You Say Fashion, We Say France!

By Kendal Carse  

   France. When thinking about this country there are a couple major things that come to   mind. First, the Eiffel tower. Then maybe cute cafes, or those infamous French men. But what is at the forefront of all our minds is FRENCH FASHION. Chic and glamorous, Paris is one of the influential fashion hot spots, holding an omnipresent-like pressure over the rest of the world to keep up. But looking at today’s industry, how did France get that fabulous track record that has stood the test of time? They had to have started somewhere.
     France has been one of the fashion capitals of the world ever since the first books on fashion were written. Handmade dress shops, wealth, and serious business all attributed to the growing population that came to France to be immersed in its culture. Innovators like the “father of haute couture” Charles Worth, came to establish a name.

   Throughout the course of fashion, however, two particular designers set the bar sky high- and are still referred to for their countless and genius collections as well as designs that are still used and worn to this day.

    First and foremost, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was one of the very first designers to make a lasting impression on not just French fashion, but the world. Creating jersey clothing, Chanel developed a simple and classic look. She was inspired by and designed many of her clothes from menswear; nevertheless, she still kept the basic but feminine attributes that can still be seen on the Paris streets today. The coveted little black dress that every woman holds dear can also be accredited to Chanel.

     Christian Dior. No other name could hold so much poise and meaning as this one.  Dior can easily be argued as the most influential designer of the 40’s and 50’s. Famous for creating the “New Look,” Dior gave females a whole new reason to walk out the door everyday dressed up. The cinched waist, rounded shoulders, and full skirt was received well, and is still used in some of the modern Dior designs today. Dior, favoring feminine looks, wanted elegance, glamour, and style all into one- and who could disagree?

     French fashion today is sleek, serious, and all about style. But what is the key to French fashion? Confidence. Dressing for the part, as well as for your age are the top two recommendations. And dress well. Remember, it’s not so much as what you wear, but as how you wear it. Sassy, sweet, feminine, or classic. Anyway you see French fashion, there is one reoccurring theme. Everyone is on their “A game.” So fashion in France? France is fashion. It’s where the big dogs play and where everyone, for a lack of better words, “brings it.”

For More Ooh La La French Fashion:

Christian Dior. (n.d.). Retrieved from:

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel (1883-1971) and the House of Chanel. (n.d.). Retrieved from

What To Wear In Paris, France. (n.d.). Retrieved from

What’s That Smell?

By Katie Potts

Most people wear it.  Some people should wear it, and some people wear too much of it.  It can either be attractive on the opposite sex, or overpowering and quite honestly, nauseating.  I am talking about perfume, and no one takes more pride in perfumes than the French people.  Quite a large number of the highest quality perfumes hail from France, but they did not originate there.


   In fact, incense is the forerunner of perfume, and it has been traced as far back as 4000BC.  However, perfume was really perfected by the Egyptians for burials, ritual, and every day citizen usage.  The every day Egyptian had perfume on them at all times.  The perfume of this time was made of incense, oils, and frankincense, and they were stored in containers made of glass, alabaster, and ebony. (The history of perfumes, 2003)  I guess it should be “smell like an Egyptian” instead of “walk like an Egyptian”.  As interesting as this is, you might be wondering how an Egyptian idea and practice became a modern industry in a civilized country like France. 

            Well, the Ancients Greeks adopted it, then of course the copy cat Romans. Eventually after many conquests and epic battles, the Arabs began to sell it, incorporating different spices and scents from different, far off counties.  The Italians traded with the Arabs then it came under the control of the de Medicis.  Catherine de Medici became the ruler of France, and under her rule, the perfume industry flourished in France. (Perfume in Ancient Life, 2003)


  Perfume in France originally became popular in the form of perfumed gloves, instead of the normal bottle or container.  However, there were bottles at this time, and they were made of pewter, gold or silver with class, kind of like a stain glass window.  (Perfume history bottle ancient time, 2003)  Louis the XV came to the throne and, due to the over usage of perfume, his court was named “the perfumed court”.   Anyone who was anyone had quality perfume on, and everyone around them knew it.  As time progressed, the French began to grow many herbs and flowers for the purpose of perfume production only, in addition to trading with other countries for exotic scents.  (The history of perfumes, 2003) 

            The perfume industry spread to different countries, but the French have always had the upper hand with their many old perfume design houses, such as Guerlain, Galimard, and Molinard. (The Great Perfume Houses of France, n.d.)  As the industry became more modern, there became more of an emphasis on unique bottle design as a better way to market. (Perfume history bottle ancient time, 2003)  Unfortunately, perfumes are not made solely from natural ingredients anymore, but the need for French perfume has not changed throughout the years.  Any visitor to Paris can visit any design house on a trip to get high quality perfume.

 For More Scent-sational Stories:

Perfume Creations, (n.d.).  The great perfume houses of france. Retrieved from

Perfumes, (2003). Images #1 and 2, Perfume history bottle ancient time. Retrieved from

Perfumes, (2003). Perfume history bottle ancient time. Retrieved from

Perfumes, (2003). The history of perfumes from ancient times to present. Retrieved from

Louis XV. (2012). Image. Retrieved May 15, 2012 from the Wiki:

Fascinator Fever

By Crystal Harman

I do not know about you, but I am completely captivated with the millinery fashion of England.  It is pretty much my dream to own a fascinator from England.  To give you an idea of how much I love this accessory, I have even had thoughts about requiring hats or fascinators to be worn by all my guests at my wedding one day!  When the royal wedding of Kate Middleton and Prince William occurred the public was waiting in anticipation of all the different elaborate fascinators that would be chosen by the guests.  I know I was!  Hats are functional, protecting the head, while fascinators are decorative.  Fascinators give an outfit personality and it shows to the world your personal style.  Fascinators are supposed to be worn on one side of the head and tilted towards the front.  Clearly Princess Beatrice and Eugenie did not catch the memo as they wore their fascinators at the royal wedding in the center of their heads.  Not to mention the styles of their fascinators which were too distracting to be considered classy and elegant.  Fascinators have even become popular for the bride to wear in exchange for a traditional veil. 

Hats have long been used by British Royalty.  But when did the hat evolve into the fascinator? Fascinators began to make an appearance as a substitute for hats in the 18th Century.  This was due to altering attitudes of societal women based upon two major historical events, the Independence of American colonies from Britain, 1775 to 1782 and the French Revolution, 1789 to 1799.  It took a long time, before the hat began to be out of style.  With the death of Christian Dior, in 1957, hats started to be on the way out.  Before that time, there were specific regulations on when and how hats could be worn.  Hats made allusions to class, upbringing, and marital status.  Hats since 1957, have been seen as middle aged to elderly style and are typically only worn by the youth at horse racing events, weddings, and funerals. 

In recent decades, the popularity of fascinators decreased.  But in 2005, there was a resurgence of popularity, as the Duchess of Cornwall wore a fascinator at her wedding to Prince Charles.  The Queen chose a fascinator for Peter Phillips’ wedding, her grandson.  But once Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, began sporting fascinators the fascinator style has surged upwards.

Kate Middleton is a style icon.  She is a designers dream because everything she wears is instantly popular.  She carries herself with grace and elegance and often wears fascinators when she is out in the public.  Celebrities, such as Sarah Jessica Parker, have bought into the style of fascinators, inspired by Kate as well as the rest of British Royalty.  Although the mainstream consumer has no real need for an oversized fascinator, they still want to be like Kate and so they buy much smaller versions, usually a clip or a headband decorated with feathers, beads, and flowers. 

 For More Fascinating Facts:

BellaSugar. (April 29, 2011). “See Royal Wedding Hats and Fascinators.” Retrieved from

Catherine. (2010). Retrieved from

 “Definition and History of Fascinators.” (August 11, 2008). Retrieved from

Shea, C. (April 25, 2011). “How to Wear a Fascinator (those fetching British hairpieces).” Retrieved from

Baggin’ the Brits

By Ashley Mullen

The trendsetters? Romans, Brittish school boys, and Indian Jones. Although, a misfit bunch this fruit salad of fashion BLANK relate to each other through one important stylish commonality. The satchel. Obviously anyone with even acute observance would notice this terrific trend plaguing the streets. Certainly someone with even modest business aims would invest and hit this profitable market before it evaporates into the trend trashcan. And yet, it was not a world-class CEO to embark on this ingenious endeavor but a British mother with humble, admirable aims.

            The company? The Cambridge Satchel Company. The marvelous mastermind behind this uber successful company is none other than Julia Deane. With zero design experience this marvelous mum had a deep desire to obtain vintage school bag for children. Believing that this stylish installation for her kids would put an end to the pestering, school bullies. After manufacturing troubles, sheer hard work, and a lot of begging, she is currently the owner of The Cambridge Satchel company that provides ultra fashionable satchel bags of all sizes and colors. Although the original shop still resides in London, carriers can be discovered all over the world and even in convenient stores like Urban Outfitters.

            Back to my precedent of the conglomerated group of fashion innovators, the satchel bag of quintessential British style has existed for centuries. As all roads lead to Rome, the satchel was first carried as a utility bag by Roman Legionaries. Then, filtered into fashion in the 17th century, the satchel was an iconic accessory for British schoolboys. By the mid 20th century, any British school child would be an anomaly without this BLANK bag. And who could forget Indian Jones redefining manly standards with his impenetrable satchel. Now it has filtered its way onto fashionable streets worldwide. Regardless, the Cambridge Satchel Company remains the leader of the trendy pack.



   From celebrities to style gurus, these timeless but trendy satchels have made The Cambridge Satchel Company infamous for being “fashion’s most affordable it-bag” (Chernikof and Yotka, 2011). Although the basic design and function of the bags remain fairly stable from season to season, color modification really sets them over the top. Their recent collection with neon’s and metallic’s manifested into the must have bag of recent seasons. Deane even spoke openly about an upcoming collection of fabulously classy clutches. Through unique recollection of the past, stable class, and today’s trends these bags should make their way to the top of every fashionista’s bucket list.

It’s In the Bag – So Read About it:

Chernikoff, L. & Yotka, S. (2010). Cambridge Satchel Company: the inspiring story

behind fashion month’s most affordable it-bag. Retrieved May 15,

2012, from

History of the leather satchel, from Romans to leather school bags in the high streets.

Retrieved May 15, 2012, from


London’s Newest Fashion Icon

By Kristen Szkotak

Watch out Kate Middleton, there is a new fashion force taking London by storm with her fiery red locks and fearless fashion.  Meet Nicola Roberts.

Nicola got her start in the music industry in 2002 when she participated in a London reality competition show called Pop Stars: The Rivals (Glamour, 2012).  From there she won a spot in an all-girl banned named Girls Aloud.  They were a huge London hit landing numerous top 10 songs and their debut album even landed a number one spot on the London album charts.  The band later split which led time for Nicola to start her own makeup line called Dainty Dolls specifically targeted for fair skinned women (Glamour, 2012).  She then became an advocate for banning tanning bed use to minors even going as far as making a documentary titled Nicola Roberts: The Truth about Tanning Beds (Glamour, 2012).  Since then she has begun work on her solo music career.

Her music however is not all that London is noticing about her these days.  There is also her ever apparent presence in the fashion scene.  She started out as a young red-headed musician but has grown into a sophisticated innovator.  In 2010 she won a great deal of praise being named by multiple blogs as style icon of the month or even the year (Emerald, 2010).  She has even graced the cover of UK’s InStyle magazine.  One blog even compared her to Americas’ Olivia Polermo.



The fact that she is an innovator is apparent by looking at her risk taking with trends before they hit the masses.  For example Roberts wore a maxi skirt to debut her makeup line in 2010 and since then the trend has spread to the general public.  I personally am obsessed with not only her sense style but also her ever changing hairstyles.  She changes it in classy, more subtle ways in comparison to the U.S.’s Katy Perry or Nicki Minaj.  Recently news has broken that Nicola will be teaming up with America’s fashion risk taker Rhianna to star in a new UK fashion design show (Stern, 2012).  They will be searching for Britain’s next up and coming designer and “will recognise the increasing influence popstars have on mainstream trends” (Stern, 2012).

 London has many fashion icons.  Our job while we are there is to spot out the not so obvious trend setters throughout the city.  They are the ones who sub-consciously start the new fashions and trends that forecasters need to spot.

 To Get to Know Nicola:

Glamour. (2012). Nicola Roberts. Retrieved from

Stern, B. (2012). Rhianna and Nicola Roberts are launching a fashion tv show together in the UK. Retrieved from

Emerald. (25 Sept. 2010). Style icon of the month Nicola Roberts. Retrieved from

Bruno, V. (2010). [image] Runway to 2012 Elle style awards – Nicola Roberts in Vanessa Bruno. Retrieved from

Roberts, N. [image] Style icon of the month. Retrieved from

Roberts, N. (5 Jan. 2012). [image] InStyle Cover. Retrieved from

Traditional Scottish Dress: From Sporrans to Fanny Packs

By Katy McCoy

If there was a Scottish version of the board game Clue, the suspects would be a fishmonger, a farmer, a weaver, and a pub-regular and the weapons would be bagpipes, cabers, and large stones. If only we could also choose their wardrobe pieces. Unlike Clue, little is left to the imagination when it comes to traditional Scottish dress that includes the kilt, tartan, and sporran.

            The kilt has always been compared to a skirt for men. Now, I don’t know about all men, but I do know that you can’t pay most of them enough to wear a skirt in public. However, unlike most men today, the men of Scotland were not ashamed to show a little leg in a knee-length, plaid piece of fabric that pleated in the back. These kilts were once part of the military uniform for the Scottish army, then part of the Scottish Highlands experience that can be roughly compared with today’s Olympics. Today the kilt is worn as a costume that represents the country’s heritage and is usually saved for special occasions.

            The tartan, or “plaid”, was a rectangular piece of fabric that was wrapped around the left shoulder, usually matching the kilt. This piece of fabric, usually plaid and made from wool, was a symbol of the region or clan that one came from. It was of extreme importance to represent who you were and where you came from. Who knows, maybe these tartans could have been the inspiration for Nike’s Texas flag shorts that have been trending recently!

            Sporrans were the fanny packs of traditional Scottish culture. Usually made from leather or fur, these tiny bags served as a container for personal items, seeing as how there were no pockets on the kilt. They were either attached to the belt or would hang below the belt buckle in front, on the side, or behind the body. Although those sporrans weren’t Louis Vuitton like Rihanna’s, they were considered very high quality and a sign of social standing.




Scottish Influence in Contemporary Fashion

            All jokes aside, traditional Scottish attire did and does have an affect on contemporary fashion in today’s world. Two of today’s distinguished designers, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood often incorporate Scottish elements into their designs. McQueen’s work often reflected his Scottish heritage. Collections titled Highland Rape (Autumn/Winter 1995-96) and Widows of Culloden (Autumn/Winter 2006-07) were two of his collections that were based off of Scottish events and happenings. In these collections, certain items like the tartan and plaid wool were re-introduced in quite unique, biographical and political ways.

            Vivienne Westwood also adopts traditional Scottish elements into her designs through the use of tartan fabric, rich colors, and unique checked patterns and plaid. She has done unbelievably beautiful things through her ability to mix and match different tartan textiles into a contemporary garment. Interestingly enough, Westwood’s tartans were made to order by Locharron, where we’ll be headed in only a short few days!





Beyond Braveheart: To Learn More about Scotland and its Native Dress:

“About the Exhibition”.  (2011).  The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  (Web log            comment).  Retrieved from

Chambers, Ryan.  (2010,  April 26).  Scottish clothing- traditional dress.  (Web      log comment).  Retrieved from     traditional-dress/

“Dress: Tartans & Kilts”.  Windsor’s Scottish Heritage.  Retrieved from  

“Vivienne Westwood’s Philosophy and Influences in Contemporary Design”.  UK           Essays. Retrieved from   westwoods-philosophy-and-influences.php

Photo References:

Photo 1: “Dress: Tartans & Kilts”.  Windsor’s Scottish Heritage.  Retrieved from  

Photo 2: “Ten People Wearing Fanny Packs”.  (2010, December 22).  Now That’s Nifty. Retrieved from         wearing-fanny-packs.html#.T7HHg82_aeY

Photo 3: “About the Exhibition”.  (2011).  The Metropolitan Museum of Art.  (Web  log comment).  Retrieved from          culloden/

Photo 4: “Using Traditional Fabrics in a Modern, Untraditional Way is Considered           Postmodern”.  Fashion & Textiles Design. (Web log comment).  Retrieved    from

Tarnish Your Tartans!

By Ashley Mullen

What do shaggy sheep, relentless rain, boisterous bagpipes, and plaid kilts have in common? Perhaps their own country? Scotland. A mysterious land of accents and tartans has many obvious stereotypes as previously mentioned, but certainly fashion does not belong with Scottish association. Doesn’t everyone in Scotland walk around in garb like this?


Scotland is shafted into a massive English lump of Great Britain and outshined by fashionable London Streets. One would be surprised to know of the efforts that Scotland has accommodated to make strides onto the fashion market. To conceptualize their modern fashion we must take a look into the past.

            Despite the naughty stereotype, Tartan is the official Scottish symbol even to this day. History and origin of this bold fabric is quite complicated. Strung through vicious wars and muddy fields, tartans were the staple fabrics for kilts throughout the land. Districts or regions adopted a certain tartan pattern to represent their unique identity, which eventually morphed into “clan” tartans. Although streetwalkers do not adorn themselves in tartan from head to toe it remains a stronghold symbol of this great nation.

            Another historical fashion icon assuredly points its way to Pringle of Scotland. Birthed from early 1800s, this high-end company was welcomed to the world of fashion as the first luxury knit manufacturer. With the help of the Duke of Windsor, the preppy brand, chalk full of argyle and cardigan sweater sets, became a British fashion staple.

To keep up with the constant, revolutionizing fashion world, the brand began to expand to the international luxury stage in 2000 and made it all the way to major runways with men’s and women’s collections. The brand has made leaps and bounds from its early origins to compete with current fashion collections while keeping the iconic brand image in mind.

From Pringle to plaid, hopefully you can begin to conceptualize my previous premise that Scotland does in fact have fashion sense. Their efforts in the fashion realm are noteworthy and successful. The Scottish Fashion Awards have become a well-known event promoted by respected industry professionals that fortuitously put Scottish designers on the map. Some successful, Scottish designers include Jean Muir, Belinda Robertson, and Shirley Pinder.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” Chanel certainly understood the importance of understanding that people live fashion by sporting their unique style on the streets. Scottish street fashion seems to recollect trendy European items with hearty knits and wools, preppy classics, and heavy layering. Due to the high volume of knit and fiber manufacturing these Scot stylists do not shy away from using hearty fabrics for style in the constant cold, rainy climate. Armed with bundles of stylish, Scottish scoop, grab some mutton and gnaw on the fact that Scotland ascertains a status of sensational style.

To Read a Wee Bit More About Scotland:

Duncan, J.A. (2010). History of Scottish Tartans and clan tartans. Retrieved May 14,

2012, from

Pringle of Scotland history. (2011). Retrieved May 14, 2012, from

Scottish fashion and textiles. (2012). Retrieved May 14, 2012, from

Women’s Collection. (2012). Retrieved May 14, 2012, from