Balenciaga’s resort 2019 look-book got released this morning, and it couldn’t be more Balenciaga – as we know it from Demna Gvasalia. True, there are less hoodies and much less sneakers (now, replaced by more classic looking black men’s boots). But the hybrid trench coats for him and her, voluminous pussy bow blouses, pleated dresses (in cheesy-chic flag print this season), dad jeans, oversized duvet jackets and XXL bazaar bags are all here. Those are the already-cult pieces that seem to be here with Balenciaga for years, not for a few seasons. Other than new colour combinations and a number of tailoring additions, the pre-collection brings nothing new to the table – except the fact that Gvasalia’s designs have completely synthesised with the maison he designs for. Still, there’s one element that will surely catch your attention if you seek the newness. “The symbol on the bags is the one for transgender.” The arrival of the pink and the blue leather shopping bags printed with the black circle, arrow, and cross couldn’t be better timed. First, they look great, second – they defy Trump’s intention to erase the transgender agenda. “I often try to include some messages that are important to be spread,” Gvasalia says. “It’s almost like advertising an idea, this very strong symbol.” Love it or hate it, he can’t go wrong.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
When Marc Jacobs presented his now iconic collection for Perry Ellis in 1993, he was rather close to being burned at the stake. Unapologetically grunge-isnpired, the collection went down with the leading critics and editors, except for Grace Goddington, who styled that equally (at the time) risky editorial for Vogue, visibly very obsessed with Jacobs’ bold move. Perry Ellis fired the designer right away, and became what it is today – a boring, apparel-focused brand for men. Quite unsurprisingly, the ‘true’ grunge world hated Jacobs for doing this collection, too, with Courtney Love and Curt Kobain reportedly burning the pile of clothing Marc designed with them in mind. But that’s history.
We’re in 2018, and Courtney Love’s daughter – Frances Bean Cobain – is one of the faces of Marc Jacobs, the brand. Even more ironic is the fact that Coco Gordon Moore, the daughter of Kim Gordon (aka grunge godmother) wears Jacobs’ newest collection called, wait for it: Redux Grunge. For resort 2019, the designer brings back 26 looks he designed for the controversial Grunge collection, now with his tag on them. The looks, shot by Juergen Teller (who used to be Marc’s long-time collaborator for years until 2014 – now might be back doing the ad campaigns!), are a testament to the brazenness and timelessness of the designer’s vision. They are as relevant today as they were revolutionary (or even infamous) 25 years ago. Well, that’s true – if not Jacobs, grunge would die with its subculture and never arrive to the mainstream. Crotchet cardigans, a midriff cutout knit dress as seen first on Kristen McMenamy (now on her daughter, Lily McMenamy), rainbow striped beanies, Dr. Martens boots, a cropped blazer baby Kate Moss would wear down the runway, chokers… well, it’s all pretty much identical. I can’t say it looks fresh – it isn’t the collection’s intention in the first place. But somehow, I like it, I like that free-spirited feeling being revived right now, at this moment. Still, it’s such a stark contrast to Jacobs’ saccharine and dramatic spring-summer 2019 collection… that you might really have problems with realising that one person can both do both, rough and sweet.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki, feauturing different visuals by Juergen Teller.
Greg Chait‘s Los Angeles-based label, The Elder Statesman, is where you go for the finest cashmere sweater (and not necessarily in a controlled, classic shade of beige). But for the last few seasons, Chait transforms The Elder Statesman from high price point brand to a lifestyle, that is open to questioning the pretentious term ‘luxury’. The resort 2019 look-book has a message. True, living your life in a Swiss silk knit (!) or a tie-dyed sweater from the softest wool must be a pleasure. But the photographed family (that travels Europe in a lorry truck, selling vintage and surfing where possible) suggests that ultimate luxury is not what you wear. It’s the freedom. And what goes with freedom, being not attached to anything conforming, for example trends or other conventions. Moreover, Chait represents unique style and the practicality of his clothing: how it can be combined, mixed, layred. Love that. Another conclusion: being a dad in those blue overalls or that vintage-y orange-pink jacket must be fun! If I ever enter fatherhood, I will surely look at The Elder Statesman’s collections for day-to-day outfit inspiration. As if I wasn’t peeking at it now…
What’s Hillier Bartley like for resort 2019? Well, it’s definitely not about one aesthetic or any central idea. Luella Bartley and Katie Hillier chose to play with their signatures (chic loungewear, for instance) this season, adding some very unexpected twists to the collection. Distorted, Saville-Row-esque tailoring styled with thick turtlenecks or coming in emerald silk; equally deconstructed shirts with, what it seems, clashed double sleeves; tie-dyed, high-rise pants. The enormously big taffeta bows on pencil skirts and strapless tops had something of fancy nightclubbing, straight out of the 80s, just like the latex pussy-bow piece. Oh, and of course that suit. “We call it the Brexit—or the anti-Brexit—suit,” said Bartley. “I don’t know where it came from, but it felt right”. Accessories, that are largely Hillier’s job, span from the classic bunny clutch (in new colours) to boxy Cassette, a bag injected with lovely, vintage feeling.
Conclusion: what’s most fascinating about Hillier Bartley – the brand exists for few seasons now – is that the designers created a distinct look that can’t be mistaken with any other brand. You look and you know it’s the Hillier Bartley woman – mature, kind of mysterious, but not taking herself too seriously. She can go for both, a cocktail in the new posh spot, or sip beer in an old school pub.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.