Big in Japan. Louis Vuitton Resort’18

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This is what you call a show. Chanel did a faux Ancient Greece venue at Parisian Grand Palais; Prada took us to Galleria Vittorio Emmanuelle’s attic; Dior had its guests see the show in the middle of a Californian canyon. But Nicolas Ghesquiere, and his team at Louis Vuitton, outdid himself. Again. The Miho Museum, a half-hour drive from Kyoto, is one of the most spectacular and out-of-this-world buildings in the world. Designed by I.M. Pei, the architecture of this place reminds you of some utopian space odyssey – and that’s precisely what Nicolas wanted to achieve, sending down a line of futuristic silhouettes with equally futuristic setting in the backdrop.

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*1,2,3. Territory by The Blaze, Indestructible by Robyn (remixed). Just wow.*

Continuing to love Japan and its culture, the creative designer of the French maison did an impressive job in conveying his long-term relation with the country. He found just the right balance, not falling into oriental stereotypes, and what’s worse, cultural appropriation (a frequent problem among other designers). Those were the modern-day, badass attitude samurai girls, wearing over-sized biker jackets with leopard prints, skater shorts and weaved leather vests. Kansai Yamamoto was on Ghesquiere’s mind while designing the collection – that’s the Japanese designer, who dressed David Bowie in glittering jumpsuits and paved the way for Yohji Yamamoto and Kenzo Takada few decades ago in Paris. Now, his bold, artistic legacy gets a revamp according to Vuitton codes. Handbags with Kabuki eyes, prints of local fishermen, a variety of toned colour combinations: Japanese avant-garde of the late 20th century goes slightly more French, more refined. In an effortless, loose way. The collection, in overall, has something of Ghesquiere’s early Balenciaga days. But the designer has already established his language at Louis Vuitton – so it feels just the right way.

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Los Angeles. Dior Resort’18

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Firstly, that was Maria Grazia Chiuri‘s best collection at Dior up-to-date. And it was far, far away from Paris. Comparing to her previous outing – an all-blue collection, which rather looked like Armani’s millionth set of blazers than a second line-up from a debuting creative director – resort 2018 was quite outstanding. With preciously intricate gowns (which will surely find a place among L.A.’ wealthiest women), an incredible tent constructed in the middle of Upper Las Virgenes Canyon in Calabasas and a strong, Georgia O’Keeffe moment (the late “Mother of American modernism” was known for wearing a black hat and matching over-sized coat), there’s a lot to mention, while discussing this collection. After the show, Maria Grazia said that she has a life-long love affair with Clarissa Pinkola Estés book called Women Who Run with the Wolves – that set the free-spirited mood behind the silhouettes. Moreover, the designer decided to use the famous Lascaux cave paintings as the main print for rich, jacquard fabrics (Monsieur Dior used them too, back in 1951). Then, we also had the tribal symbols covering silk sheaths and ball skirts, underscoring Chiuri’s love for mystical themes.

But, am I the only one, who thinks that there’s too much going on in here? It’s beautiful, no doubt. However, Maria Grazia’s vision for this season has no bigger connection with the maison, as for me. Expect, a few old-school Dior logos on the bags and a suede bar jacket with fringes (AND this looked really upsetting). It seems that the designer has no sense of consistency, as she jumps from one topic to another – and that’s clearly visible once you re-see her previous collections, spanning from enchanted forest nymphs to faux-feminists in pricey t-shirts. And the saddest thing is that Dior’s identity becomes blurrier with every season. Resort 2018 rather looks like a well-funded Ralph Lauren collection or Chanel’s memorable Paris-Texas capsule (déjà vu, anyone?).

One thing’s sure – Chiuri knows how to design a dress and make Rihanna see her show. But does she know how to lead a heritage brand with sense? I think we’re getting to the point, where the answer is ‘no’.

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In the Osservatorio. Prada Resort’18

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Time is understood differently, but the fashion industry has the most abstract sense of it. Although Miuccia Prada doesn’t put her newest collection into a specific season, let’s face it: we’re heading towards resort 2018, a summer pre-collection, that will hit the stores just before Christmas.

(And it’s May. A very breezy May. Spring-summer 2017 collections are hitting the stores, like, right now.)

Ironic, yes. But the collection is remarkable. Prada chose Galleria Vittorio Emanuele’s attic-like Osservatorio space, which is just above the brand’s historical flagship boutique. With an enchanting view at Milan in the background, the models walked the runway wearing every pastel colour possible. From soft pink to light lilac, Miuccia revisited her signatures in springish tones: intricately embellished sheer sheaths, femme-fatale coat-dresses, nylon tousers, feather headbands. All the components, that make the sophisticated and modern Prada woman become reality, not just a designer fantasy. Miuccia invited James Jean – the same artist who did the iconic fairy prints for the brand in 2008 – to work on accessories and mini-dresses, injecting this already cute collection with rabbit illustrations. But was this collection that cute, though? Not really – nerdish knee-lenght socks and pointy shoes reminded everybody, that Prada is about ugly chic, after all.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.