Staying true to her romantic spirit, Simone Rocha staged her spring-summer 2017 show in Southwark Cathedral, where the models walked down the gothic aisle. The venue matched the charming sublimity of Rocha’s latest line of delicate textures and girlie silhouettes, and it smoothly worked with the collection’s British accents (similarly to Gucci’s memorable anglomaniac resort 2017) and the designer’s long-term inspirations. Voluminous poplin-cotton shirts were layered with Prince of Wales checks; a classic trench-coat has never looked like a Louise Bourgeois sculpture before. While working on the collection, the designer took a glance at baptismal gowns and communion dresses, reworking them in authentic broderie anglaise lace. But don’t expect to see a traditional wedding dress here. Simone Rocha’s fascination with perversion oozes in those not-so-bride-ready gowns. Although we’re talking about sacred and holy, the designer’s pieces are far from innoncent. Sheer organza sheath with elongated sleeves shyly exposed nipples, while a tulle skirt with embroidered flowers showed some leg… accidentally. Note the models’ patent wellies and synthetic-white, rubber gloves. Red lips and wet hair. Rocha’s Catholic girls coming from good village families are naughty. In a very elusive, gentle way.
Ryan Roche is New York’s go-to designer in case of anything connected to timeless, luxurious knitwear. Throughout the few last seasons, she introduced us to the most fleecy, cashmere cardigans and sweaters ever. Also, she’s the modern-day queen of beige – in fact, a majority of her looks are kept in different shades of this warm, underrated colour. Yes, that sounds like a strong foundation for a brand to stay in its comfort zone. But Roche won’t rest on her laurels anytime soon.
Spring-summer 2017 was Ryan’s first runway show, and that let her present a visual experience for he guests. Julian MacKay, a soloist with the Mikhailovsky ballet, travelled from St. Petersburg to stage a dancing performance among the designers’ models dressed in knitted skirts and evening wear. The lightness of those knits is comparable to MacKay’s grace. The clothes were so different comparing to the last seasons, and that felt really exciting about Roche’s outing. Margiela-like, leg-of-mutton sleeves came with white blazers; romantic lace appeared in slip-tops and dreamy, maxi dresses. Cashmere scarves and shawls were worn the Marlene Dietrich way – so soigné! With the help of a new Italian factory, Ryan created her version of a suit – high-waisted trousers cinched at the waist and a semi-cardigan with light knit cables. Seeing Roche on new ground is one of my favourite moments of this New York Fashion Week so far.
Ruffles up, lace and tulle flowing – that’s Nicky Zimmermann‘s spring-summer 2017 at her namesake label. The Australian brand, which is on everybody’s lips after appearing in Beyoncé’s fashion-forward Formation video, is all about feminine silhouettes and care-free attitude of the designers’ youth. Zimmermann is relatively affordable, comparing to other New York-based brands, but still, the pieces are all about meticulous workmanship. This season, the fabrics steal the spotlight – take a look at one of those floral ‘prairie’ dresses with lace finishings around the collar and the sleeves. 90s off-the-shoulder trick appeared countless times, and it will surely kick off a new trend coming for next summer. While describing the collection, Nicky mentioned that the woman in her clothes is a “kind of sexy pirate”, nodding to her suburban childhood. Every trip to the city with her friends was an escapade – and I bet that wearing one of those Zimmermann pieces is a pleasure, too.
The 3 year tenure at Balenciaga was not only exhausting for the fashion industry, but also for the former creative director of the brand, Alexander Wang. When Nicolas Ghesquiere left, I felt so bad about that fact – his sudden departure was caused by his “uncommercial” vision of the brand. Noting, that Nicolas made Balenciaga relevant for 15 years, and kept it on the best-seller list throughout the time. So, when the brand appointed Alexander Wang, the New York-based designer, it seemed to be a desperate decision, without any sense. Wang, who designs his own, street-inspired label full of apparel, heavy boots and sweatshirts, seemed to be the most unobvious choice. And, he failed to increase Balenciaga’s incomes.
But thankfully, this tedious period at Balenciaga ended this week – Alex is happy he can settle back in New York (he even mentioned in one of the interviews that he is “kind of happy” about having less responsibilities linked with designing four additional collections in Paris). His last collection didn’t have anything to do with Cristobal Balenciaga’s legacy – however, it was a sassy copy of Ghesquiere’s spring-summer 2006 collection for the brand. I was shocked. The same lace, the same sheer textiles – even the dress silhouettes were based on the idea of a nightgown, just like back in 2006. I mean, why couldn’t Alexander do some final, neoprene stuff he loves so much back at his hometown? Believe me, I really felt a relieve when the show ended – this bad joke won’t repeat anymore.
By the way, you surely know who is the newly appointed designer of Balenciaga. When I discovered that, my heart skipped a beat. Yes. It’s Demna Gvasalia. One of the designers behind the uber-cool Vetements. One thing’s sure – expect the unexpected next season.
Alessandro Dell’Acqua of No.21 brought his womenswear classics to men, making the boys for summer romantic and sweet. Lace was worked for slim pants and shirts, tops and short pants in lightweight gingham fabrics were cut in fluid silhouettes and suits came in sorbet colors. These contrasted with the contemporary, skater-inspired feel of printed T-shirts and Neoprene color-blocked sweatshirts embossed with the No. 21 logo. This is the modern Milanese guy.