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.
Loewe by Jonathan Anderson isn’t another episode about an up-and-coming designer taking a big, heritage brand under his wings. It’s already the fifth season delivered by this fascinating, Irish designer, and it seems that with every collection, Anderson makes the house feel like his own universe. Jonathan doesn’t only focus on the accessory range, which continuously expands with new additions; he makes the ready-to-wear part an obsession of every fashion editor, and you will surely find the industry insiders storm Loewe’s store (along with Balenciaga) this season, and the next season.
What really makes Anderson’s Loewe so desirable, but at the same time far from mainstream, is the mood. Whenever I see a Loewe model on the runway, I have in mind a picture of middle-aged, Mediterranean raised woman, who lives in a modernist villa filled with contemporary art and biscuit-beige floor-covering. However, it’s not a film still, but rather a realistic vision of Loewe client. That’s why Loewe isn’t a pattern for Zara and H&M – it’s just too sophisticated and too multi-faceted to be copied by someone who doesn’t understand it.
At his namesake brand, Jonathan is known for precision in everything he does. At Loewe, he’s a creative director who, in comparison to other creative directors, actually has control over everything, from the stores’ furniture to perfume package. Thanks to that, Anderson focuses on every single thing, even the tiniest detail like a bag’s texture. “It’s a textured carpet, so we put it on suede, then we flocked it and then we washed it so you get it flat, yet it still feels soft to the hand,” is how he described the leather he decided to use for a new bag silhouette. The collection itself also took a thorough look at extreme workmanship and a sense of craft. “Torn” seams, loosely fitted collars and intriguing closures, among other details, were telling a story of highly sensual, super-organic clothes. Eclectic jewellery, featuring bat necklaces or ikebana-inspired flower bracelets, reassembled souvenirs from luxurious, oriental voyages. There are no themes in Anderson’s collections for Loewe. You can love it, or not.
Spring-summer 2016 season at Louis Vuitton is his best to date. Nicolas Ghesquiere really did show his refreshing stance at the maison – cyber luxury is the best term that reflects the mix of exclusive logo prints and pink-haired model wearing highly hype (whatever this means nowadays) clothes. Nicolas definitely had Japan on his mind this time – the Harajuku girls with manga-inpired robot tiaras and platform sandals make this collection sharp, but with a slight bit of kawaii flavour coming straightly from Tokyo. However, the collection had something more ethnical, too – note the lovely hand-stitched embroideries on suede biker jackets below. Or the feather details on mesh tank-tops and badass gloves. This how you do ethno, Valentino – keep it discreet, but appropriate. But what really hit me this time, is the amazing talent of fusing fashion history that the designer is known for – the Victorian blouses with leather vests and medieval inspired gowns have never, ever looked so modern as in Nicolas’ vision. These shirts, dresses, motorcycle leggings and, yes, jumpsuits (!) are highly in need. Also, I am drooling over these leather, pleated totes – the beauty of these accessories makes them conceptual objects, rather than just “bags”.
Ghesquiere, and his model casting director, Ashley Brokaw, have the most diverse set of girls during Paris Fashion Week. Louis Vuitton is a world-wide known brand, and it should be praised for having afro, bald, mullet and even pink-haired models (so Grimes, Nicolas’ muse and favourite musician of the moment!). Thanks to Nicolas Ghesquiere, Louis Vuitton became a label, that is more than clothes and a vast range of accessories – now, Louis Vuitton is an open-minded, lifestyle project. Bravo!
Pablo Coppola is the man behind Bally revamp. This Swiss brand has never been so anticipated during Milan Fashion Week. Their calm, but sophisticated presentation concentrated on the garments made of the best quality leather – coats, jackets and accessories are the biggest assets of Bally at the moment. The simple, maxi dresses look effortless just like other pieces. Although the spring-summer 2016 look-book with Issa Lish and Jamie Bochert is a bit of a yawn, the plans for the brand’s new image in the fashion industry are impressive.
Yesterday’s Gucci show was not only a surprise due to its appearance in New York. It was intriguing. And Alessandro Michele knows that. The new designer, who left the sex-drived Tom Ford and Euro-sleek Frida Gianini behind, makes Gucci a brand, which is rather all about eclecticism and vintage. The word “eclectic” came up constantly when Michele was talking about the collection backstage. He also talked of “love” fuelling the collection, which incidentally appeared on a sweater in French –”aveugle par l’amour”. So hippie and optimistic, which is what Michele’s vibe is all about. “I’m inspired by a lot of things – from the street, antiques, vintage wardrobes. It’s impossible to explain the exact point of inspiration. It’s about being free to love, free to express, free to show who you are through the way you dress,” said Michele. “Luxury means that you show the way you dress with eccentricity. It’s almost like a new kind of jetset – instead of roaming around the world, you’re roaming with your clothes.” As you see, even the approach to luxury, which is up to now an essence of the brand, has changed.
But coming back to the venue matter. Gucci chose a gallery space in New York’s Chelsea, furnished with Persian rugs. As a remix of orchestral soundtracks started up, the garage doors to the gallery were raised up and the models walked in from the street, where outside Glen Luchford was shooting a film. And the street is certainly where Michele sees his eclectic cast existing. No wonder why the clothes might (or even should) remind you of Williamsburg’s thrift shops and Milanese flea markets, where the clothes are all about kitschy embroidery and cheesy patterns. But in case of Alessandro Michele and his mesmerizing Gucci affair, it was all about hand-made embellishments (the snake!), gold glitter on the shoes, soft lace and imperial Astrakhan jackets.
Although the collection might seem to have many overkilling details, I am happy Michele is in the game. I am a bit fed up with all that “ugly chic” and minimalism which is practically everywhere. I felt a lack of beauty, romance and that 70’s freedom in fashion for a while. However, the new Gucci delivers that in a very proud, brave way. Interesting how the retailers are going to deal with all that sheer artistry.