Getting Animal – Getting Warm

agata-mayer-getting-warm-fendi-furs-staying-warmSpecial Review by Agata Mayer, Editor-in-chief

Fashion Weeks came to an end. It’s been a hectic period jam-packed with exciting activities, business meetings and jet lag feeling. The most prominent fashion weeks are held in the four fashion capitals of the world: Milan, Paris, New York and London. But more often, everybody’s eyes are looking at other corners of the world, where countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, China, South Africa, Russia, Singapore, Mexico are going to set tongues wagging, in a very positive way. Fashion Weeks held several months in advance of the season. From January through April designers showcase their autumn and winter collections. From September through November they present their spring and summer collections. This season, furs and animal prints were a common denominator on the catwalks.



In the 90s, Italian designers celebrated the return of high-voltage fashion. Their fascination with animal skins and luxurious furs evoked an impression of decadent glamour. Leopard, cheetah and zebra prints that have long provided inspiration for fashion designers are back again. In contemporary fashion, wearing animal skin is interpreted as a desire to convey predatory instincts. A spotted woman in a animal coat might represent the archetypal femme fatale. Italy became an international centre of fashion after World War II. During the 1950s, combining traditions of Parisian haute couture with the Italian aesthetic the Fontana Sisters designed clothes for many Hollywood’s world-famous divas, such as Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor or Ava Gardner. They specialized in luxurious evening wear that contrasted perfectly with the softness of the silver fox stole draped around the arms.
In addition to animal prints, real fur had to finally find a way of interpreting it in fashion without compromising ethical concerns, having the animal rights movement from 1980s and the both national and international legislation from 1973 against it. Karl Lagerfeld, which originally specialized in fur and luxury leather goods, being creative consultant to the Italian Fendi modernized the label and changed the perception of fur as a conventional symbol. Nowadays, over 70 % of recent catwalk shows featured fur, from Marc Jacobs or Louis Vuitton to J. Mendel, Max Mara and Marni.
But there are still anti-fur designers such as Stella McCartney. She has never bowed to pressure to use leather or fur in her collections and has even resisted the lure of faux-fur in the past. But suddenly she has created a cruelty-free collection for Autumn/Winter 2015 with faux fur. Being asked why, she answered: “I feel like maybe things have moved on, and it’s time, and we can do fabrics which look like fur, if we take them somewhere else”, adding “Modern fake fur looks so much like real fur, that the moment it leaves the atelier no one can tell it’s not the real thing. And I’ve struggled with that.”


Fur, fake or not and animal motifs played a key role throughout this season. It is said, that in fashion world leopard is a color. Animal prints are timeless, chic and always in style. The leopard trend never fades that easily and can be used in almost any form. This year’s catwalks showed more wildness and savagery than ever. For instance, Raf Simons, Dior’s creative director turned to more raw and primal inspirations for the Autumn/Winter 2015 Dior collection. He pushed fashion boundaries again. From floral, romantic, emotional pieces to swirling psychedelic panther prints and strong, contrasting colors. Christian Dior first offered leopard print in 1947, which was revolutionary at the time. Today, it doesn’t bother anyone anymore. Roberto Cavalli’s ready-to-wear collection displayed an array of ombré dresses, fur coats and iconic animal prints. “Instinct? I like that word,” said Miuccia Prada after her show. Her collection was also full of multi-colored leopard and python prints and dense patterns.
Is the fashion industry trying to force it on us or maybe society is finally ready to embrace fur?
Take a look at some ‘furry’ printed fashion statements.

House of Holland show, Autumn Winter 2015, London Fashion Week, Britain - 21 Feb 2015








































Image source:


Fashion is about more than just pretty heels

agata-mayerArticle and design by Agata Mayer, Editor-in-chief

2014, Washington D.C., The White House – First Lady Michelle Obama brought some of the biggest names in fashion to celebrate their talent during the cocktail party, which was totally off the grid. The main purpose of this event was to bring members of the fashion industry, such as designers, industry insiders and publicists and enlighten, educate and mentor the next generation of fashion leaders. It should be noted at this point that Americans spend over $350 billion a year on clothing and accessories, and there are plenty of jobs to be had, with 1.4 million Americans employed in fashion and retail. Well, the fashion industry had always a major impact on the economy.

2014, London, The White House – The Duke John Zylinski hosted a major fashion blowout for an army of designers to celebrate their talent on the catwalk and during the garden cocktail party.  It’s common knowledge that becoming an esteemed fashion designer is not the kind of thing that happens overnight or even to every eager and passionate college design major. But the Duke had some sound advice for the young designers who were invited to his palace. He was discussing with the students the glamorous and un-glamorous sides of the fashion industry. It has to be added that £6.2 billion has been spent across the UK over the last five years on impulse-buys such as clothing and accessories and the average British woman will spend £500,000 on fashion over a lifetime, in accordance to Daily Mail.

Did you detect a slight similarity between them? Of course you did!



The Duke, John Zylinsky at his palace

The concept of fashion education workshops and events has been on the table since at least a few years. Both sides spent many months planning and researching their new business ideas, but the British side spent even more time. The Duke wouldn’t have done this without Katarzyna Kwiatkowska – Działak, the CEO of Fashion Culture Project and a very dear friend to the fashion world.
One day, 3 years ago they just met and decided to work together, after considering fashion as a business and an art. They thought that thanks to its global nature and role in pop culture, fashion will be seen as a useful symbol for national creativity. They weren’t wrong!

The descendants of many aristocratic families still support the national culture, tradition and education or they perform an important function in politics. It’s also generally known, that the aristocratic families took care of their image. They adopted prevailing trends coming from other courts and even countries, or they just simply determined their own styles. I know that John is passionate about the 18th century. It was a specific period, when various historians consider the industrialization of society to be the starting point of fashion. Time, when changes in dress ceased to be the prerogative of small elites and became adopted by the majority of urban people in western Europe. For instance, women’s fashion was dominated by Paris, while men’s fashion was set by London. But in John’s line it looked completely different. The Duke was raised by his grandmother who charmed him with the magic of pre-war manners and elegance. It speaks for itself. He was the first person in his lineage interested in ‘fashion’. His family house has a huge history. It was a place for the whole exile elite. John’s grandmother was a person to whom he promised that he would rebuild the family palace, which on numerous occasions transform into a place promoting broadly understood Art. I know that not only fashion is close to his heart, but also Ballet and enterprising women…such as Katarzyna Kwiatkowska-Działak. But more about that, later.
Born in Ealing, West London, the Duke John Zylinski has been supporting fashion initiatives continuously since many years. Every year he opens the gates of his residence ‘The White House’ for the Fashion Culture Show and brings together promising designers. The main objective is to establish and strengthen contacts between European countries, to promote promising talents and to provide them with a wider audience.

katarzyna-kwiatkowska-jan-zylinski-by-piotr-apolinarskiThe Duke John Zylinsky & Katarzyna Kwiatkowska-Działak at the White House, London

I was wondering how it feels to be an aristocrat in today’s era of the perdition of moral values and ethics, in comparison to John’s childhood, therefore I caught a flight to London to meet the Duke in person. Unfortunately, questions concerning his family tree or how he sees symbols associated with tradition, honor, bravery and the bonds of brotherhood nowadays, in hands of fashion designers as an act of performance and their own statement “in a multibillion-dollar global industry” have to wait.
John threw himself into work and couldn’t participate in the meeting. Instead of that, I met Katarzyna Kwiatkowska – Działak in John’s private residence, lovingly designed and built by him. The whole property is breathtakingly beautiful, and not surprisingly, the neoclassical Louis XVI house had been used by TV crews and high profile clients including Victoria Beckham, Britney Spears, Leona Lewis, Kelly Rowland, Rihanna, Lady Gaga; world-famous designers such as Christian Dior or Roberto Cavalli; magazines such as Vogue, GQ, Guardian, Marie Claire, Vanity Fair, Korean Elle for their fashion photo shoots.


Katarzyna Kwiatkowska-Działak – a real Lady of a thousand faces and passions told me everything about their collaboration, difficult beginnings, bad and good sides of being in this branch and about the concept that stands behind the Fashion Culture Project. She was born and brought up in Warsaw, Poland where she graduated in Journalism and PR. After over fifteen years of assisting, organizing and directing many fashion shows, events and live concerts, in 2008 she decided to move to London, where now she supports talented fashion designers from the most prestigious European fashion schools. She proved that people who think that the fashion industry is all about catwalks, red carpets and who wore it best, are wrong. Garments that we see in the magazines as a finished product, required a very long and complicated process that is based not only on passion and creativity, but also on specific knowledge. Her project was described by many international and influential specialist periodicals as “the must-to-visit place on the map of Europe”.
“Fashion is really about passion and creativity, just like music or dance or poetry” – claimed Katarzyna. When I asked her what Fashion Culture is, she answered immediately: “Promotion art through fashion and fashion through art“. What can be more simple?
At the beginning it was a bridge between international fashion colleges in both Poland and the UK. But now the project is in its fourth season drawing in people from the world of culture, visual arts, fashion and photography.  After due consideration she added: “Fashion can be a powerful instrument for social change. It allows us to think about who we are as individuals and as a society”. The designers who participate first in the contest, then in the show represent a wide spectrum — from mass brands to high-end glamour to the more intellectual.
“Every season one pearl is discovered by our jury. Last year we represented Erïk Bjerkesjö, Swedish designer who was awarded by Cracow School of Art and Fashion Design and got an invitation for Cracow Fashion week organized in March 2015 in Poland. This outstanding artist has received many honors & awards globally” – said Katarzyna.



Kwiatkowska – Działak, a master of both high and low sartorial styles, will be hosting the 4th edition of Fashion Culture Project at the White House palace this September. She is going to transform the White House into a venue again for an elite judging panel for selected outstanding students from University of the Arts – London College of Fashion and Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (UK); Polimoda (Italy); Flanders Fashion Institute (Belgium); ESMOD (Germany), ASP (Poland); Beckmans Designhögskola (Sweden); The Cracov Schools of Art and Fashion Design group – SAPU Fashion Design Department (Poland) and for many influential representatives from the wide circles of art, culture and diplomacy.
Dear reader! Save the date and see you in London!


You don’t have to be in London to witness London Fashion Week


Image: Marques’Almeida SS15 (Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Review by Agata Mayer, Editor-in-chief

As you probably know, London Fashion Week (#LFW) is one of the ‘big four’ international catwalk influencers along with New York Fashion Week, Milan Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week, since the first show in 1984.
This high profile fashion event is set within Somerset House, takes place biannually and features some of the world’s leading designers.
The schedule is always packed with amazing shows, installations, showrooms and parties from the brightest names in the industry.
Today, #LFW has become a city-wide celebration, while before it was just a trade event.
This summer, Oxford Street and Regent Street, two of the busiest shopping streets in Europe, joined in #LFW Festivities by hosting educational seminars, displaying architectural installations or supporting architect practices and fashion brands together within London Design Festival.


Source: British Fashion Council

The Hollywood Factor!

World-famous models, the hottest celebrities and Hollywood movie stars who dropped in at this event. Welcome to London Fashion Week SS 15.

Drew Barrymore, Samuel L. Jackson, Mario Testino and Alexa Chung followed Stella McCartney and the cohost Livia Firth at the Royal Institution of Great Britain. All these big names were there to celebrate Stella McCartney’s Green Carpet Collection.
Colin Firth, who no doubt went to the show to support his wife Livia, proud father sir Paul McCartney, Salma Hayek together with her husband François-Henri Pinault, Rita Ora also joined the designer to see the show.

Another day, supermodels Kate Moss and Cara Delevingne took a short break from the runway and arrived to watch the Burberry Prorsum show at Kensington Gardens, snapping ‘selfies’ and giggling on the sidelines.
The same show was closed by Suki Waterhouse, Bradley Cooper’s girlfriend. The Hollywood actor caused a huge stir when he appeared at Tom Ford‘s show the same day. Cooper sat next to Vogue US Editor-In-Chief Anna Wintour on the front row.

Another beauty, the stunning blonde Georgia May Jagger (the younger daughter of Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and model Jerry Hall) opened the Marchesa Spring/Summer 2015 show in Whitehall. The American label celebrated its ten year anniversary in London.


Georgia May Jagger walking for Marchesa SS 15


Image: Margaret Howell SS15 (Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)


Image:Erdem SS15 (Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)





Imgaes: British Fashion Council