November 20, 2013

Jonathan Saunders Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

Although Jonathan Saunders is not quite as avant garde as some of his fellow British contemporaries (or Scottish as it were), there is a certain je ne sais quoi about his collections. His pieces are deliciously covetable.  Perhaps, in the face of the generally wildly wacky British style that tends to characterize London Fashion Week, I find Saunders’ clean silhouette and unusual color highly attractive.  He has a remarkable attention for detail, utilizing his print expertise to craft pieces that are striking and, yet, entirely accessible.  Normally, accessibility is not exactly the quality I am drawn to during these shows; however, Jonathan Saunders manages to remain practical without losing his flare for high impact drama.  He is walking a fine balance: staying true to the concept of prêt-à-porter while generating that special spark of something that I have come to associate with haute couture.

Jonathan Saunders is actually the show I look forward to the most during London. I am probably doing a horrible job of articulating it, but Saunders has it. There is a quality to his pieces that has made his collections wildly popular with critics and masses alike in recent years.  I can’t quite name what it is, but the reaction is generally very visceral.  There is something compelling and reassuring about his collections.  A spark of wit? The beautifully effortless finished product? I don’t know.  Whatever it is, Jonathan Saunders has it in spades.

Regardless, this review is likely a wash since I am waxing (incoherent) poetry about the emotions that Jonathan Saunders has provoked rather than focusing on actual concrete aspects of his spring collection.  Oh well.  Try Vogue UK’s review for a more comprehensive take on the actual collection itself.

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March 30, 2013

Antonio Berardi Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

There is intriguing multiplicity to Antonio Berardi’s spring collection.  With some clever layering and excellent cutting technique, Berardi manages to create something modern and architectural while heralding back to the structure of old school haute couture.  The functionality to his pieces is imaginative as it is practical. The use of UK primary school Aertex fabric is judiciously awesome, for one. Coupled with his flare for embellishment, he manages to stand out from the crowd with his take on sportif style.

I just love his eye for color; his blues are particularly gorgeous.  I found the idea of cascading sea blue beading climbing up the sleeves of a blazer seen in the very first look very lovely.  I feel that this collection evolves in a very natural manner: sea blue beading continues to a rich cobalt only to give way to a starker monochromatic palette that eventually transitions into soft lavender and army green before returning to his richly hued blues. Berardi’s Spring 2013 takes us on a thoughtful and modern journey, providing a cohesiveness that a surprising number of collections lack.  And more importantly, his silhouettes holds shape without feeling stiff.  There is a casualness to his formal wear that I really like, something that utterly befits our modern lifestyle.  The final product indicates that Antonio Berardi understands his audience well; he brings versatility and ingenuity to his collection without losing out on quality craftsmanship.  And although his pieces are easily translated to everyday life, they can hardly be deemed pedestrian.

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February 28, 2013

Calvin Klein Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

If anything, Calvin Klein is certainly the place to find lingerie-style little slip dresses.  Francisco Costa takes this to a whole different level with his interpretation of the feminine ideal hourglass figure.  In doing so, he brings back the haute couture glamour of the Christian Dior New Look and merges it with the sensuality of a forties pinup and the nineties elegance of Carolyn Bessette.  The end result is something highly sculpted and yet innately modern. To borrow from Mr. Bowles, “Costa used stiff fabrics–silk gazar and duchess satin–often bonded with acetates, and draped and manipulated them to stand up on their own.” I love how Costa has layered sheer overlay in a variety of ways, producing different effects of translucency in each look.  Also, the embroidered patterns of leather piping create a rather fabulous cage-like structure over sheath gowns.  Overall, this collection is superbly put together, elegantly referencing design history while creatively reinterpreting it into the Calvin Klein DNA.

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February 28, 2013

Proenza Schouler Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

Proenza Schouler is always intriguing in that Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez tend to take something well known and splice it into something entirely different.  Spring 2013 evolves from color-blocked pieces of perforated leather to conclude in a collage of random photos found on Tumblr, literally marrying technological advancements with satin dress designs.  And the results isn’t always pretty, but it is mesmerizing to watch.  It is also eye-catching as hell.  The journey in between is a patchwork of the two: solid perforated leather gives way to quilted leather blocks which then snakes its way into “bias-cut chiffon dresses” which winds into enthralling swirls and eddies about pieces of black lace.  The final set of looks finds a way to combine a bit of everything, incorporating the digital print with geometric blocking.  All of which is then perforated with grommets and little satin discs of matching color.  The overall collection is unbelievably complex and uniquely striking.  And I don’t know any other design who could pull something like this off without coming across as highly bizarre.

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The Proenza Schouler boys (I know that they are all grown up now, but still!) are pushing design boundaries with this collection, crafting together something coolly avant garde.  They have graduated from those chicly collegiate days with the tie-dye hair and the midriff barring surf gear, and I have certainly enjoyed the journey.  This feels oddly like modern art to me (probably in the loosest sense  because hell if I know anything at all about modern art) driven by the world we currently live in.  And in the end, this collection is “perversely chic” (Hamish Bowles) with its uniquely modern references and beautifully parsed pieces.

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February 28, 2013

Narciso Rodriguez Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

Narciso Rodriguez also displays some lovely sheer silk panelling for spring.  His version, however, tended to manifest itself in little slip dresses and lingerie-style pieces.  Though largely monochromatic in his color palette, the black and white is punctuated with vivid jewel-tones, adding bright fuchsia and tangerine into the mix.  I love the insouciant tailoring on display with structured tuxedo jackets easily hanging over curved slip dresses and easy flowing tanks.  And while his is a rather one-noted affair of sheath and slip dresses, I don’t mind overly much.  A good number of these pieces can be easily translated for a night out.  Or rather, due to their ease of access, it would be better to lounge around in instead.  These sort of clean tailoring feels on point spring as it is uncomplicated and falls just right.  If anything else, at least this collection appears highly comfortable to actually wear.  That certainly cannot be said of most fashion, in spite that “ready-to-wear” title.

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February 28, 2013

Sophie Theallet Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

I don’t normally post on Sophie Theallet.  Aside from a few distinctive looks, I tend to pass on in favor of some seasonal favorites.  That being said, I really enjoyed the relaxed pairings she presented for spring.  There is an easy, clean look to her collection, something I tend to favor in warmer weather.  And while the accessibility is certainly appreciated for a prêt-à-porter collection, I am more interested in the sheer layering that Theallet has going on.  I did not expect to find myself so enticed by the idea of transparent silk panelling, but I am intrigued by it nonetheless.  There is a subtle sensuality about the collection with the light layering and flounced skirts revealing a slit all the way up to there.  Theallet also presents a rather nonchalant tone, adding little peeks of skin amid the chic, put together looks. The small peeks of skin is unexpected in the normally standard spring staples.  Coupled with cute strappy sandals and just a tad messy eyeshadow, and I am sold.

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February 28, 2013

Marchesa Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

While exquisitely embellished as always, I found Marchesa Spring 2013 far more temperate than I am used to expecting from Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig.  I have come to anticipate being transported to a romantic, highly wrought fantasy when viewing a Marchesa collection.  And though the Southeast Asian inspiration is evident rather than literal (for that I am grateful.  Nothing is quite as disappointing as seeing inspiration literally transplanted into a collection), the beading and embroidery technique is the most exciting aspect for me.  The overall look is feminine and certainly very pretty, but that is really the only feeling I draw from it.  The prerequisite silk, tulle, and gold lace are all there, but there is nothing inspired about this collection.  Perhaps I am being a bit harsh about what is, after all, a very elegantly put together collection.  It is rather difficult to sustain a hit with collection.  However, we have seen better from Chapman and Craig  I want to feel something beyond just “pretty” from a Marchesa collection.  And on that note, at least, it will make for a rather gorgeous set of prom dresses come spring.

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February 28, 2013

The Row Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

There is always a sort of serene grace to any The Row collection, a nonchalant kind of elegance that make its a perennial favorite of a certain type of woman.  Labelled “American folk minimalism” by the designers, this theme suits the line as a whole, especially considering the the personal style of the two in question.  While decidedly not bohemian, Spring 2013 has a poetic romanticism to it.  It is a collection rendered in creams, blushes, and ivories with the occasional black or red.  But even the deeper colors are quietly present, hardly disturbing the composed look son display.  The fabric choices deliberately play into the easy, chic tone: silk, crepe, and Japanese cotton crumply beautifully into loose, layered silhouettes.  I love the long, lean line they have created with draping and panelling.  The Olsens are refined designers, providing timeless, almost meandering glamour in a modern, fast-paced world.  They are uncompromising in their vision, refusing to produce trender pieces more geared towards their own age set.  Of course, this is only to be expected of a pair that just won the coveted CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year award.  Their line is both tasteful and thoughtfully done, something that quite belies their age.

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February 28, 2013

Rodarte Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

“Medieval fantasy world…fantasy role-playing games…being who you imagine your best self could be.” – Kate and Laura Mulleavy

The Mulleavy sisters have quite an imagination and an even better talent for rendering their imaginings into reality.  They have dreamed up a sartorial armor of sorts for Spring 2013.  Intricate folds of leather, brocade, and silk are fashioned into breastplates as if they were modern day coats of mail while even the more ethereal gowns of flowing chiffon are toughened up with leather insets and chains. And I love how geometric print is woven into the collection, adding a sci-fi element to this trip into medieval cosplay.  The color palette is beautifully done with bold unusual combinations.  One might expect the result to feel rather eclectic in the end, but the Mulleavy sisters have an exquisite sense for detail.  The audience is never overwhelmed by the numerous print or a potentially clashing color scheme.

Moreover, this collection is fanciful and yet intriguingly “unpretty.”  It is certainly not romantic in the usual sense–with frayed leather biker jackets and samurai-like bodices in the mix.  Traditionally soft fabrics are stiffened into sharp pleats and structured lines, beautifully holding shape in origami-like folds.  The cutting technique, of course, is superb. And while there is certain sense of whimsy to this collection, each look is still utterly wearable.  One never has the feel that any piece is too precious for every day wear. Of course, my takeaway from this would be the fabulous platform shoes and the even more fantastic ear cuffs, so what do I know?

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February 20, 2013

Vera Wang Spring 2013

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Credit: Vogue.com

Say what you will about Vera wang being the reigning bridal gown queen, but she certainly does some exquisite detail work.  And before I say anything else, I must say this: I found this collection absolutely gorgeous.  I love how she has taken warm weather staples like bermuda shorts and summer dresses and given them a rather opulent makeover.  The idea of elevated sportswear is highly appealing to me where the silhouette is kept relatively simple while whimsical details sort of explode all over it.  The template provides a balanced foundation for such embellishment.  And more importantly, each look provides real world options without losing out on quality or craftsmanship.  Vera has provided a lovely sense of glamour to everyday dress in this collection.  The texture and fabric choices are divinely intricate with gold filigree lace and elaborate embroidery while the jewel-toned color scheme is equally as vibrant.  And of course, the shoes take the cake for me.  Fabulous nude wrap wedges that appear positively balletic?  How could I resist?

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