Force For Fashion

Force 4 Fashion
In honour of Star Wars week, I’ll be rolling out various SW themed posts ranging from the couture to costumes. Today’s post features a rather fabulous charity event called Force 4 Fashion. A bevy of top designers teamed up under the guide of Disney Consumer Products and Bloomingdales to create looks based on the new film, The Force Awakens. These particular designers were geeks themselves, having loved Star Wars for years or having been shaped by the iconic films.  So on December 2nd, a star-studded group attended the campaign of a fusion of pop culture and fashion in New York presented by Kay Jewelers.

BB8 Cynthia RowleyBB8 by Cynthia Rowley

Each look was displayed in all of Bloomingdale’s 57th street windows through December 18th. Now something quite nifty is that these outfits are being sold to the public! These outfits are being auctioned off on CharityBuzz.com to benefit the Child Mind Institute – a charitable initiative that empowers people to make a positive impact on the world around them.
Phasma Giles DeaconCaptain Phasma by Giles Deacon
Kylo Ren HalstonKylo Ren by Halston
stormtrooper Ovadia & SonsImperial by Ovadia & Sons
Phasma ParkerCaptain Phasma by Parker
Kylo Ren Rag and BoneKylo Ren by Rag & Bone
Rey Rag & BoneRey by Rag & Bone
Chewbacca Todd SnyderChewbacca by Todd Snyder
Rey Diane von FurstenbergRey by Diane von Furstenberg
Stormtrooper Opening CeremonyStormtrooper by Opening Ceremony
Finn Timo WeilandFinn by Timo Weiland

Photos: Nerdist.com, Tomandlorenzo.com, and Starwars.com

Back to the Future Couture

Back to the Future 2015The day has arrived where the infamous Marty McFly appears from the past via the time-traveling DeLorean (from the 1989 film Back to the Future Part II for those not in the know). While posts online are all abuzz with the differences between what 2015 was supposed to look like versus the reality of now, I think there’s a lot to be said for how far we’ve come as a society for creativity. Sure, scientific advancements may not have us all on hoverboards, but there have been many advances in medicine and technology (hello smartphones!) that would still make Marty McFly ooo and aah.

The same, I believe, can be said of clothing design. While we don’t have self-tailoring jackets or immediate air dry, we are on the cusp of some very interesting 3D printed apparel. Not to mention more sophisticated design work than the um…’unique’ choices in the film of what 2015 clothing would look like.

Back to the Future 2015But I’d like to focus on the design aspect some more. Having studied a bit of fashion and costuming history, we have entered into an era where almost anything can be designed (and in most cases, made). With materials like worbla, neoprene, acrylic, etc. there’s more room for creative exploration by the average person. What was once relegated to Fashion Week-level couture designers, can now be made on a personal scale. How exciting!

One such exciting venue (near and dear to my heart, of course) is geek fashion design. Last year at the first annual Her Universe Geek Couture Fashion Show, geeks from all over the US creatively explored ideas of their favourite characters or fandoms in apparel form. But one such design (the winner, in fact) stood out as being perfectly appropriate for today.

Amy Beth Christenson designed and made the winning piece humorously titled, “Great Skirt, Marty!

great-skirt-marty-runwayI knew I really wanted to do a ‘Back to the Future’ outfit ’cause it was huge for me growing up. It made a big impact on me and what I wanted to do growing up,” Christenson told HitFix in an interview. (She now is a senior concept designer and visual development artist for Lucasfilm Animation.)

In lieu of doing my own interview with Christenson (I thought of the idea too late), I thought I’d showcase what I could find of the making-of this fun outfit. For the fantastic DeLorean jacket, Christenson used a very lightweight marine vinyl that had a brushed metal, stainless steel appearance and was easy to work with. To make the “exhaust vents” on the back of the jacket, she hand-quilted upholstery batting and black spandex. (My fingers hurt just thinking about it!)

GreatSkirtMartysketchThe belt features the DeLorean logo and grill on the front and tail lights on the back. Christenson 3D printed the front belt piece in plastic after digitally building it using the program, Maya.

great-skirt-marty-belt-coverOn the back of the belt, each tail light was created by layering reflective aluminum tape, clear ribbed shelf liner, and colored light gels. A frame was then 3D printed with a flexible rubber so the belt could bend easily and not break. (It’s amazing how far we’ve come to be able to custom-make accessories like this. I’m still wrapping my head around non-fabric materials, myself.)

great-skirt-marty-belt-lightsAs any Back to the Future fan knows, dramatic fire trails spit out from behind the DeLorean leaves when it revs up to travel through time. Bet you can’t guess which part of the outfit that shows up in! Christenson bought a pair of Hue black tights and airbrushed them yellow, orange and red with fabric dye. (I wish I had known about airbrushing a pair of tights rather than using actual paint and a paintbrush. Oh those tights looked horrible…)

great-skirt-martyAnd last but not least, Christenson commissioned Johnna Joy Murch to make a few matching pieces of jewelry to go with the outfit. Murch created a 4 piece set of radiation hazard earrings, a barcode choker necklace, cuff bracelet with the Mr. Fusion logo, and clutch purse which featured the DeLorean’s futuristic barcode license plate.

great-skirt-marty-clutch-jewelry

What fantastic times we live in to be able to create these type of things! Although I’m still waiting on my hoverboard… *stamps foot*

Photos: Popsci.com, Amy Beth Christenson

Kevin Wada – Comic Fashion Illustrator

Kevin wada xwomen(My apologies on the lack of blogging lately. I went from starting a new job to Dragoncon madness to progressively coming down with pneumonia all in the last month. Oi vey, I’m tired….)

Now I would be remiss in running a geek fashion blog without mentioning the likes of popular illustrator, Kevin Wada. His works have graced the covers of many a comic publisher and convention hall. From character portraits to comic-themed fashion illustrations (my personal favourite), Wada paints a mesmerizing dance of colours and patterns to spark the visual senses.

Kevin Wada X-Fashion
His major delve into the geek fashion side was with the X-Fashion series in 2013, where Wada and his friend and Max Wittert took the beloved females of the X-Men world and drew out their personalities in a fierce fashionista lineup.
Kevin Wada 90s RealnessWith a unique brush of watercolours, Wada blends the seemingly opposed worlds of fashion and comic. Paint is not, especially absent of the thick link of ink, is not an often soon technique used to render comic characters. But it is an increasingly popular choice for covers and personal illustrations.
Kevin Wada Magneto's FamilyBlack Widow Anka Original
Black Widow in an Anka Original gown

chanel-catwoman
Catwoman in Chanel

Kevin Wada PsylockePsylocke in Alexander Mcqueen

Kevin Wada Lorna DaneLorna Dane (Polaris) in Beyonce’s On the Run tour outfit

Kevin Wada MagnetoShe HulkYou can see more of his work at the links below:

http://kevinwada.com/
http://kevinwada.tumblr.com/
https://twitter.com/kevinwada
http://kevinwada.deviantart.com/

Her Universe Fashion Show 2015

Her Universe Fashion ShowYear Two of the Her Universe Geek Couture Fashion show debuted at San Diego Comic Con on July 9, 2015. After last year’s successful show, many designer hopefuls raced to submit their dreams on paper in hopes of being selected. 25 of those hopefuls got to walk the runway in front of a very excited crowd of fellow geeks, female and male alike.

The top judges award was given to Kelly Cercone for her vintage take on Joker in the style of Christian Dior (aptly named “Joker’s New Look“) While I’ll admit, it took me a second to get who the outfit was portraying, the end result is quite playful in the way you might imagine the Joker could be. Suddenly the flouncy number gives an extra sinister air of what femme fatale could lie beneath. (As an aside, the construction and stitching on the bodice is INCREDIBLE.)

Joker's New LookLeetal Platt recieved the audience choice for her quick-change Sailor Moon design, “Usagi’s Transformation.” I found it to be an incredibly brilliant design not just because of the dramatic on-stage transformation, but because Platt definitely did her research in pulling all the elements and colours from Sailor Moon’s animated transformation sequence from the show.

Sailor Moon Geek CoutureEven Ashley Eckstein herself joined in the fun with 3 gowns designed by the 2015 winner, Andrew McLaine. (From left to right, the designs are inspired by Princess Leia (it looks so comfy!), Black Widow (while beautiful, I feels this gown is better suited to Harley Quinn than Black Widow), and Haku from Spirited Away. The teal ruffles in the back to mimic the dragon’s tail is just brilliant!)

Ashley Eckstein Her Universe dresses 2015I’ll confess alot of the designs this year feel a bit too literal and tend more towards costumes than fashion (though that is purely my subjective opinion). Last year felt more fashion-esque vs. cosplay-esque. Although I can definitely understand there being any confusion among the designers as I haven’t quite figured out the final goal of the Her Universe Fashion Show. Is it to design more towards everyday pieces to gain the eye of Her Universe and Hot Topic for the prize of designing their next clothing line or creating Paris-level geek couture ensembles? My impression from the press releases and contest writeups have been the latter, but the reality seems to be favouring more of the former, looking to continue on similar designs as the Her Universe apparel lineup (skater dresses, rockabilly, etc.) Now, I’m not knocking that choice at all, but some clarification as the final contest goals would be helpful (especially as I’m considering possibly entering next year.*dun dun duuuuuh!*).

Here are the other creative designs from the show. (My personal favourites were the two winners along with Poison Ivy Green Love by Oseas Villatoro and Alien Queen by Jesse Thaxton for being the closest to regular haute couture. And lastly, Unicorn in the Waves by Jennifer Newman for being a serene, elegant ensemble (it’s begging for a chilly forest photoshoot to be done with it.).

Her Universe Fashion Show 2015Her Universe Fashion Show 2015Her Universe Fashion Show 2015Her Universe Fashion Show 2015Her Universe Fashion Show 2015Her Universe Fashion Show 2016But that’s not all….next year promises to be the most exciting year yet! Her Universe is teaming up with Blondie Girl Productions to shoot a TV show based around the Geek Couture Fashion Show that will follow the designers chosen for next year’s show. It will be a journey of getting to see the design processes of each contestant, from initial concept through sewing and fabrication to the final walk down the runway at San Diego Comic Con 2016.

It’s an exciting time in the ever-evolving landscape of female fandom.

Photos: The talented Deb Anderson over at Aggressive Comics.

Helmut Lang’s F/W 2012 Game of Thrones Inspired Collection

Helmut Lang FW 2012 Jon SnowWhile most of the focus of geek fashion has been on small startup companies made by geeks for geeks, let’s not forget the big players – the big fashion houses who also happen to be inspired by the same beloved fandoms. Alas, they occasionally slip under the radar due to being ‘just another frou-frou runway show in some posh city that’s way too expensive’. But even if the pricetag is too much for the common person to afford, it’s still nice to know that there is a common ground of inspiration. That something as simple as a TV show can unite both sides of the aisle.

Helmut Lang FW 2012 Ned StarkHelmut Lang FW 2012 DaenerysOne such show that slipped under the radar was Helmut Lang’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection that was, in fact, Game of Thrones-inspired. Nicole and Michael Colovos said they looked for an “interpretation of The Game of Thrones guardians,” and as a result, “their dual existence of forest life and a stark minimal world is embodied in the mixing of hard and soft fabrics, tree bark printed leather, and minimal body conscious silhouettes.” The collection still manages to stay true to the brand’s modern aesthetic while still having recognizable elements of it’s TV show muse.

Helmut Lang FW 2012 Jaime LannisterThe urban-medieval outfits feature enough leather, leggings and boots to qualify for a good jaunt around Westeros. Speaking of boots, LD Tuttle designer, Tiffany Tuttle teamed up with the Colovos’ to collaborate for the F/W 2012 collection to create a 5-piece capsule shoe collection to tie the outfits together. Edgy silhouettes and asymmetrical cuts with luxe leathers with hues of black and red harkened to the Night’s Watch, with a luxury that would be worthy of a Khaleesi’s closet.

Helmut Lang FW 2012 MelisandreHelmut Lang FW 2012 Theon GreyjoyPhotos: Style.com, H3D Wallpapers, Fanshare, Fanpop, Moonlight Library

 

Rodarte Star Wars 2014 Runway Line

Rodarte Star WarsRodarte set the fashion and geek worlds abuzz when it took over New York Fashion Week’s runway in 2014 with model bedecked in floor-length gowns with prints of iconic Star Wars imagery – from death stars to Tattoine to Yoda (and yes, George Lucas was spotted in the audience.) The designs may not be my cup of tea, but I certainly love seeing geek imagery stomping down major fashion runways!

rodarte star warsA few months later, designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy teamed up with photographer, Todd Cole to do a shoot of the collection at none other than  Skywalker Ranch. (Is anyone else jealous of that model? Because I know I am! A thin, straight-haired brunette shoot couture fashion AT Skywalker Ranch? Oh yes, do colour me jealous. I don’t mind.)

Rodarte Skywalker RanchThe sisters are self-described sci-fi geeks so it was only natural for some of that to come out in their work. In their own words, “We don’t remember a time when we hadn’t seen Star Wars. We were born after the films came out, but they seem to be a part of our growing up, from all ages. We were drawn to the mythology behind the films, to the characters and the ways in which they were crafted. In later years, we were able to see the beauty of the films —  the landscapes and craftsmanship required to make the films so complete and whole. Every detail of the world created for Star Wars was thought out and brought to life as if it were real.

Rodarte Skywalker RanchOur Fall 2014 collection was inspired by our nostalgia for our childhood, delving into the ephemeral space of our imagination, highlighting our fascination with storytelling and cinema, which culminated with the inclusion of artwork from Star Wars in the five couture gowns ending the collection. More than anything, this collection is about the limitless possibilities of youth and how our imagination transformed our backyard into a great adventure. In the end, the dresses represent something intangible — the instantaneous and overwhelming moment of impact that changes the way you see the world. They represent the instant where you learn to keep your eyes wide-open to the vast potentiality of everything.

Rodarte Skywalker RanchThe Star Wars films seem to have become a part of who we are. In a broader sense, they have melded with the collective conscious of our cultural DNA. They are a heartbeat that joins so many people together or a complex nervous system, connecting far off worlds with the very real and universal human experience. On top of all of this, the films of the saga are, simply put, fun — just like jumping into the ocean, one’s first kiss, or seeing the stars on a clear night.

Rodarte Skywalker RanchPhoto credits: NY Post, People Style Watch, Star Wars.com

Geek Couture – Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Gala 2008 – Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy

The Met Costume Institute Superheroes Fashion
Last night, the 2015 Met Gala was held in New York. But rather than focus on that (as I’m sure many news sites are already knee-deep in coverage), I thought I’d rewind the clock a bit. Every year, The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art hosts a themed exhibition, ranging from designer showcases to cultural studies. I would like to focus on 2008’s theme, which was the epitome of geek couture. (There was also a corresponding fashion editorial released in Vogue of model Coco Rocha in superhero-inspired wear.)
Vogue
To quote from the press release, “As superheroes enjoy a surge in mass popularity, The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art explores the symbolic and metaphorical associations between these fictional characters and fashion in Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy, an exhibition at the Museum from May 7 through September 1, 2008. The exhibition features approximately 60 ensembles including movie costumes, avant-garde haute couture, and high-performance sportswear to reveal how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body.

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“Today, superhero imagery has suffused almost every aspect of popular culture,” said Andrew Bolton, Curator in the Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute. “The superhero’s iconic costume of cape, mask, and bodysuit finds many fashionable permutations. But fashion’s embrace of the superhero extends beyond iconography, to issues of identity, sexuality, and nationalism. Fashion shares with the superhero an inherent metaphorical malleability which fuels its fascination with the idea and the ideal of the superhero.


“Superman and Spider-Man costumes addressed the subject of The Graphic Body, relating Superman’s ‘S’ chevron to designer logos and branding.”

The Met Costume Institute Superheroes FashionThe Met Costume Institute Superheroes Fashion
Catwoman represents The Paradoxical Body, which explores the character’s vacillating manifestations of good and bad.”

The Met Costume Institute Superheroes Fashion
“The stars and stripes of Wonder Woman’s uniform, a composite of the American flag, epitomize The Patriotic Body and designs that appropriate patriotic emotions implicit in the character.”

The Met Costume Institute Superheroes Fashion 
“Batman and Iron Man represent The Armored Body, and examine avant-garde fashion that merges flesh and metal, skin and chromium.”

The Met Costume Institute Superheroes Fashion
“The Mutant Body, denoted by the X-Men, highlights clothing that morphs men into beasts.”

super-xmen 
Designers included: Atair, Giorgio Armani, Balenciaga, Pierre Cardin, Dolce & Gabbana, Jean Paul Gaultier, Eiko Ishioka, Alexander McQueen, Julien Macdonald, Moschino, Thierry Mugler, Nike, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh, Speedo, Spyder, As Four, Walter van Beirendonck, Versace, and Bernhard Willhelm.

The exhibition was made possible by Giorgio Armani (one of my personal favourite designers)

Photographs: Tyler Hicks, Lauren David Peden, and Robin S. Rosenberg

Geek Couture – Her Universe Fashion Show 2014

HU_Sketches_2_1Last year at San Diego Comic Con, Her Universe created the Geek Couture runway show (no, that’s not where I got the name for my blog category. I came up with it independently. But it seems from the title and the Lady Vader design I was working on at the time, Ashley Eckstein and I are on the same wavelength!). It was an attempt to let would-be-designers compete to show off their high fashion concepts on a runway at Comic Con. Her Universe started off the event by showcases some of their own talented sketches of various haute couture characters (I really love The Walking Dead – Lori’s Ghost one the most. I could see that very easily being a case of stealth geek).

HU_Sketches_4_1HU_Sketches_1_1HU_Sketches_3The runway show was a resounding success as 36 designers and models stomped down the runway in their original designs. The large hall at the convention was standing room only as fangirls and boys alike excitedly gathered for the first-of-its-kind event. The designers ranged from professional costumers to hobby cosplayers, but all with equal amounts of passion.

As if the event wasn’t cool enough by itself, there was added incentive as two winners would be chosen from the runway show to then partner with Her Universe and Hot Topic to create their own collection. The two winners were….

Amy Beth Christenson Smith with her Delorean-inspired outfit from Back to the Future.mg_5812mg_5822

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Andrew MacLaine with his show-stopping quick-change Regina from Once Upon a Time.

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You have to see the full reveal of this one. It still blows my mind.

You can see a gallery of all the outfits here: (scroll down towards the bottom of the post): http://settostunning.com/2014/08/07/sdcc-her-universe-geek-couture-fashion-show/
(My apologies as I was trying to upload them all here, but can’t seem to get it formatted. Hmm, more things to learn!)

Geek Couture – Marvel’s New Men’s Fashion Line

FiveFourMarvel002

As geekdom and fashion circle ever closer to where lines begin to blur (such as Rodarte’s famed Star Wars runway collection), now comes geek giant, Marvel, crossing over to fashion with their announcement today of new men’s fashion line. In collaboration with Five Four, this line is being launched as an alternative to the (albeit beloved) geek t-shirt and jeans. Here, geek print meets with fashion-forward clothing (on some aptly cast male models)

Looking fashionable isn’t just for the lady nerds. Men, you too can have stealth geek chic.

The line launches on April 1st with outerwear, dress shirts, graphic tees, and accessories. For those of you familiar with LootCrate or Nerdblock (the mystery subscription boxes), this clothing line will be coming from Five Four as a monthly $60 box containing $120 worth of clothes, styled to your own specifications.FiveFourMarvel001-1-600x727

I cannot even begin to describe how much this excites me. I’ve often felt on the outskirts of these two worlds – too geeky for the fashion world or too styled for the geek world. But after watching trends of geekdom on the rise to mainstream and the eyes of the fashion world turning towards celebrating the things we love, like superheroes and catwomen, I knew they were going to come head-to-head at some point and make a beautiful blend. It’s happening! (Technically one can argue that it’s been happening, but that enters the realm of subjective opinion, which is neither here nor there). Regardless of the personal opinion, I’ll stick with my original exclamation of how exciting this is! Besides, who doesn’t love a well dressed (geek) guy?
MarvelMen3

Geek Couture – Superhero Fashion

There are times where it seems the worlds of fashion and geekdom couldn’t be farther apart – one bedecked in expensive fantasies of chiffon, leather, and Swarovski crystals while the other  revels in fabric superhero prints, graphic tees, and leggings galore. But the two are not so far off each other as one might suppose. While the two have skated around each other, seeming like polar opposites, their orbits are coming ever closer (and, in fact, have crossed paths before). From Rodarte’s Star Wars runway line last year to the growth of formal-themed cosplays at conventions worldwide, the blend of geek couture is on the rise.

In this category, Geek Couture, every week I will feature one of these so-called blends, whether it be from the fashion side or the geek side of things. Today’s feature comes from the 2008 issue of Vogue where (my personal favourite model) Coco Rocha and photographer, Craig McDean, did a superhero-inspired editorial (inspired by the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and their big spring exhibition, “Superheroes: Fashion and Fantasy” that same year. A quote from the Costume Institute’s website, “… to reveal how the superhero serves as the ultimate metaphor for fashion and its ability to empower and transform the human body.“)

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Poison Ivy with a Nina Ricci Swarovski custom-made embellished dress
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Catwoman by Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana with Christian Louboutin for Rodarte shoes

vogue-us_2008_05_craig-mcdean_daring-do-5Dawnstar in custom sequined Dior haute couture dress

coco-beautyThe Little Mermaid with Gaultier rubber bodysuit with shell detail and sequined detail
coco-beauty5Another Batman-inspired Armani Prive silk dress

1082042379A Batman inspired custom made Rick Owens zippered leather-and-cashmere suit
coco-beauty8
coco-beauty6Aurora with Martin Margiela custom made bodysuit
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(Photos via http://www.mymodernmet.com/profiles/blogs/superhero-style-by-craig)