#2015 – Hillier Bartley

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Coming from the British designer duo, Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley, Hillier Bartley is a brand which breaks the industry codes. In February of this year, the first AW15 collection of Hillier Bartley was quietly presented to a few buyers; then, a mysterious Instagram account appeared which instantly felt like an intimate, designer mood-board. But how the new vision of these two contemporary designers really look like? The collection, just like the brand, reflects the edgy, slightly decadent style of the designers – it also celebrates British tailoring with a feminine twist. The tuxedo scarves, floor-sweeping dresses and knits gave the overall effect a seductive softness / slouchiness. Bartley has recently stated in the autumn issue of i-D, “as you get older you become so much more in tune with your own sexuality. This collection I feel is the sexiest thing I’ve ever done.” Even though it’s filled with men’s basics, it’s elegant, and indeed, sexy at the same time. Warm wool coats, fringed bags, satin blouses (“A satin blouse with no bra! That reminded me immediately of Madonna in a blue Gucci silk… Oh yeah, you could see her nips. That’s what I like” Hillier describedand lady-like silk gowns – and all of that kept in a moody, nostalgic manner.

But what makes this brand even more outstanding  is the way the women behind it do the “business”. As the industry is in a constant marathon and it doesn’t seem to slow its pace, Hillier and Bartley don’t want their baby-brand to become a fussy institution. “At the moment I feel like I could happily not do another show. I don’t think it fits what we’re a trying to do. I would much prefer to show someone, and talk about it myself and have them trying things on and feeling it” the designers said in the interview. Love this hearty and humane approach so much, as it’s frequently missed in today’s fashion. Wishing the designers to keep up with their exceptional project in 2016!

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#2015 – Marques Almeida

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 They were the ones who discreetly made frayed and cut denim cool again; they made 90’s vibe strong and most noticeable this year. Also, the Portuguese couple of Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida won the LVMH Prize Award this year for their major impact in new-gen fashion. Marques Almeida‘s designer duo just couldn’t be not listed in 2015’s favourites!

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AW15 – For ther winter collection, the label shows their signature denim, but also brings a lot of new ideas – knitted dresses, jacquard knot-tops, lilac furs and polished leather accessories. Models marched to the sounds of Bjork’s 1995 “Army of Me”, haveing their hair done in undone, grungy way. The attitude reminded me of Corinne Day’s photography from the 90’s, as “it was a lot about those shoots where you would have these really expensive garments with a wrecked sofa”. Hell yeah.

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Resort’16 – After winning the LVMH Prize, Marques Almeida quickly updated their brand schedule, by introducing a new season to it – resort. And for their first resort collection, Marta Marques and Paulo Almeida went to Brazil with their muse, Sofia. The effect? A collection filled with affordable clothes, which have a very specific M’A signature attached to them. Special denim tops with ruffles; grungy silhouettes; bold colours. And lovely dresses which were styled in unusually elegant way. Loose-weave light knits were slashed and knotted just like their tattered T-shirts, which came reinvented here as beachwear. Digital jungle-print silks and florals were a clash of femininity and the typical rawness Marques Almeida has in its codes. It is worth to mention, that going to Brazil was worth it – the clothes looked laid-back and appealingly slouchy.

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SS16 – Marques Almeida’s recent London outing for spring-summer 2016 seemed to be not only the most daring, but also  commerce-wise. The sheer, ruffled dresses and skirts looked flowing and truly romantic. The collection had a fresh, lady-like tendency and a dose of edgy, over-sized silhouettes. And the linen top with feather-appliqued shoulder stole the spotlight of the last London Fashion Week day. Simultaneously, their best-selling denim trousers and tops were just slightly changed, in order to keep the Marques Almeida best-seller fresh. If you ask me, this collection showed that Marques Almeida is not plainly about apparel, but also about avant-garde fashion.

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#2015 – Jacquemus

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So, 2015 approaches its end, and it’s the perfect time to look back at the fashion designers who really made the cut this year. New York, London, Milan and Paris are full of great minds – but some of them have truly changed the course of trends, or rather the tendency for anti-trends. In my subjective choice, I searched for both, individualism and something more than “fashion”. 2015 is a year of designers, who made their creative vision a contemporary philosophy of everyday dressing and, of course, beauty.

Simone Porte Jacquemus is the guy who made Paris feel the youth – his childlike, fairy-tale vision and dreamy fashion shows are filled with emotions and unconventional chic. His collections trigger controversy, even though they reminisce childish, naive and even primitive way of being. What’s more, his namesake label, Jacquemus, is sold by the most influential boutiques and on-line stores worldwide. And 2015 has been his most daring year to date.

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AW15 – Dadaistic silhouettes and primitively masked faces. Barefoot models. Naive nudity. Simone Porte Jacquemus continues his “childish” fashion journey, keeping his AW15 arty. With faces painted by Sebastien Bieniek, which felt very abstract and eerie at the same time, the collection provokes. Explaining that he wanted to capture some of the instinctual feel of being a child, the designer said: “I cut jackets like little kids will do—sometimes the cut is weird, there is just a half top. I like this randomness.”  The whole collection, full of exaggeration and peculiar sex-appeal felt even more artistic and disturbing when you looked at the venue directed by Alex de Betak – dilapidated walls and kemping chairs felt on-point while accompanying the clothes. Escapism at its full strength.

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Resort’16 – The country-side environment perfectly fits the  minimal collection shot in the rural province of France, full of lavender scrubs and sunshine. The clothes which were based on asymmetric confusion and exaggerated silhouettes (Jacquemus’ ultimate signatures) had an feminine allure about them – just like the Joana Preiss standing in the field of wheat.

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SS16 – This collection is different from all up-to-date. The Jacquemus girl used to be a cheerful Frenchie from Marseilles, wearing over-sized tops and striped pantaloons. This season, this girl is not that smiley anymore. In the dreamlike theatre that Simone prepared, the whole mood felt rather melancholic, and very poetic. The whole “performance” felt psychodramatic, as a young child (the designer’s cousin, Jean) pushed a large, red ball of fabric across the stage, and Jacquemus himself appeared, leading a white horse. Then, the models came out, wearing signature, colour-block dresses and silhouette-deconstructing coats. “We know me for my smile and my sunshine and my (love of the) seaside,” Jacquemus said, reflecting on his fashion that we know from the past seasons. Also, he admitted that the atmosphere of this season was different. “The girl was not dark, she was quite fresh – but you can see a little tiny bit, I tried to have this kind of sadness.” The name of the collection, Le Nez Rouge, means the red nose – but also, it reminded Simon about his childhood illness that caused his nose to be constantly red. Childhood memories and the whole idea of naivette is from the very beginning present in Jacquemus’ career. The designer is just 25, won the second LVMH Prize Award and has more and more buyers in his Parisian showroom each season – it seems that the pressure is pretty high for him – but, Jacquemus just won’t entirely grow up.

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