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