During the fall 2021 season each capital coined its own particular trends, yet the undeniable connectivity of fashion was pronounced. Demonstrating this idea of common ground is the push and pull between checks versus plaids, which turned up everywhere from Shanghai to Paris. The good news is you don’t have to pick a side. Whether you choose a punk or prep miniskirt or a classic overcoat, these patterns are off-the-grid style-wise, as in very, very cool.
Follow along as we check the boxes city by city.
The highly anticipated trailer for Ryan Murphy’s Halston doesn’t disappoint. The series, dropping on Netflix on May 14, will chronicle the rise and fall of the iconic American designer, portrayed by Ewan McGregor, and the teaser delivered us plenty of drama and fabulous fashion to look forward to. Many of those fabulous costumes will be displayed on Krysta Rodriguez, who plays Halston’s close friend and muse Liza Minnelli. Rodriguez tells Vogue that she learned much about the designer and his fascinating world while being a part of the project. “I knew about Halston as a designer, but I didn’t necessarily know the reign he had in the fashion industry,” says Rodriguez. “For a solid two decades, he was fashion. He was integral to putting American fashion on the map, and making people take it seriously.”
Stepping into an iconic role like Minnelli was no easy feat for Rodriguez, but she couldn’t imagine a more inspiring character to take on. “One of the things I respect so much about her was she was a feminist, and was very in touch with her body and her messiness,” says Rodriguez. “That was something that wasn’t really seen at that time. You watch her performances, and she’s not worried about how perfect she looks—she wants to get that guttural emotion across.” Of course, she also enjoyed playing dress up in some of Minnelli’s most iconic looks on the show, including those she wore to Studio 54. “It was fun to see how accurate we can get,” says Rodriguez. “We would look at reference photos and it was like putting together the most elaborate Halloween costume.”
One of her favorite fashion moments is one seen in the first episode. “Halston and Liza meet each other, and he just starts draping fabric on her body,” she says. “Ewan went through intense training to figure out how the draping process works, and it resulted in the best dress that I’ve ever seen on my body—and it just came out of a single bolt of fabric and a couple pins!”
Celebrating the show’s virtual premiere from home in New York, she wore two glamorous looks that nodded to her on-screen character. “Once we found out [the premiere] was virtual, it kind of let us do whatever we wanted, which was really exciting,” says Rodriguez. Up first, a dramatic Giambattista Valli Haute Couture dress, complete with a giant shoulder bow and 15-foot train. “Luckily, my apartment could fit it,” says Rodriguez.
Rodriguez switched into a black sequined Greta Constantine dress with ruffled sleeves for the “after party,” when she invited a few friends over. “As soon as I put it on, I felt like a budding flower,” says Rodriguez. “It really felt like modern Liza: super modern, but still glitzy and glamorous.” She and her glam team also nodded to Liza with ’60s-style hair and makeup for both looks. “I had little gems under my eyes, and we just decided to go for it—because why not?”
Below, an exclusive look at Rodriguez’s premiere night.
Every designer has unique inspirations and references that ground their work. For Taofeek Abijako, the recurring obsession that fuels all of his designs is books. With his Brooklyn-based menswear label, Head of State, Abijako constantly imagines clothes that some of his favorite novel characters would wear, and then brings them to life. “It’s a combination of the characters in the books, and the author’s approach to writing, that inspire me,” Abijako says.
Before moving to Albany in the U.S. from Lagos, Nigeria in 2010 (his family won the Visa lottery), Abijako first got interested in fashion by watching his father, a fashion designer, work in his studio. “People from all ethnic backgrounds were welcome in this space, and I saw this space where there was no limitations to fashion,” he says. In high school in the U.S., he then self-taught himself how to sew and slowly began selling pieces to friends and family, eventually launching Head of State as a full-on brand.
Today, the line continues to fuse his Nigerian roots with an American sensibility. “I always tell people to come with an open mind about what they think African fashion is, and then to get rid of that in your head,” Abijako says. “The silhouettes are heavily inspired by West African traditional wear—there’s this idea of volume and A-shapes—but you can see the western inspiration with the sport and utilitarian pieces.” One his ongoing inspirations, he says, is postcolonial youth culture in Africa, because it’s “a marriage of traditional way of living and Western imposition. That marriage creates a new language.”
Sustainability is another big aspect of the brand. “I grew up on the mainland in Lagos, and there was a lot of flooding and ocean waste coming in,” Abijako says. “I thought, whatever I want to do with my brand, I have to be intentional with it, and to not contribute to this.” Right now, his line is about 70 percent made with sustainable fabrics. Building collections around whatever fabric he stumbles upon is enjoyable, rather than a hurdle. “It challenges me as a designer to think outside of the box,” he says.
Abijako’s latest collection, titled “Johnny Just Come,” embodies all of these signatures. It was inspired by two of his favorite books by the late Nigerian novelist Chinua Achebe, No Longer at Ease and Chike and the River. “A prevalent theme in Achebe’s novels is the intersection of African tradition and modernity, especially as embodied by Western imposition,” says Abijako. The designer says he connected with Achebe’s point of view when designing the new collection, as Abijako, too, enjoys fusing his Nigerian roots with a more American sensibility. “They’re two coming of age stories, and I see a lot of myself in them,” he says of the books.
Below, Abijako walks us through just how two of Achebe’s novels inspired his new designs.
The plot: “This book is about Obi Okonkwo, a young man about twenty-six years old, who returns to Nigeria after studying in England for four years. Once back in Nigeria, Obi stays in Lagos with his friend Joseph, trying to find a job and a place of his own. Obi finds a job with the Scholarship Board and is almost immediately offered a bribe by a man who is trying to obtain a scholarship for his sister. He continues to take bribes until he reaches a breaking point, working to pay off his debts and end this cycle of corruption. It is at this moment, however, when he has taken his last bribe, that he is caught.”
The plot: “Chike has lived in Umuofia for his entire life, until his mother sends him away to live with his uncle in Onitsha. He has never left his hometown, therefore, he is excited, but nervous about his future. He has heard many great stories about living in a big city, yet, his mother warns him of the dangers of living in a place like Onitsha, located on the banks of the Niger River. Over the course of a few months, Chike makes many friends in school and discovers his love for soccer in Onitsha. In spite of his mother’s warnings and fears of the river, Chike longs to cross it to the city of Asaba, but he doesn’t have the sixpence he needs to pay for the ferry ride. With the help of his friend Samuel, he embarks on a series of adventures to help him get there. Once he finally makes it across the river, Chike realizes that life on the other side is far different from his expectations, and he must find the courage within him to make it home.”
Bethenny Frankel is ready for her next chapter. Since departing The Real Housewives of New York City in 2019, the entrepreneur has since been focusing on her many business ventures: her podcast “Just B,” her BStrong initiative serving communities in crisis, and of course her ever-growing Skinnygirl brand. Navigating all of these ventures is a lot for one person to handle—but her new show, premiering on HBO Max tomorrow, is aiming to find her some much-needed help.
Titled The Big Shot with Bethenny, the new series marks Frankel’s much-anticipated return to our TV screens. In it, she seeks to find a vice president of operations to help run the logistics of all her different brands. She puts aspiring business moguls to the test through a series of challenges—whether that’s coming up with an ad campaign for one of her Skinnygirl products, or putting together and running a photo shoot with Frankel at the center of it. “This is a real job that I desperately needed to fill,” Frankel tells Vogue of the concept. “I was prepared to be like The Bachelor, where you don’t like anybody at the end. I wasn’t going to just fake-hire someone that I’ve got to deal with every day. We don’t have a 200-person company where you can put someone in, like, envelope licking.”
Throughout the show, we get to see a different side of Frankel. Where the Housewives leaned into drama and theatrics, we get to see the more business-minded Bethenny at work. Where she readily admits she can be intense at times. “I’m very communicative, specific, and decisive,” she says. “I don’t drop balls. I remember every single detail. It’s almost impossible to keep up. I’m often like, ‘I think you should have a pen and pencil.” But one thing that does fall in line with her Real Housewives days is her taste for fabulous fashion, which plays an important role here. She may not be dressed like your typical boss—a pair of feathered Yves Saint Laurent boots make an appearance—but her choices command any room nonetheless.
In a mostly black and white color palette, her work wardrobe kicks classic New York 9-to-5 style up a notch, or five, thanks to pieces from Balmain, Tom Ford, and Alexander McQueen. “They’re all fashionable and tailored, and a little bit severe,” says Frankel. “I like well-made classics and structure; they’re a little masculine and feminine at the same time.”
What’s even more impressive is Frankel didn’t work with a stylist on these looks, rather pulled directly from her own wardrobe. “It feels inauthentic for someone else to go purchase something for me. I like things to have some connection to who I am and my tastes,” says Frankel. “I like to shop my own closet. I don’t care if it’s current or not current.” A floor-length black Balmain skirt she wears, for instance, is the same one she wore to an Oscars pre-party a few years back. She also remembers buying a leather Tom Ford dress in Beverly Hills five years ago.
While she leans into sharp, tailored silhouettes on the show, Frankel also emphasizes that—being a working mom—comfort and versatility is always key for her. “I am 100 percent about comfort,” she says. “I’ve gotten rid of anything that doesn’t feel really luxurious, cozy, and comfortable.” She also likes to venture outside of her signature style once in a while. For an episode centered around her birthday festivities, for instance, she wears a pink, feathered Pamella Roland dress. And in the very first episode, she also wears a sequined tracksuit on-set that she got on vacation in Italy. “Paris Hilton loves it,” says Frankel of the look. “She’s like, ‘where can I get that?’”
Below, a closer look at some of Frankel’s best outfits on the show.
Nothing competes with the Oscars. The 2021 awards season may have pivoted toward virtual ceremonies, prerecorded appearances, and at-home fashion moments, but the Academy Awards felt like a return to form. An entirely in-person event conducted at multiple venues to adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions, they brought out the stars in a way we haven’t seen in more than a year. Just as golden-age stars used their onscreen personas to bring fantasy to viewers during difficult times, tonight’s guests seemed intent on restoring the elegance once synonymous with the big screen.
The night’s nominees and presenters all went the extra mile. The looks glittered, thanks to the handcrafted details designer ateliers put into each piece and the trend toward high-gloss style. The drama of Pierpaolo Piccioli’s Valentino Haute Couture spring 2021 collection came to the carpet via Promising Young Woman star Carey Mulligan’s larger-than-life iridescent gown decked out in pearls and sequins. Director Regina King shone in a custom Louis Vuitton dress designed by Nicolas Ghesquière and covered with the most Swarovski crystals the brand has ever used within a single garment.
The fashions were united by the sense of grandeur that has defined the event for decades. Each star had their way of approaching the concept of Oscars dressing, but all honored the spirit of the ceremony. Already versed in golden-age fashion thanks to her plum part as O.G. It girl Marion Davies in Mank, Amanda Seyfried dazzled in crimson Armani Privé pleats that curved into the shape of a flower petal. Equally alluring was the disco glamour of Zendaya’s custom fluorescent yellow silk-chiffon Valentino look. Accessorized to the hilt with more than $6 million worth of Bulgari gems, it was an outré Oscar moment worthy of Cher.
The bar for menswear continues to be raised thanks to expressive stars like Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom star Colman Domingo, whose hot pink Atelier Versace look enlivened the carpet. Likewise, the unstoppable cuteness of Minari’s Alan Kim, whose Thom Browne tux was the most adorable look of the evening, was uplifting.
After a tumultuous year where even seeing a movie in a theater was nearly impossible, the spectacle of the Oscars took on a different meaning. Several months ago, the idea of celebrities parading around in expensive clothes would have been inappropriate. But as the world slowly reopens, a collective nostalgia has kicked in. It will be a long time before the nonstop schedule of step-and-repeats and fancy parties returns and the sight of a room filled with actors smiling in designer fashion is a regular occurrence. In the interim, there is beauty to be found in the new, adapted versions of perennial events. If 2021’s parade of smartly dressed Oscar attendees proves anything, it’s that glamour can still feel extraordinary and transportive.
When Monica Sallay of Indianapolis, Indiana, runs errands or commutes to work, she tends to get some stares. While Sallay, 29, loves vintage fashion—including the likes of Jean Paul Gaultier, Chanel, Issey Miyake, and Comme des Garçons—the pieces in her collection are not a standard mesh top or a classic bag, but often a little more extreme.
An associate partner marketing manager at a software company, Sallay regularly opts for the likes of an ultra-rare cyberdot Jean Paul Gaultier jumpsuit from fall 1995, or an Issey Miyake dress with a comic book graphic that stretches from head-to-toe. Sallay’s collection is vast, Instagram-worthy, and certainly turns heads. “The reactions from people are often comparisons,” she says. “When I was wearing a Jean Paul Gaultier pinstripe suit with broad shoulders, this guy on my team compared me to someone in an ’80s rock band. My fiancé calls one of my Miyake tops—it’s orange and has these giant, sculptural [elements]—Emperor Palpatine. But then I also get people who are honestly super-interested in
Sallay first fell in love with clothes as a young girl growing up in a suburb outside of Indianapolis. She describes her mother as planting the style seed, noting that “she had amazing style and still does till this day.” In high school, Sallay had switched from a uniform-wearing Catholic school to a public school where she had the opportunity to explore her look. At that time, in the mid-2000s, Sallay was watching Gossip Girl and identified with the style (“not attitude,” she adds) of Blair Waldorf’s prim, uptown aesthetic.
“I was finding my way into establishing myself with fashion and getting a deeper knowledge around the pieces as I got into high school,” she says. “I was completely obsessed when the show premiered.” Sallay would scour the internet—more specifically the website Seen on TV—to find what Waldorf’s character was wearing and then recreate the look. “What I would do was before the episode premiered, I would figure out the item, and then the day after, I would wear it to school,” she adds. “People loved it!”
Eventually, Sallay grew out of her Gossip Girl obsession, and by the end of her junior year, she began delving into the world of thrifting, regularly hitting up her local Salvation Army or scouring eBay. (She recalls her first big eBay purchase as a pair of orange Chanel flats.) With her eye on eventually getting a job in the industry, Sallay enrolled at the Parsons School of Design and moved to New York. There, Sallay explored her look further, frequenting Beacon’s Closet and a Salvation Army on the Upper East Side where she would attend the window sales.
“People would line up at 6 in the morning,” she remembers. One day, Sallay had walked by and had seen a white dress with “really elaborate embroidery.” With her day free, she decided to stand in line for the sale. “I was about fourth in line,” she says. “Everyone ahead of me was interested in the electronics.” She ended up snagging the dress for $100, and it was none other than a fall 2006 Balenciaga design by Nicolas Ghesquière; more specifically, Look 21. “It’s my baby,” she says. “I thought it was going to be my wedding dress.” It turns out this prediction wasn’t completely off: She plans on donning the piece for her courthouse wedding in May.
Despite picking up the bug for high fashion thrifting in New York, Sallay eventually decided to pursue a very different career, transferring to Purdue University back in Indianapolis where she received her bachelor’s in computer graphics technology. Regardless of location, however, Sallay is still very much entrenched in vintage collecting. While Sallay’s collection is ever-growing, she has a particular soft spot for Jean Paul Gaultier. Currently, she owns 25 pieces from the label, including five cyberdot items long before prices skyrocketed thanks to their popularity with celebrities such as Kim Kardashian and Cardi B. (A catsuit can fetch well over $15,000.) Sallay’s love for Gaultier’s designs goes far deeper than hype, too. “It’s beyond the vibrant colors, the bold cuts, and signature details,” she says. “For me, Gaultier represents the fantastical whimsy that fashion is meant to capture. Wearing it is a feeling in and of itself. It’s empowering, and in it, I feel unstoppable.”
Another benefit? Her clothes are an eternal conversation starter. “One of my favorite parts that I’ve always loved about clothes is that they are an icebreaker. People get to see what you are on the inside on the outside,” she says. “It really helps get down to a more personal level.”