These boots are made for fashion

These boots are made for fashion

But the famous shoes have a growing fan base among Australia’s social-media savvy “it” girls, including Instagram wonder child Stephanie Claire Smith.

The model, who has more than 700,000 followers on the photo- sharing site, has been announced as the face of Blundstone’s new Urban range, becoming the latest social-media star to secure a major campaign.

A self-confessed country girl, Smith toldAccess All Areas she loved the boots because she could wear them anywhere.

“They’re super comfortable, I was surprised because a lot of work-looking boots are really heavy and stiff but the new urban ones are easy to dress up because they’re not as bulky,” the 21-year-old said.

“Generally I wear them with a pair of jeans but I noticed at the launch night in Sydney there were girls rocking them with skirts which looked kind of cool.”

Smith has developed a steadily increasing presence on social media, with her loyal followers keeping up with her clean-eating recipes, fitness tips and daily life. The down- to-earth beauty said she never expected others would be so interested in her life but loved the idea of being a positive role model.

“I worked out pretty early that I’ve got a lot of young girls following me and I do love girls asking me about (my routines). It’s almost cool to be healthy now, which is good,” Smith said.

“People do come up and say hello and my favourites are the young girls who are shaking and going ‘I love you so much you’re my role model’.”

But the famous shoes have a growing fan base among Australia’s social-media savvy “it” girls, including Instagram wonder child Stephanie Claire Smith.

The model, who has more than 700,000 followers on the photo- sharing site, has been announced as the face of Blundstone’s new Urban range, becoming the latest social-media star to secure a major campaign.

A self-confessed country girl, Smith toldAccess All Areas she loved the boots because she could wear them anywhere.

“They’re super comfortable, I was surprised because a lot of work-looking boots are really heavy and stiff but the new urban ones are easy to dress up because they’re not as bulky,” the 21-year-old said.

“Generally I wear them with a pair of jeans but I noticed at the launch night in Sydney there were girls rocking them with skirts which looked kind of cool.”

Smith has developed a steadily increasing presence on social media, with her loyal followers keeping up with her clean-eating recipes, fitness tips and daily life. The down- to-earth beauty said she never expected others would be so interested in her life but loved the idea of being a positive role model.

“I worked out pretty early that I’ve got a lot of young girls following me and I do love girls asking me about (my routines). It’s almost cool to be healthy now, which is good,” Smith said.

“People do come up and say hello and my favourites are the young girls who are shaking and going ‘I love you so much you’re my role model’.”

A New Camouflage Pattern Now in Fashion for the U.S. Army

Just in time for the Fourth of July, the United States military is getting a new look.

To be specific, the Army is getting a redesigned combat uniform, with tweaked detailing and accessories, which entered select Military Clothing Sales stores Wednesday, and will gradually be absorbed into soldiers’ existing wardrobes. While some of the changes are subtle: the mandarin collar is replaced by a fold down version; the sleeve sports two pen channels, rather than three; combat boots come in what the Army calls “coyote brown” (very J. Crew) — one change is broadly significant: the print.

Instead of the Universal Camouflage Pattern and the Multicam design (also known as the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern), the new Army Combat Uniform features a print the Army has labeled the Operational Camouflage Pattern.

The Universal Camouflage Pattern, with its green and tan pixelated splotches, debuted in 2004 and turned out to be less effective than expected and largely unpopular. (In standard military speak, William Layer, an Army spokesman, put it this way: “Soldier feedback revealed dissatisfaction.”) The Multicam design was created by a private company, Crye Precision, and licensed for use in Afghanistan in 2010.

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ARMY FASHION SHORTHAND

To enter the world of military fashion is to enter the world of the outfit acronym. Following, for example, is a brief (non-comprehensive) guide to camouflage and uniform shorthand:

  • OCP: Operational Camouflage Pattern
  • UCP: Universal Camouflage Pattern
  • ACU: Army Combat Uniform
  • BDU: Battle Dress Uniform
  • DCU: Desert Camouflage Uniform
  • MARPAT: Marine Pattern
  • DPM: Disruptive Pattern material (used by the British army)
  • MCSS: Military Clothing Sales Stores

The new print looks like a combination of the Universal Camouflage Pattern and the Multicam, complete with blobs, rather than pixel shapes, and darker colors.

Why should this matter to those who are not themselves part of the army, or closely connected to the army, or whose camouflage of choice might be denim, or a navy single-breasted suit, or a sleeveless shift dress?

Well, partly because the process of researching the new camo took four years, had its own name (the Camouflage Improvement Effort), and was the most comprehensive camo study to date. And partly because the result is what is supposed to be the safest, most effective camouflage made.

But mostly because of the trickle-down effect — speaking in fashion and not economic terms, of course.

While the terminology, once used to describe the relationship between the runway and the mass market, has fallen out of, well, fashion (the street trickles up to the catwalk as much as vice versa), when it comes to the parallels between military and civilian style, it is practically axiomatic.

What is fashion, after all, but uniforms abstracted and diversified for a multitude of armies, both corporate and communal?

No wonder the building blocks of military style, from the wool greatcoat to cargo pants, have been absorbed into designers’ vernacular. The influence is especially relevant today, as unisex or gender-free dressing — an approach embodied by the Army uniform — is sweeping collections from Gucci to Public School.

As a result, what happens in Natick labs — the United States Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, the organization responsible for developing and testing all equipment, except weaponry and communications — has an outsize effect on what happens in fashion week.

Nowhere is this more obvious than when it comes to camouflage, which, perhaps more than specific items or silhouettes, has captured the fashion imagination. After all, there is no better metaphor for the clothes we all put on every day, conceived and chosen to help us blend in to whatever personality or environment we choose.

Every few seasons, it seems, camouflage takes a turn on the catwalk. It happened during the spring and summer 2013 men’s wear shows, on runways from Dries Van Noten to Comme des Garçons. And the Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli created a niche camouflage collection that has become a brand staple. Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson modeled the style in Paris last March, when they announced plans for the film “Zoolander 2.”

Meanwhile, Burberry included a suede camouflage bucket bag and over-the-knee suede boots in its autumn/winter 2015 women’s wear collection, coming to stores later this summer. Not long afterward, Rihanna appeared in Christopher Kane camouflage sweats and a contrasting camouflage Puma x Bathing Ape puffa coat. Most recently, during the spring/summer 2016 Paris men’s wear shows, camouflage showed up at Dior Homme (argyle camo!), Neil Barrett (batik camo!) and Louis Vuitton (“brush stroke” camo!). To name but a few.

Yet in offering a multitude of camouflage interpretations, fashion is simply mimicking the military itself..

The basement storage room of Kaufman’s Army/Navy store on 42nd Street in New York, for example, features about 15 different kinds of camouflage, including: the Woodland camo (dark browns and forest greens), officially introduced in 1981 as part of the Battle Dress Uniform; the Tiger Stripe (interlocking strokes of green and black layered over olive and khaki), which was worn in Vietnam; the “Blueberry” (navy camo in various shades of blue); and the Chocolate Chip (light tan, with brown splotches and black and white “chips” dotted on top), as worn in the Persian Gulf war.

There are camouflage jackets, trousers, tank tops and underwear; camouflage from Germany, Britain and Russia; and gray, black and white camouflage known as “urban camo” that Jim Korn, the owner of Kaufman’s, said was created about 30 years ago, when companies that manufactured clothing for the Army were “between contracts.” Little wonder the store serves as a haunt for designers and their assistants.

(Perhaps not so coincidentally, in turn many members of the design, pattern and prototype team at Natick have fashion backgrounds.)

What sets the new camouflage apart, however, from all these older camouflages is both its aim — to be usable in all terrains — and some controversy around its origins, with some suggesting it is too similar to the Multicam design, the pattern created by Crye Precision.

When asked about ownership, Mr. Layer said, “Both patterns provide effective concealment under similar conditions. This, plus the shared heritage, accounts for perceived similarities between the two patterns.”

David Accetta, a Natick spokesman and United States Army historian, emailed: “The Army possesses appropriate rights to use the OCP on its uniforms and equipment.” He added: “The Army will address any legal issues if and when they arise.” Crye itself did not return calls for comment.

In any case, all of this makes the Operational Camouflage Pattern potentially more attention-grabbing than other camos, and hence even more likely to have some fashion fallout.

Whether that is good or bad, or even appropriate — whether the denaturing of clothing for style purposes should have limits when it comes to garments created to protect and perform — is open to debate. It can be jarring, after all, to walk down the street and pass soldiers wearing Army camouflage one minute and 20-somethings barhopping in neon-toned designer camo the next.

Mr. Korn, who has sold to everyone from military personnel to fashion folk from his store on 42nd Street, doesn’t see a problem.

“Each of us has a right to wear whatever we want,” he said. “It’s part of what we fight for.”

How the Fashion Industry Embraced Marriage Equality Before It Was Fashionable

Fashion Industry LGBT Rights Crusade

The Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage may have sparked debate all over the country, but many in the fashion industry, long a platform for progressive gay rights, embraced such equality years ago.

In 2011, American for Marriage Equality USA was launched at Calvin Klein Collection’s Madison Avenue store, and hosted by the Human Rights Campaign. A year later, Nordstrom president Blake Nordstrom e-mailed staffers to say that gay and lesbian employees are entitled to the same rights and protections marriage provides under law to other employees. In terms of weddings, many couples in the fashion crowd waited for New York or California to legalize same-sex marriages before they made their unions official. Tom Ford, Michael Kors, Simon Doonan, Narciso Rodriguez, Isaac Mizrahi, Robert Duffy, Glen Senk, Dennis Basso and Arnold Scaasi are among the designers who have since wed their respective partners. While Basso went all-out in 2011 with a 450-person black-tie affair at the Pierre — the first gay wedding in the hotel’s more than 80-year history — others were decidedly more low-key.

Last year, when WWD asked Ford about how he had offered news of his marriage during a Q&A at the Apple store in London, and skipped the formal announcement, he said, “It didn’t occur to me that anyone would be interested.” Questioned as to whether it surprised him that to so many people, gay marriage was no more or less an event than straight marriage, the designer replied that it seemed apparent even in the way people noted their congratulations: “I ran into a business meeting, and people said it in a way that anyone would congratulate anyone.”

Simon Doonan’s wedding to Jonathan Adler in 2008 was more thorny. After making things official in San Francisco’s City Hall, the pair found themselves single again, so to speak, with the passage of Proposition 8 two years later. “We just sort of waited it out until it went through the Supreme Court,” Doonan says — and with good reason: “When I moved to the U.S. in the ’60s, you couldn’t get a green card if you were gay.”

As a sign of the fashion industry’s commitment to the gay community, Barneys New York held one of the first AIDS fundraisers with the opening of its downtown women’s store in 1986. Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Peter Alan and a slew of other artists customized denim jackets that were modeled by Madonna, Iman and other VIPs. In the ’90s, Doonan once decked out Barneys Madison Avenue windows with wedding cakes, including one topped with two groom figures and another with two brides. “We didn’t think gay marriage was even a possibility then. It was just a fun idea for a gay window,” Doonan says.

Human Rights Campaign staffers, trailblazer Edie Windsor, civil rights lawyer Roberta Kaplan and other longtime supporters have made marriage equality a reality, Doonan says. And many in the fashion crowd have helped. “The fashion world is very progressive,” Doonan explains. “Historically, it’s been a great place for people to go to who wouldn’t fit into more conventional environments because they were gay, idiosyncratic or considered otherwise marginal.”

Citing how his former boss, Perry Ellis, had a daughter via artificial insemination, Mizrahi calls it “a real example of a forward-thinking gay moment.” But it wasn’t until more states started allowing same-sex marriages that his own view switched. “I come from a gay generation that did not put much store in marriage. Part of my coming of age was realizing that I probably never would get married or have a kid.” Mizrahi says. “As different states started allowing for it, Arnold (Germer) and I decided, ‘OK, when they approve it in New York, we’re going to do it.’ I think I saved a dollar on my taxes. I did it out of love and respect — there’s something emblematic about being a married couple.”

After receiving his MBA in 1980, Glen Senk, former CEO of Anthropologie, decided on a career in retail. “I was the only, if not the first, University of Chicago grad to go into retail. One of the reasons was because I felt the industry would be more accepting of my personal choices,” Senk says. “At Bloomingdale’s, being gay and being in a committed relationship was a non-issue.”

Fast-forward 35 years, and the same can be said of millennials and anyone under 30, Senk says. “For that group, gay marriage is a non-issue — gender identity, too. Caitlyn Jenner is not even news to them.”

Mara Urshel, owner of the Manhattan bridal store Kleinfeld, says same-sex wedding purchases have jumped 25% in the past year. Couples are much more open about their nuptials, booking appointments with two bridal consultants in adjoining rooms as opposed to shopping independently and being evasive about their plans. And more gay brides-to-be are bringing along their mothers and other relatives. “Now, there is more of an acceptance from the family, and from the world,” Urshel says, adding: More of the world, not all of the world.”

SHARE IT! Share on facebook 0 Share on twitter 5 Share on linkedin 0 Share on printShare on email Donna Karan leaves behind a fashion legacy

Over the last two decades, Donna Karan International has been one of the biggest brands in the fashion industry. Founder and chief designer Donna Karan announced on Tuesday that she was leaving her namesake company to focus on other projects.

Fashion journalist Kate Betts says that Karan has left a clear impact in the world of fashion.

“She designed for women in a way that was very sensuous and much more feminine than previous looks for women,” Betts says.  “It was a revelation for many professional women.”

Karan was later able to spin off this success into DKNY, which Betts says was the first line in what’s come to be known as the contemporary market.

“She covered a lot of different areas of the fashion market with that one line, and it was a huge hit,” Betts says.

The fact that she was such a trailblazer in this field may have played into her desire to step down when her company was at its peak.

“I think it’s kind of ironic that she created that contemporary market, and now that’s the market that’s taking over for the higher end. And you could argue that that’s one of the reasons that she’s kind of leaving her brand,” Betts says.

Kimora Lee Simmons Launches a New Fashion Brand for Working Mothers

Kimora Lee Simmons with her baby, Wolfe Lee, in a new Beverly Hills, Calif., store selling clothes in her KLS line.

Kimora Lee Simmons is launching a luxury-priced fashion line for women who are juggling work and family, women just like her, she says.

The ‘just like her’ part is eyebrow-raising. Few women have been a Chanel model or the wife of music mogul Russell Simmons. Her diva antics as a divorced-mom fashion entrepreneur on the Style Network reality show “Kimora: Life in the Fab Lane” made her more gawk-worthy than relatable.

Looks that are sexy but not too sexy, at the new KLS store in Beverly Hills, Calif.,  from designer Kimora Lee Simmons.

But reality TV, Baby Phat fashion and the JustFab retail website are in her rearview mirror, Ms. Simmons says. Ahead is the stability of family life with her investment banker husband Tim Leissner, who is chairman of Southeast Asia for Goldman Sachs, and son Wolfe, who was born in April.

She has resurrected the name KLS from a less-expensive juniors label that was discontinued five years ago. The first KLS store opened here on Beverly Drive several weeks ago, stocked with body-conscious suits, dresses and separates.

The looks in the KLS line from Kimora Lee Simmons are body-conscious yet office-appropriate.

This is a line for women who don’t want to cross the line between sexy and trashy at work. Sturdy, stretchy fabrics hold the body snugly in place. Pencil skirts are trim but fall respectfully below the knee. It only goes up to size 12.

There’s just a whiff of denim. “Baby Phat was $50 jeans. These are $400 jeans,” she says. “This is not mass.” Filling out the collection are bags and wallets, big enough to carry what working women haul around.

Manufactured in New York, KLS is available at her store and website. Prices range from $425 for pants to $1,550 for some dresses.

A 6-foot-tall whirlwind who rocks 4-inch heels, Ms. Simmons blew into the store recently accompanied by an entourage: a nanny, nine-week-old Wolfe, Mr. Leissner, one highly attentive personal assistant and three hair, makeup, and wardrobe stylists. She was running late, but paused to pose for paparazzi gathered on the sidewalk.

The KLS store from fashion designer Kimora Lee Simmons also sells accessories.

She pointed to the arm of a sofa and announced that was where she’d like to perch for a photo shoot. “I like the edge because I’m fat,” she said. She threw herself into a chair and asked for her hair to be flat-ironed.

A former fashion model who was hired by Karl Lagerfeld at 15, Ms. Simmons, now 40, has lived in the fast lane for all of her adult life. Her four children include two daughters, Ming Lee Simmons, 15, and Aoki Lee Simmons, 12, with Mr. Simmons; and a son, 8-year-old Kenzo Lee Hounsou, from a relationship with actor Djimon Hounsou. She met Mr. Leissner while sitting in business class on a Cathay Pacific flight from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur, where they disagreed about who had dibs on the empty middle seat between them. Airline officials had told each that the seat was left empty for their comfort as frequent flyers.

“She piled all her stuff on it, like it was her seat,” Mr. Leissner says.

“It was my seat,” Ms. Simmons replies.

Mr. Leissner says he proposed to her by the end of the four-hour flight. They married in 2013 and are sometimes photographed as a family with Mr. Simmons included.

Inside the KLS store in Beverly Hills, which designer Kimora Lee Simmons opened in June.

Now, Ms. Simmons is dabbling in venture capital and other deals alongside Mr. Leissner. Their ventures range from a Paris-based cosmetics line called Codage, an energy drink called Celsius, a sports-team investment fund and an artificial-intelligence company.

She has stayed largely out of the limelight since her TV show went off the air in 2011 after five years. Now, with one of her daughters just out of the hospital after spinal surgery, and her days punctuated with pumping breast milk for the baby, Ms. Simmons refers to her new stage in life as “Kimora, Version Five.” “I want [people] to know me for having a high-end and elevated brand,” she says.