Lisa Perry typically starts the design process by looking to one of her favorite pieces of artwork or an architect she admires. For Fall, her muse came from an unexpected place: Instagram. “His name is @donalddrawbertson, and he makes art out of gaffer tape,” said Perry, sitting on a bench in the middle of her Madison Avenue boutique, which had been taped up by the artist, whose actual name is Donald Robertson. (He also happens to be one of the founders of MAC Cosmetics.)
Robertson transformed Perry’s boutique into a white lacquered space covered with lines of black tape that formed scattered geometric shapes. The boots and heels worn by the models, designed in collaboration with Manolo Blahnik, had a similar look. So it was wise that Perry stayed away from prints this season, save for a maze pattern that actually clashed quite nicely with the background.
Instead, she focused on silhouette, creating exaggerated versions of her favorite 1960s styles. A Kelly green felt trapeze dress had a back so broad that it was more like a cape, and a purple felt tunic dress was given more shape with rounded shoulders and a deep V-neck. Fabric was also a big consideration. Along with that aforementioned felt—which took color very well, and was also used to make several pairs of nice-fitting wide-leg trousers—Perry used a spongy gray jersey and a black perforated fabric with zero stretch. A fabric foil in the vein of Warhol’s silver clouds was used cleverly on an oversize sweatshirt. (It would have been too obvious on one of her classic shifts.)
The final look—a bubble dress in the perforated black fabric—appeared more like a skirt being worn as a shirt than an actual party frock. But for that misstep Perry can be forgiven. All in all, it was a strong collection, one that didn’t ring too costumey or overwrought.
“I’ve always wanted to reference the whirling dervishes,” said designer Tia Cibani on Tuesday at her sliver of a studio in New York’s Meatpacking District. For Fall, she did just that, turning to her native North Africa for more than a little inspiration.
Today, the runway at her show venue, the Prince George Ballroom—a grand ol’, just-decrepit-enough place—was lined with Moroccan rugs bought just across the street. Cibani’s team handed out Turkish delights as favors, and mint tea was served in the lobby. The clothes followed suit, most obviously with elongated felt fezzes made by New York milliner Joy Kim.
Each look was a study in layers and proportion. For instance, a pair of slim cupro pants—traditionally called churidar—were worn under an A-line caftan, and a cropped, chunky, hand-knit sweater was paired with an above-the-ankle ball skirt in a “Damascus rose” brocade. That same floral was rendered digitally on a long gown, which skimmed the body at the front but billowed into a cape at the back. “Collapsing volume,” Cibani called it.
Iris Apfel was also a muse. “I was feeling very magpie,” Cibani said. It came through in the multiple shapes and styles on offer, from a bergamot-colored coat nipped in at the waist with a leather belt to the leopard-print tunic and matching legging trouser in rusty red. Cibani managed to cast a burnished patina over the whole collection, giving each piece a sense of belonging.
Full film of the CHANEL Spring-Summer 2014 Haute Couture show at the Grand Palais, Paris.
Tom Ford is a great example of fashion’s action/reaction dialectic. After a Spring collection saturated with intense, thrilling color, he went black for Fall. And, following seasons of hyperattenuated tailoring, he showed only two suits this time round, throwing the emphasis solidly on sportswear, “to capture the other side of my customer’s life,” as he sagely put it during today’s presentation. And such solid sportswear! Voluminous topcoats swirled around a stovepipe silhouette; a coyote-lined parka wrapped a bouclé-like sweater (yarn hand-spun in Peru, hand-knitted in Italy); gray shearling over a gray cashmere hoodie…you get the picture. And no prizes for guessing why this “other side” should suddenly have become important. Ford himself now needs such clothes (brown shoes, for Pete’s sake) when he’s walking his toddler, Jack, in Hyde Park.
Things got even better when Ford dialed down the volume, as in a down-filled taupe blazer and a bone-toned mac (aestheticized, he claimed, with a process that removes the characteristic rubbery aroma). But the most telling addition to Ford’s newly casual Fall repertoire may well have been trainers. He called them “tennis shoes.” Said he’d been resisting them forever, or at least “until I could figure out how to make them distinctive.” The secret? They are produced using the hand-polishing technique that is applied to Ford’s dress shoes: three days per pair, to yield a lustrous aged-in-wood effect.
Such obsessive attention to detail has always been Ford’s calling card. When the item merits the attention, the result can be stunning. And so it was with Fall’s eveningwear. Anyone needing their color fix could find it in lustrous silk jacquard jackets, in exotic ikats, or in textures so lush they could almost have been dévoré. And there was still color elsewhere in the collection: a zing of chartreuse slipped into a pile of cashmere sweaters, a tasty selection of spice tones in amid the urban charcoal.
At this time of year, Stockholm is not a fashion-friendly place. The winds are frigid, the temperatures are freezing, and a thin layer of snow and ice makes it treacherous for heels. Not to mention, achieving just the right balance between cozily layered and overbundled is mighty tricky. While the locals were more or less prepared for the unfortunate conditions, the international press and buyers who descended upon the seventeenth Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week struggled to dress the part. However, local designers offered a host of fashionable-yet-practical solutions for Stockholm’s chilly weather in their Fall ’14 collections.
J.Lindeberg, designed by Jessy Heuvelink, presented a high-octane lineup inspired by the medusa, a large jellyfish that swims in cold, dark waters. Cleverly layering blue furs, black leather, and burgundy wool in his outerwear-focused offering, the designer presented a sexy, not-too-serious take on winter dressing.
Celebrating the brand’s fifteenth anniversary, Whyred womenswear designer Roland Hjort expertly layered trousers, dresses, and coats, which he presented in a palette of grays. The outing was topped off by fur jackets and silver Dr. Martens boots. The looks were elegant but stable.
The winner of the third annual H&M Design Award was unveiled today at Mercedes-Benz Stockholm Fashion Week. The initiative was founded to support and celebrate fashion at its earliest stages and provide mentorship for young designers. This year’s contestants, who represent thirty-two schools across Europe and America, competed for a 50,000 euro cash prize, the chance to develop a collection for H&M, and the opportunity to show their collection to an audience of international press and buyers. Ann-Sofie Johansson, H&M’s creative head of design and a member of the jury, offered, “It is a very inspiring process to work with the Design Award. It’s a difficult decision for us, as we have such a strong start field with such great students. To choose just one of them was very hard. You really have to go with your gut and see who gives you the most wow factor.” The jury—also consisting of fashion designer Erdem Moralioglu, fashion editor of Vogue Italia Sara Maino, Downton Abbey actress Michelle Dockery, executive fashion editor of BritishVogue Serena Hood, H&M’s creative advisor Margareta van den Bosch, and style star Michelle Violy Harper—finally chose the 24-year-old Belgian talent Eddy Anemian from La Cambre in Brussels.
Titled, “They Can Cut All Flowers, They Cannot Keep Spring From Coming” Anemian’s collection was inspired by Tilda Swinton’s character in Luca Guadagnino’s film I Am Love, as well as the French painter Ingres. The range was made up of long strips of floral-print upholstery fabrics that were reconstructed and sewn together into elegant and fluid shapes. This was contrasted with waterproof fabrics cut in flounces to give the effect of marble and ceramics. The silhouettes, meanwhile, were elongated with a strong influence of couture. “I am very happy and very excited to be here, and also looking forward to working with H&M’s very professional team in how to develop my designs into garments for the H&M stores,”“We have only started this process, but I think you will see some of the patterns, fabrics, and shapes translated and developed into new pieces.” We’ll be keeping an eye out for his H&M capsule, which is set to hit stores this fall.
By one count, Zuhair Murad’s wedding dress alone bloomed with upwards of 25,000 floral appliqués. The mystical garden segment of his collection overall contained a multitude of camellias, roses, peonies, gentian, and more, all shimmering atop gowns, jumpsuits, and cocktail frocks. He added fauna to complement the flora: Black sequins delineated a zebra print, and feathers crept up the neck of a gauzy halter gown. Embroidery on a full-length white caftan revealed a python print down the body and panther spots along the sleeves.
Outside his garden, a grouping of daywear looks featured ivory suiting—pencil skirts, trousers, open jackets—all fronted in a double row of gold buttons. The look was his Parisian ideal, Murad explained before the show. Then he singled out a New Look-style outfit in guipure lace as his synthesis of modern femininity. But if any pieces in the collection adhered to that description, they were the ones that showed off the upper back, their fabric scooped out or cross-strapped like swimsuits.
This was an overzealous collection for the designer, who continues to hold firm to classic, OTT notions of couture. Even his pastel hues appeared extra saturated, as if viewed through an Instagram filter. It feels somewhat Debbie Downer to rain on Murad’s petal parade—and his dolled-up devotees were definitely cheering from the sidelines—but there’s no question he’s stronger when working in a lower register. A couple hundred fewer flowers next time, perhaps.
The nineteenth-century Dutch artist Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema painted scenes from the Roman Empire. His subjects always seemed to be reclining amid marble statuary, and there was a good chance that the Mediterranean Sea was shimmering in the background. Elie Saab set out to capture a bit of that idyllic ambiance with his new couture show. His pastel colors—blush pink, hydrangea blue, and lilac—were lifted from an Alma-Tadema canvas, and the collection’s empire waists and gently draped volumes were suggestive of classical dress.
Saab is synonymous with red-carpet sparkle, and there was plenty of that here, as usual. But perhaps sensing that a refresh wouldn’t go unappreciated, interspersed among his signature embroideries and appliqués were a handful of gossamer-light pleated goddess gowns. Strapless, plunge-front, or one-shouldered, the plissé numbers felt of-this-moment. (A quick study of the
Golden Globes and the SAGs indicate that awards-show bling is trending downward.) Also pretty: a trio of flower-print gowns that shaded from black near the neckline to white at the hem, with countless colorful blooms in between. The panniers at the hips of the silk gazar number gave it a fairy-tale feel, but we could see either of the other two, in gauze or silk mousseline, turning up on a celebrity. It was likewise nice to see Saab move beyond his monochromatic comfort zone with a pair of long dresses boasting fluid skirts in an ombré of violet, citrine, vivid blue, and coral, like an Alma-Tadema sky.
The set of a Chanel show is the gold standard of fashion excess: icebergs, forests, the world after the world has ended…nothing is too much for Karl Lagerfeld. The set for today’s couture presentation gave nothing away—an enormous glistening white tube loomed center stage, so blank that its only possible promise was revolution. And revolve it duly did. When it revolved, it revealed shaggy French pop star Sébastien Tellier, his orchestra, and two giant sweeping staircases fresh out of an Art Deco fantasia from the Hollywood thirties. No, Lagerfeld corrected, “It’s an ice palace, a nightclub on another planet.”
He knew those stairs, the kind of stairs down which vedettes would make a grand entrance, posing every step of the way. Couture stairs. So he had his models sprint down them, as light as fairies, skipping and spinning. It was an adorably spritely fuck you to any notion of heritage. And yet Lagerfeld also strapped his fey young things into corsets with stays, the very thing that Coco herself cast off in the name of modernity nearly a century ago. He compared them to motocross belts. “This is ballroom-cross,” he joked. Laughter aside, the supreme irony of corseting a Chanel woman was surely not lost on smart cookie Karl.
Anyway, the corseted midriff was the core over which he laid a bolero (or crop top) and a short skirt for the collection’s defining look. It was energetic, athletic…and it was really the only thing that could successfully match the footwear. Every outfit featured a couture sneaker by Massaro: python, with lace, pearls, and tweed. (If you’re curious about the cost of such an item, the price tag will probably be something in the vicinity of €3,000.)
In the spirit of sportiness, there were also knee and elbow pads, and there was athletic-wear transfigured: A crystallized blouson was one of the prettiest pieces in the collection. In fact, the luminescence of the trim, lively clothing seemed doubly noteworthy, given that yesterday’s Dior Couture show was also about light and movement. The two most significant fashion houses in France just made a major commitment to a new generation…to the future, in fact.
Since Raf Simons arrived at Dior, Christian Dior himself has been resuscitated, restored as the wellspring of the house’s mythology. Today, Kris Van Assche made his own contribution by elevating him as the original homme Dior, using elements from the magic Christian’s work and wardrobe to create one of his strongest collections yet for Dior Homme.
The strength was in the finely honed detail. The pinstripes of Dior’s own Savile Row suits were reproduced in myriad versions: narrow, wide, irregular, embroidered, rendered in leather strips. The polka dots of his silk ties were embroidered all over jackets, pants, shirts, bags,and shoes. The lily of the valley that Dior believed was his good-luck charm appeared as a trompe l’oeil embroidery peeking from a pocket, covering a shirt, or as a jacquard knit.
In studying the life of Dior the man, Van Assche was fascinated by how superstitious he was. Guided by a quotation from Goethe, “Superstition is the poetry of life,” Van Assche drew on not only the flower but also the star, heart, and coin motifs that Dior treasured for the subtle, delicate detailing of tiepins and brooches. A rose embroidery found in Dior’s couture archive was blown up as a visual on huge, swingy coats (they’re shaping up as Fall’s must-have in Paris).
The formality of the collection—often three-piece, sometimes four-button—was new. Van Assche has usually, by his own admission, stuck to a clone-like proposition of “utilitywear, jeans, and sneakers.” What was clever here was the incorporation of streetwear into the tailoring. Macro: a parka cut from a substantial Japanese nylon in khaki, or a utility jacket in that
same nylon, both layered over pinstripe suits. Micro: a nylon cargo pocket on pinstripe pants, a single zippered pocket on one sleeve of a blazer. Van Assche said he was “imposing more variety” on himself. And that means, come fall, there’ll be more choice for l’homme Dior.
Vivienne Westwood’s cause du jour is fracking. Her always-polemical show notes read (in full): “Attention: Fracking is the Big Fight. In England we must all challenge the irresponsible behavior of our governments who are trying to force fracking upon us with no consideration of alternatives. The public must be informed. One thing is sure: At this point in time we must think before we rush into further action to fracture our earth.”
Tracing a connection between cause and collection is a touchy business. Fracking tends to pit the environmentalists against the oil barons, so it probably wasn’t too far a stretch to see a reference to petroleum in the models’ black-spackled hair—and maybe not even to go one step further and suggest that the darker palette, with more black than usual, picked up the theme, too. Ironic or not, all that black made this collection look more wearable than some of Westwood’s acid-toned outings. But take it too far at your peril. There were the usual wild three-button suits and tailored coats, but the collection was positively thick with duvet coats, big sweaters, sweats, and tracksuits. Many were more provocative than youraverage trackies (in gold lamé or see-through mesh, for example), but they nonetheless telegraphed a kind of kick-around comfort and ease. Which would have made the show’s message something along the lines of: Relax. But Westwood doesn’t do that, and, God bless her, she likely never will.
After a few seasons of offering conclusive proof that you can make movies with fashion, it was inevitable that Miuccia Prada would eventually turn her attention elsewhere. Where that might be was initially suggested tonight by the latest in an endless string of reconfigurations of the Prada show space. It was transformed into an industrial performance arena,with stalls, mezzanine, and orchestra pit. But it took a post-presentation conversation with the designer to clarify exactly what the transformation implied. If it was movies that determined the character of Prada’s last few shows, here it was experimental theater that absorbed Miuccia. “A lot of Pina Bausch, avant-garde theater, political, mostly German, affected by Fassbender,” she said.
L’Usignolo, a woodwind concert group, performed live renditions of Kurt Weill’s music, in competition with the pounding metal of Rammstein; so Teutonic avant-garderie was taken care of on the soundtrack. Quite how the notion applied to fashion was trickier. Miuccia claimed a shift in her sensibility: “More personal, changing from pop culture to intimacy, introversion, even solitude,” she said. But, even after that insight, it was difficult to appreciate how the clothes matched the ethos. After Spring’s sensational cinematic blowout, this felt very much like a collection that was treading water, biding its time. By way of contrast, the pre-fall collection for women that was threaded throughout the show seemed so much more… definite.
There was, however, a reassuring unfussy real-ness to most of the menswear. The way generously cut trousers puddled on thick-soled trainers, for instance, or how blazers sported the dressiness of shawl collars. There were distinctive, definite colors too. A degree of theatricality could be detected in the subtle element of performance: The scoop-neck teemight have been borrowed from a ballet dancer, the stripes down trousers were a Sgt. Pepper touch. And the most obviously experimental pieces in the collection—protective quilted breastplates—apparently referenced German conceptualist/performance artist Joseph Beuys.
So, it seems, did the fur coat. But, as far as intimacy or introversion went, what we saw were a whole lot of perfectly social jackets and pants.
Any Prada collection is a finely woven web of reference and allusion. This one was clearly no exception, but ordinariness crept into the gap between ideal and actuality. “More naive,” was Miuccia’s preference, “but too perverse to be innocent.” Now that’s the Prada we love. So, continuing in the theatrical vein, we should perhaps assume that this was a tryout. Act One. Next month will bring the women’s show, Act Two, when all will be made clear.
“Obsession is the best name ever for a perfume,” Italo Zucchelli declared today as he revealed the secret in his new collection for Calvin Klein. He’d been thinking about the way artist Ed Ruscha uses words in his work, and he felt it was a good moment to do something similar. Presto! Sweatshirts appliquéd with Obsession, Escape, and Eternity, words Zucchelli loves, which just happen to be the monikers of Calvin’s best-selling perfumes.
It could have come across as cheesy cross-promotion, but in the context of the show Zucchelli presented, the words took on some interesting personal shadings. Obsession, for instance: The collection was testament to Zucchelli’s obsessive pursuit of a masculine ideal. Square of jaw and shoulder, his models were streamlined in head-to-toe black or charcoal or camel, the outfits layered—two bombers, three shirts—to lend them a monumental quality. Escape? Well, Zucchelli’s men seemed slightly unreal, an elite squadron engineered for perfection somewhere in the future. Maybe that was because of the military feel in some of the massive outerwear, but it was also down to the deliberate modernism of the fabrics and treatments that Zucchelli is drawn to.
And Eternity? The designer modestly described his new collection as urban workwear, but it was also a consummate expression of the eternal verities luxe, calme et volupté.