Hotness. Magda Butrym Resort 2023

Unabashedly feminine and sexy, Magda Butrym‘s resort 2023 party-ready pieces sit in a league of their own – and continue to evolve in her new collection. The Polish designer delivers new off-shoulder necklines and the return of her signature, hot-red rose appliqués, now on separates, rendered in crochet and denim, and adorning an elongating pink number that exudes high statuesque glamour. She also introduces more coverage – most notably on a crystal-flecked long-sleeve gown in scintillating pale beige. The tailoring is sharp as usual, this time in an array of colours, from bold magenta to deep black. The pink long-sleeve floor sweeper with a dramatic side slit and floral-detailed high neck is the Aphrodite of Butrym’s latest eveningwear. These are clothes to dance in, all night, in the moonlight. No wonder why the collection is titled “Super Moon”.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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Being Dressed. Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2022

I never gave up on being dressed, even when the trend was about sportswear,” says Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello of his pre-fall women’s collection, the until-now-unseen curtain raiser to his sublime and epic winter show, presented earlier this year. “I am glad that people want to dress up again, because for me nothing has changed.” Never let it be said that Vaccarello doesn’t have unerring instincts. When the rest of the world was letting it all hang out while being holed up at home, he was showing hyper-colored tweedy suits dripping with jewels on an icy tundra, or had marabou and pop-floral chiffon marching across a vast Sahara-like vista; big themes, big landscapes, big drama. In their way they were as much paeans to hope for the future as statements of intent about how you might want to dress in the present. Except change was to a degree part of the narrative: Vaccarello also took on board the prevailing desire for comfort and ease, he just didn’t do it in the obvious, cliched or un-YSL of ways; there were modern compact jerseys and fluid silks to move in and to feel free in. This pre-fall collection builds on that as much as planting the seeds for the aforementioned winter, which he describes as “lots of volumes, more rounded shapes, a bit of Art Deco, a bit ’90s and a bit of Poiret.” His trick is to take all of that and work it through some of the classic Saint Laurent-isms. The columnar line for evening that Yves loved so much now looks perfect for daytime, partnered with a tough belted leather jacket and an armful of bangles. The iconic le smoking also makes it to the other side of the dawn, as an eased up suit, a cape, or a sharp-shouldered coat. Those are just some of the strong outerwear statements on show here: oversized faux furs, cozily chic but with a casual flick-the-collar-up attitude; voluminous-shouldered cocoon coats and nifty leather trenches thrown over some particularly ravishing slithery lingerie slip dresses, a hint of romanticism given by their guipure or frothy lace edges. Finishing all this off: stretch velvet high-heeled boots; gilt-trimmed square-toed pumps; and frame topped handbags. Magnifique.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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Sublime Symphony. Saint Laurent AW22

Anthony Vaccarello delivered one of the most beautiful, sensational and elegant moments of the entire fashion month. His autumn-winter 2022 collection for Saint Laurent was sublime, a true symphony of chic, refinement and grace that even Yves himself would applaud. What will be remembered most? Purely the sight of a woman in a long, silvery bias-cut dress, with a perfect black low-buttoned double-breasted black peacoat over it, her hands thrust into the pockets. She opened the show. And then the line-up of flawless black tuxedos and a single, narrow black tux coat which came at the end. Of course, there was a lot more in between: fake fur coats and bombers; amazing overcoats with big (not too big) shoulders; narrow leather coats; elegantly nonchalant cocoon-back profiles. Then the punctuation of something as simple as an ecru floor-length turtle neck T-shirt dress, worn with deep stacks of dark wood and silver bangles on each arm. And the high glamour of 1930s and 1980s evening jackets with big bands of faux fur running around them.

More than anything, all of this went to show how Vaccarello has got himself in charge of the Yves Saint Laurent aesthetic, relaxed into it. That’s no mean feat – the sheer magnitude and magnificence of Saint Laurent’s oeuvre is mightily intimidating. In the face of it, the temptation as a designer is either to rebel against it with super-short shorts, slit skirts, breast-exposure and everything Saint Laurent didn’t do (which Vaccarello did at one time) or to just be too reverential. What the job really calls for is someone who knows enough about the playbook of Saint Laurent to be able to honor its quality, but also has enough confidence to be nonchalant about using it. Vaccarello hit that point of maturity with this show. In his own accent, with his own taste. With, yes, maybe something of his Belgian-born sensibility coming through: vague echoes of that period of deconstructed minimalism, the monochrome colors, saving the air of being easy to wear, but then again, bringing it up to the level of the modern Parisian elegance that we all dream about. The collection was emotionally-charged, as it was a powerful tribute to Vaccarello’s father, who has passed away recently.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Elusive Chic. Chanel Pre-Fall 2022

With a snip of her ribbon-looped scissors, Gabrielle Chanel released women from their corsets and put them in fluid jersey suits and loose chemise dresses. “Nothing is more beautiful than freedom of the body,” she said. With sweeping synergy, this season’s Chanel Métiers d’Art collection by Virginie Viard was equally liberating, with a pinch of denim and CC logo added. Viard invited guests to Le19M, the newly opened building devoted to the workshops of the maison’s artisans, where she presented her most crafts-centric collection within the very same architecture that had informed its cuts and motifs. Named after the arrondissement it inhabits, the triangular Le19M was designed by Rudy Ricciotti whose “concrete thread” façade evokes the intricacy of embroidered haute couture cloth. Viard echoed those lines – as well as elements from the building’s interior – in a collection she called “metropolitan.” The pre-fall 2022 line up is a combination of Chanel’s craftsmanship masters’ work – Lesage, Montex, Lemarié, Lognon, Goosens, Maison Michel, and Massaro – whose painstaking, super time-consuming, beautiful pieces of artisan work are put into the world to contribute to a bigger picture: the full look. Placing these age-old practices in a contemporary context, Viard took that look to the streets – at least those left of the River Seine. Interpreting the Chanel branding through graffiti-like embroidery, she exercised her take on the logomania. A top nestled the double-C among floral appliqué, the same logo was playfully speckled on cardigans and trousers in fluffy silver embroideries, and the Chanel name appeared tagged in multi-colored crystals across the front pockets of a tweed blouson that evoked a sweatshirt. A major Chanel tip: top the tweed outfit with an eternally charming hair bow. It took Viard a while to find her voice at Chanel and make her offerings something more than just riskless sets of the brand’s signatures. Now, the Chanel woman personifies unforced elegance and easy chic fit for contemporary times. And she sure loves gorgeous details!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Chic Adaptability. The Row Pre-Fall 2022

This is one of these The Row collections that are just… perfect. And extremely relevant. Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen have never been the type to discuss the deeper meaning of their collections, and they’re not about to start now, but the opening look of their pre-fall 2022 offering definitely meets the turbulence of our current moment. It’s a grain de poudre jacket worn backwards, its single button fastened mid-spine and its lapels framing the shoulder blades. “Adaptability” is definitely one of their running themes here. Other tailored jackets can be worn inside-out, and on the accessories front there are reversible tote bags and cotton voile “protectors” for leather styles. After a season of more oversized, relaxed shapes, the waist has come back into focus for the Olsens. Their elongated and slightly nipped jackets cut an elegant line, and many of the looks are accessorized with leather belts featuring useful add-ons for cell phones and ear buds. Elsewhere, there are generous, pillowing volumes, as in the red nylon cellophane top and skirt of look two, which are cut with bubble hems to accentuate their material’s airy lightness. Extending a newfound interest in color, they showed metallic viscose knit separates in bright lilac or red worn layered and even wrapped around the head like scarves, and a trench in a crimped aqua tulle, shown with a matching bag. They also embraced humor. A couple of shrunken T-shirts (paired with excellent boned-waist trousers) are scribbled with children’s drawings; officially they’re part of The Row’s kid’s line, but they’ll be sold in women’s sizes too. The final look is the other side of that reversed jacket. It’s a back-to-front world, but The Row can help you hold it together.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.