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.

Night Dressing. Paco Rabanne SS18

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Sometimes, you fall in love with a collection since the very first moment you’ve seen it. But sometimes, you need some time to get the point behind it. This is what I felt with Julien Dossena‘s Paco Rabanne spring-summer 2018 fashion show. It’s difficult to revive   the most ‘contemporary’ brand of 20th century in 21th century, especially in 2017, where defining anything is quite a struggle. However, Dossena understands well what a today’s woman wants and enjoys in fashion – just like Paco did in the 60s. “It was sort of disco boogie-nights,” Julien said backstage of his show, “but then we cleaned it up. I wanted something a little over the top, but precise and refined.” The brand’s cult chain-mail was intriguingly mixed with paisley print, pastel-pink transparency and athleisure-fit, elastic fabrics. But all that very Parisian glow and this chic ‘party’ attitude is what looks like a great way for dressing to celebrate the upcoming festive season. Whether you style it Space Age, Barbarella-mod or more Françoise Hardy, the New Year’s Eve in Paco might be it.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Cornerstones. Marine Serre SS18

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There’s magical aura surrounding Marine Serre‘s work. Maybe it’s because of the feeling of prejudice-free love that is translated so well in the Paris-based designer’s fashion? In case you don’t know: Serre was awarded the 2017 LVMH Prize, having only one collection under her belt. ‘Radical Call for Love‘ – her first collection – was a visual comment on “urgency and contemporaneity by the tragic events in Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016.” Marine’s message was presented in a metaphorical way: Islamic symbols were transformed into logo-like branding and faux-Nike headbands (“it’s political and it’s not political. It’s much more than a crescent moon; it also represents how we all felt”), while carpet-like prints clashed with Byzantine florals. ‘Cornerstones’ is the continuation of the first season, and the 25-year-old designer looks forward to a more practical, not basic, offering. “What’s important for me is to be able to connect to contemporary daily life,” says Serre, “that you need to drive, to run.” That’s why, other than athletic stretch bodies in moon motif, there are denim jackets and go-to leggings. The gowns, that can hardly be classified as dusty ‘cocktail’, looked easy  thanks to innovative, pouf-y effect construction. It’s rare to see clothes that really do aim to be ready-to-wear, and simultaneously stand for something.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.