It’s the second season of Salvatore Ferragamo‘s re-invention for Paul Andrew and Guillaume Meilland. The two designers managed to wipe off the dust of the Italian house already back in their brilliant debut collection. Now, the question is – will they thrive? And, will the client return to Ferragamo after the year of oblivion? Well, since Phoebe Philo exited Céline and the customer who wants that kind of luxury won’t stay for Hedi Slimane, they can turn to Andrew and Meilland (as well as to Lemaire and Hermes, but why not give a try to an Italian brand?). Knitwear is offered in the most high quality yarns, meanwhile shirting looks, well, like tailorship perfection. Archival prints were used for plissé silk, and the label’s signature Gancio motif was woven on canvas jacquard. Smart integrity between the past, and now. But, wait – the shoes! That’s Paul’s job mainly. Those burgundy boots in eel skin are gorgeous. “The shoes really dictate a lot at Ferragamo; here they have their own special voice” is how he summed up the footwear line. I think there’s bright future for Ferragamo with these guys.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
It’s funny that Martin Margiela‘s tenure at Hermès suddenly appeared on everybody’s lips after this year’s exhibition at Antwerp’s MoMu It took nearly two decades for the fashion industry to wholeheartedly appreciate the Belgian visionary’s contribution at the maison, that’s probably most associated with very-rich-women kind of ‘luxury’. At his eponymous label, Maison Martin Margiela, the famously anonymous designer used to redefine such terms as ‘avant-garde’ and ‘minimalist’ in one single garment – meanwhile at Hermès, it was a different philosophy. Tranquil, understated and low-key – that’s how the guests of his shows at Rue Saint-Honoré flagship store (12 in overall, between 1998 and 2002) described the atmosphere. So were the clothes, kept mostly in black, beige or navy. Fashion tends to forget its references, and as you can clearly see in images below, it wasn’t Phoebe Philo at Céline, Christophe Lemaire (he designed for Hermès before the current creative director, Nadège Vanhée-Cybulski) or The Row who were first to decide on making a perfectly tailored camel coat the focus of their collections.
For Margiela, ready-to-wear with a Hermès tag had to be of the best quality materials, made with the biggest attention to details (no flashy embroideries meant here) and with the aim to be worn for the next 20 years. This is what actual ‘luxury’ in fashion meant to Martin, even though he would never use that stabby and deprived of its meaning word. For a brief moment, Hermès was more than fancy foulards and bags (note: for spring-summer 2000, Margiela casted Jane Birkin as the show’s model, making a nod to, guess what, the Birkin bag). It was about the clothes, too, and very well constructed clothes: warm cashmere sweaters, crisp white shirts, masculine blazers, eternally chic black gowns. And sneakers – remember, we’re speaking of 90s / beginning of 00s, when only stilettos mattered on Parisian catwalks. There’s no surprise his shows weren’t received that well. Many thought that Hermès was just ‘boring’ with Martin’s conservative approach: those were the 90s, after all, and fashion loved FASHION. The time has shown, however, that those who bought Margiela’s Hèrmes were the smart ones. Finding pieces from that era is quite a struggle, and when you find anything, the prices are killer. Martin Margiela is an acclaimed designer for more than one reason, but his underrated creative direction and aesthetic at Hermès is… timeless.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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.
There’re no other American brand like The Row. The New York-based label is far from ‘contemporary’ or ‘casual’. It’s a luxurious of reflection of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen‘s aesthetic, which rather targets mature, intelligent individuals, rather than Insta-models. When the designers started The Row (named after London’s Savile Row, not by coincidence), the sisters didn’t look to any brand for inspiration. It’s has always been about quality and fit for them. The Row is a pretty young brand, though – but thanks to its philosophy and minute attention to detail in anything, it quickly appeared in the league of such minimal-luxury brands like Céline, Lemaire, or even Hermès.
No wonder why – just have a glance at The Row’s resort 2017 collection, and you will understand why the label has become fashion industry’s obsession. The look-book of just 13 images features (un)usual models: nearly 50-year-old Frederique Van Der Wal, iconic Audra Avizienis, intriquing Olga Sherer and a newcomer, Jada Joyce. Those four women represent different ages, and that’s the silent message behind the collection. The coats and other outerwear pieces are timeless, just like black cashmere turtlenecks or fur-lined suede loafers. Sensual lingerie isn’t an intepretation of the slip-dress trend, but a new addition to the brand’s range. Impossible not to love it.