Exhibition marks ‘50 years of Italian Fashion’

The Italian embassy inaugurated a fashion exhibition to mark ’50 Years of Italian Fashion’ at Four Seasons Hotel Doha.

Organised in co-operation with the Italian Trade Agency and Italian Chamber of Commerce in Qatar, the exhibition forms part of the ‘Italian Week in Qatar,’ which runs until November 27.

“This exhibition is an extraordinary journey through the history of Italian fashion. The amazing setting provided by our host hotel adds to the exclusiveness of this event,” Italian ambassador Pasquale Salzano said in his speech.

The event, attended by dignitaries, diplomats and fashion enthusiasts, is showcasing some of the collections of Alta Sartoria Bencivenga, renowned globally as a symbol of luxury, tailoring and passion.

Bencivenga, a family-owned fashion house based in Campania, Italy since 1958, is “a dynasty of couturiers” – from grandmother Giuseppa, a sophisticated dressmaker who worked for the royal family and rich Italian families, to her nephews.

The envoy said the Bencivenga brand has been growing to become a top-end name in the Italian fashion industry, citing the “dedication of the family members, who committed themselves totally for the success of their ambitious endeavour.”

He noted that family businesses have been sustaining for years the Italian economic development and small and medium companies grew to become global leaders in niche markets due to their dedication and enthusiasm.

“Italy and Qatar share the same values of a family-centered society. I believe there’s a great potential for co-operation on the best practices on the management of family businesses,” Salzano stressed.

“The Italian industry has a distinctive and unique capacity to blend and strive for excellence with the care of all single details of its production,” Salzano said. “This is the result of a combination of the highest technical skills with the passion of the men and women involved in these activities.”

The exhibition also saw the opening of Bencivenga’s first shop in the Middle East at the hotel. Speaking to Gulf Times on the sidelines of the exhibition, brand manager Tiffany Bencivenga said the shop sells Italian fabric, and under appointment, it makes suit for men and dress for women.

He added that when they came here, they were surprised to know that many Qataris like Italian fashion, a reason for opening the Bencivenga shop.

“Everything is made in Italy, everything is handmade, and everything is focused on the details,” Tiffany stressed. “This is to prove that in Italy, we have this kind of job, we make everything by hand, and not everything is made by machine.”

About the exhibition, he explained that each pair (suit and dress) showcased at the event tells the history of the Italian fashion brand from 1960’s to 2000.Read more at:formal dresses online | formal dresses brisbane


As good as it may sound, sometimes these non-stop purchases require us to hop around the entire city looking for the perfect piece. With excess traffic on the roads and unavailability of a well-rounded collection, we do tend to get frustrated often.

Here's where Aarong, the renowned fashion store of Bangladesh, comes in with their exclusive wedding collection to simplify our lives.

Yes! Aarong has it all and that too for everybody. A strict patron of deshi fabrics and produce, Aarong has been a renowned name in the fashion market of Bangladesh for quite a long time. Every year during special occasions customers flock this particular brand store in search for something different but close to their hearts and motherland. Foreigners also love visiting the Aarong stores, in search of little treasures that define 'Beautiful Bangladesh'.

The Exclusive Jamdani Collection for Wedding 2017

An addition to Aarong's accolades is the latest wedding collection in Jamdani. Speaking to the creative minds behind the exclusive collection, Star Lifestyle was able to get much insightful information.

Jamdani has always been a part of our heritage wear, so most might wonder regarding the exclusivity behind Aarong's latest collection.

“It is simply different, the weave count is high. The material is very soft and the zardozi work is simply amazing,” reveals one designer.

Upon inspection we discovered that the Jamdani collection included truly exquisite pieces; with matching blouses and dupattas, they looked unique and were poles apart from what is regularly available.

What particularly caught the eye were the unique motifs and the intelligent symmetry and placement of the patterns. Speaking to one designer, we were able to gather that the traditional motifs used over the exclusive Jamdani collection were hand-picked from Aarong's archive of rare ethnic motifs and took a minimum of 2 months to weave by the artisan weavers. The materials were super fine, soft and luxurious zari had been used – signifying an authentic look that brides are usually looking for.

The marketing team at Aarong believes that people don't want to buy common wedding wear anymore, the all-too-familiar look that overpowers the bride and her personality. With, this exclusive collection, they believe the deshi bride's personality would be enhanced, making her stand out amongst the crowd.

Other Wedding Collections at Aarong

While the wedding collection has been developed in fiery combinations of maroon, red and orange; the reception collection sports a playful experimentation with magenta. The suggested jewellery for the elite collections are also unique; apparently entirely in silver. The principle idea behind the unique suggestion is to encourage consumers towards silver ornaments as a trendy alternative to traditional gold – providing them with a whole new different outlook.

Aarong also has an exclusive gold collection and gold plated collection to match with the fashionable saris.

The Holud Collection

The holud collection showcases amazing colours like orange, magenta, parrot green etc to signify the colourfulness of the occasion. Matching dupatta and blouse are available for the brides; they can also opt for contrast blouses if they want a different look altogether. Suggested jewellery to go with the designs are pearls, gold-plated jewellery in unique craftsmanship.

Wedding Collection for the guests

Well! Not everybody is getting married themselves, there are a lot more who are worried about what to wear at their close-ones' ceremony and Aarong comes forward in solving their problems as well; offering classic Jamdanis in regal tones like pastels and off-white.

An entire collection has been developed in blue-purple theme in muslin and silk to meet the styling needs of the guests; that too in a mighty affordable range. That's not all, being a conclusive outlet; Aarong provides everything from matching bags, shoes and sandals – their metallic Kolapuri designs being an eye-catcher.

Men's Wedding Collection

The Men's sherwani have been developed to meet with the styling statement of their lady love; colours have been kept in mild tones, in contrast to the ladies; for e.g. if the bride picks a magenta Jamdani for her reception, the groom can easily opt for a teal sherwani and fashionable nagra to re-create the picture-perfect look.

Special kotis in natural silk are available for occasions like holud. Both light and detailed embroidery are available on the sherwani's based on the preference of the groom; uniformity has been maintained in the quality of the fabric used, which is comfortable and relaxed.

So, that's just a bird's eye view of the special wedding collection at Aarong. We are sure most of you would want to visit the stores once to look through the exclusive collection.

If everything gorgeous is available at once place – then why not?

Happy Wedding Shopping to you all!Read more at:queenieau.com | bridesmaid dresses

Locale lifts the energy for Virginia Fashion Week 2017

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Energy, ambiance and bright runway styles came together Saturday to lend Virginia Fashion Week a celebratory feel for its 10th anniversary main showcase event .

The house was packed at Waterside’s Harbor Club for the return of the fashion extravaganza to a resuscitated facility buzzing with life. The last time Virginia Fashion Week was held at Waterside, in 2011, the place was all but in the grave. And you would have thought on the event’s third and final day there that, based on attendance, it, too, might go the way of the building.

But what a difference a makeover makes.

The works of some 10 designers were featured in Saturday night’s show. And earlier in the week, runway and beauty events were held at Gallery 21 in Norfolk’s Ghent, and Neptune’s and Dillard’s-Lynnhaven, both in Virginia Beach.

Here are some highlights from Saturday night:

Willie Hall. The veteran designer from New Jersey made a welcome return to Virginia Fashion Week, opening the show after having been absent since 2014. Hall, known for meticulous construction and collection cohesion, generously used red and bone as her color story. Hall’s offerings included both fun and classic elements, like the mixture of off-the-shoulder peasant-style tops on A-line dresses. Lace overlays and graceful maxi dresses and skirts also anchored her presentation.

Styles by Salome. Salome Autolino, the model and fashion personality from Ethiopia (now living in Newport News), presented her first clothing collection. It mainly featured bright boho chic tunics and dresses with strong cultural elements in the trimwork. A standout: The gold empire-waist maxi dress with tapestry trim running from the neckline and down the length of the center back.

Blas Couture. Designer Azi Blas of Richmond (originally from Puerto Rico) presented an imaginative collection of party and social dresses inspired by painters from the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, and pop artists from the 1970s. Blas’ taste for fur and feathers was evident, as he used the textures in mixed media dresses – from necklines to bodices to full skirts. The socialite wearing Blas Couture would never be a bore.

Urban Masala. D.C.-based designer Sehar Peerzada hails from Pakistan, and her East-meets-West style sensibility remained apparent in her copious use of exotic print fabrics, textural elements and bright colors. A fashionista could find something suitable for a range of tastes in the collection – from a sleeveless knee-knocker romper to asymmetrical skirts cut on the bias to flowing pants, tunics and ethnic print duster coats.

Brehon Williams. The audience’s reception of the Chesapeake native’s collection proved he remains the darling of Virginia Fashion Week. Every audience member who was asked by one of the emcees to name her favorite designer named Brehon. Williams, who joined the lineup of VAFW in 2009 but had not shown in fashion week since 2014, presented a collection of dresses and skirts that went from graphic prints and blocking to Americana. “I started looking into other cultures, and I cut and spliced fabrics to make my own take. Prints are always eye-catching,” Williams said backstage.

White Dress by Greta Kay. Don’t let the brand’s name fool you. Although Greta Kay’s niche is bridal, her palette is not stuck on white. Last year the Waynesboro-based designer’s collection incorporated blue and leather; this year her color story was black and white. And for the dress alternative: a twist on the tuxedo in the form of a cropped vest and tapered ankle pants.

Earlier in the week. Mario Daughtry of Chesapeake finally included womenswear as a true part of his Reckless athleisure and urban contemporary brand. Loved the jersey jumpsuits.

Also part of the activities. Virginia Fashion Week isn’t all about fashion. Shows of late have also featured talented singers, musicians and dancers. Yet the inclusion of excessive live entertainment breaks (I counted six during Saturday night’s show; I wished I’d had a reclining chair and a pillow) calls attention to the fact that more high-quality models are needed for the roster. Having more models would allow more time for clothing changes. It was a disappointment that the models wearing Hall’s collection did not come out for the usual encore walk.

What also would help. This tip is for any fashion show producer: Please provide information on how to buy items shown on the runway. I’m sure the designers would appreciate some orders. It’s hard out there for an independent artist.

Catwalk competition winners. Congratulations to Haley Robinson, 17, a senior at Grassfield High in Chesapeake; and Francois Pretorius, 25, of South Africa but now living in Richmond.Read more at:QueenieAu

Wilson Trollope's permanent home in Wellington

Wellington fashion designer Annabelle Wilson has big dreams for her label, including opening a store in New York, but her hometown comes first.

Wilson has opened her flagship store on Victoria St, in Wellington, four years after launching her first collection.

The store marks the beginning of a 20-year growth plan to take the Wilson Trollope label global.

Wilson has been making clothes since she was about four years old, but only decided to make a career out of it after returning to New Zealand from a few months travelling abroad.

On her trip, she completed a course at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London, which counts designers like Stella McCartney and the late Alexander McQueen as alumni.

Upon her return in 2012, she settled back into her parents house, and set up a workroom, where she still works from today.

The 30-year-old began with an online store, selling clothes to New Zealanders, but quickly realised she needed to get some stockists on board. She then opened a few pop-up stores around Wellington.

"They sort of got more frequent and longer, and suddenly it was like, 'This is almost permanent', so it made sense to have a permanent space," Wilson said.

"I had my eye out … and then this space came up and everything seemed to align. It's been so good. It's such a great location."

Wilson launched her first collection in 2013, and has just finished designing her 12th season.

"It's quite intense, and it's definitely a rollercoaster, but it's good."

One of the biggest challenges of running a fashion label was creating and making new product ranges every four to six months, she said.

"This is a really quick turn around both from a design point of view, logistically in making the product and also in terms of selling the product. Last season's stock becomes old very quickly.

"Most other businesses have much longer lifespans on the products and services they provide," she said.

"For us, this really keeps us on our toes and you have to be very organised to stick to the schedule and meet these timelines."

Wilson has "big dreams" for the label, including opening a store in New York.

"Other people do it, so why not?," she said.

"Lots of big labels started off as little ones, in little Italian towns, so why can't that be New Zealand? Why can't that be a label from Wellington?"

Wilson wears her own label everyday "even on the weekends", she said.

"If I didn't want to wear it, I shouldn't be making it."Read more at:bridesmaid dresses australia | www.queenieau.com

Girls, it’s time to embrace the tux

Hope Hicks, White House communications director. (Photo: AP)
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Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe may have hosted an elaborate state banquet for visiting US president Donald Trump, but it was Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, who stole the show. She stood out by choosing to wear a tuxedo over a formal gown. She looked smart, sharp and ever so stylish! Many women are embracing the tux these days, not afraid of levelling up from the more casual pant suit.

Westerners have the physique to carry it off. They’re usually taller, compared to the average Indian woman, and are likely to look great in a tux with minimal effort. Stylists Nandita Mahtani and Bornali Talukdar, who have worked with many A-listers, give tips on how Indian women too can slay the look.

“Tuxedos are all about power dressing. Contrary to what people generally think, it suits women of all frames with the right cut and the right body language. At the end of the day, it’s not about a tux being suitable for westerners/Indians, but about how a woman chooses to carry it. Cut or pattern as well as a confident body language plays a huge part,” says Bornali, assuring that Indians can very well carry off a tux.

People on the heavier side can go for a wide-legged trouser with a double brisket jacket, while women with a slim figure must go for a slim leg trouser with a single button jacket, says Nandita Mahtani, stylist.

Nandita Mahtani could not agree more and has herself worn tuxedos and pant suits on many occasions. She says, “A tux can look good on anyone, provided they choose the right kind one for their body type. People on the heavier side can go for a wide-legged trouser with a double brisket jacket, while women with a slim figure must go for a slim leg trouser with a single button jacket. If you want to go the traditional way, you can wear a simple shirt inside with a satin bow. If you’re up for a bold look, the shirt inside can be either a strappy one or like a negligee. When it comes to the hair, either go for a sexy low bun or a high ponytail, if you’re wearing a bow. If your neckline is low, open hair is the way to go. A pearly white shade for a tux would look classy and glamourous. If you’re attending a serious occasion, a nice burgundy, navy blue or black tux would be perfect. If one has the personality to carry it off, you can go for red or soft pink, for informal events. I would recommend stilettos for a feminine touch. Also, try to keep the accessories simple. A line of pearls would look good with a buttoned-up shirt.”Read more at:plus size formal dresses

Troubled fashion label Lanvin to get a makeover

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Troubled French fashion house Lanvin is to be relaunched before the end of the year, with plans to expand into accessories and other luxury goods, the label told AFP on Tuesday.

The oldest Paris couture house, which has been in turmoil since the shock sacking of popular designer Alber Elbaz two years ago, said its owner, the Taiwanese media magnate Shaw-Lan Wang, who will fund the turnaround with a fresh cash injection.

The news comes amid renewed speculation about the future of the label, which sank into the red to the tune of 18.3 million euros ($21.2 million) last year, its first loss for a decade.

But its new designer Olivier Lapidus — who replaced Bouchra Jarrar in July after only 10 months at the helm — told AFP that he was helping to prepare a major shift for the brand, which was founded in 1889.

“Madame Wang very much believes in the label,” said Lapidus, who had only a month to put together his first women’s collection for Paris fashion week in September.

He said he wanted to strengthen the venerable label’s haute couture line and expand into luxury lifestyle products and decoration, while also beefing up its accessory lines.

“We are not at all worried about paying the bills,” its finance chief Nicolas Druz told AFP.

“The company has not a penny of debt. Our major shareholder has decided to put her hand in her pocket” to help relaunch the brand, he said.

– ‘Not abandoning ship’ –

“We want to bring the house into the modern era, and develop a high-tech, lifestyle ‘art de vivre’ side to the business,” Druz added, floating the idea of Lanvin-linked hotels and spas as well as an expanded accessory range.

Druz paid tribute to Lapidus for the “miracle” of managing to turn around a collection “in August in France”, when most of the country traditionally heads to the beaches.

The collection had a mixed reception when it hit the runways, but Lapidus said he was cheered by the warm reaction of Vogue and Elle magazines.

“It was not a very profound collection. Unfortunately we had very little time to do it in, but we have some incredibly talented people in our studios and workshops, and I will stay and support this label to the death if I have to,” he said.

“I am not about to abandon ship, far from it.”

Jarrar’s two collections for the label were warmly received by critics for their “sober elegance”, but with morale low in the brand’s workshop amid an exodus of talent after Elbaz’s departure, rumours that she was isolated and friction over budget cuts, her exit was not unexpected.

In March, she had hinted that she was not getting the support that she needed to turn the label around.Read more at:bridesmaid dresses online

Will Going to Fashion School Actually Get You a Job

For the third year in a row, Central Saint Martins (CSM) tops BoF’s Global Fashion School Rankings. The London-based art school, which counts the likes of Phoebe Philo and Alexander McQueen amongst its alumni, took first place in both our graduate and undergraduate fashion course rankings, cementing its reputation as the world’s leading creative institution for fashion education. And, in our first ever ranking of graduate business courses, Paris’ Institut Français de la Mode (IFM) takes top honours.

But will going to fashion school actually get you a job? This year’s analysis reveals a decidedly mixed performance. CSM’s top ranking reflected the high regard it is held in by educators, its students and recruiters, as well as its impressive employability score — measured by surveying HR professionals who awarded the school the highest possible indexed score of 100.

As one former student tells BoF, “The CSM name carries great weight, which played a major role in helping me get a job. The networking and help from the faculty to reach out to industry insiders is great.”

However, CSM and the handful of other schools which also achieved strong employability scores, including Parsons and Antwerp, ranked second and third place respectively, are leagues ahead of the rest of the fashion education market.

This year, BoF also analysed graduate fashion business courses. Paris’ Institut Français de la Mode (IFM), a school with exceptionally strong industry ties, topped our inaugural ranking. “The best professionals from the fashion, luxury and design sector come to teach us how the business works; the network of IFM is incredible and gives you many opportunities to discover what suits you best. Moreover, it opens so many job opportunities throughout the year,” says one recent graduate.

Indeed, graduating from a leading institution is the surest way to gain employment in the fashion industry. While 76 percent of the total alumni respondents gained a job within 6 months of graduating, the return on investment for those attending lower ranked schools is questionable.

Employability Matters Most to Students

According to the more than 11,000 students surveyed this year, employment is their primary concern, especially as the number of fashion graduates continues to grow each year, outpacing the number of available jobs. In the US, for example, it’s estimated that each year about 10 percent of the total job pool are graduating from undergraduate programmes and entering industry with degrees in fashion design each year, which in turn has created an oversupply.

As a result, we have placed further emphasis on employability in our rankings, revealing a gap between the institutions with the best graduate employability scores as defined by HR recruiters and the rest of the fashion education market. Of the 73 schools assessed by BoF, the top five performers in the Bachelors — Central Saint Martins, Parsons, Antwerp, LCF, Aalto — won a large chunk (40 percent) of points allocated by HR recruiters. This focus on employability depressed scores for Kingston University, which dropped from second to ninth place; as well as Drexel University in the US, which dropped 13 places from 11 to 24; and Japan’s Bunka Gakuen University, which dropped six places from 8 to 14.

Other schools were buoyed by the focus on employability, including Accademia Costume & Moda, the alma mater of Gucci’s Alessandro Michele, and University of Technology Sydney, now the highest ranking Australian university, which both moved up the rankings significantly.

Creating Employment Advantage for Students

Today, the schools most successful in training their students to secure employment are deepening industry ties, investing in innovative technologies and digital resources and evolving their curriculums and course structures.

In 2017, Florence-based Polimoda, which scored in the top 10 in all three rankings, announced a Masters course designed and executed in partnership with Gucci. The nine-month course, which launches in April 2018, will cover retail management, finance, merchandising and marketing and will be taught, in part, by Gucci managers. Gucci will also offer select graduates internships or job opportunities at Kering, Gucci’s parent company. One former Polimoda student tells BoF, “Polimoda was my career reset button and entry ticket to the fashion and luxury market, and it gave me exactly that.”

Other institutions are seeking to train students in newly important skills. In January 2017, London College of Fashion (LCF) opened its Digital Learning Lab, where students can work with new technologies, including e-textiles, creative coding, mixed and virtual reality and 3D printing. Similarly, the University of Westminster has invested in new digital printing technologies and a suite of other resources, resulting in over 90 percent of students being satisfied with the technological resources of the school. "The quality of the technical resources, machinery and workrooms was by far the best I've experienced, including my time in the industry,” says one Westminster alumnus.

Other institutions are providing their students with a wider range of courses on topics from law to advertising to media studies to coding, as part of their fashion studies. Finland’s Aalto University, Israel’s Shenkar College and Japan’s Bunka Gakuen have each created flexible curriculums, encouraging students broaden their skill sets.

Being based in a top fashion capital also provides a clear advantage. Eight of the top 10 undergraduate programmes, all of the top 10 graduate fashion courses and seven of the top 10 graduate business courses are stitched into fashion hubs where major fashion houses and retailers are based including Paris, London, Milan, Florence and New York. Simply, being in a fashion capital boosts access to work experience opportunities and employment rates, and this is especially true for students aspiring to enter the luxury sector.

“The BA fashion design course is rigorous and trying, but the results are clear — we are contacted by the likes of Louis Vuitton, Tom Ford and Burberry for internships during our sandwich year and for jobs straight after graduation,” says one student of London’s University of Westminster, which came 10th in the 2017 undergraduate rankings.

The experience level of leading members of the faculty, as well as internship programmes, are also important factors in driving employment rates. Specialised courses and resources relevant to growing industry needs, such as sustainability and digital design, can also boost results, as can access to industry events, even in second-tier fashion hubs.

BoF’s New Graduate Business Rankings

The decision to create a new graduate business rankingwas prompted by student feedback, as well as the growing number of fashion schools that offer business courses. Indeed, while many of the top executives in fashion may have graduated from top US business schools like Wharton and Harvard, or HEC and INSEAD in France, fashion schools are increasingly looking to get into the market for business education and these programmes required a separate ranking with a unique methodology.

The fashion industry requires a broad range of skills and its business leaders must appreciate both creativity and commerce to be successful. “The MSc International Luxury Management manages to engender young professionals with a business focus from the very crucial cultural lens that brings a key understanding of luxury or fashion brands,” says one student of IFM.

Yet some HR recruiters remain sceptical of the competitiveness of specialist fashion business courses compared to their more established MBA equivalents. “I believe fashion is still viewed as a niche industry and most executives with high ranking school credentials will have access to the desired roles without necessarily having had an in-depth industry focus (HEC graduates are an obvious example in France). I have a sense that these specialised postgraduate fashion schools are not as competitive as their business counterparts,” says Caroline Pill, vice president of Kirk Palmer Associates, an executive search company that works with Calvin Klein, Estée Lauder Companies and Farfetch.

However, the educators behind some of fashion’s most successful postgraduate business courses think they are onto something with these new specialised programmes. “Creative leadership is sought after across all sectors. For example, Angela Ahrendts moving from Burberry to become Apple’s Senior Vice President demonstrates the problem-solving, enquiry-led approach that you get with creative studies, learning to work autonomously and innovatively to become reflective, independent and strategic thinkers, and therefore effective decision makers,” says Frances Corner, head of London College of Fashion, which placed second in our inaugural ranking and launched its first fashion business programme over 20 years ago and offers both an MSc in Strategic Fashion Management and a full-time MBA aimed at candidates with over three years of experience in the industry, among other programmes.

“The MA Fashion Design Management course provided the optimal balance of commercial training and creative thinking courses. This industry requires both. You can't get this at a traditional business school. I feel very prepared for a successful career in this industry,” says one LCF student.

Ultimately however Pill believes specialist courses in fashion business are a “nice-to-have,” not a necessity. “Attending a specialised course will often open doors and allow privileged access to the industry through internships, networking, career days, guest lectures etcetera, but I wouldn’t think it’s necessarily the key to success in the industry,” she concludes.Read more at:www.queenieau.com | bridesmaid dresses