Tag Archives: Alexander McQueen

Mens Fall 2017

The menswear collections didn’t strike me as having any prevailing trends overall. There were your standard suit shows, your knitwear, your rumpled boys and nerdy hipsters. The same old stuff. Yet there does seem to be an underlying whisper of workout casual sneaking in. At Valentino the nerdy fellows all wore trainers. Even at Dolce & Gabbana there were sneakers paired with D-Squared-esque rolled up jeans and novelty sweaters. And almost everyone showed a version of sweatpants.

Sweatpants.

On the runways.

I blame Athleisure. Athleisure is a dangerous contagion. First it was Yoga pants and now I regularly see women in horrendously ugly patterned leggings at restaurants, movie theaters, shopping, everywhere! It’s like that sickening trend of knit patterned workout pants from the early 1990’s.

Allow me to refresh your memory….

…or the velour tracksuits that have FINALLY gone away…

 

Now this, sweats on the runways.  This is a shot from the Runway at Balenciaga.

Balenciaga!?!

Are those his sneakers from home? Did they get them from the lost and found? What is this?!

*****

Err, okay. So here are our favorites from Fall 2017 Mens.

Missoni

Always love mixed patterns, always love a well cut and nicely tapered flat front plaid pant. Double zip sweater with an interesting and somehow still chic and cool pattern (that is Missoni’s thing after all) love it. And the coat is, again, interesting without being obnoxious or trendy or trying so hard. How much do I wish they would loose the hats and Where’s Waldo glasses?

The Kooples

This showing feels more like a wardrobe than a collection. Which is great in the sense that you get the styling – you see exactly how it can all be mixed and matched without necessarily saying here is your sportswear, here is your streetwear here is your formal etc. They mixed it up so you see the suit dressed down and the leather jacket with slacks. I especially like the military outerwear and the drape on the trousers.

Diesel Black Gold

I’m digging the Asian influence here. Always interested in a new take on a classic leather jacket.

Yohji Yamamoto

The oversized look can be ridiculous if it’s too extreme. Here it’s just up to the line where it is indeed exaggerated but it maintains a cool chicness that is very French. The French  somehow manage to have an air of purpose in fashion and that is what we get here. There is a sense of the poet or conceptual artist wearing these clothes – I could easily see Basquait at a café dressed just so. The silhouettes are still clean and maintain shape despite the oversizing. These men look casual and comfortable – and they aren’t in sweatpants! Hooray!

Ann Demeulemeester

Again here we get that sense of the poetic soul. Albeit Ann Demeulemeester is known for bringing the drama. The more feminine pieces are a tough sell, so I turn to the cut of the pants and the jackets which are stellar.

Alexander McQueen

These clothes are beautiful. Exquisite even. Even though its hard for me to imagine the man who can wear them. This is a special fellow that I have yet to meet.

Haider Ackermann

Not my favorite Haider Ackermann collection but still as always very cool. The merging of fabrics which seems to be the theme of the collection doesn’t always work here but I like the idea of it and when it does work, like with the coat, it is unique in its artistry. Never in dispute Ackermann has the spirit of an artist and the eye of a tailor. His design always moves forward and it always has moments of sheer beauty and perfect balance.

Berluti

One of the more classic houses, Berluti has mastered tailoring long ago. It’s cool to see them bringing in these rich colors and luxe fabrics. There was a wonderful time in mens fashion in the early 1960’s. Where velvet jackets and sharkskin suits came in teal blue and emerald-green. Men wore these clothes and felt cool, they felt hip and they got to have fun with fashion.  Then the 1970’s came along and with it came poly double knits and menswear lost its way for the sake of “innovation”. I’m thrilled to see such an elegant reimagining here. Love the velvet jackets and that golden-yellow coat is a show stopper.

John Varvatos

Varvatos has managed to cultivate the perfect blend of rustic manliness with rock and roll. That’s got to be why he dresses so many celebrities who would be considered the coolest, the hottest and the edgiest. He knows how to cut a pair of slim pants without getting all Hedi Slimane impossible hipster tight. He can wrestle a suit into something edgy without looking trendy. He is the master and its clear when you see the transformation that takes place when a regular guy slips on a Varvatos jacket. No regular guys here, but take my word for it. Favorites are the olive double-breasted jacket and OMG that leopard coat. Not too much embellishment, just clean with a slim cut and sharp fabrics. Awesome.


Spring 2017 RTW

Is it just me or did the Spring offerings look more like Resort than the layerable looks we usually get for the season of crisp mornings and drizzly afternoons? The Pajama trend was still abound even though it has had a pretty good ride last year. There we plenty of light floaty dresses and thin tunics over palazzo pants – Resort right? Perhaps many designers are simply adding their resort items to the Spring lineup, or they just said fuck it and went for full summer wardrobes. Not sure, but it definitely felt off balance.

Hellessy

What I really love about these two looks is that I could probably wear them. No problem. Like, tomorrow. They would layer easily and they look comfortable and fluid. They could be accessorized with long necklaces, cropped jackets, sweaters, boots or sandals. They look easy, simple, but well made and quite lovely. Wrap ’em up!

hellessy

Stella Jean

Clothes for Carrie Bradshaw’s  hypothetical art school dropout little sister to wear on her vacation to Tahiti. Sex in the City had one of the best costumers in the business, Patricia Field and she is probably the reason why so many designers style their offerings in odd combinations and layers. I loved it then, when it was totally jarring in some instances and completely dumbfoundingly brilliant in others, and I love it here now. These clothes are playful, they are whimsical and they make me want to get crazy. Bravo.

stella-jean

Gary Graham

Ever since I became aware of Gary Graham I have become an increasingly bigger fan. The clothes are interesting. The styling is decidedly cool girl where the clothes could border on being old lady hippie. The way they walk that line fascinates me and keeps me coming back to see what they have next. This time out there is a nifty group of dusty florals and bohemian made at home feeling silhouettes. Simple shapes, layered in interesting ways that result in something I’d expect to see on Lisa Bonet. Who is awesome btw. I wonder if she wears this designer?

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Pringle of Scotland

I’m not really into plaid this year but when I come back around I’m going to think these are fantastic. Love when plaid is used in atypical ways like this draped lilting chiffon fabric. The stripes are great too in the design of the print and the choices of layering.

pringle-of-scotland

John Galliano

This season just as last season, there is a little hint of what we used to see in the lavish couture when Galliano was the head of Dior. Those were the days of Dangerous Liaisons esque drama with undertones of the Marquis De Sade. They were captivating. The wrapped and slung leather belts styled over the light floaty dresses are provocative yet tame enough to be accessible. The signature draping skills are in full force across shoulders and hips creating beauty in shape and form. Finally there’s a sprinkling of menswear that adds the edgy contrast that brings the cool factor. So good.

john-galliano

Libertine

It’s hit and miss with Libertine as sometimes the embellishments don’t seem justified by the design. When it works though I’m a fan. Especially when they antagonize the Queen. Where would the English be without Punk Rock? My favorites here are the Union Jack dress and cardigan and the black silk slip dress. Love the contradiction of sexy and snarky.

libertine

Alexander McQueen

What’s so captivating about this collection is that there are some many different inspirations happening all at once. Yet they all work together to create a striking and fresh Frankenstein. There seems to be some tribal, some India, some Hasidic Jew, some punk and some English heritage all carefully worked into this new creation. It’s so fitting that this cultural mash up come at a time when we are having a global cultural clash of sorts with refugees and new leaders wreaking havoc. To see how it can all come together into something totally new and how it can all compliment each other. Maybe I’m getting too in my head, but that’s what I see here and its fucking awesome.

alexander-mcqueen

Haider Ackermann

Impeccable tailoring. Edgy. Coolest designer out there. It’s not out of the question that I may find myself staring a Haider Ackermann fan club. This man inspires such awe and devotion, he delivers time and again and it’s always contemporary yet stays relevant over time. These are forever clothes. We love you Hay ay der, oh yes we do-oo, we love you Hay ay der, and will be true…

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haider-ackermann

Cushnie et Ochs

Ba-Bam! Wow, someone call Chrissy Teigen cause these dresses are edgy and foxy all at the same time.

cushnie-et-ochs

Maticevski

Once again the play with volume is masterful. Like a sculptor who knows his medium, this designer has the ability to craft shapes that transcend clothes and become wearable art. After looking at this collection it’s difficult to appreciate other designers collections. The works shown here take your head out of the fashion bubble and into the gallery. It’s easy to see that this will become a new and exciting minimalist movement that will set the tone for the post embellishment era that is upcoming and inevitable.

maticevski

Antonio Marras

These outfits are striking. They immediately bring to mind a 1950’s socialite who set the trends. When she arrived at the party all the other ladies whispered their jealous disapprovals yet secretly wished they had the guts to wear something that different and ultimately fabulous.

antonio-marras

For Restless Sleepers

So this is a line of Pajamas. I didn’t get that right away because of the big PJ trend that’s been happening, but once I caught on it was like, GENUS! I fully intend to become a eccentric old lady who slinks about her elegant apartment admiring her collections from her travels and THESE will be my uniform. Not that I wouldn’t wear them now nor that I wouldn’t want every single one, because I do. I just couldn’t live in them as I plan on doing later. I wonder if they do layaway?

for-restless-sleepers

Dries Van Noten

There is a decidedly 1930’s feel to the clothes but I cant put my finger on why my mind goes there. Perhaps the yellows and oranges against the creamy white and blueback? It has a vintage postcard feel that is so French and intriguing. That lovely serene woman with impeccable style and uniqueness. Je ne sais quoi indeed.

dries-van-noten

Dolce & Gabbana

Before there was Alessandro Michele there were Domenico and Stefano. These designers have set the bar for playful, sexy, bright and spectacular. And they do it again and again and again. The have a seemingly endless well from which to draw inspiration. They have never let me down when it comes to dealing out showstopper piece after piece of elaborately decorated garments bags and shoes. There will always be roses, there will always be corsets and there will always be black lace and gold trim. You can count on it.  It’s like coming home to a baroque embellished yet quaint village in Sicily for a glass of vino and a dance.

dolce-gabbana

Gucci

I said that I would no longer get angry at Gucci for having so much damn fun with this historic house, but my immediate response is NO! Stop it!

Why? Why does it freak me out so much every time? I know it’s going to be madness and color and ridiculous animal sweaters with stripes and sequin and on and on. Maybe it’s because it feels like a cheap Harajuku brand, or that it’s haphazard and ultimately doomed to become a cliché? A cheap thrill? Yet it endures still. I think it’s because I love over the top, stripes and sequins and color and rhinestones and tat and glory and I can’t stand to see it abused with abandon. Knowing it can’t possibly continue on at this breakneck pace. People will tire of it, the novelty will wear off and that will be that. (sigh) I’ll be so sad to see it go. It’s just so fucking fun to watch, and I really do love those bags and shoes and printed skirts with skull butterflies and sequin tigers and starbursts and beads and satin ruby red bows on celadon green skirts….*passes out*

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Men’s Spring 2017

My new neighbor is a 20 something man who is a model and in a band. He is gone for months at a time on tours so I guess his group has some success. He is definitely what I would refer to as a hipster, but in the most endearing way. You see he’s a bit awkward and decidedly geeky. When I see him he’s always dressed in bright colors wearing high-water pants and shrunken tee shirts with narrow jackets and occasionally glasses. I would classify his style as fitting with the new Gucci aesthetic and I get it. It’s pretty adorable because he’s such an earnest fellow. Normally I would say menswear should be more simple, clean and cool. But he makes me smile and I’m always curious to see what he’s put together. Honestly though not many over the age of 26 could pull off that style, but you gotta be you, no matter the age.  Fashion is really the easiest and most accessible form of self-expression. You fly your flag to seek your tribe. That’s why it’s so important.

Here are my favorites from the Menswear Spring 2017 collections.

Gucci

I can see now that fighting against the new Gucci aesthetic is a waste of energy. I am finally at the point where I know what it’s going to be and that they have no intention of puling back on the excess. Okay, so it’s a new and very different Gucci now. Gone are the days of Tom Ford and his sleek sexy vibe.

Tom Ford for Gucci

Gone is the era of the 1980’s preppy god.

gucci-1980s

It’s a new dawn and the sun is rising to reveal satin and tat in all its gaudy glory.

So here we go:

Gucci

Alexander McQueen

I really like the Spanish style embroideries used on the jackets here. It’s difficult to add embellishments to menswear and not have it get gaudy or too feminine (see above). Usually I would say it’s just for the rocker type but here with the provenance of the Spanish heritage it remains dignified. I’m sure this will appeal to the younger, more hip type but if you were a more mature fellow, I think you could pull off one of these beautifully tailored jackets for an elegant, yet relaxed affair. The key here is to dress it down. I also like the designed prints on the suits because they always stand out and look very special.

Alexander McQueen

Haider Ackermann

Here’s what I hear in my head while looking through his collections,  Haider Ackermann is the coolest. I hear it on a loop in a sing songy way. It’s automatic. Ackermann will never be confused for any other designer. What he does is so distinctive and pure. It’s inspired and fascinating. The use of color is brilliant in that it’s at once unexpected and then totally natural. Of course those pants would have to be teal blue! His man is always on the cutting edge without ever getting tired or overplayed. This is just an eclectic fellow with confidence who exhudes style.

haider-ackermann

Dries Van Noten

Mr. Ackermann and Mr. Noten are really the two designers who are leading the way for the next generation with their vision and their laser focus point of view. This is what true designers do. They create a world and let us glimpse it. They offer you wonderful options that allow us to just pay a price to buy a form of self expression. They are taking the hard work out of expressing yourself by showing you a wholly different perspective. Noten always seems to know just when to shift gears and does so from say – the fitted to the relaxed – with ease. The colors as always are just as important to the design as the cut and fabrication, and all work in total harmony. Noten, in true French fashion takes risks and always has a dynamic and unique perspective.

dries-van-noten

Ann Demeulemeester

Yet another very cool French design house, Demeulemeester always has an edge that inspires admiration and yet still feels accessible. You don’t have to be a model or a fashion guy to wear these clothes…well the stripes might be a challenge for the regular Joe. There are some pieces here that would work for anyone and add that little something that says – hey, I know what I’m doing.

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Valentino

I always have a sort of “meh” response when I see a military inspired collection these days – especially if it takes the canvas and fatigues approach as opposed to the more exciting Napoleon era Galliano approach. But here Valentino has really borrowed with refinement and if anyone could elevate camouflage they can. They have designed these clothes to be investment pieces that you can wear like jeans; the solid zip up jacket and the olive overcoat  feel easy and rather timeless. A clean collection that has just enough to stand out.

valentino

Louis Vuitton

Vuitton by way of Vivian Westwood? They feature Sid Vicious’ famous lock necklace – which immediately played the scene from Sid and Nancy in my head “Oh cool!” says Sid as Nancy clasps the lock around his neck, “where’s the key?”

“What key?”

Sid bursts into laughter. I’ve seen that movie waaaaay too many times.

sid and nancy

I used to have this poster on the back of my bedroom door. Mom didn’t care for it.

 

 

Aside from that there are also the infamous Fur sweaters.

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Westwood and McLaren

Who is this new designer? As it turns out Kim Jones is indeed a collector of Westwood and McLaren’s and he has pulled some serious inspiration from them here – which is naturally my favorite influence of this show. There is  also some African influence which makes for an very unlikely juxtaposition. Punk and African that is, unless you were to reflect on the roots of Ska which is Jamaican but probably the closest association.  That’s just the music though and I don’t recall seeing any Rude Boys sporting Zebra Print. However despite all the confusion the Animal Print Creepers and  briefcase are perfectly awesome.

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Fall 2016 Review

We really get to have the best time drooling over the fall collections. It is by far the biggest blowout of the year. The collections present complete wardrobes laced with epic backstories. Layers of sweaters and skirts, boots, jackets and coats and the gowns! Hooray for gowns;  impossibly extravagant gowns, clean sleek gowns, embellished, layered, draped and dramatic – this is their time.  This is fashions bright shining moment where designers bring us their earnest best. Day to evening, including outfits for every possible circumstance. The nail-biting, the ulcers and the sleepless nights all come down to that runway and it’s so exciting. There is so much to see this year, so much variation and so much great work that it was very difficult to edit it down to just these few.

Damir Doma

Deconstruction had its trendy heyday about a decade ago so when we see it nowadays, you know the designer is a true devotee. This is their aesthetic not just a gimmick. And here it really shows. The use of the technique is thoughtful and designed which keeps it looking elevated and not shabby. The layering is beautifully done and enhances the garments’ proportions. While the color palette of black and white, neutral and utilitarian is true to the genre. My favorites are the jacket and coats, especially the white which compliments the all black uniform underneath with a hip result. (The shoes and jewelry are cool too.)

damir-doma

Aganovich

Aganovich gets me again. It’s still in need of refinement – there is something that is keeping it looking like design school level – not quite elevated enough yet. But they are definitely on to something and I’m still waiting to see them evolve…

aganovich

Maticevski

The silhouettes shown in this collection are amazing. The volume is done with such precision that it doesn’t overwhelm the model even when that seems impossible. The proportions are perfect, the fit is impeccable, the result is ultra feminine and chic.

maticevski

Moschino

I love the subdued jewel tones and the theatric elements of this collection. Jeremy Scott is known for his unapologetic designs which are usually more satirical and pop culture centric. The pop culture collections don’t interest me much but this one gets me solely on its charred dresses. (Although the day of the dead tails are cool on their own) The Dresses themselves are pretty but then he stets them on fire and they are suddenly tragic and punk all at the same time. No doubt this is a very fun show to attend and though the theatrics and sparkle got me, but the rest of the collection was just meh.

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Paule Ka

If you are in your 20’s and in search of the perfect cocktail dress than Paule ka has got you covered. Well crafted and cut just right to evoke a playful simple charm.

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Les Copians

Who wants to be snuggly, adorable and chic as that girl walking on the bridge over the left bank in Paris on a drizzly fall afternoon? I do!

les copains

Alberta Ferretti

The dusty colors and soft fabrics are lovely. The first dress is delightfully unusual in the combination of its metallic base and matte rusty-red detail. There is a sense of antique to the whole group that evokes nostalgia for feminine softness. It’s romantic and poetic and I find that irresistible. I love when the clothes transport you to another time and place.

alberta ferretti

Erdem

So gloves have been making a comeback. Talk about nostalgia. They often look baggy and sloppy to me, and God forbid they be spandex ((chills)). I love these three looks though, despite the gloves. This is a confident woman and she means business. Erdem always has florals and this print is one of the coolest they have done. The metallic and the green against the matte black background is dangerously close to looking upholstery yet reads as very sophisticated here, especially in the Asian style dress. The coat is borderline muppet but is saved by the graphic pattern of the fur. The shoes are fantastic too!erdem

Antonio Marras

There is something very unique about this designer. Nothing he does looks derivative – at least of nothing I’ve ever seen. He has such an original point of view that I can’t help but be intrigued. Where does he get his ideas? How does he come to his design resolutions? The choices are not obvious. They are in fact distinctive in their obliqueness. Whoa, I am overdosing on the vocabulary words. Just goes to show what an inspiration a unique perspective can be.

antonio marras

Gucci

It’s still an embellishment bonanza over at Gucci and I can’t say I don’t like it. There are SO MANY IDEAS here, it’s insane. It’s as if the designer has just been holding all of these colors and patterns and images in his head until he finally just exploded all over the workroom. There is chinoiserie, there is disco, there is every conceivable era from the 1900’s all the way through to 2015. What can be said? There are pieces I love here and there and little jems hidden amongst the Where’s Waldoesque chaos. I cannot imagine wearing it all together but mixed into a wardrobe, paired with some basics. For example a black camisole with those sequins pants would still stand out without going over the top. Or the Jacquard coat with good old jeans.  And it may sound crazy but that tiger bag could be an everyday item. At least it would be if I got my hands on it.

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Roberto Cavalli

I love this interpretation of bohemian. It feels very authentic and not like costume for once. It’s decadent and full of rich fabrics, sensual textures and jewel tones. The teal blue with the deep green is such a stunning and rich combination. And who can forget the stunning yellow Beyoncé gown which is now iconic?

One of the best things about this collection is the styling. It is an excellent guide for how to dress something down. Yes, you can dress down sequins and you can dress down gowns. It can be one of the coolest cool girl secrets you’ll ever learn. The second look featuring the belted beaded gown paired with boots and a scarf is the perfect example. That dress on its own could go to the Oscars, but how many people are going to the Oscars… Styled this way, dressed down it can go out to cocktails or even an afternoon of shopping and a late lunch. Brilliant!

roberto cavalli

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Somehow Vivienne Westwood is always doing classic Vivienne Westwood. She has such a singular point of view which is never obstructed by trends or outside influence. It’s always just coming out of her head. It is so cool in there. I love that she shows slouchy yet tailored and masterly draped clothes time and time again. While not everything she designs is easily wearable, these four looks sure are.

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John Galliano

Ooooh there is a little glimpse of the Galliano dandy from the days of Dior. The cheeky Louis XIV rapscallion. Obviously not with the decadence of Dior Couture. This is more of a wearable – I’m guessing from the shoes – street style dandy perhaps? But those dresses do have the same feel as the stunning concoctions he showed on those ladies of the court in the 1990’s.

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Central Saint Martins

So these are student designs from the St Martins college, I don’t know who the designer is. That is a shame because these dresses are lovely and do not look like student work at all. The draping and cutting is perfect and in these shapes that it not easy to do. It takes a deft hand. Hope to see more from this designer – whoever they are!central saint martins

 

Rochas

I think my favorite thing about this collection is the color story. I’m dying to see burnt orange, teal blue and emerald green, navy and mustard yellow.  Here is more of a muted version of those colors, but I’ll take it. So satisfying! I also love the first three dresses because they require little thought, no special underwear or accessories. You could just throw it on and go.

rochas

Nina Ricci

I wasn’t sure I needed to include these dresses because they aren’t really anything special, yet here they are, included. Is it that they are kind of simple? We have definitely seen them before. Perhaps it’s that they are wearable party clothes. Most anyone could wear these shapes and these styles. They aren’t exclusive to a thin girl, a busty girl, a cool girl or a conservative. From left to right they are clean, playful, a bit flashy and a bit sexy. Wouldn’t one of these work for that night out you have coming up? I think so, and you would look really good. Easy! That’s why they are included.

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Rodarte

The first time I saw this collection I thought, “My dream prom come true. A stunning, elevated, gothic prom complete with fishnets and live orchids.”

When I was editing the post I looked at this same collection and thought “Were they going for 1930’s French hooker?”

What a difference a few months makes! In either case I still really like these looks, they are so overdone in the best possible way. All the elements have been worked out and come together in the looks. Even with so much piled on there isn’t anything completing for attention. You get to see it all because it’s cohesive.

Rodarte

Haider Ackermann

This collection looks as if it is starting to borrow a bit from the menswear line – which  I love because as much as I like the menswear collection for men, I love it more for me! So this works out very nicely, very nicely indeed. Plus the added bonus of the very cool striped dresses mixed in amongst the infamously cool Ackermann cropped jackets. The colors as always are a perfect palette of brushed metallics, earthy base tones (in this case green) and a shock of electric color (here it’s pink). Do you want to look edgy and still be the picture of sophistication and impeccable taste? Do you want to look cool without looking trendy? I sure as hell do. My adoration for Ackermann is not secret and he does it true to form every single time.

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Alexander McQueen

I just recently watched the Documentary The First Monday in May ( I highly recommend it btw) and there is a section of the film devoted to The Met’s Alexander McQueen exhibit. I marveled at the images. I realized that I had adjusted to Burton’s vision of McQueen and had almost forgotten his genus. He was a master at showing beauty and nature in all its rough and raw glory. He reveled in Natures brutality and was fascinated by her adaptiveness and fierceness.  Burton is less dramatic and less in touch with that sense of awe and wonder for the world and now I feel almost disappointed. But is that fair? How do you follow a man who left no traceable path. He was truly inspired in the most pure form.

This collection by Burton for McQueen shows that she does honor his roots as best she or anyone most likely could. There are elements of romance, punk and natures wonderful display here and they are altogether cool and modern and spectacular. But I cant help but wonder how Alexander would have done it.

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Dries Van Noten

So many designers this season and the previous few actually, have been showing pajama sets and leopard prints. So it’s nothing unusual or particularly exciting to see them here. What makes this collection stand out from all the rest is class. The word “classy” has always stuck in my craw a bit because only classless folk use the term “classy”. It’s really more of a slang term so it seems to negate the credibility of the compliment simply due to the perspective of the user. Here though it feels like a perfect fit because so many of the pajama looks and leopard prints being shown by other designers are a trendy version: a rock and roll version, a club version or a quirky hipster version.  These clothes on the other hand, look elegant and expensive. They are high fashion, not trendy and marketable. No cheap commodities here – oh no. These are the clothes one aspires to wear. To be that park avenue woman who represents strength, intelligence and CLASS.

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Valentino

My first thought in seeing this collection is “Oh my god finally some new silhouettes from Valentino!” Without question Valentino has positioned itself as the bellwether for high fashion. Most every designer has elements (let’s be kind and say) inspired by what has been shown on the empirically impressive runway at Valentino. We can trace the illusion dress, the long fitted gown, the narrow shoulder and the turtleneck seen of late all back to this house. Not to mention the entire embellishment trend. They have been showing variation on these established powerhouse designs for at least 6 seasons now so it’s refreshing to see some new offerings that go in an entirely different direction. I love these fuller flyaway skirts and the lightness they bring. In fact lightness seems to be the theme of this collection which features feathers and clouds as motifs. The illusion dress has run it’s course so I’m excited to see where they go from here.

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Men’s Fall 2016 Review

Men’s has been heading the way of more relaxed styles as a reaction to all the skinny suits and skinny jeans of the last big trend. Yet now we seem to be coming to find a tidy balance between the exaggerated and oversized, and the impossibly snug. This is great time in fashion when the trends aren’t swinging too far to one aesthetic. Sprinkle in a bit of Edwardian and Gothic and we’ve got Fall 2016. Here are our favorites.

Joseph

So here we have the moderate version of that slouch look. It’s an easy fitting pant with an easy fitting sweater and yes, an easy fitting jacket. It’s laid back, it’s cool and it’s surely a hell of a lot more comfortable than skinny jeans. (Always love a tuxedo pant.)

 Joseph
Costume National

I like how they have taken a bit of that Edwardian, Edgar Allen Poe Goth trend that is resurfacing and relaxed its often rigid aesthetic. You still have the costumey Edwardian vibe with the silk stripe pant and velvet vest but they aren’t quite so heavy nor so strict. The gothic peeks out in the form of pointy boots and zippers at the knee. Not too much, not too far, just right to work into an existing wardrobe.

 Costume National

Joseph Abboud

Here is an admittedly more subtle and decidedly English country version of the Edwardian trend. The Pants again are a bit more relaxed and the sweaters are easy. Love the relaxed feel of it all even in the velvet tuxedo.

 Joseph Abboud

Greg Lauren

Athleisure meets Ralph. The black on black vest and undershirt are a nice choice, keeping the vest from getting too hipster.  Then the jacket and loooooong shirt combo make a cool, albeit tough to pull off look.

Greg Lauren

Dolce & Gabanna

A really nice mix of the Italian houses’ signature flowers and appliques with the Edwardian influence. Love that leather jacket and excited to see a elegant little wallet chain. Believe it or not these pants are loose by D&G standards!

Dolce & Gabbana

 John Galliano

A little peek at the dandy with the flowers at the end. This is a cool guy who wants something distinctly different yet not gimmicky. Like most guys I know. The jacket and coat are just that, with distinctive design details which are enough to make them unique yet not subscribe to any trend nor specific era.

 John Galliano

Dries Van Noten

The French can thank Noten for keeping their name at the top when it comes to forward fashion. He often seems to take a cue from historic costume but always manages to completely make it his own. There has been a eastern influence in his work of late and here we see it again in the silhouette, the wrapped skirt and the buttoned up jacket of the worker. I don’t know if the embellishments are from a military or regal base. At face value though, they are very intriguing shapes and add a unique element of flair to the impeccably cut jackets.

 Dries Van Noten

Alexander McQueen

Edwardian Gothic is right in Burtons wheelhouse. She is a master at all things punk and Gothic especially if she has the freedom to make it a little femme at the same time. The prints are a gothic girls dream, all floral and butterflies in glorious black and white. The suits are so cool and the possibilities of mixing into a wardrobe are making my inner goth giddy. The long narrow black coats are stunning, especially the silver paisley. Finally, that rose print coat is like a dream come true. Oh that I had all the money in the world to spend on sublime flowery gothic fashion!

 Alexander McQueen

 Roberto Cavalli

This collection is like a smorgasbord of what is being shown by Gucci, St. Laurent and Marc Jacobs. Whether that is a good thing I don’t know, but I like what all those designers have been doing and I like what I see here too. Mostly the mash up of prints in dark colors and embellished velvet. The slouchy PJ’s and the leopard fur are all good fun. Not digging the chucks and the Aerosmith scarves but still some good buys here – mostly for me though, not so much my man.

 Roberto Cavalli

Haider Ackermann

Oh my God, a Misfits and Bauhaus mashup.

Misfits meet bauhaus

Ackerman answers to his own muse. This is not exactly on trend though it is undeniably gothic. This is rock and roll history in all its glammed out, hairless, skinny boy glory. These are rock and roll clothes and if you aren’t rock and roll at heart you just won’t understand and that is just fine.  If everyone liked it, it wouldn’t be special which is probably why it’s always leaned to the extreme – to keep the others out. When I started this review I had praised the designers for staying more toward the middle of the road on trends so I get the irony of closing on a totally extreme collection. I never said middle of the road was my favorite – just the most reasonable.

Haider Ackermann


Spring 2016

So many questions…

You’d think that designers who have longevity – wait, not all designers that have longevity – but some of them at least, would be pleased to see the revival of a look that they were responsible for. Like Armani – who you’d think could blow the doors off of the 1980’s revival seeing as he is the designer who led the way in the 1980’s. He was the top designer at that time who brought us the power suit. Is Armani thinking, “I know this – I can do this in my sleep, lets show these kids how its done!”? Then there is Marc Jacobs who was famously ousted from Perry Ellis immediately after showing his “grunge” collection (ironically his most influential)  which IS ALL OVER THE RUNWAYS now. From the super trendy St Laurent to the Italian powerhouse Roberto Cavalli. Is Jacobs thinking that this epic revival is his for the taking? Should he give derivative Slamine a run for his money? Or are they over it? As designers it is their job to move forward so do they just shrug and say its nice to see that I’ve made a mark on the industry? One that can be felt all over again, all these years later?  Which then implies it will continue to resonate in the decades to come as it will surely play out again and again in subsequent revivals.

It seems to me that the overall feel of  Spring 2016 (and then again in the just completed Fall 2016 collections) is Revival. And no era has been spared. The top designers are going from the 60’s all the way to the 00’s. Sure, someone is always doing an homage but when the majority of the top designers are looking back to go forward….that’s a big shift. Perhaps they have fatigued on all the “half and half” looks and the origami draping. Do they need a break from the desperately overdone, overworked and tortured looks meant to break new ground?  Now they just want to relax and make something they love inspired by a favorite bygone era? I think that having a break from trying to be the designer of the future will allow them to relax and clear their minds. When you stop trying so hard that is usually where inspiration is found.  My prediction for next year is that these same designers – now revitalized – are going to be pushing forward with fury. The collections for 2017 are going to be modern and clean and the silhouettes will be shapeless, straight and simple. None of the layering of pattern and costume frivolities we see now.

In a nutshell for Spring 2016 we see the beginnings of a huge trend of Fur, Leopard and Patent Leather with a gothic undertone all which carry into the Fall. Here are our favorites.

Mui Mui

So happy to see the bold prints and mixing of textures in this collection which first caught my eye in the 1990’s Prada collections. The purple print is my favorite because it  looks like it would feel joyful to wear. I also love the trench coat layered over the dress and the wide lapel double breasted coats (also a 90’s staple). They have a nice nipped in waist and are the perfect length both at the sleeve and the hem for ease of wear and practicality. This is the first hint at the gothic makeup trend there will be much more of to come.

 Miu MiuA.F. Vandevorst

I love a cool girl. The fitted striped pants are understated which is not easy to achieve in a striped pant. The result is instant effortless cool points, the belt is soooooooo coooool like a punk rock cummerbund then paired with the elevated blazer is a nice touch of class. The dress has that papery drape that would usually annoy me but I find myself thinking it looks really clean and sharp here – perhaps its all attitude? Hmmm. The last – those killer embellished  pants layered under the black embellished dress (?) is great because you can feel the weight of it, the way the metal embellishments effect the hang and that when she walks she can’t help but feel powerful, like an armor. It’s all so cool.

A.F. Vandevorst

Haider Ackermann

Ackermann is my current favorite designer. He must be, because he has done deconstructed neon pants and I like it. The fact that he would put neon yellow with ice blue velvet is enough to know that this guy knows what the fuck he is doing. The obvious quality of the work and the materials support the design so that he can accomplish deconstruction without losing any luxury. The pastels play off the bright colors so naturally that I wonder why it never occurred to me before. I love that – when a design is so successful that I have an ah-ha moment.  The signature cropped jacket is always spot on and the leather is supple and chic. Ackermann continues to inspire.

aa Haider Ackermann

Yang Li

Big flowy dresses are always on my list. Whenever the weather gets warm and breezy I have an innate desire for long fluid fabrics that will billow when I walk. It just feels good. These speak to that desire. The white swingy jacket, the black maxi dress, the florals with the full skirts and that jacket with the train are all easy to wear and make you want to parade down the sidewalk in the sunshine. The gothic color palette is unexpected with floral so naturally I love that too.

aaa Yang Li

Etro

Here is  more of that same feeling but with a vintage and exotic vibe. These are more of a lounge around drinking tea in the solarium just off the manicured gardens while discussing the trivialities of politics. Who’s in??? Tra la la!

aaaa etro

Anna Sui

Anna Sui always has a strong retro vibe to her collections, which is probably why she is one of my favorites. Especially when she taps into the 20’s 30’s or 40’s. This time it was a late 1930’s nod full of her signature prints and dusty tone color palate. I especially love the charmingly old Hollywood retro swimming costumes in the colorful prints. And the floral print floaty dresses are always welcome. Fair Warning: Generally, whenever florals are really popular there is always like a 10 year backlash where they are impossible to find so here our chance to stock up.

 Anna Sui

Had to include the final sequin look because it is a remake of an iconic costume worn by Barbara Stanwyck in the very funny 1941’s farce, Ball of Fire

Annex - Stanwyck, Barbara (Ball of Fire)_04

Temperly London

More resort-y springtime faire on the runways at Temperly London. I used to say that I thought this was the perfect designer for Kate Middleton, though now they seem to have evolved into more of a relaxed silhouette. More and more they are heading toward looser fits. I love the soft pink and black combo that they always seem to go back to – it’s charming in its innocent femininity without being cloyingly sweet. Always a sucker for a palm print, I like it here in conjunction with the English rose motif which keeps the palm from getting too trendy. The peasant dress out first is a nice introduction to the story of the collection and charming on its own. The blazer is not my favorite,  I’d prefer a lightweight knitted ivory pullover in its place with a low slung belt. A robe is the new covetable item especially when the sleeve and hem are long, as they are here. The Sheer beach dress has perfect pattern placement and the sequins jumper with the addition of the rosary is so cool.  Relaxed chic for Spring.

Temperly London

Alexander McQueen

Right off I have got to announce how much I love the redcoats juxtaposed to the soft rose print florals. All the details are beautiful from the touches of fringe to the tiny covered buttons and the eyelash festooned metallic lace. Burton has reigned in the ruffles and peek a boos from the last few collections and it looks like she has really gotten to the meat of it here. This is more restrained and better edited which makes it so much more balanced and accessible. The jewelry is STUNNING and so badass – I love the heavy chain and the boldness. It’s at once pretty, cool, soft and strong.

 Alexander McQueen

 Antonio Marras

This group is decidedly European. There is that thing about this designer that is akin to when you see a person from Germany (or some western European country) at a coffee shop and you can tell they are not an American. There is just something inherently different about them. These clothes have that indescribable thing and it’s really intriguing. The colors are unusual together, warm grey with gold, pink, ivory and crimson red. I love all the embellishments on the dresses and the makeup and styling are kind of like what you may see in an old oil portrait painting framed in some heavily carved gold frame. This whole group  has mystique. I love that.

 Antonio Marras

Dolce & Gabanna

Dolce and Gabanna time! Bring on the colors, the embellishments, the lace, the corsets and the sexy. They always have some roses, some religion and some sequins so I always love something. This time it’s the flowers that were my favorites, along with the pajama theme that most designers are showing.  There are plenty of more is more moments here and I just chose some of the ones that caught my eye especially though I assure you there were tons to choose from.

Dolce & Gabanna 1 Dolce & Gabanna 2 Dolce & Gabanna

Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini

These are some romantic, billowy, spring and summer dresses. I love how the fabrics are light enough to layer but have enough weight to behave as a dress not just a nightgown. Obviously some clever layering would be necessary in the case of sheer dresses, but this brings the opportunity for brightly colored slips or light colored blouses – loosely knit cardigans…there is fun to be had. Just what I want on a hot sunny day with a big hat and cool drink.

 Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini

 Valentino

Though the theme is not my favorite there is always stunning work done at the house of Valentino these days. I could not reasonably do a review without acknowledging the masterful craftsmanship and immense creativity of this team.

 Valentino

Gucci

Were do I begin?? There is so much happening in this collection and as a more is more subscriber, it’s hard to deny that my eyes are dancing. The colors are like a bowl of shiny hard shelled candies. The fabrics like they came from Diana Vreeland’s apartment, the details are cheeky and irresistibly playful. The trompe l’oeil ruffles are genius. I always applaud when a designer gives you a collection that you can own a piece of and be satisfied. Here you could have that bag, that shake charm shoe or just a ring and feel like you have a bit of the fantasy. This is purely due to the fact that the theme is so cultivated and merchandised for point of sale. I’m sure the investors are slapping each other on the back right now seeing dollar signs,  this collection is so easy to shop.

Gucci Gucci

Shoes!

So speaking of things we can buy, shoes! Shoes!! Shoes!!! We had to include these few from the runways.

J Crew

J Crew Gingham and Madras 1950’s inspired sandals! YES!

Miu Miu 1

Mui Mui Snakeskin T-Straps and blood red patent leather heels. Love the ankle ties too.

Oscar de la Renta

Oscar de la Renta does Vamp. Oh Yeaaaaaaaah

Marc Jacobs

I have discussed how excited I was to see what Jacobs would do once he had his own house to play in again. Having thrown off the shackles of Vuitton and it’s expectations, what delicious creations he would be able to unleash. Well this collection was just what I hoped for. The overall theme of the circus, the burlesque, the fantasy, he went there all the way and clearly had a blast. It’s so enjoyable as the viewer when you can see the fun that was had while they were designing. How each idea led to the next – the energy is kinetic and inspiring to behold. I love the colors, the fuschia and gold and the blood red and silver. The navy and burgundy and white! The details are abundant and make each piece beg the viewer to get a closer look. This is the best, most fun part of fashion – this is what sells the tickets to take the ride.

Marc Jacobs hh Marc Jacobs

Lanvin

The final collection by Alber Elbaz and it’s as if he decided to show us how it was all done. The revealing of the underwork is nothing but genius. There is so much meticulous crafted beauty shown here it is sad to think that this is the end. Lanvin has personified French fashion and this collection simply shows us why. Master craftsmanship, fierce attention to cut and form, and the highest of taste levels. Glamorous and elegant meet when stitched with lace and sequins, satin and wool. Breathtaking.

Lanvin

 Dries Van Noten

How fitting to end this review with French Designers. The Paris shows are arguably the most innovative. They innovate while maintaining a level of taste which is not as easy to accomplish as it may look. Noten has been at the top of the industry along with Valentino, Ackermann, McQueen and a handful of others when it comes to designing innovative and fresh collections that are legitimately wearable. Not to mention dramatic, yet poised and even downright practical at times. This collection is full of color and texture and pattern at every turn yet somehow it doesn’t look jumbled. Noten is an excellent stylist as well as designer which is why the collections always look so accessible. I love the evolution of the Chinoiserie influence in the prints. It is still there, on his mind from the last season but it’s morphing into the next idea and that is the best kid of tease in fashion. What will he do next???

Indeed.

z Dries Van Noten
 Dries Van Noten
zDries Van Noten 1


Fall 2015: Womens Ready to Wear Review

 

So here’s the thing about seasons where designers are of overwhelmingly like mind. In this case it was a full on 1970’s reboot. If you have been looking for a great vintage 1970’s piece or a have been missing that iconic element from your wardrobe, then this is the time to strike. Here you have many of the best designers in the world competing to create the most modern and desirable reinvention of a 1970’s era look. A defining piece – an attempt by some the best design minds out there to evoke the spirit of an era. You can now take your pick of printed miniskirts and flowing floral maxi’s. Don’t get bogged down in the revisitation of a seemingly wrung out moment in our history, (eh hem) shop it instead and move on.

Overall Fall 2015  offered many options for real wearable clothes. And it was these wearable pieces that drew my eye, more so than the flashier artistic fare. Which is so unlike me considering my magpie tendencies. As a result there was a very large pool to choose from and a very diverse final group for this review.  It’s always tricky to find a fluid order in which to present our favorites and with all that in mind this season was harder than most. So I went with a cross of casual to formal and good to excellent. I hope that makes sense, there are just so many of them!

Hope you like them as much as we do.

David Michael

As I was saying, wearable. The styling here is so cool. A little Parisian and a little American art school student. There is a wardrobe of go to pieces here and you gotta love that.

 David Michael

 

 Issa

Here’s some of that 1970’s reboot I was talking about up there. The deep V, the Maxi, the Fringe and the gold arm bands. They took the influence and really just updated it and left it alone. This is such a simple looking pair of dresses which is exactly why you could wear them forever and just about anywhere, in any way.

 Issa

Michael Kors

Kors seems to share my affinity for the 1930’s, perhaps because it was a time of such elegance and softness. Looking at these I just think, how charming. I love that Kors always has a little sparkle in there and that the clothes are always feminine. The black beaded frock is oddly slouchy in way that feels modern, if that makes any sense. I suppose that could be the female version of The Slouch that I have been promoting in the menswear collections. Yet here at the end is this very tailored suit dress that I also love because it looks so sharp and sophisticated. I can’t say I really followed the story of this collection – but I do love the pieces.

Michael Kors

Chloe

Without even realizing it I guess I really have jumped on the slouch bandwagon. (Someone more clever than me really needs to coin a proper phrase people, suggestions are welcome!)  The exaggerations here don’t stop at the length, if they did you could just call it Maxi. They also have floppy collars, extended sleeves and dropped waists.  They are oversized yet slim, not boxy – or else you could call them retro 1980’s. I especially love the soft floral dress but would rather wear it for summer than fall.  I wish the plaid coat was solid because the plaid makes it have too much going on. The brown sweater dress with the skinny tie and the military coat with the soft poet shirt underneath are both solid.

Chloe

Gary Graham

I was really taken with this collection. It is indescribably ethnic, which makes it seem mysterious. Therefore the woman wearing the clothes becomes mysterious, where is she from? what does she do? It’s just statement piece after statement piece which is so hard to style all together and not look like its totally overdone. It is a deft hand that can pull off this feat and they have done it marvelously here. I love the draped luxurious velvet with the contrast of the ethnic stripe simple skirt. The severity of the wool cropped jacket with the must be historic costume influenced sleeve detail. Is that two leather jackets or one? I really hope its one because it is so much more interesting.  I don’t know very much about this designer but looking back I found looks I’ve pinned here and there over the last few seasons. This is the first season he has really turned my head though and I hope to see more like this going forward.

 Gary Graham

 

 

Haider Ackermann

This collection is ripe in 1980’s references but in such a fresh and totally transformative way. Ackermann is so far ahead of the game when it comes to setting the standard for what is next – what is hip.  He has taken the forbidden shoulder pad and make it look strong again. Here it is clean and modern, practically like a dare to be questioned.  And he shows how you can take that coat and pair it soft, like with the maxi skirt or sharp with the pant.

As you scroll down notice how he mixes practical and flashy – business with pleasure. He shows you how it’s done because he is the master of styling and leaves it to the customer to choose where she fits into this wardrobe. So many women are present here in various offerings. You could walk the streets of Paris, Rome, Barcelona, New York, Moscow, Madrid, Dublin, etc – it’s all here!  If you dissected this collection and looked at it piece by piece you could mix and match so many types of real women – it’s just that good.  It’s suddenly so easy to be strong, modern and unabashedly female.

 Haider Ackermann 1

 

G Haider Ackermann 5

G Haider Ackermann 2

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Only Westwood can make draping look punk.

 Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Dries Van Noten

I was still hoping to see some Chinoiserie amongst the collections and this season there were some direct influences, which was a treat. Most notably by Dries Van Noten. His take on the Asian influence is so unexpected. There is this ever-present Olive Drab that serves to highlight the beauty of the colors while giving you a clue as to where the shapes are coming from. He takes you back and forth from the extravagance of say, the silk coat and then shows you it in drab. Then turns around and shows you the  communist worker (?) uniform at the end but tied with the over the top embellished overskirt. Perhaps he is showing us that he is inspired by the utility, where the opulence perhaps it is to show that each have their beauty?

Whatever the case, you know I am in it for the embellished opulence. The prints are tribute to the Asian art that inspires them. Take a look at the back of the skirt in the last frame – the one with the beaded and sequins trees and pagoda scene. Oh my God I love that.

 

H Dries Van Noten 1

 These two tops are like art in the way the fringe creates the movement of the wind and water. And I had to acknowledge the shoes!

 Dries Van Noten

Marc Jacobs

This collection is the next generation version of Jacob’s Louis Vuitton Fall 2013 Collection.

Vuitton

Louis Vuitton Fall 2013

If that was the 1930’s up to the 50’s  then this picks right up where he left off in the 50’s and takes us all the way to the 1970’s. He had more of that story to tell and I am so glad that he has brought this  look over to his line. After he left Vuitton it went back to being just another label showing nice designer clothes – fine. But Jacobs brought theater to the collections, not just the shows but the story of the clothes. He was selling you a moment in time – our time – through his eyes. This is something he seems to always do for the houses in which he works but never seemed to do for his own brand. I’m so glad to see him putting his full force behind his name where it belongs. No more giving his best to someone else. This group has a similar story to that of the Vuitton  in the colors and prints, the furs and the jackets, the treatments with beading, the coats and woolen plaid’s and I love it. I loved it then too – in fact it was my favorite of the season.

 Marc Jacobs

I love how these dresses both have insets of sheer netting. It adds so much softness and depth to the story of the dress. These clothes all tell stories of the women who wear them – like they were each designed for just that one woman.

Marc Jacobs

Temperly London

This was one of my favorite collections of the season. This is a departure for Temperly which usually go more, hmm – English? They always seem to be a perfect designer for Kate Middleton – yet this does not work for Kate. So that’s my whole basis of that opinion… Meanwhile, I love the scarves most of all. The rich colored embroidered double faced satin, the sequins with fringe and the silk embroidered are all highly coveted. This is a scarf people – finally! This may be the harbinger of the end of days for that bunchy drape of cotton gauze that’s been wrapping the necks of trendsetters for far too many a season. The choice of this mixture of blues is also wonderful and uplifting. And of course I always love a shit ton of sequins.

 Temperley London

Temperley London

Alexander McQueen

I have to admit that I was disappointed with most of the McQueen collection this season. The smocking of the lace over and over was such a turn off, ick. But there were some bits in there that I really liked and the design is always good – just not always successful. The pink and black are classic and have the clash of feminine and dark at its core so what’s not to love in that choice? The Victorian influence is played with very thoughtfully and came to some really interesting conclusions like the peek a boo button front and the tattered layered coat. You can see there is a lot of story here and that’s always hard to resist although it’s not always enough to make you want to be a part of it. (Again that smocking is just – eww.) The pleated skirt is so pretty, and the boots are spectacular. How do I not have these boots?!? The tattered ruffled coat is really a showstopper and I would love to have it and just wear it as a day-to-day cause it just does all the work for you.  The last coat too, it’s not really remarkable but I still want it.

  Alexander McQueen

Valentino

So this was a near total departure from what we have seen from the Valentino design team. Where there were once a multitude of peasant style prints and embellishments of hand crafted lace and embroideries there stands neat clean black and white. And I still dig it. They are just so damn good – they took geometric and op art and reinterpreted it to fit their esthetic. It feels like they have reinvented the 1960’s without being derivative. Sure there are these fucking perfect zip front patent go-go boots and a classic retro handbag but really this still looks like the new Valentino more than it does a 1960’s rehash. This is how it’s done. Once again they are making the new vintage collectible clothing without a doubt.

Valentino

The collection was not without the now signature embellishments despite the whole first act of the show, and we did still see some stunning prints and inspired beaded gowns that defy you to stop looking closer.

 Valentino

Then at the end they wrapped it up with some deceptively simple gowns that I just had to include because they are in arguably chic and indisputably editorial.

 Valentino

Givenchy

The first five looks here are actually from the Men’s Fall 2015 collection. I was so looking forward to what we would see when it came to the women’s collection. This offered a promise of something mysterious and lovely. It is at the heart of gothic, at least where my gothic heart lies. It is dark and feminine which to me suggests the power of the female and I find that so intriguing. The first have some crazy vampire references which I find unnecessary but nonetheless they help to illustrate the point of the feminine being strong and forceful. When the actual women’s collection showed it went more toward a statement on culture and costume which lost some of the previous message that got me so excited. It wasn’t as interesting for me and the facial jewelry was so elaborate  that it overshadowed the clothes. A disappointment – but I still have these first 5…

 Givenchy

 Naeem Khan

This designer has been one of my favorites for a while now and it’s definitely because he loves color, sparkle and a flowy silhouette. I always look forward to his collections. Now, not all of it is great as sometimes its get a bit pageantry or country music awards show for my taste – but I think that comes with the territory. I love the Indian influence that is ever-present in the colors and embellishments. Here I was really excited to see the lace pant under the sheer skirt. It doesn’t look that great here but I love the idea of it and if it were me I would have repeated the idea in many other looks. How have I not seen this before? The next look is just such a show stopper – c’mon. It’s rock and roll royalty wear. As if Ziggy Stardust and Hollywood had a baby (Ziggy would love Hollywood). The ombre number is just pretty. What can I say?  It is fluid and soft and probably feels amazing to wear. All the while doing the figure a huge favor in the cut, who doesn’t want that?? Then the black slit with the embroidered sleeves!  So elegant and exotic. I imagine this woman holding a drink at a party and just letting those sleeves billow as she takes a sip. I love the drama. Theater! I love all this wearable costume.  It’s dress up for big girls.

 Naeem Khan

Luisa Beccaria

Here we have a good old-fashioned 1940’s reference. This collection reads more like the wardrobe for a character in a big Hollywood film set in that era. That’s fine by me. This is at least the third time I have mentioned drama and theater isn’t it? Sometimes when you let yourself get into the costume side of things it makes it fun again – breathes new life into clothes and reminds you that our clothes can be a character – they can be dramatic and curated. Don’t we strive to curate a wardrobe for ourselves? Maybe we aren’t all a 1940’s siren but dressing up is fun. These are some serious fun.

 Luisa Beccaria

If you wanted to claim these were vintage – it would be no problem. She employs the comfort of new techniques and fabrics with a vintage look.

Luisa Beccaria

 Dolce & Gabanna

As soon as I saw the rose pattern I flashed on an eagerly anticipated episode of 120 Minutes on MTV hosted by Robert Smith sometime in the early 1990’s. My high school hero wore a black shirt covered in roses that instantly inspired my all black gothic wardrobe to allow for dark and romantic. That shirt is burned on my brain. As it turned out, he had two – a white with roses and the black he wore on that show. I taped it on my VCR that night but god only knows where that tape has gone… a victim of my fathers efficiency I suppose. None the less my memory has held on to it and seeing these roses on the runways of my favorite high school designer is like some sort of cosmic full circle. The parallel universe where my high school self is sitting up late watching MTV and clipping pages from Bazaar is feeling elated upon this marriage. I love these rose dresses. I have been waiting for them.

 Dolce & Gabanna

This is the only image I could find of Mr. Smith in that Rose shirt – I wish it was clearer.

LThe Cure Never Enough

Meanwhile, the rest of the show had a mother/family theme which was charming.  Who that has ever been pregnant wouldn’t dream of a Dolce maternity dress???

There are beautiful simple shifts and fitted, sexy buttoned up coats which are paired with incredibly sexy shoes and meticulous accessories.  Oh Dolce and Gabanna – how I love you so.

 Dolce & Gabanna

Marchesa Notte

These are just so pretty. I mean really, these are so pretty. The shade of red is perfect. Perfect Red. The placement of the patterns and lace is perfect. They are cut to flatter and they really do. Young Hollywood? Cocktail party? Big date? This is what stunning looks like. Here is that killer dress.

Marchesa Notte

Zuhair Murad

This is not my favorite even though it is at the end. It just seemed to be the most formal. Not that much at first view right? More sheer, more black, more beads, blah blah blah. Except there is a conceptual coolness in that sheer. The first dress has a frenetic Japanese brush painting artistic thing happening that just makes it really unique among the masses of sheer beaded black gowns. The black and white ball gown evokes beauty among chaos, which is pretty provocative for a ball gown. The last one is just so vampy and exotic and sexy and wow. The belt keeps it from being too delicate and makes it more commanding. I dig that. It’s all crafted. They all have a mood and that’s impressive.

Zuhair Murad

So to sum up, the favorites were inspired by the past and the present. There was wearable drama and clothes that beckon you to dress up. To be cool and playful, feminine and strong. Always good things to be. Until next time – Cheers!


Pre Fall 2015 Review

I realize that as a retailer I should be concerned that my favorite looks from the collections are almost always the least shared on the interwebs. (It’s just more fun to say interweb)

I know the idea is to choose the most Pinned, Tweeted, Tumblered or whatever. But truthfully, most of the images I choose have something like 20 shares.  It is always the case that the items I love the most on the sales floor are the ones that end up on the sale rack (or in my closet) so I should be used to it. I am able to see a slam dunk seller when I see it, so that’s how I get by sales wise. But I’m still shocked most of the time at the ones with the 400+ shares vs the low scorers. Do I just not get it? I know I tend to lean toward more flashy, busy, statement pieces overall but am I that disconnected from the public? And is that good or bad?

Here’s what I liked best in Pre Fall 2015:

Burberry Prorsum

These little simple dresses are really something I strive to wear. I end up in pants – but I really want to be this ladylike coquette. I tell myself that if they were made this well and fit this perfectly then I would wear them. I’m holding to that. The coat I would wear with my pants 🙂 and everything else because it is the quintessential leopard coat. Not too anything, just right for Goldilocks.

Burberry Prorsum

Alexander McQueen

This jumpsuit is…yeah, it’s… wow.

  The fact that its slouchy and woolen, masculine and drapey all at the same time. It’s amazing that they were able to pull this off. I cannot imagine the original idea, “hmm, a draped, boat neck, wool jumpsuit with trouser pants.” That’s a conundrum, yet here it is. Bravo – the jumpsuit for people who don’t wear jumpsuits.

McQ Alexander McQueen

Just Cavalli

As much as I love Cavalli, I am not usually a fan of the sportswear line. Yet this round he served up a 1990’s Tom Ford Gucci meets Cavalli mash-up. The trouser Tux is surprisingly cool girl chic even with sequin polka dots. Imagine it on a French girl or Rhianna or whatever… see? That 1970’s hooker fur is not my favorite but the pants are channeling Tom Ford jetsetter which I find irresistible. Red snake-skin jacket? YES PLEASE – Rock and Roll ladies, Rock and Roll.

Just Cavalli

Rochas

So switching gears from real life to Paris. Rochas does something unique. They capture a myth. They design for this artistic, somehow wealthy young woman who walks the streets of Paris. Well heeled shoes clacking hollowly along the aged cobblestones. It’s an overcast day with a chill in the air that adds a natural blush to her cheek because this girl does not need makeup, oh no. She is tousled and lovely from the moment she lifts her head from her 5,000 thread count pillow, in her chic tiny yet affluent Parisian apartment. And you buy it. You buy it hook line and sinker. She exists and I want to be her for a day. Perhaps if I buy this impossible to wear dress with the strikingly charming boxy silhouette I can channel her. This gorgeous silk embroidered satin coat will bring me inspiration. This dress will show the world that I am complicated and unique. This stunning soft gown with the momentarily blooming wisteria print will say it all.

Sold.

Rochas

Valentino

For once Valentino is not the closing act of this blog! This time the collection – though beautifully crafted, got a bit too everything for me. There were references flying all over from camo to quilted, 70’s suede to grandmas attic. It didn’t really hold up overall and the themes felt a bit gimmicky. The solar system embroidered pieces were great I guess, but they seemed more Gymboree than high fashion. The boots though…These boots are so freaking cool. Wow wow wowie wow. These transcend era – I love that. Simple shapes, perfect proportions and inspired medium. The striped leather are fundamental statement boots that defy trends. The floral silk are classic and sophisticated and charming and romantic and could be in an oil painting from the age of empires.

Valentino 2

Valentino

Reem Acra

Known for her exquisite gowns, no question Reem Acra is one of the best designers of women’s high-end formal wear. Here you can SEE why. You do not need to try these on to know that they are cut within a millimeter of your body. Somehow magically improving your figure through the painstaking and evolved engineering of delicate, exceptional fabrics. You can see the way they enhance the figure with placement of details, proportion, where the seams fall, the embellishments. It’s all crafted to perfection. The result is stunningly beautiful. These pieces are flawless, exotic, feminine, strong and sexy but not overtly in any way.

Acra at her best. Perfect.

Reem Acra


Fall 2014 Ready to Wear

The Fall collections are the most anticipated of the year. It is here where you will see the strongest work of the season (hopefully) from the designers. Collections can be anywhere from 10 looks to 50 (if you are Karl Lagerfeld).  Every designer shows for Fall so there are hundreds of shows to see and likely thousands of collections to review. Here we have widdled them down from merely hundreds to just a simple few of the most impressive. In no particular order,  here they are:

No. 21

Always a fan of sparkle for the daytime. I love the dressed down styling here which lets you see just how easy it is to wear glitter in the afternoon. The pants are ca-razy and I would wear them all the time everywhere with a wife beater and an army jacket.  Also love a piece that does all the work for you like this coat for example – which could be thrown over anything and look like an outfit.

 No. 21

Diesel Black Gold

We used to carry Diesel at the shop.  We sold the hell out of the jeans and leather pants but never had much success with the rest of the line. This is because most of the time garments were trying too hard to be street and just came off kind of cheesy. There were lots of neon trims and graffiti style randomness on the clothes. This always made me crazy because they were cut well and fit well so they didn’t need all that nonsense. It makes me happy to see clean, wearable pieces that aren’t loaded up with trendy gimmicks. These are all great pieces here and I bet I could sell the hell out of them.

aa Diesel Black Gold

Michael Kors

I love this collection. Kors just keeps getting better or at least maintaining his high standard.  This is the sophisticated lady that is achievable for women. His clothes are priced well and he cuts with more sizes than most which is awesome because not all women with class and style are rocking a 26″ waist.

The fringe bags are cool without being western or overly bohemian. The suitings are drapey and easy not stiff and straight. It all looks so classic and charming, flawless.

B Michael Kors bags

b Michael Kors

Haider Ackermann

This is one of the best modern designers. I mean he designs modern. The clothes have a timelessness that seems to be of the future. They are designed utilizing all our modern techniques and fabrications with out feeling forced. He really has an innate insight into what it means to design clothing for now – without being derivative.  He has a true vision all his own that speaks to today – truly a designer who was born at the exact right time.

c.Haider Ackermann

Prabal Gurung 

I don’t always like experimental because often times it steps into art and thus no longer functions. This designer often manages to make something that could easily be classified as such look totally chic and wearable.

e Prabal Gurung

Roberto Cavalli

Once again there are just too many to choose from. I love Cavalli – clearly – as I probably have pinned more of his looks than any other designer.  I want to live in this world. These are clothes for living the fantasy and what would fashion be without the dream? This is where I would go for the killer dress – the knockout suit – the drop dead scene-stealer. This collection has some awesome moments – for instance, the leather studded fringe that somehow manages not to look like something Versace would do and make cheesy. The 1920’s glamour puss flapper dresses with the art deco beading that transition from “Angel” to “Devil” and the (holy fuck!) Flame coat with the fur collar… Yes.

ee Cavalli suits eee Cavalli black eeee Cavalli white dresses eeeee Cavalli red

Jason Wu

This is 1998. I wore these draped bias cowl neck dresses in burned out velvet and the plum patent leather witch shoes. I rocked them then and I would do it again. They are not original, not modern and not classic. They are pretty clothes and I really want those T-Straps at the end.

eeeeee Jason Wu

Salvatore Ferragamo

Ombre Crocodile? I give, you got me. I know Ombre is a crazy trend right now and I know it’s probably going to look like rainbow suspenders in hindsight but it’s just so cool.

eeeeeee Salvatore Ferragamo

Erdem

The clothes in this collection were beautiful and had some really gorgeous details.

The shoes blew them all out of the water.

Erdem

Vera Wang

I don’t think anyone could possibly argue the talent of Vera Wang. She is always experimenting with technique which is the mark of a true artist. The fact that she consistently turns out wearable clothing is a testament to her savvy . I also love that her accessories’ are always part of the designs – no afterthought. You can tell the jewelry has received the same scrutiny as the garments. In this collection she has once again shown us something new with the fabric treatments and details. There is always a sense of romance in her collections  (I say fully aware of her Bridal notoriety) that mixes dare I say; dangerously, with the darkness that is always right at the surface.

I think she is awesome – a true businesswoman in black leather gloves.

g Vera Wang g Vera Wang details

Hugo Boss

I never think of Hugo for women. Just suits. Nice men’s suits that you get at Nordstrom where they throw in free tailoring. These two looks caught my attention though because they have successfully accomplished something where many have tried and many have failed. These are both charming examples of the schizophrenic look we are seeing EVERYWHERE. The half pant / half dress of the she male from old timey freakshows has apparently been inspiring fashion.  Rarely is it successful and usually just looks like what it is – two looks cut in half and sewn together. I can see the designer in the fittings insecurely tilting his head to the side while the entourage all nod and say, “it’s fabulous!” Bullshit. It’s dumb.

But here, here it actually is done quite gracefully and it’s not too forced. It doesn’t look off balance at all. In fact the movement of the chiffon gives the feel that a full skirt has just blown open from the breeze to reveal the shimmery pencil skirt underneath. The fluidity adds a softness and mystique to the looks. Success! At last someone does it right.

gg Hugo Boss

John Rocha

I don’t know what this fabric is. Some kind of coated lace? It’s probably the best party dress I have ever seen.

h John Rocha

Talbot Runhof

I can only hope that they didn’t mess this up by featuring an open back or something predictably daring like that. This is like the hip yet obnoxious maxi dress you’d expect to see in some stock footage from the 1970’s. It was cool then for the same reason it’s still cool. It’s bold.

j Talbot Runhof

John Galliano

 What John Galliano did for Christian Dior was outstanding. He was/is by far the most fun, exciting, inspired madman of fashion. His disgrace is tragic as he is a true genius of fashion. He is what makes fashion so fun to watch. Apparently this line that goes under his name is not even designed by him.  This  is apparent even if you are not that familiar with his work and that too is disappointing. All things considered, I really like these two looks whoever they came from.  There is a bit of apocalyptic freedom in them that I really enjoy and they look comfortable. I do wish Galliano would design his own line though.

k John Galliano

Anna Sui

I have always looked forward to seeing the collections of Madam Sui. We carried her line in the store and the day her collection would arrive was one filled with the delighted squeals of shop girls. Always bohemian and always rock and roll – you can count on that. This is an awesome group inspired by a 1920’s starlet which is a muse that is always dear to my heart. The leopard, the chinoiserie, the silks and the fringe!!! Oh my oh my! I wish we could still put in a big fat order as I would defiantly be taking a few pieces home for myself. I miss you Anna.

l Anna Sui comp

Ladies in Lace

Lace was a big deal this season and it came in many manifestations. Here are some of the best.

Alexandre Herchcovitch and Tadashi Shoji both had their own version of this demure and delicate lady in white lace. Both are stunning.

Lace

Luisa Beccaria

Almost evoking Alice in Wonderland, when I first saw this I thought Temperly London. It’s just so pretty.

m Luisa Beccaria

Marchesa

How cool is this? The way they treated the lace with the dye and the texture, it’s like a doll that has faded and been worn out from years of play. It tells such a romantic and mysterious story. I love that, there is art here.

Marchesa

Alberta Ferretti

These are just light and pretty and feminine and very editorial. The lace overlay on the layers of sheer netting(?) is lovely. There is a kind of Victorian nightgown, 1930’s film noir dressing gown thing happening that is irresistible. These will be beautiful in the campaign photographs. I see a dimly lit Italian parlor with models strewn over fainting couches looking forlorn and melancholy.

mm Alberta Ferretti

Valentino

Another showing featuring dramatic prints, elaborate details and exquisite craftsmanship. I mentioned in a previous post that these are truly collectable garments. These pieces will without question be in museums in the near and far future. What is happening in the house of Valentino is as close to ready to wear couture as you can get and it is amazing. Oh and the shoes – wow. Wow wow wow.

n Valentino n V3

Alexander McQueen

This collection immediately made me think of Arthur Rackham. It is dark and fanciful – a Goth girl just loves that kind of thing. The detail smacks of couture in the best way possible. These clothes are obviously not meant to be practical but Lee McQueen was sure to dismiss any notion that his house existed in order to be practical in his earliest of collections. His successor has surely done him proud in her continuation of the fantasy that he clearly loved and strove to manifest. Not an easy act to follow by any means ( how do you  follow a tortured artist??? ) but Sarah Burton seems to be the exact right protégée for the job.

o Alexander McQueen

Wendy Nichol

I don’t think we have featured this designer before but if there is more where this came from we are sure to feature her again! These two dresses in particular are so beautifully considered. They have been designed just to the point where one more detail would be too much. Seaming georgette (?) is a tricky task and can cause all kinds of pulling, shifting, throwing off the whole drape – altering lengths and on and on.  They have achieved something very special here in the way the dresses fit that is admiable and quite lovely. These are gorgeous gowns that wink at the 1930’s and the invention of the bias cut. They feel timeless – my favorite thing.

Wendy Nichol

Iris Van Herpen

This is the only look I pinned from this collection. Normally that wouldn’t warrant being included in the favorite looks of the season, however this dress stands out. It is so simple and fluid yet the fabric looks modern while also looking ethereal. It’s like part dressing gown part resort kaftan. I would love to style this with some long beaded necklaces in dark red or pyrite or even tourmaline…hmm. You see? It inspires the wearer to make it their own. You could go heavy or light, dress it up or down – heels, boots, sandals – the possibilities! So great – I love it even more.

www Iris van Herpen

Kaufmanfranco

These gowns are fitted perfectly. The proportions are exact. These each represent an updated version of an era – the first the 1970’s, the second the 1950’s and the 3rd the 1990’s.  Here you have three looks that speak of classic decadent glamour but with a contemporary feel. The beading and sequin are expertly handled resulting in elegance – which is not always easy when dealing in sparkle.  You must be young, you must be fit, you must be privileged to wear these gowns. Not gonna happen for most of us but wouldn’t it be sad if they stopped designing for the dream?

wwww Kaufmanfranco

Would love to hear your thoughts – agree or disagree, who did we miss, who should have been included? Comments are welcomed!

See you again for resort!


Men’s Fall 2014 Review

Men’s certianlly isn’t as fun as women’s. The more outrageous the Menswear the more silly it usually seems. Where with women’s outrageous can be art – the gateway to the next big trend and so on.  My take is that men’s should be real, should make the Man the best version of himself – whether that’s a rocker, a gentleman or a dandy for example. That in mind, here are the standouts from the Fall 2014 runways:

 

Belstaff

The quintessential Biker from whatever era – the best of all? This man wears only the finest. This is the top of the line for Leather and the styling is dead on.  Another great showing.

 

 

Belstaff

 Haider Ackerman

This is a total throwback to the 80’s for me. When I first saw this I flashed on Men without Hats – Safety Dance… anyone else? But then I realized, I don’t mind as a matter of fact these guys look  pretty cool in that, I don’t care I just threw this together way. Not for everyone, but I see the next hipster here.

Haider ackerman

 

Alexander McQueen

Another revival here. The rocker will like this and so will the hipster. It’s classic punk from the vantage of a suburban bedroom window. Familiar and comforting in a way, not to mention extremely high quality. If your looking for your last shredded sweater look no further! (anyone else see Nick Cage from Valley Girl?)

McQueen

Shoes

So lets take a break here and look at one of the accessories that are easiest for men. Shoes can do so much to an ensemble. They are often beloved by their owners when they find that perfect pair and for good reason. Shoes can notoriously say a lot about their wearer. Here are some cool characters we spotted this season.

Dolce & Gabanna

D & G

Saint Laurent, Prada, Bottega Veneta and  Thom Browne

shoes

Ralph Lauren

The Great Gatsby. This is simply beautiful. Lauren has clearly taken from the 30’s 3 piece here, which are my favorites because this is a man who is DRESSED. The collection also showed some nice looking clean casual pieces that make good solid staples in any man’s wardrobe.

 

ralph Lauren

Roberto Cavalli

Lets forget about the headbands here. That red jacket is such a standout and the snake print coat is so cool you should have to pass a coolness test to wear it. I don’t get the styling here at all, but who cares. Those 2 pieces are amazing.

Cavalli

Saint Laurent

So people have been going gaga over this new designer for Saint Laurent and I really honestly don’t get it. It’s derivative  and not really in a very successful way. Both the Men’s and Women’s lack polish and lack class. It all seems very sleazy and at the price you are paying that just doesn’t compute. So – yeah – I don’t get all the accolades. That all being said, these are Rocker clothes, and I cannot resist the rocker. Period.

St laurent

I think it’s obvious to see that many designers can’t put down that torch they have for the past. Many creative people began noticing the world in fine detail at the time of puberty. Whatever they saw at that crucial time has burned into their psyche the same way a first taste of rock and roll does to a musician – that Chuck Berry or The Beatles will always be an influence on thier style. Here we see it is no different for fashion. It’s probably the explanation for why fashion goes in 30 year cycles. As the preeminent designers at the time will likely be in their 30’s or 40’s doing throwbacks to their youth – making that era come alive all over again for a new crop of aspiring artists. SO are we doomed to repeat fashion over and over every 30 years? I don’t think doomed is the right word…

Certainly in Menswear, the classics are classic for good reason.