Sensual Kink. Helmut Lang SS18

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It would be just dumb to try to sum up Helmut Lang in a few words. His massive, creative legacy flows in nearly every second designer’s blood today, from the reoccurring notion of ‘urban minimalism’ to growing tendency of inviting various models and nodels to walk in fashion shows. Let just say one of the biggest Lang-isms revived in Shayne Oliver‘s debut collection at the brand (whose editor-in-residence is Isabella Burley) was sensuality, or rather its much, much filthier side. If you look back at Helmut’s collection from the 90s and early 2000s, you will note that the visionary designer enjoyed playing with transparency and made the hardest-in-use fabrics look refined on the body. For Oliver, sensuality is something much more, hmm, aggressive. It’s kinky. It’s BDSM-inspired, with lots of untamed nudity and boldness. There were lots of irregularly fitted bras, lots of leather and lots of New York-favoured trashiness to it. Actually, the collection had a lot to do with Shayne’s currently under hiatus Hood By Air brand that used to be tagged as the most ‘disruptive’ brand of the New York fashion week’s calendar. Sexuality is a big word this season, and while designers think of it in more subtle and natural ways, Oliver is undoubtedly going very ‘badass’ with it. It’s good that the designer isn’t digging to hard in Lang’s archives. But I’m not absolutely persuaded that the capital letter HELMUT written all over the t-shirts and coats is what the founder thought of. Helmut kept the mood bit more calmer, sans caps-lock. Nevertheless, that was definitely the most anticipated collection this time around in the Big Apple.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

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Best Ugly Shoes Of The Season

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Finding those Miu Miu cowboy boots from spring-summer 1999 on the web a few days ago made me think for a while. Those shoes can be worn  with the same (or even better today) relevance, whether it’s the 90s or 2017. My other thought was, ‘wait, I’ve seen that shoe shape countless of times this season’s’, starting from Calvin Klein and ending on Louis Vuitton. My last thought, and the most clear-headed one, was simple: they are just ugly. Lets not lie to ourselves, the colour, the wooden heel, the ultimately appalling look of these shoes makes them ugly in every single aspect.

But ugly is fun. And fashion loves fun. So, apparently, fashion loves ugliness. For instance, Miuccia Prada (the designer behind these cowboy stompers above) is the pioneer of ‘ugly’ in fashion, successfully selling nylon backpacks at Prada and pulling the envelope even further each season in questioning the term ‘good taste’. No one can help it – the uglier, the better. But am I frustrated with that fact? The answer is no. I will never forget Phoebe Philo’s massive impact on ugly footwear, after presenting at her Céline spring-summer 2013 runway THOSE sandals with fur. The instant reaction was bad, just read through the self-acclaimed fashionistas’ comments on some of Blogspot’s virtual junk-sites. But, as time has shown, those fluffies weren’t as bad as everybody thought back in 2013. Enter Zara today, and guess what you will find? Every second pair of sandals (and  heels) are covered with faux-fur. And no one’s complaining.

If you also have a strange affection for horrendously looking footwear (hope I’m not the only one here), that’s one for you – the season’s nine ugliest shoes, captioned.

We still have to wait a bit for Shayne Oliver‘s debut collection at Helmut Lang. But the brand’s newly revamped website has those boots on-line. They perfectly convey Lang’s unconventional sense for footwear with that shearling fur sticking out. Cringey? Cringey. But cool.

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Cowboy boots weren’t the only shoes appearing on Calvin Klein‘s runway. Raf Simons also has in offer these PVC stilettos, in different colours. Plastic and suede, that’s so drastically painful.

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Céline site claims that these boots are made in Spain according to traditional shoe-making technique. Sharp in the front, slouchy on the back. That peculiar, square silhouette. One of the seasons stranger things, that’s for sure. But of high quality!

Again, Miu Miu. How many Muppets were killed to make these? Note, they’re vegan.

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Francesco Risso‘ debut collection at Marni wasn’t only about really, but really messily edited clothing. The designer wasn’t only slammed by the critics for his ultra-psychedelic take on 60s, 70s, 80s, and God knows what else, but also for his shoes. An edgily curved heel. Patent leather. Fur-trimming. I wrote that ‘the uglier, the better’. Well, here’s an exception.

Miuccia hits this post the third time with her Prada footwear. Fur loafers versus those knee-length monsters. I like the fur story, but the boots with buckles everywhere look lame and nerd, even for Milan.

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I love Acne Studios doing ugly shoes every season. So many things are going on here – ribbed knit, rusty suede, some kind of glue-y material and polished leather. Oh dear, what Jonny Johansson is a genius.

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Demna Gvasalia spandex boots at Balenciaga are already the brand’s classic, but this season’s version in neon-green is toxic like a tropical frog.

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You might easily get lost in these Y / Project boots of gargantuan capacity. Glenn Martens knows no limits, and whatever other say – these shoes are as badass as the collection itself.

Hope nobody suffered while reading this post! It’s fashion, after all.

#InstaLOVE – August 2017

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I am an Instagram maniac and I openly confess that I spend too much time on filtering my feed. But it’s irresistible, when you have so many great accounts to follow! If you’re ready for a dose of beautifully curated walls, inspiring photos and delightful shots – see my August recommendations!

@clarissedemory / There’s an undefined aura around Clarisse Demory‘s work, which is called creative direction specifically. The Paris-based individual counts the likes of Sophie Buhai, Barabara Casasola, Maryam Nassir Zadeh and Christophe Lemaire as clients, revamping their showroom spaces and interiors with tactile elements and objects from local hardware stores. I personally had a chance to perceive Demory’s power-of-the-detail while visiting Lemaire’s showroom in Paris a few months ago, and – still unaware those vases and floral arrangements were curated by Clarisse – literally felt like home away from home. Following Demory on Instagram means a rare peek into the director’s haute-cozy, minimally-eclectic aesthetic.

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@helmutlang / For those who have a reasoned fear of New York Fashion Week’s downfall this season – Helmut Lang, the brand originally found by the Austrian visionaire, is having a major rebirth. Kicking off this fall under Isabella Burley (editor-in-chief of Dazed & Confused & the editor-in-residence at Lang) and Shayne Oliver’s (who launched Hood by Air) wings, I’m quite sure this will be one of loudest moments of the fashion month. The debut collection will take place on the 11th of September, but till the time comes, make sure to follow the drop of campaign images starring such off-kilter personalities like Larry Clark or Kembra Pfahler, and ‘The Artist Series’.

@blancamiroskoudy / Blanca Miró Skoudy is not your average Instagram girl, that’s for sure. Once with a face painted in blue, then smoking a cigarette with extremely pink cheeks, is she a modern-day, eccentric femme fatale? Blanca is an illustrator most of all. And her doodles and drawings are so, so good.

@miumiuwomenstales / There are many reasons to love Miuccia Prada. Miu Miu Women’s Tales is one of them. Here, Prada’s sister line generates a platform for talented female directors to present their vision on a wider platform. And, of course, they can use as many Miu Miu pieces as they want! Although the concept isn’t new (it launched few years ago and already had Chloë Sevigny, Miranda July and Zoe Cassavetes collaborate among others), the Instagram account appeared just recently. With collage as the main medium of visual presentation, it makes me really wonder what we can expect next from the world of Miu women.

@julystars / I couldn’t help, but select Jaja Hargreaves‘ feed for the August #InstaLOVE. Her content curation will make anyone dreamy, especially in summer. Margaux Hemingway tropical dress-code, Lauren Hutton wearing a bucket hat, Joan Didion wrapped in a blanket. Lots of sun-bathed flesh and straw hats. Need more? See it yourself.

AND, if you want to follow one more account on Instagram… why don’t you follow, ta-da, @designandculturebyed?

Birds of Paradise

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Helmut Lang spring-summer 1998

In her twisted elegance for spring-summer 2017, Miuccia Prada sent down a line of feather-trimmed jackets, bras and skirts. The dresses by Prada, with ostrich-feathers on the sleeves, were pure lightness, blurring the silhouttes’ minimal cut and old-fashioned opulence. “No other material stirs the imagination quite like the feather“, said the intro to Antwerp’s MoMU exhibition dedicated to plumes and feathers back in 2014. That’s quite true – for centuries, feathers were symbol of sophistication and refinement in women’s wardrobe. Valued by designers, like Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen (and the late  designer himself) or even Phoebe Philo of Céline, feathers are the quintessence of preciousness. Whether traditionally crafted by skilled artisans called plumassiers, detailed with the help of Maison Lemarié in Paris or simply turned into ethereal headpieces (Maria Grazia Chiuri’s debut haute couture collection for Dior; Helmut Lang‘s all-white feather crowns from the 90s).

Some designers choose to use feathers spontaneously, one-time, like London-based Christopher Kane. But others, like Ann Demeulemeester, feel strong affection towards feathers since childhood. The queen of Belgian fashion especially favoured dove feathers and transformed them into timeless pendants. For her first fashion show in Paris in 1992, she placed on each chair a leather string holding dove feathers. In 2000, a priest called her and asked whether she can ‘dress’ the Madonna in Saint Andrew’s church in Antwerp. The effect was a feather bustier, which ideally matched the holliness and spirituality of this place. Although Demeulemeester stepped down from her role at the brand, Sébastien Meunier succesfully continues her feather legacy. Just see his poetic autumn-winter 2017 collection for men (note the hats and shawls).

One of the biggest fashion moments connected to feathers that always hits my mind is Peter Lindbergh’s cult editorial for Harper’s Bazaar in 1993. Amber Valletta, looking like a fallen angel, wanders around New York in her white wings and white suit. Beautiful and melancholic simultaneously. Light as a feather.

Shop the look: Ann Demeulemeester bead and feather necklace.