Eckhaus Latta launches R-rated fashion campaign

Had a hard day at the office?

Spare a thought for the photographic assistants who had to work on set of the latest Eckhaus Latta campaign.

The fashion house debuted an R-rated spring 2017 campaign on Instagram and its this week. Website visitors must confirm they are 18 or over to access the images.

The concept? Couples having sex.

The images, according to Paper magazine, feature real-life couples and people of different ethnicities and sexual orientations are represented.

The most explicit…bits…have been heavily pixelated and the couples are all wearing pieces from the new line.

Highlights include a metallic parka around the waist of a woman and a pair of jeans artfully positioned half way down the legs of one of the male “models”.

The New York-based designers Zoe Latta and Mike Eckhaus are renowned for their gender fluid collections and avant-garde presentations. Their previous shows and campaigns also push the envelope and have included a children’s choir and the live demolition of a wall.

“We want people who wear our clothes to feel like our clothes are adding to them, not defining them,” Latta has said.

Liberated from branding or marketing mechanisms that make people feel small. We’d like to offer an alternative – whether that’s in self-image, body image, gender identity or colour.”

The “underground” creatives have been designing clothes for what they call a “liberated audience” since 2012. Both made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2016 alongside model Ashley Graham and former reality TV star turned fashion designer, Lauren Conrad.

When taking in this new campaign, which one can do via the Eckhaus Zatta website (provided you are over the age of 18), the images are not crass or feel pornographic. The photos promote a feeling of intimacy and sensuality. A gesture not usually seen in fashion campaigns and an industry that has traditionally been rooted in the “sex sells” mantra of advertising.

For the most recent gig, Eckhaus Latta recruited Korean photographer Heji Shin. Shin, who now splits her time between Berlin and New York, excels at edgy fashion editorials. One of her most recent projects was “a German sex education book for teenagers”, she told NBC.

The engagement of a female photographer also appears to be a strategic move that helps shift the hetero male gaze most high-fashion campaigns have traditionally been seen through.

There is no overtly sexual or irreverent undertones to the images, like the ones we’ve become accustomed to since the advent of Terry Richardson-types and social media.

There is no simulation of images usually seen on PornHub or, say, that 2007 Dolce & Gabbana poster which many believed reflected “gang rape”.

Rather, Eckhaus Latta’s campaign celebrates (consensual) sexual expression.

It follows another groundbreaking moment in fashion this year, with the Vogue Paris casting transgender model Valentina Sampaio.

The French edition of the fashion monthly bible was the country’s first magazine to feature a transgender model on its cover.

Both occurrences, as well as more diversity on catwalks across the world, including Melbourne, is a sign that fashion is taking another step closer to becoming less constrained than an Alex Perry corset.

Eckhaus Latta were approached for comment.



Inside the Story: High-end fashion from a designer with autism

(KUTV) Michael Andolsek has a very unique talent that starts with pen and paper.

“I’m a dress maker,” he said.

He designs high-end women’s clothing with lots of sparkle and pizzazz.

“We design and manufacture dresses, jackets, and skirts for women,” Andolsek explained.

He calls it Andolsek – after his last name.

“It’s a very sophisticated look,” he said.

On the day he met with 2News, he was gearing up for the most exciting, yet most intense day of his life-his very own fashion show.

“It is exciting to think about seeing my clothes on a runway that is my own,” Andolsek said.

Several days later, Andolsek stood at the Grand America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake, working with 13 models as he prepared to bring his clothing line to the runway for the very first time.

“This is the launch of the Andolsek ready-to-wear line,” he said. “It’s very exciting.”

For Andolsek, this is a dream come true. Years of hard work are now being displayed for all to see.

“I like to create fancy gowns and use unique fabrics and embroidery so that there are intricate details that sparkle. It’s fun to see a well-dressed woman,” he said of his job.

But if you only knew the real Michael Andolsek.

“I don’t like to speak with people; I don’t,” he said.

You’d be amazed how he’s managed to get here at all.

Andolsek has autism.

“As a kid, I had to go to speech therapy. I had to learn to do things that most people know how to do instinctively, to introduce themselves when they meet someone for the first time, to make eye contact,” he explained.

And that’s why even his interview with 2News was a major challenge.

“It’s uncomfortable,” he said. “It’s very difficult to funnel the correct information in my head out of my mouth to the person I’m speaking with.”

But Andolsek knows if he wants to make it in the fashion world, he’s got to face his fears.

“It’s an ongoing workshop for me to get better and better at handling my anxiety with interacting with people.”

At the same time, he’s hoping to give back by hiring other people with autism. His business goal: at least 10 percent of his work force will be those with autism.

“There are 80 percent of us people with autism that are either unemployed or under employed and I think it’s a shame because there are so many talents in us that we can really use and showcase,” Andolsek explained.

And if there is anyone who knows how to showcase something, it’s Andolsek, who hopes his clothing line can be more than just great fashion.

“I think people enjoy knowing that they can purchase something from a company that is not solely concerned about making money,” he said.

Reviving fashion excitement

A major debrief will be held in the next few weeks by the iD Dunedin Fashion Week committee to unravel and review why this year’s show is expected to make a significant loss.

The committee has already blamed superstar Adele’s three concerts in Auckland as a major reason for reduced sales. Adele sang to three sell-out crowds in Auckland during the time the fashion shows were held in Dunedin.

The Dunedin Airport car park was packed from Thursday until Sunday as southerners headed north to be at one of the three concerts, taking valuable spending dollars away from the fashion week.

Air New Zealand put on four extra flights from Dunedin to Auckland to cope with demand from Adele fans, lending credence to iD committee chairwoman Cherie Lucas’ claims about the concerts drawing away people who would normally have attended.

However, it is too simplistic to simply blame an event in another city. After all, world entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson was also in Auckland speaking to a group of New Zealand established and rising business leaders and there were several sporting events on at the weekend.

People are starting to value their discretionary dollars as interest rates start to rise and the iD committee needs to consider some of the realities of the current climate.

New Zealand may be doing well as a country, and some people are doing well. But is there a limit to how much people can spend seeing a fashion show at Dunedin’s wonderful railway station.

Many people in the South have already been to the fashion shows. For years, tickets were hard to come by because the event was a must-see.

But times change and one only has to look at the state of the Wellington Sevens rugby tournament to realise there are cycles to every event. Perhaps the iD Dunedin Fashion Week has reached a point where something significantly different needs to emerge from the review.

Is the formula tired? There is no doubt the event adds a special lustre to the city. Seeing people dressed up strolling through the Octagon as they head for the railway station is wonderful. There is also no doubt people enjoy the shows and have a great time.

But what compelling case did iD Fashion make to ensure people not interested in heading to Auckland for Adele attended the local event? One of the things the committee plans to consider is whether the awards should continue at the railway station. The station has seemed ideal in the past and whether another venue can offer such a ”Dunedin experience” should be considered part of the review.

The iD Fashion Week has had its difficulties with funding and sponsorship and those are issues which need addressing.

Dunedin has a great tradition for innovation through clever people doing clever things the rest of the world wants. Promoting innovative fashion has to remain part of the city’s cultural experiences. Fashion is a high-end product which can exhibit the cute and quirky, along with the practical – as demonstrated by Swandri using injured Highlanders to model its clothes.

What is now needed from the iD committee is a flare, a flame or spark of light which can be quickly turned into a practical solution to not only keep the fashion week running but reverse the two years of losses after a solid profit in 2015. The committee cannot rely on reserves much longer to cover losses, and members will understand this.

A suggestion: Bring in some of the smart young technology entrepreneurs to help push the discussion in different directions.

Some suggestions may not be practical but there will be enough ideas rattling around for someone to grasp on to and develop the one which may work. There is a huge pool of talent in Dunedin just waiting to help.


Anne Hathaway brings ‘Colossal’ premiere fashion

Red carpet Anne Hathaway is back!

The actress has only infrequently ventured out since welcoming her son last April, but there’s a new film to promote, and a major ball gown to do it in.

At Tuesday night’s New York premiere of her new sci-fi film Colossal (out April 7), Hathaway donned a voluminous, cascading vintage black Armani Prive gown. Though its high ruffled neck obscured part of her face, the gown’s dramatic low back offered simpler lines.

In Colossal (a movie we called Hathaway’s riskiest move since her 2013 Oscar win), the actress plays Gloria, a hard-partying, jobless New Yorker forced to move back to her quiet hometown after getting dumped by her irritated boyfriend (Dan Stevens). Lugging an air mattress back to her empty childhood home, Gloria connects with a high school friend, Owen (Jason Sudeikis), and they start to hang out at his bar. Suddenly, a monster starts attacking Seoul … and that’s where we’ll stop, because spoilers really ruin this wacky, cool indie film.

Congolese-Kiwi high schooler celebrates her culture in debut fashion show

Check out the debut F-Goma at Auckland International Cultural Festival 2017

When creating clothes, Congolese Kiwi teen Favour Yuka wears her heritage on her sleeve.

Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Christian missionary parents, Favour’s family moved to Thailand before arriving in New Zealand as refugees, settling in Auckland when she was 7.

The 17-year-old, who has been sewing since Year 9, uses fashion to express her pride in her unique identity.

Inspired by bold Congolese style

Initially inspired by her mother’s bold sense of traditional Congolese style, Favour has given it a contemporary twist by blending vibrantly patterned Congolese fabric called pagne with modern silhouettes.

She will debut her fashion line at the Auckland International Cultural Festival on Sunday 2 April.

“I would love for my fashion to inspire my community to wear more traditional-influenced dress in the street,” says Favour.

“My Mum would describe me as someone who takes so much pride in my culture – I’ve come to realise I am who I am, and I’m always interested to know where I’m from.”

See Favour’s fashion line

If you’re interested in checking out Favours’ debut, come along to the Auckland International Cultural Festival on Sunday 2 April at Mt Roskill War Memorial Park, 10am-5pm or have a sneak peek on her Facebook page.

Favour will also be on an upcoming episode of Both Worlds on TV3 later on in the year.



Why Cynthia Nixon Is Wrong To Claim ‘Sex And The City’ Pressured Women Into Fashion Choices

When I was 14 years old, a trend infiltrated my social sphere: the 90s gothic trend. Black was its hue and metal studs, the ticket ‘in’ to this exclusive fashion: on bracelets, belts, chokers, backpacks – who cared, the spikier and pokier, the better.

Fake piercings suddenly emerged too – from the nose and the lip to… the eyelid, practically. It was all about heavy eyeliner and jet-black lipsticks, chains dangling from trouser pockets and ripped black tights, cross pendants and clumpy Doc Martens. And terrible, terrible, headachy music.

Frankly, it terrified me. And for that reason, I steered clear of the fad entirely.

That was my choice. Yes, I felt social pressure to join in; to become one of ‘the goths’ who wore their sombre faces 24/7, reflecting how very hard it was to be a #FirstWorldTeenager. Nonetheless, I snubbed the ‘peer pressure’ – continued with my sensible midi skirts – and remained un-studded and un-chained throughout my school years. It wasn’t about self-assuredness or originality. Really, I just didn’t want to walk around in chains.

Skip forward a few years, and Sex and the City landed: the colourful, sparkling fantasy of romance, style and fast-paced urban living. That was a trend I did want to follow. So I wore the stilettos and the short skirts, the loud colours and the faux fur overcoats. I drank cocktails at hotel bars and snuck my way into A-list after parties and the launch of West End nightclubs. I wanted so much to be part of the buzzing, sexy, city life, like that experienced by Carrie et al.

But I was always aware that it was ‘a trend’ I was following. All my friends were. We acknowledged we were wannabe Carries or Charlottes, Mirandas or Samanthas, and that was very amusing to us. We never felt pressured into being one or other – we merely enjoyed the pretence. I guess it made us feel glamorous and grown up. It was our coming of age.

That said, not everyone joined in. Many of my peers thought it was ridiculous – ridiculous phase, ridiculous sitcom. Each to their own, of course.

It is for this reason, I really don’t agree with recent comments made by Sex and the City‘s Cynthia Nixon (Miranda Hobbs) to The Radio Times. In the interview, Cynthia says she blames the HBO series for pressuring women into dressing in a certain way – the high-heeled, SATC way. She says that Carrie Bradshaw actress Sarah Jessica Parker is often berated by her husband, Matthew Broderick, for the fashion trends she helped set. Apparently he is known to motion to women on the street, dressed like ‘Carries’, and pointedly tell his wife: ‘YOU did that!’.

‘I wish that women would understand – or understand more – that it’s a fictional TV show,’ Cynthia explains. ‘No one should be expected to walk around looking like that in life – other than on the red carpet!’

I can see Cynthia’s point. There’s pure disbelief there, that a TV show should be taken so seriously that it ends up impacting almost an entire generation of women.

However, I’d like to argue that, no, the fact so many women chose to dress up Sex and the City-style is not the show’s fault. And that’s not because I’m a fan of the show myself; it’s because to blame women’s fashion choices on a TV programme is to suggest that women are not capable of making fashion choices for themselves. It’s to say us women are not aware of when we’re being influenced, and that we cannot make up our own minds as to whether we choose to or not to (literally) follow suit.

To agree with Cynthia, is to say that women are unconscious consumers. We just mindlessly following anything we feel remotely ‘pressured’ by…

IMHO, that’s rubbish – as I hope I have illustrated above. I didn’t dress up as a goth at 14 because I didn’t want to – peer pressure, be damned! In my 20s however, I did try to mimic SATC style (with the best that Topshop/H&M/Warehouse/Shellys and Office had to offer) because I very much did want to.

In both instances, it was about choice. And I will happily stand up for the fashion choices I made. Which means it makes me frustrated to hear that someone – Cynthia Nixon no less! – has claimed I was kowtowing to ‘pressure’. Truly, I wasn’t. I just really, really liked the trend.

As the recent parliamentary debate over the enforced unreasonable dress codes imposed on some women in the workplace has shown, sometimes women don’t have a choice as to what they can wear. But following the SATC trend was a choice (for most of us) and it especially was for me. And if it turns out in years to come, I look back and reflect it was a ‘What Were You Thinking?!’ one at that, I’m sure I’ll find a way to get over it.


Week in Fashion: Dakota Johnson and Reese Witherspoon Are Ready for Spring

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The first day of spring was technically this week, but at times it was nearly impossible to tell. One day you could throw on a jacket and walk out the door, like Bella Hadid did on Tuesday. A few days later, it was time to return to an ankle-length coat like Laura Dern’s. L.A. residents fared better. Dakota Johnson was able to shed any type of outerwear, and Reese Witherspoon wore a floral, A-line dress for her birthday. See the range of this week’s weather-appropriate looks here.