Week In Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

by The Avenue Editorial Board

Don't Treat Me Like One Of Your French Girls

By Victoire Cointy
Photography by Ellie MacLean
Modeled by Aya Albakoush, Anna Sedova, and Wint Htet

This article has been adapted for the web from our Unity/Uniformity Issue.

Every designer creates clothing with a particular individual in mind, creating entire lines and collections as they place themselves in their models’ shoes. Just as each individual puts together their outfit based on the demands of their day, a designer will inhabit their customer for an instant. The “French Girl” we’ve all come to aspire to be was, like any other style, born from the self-expression of a particular type of woman.

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This French Girl is effortless, wears minimal makeup and prefers a neutral palette over loud colours. Her sex appeal doesn’t come from a plunging neckline, high hemline or exposed skin, but from her elegance, sophistication and quiet intellect. She’s unapologetically herself and owns her identity as a voracious sexual being, but with a quiet and muted confidence. Her indulgences are always reasonable, though she’s never one to refuse a glass of red wine, any and all types of cheese or some chocolat, especially when offered by a potential romantic counterpart. Her hair cascades down her shoulders with admirable ease. She’s Brigitte Bardot, Catherine Deneuve, Jane Birkin, Inès de la Fressange, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Carine Roitfeld, Laeticia Casta, Clémence Poésy, and Julia Restoin Roitfeld. She’s the elusive, yet widely desired French Girl.

This image of the French Girl pervades every aspect of the fashion industry, from runways to magazines. Even Vogue, a leader in the print and digital media industry, has a plethora of articles about her in its archive, with topics ranging from matching eyeshadow to earrings in “This French Girl Beauty Trick Is About to Be Everywhere” to dissecting fall-appropriate outfits in “How to Do Back-to-School Shopping Like a French Girl” or celebrating of bare skin in “Why French Girls Skip Concealer—and Swear by the Surprising Charm of Under-Eye Circles.” Goop— Gwyneth Paltrow’s newsletter turned lifestyle brand—one-ups the print mogul with an entire section on its website dedicated to looking like the French Girl. One of its first few articles is a French Girl wardrobe starter kit because “French women do, in fact, just have it going on.” From a simple black blazer, to year-round white denim, the look seems almost too easy to co-opt.

Articles like these—found in every nook and cranny of the fashion print industry—preach the secrets of a woman who seems so elusive and so perfect, she’s almost completely unattainable. Therein lies the attraction women have with this myth, turned marketing gimmick.

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Brands profit from the idea of the French girl. In fact, it’s slowly but surely turned into a billion-dollar industry. Take French Girl Organics. The sustainable beauty brand, created by American entrepreneur Kristeen GriffinGrimes, markets itself as “inspired by the timeless je ne sais quoi spirit of French Girls everywhere” and “perfect for everyday self-care and effortless indulgence” on its website. However, other than the French labels, none of the products feature any ingredients that seem inherently French. Though Griffin-Grimes claims to have been inspired by the South of France, the area’s intoxicating scent of vegetation and garrigue is ignored in favor of rose, sea salt and charcoal, which—truth be told— hold no particular significance in French culture.

On the fashion front, Madewell, launched in 2006, has built itself around making the French style readily available. From customizable leather bags to striped cotton shirts, channelling the style of the hundreds of thousands of women roaming the cobbled streets of Paris has never been easier. But, here’s the thing: no French girl would ever wear a mustard tee with the word “Dijon” printed onto it in big, bold letters. That idea is tantamount to French designers creating a maroon shirt embroidered with the words “barbecue sauce,” and labelling it the American style.

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The current definition of “French style” and its effortlessness severely misrepresents French identity. Though France is not a leader nor a model of diversity and integration, Parisian women— unlike what brands and the media want us to believe — are not all slender white women with hair that always falls perfectly when undone and a constantly clear complexion. Many women in Paris are women of colour, who leave their homes in hijabs, dashikis or kaftans; women who do not fit in ridiculously small sample sizes; and working women, whose dress is determined by their field of work rather than their own personal musings. Denying that their sense of style is part of the larger tapestry of French fashion is ignoring a very large percentage of the women who make up the population of France today.

To put it metaphorically, lack of diversity and social inclusion in France is like a bad blemish: the country knows of its existence, but often refuses to take a long hard look in the mirror to truly acknowledge it. In the past few years alone, the country has dived nose-first into a more nationalistic identity, almost electing Marine Le Pen—incumbent leader of the National Rally, a right-wing nationalist party—to the presidency in 2017. Coupled with the recent refugee crises and subsequent immigration, many today feel like outsiders and second-class citizens in a country they’ve called home for generations.

Mix together this nationalist identity with a severe lack of social mixity and cultural integration, and you end up with the cités of Seine Saint-Denis and Marseille. Both known for being the poorest areas in France, their landscape is made up of dozens of cheap, large building complexes which house generations of immigrants from all over the African continent.

It’s when looking at issues as deeply rooted as the racial and financial segregation of individuals in France that one is truly able to understand the problematic nature of the French Girl’s existence. Not only is she a classical misrepresentation of the many styles of dress adopted women across the country, she is a symptom of a much larger issue: racism and the erasure of diversity in France. So, next time you plan to wear a beret, forgo your concealer or add a red lip in an effort to be authentically French, think about Laura Flessel, Marjane Satrapi, Leïla Bekhti, Yamina Benguigui, Amel Bent or even Fleur Pellerin—all truer reflections of what it means to be a French girl than that marketing myth could ever dream of being.

I Tried Making Sense of Guinea Pig Journalism & You Won't Believe What Happened

By Olivia Mastrosimone
Photography by Calem Robertson
odeled by Anna Rychlik, Bridget McDonald, and Alaina Robie

This article has been adapted for the web from our Unity/Uniformity Issue.

“I Dressed Like Meghan Markle For 5 Days & Honestly I’m Still Exhausted.”

“I Dressed Like Every Kardashian Jenner for the Week.”

“I’m 23 and Dressed as Royal Baby Prince George for a Week.”

The list goes on—literally. There are pages of this stuff. We’re talking more than 18 Google Os worth of people trying to look like other people and writing about it. It’s confusing, it’s entertaining and it’s absolutely taking over the internet.

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The idea of “guinea pig journalism,” as coined by Amelia Diamond of Man Repeller, is one unique to 2010s fashion and digital media. It all follows the same basic concept: someone decides, for no real reason, to dress like a public figure, character or decade for a week, chronicles their journey with photos or videos and then writes about how it fundamentally changed them as a person or something. You have your classic, “I Dressed Like Kim Kardashian for a Week” articles on just about every lifestyle publication on the internet, but it goes much deeper. What about the trend where YouTube personalities make videos about dressing like other YouTube personalities? Or the more abstract articles, like Refinery29’s “I Dressed Like a Divorcée In A Rom-Com For A Week?” There’s even a Vice article about dressing like Keanu Reeves that somehow manages to make a compelling statement about value and self-expression. Oh, the nuance!

We could categorize guinea pig journalism as a harmless fluff fad, and just brush it off our content-logged shoulders. Cosmopolitan probably won’t be winning a Pulitzer Prize for “I Dressed like North West for a Week and This is What Happened,” but let’s think for a moment about the purpose these articles serve – outside of being guilty pleasure material.

If you can get on board with the dramatics, there is a dark side to all of this content. The more articles of this type you read, the stronger tendency there is to develop a destructive “if that celebrity can do it, why can’t I?” mentality. Pop culture views an extreme divide between celebrity culture and real people, and focusing on the details of how a celebrity dresses and lives their life for an article exemplifies this unattainable reality. In short, reading an article about a normal woman who fails miserably at trying to look like celebrities who have a fullon “glam squad” at their disposal is probably not the best for our psyches. It’s not that they’re shooting too high, just at the wrong target.

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No matter how high you think your horse is, you can admit that these articles – if anything – are fun. They’re downsized reality TV without the champagne-throwing antics. They’re the articles you read while waiting for a train or spiraling down a content binge at 3 a.m. Besides being entertaining, they have the ability to make us feel good about ourselves, considering the most common thread is that dressing like any celebrity is excruciating. You’ll think to yourself, “being Kim K seems pretty terrible, I mean, I can be seen in public in my pajamas and no one will care! I’m so lucky I don’t have to always look presentable!” and go about the rest of your day with a newfound sense of pride in your day-to-day appearance. If these articles teach us anything, it’s that flawlessness is a farce, and being real is easiest.

The next time you come across one of these pieces, which shouldn’t be too long from now, think about how it’s affecting you. Treat it as entertainment, not a suggestion. You don’t have to stop reading about women being Kim K’s guinea pig. Keep watching that video about dressing like a Real Housewife of New York. Enjoy content responsibly, and be happy knowing you can leave the house in whatever state of pajama-wearing you like. Focus on yourself and don’t strive for unrealistic ideals, unless those ideals are Keanu Reeves barefoot wearing a red trucker hat.

Week In Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Common Threads: Trends as a Form of Unity

By Aidan Baglivo
Photography by Kate Coiro
Modeled by Michaiah Parker, Aidan Baglivo, Tiffany Fujiwara, Soja Moore & Annabel Snidow

This article has been adapted for the web from our Unity/Uniformity Issue.

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There is comfort in uniformity. In today’s divisive world, fashion can offer a reprieve from the toxicity of a polarized political environment insofar that certain trends transcend current events. Sharing an affinity for something tangible, like the clothes on your back, with other people promotes new connections and discourages the all-too-familiar “Us vs. Them” dynamic.

Trends are intersectional because the fervor behind fashion has no boundaries. What a person chooses to wear and how they choose to wear it is directly influenced by the choices of others. Because inspiration knows no color or creed, a particular style can emerge at any rung in the social ladder. Part of fashion’s appeal is its momentum in the pendulum of public opinion; surges in a particular style’s popularity are infectious.

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People often participate in the group dynamic behind a trend without needing to consider their background or beliefs. Denim, in particular, has sustained public favor for decades across differences in race, gender and class. With the recent resurgence of denim jackets, patches and overalls, the trend has truly diffused throughout society regardless of political affiliation, sexual orientation, race or gender. There is beauty in the anonymity of a trend— wearing it and flaunting it are not restricted to one type of human.

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Natural differences arise in how people choose to wear what everyone is wearing. This natural dynamic highlights how individuality can thrive within unity. Putting personal touches on an overarching style or fabric, like denim, enables people to make trends their own. Experimenting with raw or clean hems, the type of wash or embroidery creates avenues for self-expression while retaining a connection to something larger than oneself.

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Lone voices from disparate sources unite under trends to form a cohesive yet heterogeneous form of protest. Historically speaking, women have been restricted in the realm of fashion due to their gender. After all, jeans began as simple pieces of men’s workwear because of their durability. Considering the general impracticality of womenswear, the popularity of these utilitarian garments among women is a direct result of rebellious women adopting men’s Levi’s. Because certain women were brave enough to wear men’s jeans, the denim trend today is united by a sense of androgyny.

We should look to the world of fashion to find stability in a volatile time. The natural ability for people to bond over clothes points to a much larger human dynamic; people are much more similar than they think. There is power in our common threads.

Week In Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

The Conservatism of Menswear

By Phil Zminda, Editor-in-Chief
Photography by Rashod Blades
Modeled by Jack Mazzeo, Jace Ritchey and Ty Nicholson

This article has been adapted for the web from our Flux Issue.

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In interwar London, psychologist John Carl Flügel was desperate for a liberated men’s wardrobe. “Man,” Flügel claimed, had “abandoned his claim to be considered beautiful. He henceforth aimed at only being useful.” Flügel asserted that, prior to the 18th century, men wore vivacious colors, lavish fabrics, and even high heels as status symbols—until the Enlightenment movement posited all men as equal, and more importantly, practical. In the philosophy’s spirit of egalitarianism, men were encouraged to only wear shirts, suits, pants, and ties. Encouraged is an understatement, though; others read the choice to wear any other sort of clothing as an assertion that they were better than other men. Just as today, alliance with other men was the only reliable route to power or social status, so flamboyant dressing was left for women, and paying for their wives’ fashions was left to men, making their women true accessories and symbols of wealth in one fell swoop. Flügel named this late 18th century shift in men’s fashion the Great Male Renunciation. His perspective on fashion history was undoubtedly informed by his membership in the Men’s Dress Reform Party. The London-based “clothing reform” movement endorsed kilts over trousers, blouses over shirts, sandals to shoes, and shorts over trousers as everyday wear for men. Although many of these reformers based their arguments on sun-worshipping pseudoscience (exposure to sunlight could cure tuberculosis!) and a simple desire for fabrics more breathable than wool, they had a point—the conservatism of men’s fashion was, and remains to this day, suffocating.

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In the centuries since the Renunciation, women’s fashion has exploded in variety, with the avant-garde and the tame being able to coexist on the same runway, in the same store, and even on the same woman. Although this variability in feminine aesthetics may come from sexist roots of “woman as an accessory,” it gives modern women the opportunity to experiment with different looks and trends without fearing it reflects on their character or person. To follow and play with different trends as a woman, if anything, is celebrated; she’s seen as adaptable, fashionable, and well-read.

Menswear and the men who follow it are not so lucky. The post-Renunciation “maniform” of suits and trousers has left an indelible mark on the variety of men’s fashion that lines the clothing racks of malls everywhere. The possible outfits menswear consumers can buy almost never deviate from the shirt and trousers silhouette template, and the more outrageous menswear runway looks never truly find their way onto the racks. This conundrum leaves menswear either absurd or boring, while womenswear can be absurd, boring, elegant, refined, and a dictionary of other descriptors.

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This isn’t to say that men aren’t permitted to have style— there are plenty of menswear savants who make lemonade out of these polyester lemons—but it feels like they can’t have fashion. It’s unfair to entirely blame menswear for being boring, as the majority of men only want boring, but the men who want something else are left to either spend a pretty penny, get used to it, or scour the women’s rack. What further complicates the menswear industry is the way in which men use it. Men’s apparel operates on an assumption that men use fashion not to express facets of who they are, as womenswear may, but to avoid looking foolish. The ubiquity of the “maniform” causes men to fear that any deviation from its most unassuming forms—a t-shirt and jeans, a button-down and a shirt—is fodder for mockery because it either doesn’t look good or because it’s “feminine” to care about how you dress. This toxic culture of men and the menswear industry in tandem create a vicious cycle in which men dress conservatively by default, and are only able to either purchase more of the same or dress in excessively liberal “rebellion” clothes, leaving them nothing in the middle ground to explore. Today’s men, just as post-Renunciation men, thus stick to the same tried and tired clothes.

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It’s not like men don’t care about fashion, though. r/malefashionadvice, a Reddit community sporting over 1.3 million subscribers, provides visual guides to basic wardrobes, fit and color to men who don’t know where to begin their relationship with fashion. Its members post inquiries about what pants to wear with red shoes, which pair of white low-tops is best, whether messenger bags are in or not, and even how to embrace the “goth ninja” aesthetic. Perhaps this community typifies that excessive concern with how they look, but it could also indicate men have a more vested interest in fashion if they understand it better, if it’s clear that there are as many ways to dress “like a man” as there are to dress “like a woman.”

It’s a popular maxim that clothing doesn’t have gender, but as long as men’s fashion serves a population with such rigid gender norms to follow, it’s difficult for the average man to fully divorce it from his clothing. One of the two major cultural forces that shape men’s aesthetics—designers and masculinity—must give in order to pave the way for newer, less constricting possibilities. The culture of men will not change without challenge, so designers and consumer fashion businesses must inch it forward. They can put jumpsuits or rompers in men’s sections without marketing them as “for him.” They can create men’s clothing that replicates the variety of shapes, silhouettes, and colors in women’s clothing. They can even put famous men in these clothes to normalize its existence. This isn’t to say every brand must do this, as everything isn’t for everybody. But endlessly reinforcing a monolithic aesthetic onto an entire gender not only encourages homogeny, but also limits what they’re allowed to look like.

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Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

How Old is Fashion's Newest New

By Julie Lombardi
Photography by Calem Robertson
Modeled by Bridget McDonald, Julia Buckner, Kaela Anderson and Isabella Spigel

This article has been adapted for the web from our Flux Issue.

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Seasonal fashions are like karma—what goes around comes around. It’s safe to say that you should stop throwing your “out-of-style” clothes away because you never know when an outdated item may reappear at New York Fashion Week. Fashion, an ever-evolving industry, can only remain so innovative before designers look to previous decades and collections for inspiration. The word “new” in fashion refers to the revival of an item or trend rather than an original unveiling. Iconic 80s and 90s trends are resurrected using more sleek and modern silhouettes, fabrics, and textures. These trends are cycled through each season faster and faster as we absorb newer trends more and more rapidly. Thanks to innovative technology and social media, fashion occurs and recurs, and we do our best to keep up.

This past NYFW saw reappearances of trends that were established decades ago, from bright neon colors, fringe, and classic silhouettes from the 1980s and 1990s. Anna Wintour commented that brands incorporated a sense of optimism and bright neon colors as a way to detract from the barrage of dark news that surrounds our current period (Anna Wintour, Vogue). Bright neons found their origins, however, in the 1980s pop scene. Think: Madonna, Like a Virgin. Bright colors, especially marigold yellow, were shown by brands such as Prabal Gurung, Brandon Maxwell and many more this season.

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Brands such as Versace and Ralph Lauren reached milestone events, such as the 20th anniversary of Gianni Versace’s death and the 50th anniversary of Ralph Lauren’s designing career. These milestones are inspiring the respective designers to look to their brands’ immeasurable pasts and incorporate their trademark designs into their newest collections. In the case of Versace, that means bringing back legendary baroque prints and classic early 90s silhouettes such as shoulder pads, miniskirts, and high-waisted trousers. or With Ralph Lauren, that means reviving earth-toned plaids, oversized jackets, and chunky sweaters that originate from the late 80s and early 90s, a time period so many other designers seem to borrow inspiration from.

Contemporary streetwear also seems to be influenced by past decades, as runway trends make their way into real life. The reintroduction of peasant blouses by niche brands such as Orseund Iris, I.AM.GIA and The Reformation is reminiscent of the 70s yet made more modern with updated and more flattering silhouettes. One of the most popular streetwear trends being revived is the “dad sneaker” by brands such as Balenciaga, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton. These oversized and eye-catching sneakers are broken in by celebrities and fashion bloggers alike and are the source of some fashion controversy; are they ultimately worth the hype and expensive price tag? Whatever the case, the fashion community as a whole seems to have re-embraced this trend. Also borrowing from the 90s “dad” aesthetic is the reemergence of fanny packs that are reproduced by iconic brands such as Gucci, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and so many more. The fanny pack trend is essentially the result of combining fashion with practicality. Making a more subtle comeback has been the 80s and 90s power suit, sported by influential names such as Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid and Rihanna. Powersuits have been updated from the 80s by reimagining the silhouettes and giving them a more deconstructed vibe by pairing with more casual pieces like t-shirts and sneakers.

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Style revivals are incorporated into fashion by designers during fashion month and by magazine writers and editors. From there, celebrities and fashion bloggers incorporate revival trends into their own wardrobe, adding a personal touch to a bigger trend. Because of modern technology and social media, throwback trends are circulated into the mass market very quickly and made available for the everyday consumer. The very nature of the fashion industry—borrowing from the past and making it current—is cyclical. In each decade you can trace inspirations to an earlier decade, whether it be 90s trends that came from the 70s or 70s trends that came from the 20s. Think back on the iconic thin brows and dramatic eye makeup sported in the 1920s that were made popular again in the 70s. We can expect the industry to carry on this way, always inventing new twists on old pieces, because old is the new new.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks, Halloween Edition

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Mame Kurogouchi Speaks to Changing Japanese Cultural Attitudes in SS2019 Presentation

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent

Photos courtesy of Vogue Runway

Using the skills she honed during her time at Issey Miyake, Mame Kurogouchi integrated traditional Japanese garments with global trends to document a changing cultural mindset at Tokyo Fashion Week 2019.

The collection spotlighted delicate silks, laces, and fringes juxtaposed with intricate PVC handbags and casual footwear. Styles featuring thick sweater dresses walked in between floor-sweeping silk kimonos and yukata in lilac and pastels. Silk pants and flowing gauzy embroidered tops were followed by elegant gowns which combined the yukata’s wide sleeves with the kimono’s structured form, celebrating the traditional Japanese garments.

Pairing these time-honored silhouettes with simple sandals, modernized versions of the traditional geta, spoke to Kurogouchi’s ability to blend tradition with rapidly changing youth attitudes. The stiff plastic handbags, in line with the trend that has swept collections and presentations globally, ironically resembled the work of ancient and intricate kiriko glass. As part of a culture that exists in flux between traditional and progressive attitudes, Kurogouchi’s styling of intricate Japanese handcraft with timely Western accessories spoke to the ways traditionally feminine visual elements manifest in such a liminal space.

With her collection, Kurogouchi paid homage to elements which originated in the Japanese countryside, and presented her perspective on femininity in a changing global landscape. The balance between such varied stylistic and cultural elements throughout the collection spoke to Kurogouchi’s recognition of a Japanese youth culture which has evolved to exist between and within times, worlds, and global cultures.

Are Dad Sneaks the New Heels?

By Amanda Haroutunian
Photos by Lauren Walsh
Modeled by Sam Krot

If you’ve been following trends at all recently, or even taken a look around at the latest in street style, chances are you’ve spotted a wide variety of the chunky, eye-catching, and confusing blocks on people’s feet, better known as “Dad Sneakers”. As a sneaker enthusiast, I was intrigued by the bizarre new trend, and excited to begin my journey in discovering how to rock them best. My first thought was to try to wear them as I would my normal sneakers, with some mom jeans or high-waisted shorts. But apparently I wasn’t thinking creatively enough, because with these unique shoes also came a revolutionary concept – wearing dad sneakers with formal attire like dresses and blazers. This emphasis on contrasts has been very popular in the fashion community, and it is a look that I’ve come to love. Whether it be contrasts in patterns, styles, fabrics, etc., it’s an idea that is flexible, accessible, and easily executed regardless of the size of your bank account. This isn’t the first time someone has attempted this bold style, though; remember when Demi Lovato poetically questioned, “Who says, I can’t wear my converse with my dress?” in her song “La La Land”? But that particular trend never really surpassed Disney Channel stars, and it definitely didn’t blow up like the pairing of dad sneakers with formalwear is doing now.

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Dad sneakers and dresses isn’t just a cute look that I intend on shamelessly copying though, it’s a total game changer. It’s safe to say I, along with many millennials, have completely re-evaluated my fashion decisions when going out up to this point. Why have I been destroying my feet and cramming them into narrow stilettos, only to be on my feet all night, when I could’ve been bouncing in Filas? Dancing at a party in four-inch heels? Eh. Dancing at a party in my dad sneakers? Clear the floor.

Aside from the practicalities and convenience that come with this iconic new trend, I’ve discovered another underlying quality that these shoes have provided for me, and that is confidence. I would take a pair of sneakers over heels any day—I’m sure many women can relate — but the social pressure to have to wear heels when going out has always been fairly prominent. This trend totally demolishes that by not only making it acceptable to wear sneakers out, but making it a bold, trendy statement. Another attribute that they provide is comfort — and no, I’m not talking about physical comfort in my feet, although that is also notable — but comfort as in feeling good in my own skin. I feel more myself in a pair of chunky dad sneakers than I do in stilettos, so to be able to rock them on a Friday night when I’m dressed up and trying to feel my best is all I could ask for.

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It’s also worth taking a step back and noting that this is a small stride for feminism in the fashion community. Fashion designers are no longer concerned with reflecting traditional, feminine looks, and it is clear that we’re moving into a new era where fashion isn’t constrained by gender. Womenswear is no longer confined to projecting a “girly” style; instead it’s expanding to include a variety of looks that used to only be acceptable if worn by men. With the rise of pant suits and blazers, tracksuits, baggy cargo pants or sweatpants, and joggers, the line that divides men’s and women’s fashion is quickly diminishing. The evolution of these trends directly correlates with the progress of feminism in society, and it not only says something about the change in which society views women, but in which women view themselves. The similar quality that brings all these trends together is that they’re all bold, statement pieces. In the past, designers wouldn’t think of these strong trends for women because they weren’t concerned with making women look powerful, but rather with reflecting qualities like sex appeal, fragility, and femininity. Now, a lot of women strive to project strength and confidence, and designers are hearing them and creating these bold fashion statements.

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There are many ways that you can rock this new trend, and the look can vary from a simple outfit to an overall statement look. You can wear jeans and a top that allows the emphasis to stay on the dad sneakers. Or, you can take to the trend of contrasts and wear them with more dressy attire. Whether you wear them during the day with a sundress and jacket, or at night with a cocktail dress and blazer, you’re bound to turn heads Another unique option is to wear them with either a matching pantsuit, or possibly a multi-color blazer and pant set.

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It’s evident that designers and society together are making a bold statement that confidence in fashion and feeling good in your clothes is not limited to feminine styles like heels, but it extends to bulky sneakers that your Dad would totally rock. This journey of redefining fashion to create gender fluid trends and strong statements to empower women is an exciting beginning for not only designers, but also for women who have previously felt disconnected to women’s fashion.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

4 Places to Get Last Minute Halloween Costumes in Boston

By Kelly Fleming

There’s less than a week left until Halloween, and let me guess — you don’t have a costume yet. Don’t bother with Amazon and expensive two day shipping, there are plenty of great places to find costumes right here in Boston. Besides, I guarantee that hunting for the perfect costume while exploring Boston will be way more fun than reusing the same costume you’ve been wearing for the past three years. Here are four places you can check out after class to find the perfect costume.

Photos courtesy of Dorothy’s Costume Boutique and Google Maps

The closest costume shop to campus is Dorothy’s Costume Boutique on Mass Ave. About a 10 minute walk from campus, Dorothy’s will meet all your costume needs, from complete outfits to specialty pieces like masks, contacts, or wigs (one of their specialties). Dorothy’s is a great quick option for a last minute costume, but it can build up long lines as Halloween grows closer.

Dorothy’s Costume Boutique

190 Massachusetts Ave, Boston, MA 02115

http://www.dorothysboutique.biz/

  Photo Courtesy of The Garment District

Photo Courtesy of The Garment District

A little farther out is Boston Costume, also known as The Garment District. The Garment District is a fantastic “alternative department store” which is worth a visit outside of Halloween for its dollar-a-pound clothing selection system. The Boston Costume division has the added option of costume rentals, in case you want to go all out without spending big bucks. The Garment District/Boston Costume is only about a 20-minute bus ride.

Boston Costume (The Garment District)

200 Broadway, Cambridge MA 02139

https://garmentdistrict.com/

  Photo Courtesy of Halloween City

Photo Courtesy of Halloween City

The next shop is Halloween City, a small shop close to Boston Common. Halloween City has great costume options as well as Halloween decorations, in case you want to get festive in your dorm room. Halloween City is a 25 minute walk from campus that takes you right by Boston Common, and a visit is a great opportunity to explore Boston and get some shopping done.

Halloween City

356 Boylston St, Boston, MA 02116

https://www.halloweencity.com/

  Photo Courtesy of Underground Express

Photo Courtesy of Underground Express

On the other side of Boston Common is Underground Express, about a 15 minute walk from Halloween City. Why not hit both in one trip? Underground Express is known for its sales and advertises many $25 costumes. It’s also easily accessible, right by Boston Common and the Park Street T stop.

Underground Express

31 Winter St, Boston, MA 02108

https://underground-express.business.site/

Good luck finding costumes, with so many local shopping options I’m sure they’ll be great! With luck you’ll have as much fun finding your costume as you do showing it off on Halloween.

My Style (R)Evolution

Written and Modeled by Rowan Van Lare
Photos by Anita Goharfar

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I’ve always had a hard time figuring out if I should hide in the crowd or stand out brightly like I have a constant spotlight directly on my face. My natural instinct is to stand out - to speak so loud that everyone can hear me, see me, and know exactly where and who I am. But, at the same time, I’ve never loved myself enough to want to be seen or, especially, be photographed (which is why I asked to have myself photographed for this article). My conscience is my own personal critic and she wields a lot of power over me.

This inability to accept myself for who I am began in middle school, when I was still five or six years away from ever dreaming of getting out. I went to the same private school from preschool through 12th grade, with the same rather homogeneous people. They expected something, required it, and as one who always stood out — the curly, wacky piece of hair in the clump of silky, straight hair — I wasn’t able to provide it.

I was overweight in middle school. While I personally think I’m still overweight, I know it’s not to the same degree. My style was a desperate attempt to hide that fact; I would wear bell bottoms to make my legs look thinner and hide the fact that I had knock knees and scarves to hide my rolls. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a shirt that is tight on my stomach.

That style, my middle school aesthetic of trying to flatter my body type, was okay. In all honesty, I loved the bell bottoms. I hated the scarves though, and wanted looser tops. I had an hourglass figure, so I needed to figure out a way to show that off while not revealing a single roll of fat on my body. I slowly started to do that, and then I moved to high school and met the people I would call my friends for the next 4 years.

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They were great friends. They didn’t let me stress out too much junior year; they supported my love for nachos and cheesecake but also were there for me when I wanted to go running. However, there were one or two girls who brought my self-esteem down lower than before. They would degrade my style, feeling comfortable enough around me that they didn’t realize it hurt. I learned that that was what friends did —knocked each other down for fun. I got really good at it; we all did.

The shift in my style was quick then. I gave away all the bell-bottoms, almost all of my high-waisted clothing. Skinny jeans were in, and that was what I wore. I got leggings — I loved leggings because everyone loved leggings. I still wore long shirts and cardigans to hide everything, but even those came off eventually because they weren’t “the normal style”. I can’t even say that they weren’t “in style” because they weren’t a style at all — it was part of the preppy culture. I lost my individuality.

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The end of my senior year hit me like a truck. My friend group imploded, leaving me with only four friends out of the original group still talking to me. It was for the best, because the ones who were my worst critics were no longer my friends, and I saw a small change in myself.

I bought a really nice pair of mom jeans. Everyone hated them. They told me that I looked really ugly in them, fat even, but I didn’t care. I loved them. Then I bought a whole bunch of other high-waisted pants and my personal favorite, bell bottoms; fun bell bottoms, bell bottoms with embroidery or patches. I stopped going to H&M and Forever 21 and went to thrift stores to find what I wanted. Little elements that had always been a part of my style — bright colors and oversized statement pieces — now became my favorite things to wear, rather than the things I wore on the weekends when I wasn’t with my friends. I became myself again — the real me.

In college, my style has thrived. I rarely wear the clothes that make me fit in anymore; I only wear the clothes that I want to wear all the time. Occasionally, that’s a sporty t-shirt and a pair of leggings, a constant staple of my high school wardrobe, but also that’s bell bottoms and a bright tank top that came right out of the ‘70s or a floral skirt and a bralette with a netted shirt on top. I’m me now, and that’s what matters.

At Northeastern, I see so many people who accept themselves in the same way. There is a girl in a few of my classes who wears makeup not as a quick beauty routine but as art, with black lines of eyeliner in nontraditional places like her chin or her cheeks, or purple eyeshadow all around her eyes. There is a boy who I see on my commute to my first class who wears fun shorts with pineapples and other fruits on them. I see beauty in individuality here and encourage others to notice and compliment the people who are breaking the mold and the people who just love the way they look in what they wear. Support them, because loving yourself is hard when little things are constantly encouraging you not to. And do the same for yourself — wear colored contacts like the girl in one of my classes if that makes you happy. People will see you and be inspired to be themselves.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Boston En Vogue Showcases Eclectic Fashion Worth Worshipping

By Phil Zminda, Editor-in-Chief
Photography by Riley Robinson

In the awe-inspiring Emmanuel Episcopal Church of Boston on Newbury Street, the 2018 Boston En Vogue fashion show of extravagant scale demonstrated the eclectic skill and style of the show’s international designers.

The space was full to the brim with peacocking fashion aficionados, eager to see the six designers' collections as brought to life by an extensive team of models, hair and makeup artists from the Boston area. Featuring the work of Conrad Lamour, Christina Ter’esa, Majesty 22, Debbie Nghiem, Lavish Living, and Sylvie Dahl, the show wrapped up Boston Fashion Week in style.

Check out our favorite looks below.

Rei Kawakubo Presents Stately Comme Des Garçons Ceremony

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent
Photos courtesy of Vogue Runway

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Comme Des Garçons presented their SS2019 Ready to Wear collection in a regal and ceremonial Paris Fashion Week proceeding.

Rei Kawakubo, most noted for her ability to convey pure emotion through her sculptural, awe-inspiring silhouettes, continued her tradition of beautifully orchestrated presentations that challenge what is known about femininity, culture, and balance. Announced by the designer’s husband Adrian Joffe, this 2019 “Mini Show” presents “a profoundly internal approach . . . about what’s deep inside,” according to Kawakubo. Thus, the presentation explored both Kawakubo’s deep emotions and the female condition through her garments rich with imagery and symbolism.

The presentation showcased a variety of sculpture-based trench coats, beautiful floor-sweeping gowns, and flowing linen-based garments. The collection took up many of Kawakubo’s most familiar shapes and cuts, yet complexified them with bulging sculptural lumps and extensions protruding from the models. They inched down the aisle in a ceremonial, highly-stylized proceeding, recalling her era-defining 1997 Ready to Wear collection.  

Although Comme Des Garçons is mostly known for its diffusion line “Play”, the presentation proves Kawakubo’s brand is so much more than just a red heart with eyes plastered on Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. The presentation conveys what Comme Des Garçons is truly about as a brand and culturally influencing force–artfully powerful symbolism through deeply intricate sculptural, garment-based design.

Some of the most dystopian looks featured restrictive shoulder-padded blazer tops that flowed straight into sheer mesh dresses, revealing silver chains wrapped underneath the garment and around the models’ bodies. Polka-dot patterns invoked the works of Dada and surrealist artist Yayoi Kusama. News-print fabrics alluded to global shifts in the media, perhaps tipping a hat to the #MeToo movement with the recurring restricted, feminine imagery. The pregnant, bulging bellies juxtaposed with the hidden chains drew parallels between the female condition and the stifling nature of gender roles and expected motherhood. As Kawakubo has no children herself, one can infer that sense of restriction comes from her own experience as a non-mother in a world that expects, if not encourages, women to reproduce.

The collection conveyed the refined and stately facade of the models through stiff blazer-collars,  structured jackets with shoulder pads and restrictive cuts resembling straight-jackets. The garments worked to express a sentiment of balance between reflection and restriction. When you consider Kawakubo’s self-reflective statement for the show, the symbolism in her forms suggests a mindset of self-reflection, hyper-awareness, and criticism.

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Taken as a whole, the collection reads as fashion as political and social commentary on the expectations society has for women. The ceremonial presentation seemingly maps a bizarre and anxiety-ridden world where the women are mute and physically restricted–a concept which certainly is not far off from the state of social and cultural commentary of this past week. The SS 2019 presentation is sure to set the tone for cultural metamorphosis as the artful collection, deep with symbolism, brings to light internalized gendered conditioning. Many have chosen to accept these gender-based expectations, but for those who have not, Kawakubo presents a platform and voice for resistance.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue Editorial Board

Celine Goes YSL in Controversial Spring Summer 2019 Presentation

By Taraneh Azar, Runway Correspondent
Photography courtesy of Iker Aldama / Indigital.tv for Vogue Runway
Special thanks to Diet Prada for influencing photo selections.

When Hedi Slimane removed the accent from Céline as his first move since becoming the brand’s creative director earlier this year it should have been the first red flag. Although one couldn’t anticipate a complete change for the worse from that single action, Slimane’s first show at Paris Fashion Week hammered the final nail into the coffin of Phoebe Philo’s Céline.

Left: Saint Laurent FW17 RTW. Right: Celine Spring 19 RTW

Initial reactions to the SS19 Celine presentation were “Saint Laurent just redid their whole last season”, but here’s the kicker; it was just Slimane redoing his former YSL collections for Celine. As creative director of Saint Laurent from 2012 to 2014, Slimane tailored the house into the glorious pillar of fashion we know it as today—an edgy, hyper-sleek, classic yet innovative brand. As he brings his powerful influence to Celine, his first presentation for the house proves rebranding may be what Slimane does best.

Left: Saint Laurent Fall 2015 Menswear. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW

Sleek biker jackets, tailored pinstripe tuxedos, sequined blazers, and a ‘mixed-gender’ cast typified the presentation, harkening back to Slimane’s work with YSL. Pointed booties with silver hardware buckles and studded leather in all facets recurred throughout the presentation. Ruffle-neck lace tops preceded more sequins, more lace, more leather, and more smartly cut skinny-silhouettes that are perfect for business meetings, funerals, and smoking cigarettes with your biker friends. The all-gender stylings of stiff-cut, sleek suits spoke back to European trends of 2017, while silver-studded fur coats hinted at emerging trends. The incorporation of leather, while repetitive and characteristically Slimane, was beautifully done.

Left: Saint Laurent FW17 RTW. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW

The show wasn’t all black all the time, however;  red pointed oxfords, multi-colored cardigans and acid-bleached jeans were incorporated into the collection. Leopard print, a YSL pattern staple, popped up, too. These slight variations on Slimane’s typical black sequins-and-leather, monochromatic approach, however interesting, barely distracted from the boring styling and repetitive cuts of the collection.

Left: Saint Laurent Fall 2015 Menswear. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW

In short, the show resembled an alternate reality where greasers meet mods and go to a funeral, perhaps mourning the once refined, sophisticated, and artful Céline legacy. While the garments presented were well-constructed, the striking similarities between this collection and Slimane’s previous works left viewers largely dissatisfied. Slimane’s work at Dior Homme, Jil Sander and Saint Laurent established him as a highly-influential creative director. Consequently, global audiences anticipated his first presentation for Celine to set the bar for the Spring 2019 season. Unfortunately, mimicking and rebranding his previous collections failed to satisfy admirers of both Slimane and the once-holy Céline emblem.

Left: Saint Laurent Fall 2016 Menswear. Right: Celine Spring 2019 RTW


Although largely lamentable to Céline fans, Slimane’s presentation has picked up much more traction than Phoebe Philo’s monumental creative contributions to the house ever did. The consequences of the presentation make it seem as though all a house needs is an ultra-successful creative influencer to commercially succeed in global markets today. Thus, the legacy of Céline as a beacon of by-women-for-women style and culture of more than a decade has been destroyed and appropriated by a man. How fitting.