February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
Howdy folks! Milan is progressing nicely, and before you know it we’ll be looking at the Paris shows. Until then, however, let’s see what Milan has to offer.
Starting with last season, Donatella Versace has been experimenting with reappropriating the heritage of her family’s brand. Last season she playfully spliced up the house’s logo, this season she worked with another traditional print. Her manipulation was much more straightforward this time around, however; she scaled the print so large that only the tiniest detail would cover an entire dress. Indeed, her delving in the archives has never exactly been direct. She seeks to modernize everything she reintroduces, and this collection was a prime example of that. A few looks were especially thrilling–a black and white coatdress comes to mind–but you get the impression Versace could have dug deeper. In spite of that, however, this was a pleasingly on-beat outing. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
The truth is, no matter how much we strive for equity, we all play favorites. And so today, I’m taking to opportunity to cash in my favorite card. Yes, Prada holds a special place in my heart. It’s the one show I always look forward to, the collection I think back on fondly more often than any other, and in many ways the impetus and constant reinforcement of my love of fashion. I think Miuccia is a living legend whose work will be looked back on for centuries to come. And now, on to her offering for this season.
Last season, the Prada show started with a bang: a flash of fluorescent light followed by an exhilarating, colorful collection. This season started much more gently, by contrast. In an all white room, Miuccia started the collection out with a few classics. From there, the collection could’ve gone anywhere. There were snakeskin boots, aviator-like oversized sunglasses and caps, and somewhat boxy proportions. Perhaps those were just distractors, however; because it was actually those seemingly generic black coats that became a jumping-off point of sorts. Evidently, Miuccia was thinking about purity and innocence, as well as her all time favorite muse: the schoolgirl. But in case your knowledge of schoolgirls is heavily reliant on fetish porn, this show should provide a reality check. In actuality, schoolgirl uniforms are all about unflattering pleats, awkward shapes, and outdated plaids. Miuccia goes against the grain whenever possible, refusing to sexualize her clothes, and often settling for what is widely considered ugly. It’s easy to produce beautiful, unimaginative fashion; but she unequivocally says that’s not enough. Her off-kilter clashing combination of blown-up plaid in bright colors and two-tone snakeskin boots is one that leave most questioning what they think is beautiful clothing. Those looks were the real meat of the collection, the takeaway of the theme, but perhaps my favorite looks were the fur-covered ones. Fur detailing has been all over the place this season, but it takes something really out-there to stand out from the pack. Miuccia’s take was to have nondescript, plain-jane coats and dresses and then make them appear to literally sprout fur like a Chia Pet. Those looks were wacky but fascinatingly beautiful. For the final looks, Miuccia layered dull sequins together to make matted, blurry dresses. The effect was abstract and interesting, though it didn’t add much to the theme. All in all, the collection left you a lot to think about. It was a real statement in the “what is ugly?” category, and it’s sure to inspire intense debates in the days to come. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
On to another city! We have only two shows to look at today, but think of it as a pallete cleanser. Tomorrow is a very special day. Yes, people, tomorrow is Prada. I know I’m fasting and praying to Miuccia like there’s no tomorrow. But hopefully there is a tomorrow, because that’s the day of the show. We are all not worthy. We are all not worthy. We are…
Frida Giannini has not been the most celebrated designer at Gucci in history, and that is not exactly unjust. Her work has never been very polarizing or idiosyncratic. She has never led a movement. She’s a perfectly capable designer, but she’s not inspiring revolutions. One thing to her credit, however, is that she’s the queen of the 70’s reference. Seriously, she’s been exploring the 70’s as a source of inspiration for years now. Now that they’ve finally come back into fashion, it seems she’s not squandering the opportunity to bask in her favorite decade. Her clothes had a lot of commonality with those of Marc Jacobs last season. It had the same dressy-casual feel to it, and the same loose but luxurious sentiment. Particularly beautiful were a couple of coats toward the middle. It was that point where you stop scrutinizing and start simply taking a show in. The pace got derailed a bit with some ill-advised largely sheer evening gowns, but those solid looks more than made up for it. All in all, it was Giannini’s best effort at the house in memory, and possibly one of the best of the season so far. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Hi there! Unfortunately, we’re going to have to make this short today, but there are only a few shows to get through to finish off the season in London.
Mary Katrantzou had a breakthrough last season with her architecture-inspired collection of wearable art, which won the adoration of critics across the world. Perhaps she didn’t see it as as much of a turning point as everyone else did, however, because she didn’t exactly proceed from there this season. Instead the collection began with some riffs on print explosion–geometric prints worn with busy floral tights, for instance. Gradually, she brought some of the prints from last season’s collection back, and that was by far the highlight of the lineup. That being said, however, this was far from a worthy follow-up to that last brilliant collection. Katrantzou had quickly gained fame the good old fashion way: with pure talent and ingenuity. But she didn’t make good on the promise of that collection this time around, and for that reason her showing was quite a disappointment. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
And we’re back! I’ve finally caught up with the shows and now I’m ready to see what London holds. Of course, London only gets a few measly days to show all they have to offer, so it can get a little packed, as it seems to be today. Oh well, I suppose, let’s get to it!
Christopher Bailey has been highly regarded for transforming Burberry into a modern brand, appealing to the young women of today with his own brand of essentials. Last season, however, he was heavily criticized for sticking to that aesthetic a little too hard. As his outlook became a bit outdated, he somewhat stubbornly stuck to motorcycle jackets and minidresses. Well, it was a lesson learned, it appears. He seems to have realized that perhaps the best way to move his Burberry into the future is to look to the past. This season had a very dressy, 60’s air about it, from the matchy-matchy accessories to the curvy, womanly shapes. Bailey was sly, however. He stuck to his signatures, like military jackets and trenches, making slight tweaks to fit the theme of the show. All in all, it was far more invigorated and exciting than last season’s limp effort, and it dealt with its perhaps cliched inspiration in a fresh and unique way. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
Well, everyone, we’re back, and the season has now taken us to London. London can often be a city that surprises us, where new designers are likely to make surprisingly accomplished efforts, and where we can always rely on a little bit of good old fashion wit and humor. Perhaps the best advice when looking through the London shows is to keep an open mind. British designers have a rare quality to them, and it may be just what you’re looking for.
Jonathan Saunders’ clothes have an almost doll-like playfulness to them. That’s not to say that they’re not practical; they’d have a place in many closets, but he simply doesn’t register as a “real women” commercial designer. He seems to have somewhat of an obsession with perfection when it comes to the fit and ideology behind his designs. It’s a no-hair-out-of-place philosophy, but it isn’t exactly intimidating, either. Perhaps Saunders finds looser, untamed silhouettes too messy; indeed, some of those indecisive hemlines and oversized cuts can often look like they need a designer’s attention, and not that they’ve had one’s. His aesthetic isn’t “short and tight,” necessarily, but it is body conscious, without being the sort of futuristic “bodycon” we’ve come to know in recent years. This season’s effort seemed like a natural progression from spring’s terrific collection, including some pieces that were lifted and shown in different colors and styled differently, including a belted blazer with sort of rounded, tapered sleeves. Jewel tones made an impression, especially pretty emerald greens. When he got past the basics, Saunders showed some colorful prints that seemed to have tropical underpinnings; perhaps the Prada effect is going to come more into play in the bolder European shows. All in all, it was a decisive, skilled lineup, which is somewhat refreshing after seeing a lot of nondescript, relatively bland collections in New York. Sure, we’re talking apples and oranges here, but London can always be counted on for a burst of vibrancy after a bleak New York season. « Read the rest of this entry »
February 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
Ok, I’ll admit it. I got a little burnt out on fashion towards the middle of this week. I have no idea how it happened. Maybe it was the stress of the other myriad responsibilities I face as an average, society-dwelling human, or maybe I just suddenly hate fashion. All I know is, confronted with the possibility of deferring my daily recap a day, I watched a live stream of Proenza Schouler and felt nothing. I genuinely considered whether or not I had somehow damaged my frontal lobe. But I’m back, ready to make use of the short gap between New York and London. This is going to be a less thorough recap than I’d probably do if I were going through each day individually, but I’ll try to give fair breakdowns of the essential shows before I move on to London.
If you were slightly confused by Proenza Schouler this season, you’re not alone. Those prints seemed to dominate the collection, but what were they? Were they tech-inspired pixels, or traditional “heritage” patterns? Well, it’s both, evidently. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez began their conceptualization for the collection with some Native American blankets they collected, but they didn’t stop there. Part of what makes them such interesting, modern designers is that they never take the obvious route. They manipulated those patterns digitally to the point that they became saturated, striking designs. And, with their re-envisioned take on classic silhouettes as a backdrop, it made for one of the most interesting, accomplished outings to come out of New York this season.