not her only reason for being in the spotlight, however, Markle has also been dating Prince Harry for the last nine months.
Confirming their relationship last November, Harry made an emotional appeal for the couple to be left in peace.
Instructing Kensington Palace to issue a statement on his behalf, Harry called Markle his “girlfriend” and noted that she had been the “subject to a wave of abuse and harassment” including a torrent of racist and sexist slurs by “social media trolls”.
Previously relatively quiet on the celebrity circuit, Markle met Prince Harry in Toronto in May 2016 during his promotional visit for the Invictus Games. Soon after she was photographed taking her seat in the royal box at Wimbledon.
While she is an ambassador for World Vision Canada as well as an advocate for United Nations Women, Markle’s father is a Hollywood lighting director and her mother a yoga instructor.
And while you may think balancing a role in a hot legal drama alongside humanitarian work would keep the young star busy enough, the star has also shown a keen interest in fashion.
Sitting front row during a number of shows at New York Fashion Week, Markle has shown her support to designers such as Tory Burch, Wes Gordon, Marchesa, Herve Leger and Tracy Reese.
Most famous of the quips attributed to the Austrian-born American designer Rudi Gernreich — now best remembered for his unisex creations and the topless bathing suit — was the dictum that “Fashion will go out of fashion.” As early as the 1960s, Gernreich foresaw a gradual winding down of the engine that had long propelled it: a pursuit of novelty and “modernity.”
“Items: Is Fashion Modern?,” the first show the Museum of Modern Art has devoted to the subject since Bernard Rudofsky’s seminal exhibition “Are Clothes Modern?” in 1944, takes up the multiplicity of questions provoked by a design field that, despite playing an integral part in all of our lives, continues to defy easy comprehension.
Never mind whether fashion is “modern.” What precisely is fashion in the first place? Is it just garments? Or is it a complex system, or an art form, or a cluster of random typologies? Those, among other hefty issues, will be taken up by the ambitious (and welcome) MoMA show, curated by Paola Antonelli, senior curator of the department of architecture and design at the museum — and a seasoned design world gadfly. The show will open in October.
A look from across The New York Times at the forces that shape the dress codes we share, with Vanessa Friedman as your personal shopper. Sent weekly.
To trace the history of fashion through objects and their ancient archetypes, the show’s organizers dipped into the material slipstream and fished out 350 objects representing 111 “typologies.” Just how deliriously diverse those typologies are was made clear by the museum on Wednesday with the release of a list itemizing the things to be displayed. And what a list it is, from kaffiyehs to kilts, flip-flops to guayaberas, pencil skirts to moon boots, Speedos to Spanx.
There is, of course, the classic little black dress, though rendered variously by designers and labels as disparate as Arnold Scaasi, Versace, Rick Owens, Dior and Chanel. There are platform shoes from Delman, Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen, as well as some anonymous designers whose imaginations outstripped considerations as pedestrian as locomotion. There is, among the welter of things to be shown, a Rolex Datejust watch, some Lululemon Boogie pants and a pair of Olaf Daughters clogs no stereotypical Woody Allen character would once have been without. From someplace else on the spectrum of stereotyped wealth and consumption, there is a Birkin bag.
Hoodies and door-knocker earrings represent hip-hop style, or a variant of it. More conservative and demure forms of fashion expression take the shape of Thea Porter caftans, a pearl necklace, a button-down shirt and a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Another cause for eager anticipation is “Items: Is Fashion Modern?,” a publication bolstering the curators’ efforts to examine the profound effects that accessories and clothes have had on the culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. Perhaps as tantalizing as the learned essays and the weighty fashion discourse, there will also be a pop-up shop.
here are many sad things about coming back from holidays. For one, it’s the beginning of the end for that glowy skin you only get after about a week away from your desk and in the fresh air. But with a little prep and a bit of shimmer, you can fake that dewy look all year. Here is how I do it.
Prepping your skin is the most essential part of this process. I use exfoliators and pore-cleansing masks as part of my regular routine, which helps other products sink into my skin easily. My favourite is NSPA’s glow mud mask (Asda, £7). I also use a combination smoothing lightweight emulsion moisturiser (Bare minerals, £30), which adds loads of dewiness but has a lightweight texture that feels comfortable on the skin.
Apply a liquid illuminator all over your face as a base. I like the Buxom Cosmetics liquid highlighter in Divine Goddess (Debenhams, £21) for a really subtle “wet skin” glow.
I use a Real Techniques sponge (Superdrug, £3.99) to blend my foundation properly without leaving too much excess on my face. My favourite for a natural dewy look is the Bare Minerals bare skin foundation in the colour Walnut (Bare Minerals, £28).
I use concealer under my eyes, down my nose, and on the centre of my chin, which brightens the places the sunlight naturally hits my face. Decide where to put your concealer depending on your face shape. I use Too Faced born this way concealer in Medium tan (Debenhams, £20), which stays dewy even when it has been set with powder. I use pressed transluscent powder, rather than loose, such as Inglot Cosmetics HD pressed powder in shade 404 (Inglot, £12).
For extra glow I add a light contour to my cheeks using the Buxom Cosmetics hot escapes bronzer in the shade Maldives (Debenhams, £21). To bring back warmth to my skin, I add a touch of blusher, then complete by dusting a shimmery golden highlight on the highest point of my cheekbone, and the tip of my nose. Focus this shimmery highlight on the areas you want to enhance and bring forward. I love to use the Nip+Fab travel palette in Medium/Dark 2 (Superdrug, £9.95) which has the contour, blush and highlight in one.
Finally, add a little bit of a shimmery lip gloss to compliment your dewy skin. I am using the Buxom cosmetics lip polish in Sugar (Debenhams, £15) on top of my Nip+Fab lip liner in Espresso (Superdrug, £5.95).
A woman has decided to challenge stereotypical fashion calendars, which she says typically exclude plus-size models, and create her own version with 18 women from across America.
Brianna McDonnell, who is a plus-size fashion blogger at The B Word, aims to “empower body confidence in women through fashion and fashion imagery” after her own childhood experiences left her feeling excluded.
The Los Angeles-based model told HuffPost UK: “As a young girl I was obsessed with the fantasy of fashion editorial magazines, but felt isolated from fashion because of my size.”
Starting her own blogging platform in 2015, it wasn’t long before McDonnell decided to start her ‘Be In Your Skin’ movement, which encourages a more body-positive attitude in young females.
This movement then gave way to the idea of a calendar.
McDonnell said: “[It was] not only to honour the legacy of editorial fashion calendars but to create a space where plus-size women could be seen in an editorial, artful, sexy and represented way.”
She has been working on the 2018 edition of the calendar for six months with her favourite plus-size bloggers, models and influencers.
“The #BEinyourskin Plus Size Editorial Wall Calendar is a celebration, it’s a daily reminder that plus-size, fat, curvy, thick, chunky bodies are good bodies and can be seen in an artful, editorial, fashion way,” said McDonnell.
Is John Lewis at the frontline of modern gender politics? It has never seemed so before, but judging by the reaction to the department store’s announcement last week that its own-brand children’s clothes will no longer be divided by gender, some people clearly see the retailer as radical. There will now be no separate sections in the stores, nor such binary labels on the clothes themselves; instead, the labels will read “girls and boys” or “boys and girls”.
The conversation over whether clothing should be more gender-neutral does not just apply to childrenswear – over the past decade there has also been a marked rise in gender-neutral clothing for adults. Some high-end designers such as JW Anderson, Rick Owens and Rad Hourani have championed gender-neutral clothing, while a raft of smaller companies run by young designers, such as Rich Mnisi, are pushing the idea that men’s and women’s clothes should be obsolete categories. This approach has also filtered down to the high street – H&M and Zara have both created non-gendered ranges.
The British designer Katharine Hamnett has a long history of exploring non-gender-specific clothing, and her newly reissued collection features unisex shirts, sweatshirts and silk all-in-one suits. She says that, in the past, when women stepped on to more traditionally male sartorial territory – wearing military-inspired clothing, for instance – this “was about appropriating male power”. Now, she says, a move towards equality means women “may be feeling more comfortable with themselves”; in other words, they may have the freedom to wear what they like. (It is still far less common for men to seek out traditionally female clothing.)
Chloe Crowe, brand manager for Bethnals, a London-based unisex denim brand, says that when they have run pop-up shops, men and women in couples have come in and bought jeans that they can share. The company was launched in 2014 by Melissa Clement, a former senior denim buyer for Topshop, who borrowed her partner’s clothes a lot and wondered why men’s and women’s categories had to be different. The core styles of her brand – skinny, straight and relaxed – are cut the same for men and women. “It’s just clever pattern cutting,” says Crowe. “With denim, it can vary so much depending on your body shape. One woman is not going to [fit in] the same pair of jeans as another woman. I think it makes things a lot more simplistic, and it’s about the style and design rather than your sex.”
The growth of the brand follows more awareness and discussion around gender fluidity and what it means to reject the male/female binary. A study for the Fawcett Society last year found that 68% of young people believe gender is non-binary. “When Bethnals lauched, there wasn’t a lot [about gender],” says Crowe. “More brands have released gender-neutral clothing. It has filtered its way to the mass market. There seems to be a huge demand for it.”
“You don’t look at food and say it’s going to be eaten by a man or a woman, so why should it be any different for clothes?” saysTanmay Saxena, founder and designer of LaneFortyfive. The clothing Saxena designs is mostly bespoke tailoring, including shirts and waistcoats; about 60% of his customers are women. The clothes are the same styles for men and women, in the same fabrics, and while the shirts and smocks are cut the same, only the fit for trousers is slightly different.
He has been working on the label for about three years, but formally launched it last year. “I couldn’t find clothes that suited my own style. The basic idea was I would make something that I can wear but at the same time, it has to be irrespective of gender. That idea was always in my head.”
The shirt company GFW Clothing – GFW stands for Gender Free World – has three fits, designed to fit different bodies rather than the broad terms “men” or “women”. Lisa Honan co-founded the brand online less than two years ago and opened a shop in Hove earlier this year.
Initially, she says, it was borne out of frustration at not being able to find shirts she liked. “I’d look in the men’s aisle and see great patterns and short-sleeved shirts, and then you’d go to the women’s aisle and they were blousy, they’ve got puffs or are lacy.” The men’s shirts, she says, didn’t fit her “because I’ve got a woman’s body. It got me thinking why is [there] a man’s aisle and a woman’s aisle, and why do you have to make that choice? You’re not able to make many purchases without being forced to define your own gender.”
Will we ever get to the point where we don’t have men’s and women’s sections in shops? “I would love that,” says Honan. “It’s about expressing your style and being able to choose what you want without having to be told that, because of your sexual characteristics, you have to shop in a certain way.”