Colours of Paris. Saint Laurent Pre-Fall 2020

While Saint Laurent‘s pre-fall 2020 is released just now – the moment when the clothes hit the stores – it has the clues of the main, runway collection which we’ve seen back in March. It was Anthony Vaccarello‘s big success with colour, something so distinct and signature for Yves. “I started really enjoying those mixes of colors with the pre-fall” Vaccarello said. “It gave me the idea and desire to continue it for winter. I always thought that [color] was not my thing… but with time I have to say I just love mixing those improbable colors together, like in a painting.” With autumn there isn’t the same maitresse vibe of winter, but instead a softer, warmer approach, using color -mainly warm rust, ochre, a deep leafy green – in a judicious way so that it exalts and amplifies the kind of pieces Vaccarello sees as his perfect super-chic, super-Parisian wardrobe. That could mean a red velvet jacket over a white open-neck blouse and with beaten-up jeans. Or it could mean a kingfisher silk blouse gleaming from beneath an ocelot-like furry bomber and leather ski pants, the shade of blue set off beautifully by a hippieish gold metal belt. The other narrative threaded throughout this season at Saint Laurent are the 1970s. Here the decade is given a different cultural context by Vaccarello. He’s not looking so much at the likes of Betty Catroux or Loulou de la Falaise, but instead Jane Fonda. “[She] is always relevant, for everything she did in the ’70s and also for what she is still doing,” he said. “She is committed and active and never afraid to stand for her beliefs.” Incidentally, the year that her feminist-empowering thriller Klute came out – 1971 – was the very same year that Yves himself sent out his controversial ’40s-by-way-of-the-’70s collection. There are shades of both in this Saint Laurent autumn: the button-through skirt in leather or patchworked denim; the fluffy chubby; the squared-off shoulder line of a double-breasted jacket. I must admit that Vaccarello’s way of doing things at Saint Laurent gets better and better with time.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Look – Marc Jacobs AW20

Marc Jacobs‘ phenomenal autumn-winter 2020 collection is probably one of my favourite moments of the entire season. The runway featured a dance performance choreographed by Karole Armitage, New York’s „punk ballerina”, with the catwalk staged like a bistro. At some point it was hard to tell who’s the model and who’s the dancer (everybody was dressed in Jacobs), and that was the intention: beauty in chaos, told through powerful movement. Infinitely inspired by his heroes of the past and present, it is style, in which different people dress at the various stages, ages and times in their lives, that provokes Marc’s love for fashion and possibilities of what it can be. The designer especially had the fading image of disappearing New York in his mind – forever mythical and chic, with its „beauty, promise, sparkle and grit”. The simple, yet unbelievably elegant look Sara Grace Wallerstedt wore – black bra worn underneath a cable-knit cardigan, black pencil skirt, kitten heels with socks and a head-band – is the style refinement level that equals to Holly Golightly’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s wardrobe. When I rewatched this film a few days ago, I just couldn’t not think about Jacobs’ recent line-up.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki featuring Steven Meisel‘s photo for Vogue Italia‘s April 1999 issue.

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.

The Choice – Chanel SS96

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 @kalalastrzelbicka’s choice: Karl Lagerfeld‘s spring-summer 1996 collection for Chanel. Months after this collection was shown, Vogue published “Fear of Fridays,” an article that spoke about the tailspin caused by the spread of the casual-Friday concept in business, one that gave rise to a new, more comfortable work uniform built around chinos. Lagerfeld swapped out the preppiness for a laid-back look, added a cropped T-shirt (which was certainly not work appropriate at that time…) and a belt or two, et voilà! Casual chic the Chanel way.

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.

Saint Laurent Rive Droite

The place where the Colette once used to be, now is the location for Saint Laurent Rive Droite. Thought up as a retail destination, it’s the concept store curated by Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello. The Rive Droite name takes its inspiration from Saint Laurent’s Rive Gauche, the line that introduced Yves’s unique way of combining prêt-à-porter and luxury fashion with the opening of his first boutique in Paris back in 1966. The store space is built around the idea of a cultural experience, showcased through different events such as exhibitions, performances and artistic exchanges. The products on sale are also exclusive to the space, offering rare books, vintage record players, condoms, skate-boards and toy cars. I went there to see what all the buzz is about. It’s a chic store, filled with French design classics and gorgeous clothes, that’s for sure. But then, it feels like another YSL store. So when I read that “it’s better than Colette”… well, it’s definitely not.

213 rue saint Honoré

All photos by Edward Kanarecki.

(P.S. If you are inspired by my Parisian coverage, I’m really happy about, but please have in mind that now isn’t a safe time for any sorts of travelling. Stay at home!)

Comfort Zone. Isabel Marant AW20

For autumn-winter 2020, Isabel Marant stayed in her comfort zone. Her signature, hourglass silhouette came in knitted dresses with over-sized shoulders and quilted varsity jackets with a sharp cut. Her trademark styling trick – in which a belt is used to cinch a voluminous jacket – was in full effect on shaggy camel-colored shearling and all-enveloping blanket coats. Mostly kept in layered neutrals, the collection pleases with its balance between minimalism and nomadic chic – something we all know Marant for. It’s one of those collections that comes nearly unnoticed, but when it hits the stores, everyone wants it.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Beautiful Reality. Lemaire AW20

And of course, my heart got completely stolen by Lemaire. Models at Sarah-Linh Tran and Christophe Lemaire’s show emerged in groups of two or three, and the designers encouraged them to wander instead of stride, taking in their surroundings and making sidelong glances. Along with the typical runway models, there was the Japanese actor Ryo Kase playing a middle-aged “commuter” with a rolled-up copy of Le Monde, an older gentleman with white hair and one of the label’s clamshell leather bags in the crook of his arm, and mature women in head-to-toe shades of brown who gave the audience outfit envy. Most of the looks were monochrome in varying shades of neutrals. Backstage, Tran reasoned that “the face stands out more that way.” Layering was one of the key takeaways here, along with the power of a great coat or jacket and a sturdily heeled knee-high boot. The silhouette tended toward the voluminous: blouson jackets were belted at the hips over A-line skirts and trench coats came with assertive storm flaps and hoods. Delightful. The biggest surprise coming this season from Lemaire? Prints. They don’t regularly feature in their collections, but they were a prominent part of this one. With permission from the family of the late Mexican outsider artist Martín Ramírez, they used his earthy drawings on dresses, separates and knee-high boots. They were an enlivening element, beautiful but understated in the quintessentialy Lemaire way. Tran and Lemaire evolve with patience and consideration, so that new-season clothes pair effortlessly and elegantly with ones from seasons past. At the moment, it’s my favourite collection in Paris.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Power. Saint Laurent AW20

Here’s one of the most brilliant collections coming from Anthony Vaccarello for Saint Laurent. There was power, there was vibrance, there was colour – something I missed or didn’t really feel in his last collections. And, it didn’t look like Hedi Slimane’s Celine. The opening look laid bare exactly what he was thinking of for the season: an haute bourgeois red tartan double-breasted blazer, gilt-buttoned, velvet-collared, atop a matching jabot neckline blouse, hair swept back, substantial gold and jet earrings, and… black latex trousers. And there was plenty more of tailoring: exquisite jackets, impeccably cut, double-breasted, many with those same gilded buttons, in ochre cashmere, pearly gray flannel, jaunty navy wool, natty brown houndstooth – and all worn with those same dominatix, all-gloss pants. What was new and completely refreshing was the way Vaccarello chose to riff on the lush sensuality that Monsieur Saint Laurent was such a master of. And what else was new, yet very Yves: the uninhibited sense of color, with Vaccarello working his way through the classic YSL palette – fuchsia to purple to emerald to hot pink – and showcasing it his own way through that extremely non-classic latex. But when styled with YSL’s Le Scandale-inspired fur coats, it all made even more sense. Backstage, Vaccarello acknowledged the #MeToo climate, and spoke of celebrating a woman’s power and her own sense of self. Ever since his arrival at Saint Laurent, Vaccarello has endorsed a woman’s right to express her own physicality, and her sexuality, any way she wants.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The 2010s: Haider Ackermann AW14

Believe it or not – I can’t! – but we’re heading towards a new millenium. So, how do you choose the most important collections, designers and labels of the decade? The ones that made an actual impact in the 2010s? Well, it’s not an easy task. It all began in September 2009 with New York’s spring-summer 2010 shows and ended when the autumn-winter 2019 haute couture shows wrapped in Paris. Few thousands of shows, by the way. There will be 19 posts (that’s really the only possible minimum!) reminding about the best – and if not the best, then strongly influencing – moments in fashion.

Haider Ackermann‘s AW14 perfection.

Of course, Haider Ackermann has many things to look back at this decade: his Berluti stint, all the custom looks he created for Tilda Swinton and Timothee Chalamet for their red carpet appearances, every single menswear and womenswear collection he presented… but there’s one line-up I will never forget. The autumn-winter 2014 collection. That time, Ackermann utterly seduced with his sensual silhouette, garbed in contrasting cuts and volumes. Some of the garments were built for street (biker jackets, mannish jackets, comfy cardigans, skinny cropped jeans), others were decidedly more refined (floor-sweeping duster coats, oversized trousers, draped jersey dresses, and plunging tops, all sent out in autumn-ish, masculine fabrics – tweeds, plaids, houndstooth, flannel, fur and felt galore). A poised, poetically dark allure.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.