Dolls. Marc Jacobs SS19

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On the last day of New York fashion week, Marc Jacobs sent out a line-up of human-size dolls. But no Barbies here – rather, those old-school dolls dressed in delightful, dreamy dresses every girl used to want in her life. Many considered Jacobs’ collection as ‘too much’, while I thought it’s just the right amount of fun, glamour and honest fashion joy. At some points dangerously saccharine, the collection was a nod to Karl Lagerfeld’s early years at Chanel and Yves Saint Laurent’s voluminous, multi-coloured moment in the 80s. It’s Jacobs’ second season of going fashion-history-heavy, but this time the result is much lighter and not that exaggerated. While fashion insiders note how badly Marc does in his ready-to-wear sales in the recent seasons, it’s visible that the designer doesn’t really care about that and continues to keep New York’s fashion on track with his mind-blowing outings. I mean, we can’t just stare at baggy pants and Phoebe Philo knock-offs, right? With a few exceptions, that’s what New York’s fashion is like today.

It seems that Marc Jacobs, Rodarte sisters, Pierpaolo Piccioli from Valentino and Alessandro Michele from Gucci are the last people who still dream in fashion, in that ‘romantic’ way. But still, Pierpaolo does that solely in his couture (that’s commercially backed up by ready-to-wear). Alessandro is having his ‘hype’ period that might end sooner or later. With Rodarte, I will never understand how that brand sustains itself financially. Where’s Marc in all that? Maybe the beauty line will keep him in business, because his clothing becomes shockingly rare to spot in the stores. Whatever it is, I hope he won’t be exiting his brand anytime soon.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Passion. Maryam Nassir Zadeh SS19

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Take a look at Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s spring-summer 2019 collection, and then at her Instagram posts from this summer. You will instantly understand, that the designer’s fashion is ultimately all about her, and her style. Whether in Italy, Greece or New York, Zadeh’s everyday style is equally spontaneous and idiosyncratic. Whether it’s a zebra bandou, a maillot or a wraparound triangle top – clothes that you rather associate with beachwear – the designer incorporates these summer pieces into her daywear. With a flamenco-ish skirt or a pastel-pink camisole. Or even a beige, loosely fitted blazer. What I especially loved about this collection is the passionate, Pedro Almodovar-esque colour palette. Think juicy red and deep blue. Maryam’s brand is embraced by her pack of friends and beloved female artists (like Ana Kras and Hailey Benton Gates, who walked the runway), and women who are very much like them. That’s why, without much fuss and PR presence, Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s clothes (and leather goods) are in constant demand.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

References. Calvin Klein SS19

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To my very own surprise, I’m on fence with a Calvin Klein collection by Raf Simons. Specifically, with his most recent, so spring-summer 2019 collection. Not that I don’t like it. I love it. I want one of those The Jaws t-shirts with a CK logo on, even if that’s just a branding masterpiece triggered by the right moment to take an old, good blockbuster out of the shelf. But other than the affordable, approachable ‘merch’, I’m quite saddened that Simons doesn’t let his clothes do the talking, but needs a list of references to justify them. Jaws as first, and not just on the t-shirts. The rubber scuba-diving material was used for subversive outerwear, underscoring a sexy, S&M-like silhouette; the chomped-out, shark-attacked tears at the hems of pleated skirts were for the more observant ones. It’s all good so far. But then, another ‘inspiration’ – Mike Nichols’ classic of post-adolescent indecision, The Graduate. Most people, who haven’t seen the film, thought that the mortarboards and graduation gowns thrown over models’ shoulders were taken out of this 1967 film. Ironically, there wasn’t even a brief still of these two throughout the entire film. The film’s soundtrack was played at the end of the show, instead. And some of the prints (like leopard spots) resembled those that Mrs. Robinson liked to wear, while seducing Benjamin. The high-school gear felt unconvincing and, to be honest, I was completely confused what the designer tried to say with it. Moral: let’s not take film titles too literally. And then another reference. American couture from the 50s and 60s. Worn with plastic harnesses (so, so Helmut Lang), the floral dresses that were a nod to that conservative fashion era had been re-stitched to create this ‘crushed’ effect. I know this wasn’t meant to look flattering, but… well, I just can’t say I like the look of these garments. The show had its visible ups (like the venue’s look, the fun styling, and the apparel that is a sure bestseller) and downs. Simons continues to discover American culture (by now we had Andy Warhol, horror films, cowboys, universities, Hollywood…) and recycle different ideas from it in his collections, but I think it’s time to let go and take another step. Or at least, go for something more metaphorical, not based on the collective brain of finding direct associations and parallels in pop culture (as if they were Instagram tags).

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Real. Proenza Schouler SS19

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Similar to Rodarte, Proenza Schouler returned to New York fashion week after a stint in Paris. Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez immediately switched everything, from sensibility to the production of the new season clothing. No more feathers, meticulous embroideries and laborious craftsmanship. The feeling is New York, not Paris. Real, laid back. And that’s something that works for Proenza Schouler best. Even though I loved their last two collections they did in Europe, it was quite perceivable that the ‘prestige’ surrounding the French capital might not entirely be their cup of tea.

Their collection happens to be one of my favourites from what we’ve seen up to date in New York. First, the simplicity: most of the pieces were made in either cotton or denim. This also means that the price point will be much lower than the current collection that’s in stores. Military-style jacket with a high collar looked so good with wide-leg trousers, and a drop-waist dress in bleached denim is exactly what every summer wardrobe needs. The over-sized, tie-dyed shirts with random snapshot of New York had that art gallery feeling I always adored in Proenza Schouler, New Yorker mode. Oh, the bags. The bags! So big and comfortable. Perfect. I bet that from all the brands that show in New York this season, Proenza Schouler might expect the biggest success in retail. And not because of some shallow ‘fashion’, but well-made, contemporary-looking clothes women will wear everyday, for different occasions. That’s actually the core of the brand since it’s first days – to deliver remarkable, sort of edgy styles to intelligent, self-aware females.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.