Elegance. Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2020

Thom Browne‘s pre-fall 2020 is at his gender-blurring best. “I love the sensibility of it being so beautifully masculine; but on a girl, I think there’s something beautifully feminine about it too,” he said of an ultra-high waist held up by suspenders, pleats so sharp they draw shadows, and shoulders shaped with the gentlest slope. The black tuxedo, which closed the look-book, is most seductive look of the entire collection. But for those who aren’t always impeccably elegant suit & tie fans, Browne also shows his “fun” side: take the skirt and jacket incrusted with a giraffe worn with a matching coat for an example. Style the look with argyle socks and quirky shoes, and here you’ve got the edgy-snobby, polished-kind-of-look you can only get from Thom Browne.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Men’s – How To Be. Dries Van Noten AW19

It’s one of those sober, darker Dries Van Noten collections, that still has a lot to say. It seems that the Belgian designer asked himself: at time when world politics is in its sad state, how should a civilised, well-cultured adult comport himself? The autumn-winter 2019 collection has the clear answer: dress well, think clearly, keep a sense of what’s important when all around are loosing their heads. You might say its just a bunch of (what seems to be perfectly tailored) blazers, coats and suits, but this outing was a wardrobe of a level-headed man who knows what’s really right. It’s refined, but unpretentious. Wise and mature. Loosely fitted, cropped, pinstriped pants, duvet shawls in monochromatic tie-dye and an elegant, belted cardigan in beige are the items I’m drooling over. It’s not a buzzy Van Noten show, and it never intended to be one. With all the men’s shows getting bigger and more entertaining, Dries kept it rather quiet. But silence is a statement as well, sometimes even more meaningful and deep than thousands of euros thrown into a showy, Insta-worthy venue.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Elegance. Haider Ackermann AW17

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With a critically acclaimed debut collection for Berluti, Haider Ackermann‘s autumn-winter 2017 collection was a nothing to add, nothing to take away line-up. Although the designer seems to distance himself from earlier love for spontenous draping around the body, his new collection is as intriguing as usual. And it was all about black (with hints of dark blue and white). From leather slim-fit pants and knee-lenght boots to fur inserts and desirable coats, Ackermann decided to show his affection for daily essentials in the most poetic colour of all. Don’t expect something new this time around. Instead, appreciate Haider’s wearable, dark elegance.

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All-American Elegance. Brock Collection AW17

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In a few words about Brock Collection, New York’s new go-to luxe brand: it’s designed by husband-and-wife duo, Kristopher Brock and Laura Vassar. With love. Last November, the couple won the CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund, which enabled them to expand and develop their cozy womenswear label known for great denim and top-notch quality essentials.

About the autumn-winter 2017 line-up – you just feel it’s a collection created by two individuals, who are in a passionate relationship! It’s impossible not to fall in mutual love with those easy fur dresses and shawls, statuesque dresses or  fleecy, soft knits. Rustical prints on pencil skirts and belted beige cardigans remind me of early Ralph Lauren and Donna Karan. It’s an all-American, luxurious wardrobe of a woman, who knows what she wants from life. She loves everything about the word ‘comfort’. But Kristopher’s and Laura’s fashion isn’t exactly falling into that well-defined box of New York-based designers, who  are pure minimalists and less-is-more fanatics. The new collection is filled with more flirty options, like strap dresses or chic leopard-printed coats. That’s why I listed Ralph above – Brock Collection smartly conveys ageless elegance, but to contemporary times.

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Men’s – Workwear. Yohji Yamamoto AW17

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Yohji Yamamoto wanted to recall that “basic aspect of the labor” – he referred to all the people in the background, who help him construct his exquisite garments. That’s a fact – real clothing can’t be made without human hands, you need to use your fingers to understand the texture; your body, to see how the piece looks on a living and breathing person. Having all that in mind, seeing Yamamoto’s menswear was a true experience. A man’s suit appeared in a number of different colours and fabrics, while elegant reversible coats, masculine vests and romantic capes were hand-painted with ‘working man’ slogans. There’s no fuss about Yohji’ collection – and that’s why I might adore them so much, always.

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Ritzy. Chanel Pre-Fall’17

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Whenever Chanel does a pre-collection presentation, you know every single detail regarding it a month earlier. The press is burning with the show’s fancy, far-fetched location; Instagram feed is all in #chanel. This time, however, Karl Lagerfeld and the legendary French maison decided to slow it down a bit with their PR – or at least, stay at home. And specifically, in the newly re-opened Ritz hotel on Place Vendome, just a few steps away from the brand’s flagship store on rue du Cambon. Although you can’t call this ‘modesty’, going a bit more traditional than usual is simply… reasonable.

In fact, there were three Chanel shows in one day – the first was presented during a chic brunch; the second started at the time of lunch; and the last during a fancy dinner. The guests (everybody from the fashion editors to couture clients) had a way better day than you, that’s for sure. The clothes were excellent comparing to the last few seasons where Karl did literary everything, from a faux women’s protest to a glossy IT room. I guess it’s because Chanel looks best, when worn in real Paris, rather than in non-sense, meaningless venues. The dining rooms of Ritz perfectly matched Lagerfeld’s vision of  cosmolitan elegance. Slouchy knitted cardigans and tweed pencil skirts; black tulle dresses styled with deluxe duvet jackets; shoulder pads and layers of pearl necklaces. According to the designer, the collection was an reflection of and ode to “people from all over the world who’ve come to the Ritz. There were hundreds of dinners in the ’20s and ’30s, where women wore incredible things.” But the most intriguing thing about this collection is the lack of the ’60s’, ’70s’ or ’90s’ tags, which are overused by others in the industry. “You cannot tell from the collection what decade it is, and I think that is modern“. Good point.

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Big Return. Olivier Theyskens SS17

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Paris Fashion Week is the time of big debuts: Anthony Vaccarello at Saint Laurent and Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior to name the most significant ones. But also, it kicks off with a big return. Olivier Theyskens. The designer who placed little canaries on stilettos back in 2002; the man behind iconic heel-less shoes at Nina Ricci. Prince of avant-garde, who has been sorely missed, surprised everyone when he reappeared in the season’s schedule. However, his spring-summer 2017 collection is far from fuss: intimately presented to a group of 80 editors and fashion industry friends, there were 25 looks. Both numbers seem to be unrealistically small for a fashion show in 2016 – but sometimes, it’s the quality, not quantity, that matters.

Theyskens had an occasion to refresh everybody’s memory with his cult signatures. Python leather leggings and very high heels are still his favourites; blazers with sleekly corseted waists are pure romance; elusive transparency revealed a thing or two. And the all-black colour palette (with minor splashed of red and white). Leave sultry to Olivier, as his love for women’s body is reflected in those sharp mini-dresses and intriguingly cut skirts. To a certain extend, I see some similarities between Theyskens’ latest outing of noir ready-to-wear, and Azzedine Alaia’s chic-defining fashion shows. The mood of privacy, and a kind of luxurious modesty, radiates in work of these two legendary designers. Even though they come from totally different decades, their sophisticated, and somewhat dramatic elegance never goes out of fashion style.

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Untroubled. Prada SS17

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Instead of exploring the history of women, which I have for a while, I decided to take care of now, the present, and trying to find elegance.” After a deep-in-meaning, sophisticated autumn-winter 2016 filled with sailor hats and layered corsets, Miuccia Prada explores softer and lighter aspects of womenswear. No wonder why – you can’t avalanche yourself on and on with problems. Previous collection at Prada reflected the current migrant crisis, and the our biggest companion of 21st century – uncertainty. We’ve already seen a majority of collections during the spring-summer 2017 marathon, and it’s pretty clear that the overall mood is very optimistic. The designers want to cheer things up, even though they know it’s not that sweet and joyous in today’s world. Miuccia doesn’t appear to be so naive, but she attempts to look on the brighter side this spring.

First look, and it’s Milena Litvinovskaya, a newcomer in an all-black look: tank-top and knee-length kilt. Sounds familiar? That’s a striking reminder of Prada’s minimalism back in the 90s, when the ugly beauty style kicked-off for good. Second look, and the mood drastically changes. It’s Amanda Murphy, a runway veteran, in cream-white coat with ostrich feather-trimmed sleeves and Bauhaus-like buckles. The following looks are a continuing passion for  20s / 30s Deco-graphic prints and Old Hollywood allure, with pastel-pink dresses, loosely fitted midi-skirts and oriental pant-suits. The plastic-fantastic jewellery becomes heavier and denser, while the shoes state one thing: the uglier, the better. At a first glance, Miuccia is quoting her past signatures. However, the clothes fell fresh, and they convey a sense of elegance that matches the always-in-run tempo of contemporary world. For a change, they are (deceitfully) untroubled, too.

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Couture – Rhapsody. Schiaparelli AW16

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Being a creative director of Schiaparelli is hard, noting Elsa Schiaparelli’s extremely idiosyncratic and characteristic legacy. We’ve all observed how Bertrand Guyon struggled with the splendour of archives and references during his last two seasons, simply re-designing Elsa’s famous gowns and costumes. But for autumn-winter 2016, it seems that Guyon decided to sit down in a calm place while designing the new collection, which, in fact, isn’t a laid-back topic.

Schiaparelli’s famous summer 1938 circus show was in Guyon’s mind throughout the creative process, keeping it toned and, at a first glance, simple. The first looks were quite surprisingly elegant – black dresses with Old Hollywood style cuts and shoulders, hand-painted smokings. So chic. Then, it got even better, as the cocktail dress with a Picasso-esque bustier emerged. Back in the times, Schiaparelli expressed a true rhapsody of surreal beauty in fashion, and this collection proved that Bertrand can do Elsa’s thing, too. A velvet, butterfly-wing shaped jacket; colourful mink jacket; sequined ball-dresses. It’s a circus inspired collection, so naturally it was impossible not to spot meticulously embroidered peacocks and other animals. Every piece from this collection is a work of art. Indeed, that’s haute couture.

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