Last month, on a casual walk around Chelsea, I stumbled on the preview for FIT’s latest exhibition, Global Fashion Capitals. Like you do. I’d wanted to see a preview show here ever since I found out it was an option for me several seconds earlier. So in I went. The exhibition looks at emerging fashion cities like Seoul, Sao Paulo, Antwerp and Mumbai and whether they can compete with the ‘big four’ – London, Milan, New York and Paris. Here are eight surprising things I learned…
1) There are around FORTY fashion weeks held in different cities around the world each year.
The main fashion week events – known as the most prestigious – are held in New York, London, Milan and Paris, but there are SO many smaller celebrations of fashion found all around the world, in cities such as Seoul, Tokyo, Stockholm, Madrid, Istanbul, Mexico City and Melbourne, to name a few.
2) South American designers like to use beads.
Mexican designer Richard Seco customised New Balance trainers with lots of teeny tiny colourful glass beads for his 2014 Dreams collection inspired by the indigenous Mexican Huichol tribe; while Brazilian Alexandre Herchovitch has done a similar using beads on this colourful short jumpsuit from a 2007 collection.
3) A guy in India designed a dress printed with vintage Bollywood magazine covers…
Manish Arora based in New Delhi might be my new favourite fashion designer having seen this dress. His creations are psychedelic, whimsical, kitsch and stunning all at once, like this dress printed with vintage covers of the Bollywood magazine Cine Blitz. Amazing to think it’s never ever been shown in North America before now.
4) Boxing boots look better with a kitsch makeover.
Owning a pair of boxing boots has never been on my wishlist until now. Again, this is the whimsical work of Manish Arora, but this time from his Fish Fry label, a colourful sportswear-style line he designed together with Reebok. They go surprisingly well with his Bollywood magazine cover dress.
5) Paris didn’t always get it right…
When I think of Parisian fashion, I imagine chic and timeless elegance, not this shapeless, unflattering cape from the House of Worth from circa 1890. Sorry Peter Worth…
6) Korean designs have stories to tell.
This playful dress by Korean label, Big Park, might be an edgy mix of denim, cotton and big bold prints but it’s actually inspired by the designer’s humble childhood memories of the Korean countryside.
7) Haute couture is big in Lagos.
Lagos in Nigeria is a fashion city on the cusp of explosion and apparently women there love haute couture, get fashion and dress like no other, according to a London fashion editor Penny McDonald. Up-and-coming Nigerian designer, Lisa Folawiyo, who designed this beautiful dress is turning heads around the world for mixing fashion-forward dresses and traditional aesthetics – lavish colors, patterns, and embellishments.
8) A dress with a bow on it this big exists.
Not only is the bow over a metre wide, all of the yellow dots on this white taffeta dress by Madrid-based designer Agatha Ruiz de la Prada are painted on. Would you rock it?
Find the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology at 227 West 27th Street.
Global Fashion Capitals is on until November 14.