A blizzard may be taking NYC by storm, but the city’s hottest fashionistas are schlepping through the sleet and snow (in their finest fur and shoes your bubbe probably wouldn’t approve of) for New York Fashion Week, which started today and continues through next Thursday, February 15.
Since 1993, NYFW has been held annually in February and September, allowing international fashion houses to showcase new collections. It’s a massive week for for fashion designers and consumers alike.
Though most of the shows aren’t open to the public (see which ones are here), you can fangirl from afar, in real time, over these Jewish designers and their new collections (and watch a live stream of all shows here).
This NYC based designer was born in Israel to a French-Moroccan family. He’s known for his “high quality fabrics” and “structured, ultra-feminine, modern siouettes.” Check out his African-inspired Ready-to-Wear Spring collection here.
When to Watch: 12:00 p.m. on February 10.
Born and raised in SoHo, Posen used to steal yarmulkes from his grandparents’ synagogue to make dresses for his dolls. He’s also in the process of redesigning the uniforms for all 60,000+ Delta Airlines employees.
When to Watch: 7:00 p.m. on February 13.
Burch’s preppy meets bohemian vibe was called “the next big thing in fashion” by none other than Oprah Winfrey in April 2005, and the brand has since opened 180 stores worldwide.
When to Watch: 9:00 a.m. on February 14.
Alice + Olivia
In 2002, designer Stacey Bendet Eisner created Alice + Olivia with a classmate from The University of Pennsylvania.
When to Watch: 1:00 p.m. on February 14.
Kors, the son of a former model, has been designing and selling clothes since he was a teenager. He’s served as a judge on Project Runway and designed the dress Michelle Obama wore in her first term official portrait.
When to Watch: 10:00 a.m. on February 15.
Jacobs served as the creative director for Louis Vuitton from 1997 to 2014 and was named 14th on the list of “Most Powerful Gay Men And Women in America” by Out magazine in 2012.
When to Watch: 2:00 p.m. on February 16.
During this year’s Golden Globes, an ad aired that made history. The L’Oreal Paris promo prominently featured 24-year-old model Hari Nef, who became the first transgender person ever to be featured in a primetime campaign.
Participating in this historical moment isn’t even the coolest thing about Hari Nef. Here are ten more things about this kickass human that you should know.
1. She’s an actress as well as a model, and starred in Season 2 of Transparent.
Nef plays Gittel, a trans woman and an ancestor of the Pfefferman family, who is seen in flashbacks of late-Weimar era Berlin. Her character finds community and understanding at the Institute of Sexual Research, which was run by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, one of the first advocates for the rights of sexual and gender minorities.
2. She’s tight with Jill Soloway.
Nef met the Transparent show-runner through her sister, Faith Soloway, who was Nef’s former counselor at an arts camp. Jill Soloway brought Nef as her date to a gala for PFLAG (an LGBTQ advocacy group originally known as Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), and told New Yorker reporter Michael Schulman that she had really found her “it girl” in Nef. Soloway recalled “marveling at how she fills a frame—her face and her posture, but also how her energy naturally engaged every subject and object in the frame.” She added: “I think this is something that maybe Warhol felt for Sedgwick, Demy for Deneuve, Allen for Keaton.”
3. She’s also tight with Laverne Cox.
Nef is friends with her fellow trans celebrity and Orange is the New Black star, posting pictures of the two of them on her popular Tumblr page. Cox and Nef are also part of a bigger community of trans activists, including models Juliana Huxtable and Isis King.
4. She’s a Columbia grad, and started transitioning while pursuing a degree in drama there.
During her Sophmore year, Nef began her transition, informing the Columbia drama department that she would only be auditioning for female roles—such as Arkadina in The Seagull, whom she portrayed for her senior thesis.
5. While at school, she also frequented the club and alt-performance scene in New York.
Nef performed with art-rock group Gerry and the Twinks, as well as a punk drag collective called Chez Deep, which toured internationally. She also became a regular at parties and happenings like Vandam, where she met many trans night-life celebrities.
6. Her modeling career was kickstarted by an encounter at a club.
Though Nef had some some amateur modeling before, her real break happened one night at an East Village club, where she met Shayne Oliver, designer of Hood by Air. Oliver was instantly taken with her, and she made her New York Fashion Week debut in 2014 with his line.
7. She was one of the first trans models signed to IMG Worldwide.
IMG, which is one of the biggest agencies in the fashion industry, signed Nef in 2015, only two weeks after her graduation from Columbia.
8. She considers her modeling career a political act.
Nef began modeling while still in the beginning stages of her transition. She considers her choice not to wait until her transition was more under way, and instead to transition publicly, a political act of visibility. “I wanted to be in the world,” she told Vogue.com. “I’m not trying to self-aggrandize, but it’s more than a job to me. It’s political.”
9. She gets real about privilege and positioning when it comes to trans issues.
[coatchecks my privilege]— hari nef (@harinef) December 20, 2015
Though she is in many senses a pioneer, Nef recognizes that she is able to do much of what she does because of her privilege as a white, well-off, college educated woman from a first world country, whose gender as a woman aligns with a binary that people are familiar with. She has been vocal about this on social media, where she has also addressed the fact that other trans people who don’t conform to cisnormative beauty standards which, as a model, she at least somewhat embodies, are more likely to be outed or killed. In an interview with Dazed, she said that her hope is “not just that more trans stories are told, but different kinds as well.”
10. She is present for and reaches out to the trans community, and advocates for less visible trans people.
As mentioned above, Nef has transitioned very publicly, documenting the process openly and honestly on social media sites like Tumblr and Instagram. Her social media presence has created a safer space for other trans people, who now have an example of someone being out as trans and it being okay. She regularly takes questions and comments on her Tumblr from fans, especially trans fans: in one such instance, she was contacted by a young trans woman in Iraq, who expressed loneliness at being the only person in her town that’s trans, but comfort in the fact that she had Nef’s example to follow.
That’s not any old behind-doors frock! It’s now high fashion.
The traditional sexy slip dress for Orthodox women is getting a modern, yet still modest, upgrade that’s bringing it out to the streets, and to the top design house runways.
It is almost 2016, after all.
Vogue reports that Rag & Bone have given the slip dress the modest treatment, “by layering it on top of long-sleeve shirts and slim-fitting cigarette pants, complete with a polished leather topper.”
“Don’t be afraid to layer!” says The Frock’s Simi Polonsky, an Australian Orthodox Jew. “Wear a crisp white shirt or a striped or sheer turtleneck underneath.”
Polansky has some other advice for adding a touch of tomboy sass: “You can totally rock it with high-top kicks and a hoodie,” she and The Frock’s other designer, Chaya Chanin, tell Vogue. “And if you are really into ‘man repelling,’ add a cute sports bra on top.”
Yes the words Orthodox fashion and sports bra have appeared in the same article.
Finally, designers are keeping the slip dress out there for evening events.
Adi Heyman of Fabologie tells Vogue: “The timely revival of the fur stole and slip dress is quite serendipitous—take full advantage. I myself have been eyeing a vintage 1920s flapper cape that would be perfect over the covered-up slip dress.”
The Vogue piece is packed with tons of other tips.
Ralph Lauren, the “man who dresses America,” just announced that he is stepping down as CEO and handing over the reigns to Stefan Larsson. Lauren’s designs are so ingrained in American culture and style that we hope the new vision for the fashion line will keep the charm and easy elegance of the old.
Having influenced his fellow designers and consumers alike, we compiled Lauren’s most iconic looks through his five decades in fashion.
1) It began with a tie
Lauren started POLO in 1967 and began hand making ties using colorful fabrics out of an Empire State building showroom. Lauren sold $500,000 worth in a year.
2) Polo Shirt
Introduced in 1972, the shirt with the iconic polo emblem was offered in 24 different shades.
3) Wide-brimmed women’s hat
7) Women’s suits
9) “Annie Hall”
Lauren’s sleek and buttoned-down designs were worn by both Diane Keaton and Woody Allen in the 1977 hit.
Lauren’s preppy style brought New England weekend wear into the mainstream. When asked why so many of his designs are inspired by the look, Lauren said: “People ask how can a Jewish kid from the Bronx do preppy clothes? Does it have to do with class and money? It has to do with dreams.”
14) Native American
15) Men’s Suits
16) “The Great Gatsby”
Lauren’s costumes for Robert Redford in 1974’s “The Great Gatsby” brought the roaring 20s style back in vogue.
17) Snow bunny wear
18) Luxury and evening wear
Lauren inspiration for collections, he said, comes “from a story or theme that gets to me… that says I know how to build this. I don’t build a collection from the sleeve or from a specific fabric. I build it out of a dream.”
We all have that friend we turn to for last minute fashion advice. For Lena Dunham, that friend is Leandra Medine, a.k.a. The Man Repeller.
This text-message exchange, posted to Dunham’s Instagram account on Tuesday, has them discussing a Very Important question:
Despite what Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian’s Met Ball gowns would have you believe, the runways have recently been clogged with longer hemlines and cover-all sleeves. As Elissa Strauss pointed out last year, ” the look of the moment is a modest one, a style that is unlikely to make your dad or your rabbi blush.”
(For those of you wondering, The Row is a “minimalist-leaning label known for its simplistic shapes and sumptuous fabrics” run by Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen — the twins recently won the Womenswear Designer of the Year Award at the 2015 Council of the Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards.)
Lena, Leandra — can we have a slumber party and play dress up? I’ll bring the rugelach.
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