Adidas x Lotta Volkova

I’m not an Adidas guy. But I love Lotta Volkova, the Vladivostok-raised stylist, who helped Demna Gvasalia shape Vetements and Balenciaga, has clients like The Marc Jacobs and Vogue Italia, and is one of the most sought after fashion editor of today. “Adidas approached me around two years ago with an idea to work on an undefined project together,” she tells Vogue, noting of her suprisingly mainstream collaborator: “I find it interesting to exercise your ideas in the broader audience spectrum.” In an interview, she continues: “I feel Adidas has always been around. What I mean is it has been such a reference in Eastern European culture, as well as Western subcultures, interpreted in so many ways. And its influence has gone way further outside of sports or even the fashion milieu. For example, I love those kids in Russia who tattoo Adidas stripes on themselves, or shave them out on their heads, or make those stripes into massive stickers, branding their cars.” That subcultural element is present in collaboration pieces that toe the knockoff-real line. Stretch skater dresses appear worn over triple-stripe stay-ups, tracksuits are reimagined as boilersuits, and the brand’s omnipresent slide sandals are pumped up with a wedge heel (super cute). A swimsuit and matching swim cap, both in a wave graphic, are sort of camp, sort of ironic, and totally ideal for the Olympics, if only the event hadn’t been postponed to 2021. These pieces might seem almost like a fashion parody at first, but each is fundamentally grounded in the brand’s extensive archive. And they feel quintessentially Lotta. The stylist names “the earliest pieces of clothing Adidas ever produced” as references for her designs. “For example, the green tracksuit was inspired by the first tracksuit Adidas ever made,” she explains. “Regarding footwear, I was interested to see if Adidas has ever made a heeled shoe, and we discovered the trefoil mules that gave inspiration for the Adilette. Also, I like a very hands-on, DIY approach, which inspired the windbreaker pieces with hardware zips applications.” The important question: How will the stylist of a generation be styling her own collection? “Depending on your style, the items can be mixed with your dailywear or worn head to toe and still maintain a chic, relaxed look inspired by sportswear,” she begins. “For example, I like to wear the zipped jumpsuit with my Chanel flats or any high heels. The super-high-rise swimsuit can be a great top worn with skirts, pants, or any bottoms as well as functioning swimwear.” The pieces are on sale from August 13!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki, look-book photos by Johnny Dufort.

Like a Bird. Lee Mathews Resort 2021

If you still don’t know Lee Mathews, the Sydney-based designer making some of the most summer-perfect clothes out there, here’s a catch-up on her gorgeous resort 2021 collection. Birdwatching has become the unofficial hobby of lockdown era. Thanks to reduced air traffic, the trees outside of Mathews’s studio have become wildly populated with birds. There are no literal avians in her spring collection though – instead, the creative director followed their path to a sense of freedom, joy, and movement. Mathews’s structured dresses have even fuller skirts and poufier sleeves as a result. Pants have added legroom, too, from a jodhpur-like cargo pant to silky, wide-leg options. The danceability of these clothes was put to the test in a performance choreographed by Eliza Cooper and filmed by Martyn Thompson. Thompson, a photographer based in New York, is a longtime friend of Mathews’s. “The experience reconnected me with people I’ve known for a long time,” said Mathews of isolating in Sydney, “and something new is coming from it.” That willingness to collaborate and try something new is the best possible outcome of a world isolated and apart. “Having to collaborate outside your usual sphere to make things that resonate more is what will propel fashion forward,” Mathews told Vogue over a Zoom call. Brands much larger than hers should take note.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The Look – Balenciaga AW19 (Almodóvar Special!)

Pedro Almodóvar’s favourite colour is red. Colour in an Almodóvar film establishes mood and emotion, or a dramatic change in both. His most recurrent combination is red and blue, used to most striking effect in All About My Mother or Julieta. Red seems to be an important element in his upcoming The Human Voice, starring the one and only Tilda Swinton (!!!!) – set for Venice Film Festival that’s happening in a month. Also, I’m quite sure that the red knitted look worn by Swinton in the first released visual from the film is Balenciaga autumn-winter 2019 by Demna Gvasalia. Noting the production time and all, it makes sense. Now, I’m double-thrilled.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

5 Things To Love From Dries Van Noten’s SS20 Sale

I rarely write such posts (maybe I should change that?), but this is an exception. Taking one last look at my favourite collection of spring-summer 2020 season – the historic Dries Van Noten x Christian Lacroix line-up – and picking the ultimate five things to love from its sale. Why? Well, this collection continues to be my obsession. The details, textures, colours, Dries’ style combined with Christian’s sense of couture… it’s one of the dreamiest collections we’ve seen in years. You might not know that during the lockdown, Dries Van Noten opened two on-line stores, which are the digital versions of the label’s two flagship stores: Quai Malaquais location in Paris and Het Modepaleis in Antwerp. There, you can find nearly every item from this collection, plus get inspired by all the styling tricks from the look-book photos. So, here are my picks (note that a lot of other gems are already sold out!):

Embellished oversized coat with multicoloured sequin detailing thoughout. I had a chance to see it IRL in the Paris store (a week before corona became official in Europe…) and it’s a masterpiece.

Embroidered, cropped bolero jacket in black – it’s so rich! And you can style it in multiple of ways, pretty much with anything. That’s the magic of Dries (with a pinch of Lacroix!).

Love a big polka dot. This mid-rise one (with a foldover waist and grograin tie) is brilliant.

The collection’s signature florals made it to these denim pants. Again, wear them with anything!

Not sure if these boots are made for walking, but platforms and jacquard are always a good idea.

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Want more Dries? Click here!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki. Photos from 7-9quaimalaquais.com. 

The Look – Miu Miu Resort 2020

Remember Miu Miu‘s resort 2020 collection? And those floppy-brimmed sun hats layered over baseball caps? Assembled one on top of the other, their proportions conjured a vision of Ascot. A tweaked version of Ascot; Miuccia Prada said back then she’s never attended one. Here, the beautiful Ugbad Abdi wearing one of those in the enchanted, hydrangea-blooming secret garden…

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Colour, Volume & Fun. Bottega Veneta Resort 2021

From everything we’ve seen from Daniel Lee‘s Bottega Veneta, the resort 2021 collection is the most fun one. Was it the lockdown madness that let the designer take a more playful route? Lee has grasped that the world has changed dramatically and that the way we will want to dress has too. Hence the comfort and familiarity of that cotton and an emphasis on surprisingly homey knits, which represent an evolution of his thinking about all the stretch materials he used on his last runway. But there was no retreat into recuts or the safety of recent successes. “In the darkest moments creativity is so key,” Lee said. “It’s about making clothes you can’t find in other stores. Otherwise what’s the point?” Lee’s exploration of silhouette led him in a couple of different directions. His tailored jackets are sculptural in proportion with those full-legged pants, featuring nipped waists and a V-shaped construction in back that accentuates their shapeliness. Some of the garments look quite cumbersome, even if that exaggeration was intentional. But for all the emphasis on over-sized volumes, Lee also likes a lean, abbreviated look for women: say, a knitted top and matching fringed above-the-knee straight skirt, or a narrow minidress with one of the portrait necklines he’s made a signature. These leggy pieces have a straightforward sexiness, one that’s likely to be influential as designers and the women they dress search for the new post-crisis. But Lee undercuts the sexiness in these pictures with substantial lug-soled, lace-up boots whose vibe is cool and young. Another thing that won’t go unnoticed about this collection is its gorgeous, expressive, bold color palette, which seems to be taken straight out of Dario Argento’s Suspiria or an Almodóvar film. Lee matched a vibrant jade pair of his voluminous pants with a red tech mesh shirt, adding acid yellow pointy loafers and a chocolate brown bag for good measure. Then there’s the electric lilac hue of an A-line shearling coat, a color that reappears on a knit skirt suit and matching cardigan in what crafting circles would call the popcorn stitch, and the bubble gum pink of patent glove leather pumps with glittery acrylic heels. Fashion, at its most compelling, brings pleasure because it paints a vision of the future that looks fresh and new. If Lee’s playful printed dress in an intrecciato print of naked human bodies and the pouch bag in car seat cover wood beads the model carries with it become souvenirs of this strange lockdown season, it’s because they’re totems of a design team having fun. Who doesn’t want more of that in this moment?

All collages by Edward Kanarecki.

Limitless. Valentino AW20 Couture

And again, Valentino‘s Pierpaolo Piccioli is the king of haute couture, even after months of confinement that could basically cancel the entire season. Entitled “The Performance: of Grace and Light, a dialogue between Pierpaolo Piccioli and Nick Knight,” the presentation played as a hybrid digital / physical event staged in a darkened void on the famed Cinecitta movie lot in Rome for local press and friends of the house. In a Zoom press conference, Piccioli explained he’d conceptualized the 16-look collection as “an extreme response” to the tough circumstances of lockdown; a determination to overcome the technical problems of socially-distanced working in the Valentino atelier and the impossibility of creating prints and lavish embroideries. “I didn’t want to feel the limitations. Couture is made for emotions, dreams,” he said. “It was super-emotional for us all to be here together to win this challenge. A moment I will never forget.” First came a pre-recorded screening of an artily glitchy video by Knight, in which projections of flowers and feathers played over meters-long dresses worn by women who appeared to hover in an aerial circus scenario. Cut to real time: curtains drew back to reveal the models, standing perched on ladders in a static tableau, their dresses – some of Pierpaolo’s biggest couture hits, elongated to the extremes, and revealed to be all-white – cascading to the floor, videoed live. INCREDIBLE. The idea of taking the show to Cinecitta, Rome’s “factory of dreams,” led the designer to add the concept of “the magic of early cinema,” evoking the silent movie imagery of with silver sequins and waterfalls of glittering fringe. To make it even more ethereal, Piccioli commissioned recordings from FKA twigs – her extraordinary voice soared poignantly as the models swung from trapezes and floated through Knight’s digital performance. Fashion communication on multi-platform formats has taken surreal twists and turns as designers have tried to conquer the dreadful problems of the pandemic. In Piccioli’s case, the surrealism was right there, embodied in the theatrical form of some of the most gorgeous dresses the world has ever seen.

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.