Happy New Year, guys! I wish you a night filled with champagne, great music and a remarkable party-time! Note this Gucci outfit from Alessandro Michele‘s resort 2016 which was staged in New York… a bit of Clueless vibes in here, with a sublime excess of lace, astrakhan and Italian embroidery!
#2015 – Phoebe Philo
The Designers of 2015 list is topped by Phoebe Philo, of course. The woman who designs for women. The designer, who makes Celine most coveted season-to-season. Although she is praised for reviving minimalism, her fashion dictionary for 2015 is supplied with all – femininity, sensuality, travel, eclecticism and colour.
Pre-Fall’15 – Pre-fall at Celine usually means a selection of classical, yet sophisticated clothes kept in toned colours – this year, however, Phoebe had a playful moment, pushing her austere comfort zones. Hand-embroidered folklore caftans, fringed ponchos and over-sized, burgundy culottes are just few of mentioned must-haves, which make most of Parisian women drool. There was also this chic slip-dress action – worn in a very Celine-ish way, it felt light and slightly infantile, but in a good way.
AW15 – Phoebe Philo precisely described her woman for fall. “I just want to be a woman“. A woman with ups and downs, which one day is the queen of the world in a bicolor satin dresses and the second day a sophisticated poet or artist in existential, black turtleneck. She wants to be seductive or ooze with charm. But she’s more than attractive – she’s confident, open-minded, smart and knows what’s worth for her. “The best part of this job is finding out more about myself,” Philo said after the show. “It gets deeper and deeper into the roots.” And where those roots went deep today was into a new sense of playfulness. Big, fluffy pom-pons? Otters, foxes and deer as naive animal prints? Duvet coats? “Dressed-up-ness,” Philo called it. “I was never in the head space to approach it before. I find glamour and sexuality awkward. When do they feel authentic? What’s real, what’s not?” Big, rhetorical questions. And Philo addressed them with a collection that, by her own opinion, was a little Latin American. “The blood is hotter,” she said. “The approach is more dramatic.” Of course, Phoebe understands that not every lady feels like going for intense colours. “That’s why there were other times when it was more gritty, more Northern soul, less passionate.”
Resort’16 – It’s a kind of fashion tradition, that we see Celine‘s pre-collection just few weeks before they hit the stores. When Phoebe Philo introduced this rule, the fashion system shifted. No wonder why – when we see the pre-collections six months before they are really available, there is a kind of deja vu feeling later on. There is a lack of excitement. When Philo drops her pre-collection, there is this surprise effect that certainly moves the brand’s customers when they walk into the stores. The resort 2016 is a true pleasure, both for the eye and the desire sense. The collection is a modern version of a French wardrobe – here, you will surely find a striped shirt, high-waisted pants and a raffia tote from the Basque summer adventures. Also, the wardrobe contains an essence of minimal, French glamour, which was strong in the 60’s & 70’s Paris – take the green, Pierre Cardin-like vest or Yves Saint Laurent safari trench-coat, revisited with some arty patterns. There is the feeling of a “woman who travels” in this collection, too – the Babouche slippers convey the oriental mood and the eclectic jewellery brought from Milan’s most edgy flea-markets and antiquaries.
SS16 – These dresses and coats are what women want today. And the perfect balance between masculine chic and sensual lace makes this collection an updated check-list of what a contemporary woman should have in her wardrobe. “It’s about taking her out of urban life and putting her feet on the sand. It’s where I long to be, more and more.” Although the orange-yellow-blue coloured tent foreshadowed a very bold collection, the designer delivered a discreet, but powerful outing – and, as usually under a tent, we really had sand instead of a tile or a carpet. Which felt so hearty and down-to-earth. Just like the clothes. “I am somebody who is interested in how clothes make us feel,” she said, “and in how we behave in different places. I thought, If you were traveling for a year, what would you need to take with you?” Well, the answer is – the basics. Both, a breezy and warm dress; a light-weight coat; something more intimate and something more built-up. Just like the shoes. My initial reaction to the boots was reserved, however after a moment of reflection I thought it’s a smart move. It depends where you are heading this summer – mountains? Why not. This collection is a spectrum of variations – really, every outfit, in its own way, is good for a specific occasion, creating a beautiful combination of daily essentials. And Phoebe Philo knows, what’s essential. We trust her.
Surely, 2016’s Celine will nail it every single time.
#2015 – Nicolas Ghesquiere
Nicolas Ghesquiere is praised by many as the designer, who perfectly highlights the quintessence of a 21st century wardrobe of a woman – his absolutely wearable and hi-techn clothes are all about comfort and a kind of refreshing, neo-eclecticism. His year at Louis Vuitton is also a year full of diversity – definitely, Nicolas and his team represent the French maison as a multi-cultural and stereotype-breaking brand through beautiful pink and afro haired models walking their world-wide runways (we have even came across Palm Springs this year for the Resort 2016 collection)! Thanks to Nicolas Ghesquiere, Louis Vuitton has become a label that is more than clothes and a vast range of accessories – now, Louis Vuitton is an open-minded, lifestyle project.
AW15 – Autumn-winter 2014 was about 70’s. Spring-summer 2015 was looking forward to vintage florals and denim. The autumn-winter 2015 collection was “looking into the future”, as Nicolas Ghesquiere stated backstage. And, it really did. Presented at the Louis Vuitton Foundation, the designer’s muse, Freja Beha, walked down the boldly coloured runway in a fluffy, white shearling coat. Then, the model favourites like Lineisy Montero and Fernanda Ly wore abstract peplum tops, satin suites with logo appliqued t-shirts and lace dresses. Kept in a rich colour palette, Ghesquiere’s conceptual take on the winter wardrobe is both über-feminine and simultaneously casual, noting the luxe sweat-pants and lovely tank-tops.
Resort’16 – Nicolas Ghesquiere amazed me during his recent Resort collection. Louis Vuitton‘s is the first collection, in which he shows he is really the boss of the brand. The collection, presented in Palm Springs, California, was a sunny blast of fresh, slightly eccentric fashion. Nicolas showcased the silhouettes, that have never been present in his previous shows for the house and Balenciaga. Long, woman-warrior dresses with embellished gems; high-waisted trousers with harness belts; beautifully laser-cut leather jackets, which reminded me of the Victoriana era, brought the mood of Nicolas’ favourite musician, Grimes. But also, some sexy shorts and crop-tops appeared, giving us the vibe of the real all-American summer. What should I say more? California suits Nicolas Ghesquiere as much as Paris.
SS16 – This season, Nicolas Ghesquiere really did show his refreshing stance at Vuitton – 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 (Resort 2016 continuation) 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”.
#2015 – Alessandro Dell AcQua
Alessandro Dell Acqua made his eponymous label, No21, a go-to brand thanks to his well-known signature which highlights his love to a feminine, sensual woman. His innately Italian sense of style mixed with his favourite tunes of George Michael makes his collections feel chic, but in an effortless way.
AW15 – Alessandro knows, how to mix contemporary with opulent – a tweed pencil skirt worn with a gold-patent jacket; a hoodie styled with hand-embroidered dress – those are just few examples of how this designers rolls in fashion. For autumn-winter 2015, the designer of No21 brought a lot of blush pink which beautifully contrasted with all of the shades of grey and beige that overlapped on the catwalk. The two snow-white looks were excellent, too – the coat and dress with floral embroideries are dreamy.
Resort 2016 – Dell AcQua fused many themes at a time – the marine chic which involved stripes; ethnic prints; oriental textiles (look at the canvas shoes!). All of that mused about the idea of a perfect “tropical escape” wardrobe. The midi skirt with a sexy cut-out looked truly gorgeous with that over-sized chunky sweater, while the warm colour of curcuma gave a laid-back mood. Throughout his fashion tenure, Dell AcQua is known for his talent of mixing feminine silhouttes with masculine forms – the sailor jacket is the must-have of the collection, combined with one of these crispe checked skirts.
SS16 Men – “I took a big risk, breaking the mold I have created myself,” The designer of No21 said backstage. “It was time, I think. Freedom was high on my agenda. I’d like to convey a clear message of fashion as an amusing expression of personality. We can do that in Milano, too.” Indeed, the new collection for men was totally different than all the others up to date. Totally new silhouettes – shorts which reminded skirts; over-sized knitwears (which, basically, landed on my wish-list); great varsity jackets and elegant peacoats. The textures here became more tactile and softer. And the ultra-long t-shirts and tank-tops gave us a chilled-out vibe (just like in the women’s collection for Resort 2016), just like the boots, which had their laces tied in a slouchy way.
SS16 – Care-free. Comfortable. These are the words that can easily describe Alessandro Dell Acqua‘s spring-summer 2016 collection. With George Michael’s moody tune playing during the fashion show, the models of the moment – Lineisy Montero, Molly Bair, Stella Lucia – wore long, silk dresses in delicate cigarette prints. The romantic colour palette was broken by gypsy-esque florals and modernist stripes. Also, the collection was plenty of the season’s favourite bias-cut slip dresses thrown over t-shirts – this gave the entire collection a very easy attitude, and the socks styled with sheer skirts were a throwback to #normcore. These clothes will definitely hit the stores with success, just like the statement tasseled, raffia sandals. These will be truly popular next season, as they are the instant favourites of street-style stars. Also, it’s worth to note that within the summer season, No21 starts expands its fashion line into eyewear. The first silhouettes are all about circular, simple forms and comfort of wearing.
I must admit, that season after season, Alessandro builds his fashion identity with amazing speed – this collection can be called as the best one to date. And no wonder why. It’s really good.
#2015 – Alessandro Michele
The year of 2015 was a strong nod to the beauty of Italian craftsmanship, and it’s all thanks to Alessandro Michele. At the beginning of the year, nobody has suspected the designer will revamp Gucci from an Euro-sleek wardrobe of Tom Ford and Frida Gianini into a poetic journey with such success. Michele’s feminine silhouettes, pussy bow shirts and Dionysus bags are the world-wide best-sellers – and I am a great fun of his romantic Gucci girl.
AW15 – Once upon a time, Alessandro Michele entered the house and everybody was like “who is this guy?” His first collection for Gucci perfectly highlighted his style. Michele gave us Wes Anderson-like aristocratic grannies, romantic poets and lots of other things that Frida Gianini has never introduced to the label. The sheer lace tops are totally opposite to the “woman of success” blazers Frida used to show off so oftenly. The entire attitude changed and even the advertisemnt campaign’s (now elusively photographed by Glen Luchford, not enhanced-filter of Mert & Alas) mood evolved into something more chilled-out, relaxed and… surprisingly, appealing.
Resort’16 – The pre-summer Gucci show was not only a surprise due to its appearance in New York. It was intriguing. 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. Gucci chose an inustrial, 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, looking flawless and so realistic. 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 mesmerising Gucci affair, it was all about hand-made embellishments (the snakes!), gold glitter on the shoes, soft lace and imperial Astrakhan jackets.
SS16 Men – “Detournement is the art of taking some parts of the past and using them in the present with a contemporary approach and away from their original contest” is what Alessandro Michele of Gucci said before his SS16 show for men. “I love to work with the past to translate the future,” explained Michele, and although his designs are certainly rooted in Gucci’s heritage (those horse-bit loafers, the green and red equestrian stripes, bee motifs and famous GG logos) they update the house’s codes in a way that’s unrecognisable, thanks to his desire of not wanting “to stay a prisoner inside of the brand.” There are many retro references, with suede jackets and wide collars adapted from classic silhouettes of the 70s, but there is, as Michele puts it, no room for nostalgia – his focus is on youth. “They really are the future – when someone asks me what the future is? The future is now, between us, between young people,” he says. Also, the dynamic, new creative director of Gucci has a truly amazing point of view on beauty for men fashion. “My idea of masculinity is beauty,” Michele said backstage. “If you want to be beauty you can be beauty how you want; it doesn’t mean that you are not a man or woman.” This statement is strongly visible in this collection – hand-made embroideries, royal textiles, tudoresque rings and that Italian “dolce vita” attitude towards life is felt all over these clothes. As it is in Italian fashion philosophy (thank you, Miuccia Prada) to have female models in a menswear collection, the mesmerizing robes and silk scarves were jaw-dropping for both genders. And even though, many of these clothes feel like out of this era, they are all looking far into the future. It is a great pleasure to have a peek at all that artisanal beauty and reflect on it in the same, poetic way. Maybe because Michele himself is a great poet?
SS16 – Breaking down Gucci‘s recent spring-summer 2016 collection is like reinterpreting every painting in a museum. Each look is totally different. And each has its own woman and story behind it. For his first, womenswear summer season, Michele made embroidery his first privilege. Hundreds of embroidered, tiny sequins created cartoonish trompe l’oeil bows, frills and collars. One look with a bra and skirt was entirely constructed in this style – and if you are an observant person, you could notice adorable lady-bugs embellished on ties and parrots over-laying lace shirts. There is no better way to experience the craftsmanship of Alessandro’s vision as to see the newly renovated Gucci boutique on Via Montenapoleone. Here, you can touch the clothes from both autumn-winter 2015 and resort 2016 collections – each piece is absolutely different. A hand-embroidered bird on mink-coat lining; velvet flowers decorate the head-pieces; surely, “the devil is in the details”. I totally agree with that in terms of Michele’s Gucci, and Italian fashion in overall.
Moreover, the designer of Gucci tipped his toes in Italian fashion history for this season – there were references to early Missoni’s lurex zig-zags and the bold 70’s of Italy. Michele said he had been thinking about the Renaissance and the 70s specifically – both great eras for Italy in their own ways. Although this very bright collection was all about femininity (the ruffled dresses, the flower pussy-bows), it had a lot to do with punk. Biker jackets (of course, embroidered with roses), spiked killer-heels and sharp and mini-skirts were there too, during the fashion show. Gucci by Alessandro Michele is generally called “vintage” or “nostalgic“. But the designer totally disagrees with these two words. “It’s a big trip! Of course I am interested in personal style and quirkiness. There are things here that look vintage, but don’t really exist as vintage—it’s the illusion of it. I’m not nostalgic! I’d like to shake it up again.” You can love or hate the new Gucci. Spring-summer 2016 might look too bold, if you look at the collection through the thumbnails – however, one thing’s sure for both of the sides. The attention paid to the detail was missed for a long time in ready-to-wear seasons, just like the real splendour and beauty of Italian craftsmanship. And Alessandro Michele is pioneering it once again in 2015. And in 2016 as well!