Men’s / The Big Debuts SS19

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Kate Moss, Lenny Kravitz and Naomi Campbell at Dior.

Just imagine how happy the people at LVMH are now. Both of the maisons they own, Louis Vuitton and Dior, earned such spotlight throughout the last few days that it’s unbelievable how much profit the luxury conglomerate gets in the upcoming months. Two names were on the lips of entire Paris this week: Virgil Abloh and Kim Jones. The first debuted at Vuitton with a more grown-up version of his Off-White, while the latter entered the house with a relevant ode to the founder of the house, Chritian Dior.

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Readers of this site know that I’m on fence with Virgil Abloh and his brand, Off-White. To me, it’s a streetwear label that effortlessly hits the luxury shelf (just like Vetements) and is quite deprived of genuine creativity (at least, speaking of the ready-to-wear stuff seen on the runways). Once it’s all about 90s Helmut Lang covered in prints, then it goes for such ‘of the moment’ trends like tulle. Still, kids love it, adults as well. Maybe it’s the question of aesthetics? I would surely love an Off-White hoodie few years ago, but now I’m into something completely else.

Now, straight to the topic. The Louis Vuitton show had a front row with a capital F: there was Kanye West, the Kardashians, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, just to name a few. The clothes were essentially Virgil, but more de luxe than usually. Neon harness, hoodies under blazers, sporty shorts, lots of new sneakers that will be ‘it’ sooner or later, a bunch of classical LV bags with chain handles. Basically, it’s all the stuff that brands like Louis Vuitton need right now: bold, not-to-deep-in-meaning pieces that the rich, young clientele will want in their lives. The only thing I truly appreciated about the collection was the model casting, that was beautifully, beautifully diverse. Still, in terms of Louis Vuitton fashion, I will cling to Nicolas Ghesquiere’s womenswear.

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In fact, Virgil Abloh is Kim Jones’ successor at Vuitton. Also, in private, they’re friends, so what really surprised me during this Paris fashion week was the lack of striking competition (both of the designers went to each other’s show, how cute!). Kim Jones had similar ways of luring everyone to take a look at his debut: celebrity-filled f-row (from Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss and Lenny Kravitz to Lily Allen and The xx), a fancy venue (this huge KAWS statue made of real flowers stood in the middle), famous models (like Prince Nikolai of Denmark, who opened the show). But actually, I want to thank Kim for making me look at a Dior show for longer than one minute (I mean, Maria Grazia Chiuri’s womenswear…). And you know what? There was lots to look at. In his collection, the designer paid tribute to Christian Dior, and such Dior predecessors as John Galliano, but in a smart, innovative way.

The dominant colours were signature pale Dior pink and porcelain blue. The toile de jouy created by Victor Grandpierre for Christian’s original boutique in 1947 appeared as the leading fabric for the shirts. Jones as well experimented with suits, nodding to Tailleur Oblique, Dior’s famous, diagonally wrapped ensemble from 1950. And then, my favourite part, there’s the iconic Dior Saddle Bag, now in more safe colours than the ones Galliano did, or converted into wallets (how commerce-wise!). Kim Jones wisely spent the time at the maison‘s archives, coming out with brilliant ideas. It’s also worth noting that he invited Yoon Ahn from Ambush to do the very cool jewellery, as well as Matthew Williams from Alyx to work on the buckles. Jones masterfully blended the past with contemporary, which I like. Maybe it wasn’t my favourite show of the season (even though it had some major highlights), but the newly appointed designer is on a very good path (just as Virgil, who will definitely rule with his LV, whether you love it or loathe it).

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All collages by Edward Kanarecki.

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Marques Time

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Although I had my thumbs up for the amazingly innovative Faustine Steinmetz this year at LVMH Prize Awards, Marques Almeida is also a good choice in reality. They were the ones who discreetly made frayed and cut denim cool again; they made 90’s vibe strong and most noticeable this season. And there is something about their cool, ghetto attitude. The Portuguese duo rocked London just a few years ago and from the beginning smelled with success. Winning with Vetements, Jacquemus (partly because he got the second award) and Off White, Marques Almeida is now excepted to be really it, after the luxury group, LVMH, takes them under their wings. Watch this space.

Here is their backstage from AW15…

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Suspiria and Him. Thomas Tait AW15

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Do you know the horror movie called Suspiria? If yes, then you totally will understand this eerie and disturbing Thomas Tait collection. Latex gloves, wide pantalons, leather skirts and bloody red cowboy jackets. The invitation’s still from Dario Argento’s 1977 horror masterpiece Suspiria was echoed on pleated dresses – changed into digital print for Tait, made from screen captures done on his laptop while watching films in bed. “They’re kind of really shitty and a lazy way of doing some kind of informal research. I thought it would be really interesting to make these highly intricate garments and undercut them with a crap image from the film I love.” The dramatic venue and the music – created by Frederic Sanchez – matched the melancholic, slightly violent mood. Summing up – the collection is very, very interesting and… elusive?

Winning LVMH’s Young Fashion Designer prize last year has meant a huge difference to Thomas Tait, who like many young designers struggled with keeping the business working – not becaues of lack of ideas, but funds. “The money kept me from going out of business to be honest,” he said. And that’s pretty much a very happy ending for Thomas (in case of sponsoring), and hopefully it will be one for other money-struggling designers.

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Young, Bold, Fast – TAIT!

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Launched in November 2013, the Prix LVMH pour les Jeunes Créateurs de Mode (LVMH prize for young fashion designers)is open to designers under the age of 40, who have already designed and shown at least two collections of men’s or women’s ready-to-wear. In February, 30 of them were short-listed to present their collections to a panel of industry professionals from the LVMH stable, including Nicolas Ghesquière, Marc Jacobs, Karl Lagerlfeld, Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, Phoebe Philo, Raf Simons and Riccardo Tisci alongside LVMH’s Delphine Arnault, Jean-Paul Claverie and Pierre-Yves Roussel, who selected 12 finalists to show today, Wednesday May 28. Thomas Tait walked away with the Prix LVMH, representing a €30,000 grant and personal business mentoring by a specially created team from LVMH.

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Thomas Tait had disjointed cubist prints with minimal pleated features in a naive palette of bold colours at his AW14 show in London, which is the latest collection from this young designer. It’s very strong, and the make-up by Homas de Kluyver’s was the perfect compliment to the collection: Yves Klien blues and dried acid greens. VIBRANT, YOUNG and FAST are the words that describe Tait best. And I can’t wait to see what new will his LVMH award bring him!

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LVMH’s New Loots

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“Nicholas’ talent for shoe design is exceptional and I am especially impressed with his commitment to innovation and craftsmanship” said Delphine Arnault about Nicolas Kirkwood, the British Christian Louboutin “Throughout our meetings, I was particularly struck by his entrepreneurship and we discovered rapidly that we shared the same vision and beliefs. We want to allow him to further explore the boundaries of his creativity while the brand will benefit from LVMH’s expertise.” In other words, Christian Louboutin can start to be nervous about his concurrents- if Kirkwood will be “bought” then that means his label will spread around and also open first stores… I love Kirkwood’s designs and that’s great that he is thrive, but… Hopefully LVMH won’t kill his amazing talents!

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LVMH is also rumoured to be talking with J.W. Anderson, the minimalistic, cutting edge label known for men in dresses and geometrical sweaters for women. But, this blog is not about hot gossips but about the truth… The biggest concurrent of LVMH is Kering that strongly invests in Christopher Kane (another great British designer) and it’s now sure that Kane will have his first ever store in London soon! And that’s really great because this designer is the biggest revolution of fashion from few years. So the truth is, that the spotlight on NYC, Milan and Paris new talents was stolen by the Brits… All eyes on London!

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