Fall 2019 RTW

This is a crazy time for fashion. Well, it’s a crazy time – so it has to be a crazy time in fashion if fashion is doing its job. I would venture to say that not since the epic revolution of the late 1960’s has the world seen such upheaval and such chaos. Our culture is facing some harsh realities with the MeToo movement, LGBTQ revelations and setbacks, social media domination,  the political climate of all out war between Red and Blue, record breaking government shutdowns and Brexit. Fashion has been affected in various ways – as it should be and needs to be, where designers are choosing their topics to tackle on the runways. Some are more literal using phrases and images, some are subtle using silhouette and avant guarde, some are switching gender roles and so forth. The runways have been bananas, who knows where we will land.

Kes

Again, not an exciting collection – unless you’re into comfortable, practical, easy to throw on and go clothes. In which case – YES! This will do just fine. I’ve been on an unofficial hunt for a good jumpsuit in the style of the traditional Dickies men’s one piece and this one looks pretty good, not perfect but close and the long lean coats in rich fabrics are divine. These are good solid basics, cut well in high quality fabrics.

Vera Wang

I believe that after dominating the bridal market for so many years Wang has been in a position to be more experimental with her design. A few years ago her more commercial ready to wear line took a hard turn into almost avant guarde. Definitely more of a gothic/alternative vibe. The looks had purposely experimental and avant guarde elements like 5″ platforms with 9″ heels, or sleeves that came to the knee. She hasn’t tired of these elements yet either – as they appear in this current season too – but along side these hard to translate to life looks there are items that are easily wearable on the right woman. They speak of confidence and introduce a rare if ever seen before combination of edgy and elegant. Look at these pleated trousers – brilliant.

 

For Restless Sleepers

I looooove this line. They are doing something so wonderful in fashion. While everyone else seems to be clamoring for exposure, they are quietly creating decadent clothes in rich vibrant colors and sumptuous fabrics for women. Their use of traditional zoological and chinoiserie motifs has become part of their identity and you can count on seeing glorious elaborate prints in jewel tones covering luxe silks and satins. It feels like a banquet for the eyes full of classic elegance with a indulgent helping of eccentricity. I would live in these clothes if I could.

 

Luisa Beccaria

This collection is chocked full of light as air florals accented with delicate embroideries and layered with lovely silk velvets and faux furs. Not exactly screaming modern… not exactly screaming at all. This is in fact a whisper. There is a refreshing delicacy to this that feels like a spring breeze. It evokes a simpler time of beauty and fresh air and it has a kind of  literary romance element. I can’t really recall a specific piece or dress that stood out but the feeling of this collection is the takeaway. And it felt good.

 

 

Snow Xue Gao

This is the first I’ve seen of this designer and I am intrigued. I tend to gravitate to Asian influence in print and fabrics. The storytelling imagery and heavy jacquard silks in vibrant jeweltones or dusty shades are a long time favorite. I’m always excited to see them pop up on the runway. Here they have made some lovely wearable pieces, especially in the charming day dress and they have done something very interesting with the layering of the jackets. The contrast of the old and new in the plaids over the silks or vice versa. Its very thoughtful and I can’t wait to see more.

 

Simone Rocha

Simone Rocha is fearless and concise in her use of texture and embellishments. It shows true talent to be able to push into the territory of over designed but then pulling back at just the right moment. There is so much going on but it all fits together like a 4 dimensional puzzle. In the use of layering sheer with embroidered and sequined and solids she creates complex and multi level looks that are fascinating to behold. Last season I was impressed with the idea of layering over coats and this season seems to be a natural and successful progression of that idea.

Paco Rabanne

This collection was choked full of references to the past. There was 1930’s, 1940’s, glam, country, rock and many more. I for one love any old Hollywood reference so I was happy to see the bias cut floral dresses and embellished cardigans which are reminiscent of the ones I wore when I went through my thrifting phase in High school. It’s not forward or modern nor is it on the cutting edge. What it is, is expressive, playful and lighthearted, things we could all use a bit of right now.

Libertine

When London solidified it’s standing in the fashion world it did so by bringing the fun. It was the 1960’s and London was the new fashion capitol because they had a point of view that connected with youth, vitality, music – ultimately a feeling of a bright and shiny future. It did this by celebrating color and shape, experimentation and trends. Plastic dresses and go go boots, ultra minis and mod silhouettes. Libertine as a brand seems to honor this legacy of fashion from London in every collection. Often there are direct references to the 1960’s through icons and silhouettes, other times it’s the styling but it is always there and you kinda have to love them for it. This season was no exception.

Jeremy Scott

Is on a roll right now. Between this collection and his most recent for Moschino he is creating political, culture commenting, covetable fashion. When I say Fashion – it is in the most literal sense of the word. These clothes are of this specific moment in time and he’s nailed it.  This collection is straight from the headlines that dominate and corrupt our daily lives with their scandals and provocations. It is an overwhelming time and this collection shows how much we all live with it, wear it on our faces and our choices so why not on our clothes. No question this collection will be in a museum someday and if Scott continues on this trajectory he will be celebrated in the Met for his contributions in years to come.

 

Phuong My

Another new designer this season. I’m not sure who this customer is, perhaps an older lady in her 40’s at least but more like her mid 50’s, 60’s… who wants to be edgy but not look like shes trying to be 20. There is sophistication here for sure and the clothes are cut and proportioned perfectly. There isn’t a lot of variation in color or fabrics here and it could only be better if they offered some option for those who don’t want satin, or red and black. Its almost as if they had collected the most solid looks from the last 20 years as shown by the most forward designers and brought them all to one collection. Here we see that the full (exaggerated) hip, the asymmetric dress and the origami shapes (which are standard edgy fare) are some of the biggest influences.

Dolce & Gabbana

Over 100 looks that are at times retro and whimsical while covered in pattern and trope loi. I love it which is why Dolce & Gabbana have been a favorite of mine since high school when I pasted their advertisements on the walls. I love the world they have created; one full of heroines and theater, romance and glamour. Here they had a bit of a 1930’s – 1940’s old Hollywood element that I find irresistible. Not to mention that they seemed to have gotten the memo that women are wearing their menswear so they have featured some of the menswear on the ladies this season.

Alexander McQueen

Leather and lace, literally and figuratively. The contrast of hard and feminine has been a long running point of inspiration for McQueens’ Burton and she is featuring two extremes in this collection with great success. The addition of the punk element is also a standard but I love how she showed consideration of the movement in her embellishments. Punk invented what we call DYI bedazzling when they painstakingly hand studded cheap upholstery tacks through dense leather – which isn’t easy btw. At times even making clothes entirely with safety pins. She has one jacket in particular where she uses said safety pins to attach and embellish a exquisitely cut blazer with antique buttons. She also uses other “cheap” items as punks would have, like zippers, chains, snaps and hooks with deftness and honor.  It is no doubt her respect for the past and her Bristish culture that drives her design forward and it’s just brilliant.


Mens Fall 2019

Coats. There is an abundance of fantastic Coats. I can say there is at least one from each collection listed below I would kill for – and in several case many more than just one. You see a fantastic coat is the best investment (if your climate requires) because often times you wear it more than any other piece in your wardrobe. Many times it will be the only part of an outfit the world will see – therefore making the importance of its statement (of lack therof) even more so. This abundance of fantastic coats is no doubt the result of the epic shift we have seen happen in the last 2 years in menswear where for the first time in the mainstream womenswear is influencing menswear. About time really as menswear has been assisting the ladies since the 1920’s! Up until recently, rock and roll was the only place a guy could find outrageous togs – but now there are velvet and sequins and lace and satin, glitter and glam and embroidery and beading, color and print and texture across the board. It’s a good time to be a guy.

Ami

I like this because I could see myself dressing like this as a man. The 3/4 narrow coats in plaid speak to my affinity for 1950’s era London Fog staples. The pants come both pegged or wide – depending on your mood.  The creeper toed shoes that harken back to and go well with the zoot suit-y wallet chain that I still like the look of despite its past as a played out trend from the 1990’s. All in all I like the exaggerated length when its long, and the exaggerated width when its slouchy and the overall feeling of comfort. These clothes look as comfortable as they look cool. How I aspire to be.

Junya Watanabe

I like these Frankenstein jackets, a lot. We’ve seen the leather sleeves thing before but I can’t recall seeing the same treatment among the tweeds and the bomber jacket. Such a simple idea yet it looks so clever. It’s practically punk in it’s DYI.

Neil Barrett

There is a definite Rock and Roll thing happening over at the house of B and you know I cannot resist any genuine respect for the culture of rockers. They were the first ones to legitimize outrageous dressing and freedom from gender barriers. These clothes are nothing new but they are nicely made and built to last. So if you are looking for a long term old school punk rock piece that you can live in then here’s your chance. That plaid coat with the leopard collar would be my personal choice!

Etro

Etro has always been a favorite because they have built a brand based on colorful patterns and diverse textures. They skillfully mix and play with pattern and texture in a way that is inspiring. Here they do it again – just as they always have. Some standouts are guess what … the Coats! There are some beauties here, my favorite being the blue butterfly on the fair fellow.  Where many houses are trying to apply this technique to keep up with the trends set by brands like Gucci and ACNE – Etro already masters it. It must be gratifying for them to see their aesthetic become all the rage so they can really shine.

Tom Ford

Ford delivers again in his promise to personally dress all the men of the world as suave motherfuckers. This is to say, in his own image. All the suits are tailored to perfection and come in luxurious fabrics from rich textured wools to eye catching shiny silks. Some beautifully considered leather jackets are added this season in classic black and white, I’m certain they are the finest leathers available. When I think of Tom Ford I think of dashing men checking their cuffs with a tug and giving a knowing wink.

Dolce and Gabbana

This collection felt very 1930’s which was a transitional time in mens fashion. The pants were loose yet tailored, the suits were getting flashy and there was a feeling of whimsy. This collection has charming touches of art deco in the velvet suit collars and polo sweaters (the game not the collar). Then there are the quintessential D&G hallmarks of brocade and glitter – there was so much sequins in this show it brought a tear to my eye.  I’m not sure how many men would wear a sequin coat (god bless them bc they should!) but I know a hell of a lot of women, myself included who would kill for these patterned sequin jackets and coats and sweaters… The costume element is strong – perhaps a bit too strong but there are always collectible and covetable pieces that can be found among the pomp and circumstance. (emerald green striped and sequin velvet smoking jacket? Yes please!) And as always the shoes and accessories are phenomenal!

Ann Demeulemeester

If the idea in fashion is to take a bit of whats trending and sprinkle it over your aesthetic in order to stay current is the key then Demeulemeester has got it all figured out. There has been a turn toward punk and grunge revival lately and obviously houses like Brunello Cucinelli or Armani aren’t going to even try to hop on that one, but if you are Demeulemeester and you already have a foot in that door then why not? This season they have moved seamlessly (sorry) from the previous seasons pirate/18th century poet to pirate/punk rocker. The button cuff pant is still here but feels less costume when paired with the high ankle boot and the draping shirts feel less dramatic with a long jacket. It all really works here.

Alexander McQueen

You can always count on McQueen to outshine all the others.  Here we see exquisitely tailored suits in bright flower prints and oversize plaids which are a standard for Burton. Among boxy cut leathers and painterly prints she sneaks in a few choice lace print patterns that seem to speak toward those lace curtains you’d find at your Mom’s house. The last few coats with the beaded wings are breathtakingly beautiful and the final chandelier jackets are art pieces. Standout McQueen – you simply cannot do any less.


Pre Fall 2019

After drudging through the Pre Fall 2019 Collections seeing one after another of mixed up mash ups that all started to look the same for their differences, it became clear that the key to success in this fashion climate is to BE MEMORABLE. Whether the collection is tried and true, retro, modern, post modern, revival, whatever it is  make it memorable. It used to be a safe bet that if you were outrageous enough or avant guarde enough or conversely, minimalistic enough  that “memorable” would be in the bag. But not anymore. The market is saturated – at a time when the trends are so easy to replicate – like this current one of maximilist mixing and upcycling, layering and contrasting, it’s getting harder and harder to distinguish poseurs from talent. I can’t tell you right now of one collection that has stood out from the rest. That’s crazy. That is why there are so few collections in this post…

Galvin

I love that this collection is chock full of clean lines and timeless simplicity. These are serious staples for any young, chic, sophisticate. The sequin is done tastefully and the gowns are clean so you can either go simple and elegant or add accessories to personalize them.  I’m pretty sure this is what we are all looking for.

R13

I love the treatment of the blazer in this collection, the lining with the leopard is cool (Dolce and Gabbana do this too)  and the studs reference a classic DYI punk leather jacket. We did a small collection of upcycled vintage blazers for our in-house line enexile originals back in 2002 where we studded, patched and embroidered blazers and they remain one of my favorites. Wish I kept one for myself! I feel like it’s time for the vintage blazer to make a serious comeback – pushed up sleeves and all!

Moschino

This line is always a bit hit and miss for me because often the idea overwhelms the clothes but sometimes the balance is just right and we get wonderful theatricality and gorgeous clothes to go with it. This is one of the later and we got a showstopper of burlesque meets the ancient Romans. Said to have been inspired by the films of Fellini there are references to Hollywood’s image of ancient Rome. But the standouts for me were the gold letter and motif embroidered coats and jackets. They feel special and unique while being easily wearable. The embroideries add richness with their heavy gold threads stitched into dark thick wool. And the beaded pieces inspired by the showgirls costumes are are flashy and joyful. Overall a solid showing from designer Jeremy Scott.

Valentino

This collection had a whole lot of looks but not that many ideas. Overall you just get Ruffles. An exploration of the ruffle in fashion; a single ruffle, a deconstructed ruffle, and abstract ruffle, avant guarde ruf…you get the idea. Valentino is unquestionably the pinnacle of fashion when looking for elegance, sophistication and quality. The garments are beautiful and luxurious and that’s good. But I miss the great – the spectacular and outstanding! Beautiful though, no question.

 

Alexander McQueen

Not the most exciting but certainly exquisite. Tailoring takes center stage in this collection of elegant and sophisticated high fashion garments.  This is definitely the all grown up McQueen. These are highly wearable staples where any of these pieces will elevate a wardrobe.


Spring 2019 RTW

The buyer must be sweating it this season. As runway after runway sees models stomping down in experimental looks, abstract conceptualism and other evidence of designers either playing with fabric manipulation, expressing political opinions and outrage, going neo modernist and anything else you can think of. The idea of expression at any cost is rampant even when the cost is wearability and sellability. Neiman Marcus, Bergdorfs and even Nordstrom are going to be wringing their hands looking for the glamour for their society ladies and the wardrobes for the modern woman. Combing through all the art looking for viable fashion. In a retail environment where businesses are closing left and right can designers really afford to be artists and revolutionaries? I would argue there needs to be a balance of art and commerce where the designers that are steadfast will be seeing the rewards while the myriad others who let expression overcome practicality fall to the wayside. With so many voices screaming and clawing to be heard it all drowns each other out. Hopefully next season some of these will soften and try to incorporate their point of view into the clothes with more savvy, after all isn’t it the reflection of our times that turns clothes into fashion in the first place? But then again what better reflection of our current cultural climate than chaos?

Nili Lotan

Nothing exciting here, no newest and latest, no cutting edge or attitude. Just wearable, well made clothes that everyone can wear in real life. Practical and good. Thank God someone is doing it.

Carolina Herrera

There is a classic 1940s Hollywood glamour to this collection that is irresistible. The full skirted dresses, the bright colors and silky fabrics all harken back to the era of I Love Lucy when they were in Hollywood. Lounging by the pool and sneaking around the Beverly Hills hotel looking for movie stars. A fitting retro collection from the new designer, as Herrera has always been synonymous with classic, sophisticated glamour.

Petar Petrov

This is the first time I have taken notice of this designer and I’m hoping I haven’t missed too much. These clothes are wearable, they look comfortable, they are practical and they have a chic ease to them that make them extremely versatile. Who doesn’t need that in their wardrobe?

Libertine

At Libertine more is always more. This season was no exception. Patches made it onto just about everything – even stockings which has got to be a first – and pattern and color were on everything. I usually tend to like their less appliqued items and go for the more artistic pieces. This time my favorites were the painterly pieces and colorful graphic prints. How awesome would it be to pick one standout piece to add to your wardrobe from each season, have a curated collection of Libertine in the closet? A girl can dream – in color!

Moschino

I’m not including this collection because I love the clothes. More often than not Jeremy Scott goes way too gimmicky and overboard but this time… Genius. The idea of making the sketch – literally making the sketch is brilliant. I don’t doubt that these items will be highly sought after and collectible for may years to come. This is an iconic collection. Bravo.

Dice Kayek

Sure there is a doll clothes reference here, but the silhouettes are so lovely. The bright satins and crisp edged sinuous lines are striking and feminine yet strong. I love this resolution of ultra feminine shapes and strong defined edges. The curves of the full ruffles, waves of fabric and the conflict of those elements is masterfully controlled.

Paco Rabanne

As a longtime fan of the national dress of India this collection is a delight. It feels like the designer has taken that strong influence and sprinkled in some grunge shapes and styling and created a hip, fun and youthful collection showcasing the rich textures and colors of India. So great!

Kes

This is the first time I’ve noticed this designer, and it’s not that the clothes are that special, but as a group there is something so effortless and just cool about them. There is an understated confidence happening that feels inviting. For some reason I see the cool girl in these clothes – the Lisa Bonet  type. That girl who just knows exactly who she is and doesn’t need nor does she care to explain.

Ann Demeulemeester

This collection was full of fluid, flowing and dramatic pieces that have a dark romance. The styling is always theatrical but underneath all the theatre, the pieces are there. The stars of the show are the long button down shirts which work as dresses, jackets and…shirts! Remarkably practical and functional items that add a touch of that romance while allowing comfort and ease. There are also some breathtaking long lightweight coats that are perfect for adding instant drama.

Rochas

Good solid collection of uptown, chic clothing for the evolved fashionable woman. Some interesting silhouette tweaking as in the pale blush dress with the bows, and the LBD that make them feel modern yet classic.

 

Maticevski

This designer has been a favorite for some time for their voluminous shapes and lovely exaggerated ruffles. Ruffles aren’t often modern feeling but the manipulation is so subtle and feels so natural – like water over rocks or fabric caught in an uplifting breeze yet the fabrics are not light and full of actual movement they are stable – like a moment stopped in time. The result is like a visual poem.

Givenchy

There have been a few changes over at Givenchy where this time last year it was being designed by Ricardo Tisci.  He designed a bit on the dark side with themes like Vampires and Victorians and has always had a gothic undertone – in some of those cases overtone. He was a visionary and designed intricate, edgy, luxury garments that more than qualified him as a master. This newer designer, Clare Waight Keller, still has an edge to her design yet it’s not quite edgy and definitely not gothic. Personally I miss the drama of Tisci’s collections but I cannot dispute the fact that Keller is good. Maybe even better than good. Her Givenchy may not have the drama but it does have the glamour and upholds the sense that this woman – the Givenchy woman – is a woman of status and distinction. The star of this collection is the genus crystal shrug/cap/caplet whatever it is, little layering piece. I have never seen that before and it’s certainly a piece that is versatile (if you are in the high society world) while still being special. Looking forward to seeing what other genius pieces she will design.

Dries Van Noten

What can I say about Noten that I haven’t already gushed? That he is my idea of the quintessential French designer – always chic, always totally unique and not giving a shit about trends. Always perfectly balanced design regarding proportion and fit. Always a strong point of view with a stunning use of color and print. Here again, he pulls off the definition of “jen ne se quios” with cool confidence.

Haider Ackermann

As a woman who has always borrowed from the wardrobes of men this collection totally spoke to me. The looks were designed to be shared between the men and women and were designed to work for either. The prints were beautiful yet masculine, the cuts modern and perfectly tailored as usual except this time with a few more straight lines in the jackets and pants. Which only makes them look even more modern. The pops of bright yellow and green along with the ever-present black and white and the hint of a metallic seem to be a signature of late and come together seamlessly, no pun intended.

Oscar de la Renta

Hooooow can I express how much I love what is happening at the house of Oscar? It is everything that got me excited about fashion in the first place. It is clothing that is transformative. In the tradition of the great houses of Paris in the heyday of couture, these garments are simultaneously elegant, expressive, sophisticated and exquisitely crafted. These are clothes that those who are lucky enough to own them – or even borrow will instantly realize what an experience it can be to be dressed in the best of the best. The feeling of confidence, pride and transformation.



Mens Spring 2019

 

There seem to be two major trends happening on the menswear runways: 1. Activewear as sportswear 2. Womens inspired menswear. Neither of these are some big revelation as activewear has been encroaching on sportwear for a while now, but now it seems to have solidified its presence to where you can no longer find a sportswear collection that doesn’t include trainers and a puffy jacket… or 10. The colors are brighter, the fabrics are direct from the gym and the accessories are literal (duffel bags anyone?) Almost directly in contrast to this is the movement to bring womenswear for the men. We are seeing details as subtle as nipped in waists on jackets and as extreme as full on gowns with corsets. Women have been stealing from mens’ wardrobes since the 1920’s so why did it take so long for men to steal from them? In any case credit to the designers who can do it without looking lazy, as in, just put a boy in a dress. Those that borrow elements and use them thoughtfully have the most success in my opinion. Like Ann Demeulemeester, or Alexander McQueen – both who have made our very short list for favorites from the Mens Spring 2019 collections…

Tom Ford

I don’t think that Tom Ford’s reputation as a stylish MF has ever been up for debate. He can cut a suit that will stand out as the coolest, slickest, most expensive looking fellow in the room. By deftly using classic silhouettes and timeless fabrics he manages to make clothes that defy an era. They simultaneously subscribe to and transcend the 1950’s beetle era, the 1960’s jazz era, the 1970’s studio 54 era, the 80’s wall street – nineties mod, 2000’s hipster and on. Any of these suits would look just as sharp attending any of the parties in any of the hippest, most exclusive, most enviable homes in the hills of wherever, the penthouse of whatever. Timeless and of all times.

Yohji Yamamoto

It’s not often that I would describe menswear as beautiful. This collection by Yamamoto was just that. The clothes were fluid and thoughtfully draped to wear together.  The pieces with the screened florals were such a lovely contrast against the bleak darkness of the solid black. The pairing with leather and printed leather were just cool and had a bit of modern edge to an otherwise dreamy poetic collection.

Dries Van Noten

I absolutely always vibe with the colors used by Dries Van Noten. When I was obsessed with dusty colors against deep tones he validated me. (see it here on the old blog)

Currently I am obsessed with navy and deep greens against yellow and burnt orange, throw in some fuchsia and cherry red and now we’re talking! This collection goes a bit over wearable for mens though, in that the use of the bright color and the bold pattern can get a bit cartoonish – clownish even. I prefer seeing muted tones in the patterns and bright colors used as solids or as an accent.

Ann Demeulemeester

True to form Ann Demeulemeester has delivered another romantic collection for the modern day brooding poet. This time with a hint of beekeeper. The clothes as always are fluid and layered, gauzy and silky in an array of whites on black and minimal accent colors. This time a pale yellow and soft pink. The best bits are the pieced in satin stripe or lace details in the jackets making them unique and delightfully unisex. Lace for a man is particularly difficult to pull off but I don’t think anyone has come closer to doing it than here.  The lace sleeves still read as masculine on these jackets due to the broad cut and padding of the shoulder. Daresay sexy and not in a Prince wearing lace kind of overt way and more in a confident in his masculinity way. Nice

 

Alexander McQueen

OK this collection killed it. The mashup of a nerdy, straight-laced, dapper fellow with the edgy, tough guy and conceptual artist is brilliantly executed. Bringing together these personalities in one collection is an excellent representation of just what McQueen menswear is all about. There is always an element of punk, always a connection to nature and art through beauty and always the clothes are rooted by the bespoke nature of Saville row in London. It’s as if Burton has dissected these parts and shown them to us here, to say here are our split personalities because no-one is only one thing. It’s finding that balance of all our sides that makes us unique.

 


Resort 2019

When I think Resort I think Vacation. When it’s in the context of fashion I think Glamorous, Chic – Jet Setting Vacation! Some designers satisfy my parameters and others go off that beaten path and use this mid-season as an opportunity to preview their latest vision. Some do both. But I must say that I do tend to lean heavily in favor of those that fulfil my glamour fantasy, especially if it’s set in the south of France or on some fantastic voyage through exotic tropical islands… Bon Voyage!

Altuzarra

I have been a sucker for a landscape print ever since I first saw them plastered all over the 1994 Collection by Todd Oldham. These are perfect for resort. I immediately want to grab those killer cat eye glasses and hop on a plane to Antigua.

Todd Oldham

 

Johanna Ortiz

Resort was invented so that Ortiz could shine. Her collections always feel like a curated wardrobe for the sophisticated jetsetter. She embodies the idea of resort with tropical and chintz prints, off shoulders and ruffles, cottons and billowing silks. I especially love that she has incorporated the fringed shawl into the dresses this time because as much as I love them they feel like a slip sliding burden when you try to wear them. Here you get the look without having to think about where you’re going to hang it when you sit down to dinner.

Dice Kayek

I didn’t want to like this. Many of the dresses in this collection look like party dresses for 5 year olds.  But then as I flipped through the images I liked it more and more. The volume is something I really expected to see more of by now and when I do see it I really appreciate the shapes and sculpture. It’s different from what everyone else is doing and that is refreshing. Plus there are a few that are downright charming like the sleeveless black dress which is really versatile and the white ruffled number which has playful lightness.

Dennis Basso

These colors, they are not my favorite.  Especially when you block them like in the chevron dress or the color blocked furs. Too much pastel all together just conjures bunny rabbits and colored eggs. I cannot be alone in this thinking. However, blush tones and pale blues when alone or dramatically contrasting with charcoal gray or deep reds, plums, or navy – DIVINE! So I can see my way to acceptance when these colors are used.  The luxe fabrics, laces, florals and sequins are always a favorite and here they are done tastefully and with a touch of innovation to keep it from getting too “pretty”. The jacket for instance, with the  elbow length sleeve and the cascading floral embroidery feels so special, a great balance of modern and vintage. Or the floral print dress worn over the lace long sleeve shirt – the drama that it brings – takes that dress from pretty to edgy with that single pairing. There seem to be a lot of dusty florals in the collections this season which I can’t help but think are coming from the world of interior décor. They are reminiscent of the large floral wall coverings I’ve seen in the last few years, normally interiors take their cues from the runway…perhaps the lines are blurring between the two worlds.

 


Floral wallpaper “murals” have been trending for the last few years

Erdem

Again here are the florals. A friend of mine once told me that her favorite era of fashion was in the 1970’s when they revived the 1930’s. That’s just how this feels and if I was to make an educated guess – and why not – I’d say that this collection was either inspired by or photographed by the incomparable Paolo Roversi. His aestertic is always dusty muted tones and romantic ultra feminine looks tempered with mystique. Or similarly Sarah Moon another photography virtuoso. The inclusion of yellow ochre and olive green velvet ribbons and caramel and burgundy leather accessories shout out to the 1970’s, along with a the wide lapel jacket in leopard fur. The 30’s is represented in the silhouettes’ long narrow lines, dusty color palette and Erdem signature florals. These two eras combine so well that I can’t help but consider the similar political and cultural revolutions that were happening in those decades. They both had a sexual revolution, both were bucking societal restrictions and listening to scandalous new music, Jazz (30s) and Hard Rock(70’s). I’m certain there are many other common undercurrents that could relate the two which make their pairing here even more provocative.


Sara Moon

Paolo Roversi

Zac Pozen

The beautiful sculpted garments that are the signature style of Zac Pozen are distinctive. He has a way of draping fabric and tailoring that is truly an art form. These women become moving sculpture. Resort or not, it is incredible.

 

Christian Dior

I have been the loving the new designer at Christian Dior. This collection is not my favorite but it was undeniably beautiful and clearly inspired. As I was going through looks I started to get a very strong 2010’s Valentino vibe and kept thinking this is so like what Valentino was doing before the lady designer left. It was then I had a forehead slap moment. Wait, was the new Christian Dior designer the sorely missed  female designer of the Valentino team that turned that house around a decade ago? I feel pretty dumb that it took me this long to realize that my favorite half of that infamous duo was now turning around another great house, Christian Dior. Her name is Maria Grazia Chiuri and it all seems so obvious to me now. When she left Valentino you could tell right away, the house just lost it’s luster and hasn’t been nearly the bellweather since she’s moved on. The amazing embroideries, the botanical and mystical themes that celebrate heritage and culture are all Chiuri. That was always my favorite part, now it’s my favorite part of Dior.

Valentino 2015 under Chiuri

 

 


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Fall 2018 RTW

The Collections were all over the place, which is great in the sense that there isn’t really any overbearing trend that everyone is following. It seems that designers are feeling that they can experiment more. Perhaps they are under the influence of the runaway success of Gucci and the emergence of the Maximalist movement? There were tons of techniques on display;  abstract silhouettes in New York, fabric manipulation through layering and patchworking in London, color and texture in Milan and in Paris you’d have thought everyone just pulled ideas out of hat. If you saw all the collections and your general takeaway was,”What the fuck was that?” you aren’t alone. It’s a bit of a mess out there and the designers really need to regain their focus and tighten it up. Experimenting is fun, and they have a lot of ideas but they can’t ignore that part of their job is to work those ideas into a single presentation through tough editing and refining. Fashion should do one or more of the following; challenge, provoke, titillate, intrigue or dazzle – it should not be confusing or make one wonder whether something was done on purpose. On the bright side there was quite an abundance of expression which feels like the start of a revolution. Can’t wait to see where they go from here.

Alice + Olivia

 I always look forward to seeing the collections from Alice yet am often left feeling like they just missed the mark. But not this season, this time it was just pure unadulterated fun. It was flashy and unashamed, full of frills and rhinestones and color, pattern, prints and shine, fantastic! It is inspiring me to be playful and dress up like the little girl in me wishes I would. And how badly do I want those striped sequins boots?!? Badly. Very badly.

 

No.21

Clothes for the alternative girl that makes you wonder where does she get her clothes? In my experience she’s usually the girlfriend of one of my boyfriends friends and she’s not actually that cool but she has this style that is impossible to pin down. It’s not goth, but its gothy, not grunge but she’s grungy, not punk but there’s a note of it in there and not rockabilly but her hair totally is and the cat eye glasses she always wears… It’s that  eclecticism which is built in to this collection.  Now you can go out and purchase that cultivated wardrobe all in one place, (not over years of scouring thrift stores, cherry picking oddball pieces from friends, even occasionally splurging on a new item from that cheeky little shop in SOHO like she did). It’s kind of sad in a way, that a designer can appropriate a personal style – even if she’s an amalgam. But I guess that’s what many designers do now that I think about it. Hmm….epiphany.

 

For Restless Sleepers

I love this designer. The colors and prints are sumptuous as well as the fabrics and draping. It’s like dessert…before bed.

 

Max Mara

This collection had wearable clothes for either the cool girl or the chic lady, which is hard to do in one outing but here it is. The leopard pencil skirts, long coats and camel staples could go either way and were styled to just walk the line between either customer. Pretty savvy from a marketing perspective. And being Max Mara you know it will be well cut and fit with quality fabrics and craftsmanship. Something for everyone here.

Coach 1941

The wooing of the hipsters continues to be in full swing at the house of Coach 1941. This time it was by way of a 1970’s hippie shaman vibe. There was Native American inspired topstitching and fringe that led nicely into the patchworked leather looks of the 70’s. Not typically my taste on either account but it was fun and felt different from what everyone else is doing – though there are many doing a 70’s revival, AGAIN. This was a fresh take and offered up some modern vintage feeling pieces that are covetable.

Simone Rocha

This collection is fascinating in its layering and play with silhouette. There is no shortage of things to look at and each look feels more like a composition than an outfit. It may not seem avant garde upon first look but there are definite moments where this is forward thinking and pushing beyond the norm. I especially love the printed/embroidered sheer fabric layered over the printed silks where the effect is 3 dimensional. There are also interesting choices in putting the dresses over the coats yet still styling them as wearing dresses and putting necklaces (crossbody necklaces) which are so cool and reminiscent of the English royal garb with their regal sashes and adornments. Overall this collection has a pomp and extravagant quality mixed with a street and almost punk attitude which is very much in the style of Vivianne Westwood and I dig it.

 

Dolce & Gabbana

Dolce and Gabbana are the Chanel of Italy. You can count on seeing variances of the corset dress in the same way you can count on the seeing Chanel suit. It is a perennial item in every collection and has solidified the idea of sexy when you think Italian fashion. There is always color, they are always bold and the accessories are a whole universe unto themselves. This world. is. defined. and continues to be exciting and inspiring every time we get a chance to glimpse it.


Rochas

Am I the only one who always get Rochas and Rodarte confused? They both always bring color and extravagance to the table but Rochas definitely brings the sophistication that (sorry) Rodarte is sometimes lacking. This collection had such a beautiful color palette; deep navy blue, rich celadon green, pale blush pink, gold, plum, and raspberry. I love these colors together and they played off each other brilliantly. The addition of glittering embellishments in floral motifs made the whole collection feel like it had a touch of otherworldly magic. Just lovely.

J.Mendel

So there was a lot of fur in this collection. We’re not ethically on board with fur but the collection was beautiful. Luxe fabrics draped expertly gave an overall feeling of opulence. There were some embellishments that took away from the elegance here and there (like feather hemlines and what looked like sheepdog fur trims, ick) but the long gowns were stunning and I suspect we might see a few at this years Oscars.

Oscar de la Renta

I cannot express how much I love what is happening over at the house of Oscar. It’s akin to the rekindling of spirit that is happening at another great house, Dior. These new designers,  Laura Kim and Fernando Garcia are doing such a beautiful and respectful job of reinterpreting the integrity, the grace, elegance and sense of absolute refinement that these houses were built on. This collection is another in recent seasons where there are old-fashioned techniques and classic silhouettes being reimagined for the modern woman who is seeking elegance.  She has the money to wear the best and she radiates sophistication. I love this. CONTEMPORARY ELEGANCE! At last!



Mens Fall 2018

The collections that caught our eye this season were the usual suspects; a few beautifully cut suits, some exciting uses of color, some new silhouettes and lots of pattern (especially plaid). The theme running through all of these is style.

Canali

Impeccable. Timeless. Classic. The proportions are spot on, the cuts are flawless. Probably the closest you can get to Bespoke off the rack. These clothes would look amazing on any man.

Neil Barrett

When it comes to menswear my theory is that you have to walk a thin line. Clothing can look cheezy, silly, thrashy, goofy, etc if it’s not styled properly or if it’s not on the right man. Same as women’s, but lets face it women have a bit more leeway. Therefore for most men it’s best to stick to clean lines and shapes, good tailoring and leave the “personal expression” to the accessories. The hair, watch, shoes and so on. Neil Barrett has provided some perfect pieces here for just this man. Not terribly exciting, but solid – giving the man the chance to be the most exciting part of the outfit, without fussy distractions or trendy bullshit.

Daks

So in contrast to the last designer we have Daks. These are the clothes for the next guy, the one whose got a little twinkle in his eye, whose a little on the fringe, a bit of an artistic /creative type. He doesn’t mind the sideways looks and is confident enough in his personal style that he can mix plaid and mohair. Not for everyone, but thankfully we have a few of these clever fellows wandering about and if you’re lucky you might spot one in the wild like a colorful rare bird. The pants here are especially wonderful and come in a variety of cuts all beautifully crafted and fitted handsomely. The coats are also great – not too boxy not to narrow – accommodating and likely quite comfortable. Dandy.

Etro

Etro has always been one of my favorites because they are known for their use of color and they expertly mix textures and patterns. There is a youthful cheekynesss that is irresistible.

Paul Smith

Smith has always been the man to dress the quintessential quirky English fellow. That has not changed. His favorite is the classic suit; trim and tailored, wide leg or stovepipe he always runs the gamut. Here we get another vast offering of suits for the gents in his infamous broad color spectrum albeit here more subdued than usual. No complaints. A solid group with plenty to choose from. The streets of London will continue to vibrate with color and swing.

Ann Demeulemeester

In the Spring collection I thought there was a lean toward a swashbuckling pirate vibe and indeed it continues here in the fall. Demeulemeester always embodies the poetic soul and this collection adds in a bit of the rogue bandit as well. There is a feeling of romance in the styling here where the men always seem to be coming undone…Passon? Desire?  These are expressed quite beautifully and the clothes themselves are fitting costumes to wear in that state. And they are costumes but amongst them lurk wearable items – tanks, jackets, shirts…though I’d say most of the button cuffed pants are going to look a bit out-of-place in a world that doesn’t exist on the stage. Still ever lovely and inspiring.

Alexander McQueen

Mrs Sara Burton brings a fine mix of beauty and edge once again at McQueen. She has been an excellent designer for keeping with the McQueen aesthetic.

Haider Ackermann

The collection felt a bit different from the usual Ackermann sensibility, the clothes got a bit rumpled here at times looking a little messy. Ackermann usually does a slouchy shape that’s more deliberate, more controlled, here it gets a little bit away. Aside from those instances there are great looks and certainly great pieces where the cherry blossom items are my favorites. Ackermann often does asymmetric pattern placement like a painter and it’s lovely – it feels special. His eye for styling is key and it carries into his sense of proportion and overall design. There is always balance. He has yet to let me down.

Dries van Noten

You can always count on Van Noten to bring something unusual, creative and inspired to the runway. There is always a unique color scheme and clever mixing of patterns and textures. I love this about him. Here there are pieces that are 100% wearable and totally unique. What is especially nice about this for his customer is that every season he brings something new, a new favorite pair of pants or a new sweater, jacket, shoe. All totally aligned with his aesthetic, never straying from his point of view yet always realistic for the customer to incorporate into an existing wardrobe. This season he focused on abstract paint motifs as a base likely a point of departure for the color story which was blues, yellows and greens with ivory to bounce off of. It works in the collection despite the prints themselves being a bit garish. All in all the numerous offerings here are great. Fashion yet function.


 


Pre Fall 2018

This new frontier of showing collections is driving me crazy. Used to be there was a set schedule of when the collections would roll out so you’d know when to check the postings of the shows. Fashion weeks dictated the blocks of time, you could count on Fall fashion to be over a series of 3-4 weeks; New York, Paris, London,  Milan etc. Now with so many designers showing off runway, through lookbooks, galleries or private events, it’s anything goes. Fall can show anytime of year – same with Resort, Pre-Fall, Spring and so on until I’m not sure what season I’m looking at until I read the fine print. Not to mention running the risk of missing something incredible because I wasn’t checking in that day. Hopefully soon there will be a resolution to create some order amongst the chaos because I cannot be the only one who feels they may be missing out and certainly the designers cannot afford to be missed! The result I’m afraid is a rather patchy group of blog posts, where I may have missed some, or posted too early for others, leaving me only the option of adding updates to posts as necessary. SO all that being said, here is Pre Fall 2018!

 

Ermanno Scervino

There are two personas that resonate with me here, the ultra feminine, lacy, floaty dresses and the punk rock leopard and plaid. They have somehow combined the two and added in a military nod for good measure and come up with one kooky collection. I cant say I really get what they are going for, perhaps duality? I’m sure they have a whole explanation but it’s not entirely clear from the outside. It does however have some pieces that I love including almost all of those girly dresses and overcoats.

Sacai

This collection was striking. Each look was a collage of fabrics and prints, texture and shape. They garments have been arranged as if the designer had pieces that he was moving about until he found the right balance – always asymmetric. The eye is forced to move the way it would looking at a piece art with excellent composition.

Michael Kors

I am a fan of the rose print. Not gonna lie, especially when it’s mixed with an animal print. The lengths here are also right on, leaving a blurred line between day and evening which for sportwear is key.

 

Andrew GN

I look forward to seeing what GN is going to bring to the table each season. My favorite collections are always the ones with the heavy ethnic reference. Much like the former incarnation of Valentino in the early 2010’s there is always a sort of Russian doll or Eastern European traditional costume element in the clothes that I find kinda irresistible. It’s the modern take of either the traditional sihlouette; like a peasant sleeve or a print; like this oversized rose here as a lace applique – that feels like an honoring of cultures long past. A connecting of generations, a respect for tradition in a disposable fast fashion world.

Delpozo

First of all – STYLING! The styling of this collection is so wonderfully fantastical and reminiscent of classic painted portraiture. Does this creative styling make me like the clothes more…YES, yes it does. Give that photographer a raise. This collection isn’t really what you’d normally find on our page. But its undeniably good. The color story is playful and charming while also managing to be sophisticated. The shapes are structured yet soft and feminine. The contrast isn’t just in the dynamic pallette, but in the fabrications and silhouettes. So maybe this is our style after all, we do love a clever contrast.

Sachin & Babi

This is clean and modern feeling despite all the sequin and fringe. There is a hero in the styling here, where the modern is played up through hair and accessories making the clothes feel more sophisticated and elegant. The killer here has to be the white topped sleeveless gown with the embellishments. Perfect balance of modern utilizing the geometric shape and glamour with those deep colored stone embellishments. Stunning, a best piece of the season.

Oscar De La Renta

I love what is happening at La Renta, there is a definite honoring of the house and it’s done with such vision! There are modern cuts and shapes in modern fabrics that express both grace, elegance and a little humor. This is exactly how a modern version of a classic house should be run. Follow the original ideals while always moving them forward. The tulle dresses are charming and the separates are high style sophisticate. Love!

Christian Dior

I am loving the new design direction at Christian Dior. This is the first time since Galliano that the line has been so memorable. This particular collection feels distinguished – as Dior ought to be – and yet youthful. This time there is a touch of that 1960’s London, Mary Quaint style, in the shoes and caps. It’s youthful but in a retro way which is refreshing as most designers appeal to the party girl youthmarket via slick party dresses and overt sexiness. Dior here, feels fresh and bright while retaining a sense of dignity.