Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Timur Kim // Fall 2015 //

Timur Kim was born in Saint Petersburg, Russia. He is of Korean descent. In 2006 he moved to London to commence a BA, and later an MA, at the prestigious Central Saint Martins. He was taught by the late Louise Wilson, OBE, and is the youngest ever MA graduate of fashion at CSM. Establishing his own label in 2012 - after reaping experience from working alongside Alexander McQueen - Kim has gone on to present off-off-schedule during London Fashion Week at the London School of Economics. For Spring 2015 he presented a palette with a burst of colours in his signature clean cut lines style. For Fall 2015 he rebuked the bright and instead opted for sombre hues expressing the titular emotion of the collection, ‘Anger’.
Inspirations came from all different places. Yves Saint Laurent, 90’s magazines, Dolce & Gabbana, Donnie Darko, the Silent Hill video games. The horror element of the collection provided an interesting juxtaposition with the theme of anger. 
Another sojourn for Kim, he embarks this time “on a journey exploring sartorial embodiments of emotion”. Anger sprouted in Kim’s mind and “the struggle to control it” was also present. The performance art piece that was on display at the presentation perfectly conveyed the emotion at hand. Four models. Three circled one perched on a fold out chair. The one sitting was wearing a paper headpiece, the three models each tore some of it off - showing us their anger. The clothes also displayed the lack of control. A blip in the mood. A “disturbance” as the press release eloquently calls it. “Beginning calmly”, the denim looks were “tempered” with patches of delicate embroidery and leather. The textures in the looks were second to none. Milky leather, dainty embroidery and denim, unsurprisingly, make a hell of a combination and Kim employed that here - using it to his advantage. 
All of the outfits were cut and sewn by Kim. This artistic method is few and far between in the current fashion and economic climate. It is to be commended here as there were seventeen different looks, all hand-crafted in-house. Hand-painting was another element of the collection. The shoes were also done by the in-house team. The heels were two bowling balls stacked on top of each other. This continues Kim’s fascination with bowling balls, and they are a recurring motif in his collections. 
I am usually not a fan of performance art. I think it’s highly pretentious. But so am I and so is the fashion industry. There’s no avoiding it. This presentation executed the arts perfectly. Despite a glum mood this season, bright things are ahead for Timur Kim.

Photos are my own

Monday, June 29, 2015

Anne Sofie Madsen // Resort 2016 //

Anne Sofie Madsen started her eponymous label in 2011. The Danish-designer previously garnered experience working under John Galliano after graduating. Following her stint under the infamous designer, she was a junior designer at Alexander McQueen. With a heap of experience under her immaculate belt, Madsen presented her first Resort collection for 2016 - her unique aesthetic shining through.

Fastening your seat-belts and having a plunging neckline is an idea that Madsen tested out in this gothic-inspired collection. A midi-length dress equipped with both of those things was smooth and a soft-goth look. A “falling jacket” had a tied belt around the wrists and was over a “falling skirt of a similar style. A top emblazoned with an opium flower - visible throughout the collection - was worn under the nouveau-macintosh. My personal favourite was the "tubeville dress”. A high-neck with an asymmetrical hemline and other idiosyncrasies was simply hued and was simple beautiful.

The opium print from earlier in the presentation appeared again on a leather dress compartmentalised by different colours - brown, rust, black, white, pale yellow and teal, respectively. Reflective squares, laser cut opiums and another asymmetric hemline completed the look. A concoction of materials came in the form of an “opium blouse. Leather and suede matched perfectly - especially when paired with the softer white colour - and the flaring sleeves were an added touch of perfection. The precision tailoring obviously won me over too. 

Inspiration is clearly something that Madsen has sought from her mentors of past. However, I appreciated how she deviated from becoming a copycat of the two great designers she worked under. She isn’t working under anyone now and she is playing by her own rules and marching to the beat of her own drum. It is a tune that I hope will be fine-tuned throughout the next couple of seasons. 

Friday, June 26, 2015

H by Hakaan Yildirim // Fall 2015 //

H by Hakaan Yildirim was the show that closed out the momentous week that was London Fashion Week. Sending editors and fashion folk alike to Milan (or those that weren’t there already) with a positive mindset and ending the week on a high, strong, and sexy note. This stylishly sexy outing for Hakaan was something not to be missed, something I fear sadly was by most editors who are already in Milan. I however was extremely excited to see this.
Appendages neatly laced up fractures in Look 14. The bodice exposed an ample amount of skin and was stylishly paired with a ruched skirt. Also Look 24 featured the lace-up look - this time on a shearling bodice over a leather top and Capri trouser (New York’s trend of Fall 2015) pairing. Buttery leather outfits continued the extremely sexy lineup of outfits presented on the Tuesday. The print from the invitation was featured on off the shoulder dresses and bomber jackets with cinched waists. The huge fur coats that probably had nothing underneath them (like at the Jason Wu show) were extravagant and gorgeous. Stalwart H by Hakaan customers will lap up the scarlet manteau. At the end of the show, an emerald green coat with black criss-crosses and dark green lapels was another sexy, fall-appropriate look - completed with a black neckerchief. 

There was a spellbinding enchantment that London has cast on me this Fall 2015 season. This collection was a gleaming finish to a stellar week. London designers are a force to be reckoned with and this season, visibly their strongest both on the business and creative sides of the spectrum, was no different. Hakaan Yildirim obviously is refusing to let me leave this state of content. I can’t say I ever wanted to leave it in the first place.

Photo Credit: vogue.co.uk
Collage: picmonkey.com

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Louis Vuitton // Fall 2015 & Resort 2016 //

March marked the one year anniversary of Nicolas Ghesquière at the helm of Louis Vuitton. In that space he presented six collections; four womenswear and two menswear. Fall 2014 (womenswear) was a revolutionary statement that brought us back to the 1970’s. As four collections passed, the idea grew tiresome. It lingered and it was time for a change. Much to my delight, Nicolas must’ve heard my prayers and presented us with the most directional offering yet. The runway was inside a slew of globular domes erected on the grounds of the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris’ 16th arrondissement. 
Freja Beha opened the show - carrying a treasure box - wearing an encasing white fur coat. The candy-floss-haired Fernanda Hin Lin Ly wore a similar, more refined coat, with a futuristic dress underneath - barely visible. Lineisy Montero also donned a striped, futuristic-inspired ensemble consisting of a top with a flared hem and sleeves and a delicate slash on the bodice. A matching skirt and stylish cowboy boots enhanced the look. More looks followed that represented the past, present and future - an exploration through the ages. However, the clothing was ageless. Playing commercialism to his advantage, a consumer of any age will be pleased by this collection and its modesty. Sex does sell. But fashionable clothing will always triumph.

According to the press release a fashion collection is a multi-dimensional journey, facetted by experiences both immediate and distant. Shreds of discoveries, recollections transformed by memory, imaginative anticipation. As pretentiously poetic as that sounds the collection - also a travel diary (an exploration through the intimacies of a wardrobe) - was all of the above. The collection conveyed a glimpse into the solemn past, fertile present and the inevitably dreamlike future. This collections was certainly solemn, fertile and dreamlike. I can attest to that. 

Resort 2016 brought the brand to Palm Springs, California. Specifically, the futuristic estate - designed by architect John Lautner in 1973 - of Bob and Dolores Hope. The house (which can be purchased for $24,999,000) is “a symphony blending concrete, steel and glass, crowned by a curving copper roof”. Did I mention the indoor pool, the outdoor pool, the putting green, tennis court or large pond with a waterfall? With such an extravagant location, one could only imagine what Nicolas would conjure up. The product of the collection was his most exploratory and experimental to date. The Balenciaga-intuition had me mesmerised. 
“The essence of glamour blends with an obscure desire for the gothic,” the press release read. The usual suspects - Mica Arganaraz, Natalie Westling, Fernanda Ly and Maartje Verhoef - donned the clothing which did blend an alluring soul with a mysterious, goth-searching fascination.  From the moment when Rianne van Rompaey marched around the mansion with headphones on before turning up the music and pounding the catwalk. Her top featured an orange grommeted criss-cross belt and a black panel. The flowing maxi-skirt was oddly styled with sneakers - appropriate footwear perhaps? As Nicole Phelps of Style.com noted, there was “a touch of the 1930’s Hollywood starlet to it”. A certain blue bomber jackets, fashioned with slits gave the funky and fashion-forward wearability necessary for the season. Look 22 was a bottle green long sleeve top with a ruffled neckline. A diagonal flesh coloured panel spiced up the look. A skirt, equipped with a thigh high split and a clunky boots, was styled with a bestselling bag. Suedes and fringe gave the bohemian-desert vibe. The colour palette consisted of pale and dark colours, and also rich, burnt hues. All of this added to the boho-luxe theme. 

Resort was another successful season for Nicolas Ghesquière. It was directional, yet again, and had that personal touch that I missed in his first few collections. He infused something from his days at Balenciaga with him for Fall and Resort. Resort was futuristic take on bohemia and the result was enamouring. More collections like this will enrich Nicolas’  gleaming reign of LV.

Photo Credit: style.com
Collage: picmonkey.com

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Pucci // Resort 2016 //

Allegoric presentations, strong ideas, very intriguing collections. These are the things that us fashion folk love. We do. Games however aren’t really our forte. Karl Lagerfeld can have a Chanel ‘Chance’ advert be in a glamourous bowling alley, Tommy Hilfiger can transform the catwalk into an American football field and Sandra Choi can host Jimmy Choo’s menswear collection at an indoor skate park. There is a much simpler game which the industry does play; musical chairs. Musical chairs in the fashion industry is commonplace. For Fall 2015 Alessandro Michele debuted his first Gucci collection, Guillaume Henry delivered his first collection at Nina Ricci - replacing Peter Copping who christened the rebirth of the Oscar de la Renta label with his Parisian flair. Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud replaced Guillaume Henry at Carven. Elsewhere, in Milan, Peter Dundas switched from one storied house: Pucci - to another: Roberto Cavalli. Taking his place; Massimo Giorgetti.
Massimo Giorgetti started his own brand, MSGM, in 2008 to critical acclaim. Now, 7 years later the brand is worth $40 million and has the collections are distributed in over 280 stores worldwide. In March 2015 he was appointed by LVMH as creative director of the celebrated Italian brand. MSGM is a brand which I consider quirky, giving us a granny-chic revamp for Fall 2015. The brand is renowned for its easy, breezy and cool designs. Pucci, under Dundas, was synonymous with sex. There was an abundance of skin and sultry was a word that pretty much summed up the collections. My interest was piqued when Giorgetti selected as creative director. How would he put his stamp on the label and how would it differ from Dundas’ unique reign. Those questions were answered last week when Giorgetti presented the Pucci Resort 2016 collection during Pitti Uomo in Florence. 

“The Pilot Episode” he dubbed it. A pilot episode gives us a taste of whats to come. Giorgetti spoke to some journalists, comparing his “pilot episode” to Game of Thrones and how we see the world, we see the characters but ideas are to be fleshed out. That was what happened at the presentation. Nineteen looks were presented, all of which were easy on the eye. 
Giorgetti didn’t entirely eschew from using the optical prints that are usually shown. Primarily, he opted to etch illustrations. Paintbrushes about to dip into some paint. Realistic graphics of tourists wielding selfie-sticks, equipped with cameras and a thirsty eye - taking in sights. Where optical prints were used they were revitalised. Painterly strokes ensured that the clothes had an unfinished, artsy look about them. Some strokes were finer. To enhance those, a simple black-white-orange-fuchsia combination was transformed by the usage of different materials. This helped give the collection a textual joie de vivre. There was printed fringe and confetti-esqe bedazzlements. Laser cut materials - and printed tops that were similar - all gave the needed Giorgetti sensibility that will make the label his own. 
Accessories, potentially a bestseller that will arise from this collection in November, came in droves. Leather belts, fringed handbags, fur-ridden short heels. Bucket bags were scrunched up, appearing like an artists pack. The label’s logo was placed on a bottle-green and pearly-white handbag. That, I’m sure will be the best selling look. 
Pilot episodes aren’t always screened publicly. If they fail, no one will hear of them and the only harm done is to the creative team. In this case, the pilot episode was highly successful. Giorgetti has branded Pucci with a unique, realistic and modern outlook. I look forward to seeing this broadcast continue in September.  

Credit: style.com

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Rahul Mishra // Fall 2015 //

Rahul Mishra, an Indian designer based in Mumbai and Delhi and shows in Paris. In 2014, he was the recipient of the International Woolmark Prize - beating out wunderkind Joseph Altuzarra. I was quite excited to see what he had to offer for Fall 2015. The Palais de Tokyo was to host the presentation. The collection was titled ‘The Village’, and the invite came equipped with a Gandhian Philosophy quote “the soul of humanity lies in its villages’. A quick Google search presents me with many pages of information on Indian villages. They have their weaknesses, but have undoubted strengths. The people work hard and use limited natural resources - food, shelter and clothes. The collection both connoted and denoted to villages.

The clothes were simple but evocative. Sharply tailored hemlines were combated with a dash of sexiness. The sensual collection saw thigh high splits, sheer details and power dressing. The looks were provocative but not overtly sexy. Employing the poetic technique of imagery, Mishra’s colour palette (consisting of electric blue, black, taupe, pink and white) was enriched with intricate etchings. Many were emblazoned with the bird from the invitation and some, upon closer inspection, featured a slew of houses - a literal interpretation of the title of the show.
Sensual splits were layered with eyelet sheer fabrics. For Spring the looks were decidedly heavier rather than airy. The course wool which was used by the Indian designer instigated this. I believe that this created an interesting, yet odd balance. The sheer fabrics (and in some cases the colour white) were frothy but the thicker material blended soft and hard components which was quite interesting to see. 

Villages in India, equipped with their strengths and weaknesses resonated with this collection. Sometimes, unfortunately, I grew tired of repetitive shapes. There were aspects of the collection, such as its sensuality, that visually satiated my hunger for well designed wares. 

Photo Credit: wwd.com
Collage: picmonkey.com

Monday, June 22, 2015

Whistles // Resort 2016 //

Resort 2016 is running concurrent to men’s fashion week. It is an excuse for designers to nab the attention of those attending the men’s shows to see their collections and also to have commercial items purchased for sale in January. Fall 2015 was one of the best seasons to date for almost all designers. Resort 2016 echoes that statement, with its consistently attention-grabbing and beautiful clothing. One label in particular which caught my eye - Whistles. 
Whistles has 40 stores across Great Britain. It is the best high-end high-street, designer blend on the market. Its clothes are undeniably fabulous and wearable. For Resort, Jane Sheperdson decided to put her spin on the modern-day '70’s trend which has been present for the past few years. I like Whistles' clothing, for both men and women. This season however, I have to say, I was enamoured by the offering - more so than in the past. Honouring the inspiration; charming modern-day 70’s garb was shown in the lookbook. Flowy dresses, faux-fur coats, denim dungarees, and lots of suede. 

Certain looks and items were outstanding. Look 6 would require some bravery but someone with sartorial genius could rock it no doubt. The green and black Scottish tartan high neck sweater with a midi-length skirt is a stunning number, but wouldn’t be considered the most wearable. The flared navy trousers and army-green suede low-lying neckline shirt combo was gorgeous. Look 19 was a navy jumpsuit with culotte trouser, paired with a white cap sleeved top.

The collection comprised of separates and dresses - when they hit stores next year they will go down a treat with the consumer. Their strongest collection yet, Whistles will most probably be showing their Spring 2016 collection during London Fashion Week or once again in lookbook form. Either which way, I am excited to see what they’ll have to offer.

Photo Credit: style.com
Collage: picmonkey.com