Stripped-Back. Christopher Kane Pre-Fall 2020

For pre-fall 2020 – which got launched on-line in the middle of corona – Christopher Kane was thinking about making “a stripped-back collection,” a line-up addressing his label’s most distinct codes: “sharp tailoring, flounces, bell skirts, and chain mail”, as he told Vogue Runway. Although the process of designing the collection took place well before the pandemic broke in Europe, it has a concept that might really work well business-wise for other brands in the future. A well-edited pack of looks that clearly states what the brand is all about (in case of Kane: an intelligent, at times quirky, take on sexuality), a serve of few bold silhouettes that will actually sell (love the flared midi-skirts in electric red), something fun (the Naturotica t-shirts!) and in general, items that feel relevant and… desirable.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Dreaming of a Party. Miu Miu Pre-Fall 2020

While pre-collections might soon become outdated thanks to Gucci’s Alessandro Michele smart move, a few look-book line-ups (photographed in pre-corona times) got recently dropped as the new season is slowly popping in stores (as if anybody actually bought anything from the spring-summer offerings…). Miu Miu‘s pre-fall 2020 foreshadows the main collection’s thread, which was about glamour and the joy of dressing up, from a young woman’s point of view. The visuals by Douglas Irvine suggests the mix of feelings a person might have before any party or wedding reception. Excitement. Anxiety. “Get the party started“. “Not going“. “Ok, fine, I’m coming!” It’s a heavy throwback to late 1960s and early 1970s, and quite possibly Miuccia Prada reflected on her own style navigation from that time. Some of the dresses – especially the prairie baby doll fits and the maxi ones with vintage-y ruffles – made you think of Batsheva and The Vampire’s Wife signature specialties. Miu Miu has them in arty patchwork pattern prints, and it seems that the label didn’t think of using pre-existing fabric leftovers for the collection. And that’s a pity, as it would really make sense in the current sustainability conversation the industry is having. The rest of the collection was quintessentially Miu Miu: so-odd-it’s-good colour clashes, knitted tights, cute embroideries and embellishments, fun faux-fur stoles. Of course, back in 2019 when that collection was being finalised, nobody had a clue that 2020 would be that crap. Yet still, I’ve got to ask this: where will she wear those dresses? Thanks god we’ve got Zoom parties…

Collage by Edward Kanarecki, look-books photos by Douglas Irvine for Miu Miu.

Taking Time. Alaïa AW20

In times like this, it’s strange to write about fashion. But at the same time, oh how I want fashion… Don’t get me wrong: less collections a year is an initiative that needs praise and support. But when I hear such radical things as “no more fashion weeks” or “no more fashion shows”… then what’s the actual sense of it all, other than just clothes? Also, I fear that not only small and emerging labels might struggle and drown in financial problems, but as well independent, legendary houses that don’t have the deserved spotlight. One of them is Alaïa. After producing 10 collections without the house’s founder, Azzedine Alaïa‘s studio has pretty much found its stride, taking liberties while never straying too far from home base. It also found ample inspiration in two satellite events: the exhibition at the Galerie Azzedine Alaïa entitled Alaia and Balenciaga, Sculptors of Shape, and the book Taking Time, a selection of conversations compiled over the years around Alaïa’s imposing, eclectically populated dinner table. Among those featured are Jonathan Ive and Marc Newson, who speak of time as “the first ergonomic product.” For the autumn-winter 2020 line-up, the studio picks up on the late designer’s fascination with ergonomy, in particular through jersey knit. Starting with archival samples and a lifetime’s worth of research, it delved into origami-inspired pleating and came up with a new, openwork iteration that, while visibly true to house codes also pushed the story forward. For the first time, a cape coat ordinarily cut from cloth resurfaced in a dense knit, textured in ovoid reliefs. Knits also proved a foil for a leather corset belt with fringes that fell to mid-thigh. Impractical though it may be, in a season heavy with fringe, that would-be skirt was one of the most compelling pieces around. In that spirit, there were also a few fringed jackets extrapolated from one Mr. Alaïa had left unfinished on a mannequin in his studio. With Alaïa’s original, iconic zip dress headed to the Met exhibition, About Time (which has been indefinitely postponed due to coronavirus), the studio offered up a new, simpler take on that idea in a little black dress. His signature leopard print also appeared in various iterations, in a gathered and belted coat or a knit bodice on an evening gown. Other highlights included velvet dresses in black, deep burgundy (sublime!) or forest green, and an eye-catching jacket and skirt ensemble in laser-cut, embroidered leather that amped up the contrast of matte and shine. That’s why we will always need brands like Alaïa: it’s not just the history and the person, but a place, where you will find a perfectly timeless dress.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Minimalism With A Feel. Deveaux AW20

When Tommy Ton joined Deveaux as creative director two years ago, this New York-based label was a menswear line. Today, its business is in majority womenswear. All those years shooting street style outside the shows have paid off. Ton says observation is only part of it, though; careful listening to what his friends, customers, and friends who have become customers want is also essential. He hears women ask for sleeves that cover their upper arms, pants without pleats and skirts with specific made-to-be-flattering proportions. That may sound dry, but Ton enthuses about such details. He’s not in this for the runway glory, he seems to truly enjoy the nitty gritty of making clothes. After a couple of seasons of shows in New York, Ton and Deveaux’s designer Andrea Tsao opted for a showroom presentation in Paris (pre-corona times…) for autumn-winter 2020. The attractions of this brand aren’t editorial, their efforts are aimed not at magazine pages, but at women’s everyday wardrobes. As people running a small company, Ton and Tsao are practicing sustainability by using fabrics across categories. This time that means they made a shirt dress and a poncho anorak hybrid in the same khaki shade of water-resistant cotton nylon – pragmatic for the brand and for their often on-the-road customers. The New Yorkers are really good in tactile, soft minimalism: The Row, Gabriela Hearst, Khaite and Deveaux are a gang.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Choice: Saint Laurent AW17

A few days ago I asked you on my Instagram stories to pick one of your favourite collections ever and I would make a collage with it. Here’s @elif.karadut’s choice: Anthony Vaccarello‘s autumn-winter 2017 collection for Saint Laurent! All dressed up, but nowhere to go… for now.

More of your choices are coming in the following days! If you missed the game, you can still write me your favourite collection and I will do the work. Got plenty of time. Culture isn’t cancelled, fashion isn’t cancelled!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.