28/02/2015

RENASCIMIENTO


For those who are enthusiastic readers of our blog, reading about Gucci here may seem weird. Indeed, in almost 3 years (time flies!) we've never written about the Italian house. Not because we did not like what Frida Giannini was doing but more because it did not interest us. It was not ugly or bad it was just Gucci: boring, always the same, 70s, 70s, 70s (the period Gucci launched its first ready to wear collection). The last two seasons of the designer were even worse as if she, herself, knew that something was going wrong, that she had lost her mojo by proposing clothes that customers/buyers did not want anymore. The once goose that laid the golden egg was no more for Kering, leaving the emply space to Hedi Slimane and his "vision" for Saint Laurent. Gucci was no longer the house it had been in the 90s with the Tom Ford's reboot, the Porno Chic...etc. It was just a Sleeping Beauty that had lost its pro-activity in favour of other fashion houses such as Prada that had understood fashion had changed and that a constant renewal with strong statements was needed. Something needed to be done. A breath of fresh air was inevitable and vital, Ms Giannini and her husband (the CEO of Gucci) had to leave.


This rebirth found its origins in the person of Alessandro Michele who, under the reign of Frida Giannini, was in charge of the accessories. The 42-year old designer made his debut during the Men's Fashion Week back in January where he presented a collection made in only 5 days. This collection was a radical departure from what had been done before with androgynous silhouettes & models and more feminine fabrics (silk, lace, fur...) & prints. This was the Act One of the Gucci Renascimineto. The Act Two is the womenswear collection presented a few days ago in Milan, a "no gender" collection with bold statement pieces, a strong point of view (what we are normally waiting from a creative director) and an introductory sentence in the form of a Giorgio Agamben's quotation "Those who are truly contemporary are those who neither perfectly coincide with their time nor adapt to its demands". This is the basis. In fashion, to be able to overcome the heavy weight of designing clothes that will both sell and talk to experts, you have to know the past to build a future. Take Raf Simons at Dior, Nicolas Ghesquière at Louis Vuitton or Alexander Wang at Balenciaga, that's what they did. You just cannot ignore what has been done. This is not a question of being backward-looking, this is just the best way to tame the codes and stick to the DNA. With Michele's arrival, the aim of Kering is clearly to rejuvenate the clientele and to "dust" Gucci. They want and need a new Saint Laurent with a boom in sales & profits but here, the newly-appointed designer knows a pressure that Hedi Slimane did not experience at his arrival in the Rive Gauche maison. He is unknown contrary to Slimane who had and still has a huge and faithful tribe of adepts who would buy anything that has been designed by him. We guess that Alessandro Michele must be outstandingly talented if Kering appointed him and gave him the keys and command of Gucci. And yes he is! And yes he has completely dusted the Milanese house in only one womenswear collection!




It's all about contrast in this Gucci collection, assembling things that don't usually match, for a young, free, fresh, modern and rebellious spirit reminding us, in a way, of what is happening at MBMJ. Alessandro Michele's aim is not to be literal with this AW15 collection and he seems to say "never judge a book by its cover". Nothing can be taken for granted as there is always a subtext in each silhouette. For instance, a sexy look consisting of a sheer top and a velvet long skirt will be distorted by a red beret and a satin bow tie covering the tits. Sexy which is the Gucci DNA is never completely sexy here, there is always something more. In the same way, the sexiest outfits (the transparent lacy dresses or tops) are by the presence of glasses giving immediately a nerdy vibe to the silhouette. This sexy/not sexy thing is also a play on daywear/eveningwear mixing day elements (beret/ bonnet...) with evening ones (lace, fur, sequins, glitter fabrics...) Femininity is exacerbated but never vulgar in this collection, there is something soft and sweet, nothing hard or too brutal. It must lie in the choice of the models. Contrary to the Frida Giannini era where girls where super confident, super sexy and super fit, here the girls are more "normal", girls next door, incarnations of Margot Tennenbaum (a recurrent figure in fashion nowadays). In the same way that sexy is "nerdified", the most masculine piece are softened. Thus, the military coats and costumes are embellished by fur appliqués on the sleeves or on the waist to give a genuine feminine touch along with a sense of opulence. Don't forget, you are at Gucci. Everything must say "LUXURY!" And it does not only with the help of fur but also with the accumulation of "costume jewelleries" (rings, necklaces, brooches, earrings or headbands) This sense of luxury is also to be found in the outstanding embroideries. Here it's a large bird on the waist of a dress (a fusion of a dress and a blazer, absolutely beautiful!) or on a skirt, there a bee on a bag (by the way, the bags too have endured an extreme makeover to become desirable again and that is a tour de force!) And it ends with an embroidery galore in the form of a must-have, must-watch, must-admire, must-touch sweater filled with Japan-inspired embellishments (flowers, snakes, insects and birds) that, we're sure of it, will inhabit the dreams of a large number of fashionistas. Only for this reason, Michele's mission is a success because he has managed to put Gucci back under the spotlights with a collection full of desirable items (this magical sweater, the pleated dresses & skirts, the furry shoes, the flower-printed pieces...) and with this hint of retrofutur, that makes buyers/customers crave for clothes these days. It's completely actual, modern but it doesn't forget where it comes from, its roots. In that way, Kering's choice is more that accurate and wise, the appointment of Alessandro Michele seems now like an obvious choice to put Gucci back on track and most important to make it sexy again.


















The Detail Pictures were taken by Federico Ferrari for Another Magazine
All the other Pictures come from Dazed




27/02/2015

WHAT'S UP DOC? NOTHING


We hope that the persons attending the Milan Fashion Week shows are flexible enough to do the splits between the very good and the really bad. Yesterday was just another proof.

First of all and because you should always start with the positive points, we can't reproach Jeremy Scott with being a king in communication. He knows how to make people talk about his collections/shows and is a master when it comes to buzz. In the run-op to his shows, Instagram & Twitter are inundated with Moschino hashtags and pics of the set, the invitations, the goodies...etc His arrival at Moschino was perhaps the best thing that could have happened to this brand that was slowly but surely falling into a long and endless sleep. His ability to twist fashion with mass-culture stuff is genius whether you like it or not. We have to acknowledge it just like the fact that he has succeeded in collaborating with the right persons for him. The exuberant, excessive and too much Fashion stylist Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele is a reference in her domain  and both their universes are very well matched. Katy Perry is also perhaps the best ambassador of Moschino with her Pop, zingy style.

Unfortunately, all these good points also have their other side and though it's Scott's third collection (if we except the Pre-Fall) at the head of the Italian house, it is starting to struggle. When he was appointed creative designer for Moschino and even before for his eponymous brand, Jeremy Scott's aim was to oppose the minimalist wave that was way too boring for him. Fashion should be fun, colourful, bling-bling, flimsy. In other words, Fashion should stop being cerebral to be a game. It's honourable in a way but is it still relevant? Is minimalism still the major trend in Fashion? We're not quite sure (minimalism in its purest form is dead) and Mr Scott should have a look at what other designers create, it would certainly give him an insight of what is truly relevant in Fashion nowadays. When the first Moschino/McDonald's was presented, we were not huge fans of it (is it a surprise?), it seemed too simple and too easy but now, with a certain perspective, this collection seemed genius in a way. He managed to capture something that was, at that particular moment, in the spirit of the times. This whole Fast Food/ Fast Fashion was that season at the core of the Chanel and Anya Hindmarch collections. It was completely relevant and Jeremy Scott had felt this trend and succeeded in injecting it properly in his clothes. At that time, he could be seen as a genuine CREATIVE Director. But what about now? Now, it just falls flat. This whole sense of provocation that's in the Moschino DNA is going the wrong way and absolutely nothing is provocative in these collections and especially in this latest one. Dear Mr Scott, please think about Prada and its tribute to Rainer Werner Fassbinder AW14 collection or about the latest Rick Owens Menswear show or also watch the latest Christopher Kane's collection with his very In the Realm of the Senses dresses. This is provocation. Ok you don't play in the same category but learn from these masters. Proposing a collection inspired by the 80s & 90s Hip Hop scene with graffiti dresses (something he found in the archives), puffa jackets, gold chains galore (Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele's trademark that she uses and abuses), denim, Moschino tee-shirts and the most avant-garde clothes of the collection: tee-shirt dresses with Looney Tunes characters such as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck (Lord knows we love Daffy!) and their friends! Certainly, this have never been done and if you go to a Zara, H&M or Topshop, you will never find such tee-shirts... Hem Hem... So, what remains if you take off all these boring elements? A certain sense of bling bling (the same you'll find in any editorials styled by Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele...) but even this is not actual and seems like a bad caricature of The Bling Bling Style. Who in the Hip Hop, Rn'B world still loves to dress this way? Nicki Minaj? She prefers Alexander Wang. Rihanna? She's more into Balmain. Beyoncé? Can you really imagine Beyoncé wearing a Bugs Bunny tee-shirt? Maybe Blue Ivy but not Beyoncé. Even Wiz Khalifa wears Saint Laurent now. This idea of bling bling is so outdated that it almost makes us laugh. Ok, if you have money and want to look like a rapper mockery for a cheap carnaval, buy Moschino and don't forget the gold chains but if you are smarter enough, please try something else.

Pic via NOWFASHION

Everything in Moschino is deceptive and disappointing. Even the invitation of the show saying "Are you ready to bear?" promised us something that never happened. Ok, we knew that it would have a link with the new TOY fragrance but we were expecting more, something harder, better, stronger, more provocative and powerful. What happened yesterday was not Fashion in its noblest form. Seriously, Jeremy Scott, a skirt and a crop top on a runway, is it really Fashion? Or is it just something that you will find and purchase in every fast Fashion retailer? We are the first to say that Fashion should be fun and shouldn't be taken too seriously but here this is just Fashion for Dummies. 





25/02/2015

W.A.R.M. TOP 10 #LFW AW15 SPECIAL


1/ The Collection: J.W. Anderson


Gif by Paul Wagenblast via Dazed

2/ The Statement: Distorted Shapes @SimoneRocha


Pic by Lea Colombo for Dazed

3/ The Story: Kenophobia @MaryKatrantzou


Pic by Philip Trengove for Dazed

4/ The Ones To Watch: Central Saint Martins Charles Jeffrey & Beth Postle


CHARLES JEFFREY - Pic via Fucking Young
BETH POSTLE - Pic by Jamie Stoker via Dazed

5/ The Talk Of The Town: Gareth Pugh's returning to London


Pic by Lea Colombo for Dazed

6/ The Unexpected Detail: Hand-Painted & Brushed Denim @FaustineSteinmetz


Pic by Philip Trengove for Dazed


7/ The Viral Moment: "Love Lace" dresses @ChristopherKane
Pic by Lea Colombo for Dazed

8/ The Standout Looks: The Mix n' Match @MarquesAlmeida

Pic by Lea Colombo for Dazed
9/ The One To Buy: Anya Hindmarch

Pic via NOWFASHION

10/ The Attitude: Alexis Carrington & 80s Opulence @Sibling

Pic by Philip Trengove for Dazed





24/02/2015

HORROR VACUI


Kenophobia, also known as horror vacui is the abnormal fear of empty spaces. In art, this concept exists too and is defined as "the filling of the entire surface of an artwork with details". The first time this word made its appearance was during the Victorian Age when people used to decorate their interiors with tons of ornaments and every possible trimming. At this time, we were far from minimalism, we are not even sure they knew this concept. Mary Katrantzou does know the concept of minimalism but it is not the word we'd use to describe her work. She is not a minimalist, never was and never will be. Her Autumn Winter 15 collection presented two days ago at London Fashion Week once again has proved it. The designer is well-known for her mastery of the visual things. There are always plenty of things to look at, to watch in her collections. We can remember her debut with her standout taming of the digital prints then, a few collections later, she proved to be an expert in hand-worked embroideries and embellishments and now, with her latest collection, inspired by this concept of Horror Vacui, she has gone even further, pushing the envelope by mixing noble fabrics (fur, brocade, sequins) with the cheapest ones such as plastic or PVC. Mary Katrantzou is never where she is expected to be. That's the trademark of a great fashion designer.

Pic via NOWFASHION

Her goal with this AW15 collection (and in a way with all the others) is to redefine the codes of modern luxury. Just like a Miuccia Prada who, collection after collection, distorts this concept by introducing disturbing pieces and statements, Mary Katrantzou wants to break this idea of a boring bourgeoise who matches the colours of her clothes and who never steps over the line. To do so, she has based her collection over one simple (but hard to execute) thing: contrast. Everything is a matter of contrast starting with the setting itself: a 3D foaming catwalk full of pink picots as if a flat catwalk would not have been possible for such a collection. Relief was needed to make a statement right from the start. The first contrast here is made obvious when the opening model, Jamie Bochert, makes her entrance. She is wearing heavy pumps on this soft, bubble-gum almost childish catwalk. The tone is set, nothing will be as expected. The first silhouettes are in heavy flannel, sober, grey, hourglass shaped (one of Mary Katrantzou's trademarks) but with a twist: here a strip of the same fabric as the ground on the belt, there a clutch still in the same material. Then, these first four "blank" looks are replaced by the same shapes but with something more as if a sudden flash of kenophobia had attacked the designer: "we need more, MORE!" she might have said. "We need paisley all-over, we need lace to design this paisley, we need brocade to go with the paisley and the lace, and we need plastic to finish the look!" There is a sense of never-ending outbid in this collection but contrary to other designers who never know how and when to stop, Mary Katrantzou is in control, she knows exactly what she's doing. She wants to transform the classical figure of the Victorian lady by adding modern or even futuristic elements. The paisley and the brocade are made with the help of PVC! We could just stop here, it would already give you an idea of the outstanding work she and her team have produced. It's all about mixing textures, creating textures out of the most common thing. Plastic is used here to take the showpieces such as the duffle-coats (Can there be something more classical than a duffle-coat?) or the furry ones into another dimension. The dresses too endure an extreme makeover. Still with this idea of duality, of contrast, they are made of brocade in rich, intense colours but are "cut" at the waist by a large band of plastic. Nothing in this collection is either white or black. You won't find a single look that is just made of brocade or any other luxurious fabrics. That would be way too simple for the tricky mind of Ms Katrantzou. There should be something more profane, more perverse in a way, something more to take this collection into the 21st century and maybe beyond. 

Pic via NOWFASHION


Pic by Piczo via I-D


Pic via NOWFASHION


Pic via NOWFASHION


Pic by Piczo via I-D
In a way and as we have already said, this approach to Fashion, this way of re-interpreting it is very much likely to Miuccia Prada's process. You should never take Fashion and trends for granted and you should always take the customers/buyers to an unexpected place. Simplicity is just like emptiness: barren, infertile, useless. If kenophobia is the fear of void, a word should be invented (perhaps there's already one) to describe the fear of simplicity, of obviousness because we are afraid of it. We are afraid of a fashion that would have no proposition, no goal, no perspective. We are afraid of those designers who design clothes to design clothes without having any discussion with Fashion itself. We are afraid of these trends that keep repeating themselves again and again, and again and again... We could give you names (we are sure some are crossing your minds) but we are not here for this. We are here to celebrate the genius of Mary Katrantzou because thanks to such designers, our fears are calmed down and the future seems bright.


The Detail Pictures come from Style.com






22/02/2015

ARTISANAL DENIM

Faustine Steinmetz creates denim that has nothing to do with the trivial pieces you can buy in a concept store or that are very far from the ones you could find in your good old favorite high street brands. What she produces are "iconic pieces, the kind everyone has or has had in their wardrobe at one stage", except they are all made by hand. "Each fabric is solely handwoven by one person using one of our traditional handlooms. Each piece is meticulously made by hand, with some pieces taking over a week to weave". We don't know the number of hours and days to build and finish her AW2015 collection, but we could imagine the huge amount of work and it's worth it. Artisanal denim is at the core of her dialogue with fashion that goes hand in hand with uniqueness, creativity, sustainability and boldness. It's all about applying the code of Couture to the most trivial and casual ready-to-wear piece. It's about high fashion meeting low and profane. The collection articulates around the process of hand dyeing, hand painting, hand knotting, hand weaving, hand sewing, hand shredding and hand embroidering. Think of the brushed jeans, the furry skirt, the denim coat-jacket embellished by silicone. These are made to order pieces we dream to have in our wardrobe: statement pieces that certainly have a soul. Faustine Steinmetz focuses on editing pieces that are relevant and that mean something to everyone through her high fashion standards with an uncompromising take on the creative process. She believes in craftsmanship over trend. That's why she caught the attention of such impressive stockists as Opening Ceremony and LN-CC and is shortlisted for the LVMH Prize for young fashion designers. She will soon be definitely on everyone's radar!













Pictures by Philip Trengove via Dazed