This is how you make Balmain not look straight off the set of Dynasty.
Soon enough will be time to work on Menswear FW14 and Couture S14!
As always check out my fave picks in Pinterest and leave me a comment on your thoughts on the collections as well!
Acne- Not many clothiers can recreate classic pieces in such quirky cool ways. leave it to the Swedish to do just that. This time featuring large proportions, shearling, neoprene, leather and silk. Hard to go wrong with that combination even better is the colorways full of watery teal, deep brown and creamy beige.
Alberta Ferretti- A nautical theme with rich colors and textures. Lot's of flashes of bold hues mixed with deep neutrals... Much like the ocean. Beautiful luxury fabrics such as silk and fur embellished with gold wire embroideries for a naval effect. There was something different to this collection then what I have seen in the past from Ferretti and I like the direction it is going in.
Alexander McQueen- I was quite excited to see a designer play with tailors tack! I mean we see it often in the form of Margiela but in a whole different context. While the McQueen of Sarah Burton is no A.McQ to say the least I do think the more commercial direction she is leading the house in isn't a bad thing and the imagination has not been lost. Morphing of the menswear to more feminine evening wear starting with wool jackets and ending in rose embroidered taffeta dresses was the correct juxtaposition to keep the world of McQueen as we once knew it.
Armani- As much as I want to like Armani I just am not a fan. I will say this time wasn't a snooze-fest. Regardless I always bow at the fab. advertisements each season so Giorgio you still win. I was impressed with the fabrics used and the silhouettes while I find the designs always skew to a more 80's boxy influence I somehow got it this time. The color story was also on point. Some of the styling however caused me to side-eye what is happening over there in Milan.
Balenciaga- A strong collection for Wang full of technical fabrics and black & white. Both of which are becoming more and more synonymous as the typical Balenciaga x A.Wang mash-up. Not that I am complaining, it really seems to work well, creating interest and added value. You can also tell he hits those archives hard which can also be a good thing because with Balenciaga there is a long history of great work at the house which should be used and reinterpreted. Playing on volume and fabric mix has me hoping that the FW14 will be just as dramatic.
Balmain- I really liked it. Which is more or less a surprise as I have come to expect Balmain to bring Dynasty every season. Ok that was still there but mixed with safari which is something I always love. The colors were clean and just right. Khaki, hunter, navy with animal print thrown in... The fabrics were what one would expect for the highest price points imaginable. Lot's of leather, angora, metal embellished pieces. I hope this direction continues and am sure the customer base will grow as this incorporates a woman that isn't into clothes that are pure 80's sex.
Carven- I am always a Carven supporter. I love that the girl looks are growing up with the woman who wears them while still keeping the school girl charm. This season the collar really got my attention. Not only was it big but had just the right curve... Ok I am letting my designer brain get to me. Aside from that the berry tones and clean tartan checks used in mix with the bomber jackets, fisherman knits and twine closures added to the Carven look. I wasn't such a fan of the bib look that showed up in #22 but all in all the season was another winner for me.
Chloé- Pleasantly surprised. I understand Hannah MacGibbon hasn't been at the helm for a while but I am still always thankful that we have moved past those frumpy beige days. I really liked this season a lot better than last which was a bit too gypsy/handkerchief hem heavy for me.
Christopher Kane- Bold colors, full skirts, fur, python print... it all worked really nicely. The collection had a classic approach but with nontraditional pieces that added something new to the mix, namely the wide curved straps that held it together or the chunky zippers. Then came the molecular science side of Kane which we have had glimpses of in the past and what seemed to have worked well. This time around I wasn't feeling it and with Men's FW14 carrying the theme further. I hope I won't get to sick of seeing the 3-D imagery as I am sure it will be heavily used in editorials the next few months.
Creatures of the Wind- Nice. Compared to past CotW collections it seemed more toned down but at the same time still quirky. A bit mod with a hint of hippie. Something perfect for an Anthro/Free People gal with even more dinero to spend on leather, silk and cashmere.
Dior- Wow, where has this been for all the other Dior by Raf shows... Finally the flowers are at a minimum, the Belgian look is showing up (where else would you see a New Look made out of a a MA jacket?) The fur coats with a shock of electric blue really drew my attention. I think the use of Dior in a new way this season really made me take notice and hope that this direction continues. The subtle use of the Dior look mixed with new ideas such as the take on leopard print, the he metallic checks or how the silk pieces meshed against tweed looks or the leather jacket.
Derek Lam- I loved the fabrics used chunky fur, mohair, velvet, bonded jersey, origami cuts.. but the cropped bell bottoms on the other hand... all in all it really goes to show the use of quality fabrics always deliver quite an impact and makes the price point justifiable.
Fausto Puglisi- Still with those damn rounded circle skirts... Loud, graphic and very Italian. Block contrast primary colors gave it a mod edge which I can always appreciate.
Fendi- Graphic, color blocked and furry as per usual. Karl Lagerfeld... Shade, no shade but if no one knew that you designed both Chanel and Fendi no body would believe it. As always I love Fendi and this season was no different. A nod to menswear this pre-fall with many modern layering pieces
Giambattista Valli- Brocade, fur, florals and leopard. Sounds familiar. While I found the direction for the pictures to mimc past lookbooks it didn't bother me. The camera angles gave movement to the garments as well as more interesting views of the styles.
Givenchy- Tribal meets tech. Modern with Bauhaus and Klee/Klimt influences yet full of fur, still with African influence and sequence reminiscent of SS14.
J.W. Anderson- Seemed a bit more wearable than previous seasons and def. more than the menswear. I appreciate the ascetic that Anderson tries with his clothing but at the same time it is obvious he is heavily influenced by Rei. The colors this season reminded me of Celine SS14 women's which was a hit so werk!
Jonathan Saunders- Really impressed. I mean I am always impressed by Saunders but something about this collection drew me in. Very wearable and casual but with the right fabrics to make it still dressy. A definite menswear feel in a great color range of olive, salmon, black, white, ruby...
Acne: Nautical is always a timeless theme.
Ann Demeulemeester: a great fresh look to a designer who knows her stuff. I really loved seeing the great red color as well as the graphic designs and stripes paired with billowy pants and shrunken jackets. Of course shoes and accessories were perfect as to be expected.
Anthony Vaccarello: Denim was a take on Marant, the peak-a-boo straps Donatella, the pointy skirts reminded me of loin clothes but the mesh and military buttons were appreciated. I find his clothing a bit tired and trying really hard to be sexy but just looking like bluntly cut miniskirts and not necessarily items that will transfer well in real life.
Akris: Oh, Akris too commercial for you own good. I mean, well yes probably really good for you since that makes money but showing a gazillion colorways on the runway and missing the newness that one expects from high-end I was bored after only a couple looks.
Alexander McQueen: I have to say I really enjoyed this season! I am always impressed with the amount of work that goes into making manly of these only for runway theatrical McQueen items every season but yet this time around it somehow rang more true to the McQueen aesthetic as opposed to past collections which were missing something. Who knew that cavalierly and African tribal themes could match up so well.
Balenciaga: not my favorite from Wang. I thought his first collection really came out surprising me but this time it just didn't capture what I was looking for in the Balenciaga aesthetic..
Balmain: Rousteing loves himself some 80's Versace. I have to say I am happy to see a more pared down look less jewel encrusted heavy 80's Dynasty, but... I guess in a way it's still a homage to the house itself perhaps under OdlR but when I think what Balmain could show I think about Balmain the man and the founding of the house. But also times change and if this is selling then make them euros! But then again the company make over 50% cash in licensing... but then again what house doesn't anymore.
Carven: Not feeling it. I love Carven, I love cammo, I love 90's, I love structural garments. But not here. The mix was just too much or too literal... There may have been pieces I can get behind but the overall look was dated looking and not the quirky cute Carven I've grown to love. The flower appliqués on the shoulders were sweet touches but the chunky boarder belt around the waist was too prominent. The full on flower looks however were a bit 80's drapes and I'm not here for that. The chokers and platforms were giving me Clueless vibes, which after this season are giving me more NYFW vibes than anything else.
Céline: The first look made me look twice. This is Céline? But then as one gradually sees look by look it all comes together and yes it is Céline. At least this is Celine's modern minimalist take on 90's patterns and colorways with an East-London and slight African influence. I want to go on the adventure these clothes are destined for!
Chloé: I like the idea of easy dressing for summer. Light, airy fabrics . But handkerchief hems are the devil in my book. Not only dated but just ugly and never look right in real life. Sadly several styles had them and hopefully the buyers feel the same way and the patterns get fixed before production because otherwise...
Chanel: 90 looks... enough said. Ain't nobody got time for that. I mean I GET that it is Chanel but... editing can be your friend.
Dior: I want to like the whole new wave feeling and I understand Raf has a new customer that isn't necessarily the Jil Sander consumer but his take on classic styles is missing something. Maybe it is just that there is too much happening... I mean with 76 looks there are a lot of stories going on. I liked the colors and cut outs mixed with asymmetrical pleating (Hello Issey Miyake, seems this season has been good for you). Less a fan of the wording and the flowers we have seen a couple seasons now. The badges were a bit lame as well. Ending with the metallic styles I though was cool though.
Dries van Noten: Great fabric mix as per usual. Full of pleating and ruffles with a gold splash for color added to the burgundy, blacks and off white. Liked the shoes and accessories naturally.
Giambattista Valli: Pretty. Valli always has something for a girls girl but this time a turn in a different direction. I look forward to seeing how this evolves.
Givenchy: I really like the direction this collection went in this season. Even though there have been many clean looks throughout the past this time a cozy feeling was there that isn't something I would put with Givenchy. Maybe it was the copious amount of draped jersey or the charcoal and tobacco orange, leather and sequence which went beautifully with the Madame Grès technique mixed with African influences ( a reoccurring theme this Paris season it seams) and Japanese kimono silhouettes. A worldly collection that didn't seem overkill.
Haider Ackermann: For being a traditional Ackermann filled elongated draped menswear collection I found it also to be very feminine. Gold accents, see-through tulle and silk and many dresses under suit jackets and over metallic pants. Don't mind if I do.
Hermes: Chic simplicity, leathers and scarf prints. All things Hermes has perfected. This season showed us set again what Hermes is capable of and how even with more conservative restriction there is so much in design one can do. I wasn't as much of a fan of the tropical prints, at least not as a boot, but I enjoyed many of the looks fine details that are there without being garish but instead bring the garment to a higher level.
Hussein Chalayan: Not many people can live up to the designs of Chalayan. Every seasons leaves something to inspire to. The few pastel tropical prints were giving me Golden Girl vibes which isn't always a bad thing.
Isabel Marant: On a high with the pending H&M collection it was also important to make sure that the two collections didn't cross paths while still staying true to the casual Parisian chic Marant aesthetic which girls all over love. I wasn't in love with this collection as much as I had excpeted. It seemed nice... very much in the lines of Zadig et Voltaire in terms of styling but less rock and more Victorian in contruction (i.e. jacekts and blouses) with girly vibes seen with plenty of tulle layers and clean white looks matched with leather pants
John Galliano: Technical fabrics and rather clean looks not what I was excpetcting but pleasantly surprised. Cool cut outs. Yet also something very old school about it.
Kenzo: at first I was meh and then I was ohh and by the end I loved it all... for the most part. the shoes were a bit strange, the front bed looked robotic and I am sure trip-worthy plus that metal cage in the back better be sturdy! Now on to the looks... The first few screamed Acne to me and I felt there was a general high amount of Proenza Schouler redux going on. But I am not hating on it. I loved the prints but then again I wouldn't expect anything less from Kenzo. The wavy hemlines of the shirts were quite cool and I can assure you NOT easy to get in production. But in general with all things Kenzo more power to you I love you like always.
Lanvin: Yup. Awesome. I mean it's shiny. What's not to love. Also I was getting a Golden Girls vibe which again.. what's not to love. I wasn't feeling the carryover of the big jewlery and graphic T's, but if it's selling work it!
Louis Vuitton: Really Marc you wait this long to show denim? As with any Marc Jacobs collection I get it and love it but then at the same time I am abhorred. I saw several looks that were reminiscent to past seasons with a lot of show girl thrown on top. Which in a way is quite appropriate for a lasting impression on the brand. The runway itself was spectacular and a great retrospective to many past creations.
Maison Martin Margiela: Margiela doesn't need gimmicks what they do making you think differently about basics is enough of a look on it's own. That is why I found this collection difficult. As much as I loved the tailoring which I expect from MMM there were looks that just didn't mesh in the opposites attract Margiela way. Maybe after the 2nd go through it will hit me and love it all...
Ok, did a re-look and yes it is awesome!
Miu Miu: Coats! Muccia has done it again, this seasons take on the ever loved swinging 60's vibe Miu Miu is known for had many bold colors be it bright red or sea foam green. From school girl to beaded show girl, Prada showed extremes. Also in fabric mix with wool A-line skirts and fur and vinyl mixed coats. Patent leather purses and of course socks with chunks heels.
Moncler Gamme Rouge: Valli redux. At first I thought this is the perfect mix between showing off what the designer is known for and mixing it with the tech take of Moncler. Unlike his past Moncler shows this was strictly runway and well if you know what Moncler runways have been in the past no more word necessary. By the end though I thought the line was a little too reminiscent of his own work. It reminded me of the M.J./L.V. issue.
Nina Ricci: What one would except from Nina Ricci. Feminine, delicate, lace and lingerie styles. Satin, flowers and gauzy off white, grey and bright blues sometimes clashed but when the theme is pretty it all seems to work in the end. I have to say this is one of the few lines where I can see the costumer not buying just the fragrances and accessories but actual garments as well.
Rick Owens: What fashion shows are all about. Surprising the audience and if anyone did that this season it was Rick Owens. Not only did the awesome step dancers do their thing but it was perfectly fitting with the hard edge of Owens leather he is famous for. If there is a woman I want to see wearing these clothes it's one who has power.
Rochas: Rochas much like Marni is always one to show a timelessness eclectic women in a way not many designers can get away with. This time was no different mixing 50's housewife with carnival beads and satin, velvet, lame fabrics for quite the experience. If there is anyone deserving of a Schiaparelli title look no further.
Roland Mouret: Very 80's synth feeling. bright colors and color blocking. Sadly seemed a bit cheap but funny enough that probably sells well! The silhouette he's known for was still there and I am sure many a pop-star and actress will get use out of these dresses on the red carpet but compared to several other Paris shows this year this didn't match up to me.
Sacai: I love mesh, what's not to love about it! But on the other hand argyle is... ugh, I just can't. Needless to say I was back and forth with this collection. The primary color range and sporty materials mixed with more evening wear looks were fun. I liked the fabric mix and experimentation which with Sacai is always enjoyable. The jacket silhouettes were really nice and worked well with the menswear style shirting
Saint Laurent: High fashion hipster. As always with (Y)SL under Slimane, I take it with a grain of salt. After reading the reviews and first go through I though pricey F21 now I look at it and see the fabrics and techniques and think Zara will have a field day but the outcome will never be the real thing. I think this new direction for the label obviously has that rocker vibe Heidi is known for and apparently is selling $$$. It might not be Yves at the fore front but then again look at what Balmain once was compared to now.
Sonia Rykiel: Ok I know I said I hate argyle 2 reviews above... well I take it back. But only in this instance. Maybe because it isn't your typical argyle. Mix that with metallic threaded knitwear and fur and you have me. Some of the pastel colorways I could have done without though. I think sometimes it takes going back to the beginning to make something fresh and new again. Here we see the Parisian chic of the 70s Rykiel revived.
Stella McCartney: I know everyone loved the lace dresses but they just weren't doing it for me, the other looks however I really enjoyed, very 90's contemporary. Shoes and sunglasses were on point, but that is to be expected with Stella.
Undercover: Not a fan of the wording pieces but mostly because I think Viktor and Rolf did it better way back when. The wigs reminded me of YSL F/W08 and the cuts of the asymmetrical styles were a bit Givenchy. But I think the neo-punk thing works well. The LED light thing was a bit gimmicky as well, I just can't see it translating well to everyday...
Valentino: I was getting some D&G vibes with the reoccurring theme. Ok not that bad... but there is some overlap but with 70-some styles but that it to be expected... There is though an evolution of the Valentino woman happening only it's far from the days of Valentino and his vibrant red hit the runway. Now a more conservative toned down but still beautiful woman being represented. Very renaissance era in regard to materials and silhouette but with native embroidery, bright colors and hippie leather fringe and astrology gold jewelry thrown in for good measure.