Top 5 Fall/Winter Trends in Pictures
- Designer Duvet Coats looks cozy, comfy and warm.
2. Pijama style has never been sexier. Vintage mens sleepwear transformed into female sportswear this season.
3. Knits are so glamorous this fall. Make sure to get one of those oversized sweaters.
4. Stay chic and classy with 50’s and 6o’s classic look.
5. One of the world’s fashion icons Anna dello Russo says that Over the knee leather boots are must have this fall/winter!
Fashion & Diplomacy
Beyond Politics, Cultural restrictions and Language barriers
I have been interested in the concept of soft power diplomacy since I started my studies in PhD at London University in 2010. Since then I have witnessed how soft power can be directly promoted by people and inspire others to promote various cultural and business initiatives globally.
The concept of soft power became one of the hottest topics over the past few years because soft power means the ability to convince or persuade others to follow your example, and achieve the goals through persuasion and cooperation. In comparison to hard power (that is the oldest form of power in diplomacy); it is connected to the idea of an anarchic, untamed international system, where countries do not recognize superior authority and use force or violence as the means to succeed.
American professor Joseph Nye was the first to introduce the concept of soft power in his book, “Bound to Lead,” where he tried to explain and predict the persistence of the US hegemony in the 1980s. Although similar concepts had been introduced throughout history in other disciplines by scholars such as Foucault, Gramsci, Bourdieu, and Weber, modern international relations didn’t develop non-material aspects of power and capabilities. Nye’s introduction of the concept of soft power opened a new window in understanding some of the hidden elements of international affairs such as non-coercive ways of influencing other states. According to Nye soft power is “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments.”
Today, many countries are trying to use soft power as the tool in international politics and diplomacy. Country’s cultural, economic and political developments can progressively influence bilateral relations between nations. Soft power is a difficult resource to leverage, however, it’s proven that political leadership can capitalised upon soft power resources through intellectual, cultural and scientific spheres. For example, you can measure soft power through the attractiveness and the influence of a country in the world. Various factors could be taken into consideration such as cultural events and the impact of this culture abroad, sports competitions, business brands and their activities around the world.
Soft power initiative extends beyond the governments, because cultural and business activities can make an important contribution to the foreign policies. For example, in the US, Hilary Clinton, the former Secretary of State, has championed the Art in Embassies program. She described art as the tool of diplomacy, stating that “art connects people around the world”. Russian compatriot policy was rolled out to promote Russian culture and Russian language to establish stronger links between Moscow and the Russian diaspora around the world. India is using cultural, political and social tools of diplomacy to become a global player by promoting its cultural attractiveness through Bollywood, yoga, Ayurveda, and religious tolerance.
It’s only natural that fashion becomes one of the strongest soft power diplomacy tools because it’s a perfect combo between art, creativity, and business. In today’s world of fashion bananza everybody wants to find their own style, special look and one of a kind image. Fashion is the only industry today that has no boundaries in expression, no language barriers, no cultural restrictions, sanctions or political agenda. Fashion has become such a social phenomenon and it plays an important role in exploring the personality and individual style for people around the world. And maybe that’s why this industry is truly diverse, international and free minded? On one hand, fashion is the industry of freedom because it unites so many different cultures where creative minds are celebrated for their work and not for their religious beliefs, political support or personal life. On another, fashion gives the ability to the brand to promote its country’s national values, traditions and history.
For example, there are many American celebrities, designers, artists and businessmen that play a big role and have a lot influence in the international arena of pop culture and entrepreneurship. When we think about American brands first come to mind Coca Cola, Heinz, Hollywood, and of course in fashion there are Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, and Ralph Lauren. It’s the same for Italian fashion industry. Power houses such as Gucci, Prada, Missoni, Dolce & Gabbana are associated with high quality goods manufactured in Italy. These brands represent Italian heritage, unique craftsmanship and national pride. The same goes for Chanel and Hermes in France.
Another great example comes from China. According to the New York Times China’s First Lady Peng Liyuan is ‘roughly equivalent to Michelle Obama: modern, outgoing, intrigued by fashion’. International media suggests that Peng’s greatest strength is her ability to soften China’s international image and boost the promotion of Chinese national identity. First Lady is a big fan of domestic brands, she supports designers such as Ma Ke and skincare cosmetics company Pehchaolin. By supporting domestic creativity Peng sparked a boost in clothing and textile sector of Chinese stock market and international interest in Chinese fashion designers. Many experts say that First Lady will be able to help China to transform into creative economy and reduce demand from traditional export markets.
I’ve been very proud of fellow Russian fashionistas and designers that have been taking world’s fashion arena by storm. Beautiful and talented Russian designers Ulyana Sergeenko, Vika Gazinskaya and Alexander Terekhov recently started to get a momentum overseas despite tense political relations between Russia and the US. You can spot international celebrities like Kim Kardashian and Beyonce in one of Ulyana Sergeenko’s Haute Couture garments. Vika Gazinskaya had a super successful collaboration this year with Stockholm-based, affordable fashion brand & OtherStories.Alexander Terekhov had training at Yves Saint Laurent, and it inspired him to design feminine and city chic attire that is so adored by Russian show business stars. While American government endorses sectorial sanctions against Russian finical institutions and energy companies, there is a clear indication that fashion is beyond any political strife. On one hand, Russian consumers keep appreciating American brands; on another Russian designers win hearts and minds of the Americans.
What about fashion as a diplomacy tool that can contribute to the resolution of conflicts in the Middle East? There are a few famous designers that come from Lebanese or Jewish origin that became established designers for royalty and VIPs. People buy their clothes and don’t care if they are Jewish or Arabs, they appreciate the brand, quality and innovation of design. Ralph Lauren’s original name is Lifshtiz and he was born in the Jewish immigrant family that came to the US from Belarus. Today, he is one of the most recognized American brands, fashion legend, and mogul with significant contribution to the development and evolution of fashion industry. Elie Saab, Lebanese fashion designer became world famous after he dressed Halle Berry for Oscar’s in 2002. His evening gowns are full of love for feminine glamour, flawlessness, grace and beauty.
There is no doubt that fashion speaks its own language, the language of inspiration, positivity, and appreciation for creativity, it proclaims peace and joy. And it looks like there is not enough fashion in diplomacy. When you appreciate a talented artist and breath-taking creations how can you start wars, conflicts, and political arguments?
According to the above, fashion should become a strong tool for soft power diplomacy because it’s the best way to promote diversity, cultural heritage, skills, talent and unite nations in one simple goal, to deliver and enjoy beautiful creations.
Fall-winter 2014-2015 headwear fashion trends
Headwear is an important accessory for your wardrobe. It does not only make you warm but protects your hair as well from undesirable effects of moisture and low temperatures. Besides, it completes your outlook and makes it unforgettable.
Beret is translated from French as a flat hat. Berets were first used by peasants in France and had practical meaning. Berets helped to hide the hair that interfered with work, protected head from sun rays and nasty weather.
During its long history, this headwear symbolized absolutely different spheres of social life. There are two basic associations that refer to berets: a beret as a part of military outfit and as an attribute of artistic nature. The perception of a beret depends upon the context. The designers Peter Jensen, Rodarte, Polo Ralph, Donna Raran, Badgley Mischka, and Re Walker offer to combine berets with dresses and sweaters this fall. It will emphasize femininity and sophistication of their possessors.
This autumn the designers applied to historical hat patterns and offered their versions of fedora. Sometimes these variations are free enough.
Slouch is a model of women’s hat with wide brims down. Coach, Comme des Garsons, Ace & Jig and Assembly demonstrated interesting models reminding the hats that were in fashion in the 30-ies of the last century.
In fall-winter season 2014-2015 fedoras with incredibly broad brims are trendy. They are widely presented in the collections of such famous brands as Laurent, Tibi, Alexis Mabille, Dion Lee and Barbara Casasola.
Broad brims cast dramatic half face shadow and give a touch of mysteriousness to the lady wearing hat.
Low bell-shaped women’s cloche hats came into fashion in the 20-ies of the 20th century. Maestros of fashion industry borrowed the form of the design and created a series of unusual headwear on its basis. The models can be successfully included to wardrobe of creative, sophisticated women.
Fascinating models were shown by Kate Spade New York, Ruffian, Yohji Yamamoto, Creatures of Comfort and Jasmin Shokrian.
A.F. Vandevorst, DKNY, Moschino, Red Valentino, VFiles and Vika Gazinskaya pay tribute to sport and prankish youth style. Baseball caps of all possible forms and colors are widely presented in their collections.
Distinguished designers offer combining bold caps with straight peak, laconic baseball caps, and jockey hats with loose sweatshirt and jeans or with feminine blouses, dresses, jackets.
Kepi is a cap with a flat crown, a soft band and a firm peak. It appeared as a part of military uniform of French and English army in the 19th century. You can still find a kepi in the military uniforms of many countries. However, the model became popular as fashionable women’s accessory as well. This fall the designers (Custo Barselona, Dsquared, Paule Ka) included festive kepi into their collections. They are made of shining materials and adorned with metal decorative elements.
A popular hood hat is a poke bonnet historically. This is a women’s hat with a low crown and wide firm brims that connect at the back of the head. Now it is a kind of helmet made of soft elastic and well-draped material.
Combining the properties of a hood and a scarf, this type of hat becomes an irreplaceable accessory that keeps warmth and protects you against wind in nasty weather. Such cozy types of headwear 2014-1015 can be found in the collections of Dolce & Gabbana, M. Patmos, Josie Naton and Hunter Original.
Fur is one of the most popular materials for headwear. One can see a big variety of classical designs for fur hats on the runways this season. Fans of indigenous luxury will like the fur hat (malakhai) from Coach, kubanka (flat round fur hat) from Crosby Derek Lam, Cossack hat from Daks and ear-flaps hat from Moncler Grenoble.
An ear-flaps hat originates from a traditional Mongol fur hat malakhai. It has long become a symbol of severe Russian winter and even turned into folklore item.
Now the designers of the whole world try to play upon the popular Slavic theme in their works. Extraordinary models of fur ear-flaps hats are presented in the collections of Coach, Moncler Gamme Rouge, Nicholas K, Preen by Thornton Bregazz and Kate Spade New York.
Wool is not less popular material than fur for cold season. It can keep warmth and provides cozy feel.
Beanie hat is a head-hugging knit hat. The distinctive feature of a beanie is lack of decorative elements. Such hats appeared as a part of uniform for workers. Builders, welders, mechanics, carpenters wore beanies to hide hair that interfered with careful work.
Today a beanie is a fashionable attribute of youth culture. Thanks to famous actresses and pop-divas this simple hat became a symbol of sexuality and liberation.
Detacher, Pam amp Gela, A.L.C., Joseph, Christopher Raeburn, Lacoste present great trendy hats in their collections for season 2014-2015.
Babushka’s knit hat
In contrast to laconic beanie style bulk warm chunky-knit hats that are called babushka’s headscarves came into fashion this season. Such hats are decorated with variegated ornaments. You probably wore such hat when you were a child. It used to be a necessity before but now this is an ultra-trendy accessory.
If you do not have a grandmother who can knit this bright hat for you with pleasure, you should pay attention to the models of Giles, John Galliano, Joseph, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Public School.
Kershief is a practical modern solution for windy autumn weather. Modern designers offer different versions of using a kerchief: from classical style (Josie Natori, Vivienne Westwood Red Labe, K.T.Z) to hijab (Manish Arora) and turban (Vika Gazinskaya).
Elegant confident women should regard this unusual headwear. The kerchief will also be a good solution for women who prefer retro style.
Maestros of fashion industry offer creative women wearing unusual hats of extended form. Exciting hat designs were suggested by Wendy Nichol, Carolina Herrera, Felder Felder, Tia Cibani, Dsquared, Daks.
Jokey hats, berets, tall astrakhan hats and skullcaps acquire weird forms this fall.
One more extraordinary type of hats is a hat of huge size. Bowler hats that entered the collections of Undercover, Emporio Armani and Vivienne Westwood look like look like stage property for making movie about Mad Hatter from popular “Alice in Wonderland”.
If epatage is a part of your nature, you can bravely put on such hat. All attention will be focused on you – this is guaranteed.
Pompon is popular detail that decorates fashionable hats of 2014-2015.
Hunter Original, Acne Studios and TSE decorate their unusual models of hats with classical round pompons on top, which remind us of childhood and deliver a touch of playful look to the image.
Betsey Johnson offers big fur pompons for decoration of hat strings. This is an interesting detail for active and bright girls.
Manish Arora demonstrates a hat with complicated fur pompon. This is rather an art object than an item of wardrobe for everyday wear.
Hats, fedoras, skullcaps, astrakhan fur hats, turbans, kerchiefs, baseball caps and ear-flaps hats – the list of headwear that are actual this fall is far from being full. The designers offer an incredibly wide choice of styles, colors and materials for you.
Elegant ladies and young playful girls, lovers of laconic solutions and extravagant accessories, classic style and creative design – any fashion-minded lady can easily find something unique she will definitely like among diverse fashion trends.
Business attire for plus-size women
There are so many problems at job that nice appearance should not be one of them. Woman with good figure does not face any obstacles as she looks for suitable office clothes. There are so many elegant classic-style outfits for them of required size. But what about office fashion for women with curves? Are there any challenging fashion issues for this category of women? Unfortunately, there are many problems here.
It is almost impossible to find plus-size beautiful clothing for them, but it is even harder to find suitable clothes for office wear. Plus-size fashion is often characterized with the following features:
- Three-quarter length sleeve;
- Resilient fabric;
- Eye-catching prints;
- Excessive decorations;
- Old fashioned style.
These elements can be found even in the collections of famous fashion houses that design plus size clothing. But the situation is even more difficult at places where plus size apparel is sold along with smaller sizes offerings. One can find many stunning and fashionable things on the hangers for slim customers but when we go to the section of larger sizes the fashion seems to be different.
Even rich and famous women have to buy two costumes at times and then ask the designer to make the outfit suitable for them. What should other ladies do then?
Here are some tips for women whose size is over the standard one.
You should know your size and buy clothing that fits you. It may seem to you that you’ll feel better if you buy a smaller item, but there is no look more miserable than woman trying to squeeze herself into the size S instead of wearing L. You should be confident at work, but you will hardly be able to if you feel that that your pants are going to burst on you. You can cut off the size label if it makes you feel better. However, nobody is going to inspect the inner side of clothing to see the size you are wearing.
You should know the type of your figure and look for clothing that fits you well. Some women have large upper body, while the lower body is smaller. Or it can be vice versa: the upper body is slim while the legs and thighs are larger. There should be an individual approach to each type of figure. Special attention should be paid to accessories as well. Wrap dress is a good example. This simple and elegant dress is good for everyday and evening wear. That makes the design universal – it is a wonderful clothing item for office wear. But the same dress can look on different figures in a different way. Regard your type figure as you do shopping. Remember that some part of your body attracts more attention than the other.
Learn to look for the right underwear. Nothing can substitute the bra that fits well or convenient panties. You should not economize on underwear because your bra affects your posture and figure. A new bra Butterfly sells out fast due to its original design and a high level of comfort that solves many problems connected with underwear in the wardrobe of curvy women. Spanx is one more company that manufactures great bras, shaping hosiery and tights of all sizes. Both brands are expensive but it is worth paying for these products as they provide comfort and beautiful appearance.
You should know what to look for. Do not put up with standard solutions and traditional clothes. Overweight women are inclined to have larger legs so the choice of footwear can be limited for them. Try to order footwear online.
Learn to choose in-between sizes. If you are losing weight you can add buttons that will make the outfits suit you as you change one size to another. You can put on a shirt with buttons, you used to wear before, above the T-shirt on Fridays when less formal clothing is allowed.
You are beautiful and others should know it as well. If you have extra weight, your self-esteem is vulnerable, but you are still beautiful in spite of the fact that you do not have desired weight now. You should love yourself the way you are and let your beauty shine.