historical fashion


Betsey Johnson spring 2016 New York Fashion Week

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Photos: Cathy OBrien/Bay Area Fashionista

Betsey Johnson sent her spring/summer 2016 collection down the New York Fashion Week runway on September 11, 2015. This was no ordinary Betsey Johnson spring 2016 collection, this was her 50th anniversary celebration collection; which was beyond any other runway performance at fashion week.

Although my photos are not very good since I was sitting towards the back, you can see there was fun to be had on the runway. Betsey Johnson featured segments on her runway which celebrated themes from decades throughout her career. The models walked down the right side of the runway, then back up the left, then they stepped onto a platform runway which was placed in the middle of the regular runway; and they walked down that, then stood in line dancing! It was unlike any runway show I have seen thus far.

When all of the models were dancing on the raised runway at the end of each segment, Betsey Johnson told a poem which related to the decade theme of the segment. The themes were playful, saucy, and downright fun! Isn’t that what Betsey Johnson is all about? FUN!

Throughout the decades, Betsey Johnson played with prints, color, bold accessories, and silhouettes. The spring 2016 collection evoked the correct vibe for each decade, yet offered something fresh and modern on each piece. This made the collection ideal to wear, while feeling a little bit of historical significance with each piece. This fusion between modernity and historical fashion is hard to achieve, of course, Betsey achieved it effortlessly. Love it!

Of course, to close the show, in true Betsey Johnson style, she came down to the end of the runway surrounded in large silver balloons which read “50.” At the end of the runway, Betsey herself did one of her signature cartwheels which had the crowd standing, cheering, and clapping on their feet. I have never been at a fashion show where people stand and cheer like they are at football game before. It is amazing how Betsey Johnson knows how to bring the FUN into fashion. Which is what fashion is really about. It is wearable art which expresses who you are; so why not be fun!

To learn more about Betsey Johnson, please click here.

Video credit: FatalefashionIII (they have amazing videos, I recommend subscribing)


Kate Spade brings back her classic mini tote

kate spade classic handbag tote

Kate Spade tote

Kate Spade first became famous in the mid-1990’s when her beloved nylon mini tote hit the handbag scene. Handbag fans and Fashionistas everywhere ran out to purchase their very own Kate Spade mini tote; making the tote hard to come by! The tote appeared on the forearm of every woman on the street. Although Kate Spade’s tote was popular and worn by many women, very few of these Kate Spade handbags looked exactly alike. The small tote came in a variety of colors and patterns, making it as unique the next “IT” bag after the Kate Spade tote; the Fendi Baguette.

The Kate Spade “IT” bag of the mid-1990’s was coveted by almost every woman on the street. In fact, counterfeiters soon caught on to the trend and fake versions of the ultimate small tote were popping up on the forearm’s of unscrupulous women on the street. This was disconcerting to see, the fakes were easy to spot and showed the poor ethics of the faker. 

For the holiday 2014 season, Kate Spade has brought back a version of her famous small tote and it is nothing short of fabulous! This beautiful rendition of Kate Spade’s ultimate “IT” bag is made from a beautiful black nylon which holds up in the rain. The tote is embellished in sparkling jewels making it ideal for the holiday season as well as an evening investment. This new tote from Kate Spade can easily be worn for many years to come as an evening tote with sophisticated casual attire through to semi-formal wear. Love that!

One of the reason’s Kate Spade’s nylon totes became so highly sought-after in the mid-1990’s was due to the fact that they offered extraordinary quality. I owned a black one which I wore everyday. I lived and worked in San Francisco at the time and used the tote for work. I stuffed it full of everything I needed for myself and work. I took the tote with me everyday on BART and Muni. The tote was caught in the rain, subjected to daily fog, and who knows what wars it went though on public transit! The tote survived, and always looked new. I wish I still owned it today; unfortunately my Mom took it from me! Roughly fifteen years later, my Mom uses the tote bag and it looks amazing!

Hopefully this is a sign of things to come. It would be amazing if Kate Spade continued to release this beautiful yet practical handbag every season in new colors and prints. It is a classic style and something every Fashionista should have in his/her closet. Do you remember when Kate Spade’s small tote was the “IT” bag in the mid-1990’s? If so, did you own one?


Denim trends for spring and summer 2014

One of the biggest debates every season centers around the current styles of denim and denim washes. Denim over the past few seasons has been skinny, retro and has been offered in more styles than just pants. For the spring and summer 2014 seasons, denim is maturing past the skinny jean and pulling in retro or vintage influences from the 1980’s, 1990’s and modern 2000’s.

Denim pants: The denim pant for spring and summer 2014 is being offered in three distinct styles. The skinny jean is continuing, but quickly becoming overshadowed by the boyfriend jean; which has been gaining in popularity over the past few years. The boyfriend jean has officially overtaken the skinny jean as the “IT” denim style of the season. This means everyone who was afraid to wear skinny jeans can fret no longer. The boyfriend jean is forgiving, relaxed and easy to wear with almost any figure. 

The third denim pant style which is gaining popularity is often referred to as the “Mom” jean. These are the jeans our dear Mother’s wore in the 1980’s; and unfortunately many kept wearing them in the 1990’s. The “Mom” jean offers a high waist and loose fit which is neither boyfriend jean nor skinny jean. The loose fit is comfortable, but not always flattering.

Denim washes: The wash of one’s jeans can instantly set the piece apart from denim “win” versus denim “failure.” The denim wash for the spring and summer 2014 seasons is medium, light, white or muted. In addition to regular denim washes, we are starting to see variations of the vintage acid wash with a less splotchy finish.

Over the past few seasons we have seen denim or chambray shirts, denim jackets, denim dresses and the like. For the spring 2014 and summer 2014 seasons the denim trend has calmed down. Chambray or denim shirts have moved aside for crisp cotton shirts and the denim dress has moved into storage. For spring and summer 2014, the only denim at the front of your closet should be pants, shorts, skirts (short) and jackets.

Colored denim has been a huge trend over the past few years. For the spring and summer 2014 seasons, colored denim is still around but not very important. Look more for muted blues, blue variations and white.

Printed denim has also been a huge trend over the past few years. This trend is also continuing into spring and summer 2014, but has lost its’ dominant edge. You can keep printed denim pants in your wardrobe rotation but it is not something you want to invest in for the long term.

Destroyed denim is another trend we have watched explode over the past few seasons. This trend is still in place but has been starting to fade. If you have destroyed denim from a past season you can still wear it this season, but do not invest in a new destroyed piece. The trend is about to end.

Cropped jeans are also popping up for the spring and summer 2014 seasons. This denim style enjoyed popularity is the late 1990’s through the early 2000’s. The style is back for 2014 and offers a cool alternative to ankle length jeans on a warm spring day. Look for light washes and white.

What is your favorite denim  trend this season?

Shop the denim trend for spring and summer 2014: