Archive for March, 2013

Spot the Leopard

March 30th, 2013 10:00 am

A fun photo from our archives: Liz, Kate and Stefanie enjoy the “spot”light in their Anna Scholz leopard spotted ponte jersey pieces.

The Call for Smarter Dummies

March 28th, 2013 10:00 am

This is the photograph of curvier mannequins in a shop in Sweden that has gone viral over the past few weeks. The full story of the wrongful attribution of this photo to H&M is interesting. Apparently, this photo is actually several years old and came from a display in the Swedish shop Åhléns. Despite all of the mis-information spread about this photo online, the positive reaction to a curvier mannequin was nearly unanimous in web readers.

Shops and shoppers are also keen for a change in the female figure represented by the average mannequin. For the past few years,mannequin manufacturer Displaysense has seen orders for size 12-14 fashion mannequins soar by 16% as shops ditch size zero in favour of a more hourglass figure. Contributing factors include the trend for embracing Forties and Fifties glamour in fashion and stars like Adele and Christina Hendricks making curves sexy again. Displaysense spokesman Jim Moody said: “Lagerfeld may want size zero on his catwalk but the commercial viability of the growing plus-size clothing market is being seized by high street chains and independent retailers alike.”

Displaysense believe “Staying relevant to your audience is essential and our order books show that sales of larger sized and bigger breasted mannequins…are undoubtedly on the rise…”.

Commie Couture

March 25th, 2013 10:00 am

The fashion industry in communist Romania was a far cry from the glamour, artistic freedom and creativity we associate with the biz. Like all under businesses in communist Romania, the fashion industry was run by the state. Clothes were sold at one store, Romarta, which only stocked clothes made by craftsmen’s unions such as UCECOM (The National Union of Craftsmen’s Cooperatives) and UCMB (the Bucharest Union of Craftsmen’s Cooperatives). And these unions only sourced used materials from one state-owned supplier.

Still, a core of government-employed models and a few designers managed to carve a memorable niche for themselves in very forbidding circumstances. In a fascinating interview with Vice magazine reporter Lorena Lupu, model Romaniţa Iovan shared her experiences during the 80s under the Ceaușescu regime. Here are a few snippets from the interview (photos by Dinu Lazăr).

Getting hired as a model was a rather subjective selection process by a jury consisting of the committee’s chief accountant, its economic manager, and the editor-in-chief of Moda magazine, who was the only person who had anything to do with fashion.

They were interested in your social status and your relation with the state security—you could only travel abroad if you had a clean file. We were part of an international Socialist system and we worked a lot in former commie countries, like the Democratic Republic of Germany, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia.


Even if there was a selection scheme, it was never applied. As far as I know, the designers were the same throughout the Communist years. They launched two collections annually, made from fabrics produced exclusively by Romanian suppliers. The clothes were not meant for consumption; they were samples made to promote next year’s trends to cooperatives that were then free to select what they wanted to produce for the mass market, which would then be sold at Romarta.

No one acknowledged a specific designer. A cooperative team included several designers and the fashion show was presented by the union, which placed no importance whatsoever upon the individuality of the designer. They all had precise roles: some only designed garments, others designed knitwear and others focused on shoes.


As there were only 25 of us throughout the country, there was no modeling school. We were basically self-taught. We practiced the runway walk, learned how to style our hair and do our own makeup and smuggled in professional products from abroad through someone who knew someone who had a relative who had an arrangement somewhere. But it was a real profession; my union card said “Model—fashion presenter.”


They lasted for three days and were held at Bucharest’s only luxury hotel, the Intercontinental Hotel. It was the only hotel that accommodated international tourists. There were morning shows for fashion experts and then evening shows for special guests. The shows lasted for over an hour and always started with folklore-inspired stuff. Foreign music was prohibited; they mainly played Aura Urziceanu.

Read the full interview here!


© Anne Kroul, 2013.