That Woman. Hillier Bartley Resort 2019

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What’s Hillier Bartley like for resort 2019? Well, it’s definitely not about one aesthetic or any central idea. Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier chose to play with their signatures (chic loungewear, for instance) this season, adding some very unexpected twists to the collection. Distorted, Saville-Row-esque tailoring styled with thick turtlenecks or coming in emerald silk; equally deconstructed shirts with, what it seems, clashed double sleeves; tie-dyed, high-rise pants. The enormously big taffeta bows on pencil skirts and strapless tops had something of fancy nightclubbing, straight out of the 80s, just like the latex pussy-bow piece. Oh, and of course that suit. “We call it the Brexit—or the anti-Brexit—suit,” said Bartley. “I don’t know where it came from, but it felt right”. Accessories, that are largely Hillier’s job, span from the classic bunny clutch (in new colours) to boxy Cassette, a bag injected with lovely, vintage feeling.

Conclusion: what’s most fascinating about Hillier Bartley – the brand exists for few seasons now – is that the designers created a distinct look that can’t be mistaken with any other brand. You look and you know it’s the Hillier Bartley woman – mature, kind of mysterious, but not taking herself too seriously. She can go for both, a cocktail in the new posh spot, or sip beer in an old school pub.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Colour. Calvin Klein Resort 2019

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Raf Simons’ resort 2019 collection for Calvin Klein 205W93NYC feels like a remix. It’s a smooth continuation from the line’s remarkable autumn-winter 2018 collection (note the fireman jackets and heavy knits), a reminder of the designer’s classics for the brand (polished cowboy boots) and a start of something totally new. Colour blocking! The clingy, maxi-length knitted dresses in bold yellow, pink or blue are feminine, but not banal (and are an echo of Simons’ work for Jil Sander, which makes this addition even more special for the fans). That major play of colours jumped into menswear as well. Other than that, we’ve got America’s most renowned university logos, all over varsity jackets, handbags and pockets of blazers. Personally, I think that’s the weakest point of the collection, but the one that will sell best. Still, it’s consistent to Raf’s thorough examination of the Americana theme he moves every season, in various aspects. Pre-collections are not main collections, so you know, Raf couldn’t go too far. But it’s a proper balance of commercial and daring.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Beauty. Valentino Couture AW18

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“With ready-to-wear, your vision of beauty relates to the times you are living in,” Pierpaolo Piccioli stated after his brilliant, magnificent and remarkable haute couture collection for Valentino. Then, he concluded that “couture involves a deeper and more intimate perspective, to go further into your own vision of beauty.”

‘Beauty’ was definitely the keyword behind that line-up of gorgeousness – by that I mean everything, from Guido Palau’s major hair to the closing orange gown worn by Adut Akech (yes, it’s the same piece Beyoncé snatched to one of her On The Run II concerts, week later after the show took place. That’s quick). No wonder why Valentino Garavani, the man of the brand, was so moved and all in tears by the end of the show. Piccioli pulled of the opulent Italian style in a masterful way, like the founder of the maison did back in the past. Floor-sweeping kimono coats; over-sized shirts with equally XXL collars; skirts and jackets covered in bejewelled prints referring to Greek mythology; ruffled coats in signature Valentino red. The list seems to be endless, just like the number of pink feathers used for that ecstatically fantastic dress Kaia Gerber walked the runway in. But Pierpaolo is known for injecting contemporary elements of the wardrobe to the most exquisite collections of his. Some of the dresses were in fact cut like a t-shirt, while sheer silk blouses with embroideries looked unexpectedly casual with Bermuda shorts. Modernity also came to this collection through colours the designer chose. Of course there were all the rich emeralds and fuchsias. But the dirty shade of pastel pink, softness of pistachio and the depth of burgundy rescued the collection from visually being too over-the-top. The collection, the way it is, somewhere between the old glamour and present sense of style, is perfect.

With John Galliano’s Maison Margiela, I think the verdict is quite clear – we’ve got the ultimate winners of this season’s couture. Now, let me die knowing that I won’t put my hands on all that radzimir and taffeta…

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Nomadic Glamour. Maison Margiela Couture AW18

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Collections like this make you believe in fashion again. Maison Margiela‘s Artisanal line (read: haute couture) became an outlet for John Galliano‘s wildest ideas, which seems to let him explore his most dynamic ideas with the unlimited freedom. But when you listen to John speaking about the collection, you suddenly understand it’s not just a mega-artist’s next epic fantasy. There’s a seed of reality in those multi-layered garments packed with utilitarian textiles, protective pillow-y elements and extreme colours. “We’re all nomads today. . . we do move in tribes.” That nomadic glamour, the term he coined after the show, refers to the contemporary state of things. On the daily basis, we absorb so much information through different, constantly booming media. At the end of the day, we want comfort – but is it even possible in today’s world? Rather, we need shelter or an armour – which can be constructed from tulle, felt wool or some spong-y material, just as Galliano predicts. Even though we already exist in the hi-tech world, the vision of iPhones and iPads sticking out of our bodies like some kind of exoskeleton feels rather dystopian on the other note. But then, if the future will bring the humanity to “neo-digital natives”, as the designer says, then at least our wardrobes won’t disappoint with  boldness.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.