Tuesday, October 31, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Aperture Foundation Gala Draws Supermodels and Actresses to IAC Building

Naomi Campbell taking a selfie with Jimmy Moffat and British Vogue Editor Edward Enninful
All photos: Lieba Nesis
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The Aperture Foundation celebrated its 65th year at the IAC building on October 30, 2017 with cocktails beginning at 6:00 PM. Aperture is a not-for-profit foundation that connects the photo community and its audiences with the most inspiring work in print, in person and online - not a pornography website as the name might suggest.

Honoree Zackary Drucker

One thing is certain if Mike Pence showed up to this event his greeting at "Hamilton" would have looked friendly in comparison. This night was all about the transgender community with honoree Zackary Drucker a transwoman who is a producer on "Transparent", accompanied by other transwomen Hari Nef and Justin Bond.

Gigi Hadid in Paco Rabanne

Arriving early I spotted supermodel Gigi Hadid inconspicuously posing for some red carpet photos. Hadid is thin and wispy and had a hint of makeup adorning her photogenic face. I inquired as to who designed her black, slinky dress and received the response, "I have no idea, can you please check my tag."

Gigi Hadid in Paco Rabanne and British Vogue Editor Edward Enninful

I found myself reaching into the back of her dress, a position most men in America would be envious of, but was nervous one of the security guards might misinterpret my gesture. Surprisingly her dress was Paco Rabanne - a name I haven't heard in decades. Hadid was gracious and professional and was looking forward to Halloween where she will be donning a superhero costume.

Iman in Saint Laurent

Just at that moment I saw a woman who looked incredibly similar to supermodel Iman - except she appeared shorter. It was in fact the 62-year-old Iman who continues to astound with her age defying looks in a plunging studded Saint Laurent blazer. She wore her own cosmetics and lamented how difficult it was to keep her weight down-gaining pounds from ingesting bits of food. I remember the emaciated Iman from her youth and smiled-she still looked svelte and sexy.

Vinoodh Matadin and Inez van Lamsweerde

While supermodels and luminaries abounded to support honorees and iconic fashion photographers Inez and Vinoodh there were a surprising number of socialites who were also in attendance including: Susan Gutfreund, Judy Glickman and Leonard Lauder, Barbara and Donald Tober and Cathy Clark. Gutfreund is a well-known interior designer and considered one of the great hostesses on the New York social circuit. Her lavish triplex is currently on the market for $96 million for anyone interested.

Model Anja Rubik and philanthropist Susan Gutfreund

Gutfreund and Glickman greeted each other warmly and I noticed these two mega socialites were wearing pantsuits - quite a sight to behold. Glickman who I have seen numerous times in gowns and dresses was clad in a modern black Tom Ford pantsuit with a white bowed shirt - she looked twenty years younger.

Philanthropist and Gala Co-Host Susan Gutfreund with Judy Glickman in background

This was a sensational look that practically had me gasping in delight-especially since I just wrote an article on the comeback of pantsuits. Is this the beginning of a trend-philanthropists in pantsuits? Who knows but tomorrow I am running out to buy one as models Iman, Jamie Bochert and actresses Uma Thurman and Judith Light all wore trousers this evening - even some transwomen wore pants.

Hari Nef in Thom Browne

Speaking of pantsuits Thom Browne seems ubiquitous as of late having just been honored at the Fashion Group International dinner and the Couture Council Luncheon - this man is hot. Tonight Hari Nef, and honoree Kwame Brathwaite were both wearing Browne and their looks were perfection. Brathwaite is an acclaimed photographer popularizing the phrase "Black is Beautiful" in the late 1950's through his photographs and writings.

Actress Uma Thurman and Kerri Kwinter

He told me one of his career highlights was seeing the end of De Klerk's rule in South Africa in 1994 along with the ending of apartheid and photographing the inauguration of Nelson Mandela. He expressed dismay that he was never given the opportunity to photograph the Obamas.

Justin Vivian Bond and Actress Judith Light

Someone who has photographed the Obama's is Pete Souza who was the chief official White House photographer. This evening one of his prints of Obama and Biden was auctioned for $3,000 and bought by Iman. Uma Thurman who bid on many of the photographs was finally lucky enough to obtain a Diane Arbus photo entitled "Penelope Tree in her living room" for $18,000.

Supermodel Jamie Bochert and Marc Kroop

A 2007 Inez and Vinoodh fashion photograph of Shalom Harlow that appeared in V Magazine in 2007 sold for $17,000. The auction culminated with a moving Richard Misrach print which sold for a whopping $50,000.

Jamie Bochert, Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell

Sometime during the dinner supermodel Naomi Campbell arrived and sat near her good friend British Vogue Editor Edward Enninful. Campbell has incredible charisma and spent a good portion of the evening trying to take the perfect selfie with fellow mannequins Gigi Hadid and Jamie Bochert. Campbell should have asked honorees Inez and Vinoodh to assist since it was obvious from the film shown that their photography is art.

Supermodels Gigi Hadid, Iman and Anja Rubi

The film displayed their powerful collaborations with Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Kanye West, as well as with fashion houses Saint Laurent, Dior, Givenchy and Luis Vuitton-concluding with Actress Julianne Moore remarking "to be beautiful is to be seen. Reiterating this sentiment was photographer Inez Van Lamsweerde who said that more important to her than the actual photograph was the ability to help someone discover a part of them they didn't know existed.


Lawrence and Elyse Benenson, Kwami Brathwaite Jr., Honoree Kwami Brathwaite in Thom Browne and Sherry Bronfman

Inez who has been photographing for nearly three decades said that photography was a means of communication that has been democratized through he introduction of social media sites such as Instagram which allows individuals to share their own interpretation of events. She then thanked her lighting director who has been with her for 28 years.

At around 10:00 PM we were treated to the moving songs of St. Beauty as the vegetarian dinner of fattous and boiled peanuts ended with a supermodel favorite - dessert of shaved ice. As I exited the building I spotted icons Naomi Campbell and Iman holding hands and embracing - a moment I won't soon forget.





- Lieba Nesis

Saturday, October 28, 2017

New York Fashion Cool-Aid ®

Learning the Ropes at the FGI Night of Stars 2017

The view from table #4
Laurel Marcus
Click on images for full size  views

Here are a few observations since this was my first time saddling up at the far western outpost and cavernous watering hole known as Cipriani Wall Street for the Fashion Group International Night of Stars 2017 rodeo circuit. Actually forget about the wild, wild west, fashion folks. These are modern times for city slickers -- the evening's theme of "Modern Voices" was seen and felt with a thoroughly modern dress code. Earlier in the week/day even, as I was stressing about what to wear (fashion people can be so judgmental) and fearing a style faux pas of the worst kind, I was advised by Lookonline's own Wizardess of Oz (the great, wise and powerful Marilyn Kirschner) not to fret about what constitutes proper black tie attire. Of course she was correct but somehow you can't explain this to the herd.

Grace Bol in fabulous Thom Browne
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Naturally, there's "creative black tie" but what do you call it when everything under the sun is worn by the attendees who ranged from the highest-end designers to the industry's unsung employees? Often the cooler cats wore the least traditionally black tie get-ups meaning that many of those higher up the food chain showed off their funky side at the expense of conforming to the formal diktat. At the very least, most of the male designers saw fit to wear sneakers with their tuxes or dinner jackets.

Laurel Marcus
Photo: Randy Brooke

Then again I'm pretty sure I was the only one who a la Carrie Bradshaw in the first "Sex and the City" movie "put a bird on my head" to complement my Anett Rostel pleated dress. In my case it was not l'oiseau entire, just its feathers although I did admire a woman with intensely plumed shoulders spotted in that paradigm of aviary preening A.K.A. the ladies loo. I couldn't help remembering that The Museum of FIT's Force of Nature exhibition (through November 18) makes the point that women were once referred to as "the dead bird wearing species," doing so nearly to the point of extinction of several of our exotic feathered friends. Even the rare bird herself Iris Apfel ruled the roost last night alongside a marabou feather wearing Linda Fargo. Incidentally, if you ever want to become a "bird brain" with your own head feather fascinator, I recommend Mandana (1175 Lexington) where they have ready made headpieces or if you have about a week, they'll design a unique creation. I may have to return to the nest as the peacock feathers plucked from the display case were calling to me.

Stan Herman, Marylou Luther, Fern Mallis
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, I enjoyed chatting with "ambush honoree" Marylou Luther during the cocktail hour, who remarked that she's been in attendance at this soiree since its inception in what seems like the '60s but was probably the early '80s. She added that like the Met Gala, the FGI Night of Stars was much less of a big deal back in the day, as each year it just grows exponentially. I got a hoot out of telling Stan Herman that I still had (and wear) a few of his QVC robes from the '90s when I was addicted (pre-internet) to this new kind of shopping. One cozy full length camel fleece with leopard collar favorite has been through the wash cycle more times than should be legal prompting me to ask Stan how do I kill this thing? That's got to be bad for business when a robe is indestructible -- doesn't he know about planned obsolescence? It was a big night for the shopping network, as two of its top people were presented with awards including Mike George who received the Multi Media Retail Leadership Award and Jamie Kern Lima of IT Cosmetics, one of the retail giant's top selling brands, who won the Beauty Award by being one of the first brave souls with rosacea to strip (off her makeup) live on national cable television.


Kerry Washington, Liz Rodbell, Margaret Hayes
Photo: Laurel Marcus 

Another important sponsor is Lord & Taylor, a retail establishment whose flagship is about to go through an upheaval/downsizing since being purchased by WeWork. As you may have read, most of the current store will become WeWork headquarters leaving a quarter of the existing building as Lord & Taylor. Even though the store was a bit of a white elephant, often mostly empty it's still sad to see another long standing retail establishment literally have to make (a lot of) room for the new upstarts. I mused on all of this while watching Liz Rodbell, President of Hudson's Bay present the Lord & Taylor Fashion Oracle Award to Kerry Washington.

Allison Mitchell in her Viva Aviva top
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Speaking of young upstarts: Eager to meet and greet some of the industry veterans on hand were some of fashion's next gen newcomers including accessories designer Allison Mitchell who won an award at this year's FGI "Rising Stars" luncheon. She regaled in an amazing Viva Aviva architectural top (see more) which she somehow managed to transport from her current home in Boston. Viva Aviva is a line by Brooklyn designer Aviva Falk, a friend of Ms. Mitchell's which can be found on Moda Operandi, Shopbop and on vivaaviva.com/. This lovely lady in red showed me her lambskin leather jewelry roll-like handbag which is her prototype product. "This is the sample but in the final version I'm going to put in zippered pockets at the top," she explained. I fondled the soft leather solution to the endless evening bag dilemma of "how am I gonna fit my phone, camera, lipstick, keys etc without ruining the aesthetic of a sleek evening look". These are not available on her website yet but in the meantime you can check out her other versatile minimalist, oversized clutches in various colors, textures and hides including hair calfskins. (See allisonmitchell.com ).

Andrew Bolton, Amy Fine Collins, Daphne Guinness & Thom Browne
Photo: Laurel Marcus

My other favorite moment during the packed cocktail hour came just as we were being corralled for dinner. In a corner by the bar were Met curator Andrew Bolton talking earnestly with Amy Fine Collins along with his partner designer Thom Browne deep in conversation with Daphne Guinness. I waited for my turn to pounce, at which I told them it would make my night to have a photo. Believe it or not, people often tell me I remind them of AFC (does anyone actually refer to her that way?!) although she is far taller and thinner (not to mention has a better wardrobe) than I do. In retrospect I wish I had taken the photo with my camera not my phone but if wishes were horses we'd all be Ralph Lauren.

Pat McGrath Glitter Lip kit
Photo: Laurel Marcus

Finally, the evening marked another first for me as I decided to try out Glamsquad.com to up the glamour quotient. Of course I'm no stranger to makeup so when I requested a smoky metallic eye, false lashes and a Pat McGrath glitter red lip from a kit (fittingly called Blood 1 and Blood 2) produced from where it had been stashed away for about a year when Pat's makeup first launched, my MUA said "Oh, we're doing a Halloween look?" Nah, not Halloween -- that's just my Thursday night. Here's a tip for all you youngsters applying makeup on those of a "certain age" -- don't even think about dabbing heavy powder under the eyes as we spend big bucks to keep that area dewy. I actually pride myself on having relatively few under eye wrinkles yet I detected a striking resemblance to the crypt keeper once the powder got a chance to settle into that inevitable bit of crepiness. Perhaps I did get the Halloween makeup after all!




- Laurel Marcus

Friday, October 27, 2017

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

The Fashion Group International's 2017 Night of Stars Gala: "Modern Voices"

The Room
Photo: Randy Brooke
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What is modern? The dictionary definition is “of or relating to the present or recent times as opposed to the remote past”. It’s a word that is constantly bantered around, especially within the world of fashion, and there are probably as many ways to define it as there are those to try to do so. It’s at the heart of the current fashion exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (“Items: Is Fashion Modern?”), and “Modern Voices” was the underlying theme for Fashion Group International’s 2017 Night of Stars Gala which was held last evening at Cipriani Wall Street.

Dennis Basso, Iris Apfel and Linda Fargo
Photo: Lieba Nesis

The 12 honorees (from the worlds of fashion, beauty, retail, business) represent “modern voices who speak through their work, with vision, truth, and authority” according to FGI President and chief executive officer Margaret Hayes. Hearst Magazines and Lord & Taylor were lead sponsors with Arcade Beauty, IFF and LIM College acting as support.

Fern Mallis
Photo: Randy Brooke

Ruben Toledo once again illustrated the invitations and commemorative catalogue, and Simon Doonan reprieved his role as host of the awards dinner that began with cocktails and ended with a first ever after party hosted by DJ Paris Hilton. During the cocktail hour, I spotted Thom Browne, Andrew Bolton, Amy Fine Collins, Daphne Guinness (both wearing Thom Browne), Fern Mallis, Stacey Bendet, Marc Jacobs, Kay Unger, Nicole Fischelis, etc.

Marilyn Kirschner
Photo: Randy Brooke

Looking around it was obvious that everyone's idea of what comprises 'modern' dress is quite subjective and varies markedly. (For me, it's the idea of thinking out of the box and mixing form and function so for the occasion, I chose a vintage Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garcons puffer jacket and matching skirt. The fact that the colors were sort of 'Halloween' inspired, didn't hurt lol!).

Claudia Li designer
Photo: Randy Brooke

Stan Herman told me that we were in for “a big surprise” at the beginning of the program, but he wouldn’t spill the beans. After Margaret Hayes made her welcoming remarks, she introduced Stan who quickly asked, “What becomes a legend most?” and he started to describe a “5’3” woman (if she’s stretched out he joked) “who proscribes to poetry in her critiques, who has been in the business for over 60 years, yet still retains her curiosity and wonders about the future".

Marylou Luther and Stan Herman

The woman he was referring to was Marylou Luther, Fashion Group International’s indomitable Creative Director, the recipient of the Fashion Legend Award. He marveled that she actually interviewed Christian Dior and touched the hands of Balenciaga and called her a true legend, admired and emulated by colleagues, peers, and friends around the globe.

Burak Cakmak Dean of Fashions at Parsons and Julie Gilhart

Marylou was utterly surprised but composed. She said how much she loves working for the Fashion Group and how important their work is and simply said “Thank you, thank you, thank you”! For the record, I am a member of the Marylou Luther Fan Club and this award is well deserved to say the least.

Jonathan Adler and Simon Doonan
Photo: Randy Brooke

Meanwhile, when Simon came on stage, he did his thing in his own hilarious, inimitable way (among other things, he joked that Thom Browne took the express Greyhound from Allentown, Pa. to get here and that Kerry Washington came “all the way from the Bronx”). At the end of his rather short discourse, he said, "Raise your hands if you are praying that everyone makes short speeches, like Stan Herman”. This was met with a lot of laughs.

Kim Hastreiter
Photo: Randy Brooke

On a night when 'modern' is the unifying word, it should be pointed out that brevity is the most modern when it comes to speeches. Fortunately, many were on board and some of the best moments were also the briefest. Highlights of the evening:

Tommy and Dee Hilfiger
Photo: Randy Brooke

When Tommy Hilfiger took to the podium to present the Humanitarian Award to Macy's Chairman Terry J. Lundgren, he joked, “I feel like I’m on the Ed Sullivan Show here”. He talked about the importance of giving, and cited Terry's enormous generosity with his time, his money, and his heart.

Samira Nasr, Kerry Washington and Liz Rodbell
Photo: Randy Brooke

Kerry Washington was the recipient of the Lord & Taylor Fashion Oracle Award, which was given to her by her good friend, stylist Samira Nasr who called her “an unstoppable force, an inspiration, a fierce advocate for groups that feel forgotten”. “Her advocacy work is truly remarkable. Great style is inspiration and aspiration. You don’t need to bare all to be drop dead sexy and Kerry knows that.”

Kerry:
“I didn’t know what an oracle was but I know that oracles don’t say much so I will keep this brief. I don’t know who the character is unless I know the shoes she is wearing. You in this room are the arbiters of beauty and that is no small thing. You help us express ourselves and express ourselves we must! There must be more beautiful voices, strong voices, gorgeous inclusivity and power!”

Jamie Kern Lima
Photo: Randy Brooke

The Beauty prize went to It Cosmetics founder Jamie Kern Lima, and SunHee Grinnell was the presenter. She described how Jamie needed make up to cover her rosacea so she invented a transformative concealer. “In 10 minutes, she sold 6000 units on QVC and the rest is history (it is a $1.2 billion company). She became the 1st female CEO of an all-male company that empowers women to look good and conquer the world. She is listed as one of the most influential women in the world, over Taylor Swift and Beyonce”. Jamie:

 “I was inspired to change my life and my world. This is one of the best success stories in the beauty industry. I want to thank QVC who was the first retailer to take a chance on the brand. If you are committed to change you have the power to change the world!”

Martha Stewart and CEO of QVC Mike George
Photo: Lieba Nesis

The 2017 Multi Media Retail Leadership award was presented to president and CEO Michael George for QVC by Martha Stewart who just launched Martha Stewart QVC in September. She quipped,"I haven't quite reached $1.5 billion in sales yet. That's a lot of turkeys!" Upon taking the podium, Michael retorted, "You will!" (the crowd laughed knowingly).

After receiving the award, he said,
“If you love something and throw yourself into it, you can change the world. Everything in this world changes so quickly, but what has stayed constant is the power of a great design to lift people up. You can make a connection with the customer and make their lives a little better.”

Marie-Claire Daveu and Kelly Slater
Photo: Lieba Nesis

The Sustainability award was given to chief sustainability officer Marie-Claire Daveu for Kering by professional surfer Kelly Slater. She certainly has a lot to smile about given the fact that Kering, with their winning trio of Gucci, Saint Laurent, and Balenciaga, is riding high, reporting continual growth and outperforming competitive luxury conglomerates in the third quarter.

Uri Minkoff, Rebecca Minkoff and Olivia_Palermo
Photo: Randy Brooke

The brother-and-sister team of Rebecca and Uri Minkoff were handed the Technology in Brand Development award by Olivia Palermo who talked about the importance of family and the ability of the duo to create new ideas within the tech world.

Anna Ewers, Isabel Marant and Carolyn Murphy
Photo: Randy Brooke

The consummately French designer Isabel Marant, whose combination of androgynous chic and bohemian nonchalance has that je ne sais quoi, picked up her Fashion Star award from Inez Van Lamsweerde who said, “I can’t imagine my life without her clothes. I am grateful for how you have shaped fashion and functionality today.” Isabel playfully noted, "We were allotted 2 minutes for our speeches and someone already went 10 so I will simply say, thank you!"

Stefano Tonchi and Simone Rocha
Photo: Randy Brooke

British fashion designer Simone Rocha, whose work is achingly feminine yet edgy, was presented with her Fashion Star award by Stefano Tonchi who called her “someone very special, a fashion star for a new generation with a very strong vision. She thinks about fashion for women in the tradition of Rei Kawakubo and Miuccia Prada, mixing tradition with transgression, and playing with extremes. She is quite exceptional, full of curiosity, and has so much sense and sensibility for someone so young”. Simone simply said she was “humbled to be here.”

Thom Browne, Amy Fine Collins and Andrew Bolton
Photo: Randy Brooke

Fashion Star Thom Browne, who arrived at the event with Amy Fine Collins and Daphne Guinness (wearing his fabulous designs of course) gets the award for best dressed posse (Model Grace Bol was also there in one of his colorful designs right off the spring 2018 runway)! His presenter, basketball great Dwayne Wade noted, “What matters most is how a designer makes you feel when you discover them. His message is disruptive. Every season he defies fashion norms. I am a fan of his creative genius. People at the top of their game are so inspiring to me.”

Stacey Bendet of Alice+Olivia
Photo: Randy Brooke

Thom: “Design is a collaborative effort. Thank you, Andrew (Bolton), for being my inspiration in life and in work. I am standing here 10 years after receiving Fashion Group’s Rising Star Award. Fashion design is easy but the business part hasn’t always been so easy. I constantly challenge myself which is so important. I take classic ideas and show them differently. I love that some of you have loved some of my designs and some of you have hated them. The last thing we need is another pretty dress. I make conceptual fashion; I want to inspire people.

Bridget Foley and Marc Jacobs
Photo: Laurel Marcus

WWD’s executive editor Bridget Foley received the Board of Director’s Media award from Marc Jacobs.
Marc: “For over 30 years Bridget’s love of fashion remains unadulterated. Her willingness to be seduced by fashion and her honest and direct interpretation are two things that have impressed me the most. It’s intellectual journalism at its best”.
Bridget: “There are too many people to thank but I have to single out one name: Etta Froio who hired me many years ago and with whom I have become very close. It is very special to be honored on the same night as Marylou Luther. You are the reason I will always love fashion. Thank you!”

Dries Van Noten
Photo: Randy Brooke


The man of the evening, the Superstar Honoree, was Belgian designer Dries Van Noten who shows in Paris, and is known for his elegant, womanly, sophisticated, artistic clothes (almost nobody mixes colors and patterns quite like Dries). He is in fact so revered and is such a designer’s designer, he received his award from Proenza Schouler’s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez.

Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough
Photo: Randy Brooke

They called him their “personal hero” for proving that “fashion could have soul and meaning”. “We were mesmerized by his lack of artificiality, his unwavering authenticity, the utter control of his voice. He is a true pioneer who has managed to stay completely independent. He has no creative limits and stays true to the core principles his customers rely on.”

Dries simply said,
“I love to make clothes” and left it at that (you can't get briefer than that).
When it was over, many headed upstairs to the mezzanine to party on. Others went out into the cool night, carrying a big black velvet tote bag filled with goodies which included a bottle of Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio, white Stella McCartney sunglasses, a bag of makeup from It Cosmetics, and a Lord & Taylor gift certificate.




- Marilyn Kirschner

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

New York Evening Hours by Lieba Nesis

Pantsuits Make An Astounding Comeback

Melania Trump in a pinstripe suit with Canadian Prime Minister Wife Sophie Trudeau

After Hillary Clinton's shocking loss I was convinced we had seen the last of the pantsuit. The pantsuit tried unsuccessfully to help its wearer win the office of President and when it failed its reputation was besmirched. However, I am happy to report one of Mrs. Clinton's enduring legacies might be her reintroduction of the pantsuit into mainstream culture. Melania Trump recently wore a classic pinstripe suit with a bow untied to welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie to the White House. This look was feminine and edgy and one of my favorites. A first lady in a pantsuit is not a familiar sight and yet Melania pulled this look off effortlessly.

Ivanka Trump in white Oscar de la Renta pantsuit to Inauguration

Ivanka Trump and Hillary Clinton both attended the Donald's inauguration in white pantsuits. Ivanka wore a sweeping off-white Oscar de la Renta suit that she paired with a long coat that was extremely daring for an inauguration ceremony. Recently Blake Lively, the queen of femininity, wore a three piece menswear suit from the Ralph Lauren Fall 2017 collection, complete with a tie and cravat. Blake's look had the fashion community in a tizzy-love it or hate it no one could decide. At the Fall Ballet gala Anh Duong wore a Dolce and Gabbana Alta Moda blue pantsuit while Xenia Lukash appeared in a men's tuxedo to the delight of Hamish Bowles. Is this the beginning of a new era for this androgynous look which has never really gained traction with women? I am not sure but pantsuits have been around for a long time and it's about time women gave this fashion statement a second try.

Blake Lively in Ralph Lauren Menswear this October

The history of pantsuits can be dated back to the 1920's when designers such as Foale and Tuffin in London and Luba Marks in the United States heavily promoted trousers for women. Actresses Marlene Dietrich and Katharine Hepburn were often photographed in pants during the 1930's. In 1964 Andre Courreges introduced minimalist pantsuits for women for day and evening. Until then pants had never been worn for formal occasions.

Diane Keaton in Annie Hall

In 1966 Yves Saint Laurent revolutionized the industry when he designed a formal tuxedo that he named "Le Smoking" for women. During the 1970's pants became quite fashionable for women especially with the release of "Annie Hall" in 1977 where Diane Keaton made a three piece suit the ultimate fashion statement.There is no actress who has been able to pull off the pantsuit more effectively than Keaton. Surprisingly, women were not allowed to wear pants on the U.S. Senate floor until 1993 when Senators Barbara Mikulski and Carol Moseley Braun defied the rule-leading to an amendment permitting women to wear trousers as long as they were accompanied by a jacket.

Julia Roberts in Armani at 1990 Golden Globes

Some of the most iconic red carpet looks contain women in pantsuits and they include fashion stars Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow, Julia Roberts and Celine Dion.  In 1990 Julia Roberts took over the red carpet when she attended the 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards in an oversize Giorgio Armani pantsuit. For a newcomer in the industry this was a radical move especially when accompanied by a tie and brown oxfords. Everyone loved this daring look and she even won the Golden Globe for best supporting actress in "Steel Magnolias." Let's not forget Celine Dion who wore a backward white John Galliano tuxedo to the 1999 Oscars which was extremely avant-garde at the time. While many mocked her look it has stood the test of time and proven to be a brilliant fashion move that has been referenced dozens of times.

Gwyneth in Gucci at 1996 MTV Movie Awards

Style icon Gwyneth Paltrow wore a red velvet Tom Ford for Gucci tuxedo to the 1996 MTV Movie Awards that the fashion press adored. This is considered one of her best red carpet looks ever and ushered in her ascendancy to the fashion hall of fame.

Angelina and Brad in matching tuxedos at 2014 BAFTA

One of my favorite modern looks was that of Angelina Jolie in a matching tuxedo with her then husband Brad Pitt to the 2014 British Academy Film Awards.  The mother of four wore a Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane tuxedo with the bowtie undone, perfectly showcasing her effortless beauty. This is the last winning look I can remember of the photogenic couple.

Every major designer this past year included pantsuits in their collections including Gucci, Elie Saab and Dior. Even the ultra feminine Marchesa showed pantsuits in its 2018 collection. Furthermore, Chanel the home of the classic jacket-skirt combination showed numerous pantsuits and short suits in this year's Ready-to-Wear Collection. In fact the short suit, a variation on the pantsuit might be a dominant trend in the coming year.

Monique Lhuillier Bridal Pantsuit in 2017 Collection

Most shockingly, the introduction of pantsuits into this year's bridal collections from such traditional fashion houses as Monique Lhuillier and Lela Rose was revolutionary. I myself prefer a skirt or dress for a formal evening affair; however, I am more than willing to give the pantsuit a try as long as I can relinquish the tie and cravat to my father.





- Lieba Nesis