Bailey’s Pride. Burberry SS18

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So, what to expect from a designer’s final collection, especially after a 17 year-long tenure as a creative director and the person in charge for the brand’s business side? Well, pretty much anything. Christopher Bailey‘s last collection at Burberry was meant to be a blast. And there really are the reasons to praise the designer this season. “My final collection here at Burberry is dedicated to – and in support of – some of the best and brightest organisations supporting LGBTQ+ youth around the world. There has never been a more important time to say that in our diversity lies our strength, and our creativity.” Pride and optimism was reflected in everything, from the puffas to sweatshirts covered in raibow.  The Rainbow check, the latest iteration of Burberry’s most iconic symbol and designed as part of Christopher’s dedication of his last collection to LGBTQ+ communities, featured throughout the show. It was nice seeing that a brand like Burberry, so established and all, goes for an important matter!

Still, I’m on fence with this collection. The capsule of reissued archive pieces from the 1980s and 1990s rereleased felt new to Burberry, but the idea is quite pinched from Gucci’s current bootleg obsession. In overall, the collection was more Alessandro Michele, than Christopher Bailey. There were some clear signs of Demna Gvasalia and Phoebe Philo inspired tricks there and there – like over-sized, Vetements-y hoodies or Céline-ish lace dresses and plastic bags. In other words, I think the label tried hard this season to be relevant and look 2018. Nevertheless, Bailey had his big, last word to say with the collection. Where will we see him next? The time will tell.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Majestic. Valentino Haute Couture SS18

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Dear Pierpaolo Piccioli, without any doubts, I’m calling your latest haute couture collection for Valentino the best of the season. It’s so captivating, delightful, grandiose, majestic! So many big words are here to describe every single piece of the show, from the boldly-coloured feather jellyfish headwear by the miliner Philip Treacy to the voluminous, ball gowns in lady-like tulle and pure silk. Pierpaolo reaches the heights of Valentino Garavani, the master, with this incredible collection. It’s a comeback to couture that really looks like couture, updated with very deluxe tank-tops, flares fit for dames and clean-cut outerwear (which makes an entrance – just see that statuesque, yellow coat!). Piccioli combines jewel-toned colours with pastels, and at some points goes for elegant black and white. But what I love the most about this impressive outing is its easiness. It’s fun, its rich, it’s wearable, yet not ordinary. Since Maria Grazia Chiuri’s departure to Dior (duh…), I haven’t seen anything particularly interesting about Piccioli’s solo direction. But now, he seems to blossom, in a good, fashion dream way. Bravo!

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Hi-Tech Magic. Maison Margiela Haute Couture SS18

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When I returned to designing, I was taken aback by how everyone was seeing shows through their phones, John Galliano confessed to the press after the spring-summer 2018 couture show for Maison Margiela. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em? Well, you can say that Galliano found a compromise for his initial frustration with the Insta-phenomen. A very, very innovative one. The audience members were asked to turn their cameras to flash throughout the show, which resulted in a totally unexpected experience. Everyone captured their own images of fabrics of the high-tech garments as the models walked down the runway. “It’s quite scientific,” Galliano continued. “We recorded every moment of what we were making, then looked at the photographs and altered what we were doing according to the photos.” The reaction of polyurethane to camera flash works magic on holographic material that was layered over polka dots and artisanal chinoiserie jacquards. In other words, what you see IRL, looks (and shines) differently, when you compare it to digital shot of the same piece. Fashion, for goodness sake, is a dream! And Galliano knows that. If your pocket isn’t filled with a haute couture budget, it’s just the matter of time when the hi-tech concept hits Maison Margiela’s regular ready-to-wear.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Elegance. Givenchy Haute Couture SS18

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Sublime. Unpretentious. Elegant. Those were the first words that dropped in my mind while watching Clare Waight Keller‘s debut haute couture show for Givenchy. Back in October, I was on fence with her first ready-to-wear collection for the house – it felt like lacking any direction, taking clues from Hedi Slimane’s Saint Laurent era. But with this simply beautiful couture outing, I’m quite sure that Clare is finding her path at Givenchy. Moving away from her boho Chloé days for good, the designer gracefully revisited Hubert de Givenchy’s archives and delivered a line up of masterfully cut eveningwear. Forget futile venues; focus on the garments. She studied “the structure and graphism Hubert had in his work at the beginning.” And then, she indulged herself fully in it and got on with working with the atelier team in “the complete freedom couture offers.” From all-black looks to very fine-looking latex creations, I think there won’t be much of a problem with selection of the looks for the red carpet goers (think Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara). I really hope to see that orange feather bomb in action, as well.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.