Thursday, June 30, 2016

Alexander Wang // Fall 2016 //

I have remained quite mum on New York Fashion Week since February, when I documented multiple shows daily. My Rodarte review in late March was the only New York post outside of my daily posts, reflections. To be frank, February’s instalment of the biannual event was the most exasperating week. There were a few good shows, the rest were dreadfully boring or horrifically mediocre. I went to bed every night, rose each morning and yearned for London Fashion Week to arrive. In my daily reviews, I eschewed from critiquing certain shows in favour for later post dates. Today, it’s time to decode Alexander Wang’s collection, which presented on the Saturday evening. 

Exchanging his usual 5pm time slot last season for his 10th anniversary extravaganza—a dour affair it was—for Joseph Altuzarra’s nighttime position, Wang returned to his usual time. He didn’t return to any show space; he bogarted St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Manhattan. (Celebrities were out in droves, Kylie Jenner and her ilk, Wang-loyalists). Choosing a church for his show was peculiar, if you ask me—his penchant for forcing a defiant image shone through. 

A flame-haired Katie Moore strode the aisle in a two piece jacket and skirt with a slogan crop top. Her tights too were branded with “girls”. Around her neck, she wore a dog collar, a chain necklace and her ears were pinched with mismatched earrings. Commercial bait. Newcomer Yana Bonevistier was next, wearing a sheer top with “strict” protecting her modesty. A wrap skirt had cannabis leaves printed on them. There’s the defiance! The show continued with crop tops and mini skirts, beanies and boots, logos and prints; angry Chanel ran through my head hither and thither, however, an exotic dancer print isn’t very Chanel, is it?
The Parisian influence found its way back to New York with Wang, who completed a three year tenure at Balenciaga. There was an undeniable gritty glamour that we’re used to seeing in Paris-set editorial work. An all-day party look that almost strays into undesirable unkemptness. The way boots were styled with dresses is intrinsic to the utilitarianism associated with both American, and modern-French fashion. 

The marijuana prints on the other hand were directed towards the Americans in the audience. It is illegal, under federal law, to possess or sell marijuana; it explains some of the terminology visible in the collection. You can’t smoke it, Wang reckons you might as well wear it. There was a superficiality in the use of imagery in certain looks, although one dress appeared as considered. One.


Wang emerged at the end for his final run (not walk) wearing a black jacket that read “Holy Smoke.” Despite my dislike for the collection, there was an appreciable assuredness in the collection. He’s back, New York!
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Louis Vuitton // Spring 2017 // Menswear

I always have a slight issue with collections I easily label my favourite of the season following the show. The reason being, as a critic, it’s considerably harder to review a show that you’ve loved. For one, when you’re writing, you might find yourself lost for words (as I often am), or secondly, you can find it hard to translate your review because there’s this expectancy placed upon your reader to understand your love for it—in actual fact they may not. Thankfully, Kim Jones has given me a lot to dissect in his Spring 2017 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton. 

Travel is Louis Vuitton’s identity, simply. It is a keyword at the beginning of every collection, for both Kim Jones and Nicolas Ghesquière, at womenswear. Jones produced an ode to Paris last season, in light of the tragic terrorist attacks in 2015. For Spring 2017, there were a number of destinations in mind: London, Kenya, Botswana, and Paris, again. 

With the fast approaching 40th anniversary of the punk movement, Jones reflected on that era. He translated the hardness and rebellion into something elegant, soft even. How is it possible to make punk “soft”? It’s easy, in fact: Jones weaved the underlying inspiration of the collection, Africa, into it, resulting in the rubber, zips and straps that were infused with African pattern. Specifically, the punk incarnation Jones dreamt of was Botswanan biker gangs, as photographed by Frank Marshall. There’s tranquility, but he balanced it with a dosage of edge. 

Africa is where Jones spent his childhood—in Kenya and Botswana. Revisiting the continent and the two nations, he wanted to express “notions of the safari and the gentleman traveller.” Gentlemanliness is a given where Louis Vuitton men’s is concerned. Attached to the garments is instant respectability. They’re immaculate, precisely tailored, and are accepted readily on their beautiful face-value. Using bleached-savannah shades (dust, sand, black, blue of the night sky), airy fabrics, Jones brings to life a different, sophisticated homage to the countries the Louis Vuitton man will visit next spring. Should he find himself in Africa, there a transparent rubber day coats emblazoned with the ‘LV’ logo, punk-inspired sandals, fantastic trousers and shorts. Utilitarian details of punk are interweaved with the African influence, synergistically working to evoke the spirit of travel.

The elegance that is present in every Vuitton collection was more deliberate in this collection. The French elegance that was a noted inspiration on the press release this season. Fabrics and Vuitton’s accessories history refer to Paris; the fabric supposedly linking it with Africa. 

Menswear is probably more potent than womenswear, and has been in recent years. It intersects gender, social norms, notions of masculinity. The bigger picture is much easier to behold than it is in womenswear. Kim Jones plays on social norms and notions of masculinity. Sometimes, however, those conversations have to be put aside when a collection just looks brilliant. There is an intellectual grounding, a lot of this isn’t just stuff: it’s a well-curated amalgam of three distinct locations—can you see why I like it so much?
Images courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Monday, June 27, 2016

Gosha Rubchinskiy // Spring 2017 // Menswear

Rappers Drake and Future collaborated on a joint album last year. In the hit song Jumpman, from that album, the two call “Jumpman, Jumpman, Jumpman” thrice. For whatever reason, I feel attendees of Pitti Uomo called “Gosha, Gosha, Gosha,” on the evening of cult Russian designer Gosha Rubchinskiy’s show. Like the rap world, the subverted post-Soviet culture surrounding Gosha is similar to the fanfare, the rap culture cloaking Drake and his cohorts. Gosha has been around for nearly ten years, although the media fascination has amplified in the past two. Hailing him ‘fashion’s saviour’, ‘the next Raf’, ‘the best menswear designer of the 00s’. Many comments have been issued by almost every publication known to us. 

For Spring 2017 menswear, the Pitti Uomo fashion fair in Florence, Italy invited Gosha to present his collection in the city. “I wanted something wrong. I wanted something connected with Russia. I wanted somewhere where I find myself at home.” A trifecta of interesting ideas pertaining to the show space, Gosha eventually decided upon a “Soviet-looking” tobacco factory. Constructivist architecture was a suitable background for the clothing, which, like the building, focus more on somewhat-nice-looking practicality rather than aesthetics. He partnered with Fila, Kappa and Sergio Tacchini for the collection; the three Italian brands offered the sportswear. Arriving in Italy, the collection was a view of the nation through the eyes of a Russian man. The result was an ode to the country that has adopted him for a season. There was riffs on Italian tailoring, his logo in Cyrillic script placed underneath the Fila label (one of the world’s most recognisable sportswear labels), Italian shoes, representation of post-Soviet youths transposed to Italy.

Youth culture is something Gosha thrives on (like Raf Simons, who also showed at Pitti).The age range of the models extends no further than 25, I’m certain. His fascination with youth results in earthy, raw explorations of masculinity. Expectedly, it’s masculine in the tradition sense of the word, but there’s experimentalist plays on proportion and special attention to utility. It’s a teenager’s dream collection, but adult motifs are found in the well-tailored suiting that punctuated this collection.

Post-Soviet culture meets youth culture is a cultural amalgamation that almost looks how you’d expect it to be: hard-edged, slightly experimental masculine tones. There’s a bleakness to it as well; that stems from the presentation of the work. It’s cold but approachable, understandable and easily adaptable. The reason why everyone’s up in arms about Gosha is because he nails what men want to wear. He covers all angles, from the suit, the tracksuit, gym garb, casual wear. Also, it’s not horrendously overpriced for what you’re getting—it’s fair, in fashion terms. Stylising clothes without losing or fraying their accessibility and functionality is completed with finesse, where Gosha is concerned—his work isn’t overly-reliant on styling. 

Where does he go from here? Presumably back to Paris, or to Russia, who knows. Wherever he ends up next he’ll continue creating clothing that men will clamour for, at selected stockists that the brand is carried at. Paris or Russia, his commentary on youth and post-Soviet culture is unmissable, and frankly, I don’t think has the ability to become boring. 
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com

Friday, June 24, 2016

Mimi Wade // Fall 2016 //

Months have passed, I’ve reported on three quarters of Fashion East’s Fall 2016 womenswear line-up. Caitlin Price, Richard Malone, A.V. Robertson presented their work on the catwalk, and Mimi Wade had the opportunity to display her work in presentation format. Caitlin and Amie Robertson benefitted from a runway show; Richard could’ve performed overwhelmingly if he had chosen presentation, but his work was brilliant nonetheless. The best result, in the end, was Mimi’s, whose self-assured work was presented against a black-and-white image of the Hollywood sign.

Hollywood is an important facet to Mimi’s work but not in the way you’d expect it to. It’s not the banal glitz and glam of modern-day Hollywood, instead she looks to the silver screen starlets who dominated screens of yore. But ‘dominated’ is probably the incorrect word. Pamela Curran, Mimi’s grandmother, was a B-movie actress. B-movies are low-budget commercial films used as tools to support a greater cinematic programme. Curran starred in The Blob, in the 1950s, as well as occupying small roles in film and television projects. Mimi’s ode to this was lining her presentation space with old-fashioned cameras, film reels, the director’s chair (printed with the Mimi Wade logo. Front and centre was a black motorbike, evoking the Marianne Faithfull in Girl on a Motorbike; there were biker leathers accented with lace and bullet-hole prints, and accessorised with faux fur. Faye Dunaway’s Bonnie in Bonnie & Clyde also influenced Mimi. The badass attitude imbuing this collection was remarkable.

Sassiness is something that Mimi Wade executes exceptionally. The upcoming talent has a clear vision. Attention-stealing yet practical clothing, suitable for nights-out. Edged with filmic inspirations, 60s brazenness emanates from the clothing. Posters for the films Devil Girl From Mars and Please Murder Me were printed on two dresses, contributing to the literal old-Hollywood flair in this collection. It’s deliberate, humorous, self-confident. Working with makeup artists and hairstylists to enhance the overall vision of her woman. Slightly unkempt hair, red-stained lips. In her heyday, Mimi’s grandmother Pamela Curran would’ve appreciated these clothes. 

Speaking to American Vogue, Mimi described her grandmother as “rebellious and theatrical and funny.” It seems fitting that these characteristics are attributed to Mimi’s magnificent work. She’s destined for stardom!
Photo Credit: deuxhomm.es

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Prada // Spring 2017 //

Alexander Fury astutely pointed out the significance of Miuccia Prada's inclination to return to the theme of her past two collections-men and women's fall 2016-in his review of the recent Spring 2017 menswear collection. The fleeting ephemera of the Prada show is fashion's greatest pleasure. Exhibit A) Spring 2011's baroque-inspired, brightly-coloured extravaganza and the quick switchover to Fall 2011's reimagining of glamour tropes. Fall 2016 menswear lingered and was translated into the women's collection in February. The sailor, the vagabond: references to the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean, where migrants are fleeing their homelands for fear of persecution, from war. 

"I'm optimistic on principle, but I see what's happening around, and my fear is mounting," Prada told the Business of Fashion's Tim Blanks. The vagabond that Prada developed for this season is someone on the move; carrying their belongings on their backs. Strapped to the brilliant backpacks in the this collection - which featured also the Resort 2017 collection - were high heels, the way pocket notebooks were attached to outfits last season; rain jackets were pieces onto men's looks. The backpacks could easily be brushed off for being instantly saleable accessories to remedy sinking profits but Prada's deliberateness is unmissable-it's about having everything you own with you, mobility which is not dissimilar to the current predicament on European waters. Secondly, the backpack is engrained in Prada's history, it being a major win for the brand in the 1980s.

80s athleisure and dressing punctuated the collection. There were banal, slimline grey trouser suits, bright windbreakers, technicolor parkas, meteorological forecast prints! Like Lou Dalton, the crispness of hiking was present in the collection. There was a clean air but an undoubted balminess, as depicted by the hairstyles.
The set was an interesting piece. The models hiked a metal incline, in search for their next destination. Perhaps this was what Prada was thinking herself; where is she thinking about going next-then transporting her audience to a mutated version of that place. 

Miuccia Prada is fashion's politico. Regularly, she refers to disenfranchisement, migration, war, the role of women, amongst other political talking points. Elegant portrayals of these issues, her artistic expression prevent the viewer from rolling their eyes and sighing and the capitalisation of other people's suffering and turmoil. Art and fashion forever reflects upon societal issues and many few are able to paint a brighter picture. As Miuccia Prada says, "I'm optimistic on principle," and it's hard to ignore the joviality and beauty in a collection where the main reference is the darkness that cloaks the world. 
Photo Credit: prada.com

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

How the Fashion Industry is Responding to Brexit

June 23 is lurking like a raincloud on a sunny day. Citizens of the United Kingdom and Gibraltar will vote for their European Union membership in a referendum, on what could become the most infamous Thursday in the history of the nation. Over the past number of months, we’ve seen campaigning ignite, debates being sparked. It’s a polemic topic in the rest of the world too, with other countries weighing in on the colossal nature of the political maelstrom. 

Fashion always finds itself swept up with issues, doesn’t it? There’s always controversial musings on terrorism, fiscal crises, war, that rile people up, but encourage others. It’s been no surprise to see how the fashion industry has interacted with #Brexit, as it’s been dubbed. Jake Hall’s fantastic piece on Dazed last week decoded what it might mean for fashion. The answer: valuable funding to fashion institutions would be wiped, clothing prices could hike, and EU students would be disadvantaged and priced out of fashion industry—all three extremely dangerous facets to a larger issue.

Speaking vociferously about Brexit has been a formidable troupe of British-based designers. Chief creative officer of Burberry, Christopher Bailey was one of many signatories of a letter to British people to vote to stay in the European Union. Burberry is one of the biggest luxury power players in the world, and the effects of a Brexit could be both damaging and catastrophic. Engrained in British culture is Burberry, but as a company it is a global force.

Bailey isn’t the only designer worried about the future of Britain. At London Collections: Men last weekend, designer Daniel W Fletcher staged a guerrilla presentation on the main thoroughfare: 180 the Strand, the hub for men’s fashion week. Models wore stylish, 80s-inspired bombers and hoodies with ‘Stay’, in capitals, emblazoned across the chest. In true protest style, some stood waving signs accented with ’Stay’, others carried the collection’s name. One model toted a lunchbox with the European Union flag, another held a sign with the Flag of Europe. “I strongly believe that leaving the EU would be a huge cultural blow to our country,” Fletcher says, speaking to GQ. A fearless, politically-motivated designer on the menswear scene voicing concern about an issue as large as Brexit contributes to cultural element that would be tarnished, should Britain choose to exit the EU.
Also at London Collections: Men, E. Tautz designer Patrick Grant emerged to take his bow sporting an ‘IN’ t-shirt. Similarly on Instagram, designers such as the Agi & Sam duo, Cozette and Sid of Sibling have posted pictures wearing artist Wolfgang Tillman’s t-shirt collection-cum-campaign for the Remain vote. “Say you’re in if you’re in” and “No man is an island. No country by itself” are the most popular two. Tillman highlights in many posters that countries like Poland and Hungary rely on the EU to defend themselves from oppressive, racist governments in Eastern Europe.

“The reasons why I felt compelled to get involved in the UK-EU referendum are personal - my lifelong involvement with the UK, my love for the UK and its culture, music and people, my career’s groundedness in Britain and the always warm welcome I felt here as a German,” Tillmans offers at the beginning of his mission statement on his website. Found there is a trove of posters for active campaigners to post on social media channels, or to wear, to share your thoughts on Brexit. 

Fashion doesn’t shy away from a debate. The summer issue of i-D is wonderful politically-inclined, a nod to internationalism, with pieces on Brexit. Inspiring a generation that will go to vote on June 23 is a magazine doing it’s job correctly. More importantly, a fashion and culture publication focusing on the all important issue of politics. The frankly scary prospects of Brexit forces designers, publications to stand tall and do anything to possible to combat it. Only time will tell if that effect is positive.
Photo Credit: cnn.com, voguerunway.com

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Gucci // Spring 2017 // Menswear

Reading a Gucci press release under Alessandro Michele is almost a riveting experience as witnessing one of his immensely creative shows. The exceptional wordsmithery that goes on is an enjoyable preamble to a show. Like the shows, the press release is intelligent, an intellect’s mind running wild on the page. “To make a journey means to be digging into the landscape,” the first line, following a T.S. Eliot quote, read. “Otherness, echoes of spaces, crossed or imagined; temporalities, plural and thickened,” it continues. The ‘man dress’ made its return for Spring 2017, opening the show in green, paired with bubblegum pink shorts and knee-high socks. Otherness, personified. Following that there were a slew of looks that resembled how Michele himself dresses, capri trousers, posh blazers. The thickening of ideas, plurality is a concept not unknown to Michele. His ideas contain heft, maximalism entrenched in his aesthetic. Pieces on both men, and the women that walked, were layered heavily with accessories. A model, “the traveller,”, the mannequin. The excess of stuff is commonplace.

“The traveller is, in fact, able to go deep down ‘as an archaeologist through different layers of reality,’” was printed on the neon green page, with an illustration of a dragon this season. Michele shared backstage, his dislike of travelling. Instead he looked at other methods of travelling: via the pages of books, interior design, art worlds. Travelling is prevalent in this collection, every collection. The eye travels from one point of the tantalising outfit to the next. From the well-heels foot to the adorned crown. There’s a lot going on, a lot to absorb and digest.

Michele’s made his work more and more digestible. He’s been at the Italian label a year and a half, every collection referencing the previous one. There’re subtle shifts in aesthetic, but the overall vibe that the nu-Gucci emits hasn’t changed from January 2015. You might beg the question, “why all the praise if nothing is changing?” I have found myself often pondering this too. My conclusion is that Michele has revolutionised an Italian luxury brand famed for its seriousness in expression, grown-up attitude, specific customer; from behind the behind-the-scenes emerged a whiz with the chutzpah to reimagine a classic brand. There’s a freshness to it because for countless seasons we suffered Frida Giannini’s lazy Gucci. 

The effect the nu-Gucci has had on the real world is unmissable. Prior to Michele’s debut, men weren’t brave enough to dress the way he envisioned. Sheer blouses, unconventionally-cut jackets, and femininity were introduced to a major brand. Singer BØRNS and actor Jared Leto were early supporters in the menswear arena. What you can take away from that is Michele has made the ‘weird’ (to the modern man) palatable, in ways that seemed impossible.

Vivacious spirits erupt in Gucci collections nowadays. As a reviewer, you’re thankful that there is so much to talk about. As a customer, you’re delighted with the options presented before you. As a company, you reap the rewards in both spheres, with press and buyers engaging spiritedly with your business entity. Sprinkling the Michele fairy dust on Gucci had invigorated the house; a breath of fresh air at the time when it was unbearably stagnant. The knowledge and creativity Michele brings to the label is earned from his travels, whether it be through reading or physically visiting places, it all intersects for a jam-packed, hearty, unmissable Gucci collection. 
Photo Credit: twitter.com/gucci

Monday, June 20, 2016

Miu Miu // Pre-Fall 2016 & Fall 2016 //

During couture week in January, Miu Miu hauled fashion journalists to its Parisian store—foregoing the Palais d’Iena for a season—to showcase its pre-fall 2016 collection. (The same time in Paris, other houses were giving secretive presentations with imagery unreleased until the past few weeks). Seeing the show unfold on Instagram was strangely wonderful. The deluge of images that flooded my feed all captured the essence, effervescence of the show. I awaited imagery for a day or two before Vogue Runway finally released the images. It hasn’t happened in a long time that I’ve craved high resolution pictures from a show immediately—mainly due to the instancy of the fashion industry today.

In the jewel-toned setting, models were dreamy 70s spies in knickerbocker suiting, high-stockings and utilitarian garb. Trousers were like shortened lederhosen, perfect for the winter months. Likewise, the overcoats were a personal best for Prada, whose unmatched affinity for coats trumps most other designers. Keri Russell in the fantastic The Americans sprung to mind. The ladies were unassuming, clothes that would slightly stick out in terms of society’s tame dressing. But buried inside was difference, brilliance, and power. There was agency, and we all know Prada loves to conduct using an active agent (in many senses of the word).

Miuccia Prada wasn’t present for the show, she was busy designing the womenswear collections for Fall 2016. If only she was present, she would’ve seen the gleeful reaction of her elated audience. Somehow, I reckon, she knew what the reaction would be. 
The reaction invoked by the subsequent womenswear show in March was different. The casting completely outshone the collection. Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Emily Ratajkowski, Adriana Lima, Lara Stone and a few other heavyweight names clogged the runway with their star presence. As I said in my article #KenGi’s Presence in Fashion, the show was tremendous, but you can’t help but notice the miscasting. Miu Miu—Prada too—is the one show during fashion where you are delighted to see the fresh new faces, the exclusive girls who haven’t walked—ever; the show starts careers. There were a few models who walked exclusively but everyone’s attention was elsewhere: it certainly wasn’t on the clothing.

“Nobility and misery.” The travelling fashion circus end their final day of the fashion month with the Miu Miu show. “Dressing is what’s left,” Prada told WWD. You couldn’t help but also feel the notion of dressing with what’s left. The juxtaposition between formal and informal was jarring but undoubtedly welcome. Prada captured the fifties exceptionally. It permeated cinema’s archetypal high school girlhood. Rebellious denim jackets with shirts, jackets over skirts; the subverted prom dress. This developed into subverted post-war dressing, where the epoch was determined by the shape of the clothing, argyle and the slightly alertness to the clothing. For the rest of the collection it switched between the two eras, travelling back and forth between them, like a self-reflective novel filling in the pieces of a jigsaw.

“I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye was the soundtrack for the collection. “Fun” was another word Prada used backstage. “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” is possibly the best, ironic songs to use as your soundtrack. With the changing, swirling fashion “system”, everyone seems to be starting, quelling or latching onto rumours, sound bites and the like and it felt like a perfect way to finish the tiring fashion month.

Both in Milan and Paris, Miuccia Prada has the opportunity to win over audiences. In Milan, she certainly did that with a culturally-aware tour de force performance for her eponymous label. In Paris, Miu Miu divided opinions, primarily due to its casting but also the lack of intellectual grounding. But like Prada said, it was about having “fun.” And in the maelstrom the fashion industry has become, having “fun” is what we need. Bravo to her for that!
Photo Credit: voguerunway.com

Friday, June 17, 2016

Gareth Pugh // Fall 2016 //

Gareth Pugh made a triumphant return to London Fashion Week in February 2015 for his 10th anniversary. Staged in the V&A Museum, the British designer had spent years in Paris and New York, presenting his collections in those cities. To everyone’s delight, Gareth stayed. In September 2015 he occupied Brewer Street Car Park in a fiery-red-hued ode to Soho—where the car park is situated. This past February, his third consecutive London showing, the show took place at Freemason’s Hall. The collection was packed with metaphors.

Women’s rights and issues are, rightfully, one of the most prevalent topics in our daily discussions (if not, it should be). The economic, political, social inequality, pay disparity, reduction to gender-specific roles are the main points of discussion. The United State of Women, held in Washington D.C., was the other day. Barack and Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Kerry Washington, Oprah, amongst others took to the stage to detail how these issues will need to be tackled. 

Spotlight will be on Washington D.C. once more this November when the Americans will vote for the next President of the United States. Hillary Clinton, the Democratic Party’s presumptive nominee, is the first female presumptive nominee for a major political party. Ever. In the 227 year history of presidentship in America, not one has been a woman. You couldn’t help but notice Gareth’s ode to Clinton in his collection. The cobalt blue of the Democratic Party in sharply-tailored skirt-suits and pantsuits, printed with embossed stars—the American flag. Unmistakable, no?
The collection was an entirely well-tailored affair, opening with Marie-Agnès Gillot, prima ballerina of the Paris Opera Ballet, flanked by two lithe, gentlemanly bodyguards. With the swagger she strutted with, they were unnecessary. But in the context of the presentation as a whole, they were imperative. This women is very much in charge. Her double-breasted coat, with shoulder pads and flared trousers, aviators and harsh make-up—it was haunting to say the least.

Then surfaced the models, with pristine hair-dos, plum lips, and most interestingly, elastic bands strapped across their faces. The objective: to create pillow faces. For a woman with agency, is plastic surgery the answer? This was much debated after the show.

Whichever woman has the budget to splurge on immaculate, sublimely-tailored suiting, dresses and the like are in for a fine treat with this collection. Double-breasted coats, jackets and dresses. Wardrobe staples that could slot into any woman’s working life. The models toted briefcases, wore Hannibal Lecter-inspired hockey masks. The Gareth Pugh woman is a boss bitch, as they say.

Severe would be an apt word to capture this collection with. It was severe. The tailoring, the make-up, the execution. It was a theatre spectacle, an unforgettable one. It was boardroom dressing at its finest. The women who will buy this collection will be CEOs, CFOs, businesswomen alike. Much of it made you exclaim a firm “yes,” while the rest had you question “is this regressive?” ‘No,’ is the answer to that. 

Statement and saleability were two coexisting term in the collection. The power of women was portrayed under those two headings. Power emanated from those outfits, it was almost tangible. Above all else, it got people talking about women’s rights; that’s the big take away from this collection.
Photo Credit: dazeddigital.com

Thursday, June 16, 2016

David Koma // Fall 2016 //

David Koma now designs four ready-to-wear collections. Two for his eponymous label, two for Mugler—not to mention the pre-collections. The Georgian-born, London-based creative has long been one of my many favourites on the London calendar. I have been an ardent supporter of his work for years, but this season he had the slight misfortune of being positioned straight after Mary Katrantzou show on the fashion week schedule. The snail-paced traffic that prevented many from attending the show didn’t stop the exhilaration inside Brewer Street Car Park. 

A few seasons back, Koma was inspired by cars—their sinuous curves, contours represented in a well-tailored array of cocktail-wear. I can’t help but draw the comparisons between his work and cars. Attention the minute details enhance his work, highlighting intricacies as working, important facets to the final piece of work. There’s his use of the line, the way it traces the bodies curves, the way it exposes erogenous zones, enhances—and showcases—features. Moreover, there’s speed—how the models powerfully strut down the runway, a mad dash. Watching the force, elegance of an advertisement for a new car as it speedily, smoothly patrols a windy road, with verdant forestry, the same energy and excitedness is built up over the course of a Koma show. 
However, it wasn’t cars, as with seasons previous, that inspired him. It was the brutalist sculptures of Frank Cota. The line and the curving line are intrinsic to Cota’s work in the same way they are to Koma’s. Asymmetrical skirting, and the harshness of the cut paid homage to Cota’s work. The silver medallions that were embroidered to skirts, dresses resembled the pieces that envelop others in Cota’s most famous sculptures. The roundness, and the piecing of many parts together. In many ways, cars are easily comparable to art. Don’t tell any art enthusiast I professed that, they’d probably have a fit. 

Self-confidence is attributable to Koma’s work and that’s a factor as to why it’s so irresistible. London is blessed with self-assuredness, despite it’s affinity for cocktail-wear, especially in the form of David Koma. He can keep his foot on the accelerator, because this thrill ride doesn’t show signs of slowing down anytime soon.