#2016 – Alessandro Michele

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The old new identity implemented by Alessandro Michele for Gucci is well-known to all of us – and within the autumn-winter 2016 season, the designer has his first year as the creative director of the womenswear line behind. The “renaissance” mood Alessandro brings back to fashion deserves applause and praise. Noting that he has utterly revamped the pretentious sleek Italian empire into a brand, which considers Italian craftsmanship as priority, makes Michele’s warm softness more than a trend. It’s about his personal style, and his adoration to old, Italian paintings, antique rings and 70s / 80s attitude.

Just a few weeks before Britain’s choice whether to remain or stay 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?

Glittering with over 250,000 mirrored sequins, the all-pink venue of Gucci spring-summer 2017 collection reminded a high-profile striptease club. The released mist reassembled cigarette smoke, while the velvet stools and sofas suggested one thing – Alessandro Michele is not a step closer to such thing as “minimalism” this season. Indeed, the collection had something to do with trashy chic – just have a look at the extremely platformed footwear. “Prostitute in Venice used to wear these“, the designer said backstage, while discussing his references and inspirations. Red latex tights, worn casually with knitted skirts, screamed “sex”, too. Alessandro’s mind is not that innocent, after all.

There are different types of “love”, and there is a variety of romantic accents in Michele’s kitsch-appealing clothing. As always, the outing featured a line of polished and refined ready-to-wear, which has a lot to do with alta moda, as the Italians tend to say. Knitted cardigan featuring a monkey embroidery illustrated by artist Jayde Fish; satin gown with pineapple style sleeves, detailed with sequins and intricate embellishments; tulle dress with tapestry-like florals and a leather corset. Each piece might become a go-to for a fancy date, a boudoir night or an intoxicating night-clubbing. Michele never keeps himself distant from emotions in his fashion. This collection is connected to the intense topic of love, even if we mean a wounded, broken heart. One of the evening dresses had an embroidered, red heart in the front, stabbed with a dagger – is the ethereal woman wearing it ready for a night out, but without her parter? She’s sad, but she looks spectacular and very dramatic. A bamboo fan is even more ambiguous. The slogan on it stated “Blind for love” in gothic font, and Alessandro definitely relates to that as a designer searching for beauty, and a person in real life.

#2016 – Marc Jacobs

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New York Fashion Week might impress and surprise, but leave “shocking” to Marc Jacobs, who always ends the city’s schedule with a spotlight-stealing collection. For spring-summer 2017, Jacobs presented an ecstatic rave of his latest obsessions, inspirations, collaborators and, of course, aesthetic. At the Hammerstein Ballroom, Stefan Beckman built a huge stage splattered with grease, lit up by more than a thousand little bulbs. A perfect space for an off-beat, underground party filled with techno-music and thirsty-for-fun people. The association was right – it was the venue of the most youthful collection of the season.

Autumn-winter 2016 was all about gothic culture in fashion, mixed with an aristocratic, soigne mannered dames and grunge, off-duty slouchiness. Chokers and all those extravagant embroideries on cardigans and dresses… then, the queens of darkness came out (Molly Bair slayed the runway – even Lady Gaga couldn’t keep up with her) in their voluminous, black ball-gowns with astrakhan capes. Laser cut floral PVC skirts and crotchet collars styled with elongated college sweatshirts had this striking contrast of old-school and the vintage tendency. The effect? Over-the-top, as usual at Marc Jacobs, but this season it was even more outstanding.

This year belongs to Jacobs not only thanks to his oozing with fantasy grandeur. You’ve surely spotted the platform shoes which strike you in every second fashion editorial. Polished black for winter; suede pink for summer. You’re a head taller in these killers. If 2016 isn’t the year of Marc himself, then it’s the year of his literally major footwear.

Your wardrobe needs… Marc Jacobs platformsMarc Jacobs ‘MTV’ t-shirt & Marc Jacobs pink tulle skirt.

Day Trip with Prada

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Prada released Day Trip – a sequence of photographs by Willy Vanderperre featuring this season’s runway beauty, Kiki Willems. In the brand’s visual journey, accessories and separates are presented in story-like chapters: Kiki sneaks into a dark buildings and walks down remote paths, looking elusive.

For resort 2017, Miuccia Prada continues her travel motif. Rather than sailor equipment, models wore durable, weather coats, boldly coloured nylon pouches with Prada torches inside and  high-heels attached to classic, leather bags during the fashion show staged in Milan. Resort 2017 focuses on Prada’s heritage piece, so the famous backpack, which gets revamped in new textiles and colours. According to history, in 1984 the first nylon backpack was presented to Prada clients in their oldest store in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, leaving behind the dusty, ‘luxury-luggage brand’ past forever. A backpack is the symbol of Prada becoming a major fashion player, breaking the convention of elegance and giving other brands a sign – it’s the new chapter for accessories business. That was the time when the fashion world heard a very down-to-earth, close-to-masses word: “utility”.

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I’m in love with Prada’s newest campaigns and projects. It’s not a secret that the brand is struggling financially for the last few months, so wonder why so much attention is paid to  marketing-related matters. But most of all, fashion is about fashion, and yeah… who cares about statistics. The resort 2017 advertising campaign – featuring Jessica Chastain – is another reason why Prada steals the spotlight this upcoming season. Shot by Vanderperre, too, the campaign was photographed at Fondazione Prada (the contemporary art mecca curated by mother Miuccia). It’s captivating, I tell you.

 

Rave with Chic. Balenciaga Resort’17

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Here it is: Balenciaga resort 2017 collection. Logistically, the look-book has been released just few weeks before the actual clothes hit the stores – and it’s already a craving desire to see those pieces in real-life. It went public yesterday, causing my heart to skip a beat for a longer moment. So, what’s Demna Gvasalia up to for his first, fully designed pre-collection at the French maison? First thing’s first – the caps. Some might say that sending out a line of logo caps is a desperate move to become somewhat affordable, or at least relevant for a brand. But in case of Gvasalia, it’s different. His creative background at Vetements is based on underground, rave-like style. He doesn’t have to make himself look younger in the fashion industry. He loves going out with his friends on the weekends. And, I must confess – those BALENCIAGA caps work well with voluminous, striped caftans and maxi-dresses. There’s no philosophy behind, really.

The Georgian designer looks forward to the new season through smart continuity. He’s not a type of designer who flips prints and colours every season: over-sized, bazar totes are here since his first collection, just like the elevated corporate jacket. However, there are a few exciting additions, like the exaggerated flares, scuba-diving tops and beautifully ugly bermuda shorts. Gvasalia seems to understand the idea behind a pre-collection quite well – he’s aware that it’s the commercial part of his job, unlike the runway show. For some designers, who get too frustrated with all those pre-falls and resorts, it’s still a secret.

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Timeless. The Row Resort’17

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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.

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