Tisci’s Take. Burberry SS19

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London fashion week didn’t see a big debut for a while. But was it worth the wait? Riccardo Tisci at Burberry seemed to be an unlikely choice from the beginning. The brand’s logo and identity changes felt vague and predictable. A post-show, 24 hours only merch shopping via Instagram had to have everyone like ‘wow’, but I guess no one really bothered to buy anything. You might think that 134 looks in a collection have to speak loud and clear about the designer’s vision. That’s what I thought before. Well, maybe that number of looks tried to say a word or two, but in overall it felt like Tisci wanted to seize too much and mention too many things at a time in his first collection for this historic, British brand. The first part of the collection referred to Burberry’s heritage – trench coats, Burbs checks and silk foulards – and played with the notion of conservative, British middle class from the Thatcher era. If Riccardo developed that a bit further and kept the show in these 50 outfits, that might have been a good shot . But then, a dozen of identical menswear looks appeared, aesthetically closer to Prada and 90s Helmut Lang than Burberry. Another ton of womenswear (this time related to the punk movement, unfortunately looking shallow, preppy and… tired) and a portion of men’s unamusing streetwear (think sweatshirts and prints that are very close to Riccardo’s work at Givenchy – this time, however, we’ve got creepy, Victorian families photo instead of Catholic iconography) appeared on the runway.  In the end, we had this quite stiff line-up of ladies’ eveningwear. I liked Christopher Bailey’s last seasons at Burberry, but I never really looked at his collections again. Tisci’s debut could have been more focused and gripping, that’s sure, but let’s give him time. And please, narrow down that scope!

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Punk Dandy. Haider Ackermann AW17

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Haider Ackermann is about to present his first collection for Berluti this week – so no wonder why he decided to make his autumn-winter 2017 collection a kind of “designer aesthetic” retrospective filled with his signature essentials. It was pure Haider, but even sharper and fiercer than usual. Inspired by punk and hard-rock subcultures, Ackermann conveyed the rebellious attitude in leather biker jackets, skinny pants in tartan plaid and slouchy robe-coats. ‘Stitched’ velvet suits looked especially impressive and badass. Dangerous and appealing – those two terms well describe these Haider’s dandy-ish rockman.

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The New Revolutionaries

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Fashion is continuous in communicating on what’s happening in the world. Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren shaped the 70s punk scene in Great Britain, shaking up the aristocratic nation; Marc Jacobs took grunge into the world of high fashion at Perry Ellis in 1993. There was Raf Simons with studded, skinny pants for boys, and Hedi Slimane at Saint Laurent years later, reviving Yves’ (in)famous scandale spirit. All of those designers wanted to show rebellion, and made history. This season, the mood of rebellion was present, too, but introduced in a different way. If you want to look defiant, leave your mud-splattered boots behind.

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Marc Jacobs and Lucie de la Falaise, Perry Ellis era

Take Rei Kawabuko and her autumn-winter 2016 collection at Comme des Garçons – it was an ode to the 18th century, but not in the way you might have expected. The silhouettes were voluminous, while the textures clashed with contrasts. Instead of embroideries and embellishments, opulence played a different role. “The 18th century was a time of change and revolution,” Rei said. “This is how I imagine punks would look, if they had lived in this century.” Think about French aristocracy, and just remind yourself some Marie Antoinette’s pouf hair-style or Louis XIV’s obsession with heels. Ball-dresses, splendour of colours – this is how the Incroyables originated, putting a barrier between them, and others. Their looks shouted “I’m in the elite – you’re NOT”. In fact that was a kind of punk gesture, if you look at that from another perspective. Paradoxically, Kawakubo wasn’t mistaken – punks, different punks, already existed before Dame Vivienne. Living in their saccharine wardrobes and eating cupcakes while the poor starved was to an extend… radical.

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Comme des Garcons AW16

Good times changed for aristocracy, and the French revolution proves that. John Galliano‘s spring-summer 1993 collection was a modern-day interpretation, of how a Merveilleuse (female equivalent for Incroyable) could have looked before execution. Of course with grace! A sheer  dress which looked nearly like a piece of underwear; her hair of fleek. Decapitation had to be chic, and Galliano’s spectacular collection filled with tattered frock coats, dilapidated chiffon, and extravagantly puff-sleeved gowns was a controversial success.

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All of the above: John Galliano SS93

But coming back to 2016. Marc Jacobs‘ latest outing was all about full skirts and big dresses in polished leather. Platforms were there. Those ladies were like the bad queens and bad princesses from a fantasy, while their outfits were loud nods to monarchy looks. For Maison Margiela, Galliano devoted his haute couture collection once again to the Incroyables, presenting coats with exaggerated tails. But this time, the one-of-a-kind pieces were mixed with high-tech textiles and hand-made chantilly lace. John explained his artisanal season as a reflection of today’s world troubles. “I didn’t want to repeat what I did as a kid,” said Galliano. “But it has the rebellious attitude of youth.” Lastly, Dries Van Noten was inspired with Marchesa Casati’s avant-garde aura. She was, you’ve guessed well, an unconventional aristocrat, with her smokey eyes, layers of pearl necklaces and exotic furs. She looked different that all the other fancy dames from those times – and that’s why Dries felt appeal to her. An embodiment of punk? Yes.

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Marc Jacobs AW16

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Dries Van Noten AW16

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Dries Van Noten AW16

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Above: Maison Margiela Haute Couture AW16

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Save Meadham Kirchhoff!

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When Meadham Kirchhoff stopped doing street-casted shows and closed their brand, it was a very, very bad omen for the fashion industry, which, first things first, should be fuelled by creativity. Benjamin Kirchhoff and Edward Meadham were creating the boldest, the happiest and the heartiest label in London, or even in the entire world – but then, “debts have caught up” and this relatively small, studio-based label couldn’t survive the pressure of this sadly, too corporate world.

If that wasn’t bad enough – it appeared that the designers were forced out of their studio, and Meadham Kirchhoff’s archive was confiscated by the succeeding occupier. Remember the glamorous pieces from their gothic past, all those vinyl coats and naughty, glittered bodysuits? They aren’t owned by the designers since that moment. But, heads up – there’s a chance for Meadham Kirchhoff archive to be retrieved and be admired in its full grace. Curator Shonagh Marshall has worked with Edward and Benjamin, and selected around 50 pieces that will be donated to museums. As one of the designers said “we had an impact on culture and on British and international fashion, and we want these clothes to live beyond the context of a personal wardrobe; we always wanted Meadham Kirchhoff clothes to be seen, not something to just have and never wear.” The selection, was priced at £15,000 – this is a sum that can buy back 12 years of the duo’s work. If you mind / care / want to help – I strongly advise you to donate a pound or a hundred here. Let’s support British fashion history and Meadham Kirchhoff creative legacy, which indeed changed a lot!

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Some of the photographs are by Drew Jarrett, shot for 1 Granary.

Anglomania. Gucci Resort’17

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Just a few weeks before Britain’s choice whether to remain in European Union, London has suddenly become the capital of resort 2017 collections. Firstly, Dior showed its mild collection in Blenheim Palace; secondly, Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, proved that Italian fashion goes in pair with anglomania. Covered with dark-green, needlepoint cushions, the famous Westminster Abbey was transformed into a venue for the most eccentric Michele’s show up to date (note: every show by Gucci gets even more peculiar and twisted…). Gucci girls and Gucci boys went down the Gothic church, all bold and playful, reivisiting cult fashion tribes of London. From Camden Market loving geeks to Rolling Stones fanatics in slim denim trousers and t-shirts (with old-school GUCCI logos – next season’s must-have), Alessandro praised Britain’s biggest style eras in this extremely non-chalant outing.

To dive in this gothic sea of inspiration!” he began. “The punk, the Victorian, the eccentric—with this inspiration, I can work all my life!” The former, origing from Vivienne Westwood’s rebellious times of SEX boutique and Sex Pistols costumes, was reflected in tartan ball gown and badass, yet classy attitude of the clothes. One of the jackets was a perfect Victoriana sleeve sample, but all in baby-pink astrakhan fur; Thatcher-era Kensington grannies crossed the abbey during the show, wearing printed silk dresses and foulards on their heads; there was even a Spice Girl moment which will be remembered for long in the industry – rainbow striped platform sneakers HAPPENED, spicing it all up. It’s not a surprise that Alessandro thought of Scottish kilts, too – they were worn casually with lady-like, blue pea-coats. Chic, right?

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Looking at this collection, you might be confused with all that opulence of topics, and even doubt whether this is still about so-called “good taste”. But Alessandro Michele, who made the ready-to-wear sales spike in this 95-year-old Italian brand, blurs the term. In fact, these outfits remind me of great, vintage-selling Instagram shops, which are loved for the extraordinary styling. Let me recommend you @the_corner_store – check it out by the way. .

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Back to Gucci. While writing this, I’m listening to Siouxsie & The Banshees “Face to Face”, and I’m authentically feeling the mood conveyed by Michele. It’s rock’n’roll, slightly alternative, very theatrical – breaking the rules and even the system. Of course it’s not as radical as Westwood and McLaren – but it’s a leap away from all this safe minimalism which is trending for the last few years. And if I mention that I’m watching the second episode of 80s favourite comedy show, Absolutely Fabulous, starring Eddy and Patsy, you can imagine the affair I feel with this collection. Glam, over-the-top effect and never-mature clubbing lifestyle. I love it! Although Alessandro is an Italian, who loves embroideries and lace, he’s also an anglomaniac, obsessed with unconventional youth and aristocracy-meets-punk thing England is famous of. “You are part of the culture of Europe!” exclaimed the designer backstage, showing his love for British art, fashion and music side. I’m quite sure that if all the Brits take a peek at this collection, they will be sure about their vote during the referendum coming this month.

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