Men’s – The Heart Still Beats. Prada AW19

If there’s a designer you can count on, it’s Miuccia Prada. For two reasons. She will always deliver intelligent, multi-faceted fashion. And will take a grip of the contemporary matters like no other. Her men’s autumn-winter 2019 and women’s pre-fall 2019 was a dark outing. Well, why would it be optimistic? Today’s world is a bad place. Europe suffers from the rise of rightist governments. There are absolutely no reasons to be happy with Trump, just as with Macron, Brexit and Putin’s actions over Ukraine. Paweł Adamowicz, the liberal mayor of Gdansk, Poland, was brutally stabbed yesterday at a charity concert, and his death is all over the news today. Of course, mentioning such politically-charged tragedies next to fashion might sound completely out of one’s mind. But not in case of Miuccia, who acknowledges the world as it is and wants her viewers to be, at least, aware.

While military elements often come as fashion fads, the ones that appeared at Prada looked serious. They are the brand’s codes since the 90s – if you’re an observant Prada fan, you will have this raw, defiant ‘image’ in your head. Some of the models looked vulnerable with their pale torsos exposed. Others seemed to be even invisible in their grey, loosely fitted suits. The big crotchet heart, attached with a safety-pin to the blazers, was a simple, but beautiful metaphor of a heart that’s still beating, yet insecure and… terrified. “Basically it had to be a romantic show. And mainly I was interested in the understanding of humanity: weakness and the more delicate and naked aspects of humanity also. The rejected… It was set against a very tough world—that is why war and military was in the air,” the designer explained. Of course, there were – at a first glance – brighter details that made the collection digestible from a solely visual perspective. Which is completely understandable, as it’s a Prada fashion collection, after all, not a poetic Ann Demeulemeester line-up from the early 2000s or some soft of art performance. Although, I guess, Miuccia might wish for having that freedom. “To make it not boring and for the fashion – because fashion has to be light somehow – we borrowed the symbols of trashy horror movies. From ‘Frankenstein’ to ‘The Rocky Horror Picture Show’ and all those movies. Frankenstein is the example of the monster with a big, big heart who searches for love.” The heart’s still beating.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Distinct. Gucci Pre-Fall 2019

While we all got used to Gucci‘s extravaganza surrounding each collection, whether it’s a cementary on fire or Jane Birkin singing mid-show, Alessandro Michele‘s pre-fall 2019 look-book is just… there. Photographed by Harmony Korine, the collection is distinctly Gucci, in a very Michele’s over-the-top manner. We’ve got floral kaftans, babooshka headscarves (thanks, Asap Rocky), richly embellished eveningwear, eccentric-chic faux-fur coats, geeky sandals, a bit of power dressing in bold fuchsia, logomania, zebra prints and lots, lots more. Shortly speaking, it’s a regular Gucci line-up.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

New Start. Bottega Veneta Pre-Fall 2019

 

So, I haven’t written about Bottega Veneta for ages. Here’s why. Tomas Maier’s vision for the brand was proper, classy. Sometimes comfy, sometimes lady-like. You always knew what to expect from him: very well-crafted, safe outings with occasional, special appearances. It seemed he’s at Bottega forever. Clearly, at one point the brand needed a stir. And here we are with Daniel Lee, British designer you surely never heard of a year ago. The moment Maier exited Bottega Veneta was just a few months after Phoebe Philo’s departure from Céline – and with a sudden gap to fill for Philophiles, Lee appeared in the right place, right time. He’s the guy who was at helm of ready-to-wear at Philo’s Céline. It seems to be clear that he should know how to design clothes suited for the Philo-loving women (and men). His debut, pre-fall 2019 presentation eventually feels very familiar to Phoebe’s presence. The collection orbited around leather (the brand is a heritage leather house) and the question of how it can be translated in a chic, modern way. The signature intrecciato technique appeared in coats and dresses, while the bags received an XXL treatment (so, so good!). Contrasting colour palette; minimal jewellery; sensual neck-lines; over-sized outerwear – it’s a stylish, elegant, yet comfortable wardrobe that’s absolutely seasonless and ageless. Menswear is impressive as well. One might say that there’s nothing overly innovative about it – but then, when was the last time you saw such a gorgoues, camel suit? I just hope that while everyone’s putting Lee into the ‘new Philo’ shelf, this won’t become a sort of curse for him. His design is close to Phoebe’s Céline, yes. But look again. It’s completely different. It’s rawer, it’s more modest, slightly Helmut Lang-ish (just see some of the 90s collections to get what I mean). I’m really, really can’t wait to see Daniel’s first runway collection – coming in March, I bet.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Garment Care Season. Vaquera Pre-Fall 2019

Vaquera’s Patric DiCaprio, Claire Sullivan, and Bryn Taubensee are New York’s young avant-grade of fashion. But even the biggest enfants terrible need to grow up someday: here’s the first pre-collection coming from them. For Pre-Fall 2019, Vaquera’s designers remade some of their brightest ideas into a capsule of clothes and accessories at prices their younger fans can truly appreciate. They designed fewer than a dozen silhouettes, some of them recognizable from past shows, and limited themselves to just three materials: a cotton poplin, a dark-rinse denim and a sweatshirt fabric (look at the distorted, white track suit – it’s genius!). Smart move. Vaquera called this their “Garment Care season”: they introduced dry cleaning slips and printed the back of hoodies with a Vaquera dry cleaners logo. The collection’s sock bag with its coin-purse clasp is a nod in the direction of Martin Margiela, who did same with a leather glove two decades ago. Fun tailoring and even crazier shirting might be a harder sell, but then, Vaquera doesn’t want to lose its arty edginess it became renowned for in the city.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Confidence. Chloé Pre-Fall 2019

It’s clear Natacha Ramsay-Levi feels more and more confident with every season at Chloé – and that works. The designer continues to play with the label’s horse motif, as well as experiments with the monograms from the maison‘s archive. But there’s much more to it in her pre-fall 2019. You can see brilliant tailoring and outerwear. Dozens of whimsy, breezy dresses that are distinctly Chloé, but as well very Natacha – especially, when styled with heavy boots she adores so much and revisits each time. It’s impossible not to fall in love with the richness of textures, fabrics and prints. Take the ‘clashed’ floral dress worn over a turtleneck blouse or the velvet flares styled a parsley pussy-bow top and a corduroy, riding jacket. New bags are here, too. If one can’t really afford to plunge in Chloé, then at least the designer shares a number of truly inspiring tips on how to dress next autumn. It’s all about a Victorian-era inspired shirt, a splash of print kept in a warm colour palette and a pair of gorgeous, polished boots.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Their Classics. Proenza Schouler Pre-Fall 2019

For many brands, a pre-collection isn’t just the season with the longest shelf life. It’s also the right moment to remind its classics; brand codes; signature pieces – whatever you call it. Proenza Schouler‘s Jack McCollough and Lazaro Hernandez are aware of that – and they aren’t afraid to repeat themselves, in a healthy, balanced way. Tie-dye print is the label’s long-time friend, and with its major success as a turtleneck last winter, the PS boys brought it back in new colour combinations. Sensual slip-dresses with feminine detailing were especially present in Proenza Schouler’s first collections, more or less a decade ago. Now they are back, styled with big pants and masculine blazers. Spring-summer 2019’s XXL-bag is staying for a longer, too, just as washed denim. Although we’ve seen all that, let’s admit this: the collection looks good. Even very good.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Suit Up. Thom Browne Pre-Fall 2019

Thom Browne‘s pre-fall 2019 collection is quintessentially… Thom Browne. Expect the designer’s subversive take on suiting – whether we’re speaking of an over-sized, wool blazer worn over an equally ‘business’ dress (and a crisp white shirt with a tie, layered underneath) or something more playful, say, duck-print tailored jackets with matching knee-lenght skirts. The look-book as well sees the designer’s signature intarsia techniques: tie stripes meet willows, landscapes and even more geese. Also, really love the shoes, kept in red, white and black. They look as bold as Browne’s upside-down elegance.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Egypt in NYC. Chanel Pre-Fall 2019

Chanel‘s Métiers d’Art shows are the only ones I look at. I love the craftsmanship involved here – it’s different level comparing to the ridiculous ready-to-wear collections, but looks more wearable than in the couture outings. This time, Karl Lagerfeld took his guests to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art to pull off an Ancient Egypt-inspired collection. To be honest, most of the clothes looked hideous and even the beauty of the surrounding tombstones and artifacts couldn’t hide this fact. BUT. Some of the details were impressive. The Amarna-inspired make-up. The gold-painted legs of every model. And the opulent appreciation of jewels and everything that’s shiny – a feature of every Egyptian king and queen. Would today’s Nefertiti dress in a Chanel tweed jacket made out of golden threads? Absolutely yes. But will real Chanel customers be able to wear any of this without looking ‘dressed up’ for a theme party? Who knows.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.