Who would have ever thought that Diesel might be cool again? Like, really cool? Glenn Martens‘ first runway collection for the Italian denim brand is the best start of Milan Fashion Week you could imagine. The red catwalk was surrounded by inflatable, mega-sized dolls – a giant man and woman in sexy poses – which added an eerie, yet highly-Instagrammable ambiance to the presentation. Bizarre set aside, the latest Diesel collection was all about Y2k aesthetic with a futuristic twist. Logo mini-skirts, jumpsuits printed to appear like denim in trompe l’oeil style, and distressed jeans were unmistakably Diesel, very 2000s, but also super relevant in 2022. The more conceptual pieces – like the utilitarian jumpsuits and fleecy denim sweaters – were pure Martens as we know him from Y/Project. Beyond denim, the designer introduced chiffon and organza dresses, leather suits and shearling flight jackets, and a mystifying array of metallic coated knit dresses. Still, the timeless, over-sized denim trench was the ultimate show-stopper and will surely become an instant best-seller. Also, I really loved the use of body paint – very alien-chic. One model appeared in a bright shade of red that contrasted the icy blue of her denim top and jeans. The industry had high hopes for Martens’ take-over of the brand, which rather affiliated with shopping-mall fashion and a tired macho aesthetic. With his latest collection for the brand, Martens definitely doesn’t disappoint. It’s safe to say – we’re entering a new era of Diesel.
Many brands release their spring-summer 2021 collections right now, a month after the fashion month frenzy. For many, it’s the season of uncertainty. While the clothes will be produced, will anyone buy them? Will there be a reason to shop again? Will 2021 be saved by the vaccine or doomed by the total lockdown? This is a pack of questions that disturb everyone, from small labels to big players. And of course, the present times are also full of anxiety. On a video call with Vogue, Jean Touitou predicted that 2020 will “end up not as catastrophic as we thought at first” for brand A.P.C. Naturally, he had a theory as to why. “Is it because we do clothes,” he asked, “instead of just images of clothes?” Not waiting for an answer, he commented, “Reflection counts for more than substance” in this industry. These days, Touitou is coming around to the idea of content, “as long as it’s ‘very personal’ and ‘matter-of-fact.’” He said he’s considering a podcast series in which he and his three kids play a song and talk about its maker; episode one may feature “Arnold Layne,” a Syd Barrett tune off This Is Pink Floyd and the band’s very first single. “Playing music with our kids, nobody can do that but me,” Touitou reasoned. It’s thanks to Jean and Judith’s daughter Haydée that Tim Elkaim shot this season’s look book. She hired him for her magazine, The Skirt Chronicles, before he got this gig. “A virtuous circle,” Touitou called the familial give-and-take. What about the clothes? There’s lots to love, pretty much as usual with A.P.C. The oversized jeans with off-center button flies that first made an appearance last season returned here, and the same treatment was applied to a raw denim mini. All of the button-downs were buttoned up to the top and finished with a thick gold chain worn high under the collar. In one case, a chambray shirt was accessorized by three chains. Cool classics that have that Parisian soul – this just can’t go wrong.
1987. The year A.P.C. was found by Jean Touitou. 2017 – the brand celebrates its 30th anniversary. 30 years of apparel clothing that actually defines the real nature of ready-to-wear. It’s often unclear why A.P.C. became one of the most beloved brands. “It’s boring“, one might say. So what? Their raw denim is well-cut. T-shirts last for years and make the customer satisfied. Trench coats and white shirts are ultimate essentials. A.P.C.’s branding is aesthetical perfection, just like the boutiques, music albums and candles. What’s best – although A.P.C. shows during Paris fashion week, it stays surprisingly affordable (and believe me, when the sale season starts, their Mitte store in Berlin – just like in another cities – becomes a treasure chest).
For autumn-winter 2017, as you might expect, the creative director decided to keep it classic. Anniversaries are no big deal! The clothes are the priority, so it’s quite guaranteed you will fall in love with every single piece. Fur jackets, maxi-dresses, even the thick socks. Oh, and denim! Really, wear it the you want. Over a coat, as a scarf, a lovely jumpsuit or simple jacket.
Autumn-winter 2017 wasn’t just another brilliant men’s collection chezDries Van Noten. 99 is quite a number – and presenting your 99th collection is a big deal. Other designers would do a big party after the show, while Dries, in his manner, took a moment for reflection. “I wanted it to be grounded.” Deciding on what’s essential for him in a men’s wardrobe, the Belgian designer took a spin on basics, keeping them slightly more sober than usual. Wool coats with boxy shoulders (sounds Balenciaga, but looks much more refined); a great line of denim pants (!); Dr. Martens-like boots. Van Noten doesn’t play 70s-that, 90s-that trends: actually, these were the clothes he used to wear in his early days, and continues to wear on daily basis up to now. You will wear one of those big Peruvian-wool knits forever, just like the grey cardigan or oldie-but-goodie logo sweatshirt. There’s this sense of timeless in Dries’ latest collection and t’s real. No place for cliché here.
I think it’s the first time I’m writing about Roberto Cavalli on my blog – ever! Not that I dislike Cavalli’s style – the thing is, the good old Roberto and his extremely Italian, slightly indie chic lost its right path somewhere in 2007, within the appearance of pre-collections and “hate” towards anything “kitsch” (talking of you, minimalism). Even though the designer was at helm of his studio till 2015, the collections didn’t differ much, while the brand wasn’t appealing to a younger clientele. In fact, Peter Dundas initially seemed to be a lost cause. Not only as Roberto’s personal decision, but after his, ironically, Cavalli-style-inspired collections for Emilio Pucci, which didn’t excite either. After the second season (I’m on fence with the critic-slammed spring-summer 2016 fluo glamorama), however, Dundas catches attention, but not only because of his predictable bling-bling. To a surprise, autumn-winter 2016 collection, for both men and women, was a great nod towards Robeto Cavalli and his bright, golden years – flares, python leather, music band t-shirts and a lot of denim revive from the dust, gracefully. With Jane Birkin’s 70s attitude and a sharp walk, anyone can make these killer, waisted pants look hotter than… hell!