Sunday, 3 March 2013

who run the world?


fashion month (new york > london > milan > paris) is a whirlwind of lots of ideas and even more clothes. there's not much i can say that has already been said about the fatigue that the overwhelming variety of designers bring, other than a lot of it is doomed to become noise. in fact, i haven't been paying much attention to the shows as i used to but there were a few that still captured my attention and even fewer had me swooning, hand to forehead and all.

as fashion month steadily draws to a close, i'm really pleased that most of my favourite collections this season are notably produced by women. in an industry based on a supposedly feminine pursuit, it does rather pain me a bit that the most celebrated designers are in fact, men. especially when i tend to disagree about some of their design choices and execution. 

alright, enough of my moaning. let's look at amazing clothes instead.

COMME des GARÇONS: The Infinity Of Tailoring

i think it goes without saying how much of a raging fangirl i am for the high goddess of fashion, Rei Kawakubo. watching her collections show each season is like watching her build a most irreplaceable legacy and empire behind for all other mere mortals of fashion to follow. 

her latest collection is aptly titled "The Infinity Of Tailoring", and what a rigorous, tremendous feat of exploration it is. with the sharp panache typical of Kawakubo's design aesthetic, some looks are splices (swatches???) of traditional tailoring fabrics that are sewn back together in what first appear to be haphazard Frankenstein monsters that resemble jackets, trousers, and the like. upon closer examination, however, the assembly is purposeful and notably impeccable; each "swatch" placement lending just the right amount of volume and movement. 

others are lengths of said fabrics twisted into never-ending 3-dimensional swirls on the body, like snakes curling up and metamorphosing into clothes

others appear to be tailored clothing literally come to life, growing themselves extra sleeves or dimensional knots and sneers - details that should overwhelm and strangle the bodies they encompass, but somehow don't. 

if the sheer majority of the collection didn't leave the viewer giddy, the kaleidoscope/rainbow/floral printed rendition of the looks that closed the show would most definitely do the job. splendidly. what a triumph!

/edit: the stunning psychadelic prints are reinterpretations of works by Dan Michiels, an obscure artist that Kawakubo again seems to have plucked out of nowhere! trust her to shine a light on undiscovered talent. bless!


i'm completely convinced that Phoebe Philo coming to Céline after her maternity leave in 2010 was the last real revolution in fashion. lauded for bringing strength and simplicity back to the forefront of fashion's vocabulary, Philo is the reason for minimalism's prevalence in fashion at present. her work wiped the excessive, pre-recession fashion plate clean and welcomed back a quiet chic that had been gone for so long.

of course, it brought about what i like to call The Age of The Camel Coat that never seemed to end, but Fashion seems to be cautiously optimistic now, reawakening its escapist roots once again... if the more fun, graphic looks at Céline this season is any indication. 

Philo is an expert at colour-blocking with her masterful, neutral seperates for Céline; so the delight of her plaid "laundry bag" looks were an even more welcome punctuation in the middle of an otherwise serene collection. 

she demonstrates once again a profound understanding of the needs of the modern woman. the clothes are simple, straightforward but with just enough of a playful twist to keep them from veering to boring. she knows how to process her influences well, as is reflected in the first look on the left, pictured above - there's a whisper of COMME des GARÇONS Spring/Summer 2012 in the faux sleeves and oversized pockets. 

this was another undeniable, irresistible success for Philo, sure to create a frenzy in her already devoted fanbase. who else, after all, could forgive the furry sandals from spring/summer? pre-fall was enchanting and inspired, though. 

Vivienne Westwood: Look back to look forward

a punk to the end of her days, Vivienne Westwood is an institution. for this coming autumn/winter, she proposes a collection full to the brim with ancient inspirations brought to the present and future. essentially balancing a myriad of influences to produce a chaotic collection of questionable cohesiveness is something only the Grand Dame can get away with doing.

i can wholly admit there were moments that made me furrow my brow in confusion (they mostly involved shoulder pads), but the looks struck a chord with me, they struck deeply. 

one of my best friends describes my style and aesthetic preference as "rich hobo" which... still sounds about right to me. i love the look of dishevelment, of destruction, unfinished-ness and ease... rendered and finished expensively. this is especially relevant to my love for this collection. i feel that it reflects a kind of worldliness and explorer's spirit that is in love with history, but living in the present.

Westwood is one of those designers who are all about telling a good story with her clothes, walking the line between costume and ready-to-wear. and she executes it with aplomb. the collection features a heavy use of metallic jacquards and custom printed silks, but my personal highlights are her intarsia knits and trademark experimental draping and proportions. most notably, the insane tulle petticoat look on the far right, above, which appeals very much to my inner Disney princess.

- - -

fashion month isn't over yet, so this post is likely to have a sibling. i hope to be pleasantly surprised by the end, though i usually am perfectly satisfied having seen my favourite designers' work revealed already.

i'm having some thoughts on the relevance of fashion weeks being city-specific. aren't clothes just clothes, at the end of the day? i mean, one can only go on and on so much about how each city has their own ~flavour~ but really. do they? i don't know, it's just a thought. 

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