Monday, August 31, 2015

Balenciaga // Fall 2015 //

In the past two weeks I may or may not have purchased an obnoxious amount of magazines. Some people have chocolate; others cigarettes, my addiction: magazines. I find myself constantly inspired by them and thus feel the need to have more. In the magazines I’ve acquired recently—showcasing what the fall season has to offer—some looks from a certain collection keep catching my eye. Alexander Wang’s third to last offering for Balenciaga. The collection photographs like a dream and that isn’t the most surprising thing considering how beautiful the clothes are. 
Photo Credit: style.com

In two years, Alexander Wang has done a lot. He assumed position of creative director at the Parisian brand whilst still maintaining his post at his eponymous label. He has doubled the sales figures for Balenciaga. Despite all of this there was speculation this summer that Wang would be parting ways with the house. At first I didn’t buy into the rumours, but sure enough; they became reality. Reportedly, the decision was amicable. The media had their field-day. Why? Who would be the successor? Will it be a famous designer or somebody unknown [like Gucci did]? My thoughts are still brewing. That isn’t the topic of discussion today, the clothes will be. 

Many claim Wang’s aesthetic didn’t fit in with the Balenciaga brand. Under Nicolas Ghesquière it was experimental and unpredictable. Founder Cristobal Balenciaga designed regal wares for his posh clientele. Wang’s tango with the brand has brought it to the street, naturally. His tenure opened with a fall collection fit for a queen. Then there was some street dreaminess. For Fall 2015, that poshness returned. The woman was “regal” and an “aristocrat”. Scouring the archives for inspiration, this collection one again shone the light on “society women”, that the brand’s founder would’ve dresses. 

The honour of opening the show was bestowed upon model of the moment Aamito, who wore a cocoon coat. Side splits and plunging necklines followed, pinned with brooches of sunburst encrusting, or the brand’s logo ‘CB’. Slightly off-the-shoulder shapes and form-fitting skirts accentuated models' frames. Issa Lish wore a sublime strapless dress. With a clashing graphic print top and skirt, black bands separated the two, adding definition. 

The ‘ladies who lunch’ (in the ’50’s) look has been done, but impressively so of late. Leave it to Wang to spice things up. Adding spikes to cocoon jackets. Daubs of orange and blue on black, and grey, pieces. Lining fur on point-toe kitten heels. Why not even deck the models in Dr. Martens-esqe boots? The reinvigoration of typical design tropes is what makes Alexander Wang to be such a talented designer. 

This Balenciaga woman is different. She’s representative of the merge between the women who spend time in the decadent enclaves of private members’ clubs and the foul-mouthed, street-walking cool girl. It’s precisely what makes her so interesting, and Wang is to thank for that. He tweaked the brand that Ghesquière worked his magic on, bringing it back to its roots. He had big shoes to fill and a lot of expectations on his shoulders. I think he handled them very nicely.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Orla Kiely // Resort 2016 //

The work of French model turned photographer Sarah Moon, London retailer Biba, actress and sister to Mia, Stephanie Farrow. Those are the three things that inspired Orla Kiely for her Resort 2016 presentation. Collaborating with stylist Leith Clark, the duo have brought us L’Orla. It is a throwback to the early 70’s. The uploading of this post is fitting considering today is #FlashbackFriday.

The resort collections will be hitting shop floors in November, when the possibility of wearing a whimsical, summery dress is off the cards. Luckily, Orla Kiely has you covered. A grey trapeze coat with black sleeves and lapels is on offer. A similar midi-length flared coat, with a single button and two black pockets also featured. 

When the spring season approaches, it could be possible to wear the grey cashmere dress with a pleated skirt and a silk band cinching the waist. Maintaining the early 70’s vibe, the dress is equipped with a pussy bow. An eyeleted chiffon dress was the penultimate look and would be suitable for a London morning in March, or a hot evening in Antibes in June. 

Leith Clark was named by The Hollywood Reporter as one of the most powerful stylists in Hollywood in 2015. She is the founder of Lula (which she left in 2013), and Violet magazine. She is the style director-at-large at UK Harper’s Bazaar. Alexa Chung and Keira Knightley also happen to be her clients. For me (and her legion of fans) this collection is resonant with the style we have grown accustomed to expecting from her. It is playful and zesty but not too twee. Look 8 was a daisy print shirt underneath an empire waist dress with more daisies. Daisies on daisies: the new denim on denim? Only at Orla Kiely. 

An Orla Kiely presentation is unforgettable. I still remember, vividly, the show she put on for Fall 2014. The Vinyl Factory. Cupcakes and prosecco. Models ambled around the flower pots, as artists led by Alia Penner painted flowers on the glass behind them. The images of this presentation were set to the backdrop of signature florals. A lookbook shoot so not as exciting (compared to the Manhattan rooftop party which occurred the day previous), but that didn’t stop the collection from being exciting.

Photo Credit: style.com

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Alexander Wang // Resort 2016 //

Alexander Wang has opened his first London flagship store. A former post office, the 7,000 square-foot store is situated on Albermarle Street in Mayfair. It is home to the menswear and womenswear collections, the diffusion line T by Alexander Wang, and accessories. Designed by Vincent van Duysen, the store is exactly what you’d expect from Wang; luxurious with a rough edge, an Instagrammic dreamland. Later this year, hitting the floors will be the Resort 2016 collection. Presented in a presentation format in New York City, the collection exuded the utilitarianism we’ve come to expect from Wang. 

There was an idea of wearable tech within the collection. We’ve seen Apple’s iWatch and Samsung’s Gear watches. Google released their Google Glass in 2014. Alexander Wang was inspired by QR codes, a type of two-dimensional bar code. These were emblazoned on different looks. One in particular—a long sleeve cotton top—had a few technological references including a QR-code. Paired with it was a calf-skin leather bustier mini-dress. Lisbeth Salander, anyone? These outfits had The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo written all over them. Perhaps, a subtler version.
'Jackets galore' would be an apt description of this collection. There was an oversized, wool, houndstooth windbreaker. If that didn’t take your fancy, you had the option of a sulphur-coloured, military-inspired parka. The sulphur colour recurred, appearing in an oversized trench coat (which certainly surprised me). A calf-skin cropped motorcycle jacket is another Lisbeth Salander-esqe look. 

The accessories in the collection stood out. The lambskin ‘Rockie’ mini shoulder-bag will be toted Wang fanatics during the Spring season. His show (September 12) will no doubt see the runway lined with guests wearing it. I’m also expecting to see the bovine leather ‘Mason’ duffle bag. The shoes were buckle fastened flatforms. They were a toned down and summery version of the pinkish stompers at the Fall 2015 show (which I disliked). 

Something that may have slipped to the wayside is the blush-coloured scalloped slip dress with lace details and metal embellishments. Simple yet stunning. Delicate with a signature Alexander Wang edge. 

Resort, like pre-fall, is considered to be the taster to the season ahead, or a reflection on the season past. Pre-collections can be the breadwinners, making up for a large chunk of sales. Alexander Wang spoke to Dazed magazine and said “I would love not having to do pre-collections. If we could do pre-collections that were just for the stores and the clientele I would be happy with that”. Most designers, especially ones growing their business would agree with this. On top of that people make the resort collection a spectacle: "it’s like everyone has to make it into something”. The larger houses certainly do this. “After each collection, we’ve got to get better”. Alexander Wang and his team seemed to have nailed this. 

Photo Credit: style.com

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

OSMAN // Resort 2016 //

I’ve been patiently impatiently waiting for an OSMAN collection between February and June. Unquestionably, one of my favourite designers, Osman Yousefzada keeps creating and I keep lapping it up. Fall 2015 was a glamourous array of fabulous evening wear. More commercially driven, his resort collection presented mostly daywear. Come November, women will have their wardrobe needs satisfied by this talented man. 

A distinct Eastern feel is what other editors have been referencing when reviewing this collection. Striped silk pyjamas in rust, burgundy, blue and silver were a reflection of the theme. 
The Turkish sheepskin-hide cocoon coat is more of a wintry offering (the collection will hit floors in November, so commercial season appropriate rather than the resort). It is perfect for a sojourn in the verdant hillsides of Bhutan. The sheepskin was seen in another wrap jacket with flared sleeves. Styled with a navy flared skirt, the look was stylish and perfect for the jet-set woman. 

The navy blue leather that is scattered throughout the 36-piece collection is quite airy considering the fabric type. One skirt with different slashes exposed some skin. A spaghetti strap leather top wasn’t the most flattering once paired with black palazzo pants which weren’t to my liking. A leather cape with a tie at the neck was Yousefzada’s take on a caped vigilante. She’s certainly the most sensibly dressed and stylish one. 

When the bright orange floor sweeping skirt, with white squares and diamond shapes, took the floor I was in love. Leave it to Yousefzada to create a desirable red carpet moment waiting to happen. Taylor Swift, Rose Byrne, Elizabeth Banks: take note. The Emmy Awards are coming up soon (September 20th) and the finale gown would be perfect for the red carpet. A burgundy and orange brocade strapless gown. Stylists of Hollywood; answer our prayers. 

Topping the collection off was milliner, Stephen Jones’ headpieces, and metallic square-toe boots. Osman’s collections have me running out of superlatives. He is immensely talented and one of London’s best. 

Photo Credit: style.com

Monday, August 24, 2015

Roksanda // Resort 2016 //

Despite being a fan of Roksanda Illincic, I wasn’t aware that she began showing her collections on the official London Fashion Week schedule in 2005. Style.com started featuring her in their fashion week coverage then. Vogue.co.uk, however, had featured her from the year previous. Looking back on her old collections you can see how Roksanda has refined what she knows best. She went from an eccentric to sensual to the Colour-Blocking Queen of London. Certainly not tied down by that label, she keeps things interesting season after season—she has to. Experimenting with texture, shape and colour all at once, her collections are improving season after season. Her Fall 2015 started out with brilliant looks but was let down with bemusing finale looks. Resort 2016, perhaps a teaser—albeit a more commercial one—to her next collection in September, exhibited the spellbinding effect that Roksanda possesses. 
A frayed edge skirt that caught my eye was bursting with colour. Peach. Turquoise. Pink. Red. Sand. A brushstroke black and white. The modern architectural sculpt looked beautiful. A turquoise tweed coat, the ‘Hindon’ coat, was another stunner within the collection. Featuring subtle lantern sleeves that would remind you of the Spring 2012, the coat will surely sell out. The viscose and wool dark rose suit in in the collection captivated me, especially against the electric blue fixture in the background of the image. The look references the cubist collages of Picasso. 

When I think of the colour-block looks Roksanda has done in the past I envision the sharply lined compartments of colour. This collection put a spin on that. Inspired by curves of instruments, signature pleats and folds and shapes were misshapen. The black, white and sand coloured ‘Tivoli’ dress featured curved lines (that had pink piping). Another dress had a turquoise and black circular on the breast. It brought the cover of Haruki Murakami’s novel Colourless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimageto mind.

Certainly one of the best Resort collections that I’ve seen, the more you look at this collection the further you'll slip into a trance. Roksanda is a wizard. She can cast her spell on me any day. 

Photo Credit: style.com

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rochas // Fall 2015 //

The fashion world is celebrating many anniversaries this year. Elle have their 70th (in France) and 30th (in the US & UK) anniversaries this year. Karl Lagerfeld has been designing at Italian label Fendi for half a centenary. A French brand, Rochas was founded in 1925 by Marcel Rochas. 2015 marks the 90th anniversary of the historic house. Purveying in fashion and perfume, the house was given the joie de vivre in 2002 that would propel it to be the revered house it was under the founder. Olivier Theyskens took the reins and reinvented the brand for 4 years. The fashion division was shelved in 2006. Two years later in 2008, Marco Zanini was appointed as artistic director of the brand. For five years he steered the brand in the a good direction. The product of this journey was fabulously designed clothes to please the masses. In 2014, Alessandro Dell’Acqua replaced Zanini who departed the house. He had the honours of designing the 90th anniversary collection and opted to reflect on the past in a modern way.
Guests were presented with a photograph from the 30’s, depicting a young woman wearing Rochas. The collection in 1934 was dedicated to the passerine birds. The neckline to the hemline was fashioned with a swallow motif. Look 15 was a mocha coloured satin dress. The top featured migrating black swallows, contrasting nicely against the mocha. Plumage can be seen throughout the collection also. Look 29 was festooned with bird feathers. The mixture of different textures such as the ones in this look became a recurring motif. A pleated skirt and bustier combo contained silk and rayon with shimmering chrysanthemums, and swallow embellishments. Wool and silk also juxtaposed nicely. The sheeny silk against the soft wool was interesting combination, especially when you take into account the swallow printing and the jewelled chrysanthemums. 

A burgundy wool dress was styled with a yellow mohair, four-pocket coat. The two rich colours were stunning. The use of army green without it appearing as militaristic further displayed Dell’Acqua’s skill. The only army these clothes would be seen in is an legion of well-dressed posh women. 

Some people were instantly reminded of Miu Miu’s Spring 2010 collection in which swallows decorated the navy, red, and black looks. The two collections are completely different other than that motif. Dell’Acqua’s Rochas didn’t have the lighthearted vibe as the Miu Miu collection did. This offering wasn’t as playful. Playful or not it was a damn good collection. He honoured the past, stayed true to the present and set out what the women of the future would wear. That’s a feat, and it was achieved with finesse. 

Photo Credit: style.com

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Gosia Baczynska // Fall 2015 //

There have been many adaptations of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. To name a few, the 1939 version Son of Frankenstein. In 1942 there wasThe Ghost of Frankenstein. 2014’s I, Frankenstein was a failure that everybody saw coming. Good cast, atrocious film. It practically cursed any future adaptation. I’m not even remotely optimistic about James McAvoy’s take on the scientist. At the Hôtel de Monaco in Paris in March, Frankenstein’s monster was reborn. Designer Gosia Baczyñska reworked imagery from the James Whale-directed 1931 adaptationFrankenstein. Her Paris Fashion Week display was memorable, if not one of the best adaption of a theme. We’ve seen films, plays and television series with the character. A few years ago Christopher Kane was inspired by the prominent literary figure in his gorgeous Spring 2013 collection. It is much more refreshing to see him adapted into a different medium.

The 1931 film “combines tragic romanticism and progressive offbeat vision”. Is that not most designer’s relationship with fashion? Doesn’t it also account for everyone in the industry, and their relationship with fashion? We can fall in love with fashion, though for some it can be a means to an end or a burden. "A progressive offbeat vision”. Fashion folk can see things differently to the general public—dissecting trends and interpreting collections. 

There are dresses in this collection which have been constructed from geometric metallic organza shapes. They have been hand-sewn together. This conjures “unusual, avant-garde forms”. Laser cut pieces and soft, hairy crochets allude to the monster that Victor Frankenstein created. 3-D jacquards with convex diamond shaped forms can be seen on custom made knits. If you are to look closely at the jacquards you’ll see imagery of Frankenstein. 

The accessories in the collection “[enhanced] the cine/photographic inspiration and the vibe of endurance and reappearance”. Handbags resembled the shape of old cameras. Specially designed images appeared on the tights. 

“Eternity, endurance, continuation”. Those are the three keywords Baczyñska had in mind during the design process. These clothes are timeless and fit for any situation. What she created wasn’t a monster. It was thought out, with a few rough edges. But they were something that could be worked on. I think she did a good job.
Images courtesy of Totem PR

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Nina Ricci // Fall 2015 //

In yesterday’s post I discussed the christening of a new era at Carven, in the hands of two ingenues: Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud. Elsewhere at Nina Ricci, former artistic director of Carven, Guillaume Henry commenced his reign. Filling the big shoes of Peter Copping, Henry had something interesting to say at Nina Ricci but it did feel distinctly different to last season. Consistency thrown out the window, Henry lent his virtuosic ways to the brand. 
There were no floaty shapes to be seen. Everything was cut cleanly precisely. Top model Julia Nobis opened the show in a black coat with a white top underneath. Her lace skirt was an indication that there would be a sensuality to the collection. Julia Bergshoeff’s navy lace dress was ruched, and sheer. Slinky silk numbers, present in this collection, are perfect for a winter’s eve. 

Henry’s interesting spin on classic garments were intriguing to say the least. There was matted goat furs. Classic coats with copious amounts of fringing. Fringing erupting from the sleeve of a coat. Tweed with rough edges. Varnished double-breasted jacquard coats. Delicate lace looked like it had been reduced to a shadow of itself at the sands of sandpaper, creating a rough effect. I liked that. Coats were compartmentalised, as were dresses, in what looked like patchwork techniques. Surface decoration was key in creating this look. 

A cropped camel jacket paired with matching wide-leg trousers. Camel was one of the few colours in Henry’s palette. Navy, cream, white and black were about as far as the collection reached, with the exception of a red sequinned dress. A sharply tailored, olive overcoat was styled with a blush-coloured lace t-shirt and skirt combo. 

Though some have been quick to call it beige, I liked this collection. I wasn’t exactly smitten. It wasn’t the most exciting collection bar Waleska Gorczevski’s shimmering silver dress, Mica Arganaraz’s sparkling ruby red dress and Hollie-May Saker’s patchwork number. It is a collection that will provide many winter staples in a woman’s wardrobe and I have to admire that. There were some covetable pieces. However, it was a little too bland.

 Photo Credit: style.com

Monday, August 17, 2015

Carven // Fall 2015 //

Marie-Louise Carven died aged 105 earlier in the summer. She founded the Parisian brand Carven in 1945. At age 84, Ms. Carven retired. She was one of the first couturiers to branch into ready-to-wear. She produced cinematic collections, held in theatres and inspired by films. She is a woman who designed for herself; an admirable thing to do. In 2015, her namesake brand lives on. Until October of last year it was under the helm of Guillaume Henry. The designer resuscitated the brand and it grew rapidly. Sales did increasingly well. The brand was noticed more and more. Then in 2014, Henry left the brand for Nina Ricci. His replacements: Alexis Martial and Adrien Caillaudaud. The duo were named artistic directors in March, a few days before their Paris Fashion Week display. Their mission: to maintain the cool girl aesthetic that Henry created and perfected oh so well. 

Alexis Martial began working on knitwear at Givenchy, under Riccardo Tisci. He worked on both ready-to-wear and haute couture collections. In 2012, he joined Paco Rabanne. He left a year later to join Milanese brand Iceberg. In 2014 he was poached by the powers that be at Carven. Due to lack of exposure, there is a lot less known about Adrien Caillaudaud. We know he went to the same university as Martial. He worked at Marc Jacobs before counting onto Givenchy like his companion. There he worked on shoes and accessories. 

The collection opened with a lilac double-crepe A-line mini skirt and a velvet flocked organza shirt. A gold-plated brass necklace was inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s exhibition The Weather Project. The outfit was a sports luxe dream. The chunky-heeled mules were styled with ribbed socks. White heels resembled sneakers. The sportiness of a Carven collection does a good job of glamourising its subject. 

Cropped high waisted trousers were a welcome fixture in the collection. One grey tweed pair were styled with a matching bomber jacket and an orange knit sweater. A pair of merlot trousers were paired with a flocked organza blouse and a wool cavan coat with a  black shearling neckline. The coat appeared in the next look, except in jacket form. Sapphire trousers were worn this time. 

The model’s stride exuded confidence and vitality. They embodied the persona of the Carven girl. Cropped jackets, eel skin coats, cropped high waisted trousers, mules. There was a splendid array of clothing in this collection. From start to finish, the new duo kept things interesting. There was a spring in the step of the new Carven. The future is bright. 
Photo Credit: style.com

Friday, August 14, 2015

Marc Jacobs // Resort 2016 //

During New York Fashion Week in February, Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier would present their last Marc by Marc Jacobs collection. The collection provided a feminist and political stance on fashion. I thought it was their best collection to date. In March it was announced that the diffusion line would be folding into the main, Marc Jacobs label. The new regime will see the two combined. A lower price will be set on some garments and accessories; the MBMJ portion, and the rest will be priced as usual. Some reported that this move could bewilder consumers: not being able to separate two labels. The IPO for the brand is coming soon, so this business move may not have been entirely unpredictable. 
Photo Credit: style.com

There is a lot of change going on for Marc Jacobs. He simultaneously stepped down from his positions at MBMJ and Louis Vuitton. He appointed two talented designers at the brand before folding it. His photographer of choice changed. His brand will be put up for IPO. There is so much happening, but Jacobs remains focused; his eye on the prize: optimising his eponymous label. 

Resort 2016 was an extension of that optimisation. Consistently presented strong collections is Jacobs’ forte.  Returning editors to salon show format, the show was held at his Mercer Street store. Amber Valletta emerged first, wearing a black headscarf. Her broderie anglaise two-piece skirt suit was gorgeous. Have a supermodel of the past and a gorgeous look to grasp the attention of the show-goers from the beginning was clever. Brooches and other adornments were haphazardly places. "The eye has to travel", his muse, Diana Vreeland, once said. 

If you look at any newsstand, you’ll be sure to see Miley Cyrus rocking look 9 on the September cover of US Marie Claire. The intricately detailed mini dress with broderie anglaise detailing. 

There was a nautical air about look 15. The red, white and black striped waffle-knit cashmere cropped sweater was paired with high waisted trousers. The excessive amount of buttons instilled the nautical vibe. 

The finale looks comprised of St. Gallen lace techniques. Chiffon underneath taffeta, worn with a broderie anglaise bodice with an embellished sheer yoke. Another look was a black and white palm tree print gown. Glittering red brushstrokes enriched parts of the dress. Perched on the shoulder of the dress was an array of colourful feathers. 

Marc Jacobs keeps enlightening audiences. He’s on par with Miuccia Prada as one of the only designers that you have to expect the unexpected. It may be startling, the constant 180 degree turns, but it keeps you guessing. You’ll probably be wrong, but it’s insanely fun.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Vogue Paris September 2015 // Magazines //

The gorgeous Natasha Poly looks stunning on Vogue Paris' September 2015 issue, photographed by chronicled photographers Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott-who frequently work with the magazine. 

Styled by editor-in-chief Emmanuelle Alt, the cover shoot was photographed in Turkey, in blistering heat underneath the searing sun. The shoot focuses on Fall's tribal trend. 

Also in the issue is a feature on Karl Lagerfeld who celebrates his 50th anniversary at Fendi this year. Raquel Zimmermann also appears in a couture editorial. 

The issue is out in France on August 20. 

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Miu Miu // Fall 2015 //

As models weaved around the runway at the Palais d’Iena it was clear that Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu collection was to be a time traveller’s dream and a time traveller’s wife. 

In a season where designers were throwing about the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, Miuccia Prada was feeling adventurous for her Miu Miu collection. Spanning 60 years, this collection featured 40’s waifs. There were 50’s housewife references. Accessories and shift dresses were distinctly 60’s-inspired. An 80’s New Wave soundtrack thumped in the cavernous hall. The models wore 90’s hairstyles, and attitudes to match. Smitten.

Textures and prints clashed vibrantly in the collection. Houndstooth coats with python lining and necklines were styled with patent crocodile dresses and skirts. Other snakeskin looks were embellished with shimmering florals. The croc looks were in black, yellow and orange. A python peplum adorned one look. Aya Jones donned a yellow, diagonally striped coat. Inside, a red and white striped shirt was underneath a black crocodile mini-dress. Not only was the look stunning, but it was worn by one of my favourite models. 

The accessories included square-toed shoes. The costume jewellery featured glittering diamanté encrusting and large stones. Floral accessories were rife. The glistening silver glitter heels worn by one model could easily rival Dorothy’s red slippers. The Miu Miu girl would be up for the fight.

Miu Miu is considered to be Prada’s naive younger sister. The filial gratitude experienced by the two labels is undeniable, as the Milan and Paris-based labels collections complement each other, affectionately. This season people argued that the Prada collection felt like Miu Miu and the Miu Miu collection felt like Prada. I disagree. The Prada collection presented a bold concept but was executed in a conservative fashion. The Miu Miu collection was far too brazen to be Prada. Live fast, die young, bad girls do it well. Yes M.I.A., they do. 
Photo Credit: style.com

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Shiatzy Chen // Fall 2015 //

To be quite honest, I hadn’t heard of Shiatzy Chen until I requested an invitation for the show this season. As per usual, a Google search late I was able to brush up on my knowledge of the Taiwanese brand. I was blissfully unaware that the house was founded in 1978 by Wang Chen Tsai-Hsia, who was branded by Forbes magazine as one of the 25 most influential Chinese woman in global fashion. The brand has been dubbed the Taiwanese Chanel. Purveying in “neo-Chinese chic”, the label blends estern styles with Chinese clothing and handicraft. It’s amazing that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of established labels out there that we may not have heard of. But the unknown can always present us with something we didn’t know we needed. Shiatzy Chen is that label. 

Chromed leather dresses, skirts and jackets emerged, decorated with beautiful peonies. Pink fur accented necklines and sleeves. Look 6 was a nineties throwback with a futuristic vibe. The leather jacket and skirt combo was in a cheeky bubblegum pink. The shoulders were decked out with pink fur. The black sheer shirt underneath contrasted with the sickly sweet pink.
Photo Credit: livingly.com

In interiors, rose-gold is all the rage. Everyone under the sun with a remote interest in interiors is lusting after it. Shiatzy Chen was too. A rose-gold coat with fur pom poms and a fur stole was styled with opera gloves. A playful twist on an elegant outfit. Who wouldn’t like it? 

Autumnal hues of rust and teal proceeded to appear on the white runway at the Grand Palais (where Chanel would host their show a few days later). The suede lace-up boots were a stylish pairing with the outfits. One look consisted of a black chiffon dress with delicate black embellishments and a printed leather coat.

The final slew of looks were crisp white. There was fur and crystal embellishments, silver accessories and knee high boots. Lily Aldridge in Taylor Swift’s blockbuster ‘Bad Blood’ music video sprung to mind. Frostbyte, the character was called. The models resembled an army of Frostbyte’s, decked out in immaculate whites. Albeit, this collection was presented months before Taylor’s video.

This being my first Shiatzy Chen collection, the wait until the next one will be somewhat unbearable. 

Monday, August 10, 2015

Prada // Fall 2015 //

Each season magazines are overpopulated with the same labels on their covers. The instantly recognisable collections will be all over newsstands from July until December. From January to August, the Louis Vuitton collection was all the rage, with magazine editors from America to Australia putting it on their covers. The Fall 2015 collection that seems to be dominating at the moment is Prada. Cara Delevingne wore it on Vogue’s July cover. Lily Donaldson donned a blush pink dress on Elle’s August issue. For September, supermodel Rosie Huntington-Whitely looked fabulous in a baby blue jersey and gazar dress. The dress in point is the one that will be saturated on newsstands until December, so get used to it. 

Miuccia Prada was playing on real/fake boundaries. Synthetic looking material found throughout the collection was a blend of jersey and gazar. Materials were genetically modified and revamped, while still maintaining the 60’s-vibe. The colour palette was primarily pastel with a few bursts of rich, acidic hues. Tweeds were pained, a delicate mixture of teal and pink. The double-breasted coat featured two fur panels, if painted tweed wasn’t enough for you. 

A molecule printed dress furthered Miuccia’s obsession with science within this collection. Blue contrasted with aqua, pink with mustard, blue with lime green, pistachio with steel. The eyewear were her goggles, the clothes Miuccia's experiment. 

Adorned on the breast of the looks was a Perspex brooch, cut in the shape of a flower. A hairpiece, also from Perspex, was placed in the models hair. The accessories in the collection were beautiful. Vinyl and silk opera gloves. Gardening gloves for the prim and proper lady, that the Prada woman embodied this season. A bag within a bag. The ‘Inside’ bag it was dubbed. A calf-hide pouch was placed inside a crocodile bag. Vogue called Miuccia ‘a master of surprise’ for this unique move. 
When scrolling through the pictures of this show on Style.com, I was listening to Lana Del Rey. Her song ‘National Anthem’ purred seductively as I watched live reactions and absorbed the bright colours of the show. In the third verse, she drones, “excessive buying, overdose and dyin’ on our drugs and our love, and on our dreams and our rage, blurring the lines between real and the fake”. To pluck a dichotomy between Prada and Lana isn’t the hardest. The ‘Inside’ bag would set you back £18,000. The acidic colours were a mad scientist’s dream. As Tim Blanks said in his review: “we tripped”. Blurring the lines between real and fake is exactly what Miuccia Prada did in this collection; the materials, the contrived niceness you’d associate with this Prada woman. 

In late June, the advertising campaign to appear in the magazines was released. The Steven Meisel-lensed campaign featured up and coming models Avery Blanchard, Estella Boersma, Inga Dezhina, Linesy Montero, Ine Neefs, Greta Varlese, and Maartje Verhoef. Linesy and Maartje are my favourite models at the moment, so it is a pleasure to see them. As per usual, Meisel works wonders and the models look just as fabulous as they did on the runway. 

Certainly a 180 degree turn from last seasons threadbare garments. This Prada woman was polished. From her perfectly manicured nails to her pristine wardrobe, this collection was prim and proper with an intergalactic edge. 
Collage Images: style.com
Ad Campaign: photocouture-show.com - Photographed by Steven Meisel
Show Photos: tmagazine.blogs.nytimes.com - Photographed by Alfredo Piola

Friday, August 7, 2015

Peter Pilotto // Fall 2015 //

I think everybody loves boardgames. 102 years after its creation, Monopoly is arguably the one of the most recognisable games there is. It is licensed in more than 103 countries and printed in 37 languages. The Game of Life is another classic. On a simpler scale, Connect Four has always been a favourite of mine. Lining four coloured discs to win is the objective. During London Fashion Week, Christopher de Vos and Peter Pilotto were inspired by boardgames. Ludo, Snakes (or Chutes) and Ladders and Connect Four, specifically. The childhood games along with other board game apparatus (dice, etc.) were all interpreted into a stylish collection on day 4 of fashion week. 

Look 7 was a brown coat, resembling the maze a Labyrinth board would feature. Another was a black, turtleneck angora wool sweater with multicolour tracks looked like a racetrack game. It was paired with a wool skirt with green and blue accents. One skirt was inspired by Connect Four and had green and blue circular acetate accents. 

Some shapes were singularly Peter Pilotto. The raised shoulders on the opening coat. The blush pink Tetris-inspired number featured a fur collar. It reversed the “business in the front, party in the back” statement. Look 4’s viscose dress with a slightly flared skirt was easily recognisable as a recurring shape. Emily Blunt’s Cannes Film Festival dress was the Ludo-inspired Look 15. The final look had a signature asymmetric hemline. To keep things interesting, the waist featured two, white strips, giving an illusion waist. The neckline also featured a strap that look was asymmetrically fastened. 
Presenting us with a fresh idea such as boardgames was refreshing. It was an unexpected, intriguing display from the duo. It was a collection full of references, a reworking here-and-there of the signature brand shapes and cuts. Peter Pilotto and Christopher de Vos roll the dice. They get a six. They roll again. Another six. These boys are winning. 
Photo Credit: style.com

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Roksanda // Fall 2015 //

For Fall 2014, Miuccia Prada was inspired Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 classic The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant. A year and five seasons later, Roksanda Illincic, in London, was inspired by the same film. The psychological drama—which is like this years Carol on crack—made for a spectacular Prada show last year so I was highly anticipating Roksanda’s take on the film. The results were sublime. Firstly, she had the Seymour Leisure Centre’s sports hall as her venue. A raised platform designed by set designer Gary Card. Secondly, and most importantly, the clothes were splendid. 

If you’re a long-time reader of this blog, you might know that each season I like to reference "Joseph’s technicolour dream coat", or components of that sentence. Peter Pilotto for Spring 2015, Altuzarra for Fall 2014. I think it’s time I lend that line to Roksanda’s collection. Her hyper-coloured technicolour coats were, in fact, dreamy. The intarsia fox, rabbit and mink coats were absolutely stunning. These will surely spark outrage from animal rights organisations. Also, the hefty price tag of $25,500 makes the coat unattainable to most. 

Look 21 was a wool-cady burgundy one shoulder jumpsuit. Underneath was a tangerine long sleeve wool sweater with a rust-coloured neckline. The styling of the show was genius. Purple with mustard to create a rich contrast. A rose-gold reflective belt to cinch the waist and accentuate the models’ figure. The follow look was a burgundy, cobalt and orche mid-weight wool-cady coat. A silk burgundy top with a mustard neckline was paired with a marigold halter dress. Following that look, the collection took a turn into the unknown. Geometric brocade adorned wool-cady outfits. The collection proceeded to finish with a slew of black embellished brocade. Compared to the previous looks, these were mediocre. Gorgeous, but lacking in substance compared to the rest of the collection. 

Roksanda had a swirling-print raised catwalk. A theatric one might say. Not to compete with the gargantuan sets of Chanel and Tommy Hilfiger. It was more of a statement piece than a theatric. It didn’t detract from the beautiful clothes, bursting with colour and full of vitality. 
Photo Credit: style.com

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi // Fall 2015 //

Your fans are Scarlett Johansson, Lea Michele, Olivia Palermo, Cate Blanchett, Sonam Kapoor, Beyoncé and Michelle Obama. You have 10 UK stockists and a further 57 internationally. Accompanying a main line there is a collaboration with retailer Debenhams, a diffusion line, children’s clothing, shoes and eyewear. That all equates to Preen by Thornton Bregazzi. Founded in 1996, Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi have developed their label astronomically. Almost 20-years after launching their brand, the duo are the one of the most sought after brands as their celebrity fans and 67 worldwide stockists illustrate. 

An unused, winding entrance tunnel to King’s Cross Station played host to the show. Before the show began, the walls lit up in a rainbow (an obnoxious amount of photos were taken). Molly Bair opened the show in a multicoloured, lumberjack-check sheer dress. Autumnal hues adorned the body of her dress, but a pop of bright blue here and there provided a beautiful touch. Look 3 featured an aviator jacket with teal, check sleeves and red check panels, black shearling, bright blue lapels and a taupe wool. Look 8 was a checkered, floral appliquéd skirt with yellow cross-stitching. Annely Bouma’s sheer white top with crystal embellishments and floral appliqués was delicate, and simply breathtaking. Her black trousers featured a whtie cross-stitch hemline. This collection, I believe, would benefit from a re-see. The proof is in the details of this collection. Embellishments and embroideries were intricate. Also, some tonal looks may get lost in the sea of gorgeous maximalism. Saving the best for last, Alexandra Elizabeth emerged in multiple shades of blue. The appliqués on her dress were 3-D florals. 

1970’s boho-luxe was perfected by the duo. Instead of going for the predictable avenue, Thornton and Bregazzi opted to put their spin on the decade. Crop tops instead of floaty blouses. Asymmetric hemlines instead of flared ones. The trousers were more masculine than feminine. An intense amount of prints at the show reworked 60’s/70’s flower-power. All these re-imaginings of the past sprouts the idea of modernity that I spoke of in my Gucci review. Modernity comes from the past. Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi’s take on the 70’s has given us modernity and new ideas. That’s a feat in my book. 
Photo Credit: style.com

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

New @ LFW // Fall 2015 //

Samantha McCoach was a new designer for me to experience for the first time during London Fashion Week in February. She created the brand Le Kilt. Held in Soho’s L’Escargot—the oldest French restaurant in London—the lavish backdrop provided the perfect set for the clothes. 
For those of you who didn’t already guess or presume, Le Kilt specialises in making fashion-forward kilts and miscellaneous outerwear. There was yellow check juxtaposing with black and yellow check on one skirt. Another was all black but knife pleated to add intrigue. One classic tartan skirt had Le Kilt scrawled on it, along with a love heart. Sweaters and t-shirts branded with ‘She Said Boom’ (also the title of the collection) are definitely going to be worn throughout fashion month in September. I’m calling it here.
Some may call kilts archaic or too traditional. Samantha McCoach has made them a must-have with her unique and modern designs.
Images: lekilt.co.uk 
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Manuel Facchini was another designer, like McCoach, that was new on my radar. After working at Byblos, Facchini decided to lend his artistically-inclined hand to his own brand launched during London Fashion Week.
The collection contained high-powered glam (which we’ve seen a lot of this season) and featured a variety of different options. Sexy yet conservative dresses, party dresses, sweaters, playful day dresses. The Gothic-architecture-inspired collection featured Op-Art, a trend seen throughout fashion week (at Bottega Veneta and Emilio Pucci). 
This collection may draw similarities between David Koma/Mugler but I think it was uniquely his own.
 Images courtesy of Guitar PR
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Molly Goddard showed her first collection last September. It could’ve been described as an awkward prom. For Fall 2015, her first on-schedule display—with support from NEWGEN—the Central Saint Martins alum conjured “a modern-day bohemian teenager the morning after her debutante ball”.
The set was an art class. Street-cast models perched at their easels drew a nude male subject. Paints, easels, other artistic apparatus were strewn around the BFC Presentation Space. 
You may be familiar with Goddard's tulle dresses. This season she reimagined her signature. Smocking and gathering techniques were used to add something new. Soft shades of grey, cream, black and dusty pink were also a refreshing addition to her colour palette. 
Boiled wool cardigans and jumpers were made of vintage lurex ribbon to “offer a contrast to the ethereal tulle dresses”. The play on hardness versus softness, ultimately with fragility at its core was very interesting. 
There are only good things to associate with Molly Goddard’s name.
Images: i-d.vice.com

Monday, August 3, 2015

Danielle Romeril // Fall 2015 //

During London Fashion Week, there are four Irish designers currently presenting. Paul Costelloe, Orla Kiely, Simone Rocha and Danielle Romeril. Paul Costelloe is perfecting the 60’s, Orla Kiely the 70’s. Simone Rocha is drawing inspiration from different eras, and mainly from the world of the arts. Danielle Romeril is an interesting one. Her mood board will feature a place and then it is translated into the future. For Spring 2015, it was a futuristic Wicklow Mountains scene with touches of African safari. For Fall 2015, the collection was called ‘Survive’. Set in a dystopian landscape within the BFC Presentation Space, Romeril had shelters that migrants might’ve built across the world erected. Her set represented the dark future that may await. As a result, the Danielle Romeril girl had to scavenge, salvaging what she could from the desolate and barren terrain. The product was a wide-reaching, interesting collection.

Traditional winter cloth was used in new and exciting ways for Fall. Romeril’s designs were sculptural, featuring an asymmetric hemline. A three-tone dress with an asymmetric hemline and the top featured a frayed, folded panel.

Romeril used a Japanese technique in her collection. Odoshi lacing was used to combine different materials but in a unique, couture-like way. Odoshi was used on samurai armour. In this instance it added a strength to a collection which was quite fragile. That statement applies both metaphorically and to the design. The lacing added a three-dimensional look to the clothing, as did the technical quilting. Look 13 resembled a samurai’s outfit. Like a samurai’s outfit, the look was complicating and perplexing to look at, but intriguing and beautiful. It was equipped with folds, sculpts. The idea of protective layers carried through the collection. As aforementioned, the collection is an exploration through a dystopia. Sensible shoes were worn, camouflaging outfits. The modern reworking of a samurai costume was another extension of that. Allusions to life jackets were also made in the collection. 

Danielle Romeril is always one-to-watch. This collection is adaptable and that’s why I rank it so highly. You can see women wearing this collection in an eclectic mix of places. Workwear. For nightclubbing. Daywear. Evening outfits. Transplanted in any environment and this collection would get you far. 
Photo Credit: wwd.com