That Woman. Hillier Bartley Resort 2019

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What’s Hillier Bartley like for resort 2019? Well, it’s definitely not about one aesthetic or any central idea. Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier chose to play with their signatures (chic loungewear, for instance) this season, adding some very unexpected twists to the collection. Distorted, Saville-Row-esque tailoring styled with thick turtlenecks or coming in emerald silk; equally deconstructed shirts with, what it seems, clashed double sleeves; tie-dyed, high-rise pants. The enormously big taffeta bows on pencil skirts and strapless tops had something of fancy nightclubbing, straight out of the 80s, just like the latex pussy-bow piece. Oh, and of course that suit. “We call it the Brexit—or the anti-Brexit—suit,” said Bartley. “I don’t know where it came from, but it felt right”. Accessories, that are largely Hillier’s job, span from the classic bunny clutch (in new colours) to boxy Cassette, a bag injected with lovely, vintage feeling.

Conclusion: what’s most fascinating about Hillier Bartley – the brand exists for few seasons now – is that the designers created a distinct look that can’t be mistaken with any other brand. You look and you know it’s the Hillier Bartley woman – mature, kind of mysterious, but not taking herself too seriously. She can go for both, a cocktail in the new posh spot, or sip beer in an old school pub.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Beauty. Valentino Couture AW18

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“With ready-to-wear, your vision of beauty relates to the times you are living in,” Pierpaolo Piccioli stated after his brilliant, magnificent and remarkable haute couture collection for Valentino. Then, he concluded that “couture involves a deeper and more intimate perspective, to go further into your own vision of beauty.”

‘Beauty’ was definitely the keyword behind that line-up of gorgeousness – by that I mean everything, from Guido Palau’s major hair to the closing orange gown worn by Adut Akech (yes, it’s the same piece Beyoncé snatched to one of her On The Run II concerts, week later after the show took place. That’s quick). No wonder why Valentino Garavani, the man of the brand, was so moved and all in tears by the end of the show. Piccioli pulled of the opulent Italian style in a masterful way, like the founder of the maison did back in the past. Floor-sweeping kimono coats; over-sized shirts with equally XXL collars; skirts and jackets covered in bejewelled prints referring to Greek mythology; ruffled coats in signature Valentino red. The list seems to be endless, just like the number of pink feathers used for that ecstatically fantastic dress Kaia Gerber walked the runway in. But Pierpaolo is known for injecting contemporary elements of the wardrobe to the most exquisite collections of his. Some of the dresses were in fact cut like a t-shirt, while sheer silk blouses with embroideries looked unexpectedly casual with Bermuda shorts. Modernity also came to this collection through colours the designer chose. Of course there were all the rich emeralds and fuchsias. But the dirty shade of pastel pink, softness of pistachio and the depth of burgundy rescued the collection from visually being too over-the-top. The collection, the way it is, somewhere between the old glamour and present sense of style, is perfect.

With John Galliano’s Maison Margiela, I think the verdict is quite clear – we’ve got the ultimate winners of this season’s couture. Now, let me die knowing that I won’t put my hands on all that radzimir and taffeta…

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Hubert. Givenchy Couture AW18

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Clare Waight Keller puts Givenchy back into the spotlight – I doubt I’ve got to remind you who dressed Meghan Markle for her wedding day. But Clare’s latest collection – the haute couture one – establishes her even further as the right person behind the label found by the late master of chic and elegance, Hubert de Givenchy. It was a magnificient tribute to the man, who built the image of Audrey Hepburn and was one of the most crucial pillars of 20th century fashion. After his death in February, the brand – and it’s creative director – were sure that the genius has to be embraced to the fullest. “Having met him, and the fact that he passed three months ago, he felt very present in my mind; his legacy felt like something that needed to be celebrated,” she said backstage. “Everybody knows his work with Audrey. But less so the capes, the peekaboos, the architecture, the flou. . . . It was a wonderful trip for me to discover it and reinterpret it my way.

It’s true – there’s so much connected to Givenchy in fact, and Waight Keller refreshed that to the contemporary audience. The iconic LBD (Little Black Dress!) was there, but with a hood (which could have been a modern Breakfast at Tiffany’s look to wear to be honest); this spectacular, caped ivory gown accessorized with a silver metal harness appeared; delightful plissé silk and sophisticated draping were present in nearly every look (Hubert would adore that); meticulous embroideries and feather aplications were as well on the runway, in excess. The collection was rich in references, but Clare didn’t get trapped by them at all. In overall, it was a refined, glorious line-up that makes you reassured of one thing – Hubert De Givenchy’s creations are timeless, and people like Waight Keller are talented enough to make them look desirable and modern.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.