#2016 – Hillier Bartley

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Hillier Bartley, formed by Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, is a label offering womenswear created by real women. The brand is already widely recognized for its Anglomania attire: at a first glance, the idea’s based on the wardrobe of an English aristocrat, who belongs to a classy gentlemen’s club. But then, the elegance goes Absolutely Fabulous non-chalance. The designers’ eternal love for 70s West London bohemia is oozing in every single piece of their spring-summer 2017 look-book. Discussing their inspirations, Luella named everyone from Zandra Rhodes to David Hockney, who were the quintessence of colour, partying and fashion back in the times. It’s absorbing to see how these two female designers evolve during their design process, and succeed in keeping it true to their style.

 We’ve got Savile Row-inspired tailoring, all covered in multi-colour ostrich feathers; those thick knit sweaters became even softer with fluffy, purple fur sleeves; loosely fit, pink shirt was a nod to David Bowie’s legendary style. The musician’s spirit, who passed away in 2016, is present in these beautifully decadent, yet alluring clothes. As Luella Bartley told Vogue, “Talking about Bowie’s influence on myself or any other creative person is like talking about how oxygen influences the breathing process. Bowie, as the Thin White Duke in a double-breasted linen suit, felt particularly apt to illustrate a vague idea we had to imbue the Hillier Bartley woman with a louche ’30s glamour.” Just like the legendary musician, the Hillier Bartley woman has a style tendency for androgyny – note the importance of English tailoring, from cool blazers to high-rise trousers. Hillier Bartley isn’t about styling, though – if you separate the clothes from the looks, they appear to be (slightly eclectic) essentials of your on-the-go, everyday gear.

For autumn-winter 2016, the designers went for flea-market cool, which is so timeless and eternally relevant in London. One of the coats virtually looks like a re-cut and re-shaped Persian rug. A satin robe is worn as an evening dress according to the designers, with a pair of moccasins. Icy blue, velvet suit with a black, ribbed turtleneck underneath is a total-look worth investing. The intricately embroidered gown is a cherry on the cake – I’m obsessed with the way the oriental motif contrasts with the entire collection filled with feather elements, leopard spots and romantic, Fleetwood Mac flair. Oh, and the bags line is blooming, which is mostly on Katie’s part. From ‘Bunny’ clutches to collar-box bags with lilac tassels, the range is… yummy.

Looking forward to see Hillier Bartley’s next step in 2017!

#2016 – Glenn Martens

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Y/Project is a prove that Paris looks forward to labels found by new-gen talents. Glenn Martens‘ vision blurs between the terms feminine and masculine, but also, reflect on the generations’ love for  pastel-pink trashiness, Cher’s good, old looks and this neo-goth, neo-grunge mood (which appears repeatedly). But you can’t compare Glenn Martens’ label to the fashion collective Vetements – the philosophies of these two brands are totally different, just like the approach. At Y/Project, drama plays a role – bishop sleeves worn loosely with pencil skirts; sheer robes with ruff-like collars ooze with ethereal elegance, but with a modern-day twist. The list of must-haves keeps adding up, and curiosity of what’s to come at Y/Project is absorbing.

While others re-invent heritage, French brands or mess around with underground rave culture, Glenn is somewhere in between reviving Marie Antoinette dresses and developing a 21st century gear for cool women (and men). For spring/summer 2017, the designer nails denim pants, which are very much into elongated silhouettes. Velvet body-con piece or a pony-hair top subvert the term “elegance”, just like unconventional evening wear which focuses on exaggerated, sleeveless parachute dresses. The models wore layers of pearl necklaces, ironically contrasting with the so-in-demand street-wise hoodies. Following the anti-fashion maxim, the uglier the better, Glenn sent out a line of the most trashy mules and stilettos you have ever seen. “They’re from Chinatown,” he said backstage, without an attempt to conceal this fact. I doubt a modern-day princess would immerse herself in those cumbersome clothes – but a Parisian skate-girl, for sure.

Before Y/Project, Glenn had his own, namesake label. According to him, after few seasons he had a feeling he “slightly burned out”. Then in 2013, he came in as creative director of Y/Project, just after the death of the brand’s founder – Yohan Serfaty. Y/Project used to be all about darkness and leather (think Gareth Pugh and Rick Owens aesthetics). Martens’ revamp lead the brand to a new client, and a new image.

It seems that 2016 is the year, when we have all really discovered Glenn. I bet 2017 will be a bomb for the brand, too!

Your wardrobe needs…  Y/Project t-shirtY/Project beltY/Project extended jeans & Y/Project tweed bustier dress.

#2016 – Lemaire

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Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran are a love couple. Simultaneously, they are two creative minds working under the same roof – Lemaire. It’s a pleasure to see how their designs for women and men evolve from season-to-season, and become quintessential in Parisian wardrobes.

At Lemaire, style is a conversation between feminine silhouettes and masculine forms: there’s a soft, middle point in-between those two universes. Also, it’s a sense of individuality, and attitude. Christophe and Sarah-Linh understand that through nonconforming styling, one-of-a-kind accessories (take the wooden-bags) and even the statement show-closing, which involves models to walk around the venue randomly, in a real-life motion. For spring-summer 2017, the designers proved they aren’t only masters of total-looks; they know what’s clothes-making. Crinkled dress worn over over-sized pants;  peculiar volume cognac-brown coats. A dancer’s tank-top, pleated skirt and knitted, dove-grey tights – that’s the most sensual look of the season. If you ask me, I live for such fashion moments.

Christophe Lemaire‘s utterly French outing for his autumn-winter 2016 wasn’t just about models, who presented the clothes. The girls at Lemaire show glanced at the audience in a naturally captivating way – as if they weren’t models, but women who wear Christophe’s seductive dresses, felt wool pants and low-heeled shoes on daily basis. The approach stays always the same, with just a few additions to the line.

Lemaire leaves me wanting more. I want to see even more of it in 2017!

Your wardrobe needs… Lemaire red wool sweaterLemaire camera bagLemaire cropped pants & Lemaire trench coat.

#2016 – Marc Jacobs

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New York Fashion Week might impress and surprise, but leave “shocking” to Marc Jacobs, who always ends the city’s schedule with a spotlight-stealing collection. For spring-summer 2017, Jacobs presented an ecstatic rave of his latest obsessions, inspirations, collaborators and, of course, aesthetic. At the Hammerstein Ballroom, Stefan Beckman built a huge stage splattered with grease, lit up by more than a thousand little bulbs. A perfect space for an off-beat, underground party filled with techno-music and thirsty-for-fun people. The association was right – it was the venue of the most youthful collection of the season.

Autumn-winter 2016 was all about gothic culture in fashion, mixed with an aristocratic, soigne mannered dames and grunge, off-duty slouchiness. Chokers and all those extravagant embroideries on cardigans and dresses… then, the queens of darkness came out (Molly Bair slayed the runway – even Lady Gaga couldn’t keep up with her) in their voluminous, black ball-gowns with astrakhan capes. Laser cut floral PVC skirts and crotchet collars styled with elongated college sweatshirts had this striking contrast of old-school and the vintage tendency. The effect? Over-the-top, as usual at Marc Jacobs, but this season it was even more outstanding.

This year belongs to Jacobs not only thanks to his oozing with fantasy grandeur. You’ve surely spotted the platform shoes which strike you in every second fashion editorial. Polished black for winter; suede pink for summer. You’re a head taller in these killers. If 2016 isn’t the year of Marc himself, then it’s the year of his literally major footwear.

Your wardrobe needs… Marc Jacobs platformsMarc Jacobs ‘MTV’ t-shirt & Marc Jacobs pink tulle skirt.

#2016 – Molly Goddard

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Molly Goddard left her M.A. course at Central Saint Martins, where she’d studied under the late professor Louise Wilson, a year earlier to focus on putting together the spring 2015 collection. Her hope was that it would help her get a job. While she always wanted to have her own label, she assumed she’d work for someone else first. However, her real dream came true. Molly is one of the most exciting and fresh talents from London thanks to her super power – the neo-princess, statement tulle dresses. Obsessed with frilly outfits her mother and grandmother made for her as a child, Goddard finds inspiration while looking at old family photographs and visiting her favourite Portobello Market.

2016 was a break-through for Goddard – winning British Fashion Council’s Emerging Talent award; her sweet-like-candy dresses became street-style phenomena across the four fashion capitals; and the collections she presented this year were both equally brilliant. It’s exciting to see how Goddard extends her range, keeping it true to her unique style. The model cast of spring-summer 2017 show consisted of real women, who danced, twirled, spiralled and walked the runway in pastel-pink tops, pistachio mini-dresses, full neon-green skirts and grandma knits. Delightful.

It’s simply impossible for me not to mention Molly in my list of the years’ edge-cutting designers. Can’t wait a minute to see what’s coming for her in 2017.

Your wardrobe needs… Goddard’s ‘Jordan’ dress in pink.