REALITY TV MEETS FASHION: THE DVF, KENDALL, AND MICHAEL KORS SHOW

DVF

Illustration by Joseph Larkowsky

If Fashion with a capital F seems to exist for a chosen few lucky enough to occupy the narrow intersection of wealth and malnutrition, then TV is fashion’s antithesis, designed for the everyman, fundamentally populist, and all-embracing. Long happy to burnish its art credentials — think of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute — high fashion has been less comfortable with settling in on, say, NBC prime time. Yet here we are in 2015, and the priests and priestesses of high fashion are hardly off our screens.

What began as a trickle with Michael Kors, a designer who supersized his empire thanks in part to his role as a judge on Bravo’s Project Runway, has become a raging torrent. Kors left Project Runway in 2012, after ten seasons, only to be replaced by Zac Posen, a design prodigy who is so highly lauded that his first gown secured a place in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. Now wrap dress queen and CFDA president Diane von Furstenberg has followed suit with a show of her own. Simultaneously, high fashion is plundering reality TV in the opposite direction — viz the example of Keeping Up with the Kardashians’s Kendall Jenner, whose whirlwind rise from reality TV star to bona fide supermodel has turned her into one of the most visible faces in fashion.

Pop culture junkies have always had a facility for tapping into the zeitgeist, but what’s driving this new bond between fashion and reality TV is old-fashioned salesmanship. It’s no coincidence that Jenner has 20 million followers on Instagram — she merely has to post a selfie, dressed in Marc Jacobs, for the photo to get 600,000 likes. (By comparison, old-school model Kate Moss eschews social media. “I couldn’t think of anything worse than people knowing what I’m doing all the time,” she told The Times in 2012.)

Co-opting reality stars is one way to magnify a brand; becoming a reality star is another. In the case of Kors, it was his magnetic personality that became the breakout of Project Runway. As a result he became famous — not just name-on-a-clothing-tag famous, but household name famous. His luxe, jet-setter aesthetic suddenly found its best spokesperson in the designer, and everything from creamy, four-figure, gray cashmere sweater sets seen on his runways to the more affordable, logo-emblazoned bags that became ubiquitous parts of his empire, a chance to get closer to the man on the screen. His wildly popular initial public offering in 2011 turned him into a billionaire.

With her royal pedigree, exotic demeanor, and voluptuous purr, Diane von Furstenberg is a readymade star. She launched her own reality competition show late last year for E! called House of DVF. Von Furstenberg, who is rumored to be taking her company public in the near future, is the central figure of her show, in which she inculcates a group of girls with her business ethos before choosing one as “brand ambassador.”

Although these may be the most high-profile examples, they’re far from the only ones. Fledgling network Ovation has The Fashion Fund, which follows Vogue editor Anna Wintour as she presides over the long-running competition hosted by her magazine to help up-and-coming designers. There’s Isaac Mizrahi, hawking his wares on QVC with upbeat banter into the wee hours. Hollywood stylist Brad Goreski rates celebrity ensembles on E!’s Fashion Police. Tyra Banks’s modeling competition is entering its 22nd season (or “cycle”).

All of which is to say that as fashion’s cultural cachet continues to rise, reality TV is merely another outlet to maximize visibility. Brands need to find new ways to engage with their customers. Designers recognize that there’s no room for snobbery in a culture where success and visibility have become one and the same. In an increasingly crowded market, everyone is forced to raise his or her voice. You don’t wait for customers to find you; you go to them, wherever they are. Increasingly, that’s on screens, like phones and tablets, and yes, the television set glowing warmly in the living room.

CFDA Awards – Who Will Win Tonight?

Looks from Womenswear Design Award nominees Marc Jacobs and Altuzarra, photographed by Barnaby Roper at ROOT Studios, styled by Brian Molloy with creative direction by Laird + Partners for the 2015 CFDA Journal.

Who’s your favorite to win the CFDA Awards at tonight’s ceremony? With stars like Taraji P. Henson and Joshua Jackson presenting, you can bet nominees like Marc Jacobs and Ryan Roche are extra excited to find out.

After months of nail biting, tonight the winners of the 2015 CFDA Awards will be revealed — by star presenters Taraji P. Henson and Amanda Seyfried announcing womenswear, and stylish couple Diane Kruger and Joshua Jackson presenting menswear . Click here for a full refresher on everyone who was nominated for a CFDA Award.

We can expect to see Betsey Johnson and her famous cartwheel on the stage as she receives the Geoffrey Beene Lifetime Achievement Award; Instagram‘s Kevin Systrom will accept the Eugenia Sheppard Media Award on his app’s behalf; and Pharrell Williams will take to the stage to receive the Fashion Icon Award.

For Womenswear, we have some all-American greats:

JOSEPH ALTUZARRA FOR ALTUZARRA

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MARC JACOBS

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MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY OLSEN FOR THE ROW

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LAZARO HERNANDEZ AND JACK MCCOLLOUGH FOR PROENZA SCHOULER

PROENZASCHOULER-BLACKBOOK

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MICHAEL KORS

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The nominees for menswear are Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne for Public School, Thom Browne, Tim Coppens, Tom Ford, and David Neville and Marcus Wainright for Rag & Bone.

But enough about the tried and true — for the up and comers, the ones to watch, we’re looking at Rosie Assoulin, Public School, and Ryan Roche as the nominees for Swarosvki Award for Design for Womenswear. For the Swarovski Award for Design for Menswear, it’s Shayne Oliver for Hood By Air, Samantha, Matthew and Alex Orley for Orley, and Ariel and Shimon Ovadia for Ovadia & Sons. For the Swarovski Award for Design for Accessories, Paul Andrew, Eva Zuckerman for Eva Fehren, and Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel for Mansur Gavriel are nominated.

Need a refresher on the nominees? Watch a Skype interview with Public School designers Dao-Yi Chow and Maxwell Osborne here, and read a profile of Ryan Roche from the spring 2015 issue of BlackBook here.

Watch the CFDA Awards live here tonight — and check back at bbook.com for a full red carpet report in the morning.

All photographs by Barnaby Roper at ROOT Studios, styled by Brian Molloy with creative direction by Laird + Partners for the 2015 CFDA Journal.

Insta-Critic: Michael Kors Makes Academia Chic

Photo: @CFDA on Instagram

Michael Kors made me miss college so much, it hurts. Fur was a staple, as it has been all week, as were colors that took me right back to being a student in the fall. Cardigans with shearling pockets? Your coolest (in that academia-chic way) professor needs this now. And so do we. Adding to the scholarly vibes were nipped-in waists, lots of collars, and blushing cheeks–almost like that pretty flush from speed-walking in the wind from one class to the next–just with a whole lot of extra glam.

Classic! @michaelkors #latergram #cfdanyfw #smartwaterInspired

A photo posted by cfda (@cfda) on

This cardigan is perfection.

And, here’s your daily Kendall! P.S. if you haven’t already ordered a colorful ball of fluff to call your new jacket, what are you waiting for?

More scholastic vibes.

A very seasonally confused A-list #FROW.

Fashion Week by the Numbers

Fashion week – scratch that – fashion month, has finally drawn to a clothes. I mean close. It’s going to be a very shiny spring.

fashion week

Thanks for the memories, Marco and Marc. It’s been real! See you next season.

Wednesday’s #NYFW Review

Proenza Schouler was the star of the day. Easy, wide leg flat front pants flattered and hit short on the ankle, visually giving a hint of Japanese Hakama. Other pieces were printed with what looked like a mess of hair shown under a microscope, and standout metal tops read like chest plates – perfect for the urban warrior woman – wrapping and tying delicately across the back. The best pieces out of the show, sure to be on many a spring wish list, were the too-long-to-be-midi pleated skirts with inlay of silver and gold lamé. The collection moved beautifully, walked about by models stilted on high platform heels – not the only collection without a single-sole sighting this season.

Reed Krakoff was a surprisingly naked collection, given the sophistication with which it has shown in the past. What wasn’t see-through was inappropriately clingy – who knew camel-toe was possible in a dress? After a break from Coach, Krakoff could be exercising more creative freedom, and while the cuts were for the most part beautiful, it’s hard to see how the sheer sheerness will translate.

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photo via @stevenkolb

Feminine, romantic, strong, and set to Dream a Little Dream of Me, this soft, languid, Michael Kors collection evoked a perfect summer, from swimwear (slightly pin-up) to effortless dresses and easy separates, and even fox fur for the chiller evenings. If given the choice to only shop one for spring, Michael Kors collection had everything you’d need. The ‘40s and ‘70s were influences in the cuts of the clothes, without ever veering on costume. ‘90s fluidity aided in the ease of the collection, and while the references were there, it couldn’t have been more modern.

Keep up with us and go to www.motorola.com/us/home for more.

Main image via @michaelkors

Michael Kors Honored For Philanthropic Efforts to God’s Love We Deliver

“I’m excited,” said Michael Kors Monday night at the 2012 Golden Heart Awards, where he was honored for his contributions to God’s Love We Deliver, a charity that prepares and delivers nutritious meals to people with severe illnesses. “Anything we can do to help is very gratifying.”

Among those who turned out in support of the designer, who announced a five-million-dollar contribution to the organization, were Anna Wintour, Gwyneth Paltrow, a host of models, and actress Bette Midler, who presented Kors with his Lifetime Achievement award.

“I’m here for the charity, and of course, for Michael,” said Midler, wearing all Michael Kors. “He’s adorable, divine.”

The sold-out event, held inside the Cunard Building, also honored writer Ryan Murphy for the Community Service award and Cinty Little for Outstanding Volunteerism.  “It’s just a great event,” said comedian Seth Meyers. “I’m just excited to be here, especially this far downtown—it’s a rarity for me…anytime you get this close to the Staten Island Ferry, you know…”

The night began with a cocktail hour, followed by dinner, an awards presentation and live auction for the 600 guests, who raised over $1.35 million.

A native to New York, Kors has been involved with God’s Love We Deliver, which began as an HIV/AIDS organization and now helps people with more than 200 individual diagnoses, for over 20 years. “It’s fun to see all the people who are big supporters of me and of God’s Love,” said Kors. “We want to have a good time and also just celebrate all the great work they do.”

Photo credit: Getty Images for Michael Kors

New York Openings: Rugby, Michael Kors, Helmut Lang

Rugby (West Village) – Your ‘Crombies just met their match. ● Michael Kors (Midtown West) – Michael Kors retails Michael Kors, MICHAEL Michael Kors, and KORS Michael Kors, all while keeping his ego firmly in check. ● Helmut Lang (Upper West Side) – Helmut may have left the building, but simple, classic looks are always in fashion.

FashionFeed: Eniko Mihalik Bites Terry Richardson, No One Bites Christian Louboutin

● For jewelry brand David Webb’s FW11 campaign, Terry Richardson and Carine Roitfeld asked model Eniko Mihalik to bite, stretch, and pose with a mini Richardson doll. [Fashion Gone Rogue] ● The Christian Louboutin camp has gone to great legal lengths to stop luxury brands from creating red-soled shoes, and it’s kind of working. While the verdict is still out on the highly publicized lawsuit against YSL, a judge recently ruled in Louboutin’s favor. [The Cut] ● Tavi Gevinson may call herself a Style Rookie, but she’s no business novice. The 15 year old wants full control of her new project so badly that she may be parting ways with Jane Pratt. [WWD]

● When NYFW moved to Lincoln Center, the all-too-familiar “tents” of Bryant Park were quickly abandoned. But thanks to filmmaker James Belzer, their importance will be preserved in his new doc.[Style] ● Here’s a sneak peek at Daphne Guinness’s new wardrobe exhibition, debuting at FIT on September 17. [Oyster] ● Congrats to Michael Kors for marrying his longtime beau Lance LePeer, and cheers to New York for legalizing it. WWD]

Morning Links: Rosanne Barr to Run for President, Nicki Minaj Joins the Cast of ‘Ice Age’

● Amy Winehouse’s parents are turning their daughter’s $4 million North London home into the headquarters for a rehabilitation foundation. [NME] ● Roseanne Barr announced her intention to run for president on last night’s The Tonight Show. “I’m really good at speeches,” she says. Sounds like a shoe-in! [NYM] ● The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is, for some reason, letting Rush Hour director Brett Ratner produce this year’s Oscar show. [ArtsBeat/NYT]

● The always-colorful Nicki Minaj has joined the cast of Ice Age: Continental Drift alongside Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifa, and her boy Drake. [Variety] ● Partners in innovation Kanye West and Lady Gaga have invested in the wildly popular and questionably legal Turntable.fm. ‘Awesome.’ [BusinessInsider] ● Michael Kors and his boyfriend of nearly two decades, Lance LePere, were spotted at the city clerk’s office in Manhattan applying for a marriage license. Let their wedding come as a message of hope to graduating college seniors everywhere: the happy couple met years ago when LePere took an internship at Kors’ studio. [PageSix]