fashion week

Binaries on the Runway

By Kathy Villa

The fashion and modeling industries have long been places of exclusivity, elitism and the seemingly unfaltering aesthetic of the thin white person. Until recently, the industry has had little to no diversity, particularly lacking in queer or LGBT representation. Today, it appears the industry has begun to embrace a multitude of gender identities as we see a revival of androgynous and genderqueer models — but how extensive is this inclusivity, and how are the models in question affected by it?

Photo courtesy of @raindovemodel on Instagram

Photo courtesy of @raindovemodel on Instagram

In fashion, the term “androgyny” is used to describe an aesthetic that “combines both masculine and feminine characteristics” according to Teen Vogue. It is often used loosely, some people using it to describe their gender, with others using it as a descriptor of style. This is where models such as Rain Dove (@raindovemodel) come into play. Standing at 6’2” with a fierce, masculine expression, their androgynous physicality swiftly brought them popularity in 2014. Born female, Rain Dove prefers gender neutral pronouns, but is accepting of every pronoun. Because agencies only seemed to be interested in them for men’s wear campaigns, they ended up pursuing different interests.

That being said, more people are coming to understand the fluidity of gender and clothing, yet high end designers have a long way to go when it comes to inclusivity.

Thanks to those in Hollywood who identify outside of the gender binary the fashion industry is desperate to maintain, the entire industry has shifted towards bigger and better things. Caitlyn Jenner’s public transition was widely celebrated across the internet, and contributed to the LGBT community’s up and coming era of social acceptance and celebration. Genderqueer and non-binary stars like Ruby Rose and Amandla Stenberg have contributed to queer visibility in the entertainment industry. Jaden Smith put everyone in awe when his Louis Vuitton Womenswear campaign in 2016 depicted him in a skirt, and Young Thug broke boundaries when he chose to wear a billowing purple gown for the cover art of his 2016 album No, My name is Jeffery.

But what about the runways of major fashion houses? Despite the increasing number of gender-nonconforming and transgender models being hired by higher end designers, non-binary individuals continue to be used in binary forms. Enter Oslo Grace, the 21-year-old trans non-binary model ruffling everyone’s feathers in the fashion industry. Based in New York, Grace had appeared on plenty of catwalks in the fashion industry, but made their first popular appearance at Jeremy Scott’s Moschino show in January of 2018, closing it alongside Rupaul’s Drag Race winner Violet Chachki in Milan. Impossible to miss, they garnered the attention of Alessandro Michele, who then tasked them with carrying the signature baby dragon for Gucci’s Spring/Summer 2018 fashion week.

Photo Courtesy of Vogue

Photo Courtesy of Vogue

Photo Courtesy of W Magazine

Photo Courtesy of W Magazine

Under their agency, Grace appears under both menswear and womenswear boards, and continues to make appearances for other big name fashion companies. More recently, they were deemed the highlight of Kenzo’s Fall/Winter 2019–2020 show striking multiple looks in one show. In only four minutes, the model transitioned from a compelling pink suit with side-swept bangs to a lavender eye look paired with a fringe-laden pink dress to end the show. When asked about their journey through modeling and why they choose to appear in both mens and womens wear, Grace told Refinery29 “I usually present very binary on the runway because runways aren’t usually nonbinary.” While they continue to work within the traditional limitations of runway culture, they are pushing the boundaries of what it means to be a model by being themselves. Grace is clearly on their way to becoming one of the fashion industry’s hidden gems, in more ways than one. More importantly, they are testing the limits and proving it’s time the fashion industry stopped thinking of fashion as a matter of strictly male or female altogether.

Week in Review: The Avenue's Favorite Looks

By The Avenue’s Editorial Board

New Models to Watch Out For

    Kaia Gerber stole this year's Spring/Summer Fashion Week. Walking in shows such as Versace, Alexander Wang, and Moschino, she showed the world that she truly is Cindy Crawford’s daughter. However, does Kaia Gerber deserve all the recognition she received this fashion week? Do any of today's biggest models deserve their notoriety? Kendall Jenner is part of the Kardashian family. Gigi and Bella Hadid are the daughters of “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Yolanda Hadid. Hailey Baldwin is actor Stephen Baldwin's daughter and Alec Baldwin's niece. Once upon a time, models like Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, and Tyra Banks earned their supermodel status. What happened to models that earn their place in the industry?

This Fashion Week, there were many new models that hit the runway; models that are not the children of famous people, but rather people that worked their way up in the fashion industry through hard work. They are diverse, beautiful, and empowering. They are changing the industry and beauty standards. Here are some of this year’s new models that earned their model status.

Manuela Sanchez is a 16-year-old Dominican model. She debuted at the Saint Laurent S/S 17 show. This year she walked for Chanel, Valentino, and many other prestigious designers. Her uniquely beautiful but edgy looks show why she is favored by so many designers. She was listed by The New York Times as a model to watch this season. You can follow her on Instagram @manuela_sanchez_  


Hannah Motler is a 16 year old British model. She started in the Calvin Klein S/S 18 show. She also walked for Victoria Beckham, Givenchy, and many other prestigious designers. Her delicate and dramatic looks make her a clear standout. She was listed by Vogue as part of the Breakout Model Class of 2018. You can follow her on Instagram @Hannah_Motler


Naomi Chin Wing is a 17-year-old model from Trinidad and Tobago. She debuted in Saint Laurent’s S/S 18 show. She also walked for Alexander McQueen and Altuzarra this season. Vogue referred to her as Trinidad’s next top model. You can find her on Instagram @naomichinwing


Samile Bermannell is an 18 year old model from Brazil. This Fashion Week, she walked for Miu-Miu, Off-White, Dolce & Gabbana, and many other prestigious designers. Harper’s Bazaar highlighted her saying, “When you combine girlish beauty with innate poise on the runway, it makes for casting-director catnip. Bermannelli demonstrated both qualities this season.”

You can follow her on Instagram @samile_b


Fran Summers is an 18-year-old British model. This year she walked for Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen, Givenchy and many other prestigious designers. She was referred to by Vogue as a new fashion favorite. You can follow her on Instagram @fransummers







Versace Runway Show Summary

Written by: Salma Falah

Gianni Versace changed the fashion industry. Taking inspiration from film and modern art, he made fashion more colorful. He is credited for creating the “super model.” Anna Wintour, the Editor in Chief of Vogue, said, “He was the first to realize the value of the celebrity in the front row, and the value of the supermodel, and put fashion on an international media platform.” Versace was at the height of his career when he was murdered. He was shot outside of his Miami Beach home by Andrew Cunanan. His untimely death was mourned by the fashion industry and the world. Versace was not merely a fashion designer, but rather an icon of the 90’s.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of his death. His sister, Donatella Versace, designed her Spring 2018 show in his honor. She chose to focus on his life and his inspirations, such as Andy Warhol and Elton John. Donatella used many of the prints and patterns he notoriously used. The clothing was beautiful, but that was not unexpected. It’s the clothing that the world fell in love with 20 years ago. The best and most beautiful part of the Versace show was the way in which Donatella honored her late brother.

The show closed with the words, “Gianni, this is for you.” Then George Michael’s song “Freedom” followed as the curtains opened. Behind those curtains were five supermodels who owe their careers to Gianni Versace. Carla Bruni, Claudia Schiffer, Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell and Helena Christensen walked in gorgeous metal dresses from Versace’s fall-winter 1994 collection. After the show Crawford said, "We all feel part of the Versace family, that brand was such an important part of the beginning of my career." Versace had an everlasting effect on model industry and the fashion industry at whole. This tribute to him was truly iconic.

versace show .jpg

New York Fashion Week F/W 2016/17 Collection Review

By: Yashi Gudka

New York Fashion Week is one of the four big fashion shows to look forward to every year, and this year was no different. Fall/Winter 2016-17 collections were—as a whole—very wearable. Across many of the collections were the standard dark and earthy tones associated with the seasons; still, some collections deviated from the typical colour scheme—as was the case with the collections of Christian Siriano and Delpozo. From patchwork to embroidery and tasseling, another noticeable trend was the innovative take on denim. Prints, fur and the classic combination of black and white all plentifully appeared on the New York runways.

While there were so many shows at NYFW F/W 2016-17, my favourite collections were Proenza Schouler, Delpozo, Sally LaPointe, Reem Acra and Rodarte.

Proenza Schouler

Known for sophisticated and refined garments, Proenza Schouler defines the cool city girl—consistent in this season's collection. The collection consisted of a mostly neutral palette—reminiscent of eggshells—with the rare pop of chemical red and yellow. All outfits were perfectly tailored, with a plethora of relaxed trousers and a mix of midi and maxi skirts. A predominant criss-cross design gave a slightly edgy, athletic flair to each of the pieces. Accessories were minimalist and neutral-coloured, and the models wore black tipped boots.


In my opinion, Delpozo seems to be Eastern-influenced with its floral prints and flared kimono-like sleeves. The colour scheme was an eclectic mix of royal blue, deep red, yellow and bronze. Despite the contrasting combination of colours, the collection was quite cohesive . The flared sleeves created a strong look, which was then softened by floral minimalistic designs. The most beautiful part of the collection was the appearance of the long flower appliquéd gloves that really “feminized” the collection.

Sally DuPointe

Sally DuPointe stood out as one of the most wearable collections at NYFW. The collection was characteristic to the usual narrative of Fall-Winter collections with coats, chunky sweaters, fur, pleats, midi skirts and dresses. It completely oozed sleek and sexy. Instead of displaying the mix of wintry colours throughout the show, the collection transitioned from one colour to another. Sally DuPointe is a perfect example of classic fall/winter aesthetic done right.

Reem Accra

The first thing that I think that comes to mind about this collection is that it is pure sexiness. Flowy dress after flowy dress, everything was designed and produced with utmost attention to detail. The collection largely resembled lingerie and gave a fierce burlesque-like impression. Reem Accra’s unusual venture into dark and sultry pieces capped off with her signature pretty pastel dresses.


PFW 2016/17: Paris Fashion Week or Punks of Fashion Week?

By:Non Kuramoto

Twice a year when Paris Fashion Week rolls around, I am hit by a strange feeling of surprise—Although I feel as though I should not be, I am regularly taken aback by the number of designers that infuse our world with new blood each season. It was incredibly difficult to choose my favorites. How can I forgo touching on Chanel or Vivienne Westwood—both designed by people who shaped the fashion world today, and continue to be hipper than any of us. Still, shows from fashion houses such as Loewe with J. W. Anderson have paved a path for fellow young designers. Paris Fashion Week offered me just too many options. 

To make things a little easier, I chose to focus on punk influence in the current fashion world. I'm not just thinking punk rock style—as Vivienne Westwood would be at the top of that list—but the designers who have used this season to put up their dukes up to fashion and made us question even, what is fashion? 

Comme Des Garçons

Rei Kawakubo is no newcomer to destroying the fashion status-quo. “Imagining punks in the 18th century, which was a time of so many revolutions,” Kawakubo hits us with extreme decadence featuring wildly blooming flowers that seems to say, fashion has hit its current high, and must wilt in order to re-bloom. Her pieces are obviously not wearable—I mean, if you think they are, then more power to you—and are statements more than anything. Needless to say, they’re all sculpturally impressive pieces. The 18th century influences are apparent in the rococo style floral print, corsetry and armor-like details. The huge frills and exaggerated shoulders seem almost satirical of what “high-artistic-fashion” has become. The models, marching down the runway to “The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” are simultaneously the clowns and warriors of fashion as a form of art. Kawakubo does not give us any answers, but a  pretty optimistic seeming nudge towards fashion's time to reconfigure itself.  


Vetements, a collective led by Demna Gvasalia, has been shooting up the fashion ladder as the new cool kid on the block. The brand’s ability to create high fashion out of street style has provoked so many designers, from old to new, to follow suit. This season, he set out to the push the envelope further. For starters, the show was cast on Instagram—which is not unheard of, but rare to see it done all the way through. Obscenities printed on tops seemed ironic given the setting—a church. Their garments were an edgy riff on school uniforms, with plaid, button ups, trousers and jackets coming in a variety of materials and silhouettes—a likely ode to the young people affected in the Paris attacks this past fall. Unlike Comme Des Garçons, Vetements keeps their clothes wearable for the most part. As Kawakubo stirs up the conversation through an artful PSA, Vetements—ambassadors of the social media age—is shifting the attitude from within.   

Saint Laurent

It is no secret that I am obsessed with Hedi Slimane. He and Alessandro Michele, are two designers that make my heart sing time and time again. (The rumor about his departure from Saint Laurent seemed to ruin the balance of my life. But for now, he has graced us with new works with no confirmation of the rumor, so I can continue breathing.) My personal preference aside, Slimane never ceases to surprise and set high standards, both technically and creatively, for all designers. The presentation was in a mansion with models walking down the staircase as the look numbers were called out, taking influence from the 80’s. Yes, many designers have been looking to the 80’s recently, but this is Hedi Slimane we’re talking about. He does't let us off the hook so easily, and his version of the 80’s was an impeccably built collection that paid homage to Yves Saint Laurent, yet was fully infused with the punk rock chicness that Slimane does so well. His ability to take a theme that is beginning to seem almost overdone, and then infuse it with something new is refreshing, especially when trends seem to get overspread and overused too quickly. It’s what the dream version of the 80’s we all wished we lived in looks like. The last look’s huge red coat seemed to be Slimane saying “I dare you to get on this level.” 

Some people may claim fashion is dead, but I think these designers can vouch that the only thing that’s on its way to the grave is "fashion as we knew it."

Sources: Vogue Runway

NYFW Fall/Winter 2016/17 Trend Report

By: Non Kuramoto

With Tom Ford, Burberry and Vetements having announced their departure from the “Fashion Month” presentations, it is clear that the fashion world is being rocked out of tradition. Though most of our favorite designers are still showing us their newest pieces this New York Fashion Week, we can still see some "high-fashion rules" being broken here and there. The trend towards less structural pieces is still ongoing, and simple chic is being pushed out by the ornamental and artful. 

Here are some trends to watch for Fall 2016 from the first half of New York Fashion Week.

Dancing Queen

Inspiration from the '70s is still holding up from last season. Bold prints and flared pants discoed through many presentations. Mara Hoffman’s intricate patterns and zebra stripes found themselves on jumpsuits, dresses and robes that have the perfect amount of billowiness that will make you want to dance through the night. Josie Natori focused on the extravagance of the time period. Her column dresses and beaded detailings spoke to the lavish lifestyles of those in the early '70s. Custo Barcelona threw in some funk with chunky square framed glasses and colorful patterns haphazardly combined.

I Woke Up Like This

When androgynous fashion came into style, structured clothing seemed to fade away. With athleisure also having a moment, we can safely say people are not very interested in constricting clothes. ICB, making perhaps the boldest statement in this direction, showed knit sweaters that were practically dresses with sleeves that stretched passed the hemline. The wide-legged pants that contributed to the shapelessness and the fur slip on sandals may make this your new favorite trend; the "just rolled out of bed" look can now be fashionable. Assembly New York is also on the comfort train with pants so wide they look like skirts, and sleeves long enough that you can leave your gloves at home.

Necklines: Go Big or Go Home

Get ready to take back everything you said about how dorky you think turtlenecks are. From neck-hugging turtlenecks to cowl necks and bows that wrap around the neck, for Fall 2016, keep your neck covered. Tibi, Suno and Creatures of Comfort came forth with pieces with necklines grazing the chin; In Suno’s case a sweater even went past the chin, covering the bottom half of the model’s face. On the other end of the spectrum, necklines plunged at Olympic diver levels. Brock Collection, Protagonist, and Cushnie et Ochs opted for deep V’s that would make traditional mothers (or fathers) ask “Where do you think you’re going young lady?” Whichever side you choose to stand on, keeping your crewneck sweaters deep in your dresser is probably a good move.

High Shine

Rihanna aptly told us to “shine bright like a diamond” in 2012, and the fashion world (as it should) has been following suit. This season saw a continuation of the shine and luster in garments. Area showed us a variety of shiny fabrics with satin, velvet, glittery lurex and even Swarovski encrusted pieces. Alexander Wang incorporated metallic elements by way of accessories, with silver bulbs on shoes and handbags. Shiny leather pieces were also prominent in Wang’s collection. The sun might start to hide in the fall, but you can still shine your way through the cold.

Source: Vogue Runway