Archive for March, 2012

March 22, 2012

Jonathan Saunders Fall 2012

Credit: Vogue.com

After a delightfully bright Spring, Jonathan Saunders has shifted to sharply tailored sophistication for Fall 2012.  The crispness to it feels particularly on point for autumn.   I find Jonathan Saunders to be rather refreshing; he takes structured utilitarianism and transforms every day staples into bold standouts.  [And it is brilliant that he has just won the BFC award.  It is much deserved.]  Geometric sixties patterns and tie-silk jacquards are uniquely rendered onto well-structured pieces and paired in intriguing combinations.  Jonathan Saunders has always had a strong sense for color and print; he has a rather brilliant eye for it.  While Spring 2012’s ethereal display felt lit from within, the deeper undertones to this collection are equally as lush.

There is something special about Jonathan Saunders’ designs, something charismatic and almost intangible about it.  This could be due to his beautifully vibrant color palette or perhaps the well-crafted structure.  Or it could just be that  Jonathan Saunders has figured out exactly what women want to wear without any fanfare or overly wrought inspiration.  There is no particular persona to invest in or archetype that it subverts.  Instead, this collection showcases wonderfully constructed looks that enable one to feel put together without feeling ordinary–something to seamlessly transition throughout the day, all the while exuding an understated glamour and quiet dignity.  I love the quiet strength to his collection.  It is charming, put together, and intriguing all in one.   Normally, I am a little thrown by collections without an overt inspiration.  But not this one.  Without anything to distract me, I can just focus on wonderfully crafted clothes.  Simple as that.  It is a rare pleasure to just quietly admire a collection for the beautiful clothes alone.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements
March 13, 2012

Proenza Schouler Fall 2012

Credit: Vogue.com

“Warrior” immediately came to my mind when watching the Proenza Schouler Fall show.  There was something incredibly exhilarating about watching the Proenza Schouler girls stomping down that runway with such a resounding presence and thrilling confidence.  Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez have re-defined traditional Eastern dress and sixties punk in a way that is both startlingly cool and completely modern.  What impresses me the most  is how these boys are able to revolutionize a centuries’ old technique and rework it into their own aesthetic, rendering their collection utterly unique–and instantly covetable.  They constantly surprise me with where their latest road trip will take them next.  Their month-long stay in Bhutan and Nepal played rather intriguing role in this latest collection.

While I tend to favor a more tailored silhouette personally, I am rather enamored with the slouchy silhouette the Proenza Schouler boys have going on for Fall 2012.  There is a fantastic effortlessness about the volume and artfully haphazard fastening.  And the over-sized proportions feel perfectly on point for the season, almost like they are enveloping the wearer in a chic protective layer.  Moreover, I love how protective clothing has been re-imagined in their eyes.  This is certainly outerwear like I’ve never seen before.  Cotton pieces, opening the show, were made sturdier with quilted texture and waffled padding whereas dense brocade and woven leather heavily allude to their Far Eastern influence.  It is intriguing how Jack and Laz have fused together elements of the Bhutanese national costume with contemporary pieces; tough biker jackets, tailored peacoats, and collegiate sweatershirts are adapted into an amalgamate of both genres.

In a season that has displayed some rather fantastic monochromatic palettes, Proenza Schouler immediately catches the eye with their geometric prints.  And I love how Jack and Laz have chosen to play with texture along with their strong color palette.  Leather is perforated and blasted into a roughed-up grittiness while brocade and woven leather have been liberally interspersed throughout the collection, adding another layer of intrigue to their already cool pieces.  The embroidered hexagons in the tunic of look 24 for example or the mod pattern seen in look 20 are particular standouts whereas woven leather–found in samurai uniforms–is mixed with metallic paillette into striking miniskirts.  While some looks are more overtly “Asian” than others (look 31 definitely comes to mind), Jack and Laz keep things interesting with asymmetrical piping and daring hemlines.

Moreover, there are plenty of sweater/kilt combinations throughout the collection, bringing back the sort of punkish collegiate style that Jack and Laz had started out with way back when.   I love how they have a cool collegiate chic feel as a backbone to their line.  And while it is always a thrill to see where these boys will go next, the Proenza Schouler girl is always immediately apparent.  Jack and Lazaro never lose sight of who they are as designers which makes their imaginative collections all the more exciting.  And with that, I am finally onto the London shows!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March 13, 2012

Marchesa Fall 2012

Credit: Vogue.com

I hope that the day where I no longer sit in awe of Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig’s work never comes.  Ever since its inception, Marchesa has been astonishing its audience with their beautifully-wrought creations.  The intricate and ethereal pieces are so gorgeously crafted that they hardly seem real.  Brocade, lace, and tulle are transformed into something else entirely as Chapman and Craig re-imagine William- Adolphe Bouguereau’s A Soul Brought to Heaven into breathtaking reality.  The models appear to be floating on a cloud of tulle and goose down feathers as they glide down the runway.  The amount of detail and necessary work accompanying it blows my mind sometimes.  I am riveted by the construction of every piece; of how shredded tulle and elaborate lace patterns can come together to become something rather unearthly.  The craftsmanship is exquisite.  And sweeping skirts and bejeweled embroidery certainly make for a high impact entrance, full of drama and opulence.

One would think that we would tire of Chapman and Craig’s intricately romantic vision by now, but how can anyone be tired of this?  They spin fairy-tale femininity into a thing of beauty. The true standouts, however, are the looks that developed from a more macabre influence–the human skeleton.  I love how Chapman and Craig have incorporated a delicate skeletal structure into the gowns.  The gilted vertebrae peeking out amidst the lace perfectly suits their aesthetic while the blood red tulle mimic muscle tissue in a darkly stunning way, putting a twist on an otherwise angelic collection.  Chapman and Craig’s celestial flight-of-fancy manifests in a spectacularly divine collection that shines far beyond fairy-tale daydreams.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March 5, 2012

J. Mendel Fall 2012

Credit: Vogue.com

There is always something incredibly luxurious about J. Mendel.  With a lot of classic structure and plenty of fur pieces, J. Mendel really appeals to the opulence of high class living.  His evening wear is a construction of “texture and feminine architecture” with unusual necklines and pretty gathering.  I love the beautiful simplicity of the silk crepe and geometric cut outs.  And although the beadwork and mosaic paneling are exquisitely intricate, there is almost a minimalist glamour about J. Mendel’s gowns.  In a lot of ways, this sort of quality reminds me a bit of The Row (which is funny as the Olsen twins continually sit front row).  Each has an ability to take a normally complex concept and fashion it into an undeniably chic collection.  The craftsmanship, of course, is superb, with the skirt billowing out so beautifully about her ankles. And although award season is over, I look forward to seeing his pieces on the red carpet and the sort of old school glamour associated with them.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

March 1, 2012

Rodarte Fall 2012

Credit: Vogue.com

It is always intriguing to see how a rather random inspiration (at least to me) manifests itself in the Mulleavy sisters’ latest collection.  Fall 2012 began as an exploration on the history of the building of Australia (from the Victorian era to the late thirties) and resulted in a thoughtful forties redux.  While this collection is probably their most ready-to-wear as of late, Laura and Kate Mulleavy lose none of Rodarte’s trademark romanticisim.  They have just translated their poetic vision into real life, adding a dose of utilitarian practicality to the artistic dreaminess which could very well push their brand on a whole different level.

Every season, I always characterize a fair amount of the collections as “romantic” or “ethereal,” but there is something about Rodarte that takes it beyond mere flight of fancy.  There is a thoughtfulness and intelligence to the Mulleavy sisters’ work that clearly comes across.  I would never apply “whimsical” to a Rodarte collection; nothing about what they do feels trivial.  And I really like that, that their thought process is so readily apparent in their pieces.  I love that there is always an avant garde quality about the collection–regardless of commercial appeal.

Oh, and the late thirties/forties silhouette is lovely as well.  The tailoring is built layer by layer with the texture offsetting the clean lines.  I like how all the elements come together for a rather unique take on structured outerwear, resulting in beautifully constructed looks.  The texture and print are brilliantly thought out with pointed paint splatters and shadowy finger painting alluding to aboriginal art.  I love how they appear like broad strokes of a painting as the effect creates a look that is a bit blurred at the edges.  Plus, these poetic pieces are anchored by delightfully rounded clogs and boots.  The shape is interestingly modern, and the heaviness to them is fantastic.  I like how they can come across as both utilitarian and mod.  I shouldn’t really be surprised as combining seemingly incongruous genres has always been a specialty of the Mulleavy sisters.

While I’m sure that many appreciate the realism to Rodarte Fall 2012, I sort of miss the drama to their more elaborate collections.  Though, this is probably a smart business decision on their part so I can’t really complain.  But an intricate collection for the sake of art in the near future wouldn’t be amiss either :)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.