October, 2009


20
Oct 09

Finally – affordable Gaultier!

 

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That’s right! You read that correctly. Target announced yesterday that the legendary Jean Paul Gaultier, the man behind the current success of Hermes, will be the latest to design a line of clothing for the cheap chic store Target, in America.  I have goose bumps all over. I must know more….when, how, what?! As soon as I know, you will too! Stay tuned!

Short history of Jean Paul Gaultier:

Instead of marching down the traditional route of schooling to become an expert in the trade, Gaultier was a natural from birth with designing and expressing his ideas through sketching. He sent his sketches to couture designers in Paris and was taken in by the great Pierre Cardin as an assistant….what a break! It wasn’t long before Gaultier broke out on his own and in 1976 he launched his own collection onto the scene. He was perhaps best known in the Eighties, for the clothing he designed for Madonna (think back to the cone-boob bustier). 

His style has always stood out from the rest with its funky street wear influence and playful nature.  I have always felt that his clothing was a great reflection of his personality. Jean Paul has always appeared happy and good natured and ready to tackle any obstacle put in his way with his cheery disposition – something that is not often found in the fashion world these days. His optimistic nature is highlighted even more so when you consider his share of misfortunes over the years, such as the loss of his partner to AIDS which was a devastating blow to the designer.  

Since 2003 Gaultier has not only continued to design for his own named brand but also been the Creative Director at Hermes where we have seen his skill of merging tradition and modernity on the catwalk. All one has to do is take a look at his latest effort from Paris to understand the clear obsession every true fashionista has with this fantastically brilliant designer! He is also, I think, the first to put a pregnant supermodel on the catwalk – remember Jourdan Dunn and her nice little belly cover from last month? Brilliant I tell you, Brilliant!


15
Oct 09

The devil is in the details

Heels this year were the largest we have seen yet on the catwalk. Ten inch numbers were all the rage. People laughed when Heidi Klum teetered on 12 inch heels for German Vogue thinking it was an editorial stunt. However, it looks like the glossy trend is becoming a reality. How are mere mortals expected to walk in ten inch heels when the professionals – the catwalk models – can’t manage it without wobbly legs or occasional falls?
The pain may just be worth it. Legs look positively giraffe-like in these masterpieces. So here are my top picks for the forthcoming spring season. 

Shoes.jpgAnd you can’t very well show a series of beautiful shoes without presenting handbags to buy alongside. So here are a few I anticipate will be sellouts for the season. 




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7
Oct 09

Ole’ Lagerfeld had a farm

 

Thumbnail image for lagerfeld.jpgKarl Lagerfeld is today’s Renaissance Man.

 

Over the years I have visited upon fashion week after fashion week enjoying shows and observing new trends and every year there is one show that I anticipate more than any other – the Chanel show.  

 

The reasoning behind this? Well, this is a show that is all about fashion and yet is so much more than fashion itself.

 

It’s a production and I would hate to see what the bill comes to by the end of each sitting.

 

Chanel is renowned for it’s incredible show sets. In the past we’ve seen merry-go-rounds, vast steel sculptures of organ pipes, larger than life perfume bottles, catwalks in Venice, Italy on the beach, faux Chanel store fronts and models of Chanel jackets the size of small buildings – all displayed as backdrops for Lagerfeld’s beauties.

 

Since 2006 Karl has used the Grand Palais in Paris to showcase his designs and enormous sets.  Most in the fashion world have grown accustomed to his stark white set designs which allow the models to pop out from the backdrop in their Chanel designs.

 

 


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But he must have woken up one morning and thought it was time for a change. Perhaps it was the newly purchased house in Vermont, on Lake Champlain, that opened his eyes to new frontiers. Or was it a world that seems obsessed with organic farms? Whatever the reason, this year we were presented with a set like none before.  

 

It was one that not only affected perceptions of the fashion on display but also the attitude of those showcasing the clothes. For the first time that I can remember the Chanel models walked with a bit of a swagger.

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They had wide smiles and they generally looked they were having a good time – especially the three at the close of the show who were having a little romp in the hay for all the world to see.

 

So what was this grand design?  None other than a great big barnyard with a giant Chanel logo branding the structure! That’s right folks. Models paid in six figure sums were trudging out of a haystack through dirt in their fresh-from-the-cobbler Chanel heels. Lily Allen even popped up with a band to serenade them as they walked.


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When I first saw the set I thought Karl would be presenting clothes with the same attitude as was seen at Ralph Lauren or Jean Paul Gaultier – one with an urband feel.  What a surprise then to find the usual chic wear presented against such a natural background.  

 

He has once again taken the classic Chanel jacket and given it a redesign.  Tweeds and Ruffles were abundant.  Accessories were displayed that will have women queuing globally. Karl Lagerfeld was perhaps trying to tell us that we can still be ladylike and sophisticated in a green world.  I’ve never seen so much nude in a show by Lagerfeld but it worked wonders with the classic tweeds rather than just looking like a burlap sack – which could have been the case.  There are easily a dozen suits suitable for any and every occasion.

 

Suzy Menkes of the New York Times summed it up best when she said “not since the banks busted their credit ratings has a runway collection expressed such a fashion joie de vivre and a dizzying desire to buy.”

 

The designs were what we have come to expect from the great Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel. Coco would be proud.

 


5
Oct 09

J’adore Paris

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Karl Lagerfeld. His name is a sentence in itself. He is a legend in the fashion world. Becoming a legend can do horrible things to creative types. You are only as good as your latest presentation. Every season I wonder if we have seen the last of Lagerfeld’s genius and every season I am presented with a show I can only praise. His creative this time around was displayed on a minimalist level. It was definitely toned down. His cleverness is displayed in wide collars, his love affair with shorts, swirling neck lines and metallic accents on shoulders and bodices of spring dresses. The shapes of some of the dresses did remind me of what Balenciaga was showing us two seasons ago, but then again imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.


ackermann.JPGI will not be purchasing any of these little numbers until I have under four per cent body fat and liposuction up and down my thighs. Unfortunately, the fabric and draping that Haider Ackermann chose for his long, luscious gowns is not the most forgiving of imperfections.  So if you are stepping out in these ladies make sure you have your Spanx in place.  I love how Ackermann plays with combining outwear and formal wear. Haider has spoken ladies – collars up from spring! The higher the posher.  And how about the closing model? When was the last time you saw a runway model working the catwalk with a breast in her hand? I think fashion history was made here today.

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Beautifully Bland. That was exactly what came to mind as I saw the last model walk backstage.  Albert Kreimler was not adventurous with this show. He was not trying to raise any eyebrows. He was respectful of a classic brand and put together pieces that were stunning but not offensive.  There are plenty of red carpet looks here. Someone make sure that Angelina Jolie’s stylist receives the mink coloured floor-length gown shown here on the far right. 

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Keep that treadmill on full speed ahead….short shorts are here to stay says Costume National. Other designs have given us a bit more length to work with but how can you deny the delicious leather shorts with matching jacket shown here? Surely the extreme ten miles a week are worth it to step out in such a fabulously gorgeous outfit. The whole show had this feeling and you could tell the models felt the same about the outfits. They strutted happily down the catwalks looking like the confident woman you would expect to see if one were wearing Costume National. I loved the rocker chick look that was carried throughout and the pairing with open-toed sandals and booties is absolutely inspired.

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Givenchy had me on the edge of my seat gasping with excitement as the first looks were presented. The graphic monochromatic striped jacket and pairings will surely be a sell out and seen on every celebrity from here to Kansas.  That could be the reason it was sent down the runway styled with three different looks. However, I settled back into my seat when the cocktail dresses were in sight. I wasn’t impressed with the experiments in prints. I felt like I was looking at one of those crazy 3D image posters that I could never get. Sometimes more is just too much.

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There was a lot on show here. Gaultier throws out a whole show that is an ode to the hip hop culture that is so dominant in the world at the present time. Denim was torn, shredded to within an inch of its life actually. Overalls were seen again and again. We saw this trend resurfacing with Ralph Lauren in New York and it has been given the Gaultier twist with an undergarment look – made famous from his collaboration with Madonna in the early eighties. Who can forget her famous cone bra? Yes, we have JP to thank for that.  

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Did the invitation say runway show? Whoops, it was meant to read ‘crazy party at Aunt Sonia’s’…and what a party it was. I wonder what the models were told backstage just before hitting the public eye? Whatever it was, I want that speech every morning before I have to walk the catwalk of life through Hampstead Heath. These women looked positively delirious with happiness. The quilted silk jackets and skirts were impressive and unexpected. The cinched waists, high-waisted trousers and sheer lingerie-like dresses were a welcome return to days past for Rykiel.

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Enough has been written about this show already. Lohan joining the creative team as “artistic advisor” has caused quite the stir in the press and it has nothing at all to do with the fashion. Most people reporting the story won’t realize what horrible damage has been done to such an iconic label.  When on earth would we ever see sequin heart pasties? I mean really! Ungaro and pasties….they just don’t go together, ever! Somehow I can’t believe that was Estrella’s addition to the show.  


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Victory is Viktor and Rolf’s. Hello, gorgeous! I’m only guessing but I think when the duo decided ruffles were officially coming back they were going to have to take it to a new level which would include shaping the fabrics like a topiary.  Women in Elizabethan times wore ruffles in their clothing to show status in society. Well I suppose if we were to take that into account here we will expect V&R to be outfitting some pretty ferocious ladies in the spring. This was a show of master craftsmanship.

2
Oct 09

That’s a wrap Milano

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Azzaro displayed a virginal elegance on the catwalks this season with lovely bright whites. Accents of gold hinted at a Grecian inflluence. Overall the show was clean, crisp and warm when colours where on display.

Balenciaga.jpgThe devil is in the detail with Balenciaga this year.  Just when you thought you had seen everything a designer can do with jeans Balenciaga go and shake it all up again. They presented us with a biker style twist to the jean and every girl in the audience instantly wanted to buy a Harley to straddle for the ride home. The whole collection seemed to have a “grown up tomboy” feel. See girls, we don’t always have to grow up and graduate to dresses.

 

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Christophe Decarnin once again scored for Balmain with a great ode to military officers everywhere.  I want to live and die in this new collection.  I’ll take the lot.  Of course we owe so much to Christophe. I believe he is responsible for bringing back the defined shoulder that every designer is displaying this season. It’s brilliant – and awesome for every lady larger than a size zero bottom.  And for yet another season he showcases the feature head and shoulders, haha, above the rest of the crowd.  Besides the obvious influence of military uniforms it is apparent that perhaps Decarnin was watching ‘Mad Max’ a little too often when sketching the new collection. Love it! I hope a glossy does a feature in a Spring issue in the middle of a desert somewhere. These clothes would look killer with sand thrown around them (although the stylists are cursing me now as no one will want to clean those garments after that photoshoot).  
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From the moment the first long leg stretched out on the runway I was in a time warp back to my teens watching “The Neverending Story” movie. How much does the nude attire and slicked back hair remind you of the Princess that must be named? Fantastic! Although the show was centred on warm neutral colours, the designers were clever and just twisted enough to make them stick out in your mind. The playsuits were my favourite, with jodhpur-like pockets at the hips. The whole show was rather ghostlike and delicate. Where Bruno decided to embellish, on his beaded dresses for example, he went full force. It seems he works in extremes. We love dramatic designers!

RUE.jpgDraping, embellishing, ruffling and structuring…those were the ideas taken to new levels at the Rue du Mail show in Milan. I think we will see all of these things done to new extremes in Paris but for Milan I was happy to see the designer experiment with these devices to create new necklines. A good show. We’ll keep an eye out in February for what comes next.

Vandevorst.JPG Well that’s the latest and greatest from Milan folks. Now on to Paris for some pret-a-porter baby!

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