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Three Fashion Designers On The New Rules Of Fashion

What we know of fashion just seems to keep on changing. Who are the new influencers? What are the new staples? Do seasons and gender matter? The designers behind three labels to watch now give their take.

Halpern’s F/W ’18 collection is inspired by the insatiable style of the late New York City socialite Nan Kempner.

Michael Halpern, designer of Halpern

Michael Halpern

Meet fashion’s reigning prince of disco-glamour. With just three full-fledged collections under his belt since he graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2016, the American-born, London-based designer has already sealed his spot as the name to don for maximalist and Studio 54 chic: pieces festooned with glitter, sequins and demi-couture finishes (he consulted for Atelier Versace). Halpern will be stocked exclusively at Club 21 Four Seasons from August.

Dress codes no longer exist

There’s irreverence in Halpern’s pieces, such as a gigot sleeve that morphs into ruffles, or the hacked-up shoulder of a dress that cascades into a minidress.

“The word ‘escapism’ is an important one for me, and in the current state of affairs, I think it is what a lot of people turn to fashion for. Women don’t want to conform to what is, or is not, appropriate anymore. There shouldn’t be any rules when it comes to fashion, and that’s the way my team and I work. You shouldn’t be confined to only being dressed up once a year, where’s the fun in that?”

Full-on glam is dated

“I think women want to feel glamorous at times, and I think there is a way to dress in a spectacular way that doesn’t feel dated. Modernity is one of the most important things when it comes to being glamorous. When you wear a sequined dress or a bustier, pairing it with something more casual is a great way to balance things out – it feels quite modern. A bit of high and low always looks great.”

Staples don’t have to be basic

“Staples for a maximalist wardrobe is anything that stretches you outside your comfort zone a little bit. Pushing yourself a little, and taking a risk is what I think maximalism really comes down to. Our two-tone zebra print embroidery from F/W ’18 is a great way to do that.”

Personal connection matters more than the price

“I think, more than ever, people want quality in a product and want it to have made some kind of personal connection to them. There are so many luxury products in the world – so if a dress or a pair of trousers can trigger something emotional for them, that’s when I think this business works the best for everyone.”

Real women are the true style influencers

“I think the real influencers in fashion are not people who you see everywhere in the magazines or online. They’re people who you can tell really love clothing and what that represents. When someone looks so confident and satisfied wearing a piece of clothing they’ve purchased, I think that is the most influential thing you can witness. I don’t really look at street style that much, it’s not a focus for me, but someone who I love to watch is (Singapore-born and New York-based jewellery designer) Lynn Ban. She’s someone I admire so much for her love of fashion, and how she really goes for it. But again it goes back to women who aren’t always in the spotlight who are the most inspirational.”

Halpern revels in the idea of “inappropriate glamour” – donning an evening look at noon, breaking dress codes, and enjoying the thrill of being out of place.