Pierpaolo Piccioli’s couture for Valentino is the only couture that matters. No crazy venues that attempt to distract you from noticing how plain the collection is (I see you, Dior and Chanel). Just pure, joyous, glorious haute couture that enchants and truly impresses. And makes Celine Dion cry. This spring-summer 2019 collection, reserved for the richest and most extravagant women on our planet, was a triumph of audacious colour, beauty and glamour. But also, it was a major model casting breakthrough, with completely diverse models that made the garments even more exquisite. The designer embraced black beauty, having Adut Akech open the show (in a brilliant, pink ensemble) and Naomi Campbell close (in a gown made out of translucent organza in the shade of Chocolate Dahlia). There was Liya Kebede, there was Lineisy Montero, there was Ugbad Abdi. Runway icons, veterans, and newcomers. The entire scene looked like a fairy-tale… that really took place. This couture collection again proved that colour is crucial for Pierpaolo, especially in terms of couture. “You don’t invent beauty, but you can invent new harmonies for colour”, the maestro said backstage. Just read the following: a coral coat worn with a chocolate crepe blouse and emerald gabardine pants. Lilac serape topped a pair of orange pants. Turquoise lace and tangerine silk faille. Green sequins. Pale mauve. Matisse blue. All that worked with voluminous ball gowns that took hundreds of hours to create at Valentino atelier in Rome. Unquestionably, Piccioli is a couturier of Garavani’s heights. And it’s a blessing for today’s fashion to experience his genius.
All collages by Edward Kanarecki.
Pyer Moss SS19
I’m always thrilled to see how talents are finally spotted and then rightly backed up. Congratulations to the 2018 CFDA / Vogue Fashion Fund winner, Pyer Moss. Designer Kerby Jean-Raymond accepted the CVFF award (from actress Emily Blunt) yesterday, following a dinner and fashion show held in the Brooklyn Navy Yard in New York. Pyer Moss has been lauded for its beautiful and intelligent celebration of black culture in America. The designer makes activism a crucial component of his brand, being as well vocal about current problems that America faces today – from the current president to widespread social injustice. Interesting to see how the award helps Pyer Moss expand with its powerful vision. But there isn’t just one winner at CFDA. Taking home one of the two runner-up prizes for this year is Emily Bode of the menswear brand Bode. Last year, Bode became one of the few women to showcase at the sleepy New York Fashion Week: Men’s – because, one could say, she knows what the boys want (think a rugby jacket in the brightest shade of orange; loosely fit vintage-y suits; The Darjeeling Limited inspired, hand-dyed t-shirts). Now in its second year, the label has been praised for its sustainable practices and focus on craft. To be honest, Bode is a brand I wish I had in my wardrobe – just look at the label’s new season offering. The second runner-up prize went to Jonathan Cohen. The designer launched his namesake brand in 2011, and has been steadily gaining recognition for easy-breezy pieces, which makes getting dressed as simple as dipping into one of his feminine dresses with intriguing finishings. From this year’s finalists, I also had major hopes for Batsheva (you might have seen one of those already cult prairie dresses here or there) and Matthew Adams Dolan (the Rihanna and SZA dresser who makes all-American uniforms look fashion). As Anna Wintour summed up this year’s winners, “their work highlights a high degree of creativity and a deep-rooted commitment to the notion of community. They’re not only a credit to the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund as it celebrates its 15th anniversary, but also to the optimism and inclusivity of the very best American fashion.” Once again, big congrats!
Pyer Moss SS19
Bode SS19 and AW18
Jonathan Cohen SS19
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
The sudden death of Azzedine Alaïa, the master couturier who understood a woman’s body like no one else, hasn’t only deprived the fashion world of an ultimate genius, but as well left his brand in an uncertain position. The spring-summer 2019 look-book that was released last week, however, assures that Alaïa – as a fashion house – isn’t going the wrong path and won’t end its existence as many French houses did after their founders passed away (waiting for years to be bought by a bored millionaire). The Maison Alaïa studio team proves to be loyal to the brand’s codes, and what’s more, isn’t lead by an outside creative director. All the people who work on today’s Alaïa collections were trained by Azzedine himself. Many pieces from the new collection aren’t that new. The offering comprises separate collections, éditions, that consist of archive pieces that have been perfectly replicated as new ready-to-wear and labeled according to original dates. A denim jacket from 1986. The striped dress is from 1990. Another gown saw its runway debut back in 1984. Cotton shirtdresses and woven raffia details were mastered in Azzedine’s last collections to perfection, and they reappear here too, just like python leather garments. The soul of Alaïa is there, in each cut and stitch. The effect is more than beautiful, and you really wish of seeing these clothes in real life. It’s a tribute collection, but not in a Versace spring-summer 2018 way. The studio is expected to rework Alaïa’s original designs in future collections, supplying the stores with the brand’s all-time classics.
Still, there are few new additions that smell with forced commerce: espadrilles made in collaboration with Castañer (ok, that must be heaven comfort) and a capsule collection of dresses, t-shirts and accessories emblazoned with the words Mon cœur est à papa, the expression of love attributed to Naomi Campbell, who considered the Alaïa her father figure. This isn’t presented in the new season look-book (shot by Karim Sadli and styled by long-time friend of the house, Joe McKenna), but, well, it’s a necessity that just has to be accepted. By the way, for the nay-sayers, Alaïa himself did a capsule collection of logo t-shirts in collaboration with Comme des Garçons back in the 90s (very treasured vintage). No one will return Azzedine. But it’s a great relief that his heritage is in good hands and his fashion continues to be praised with so much grace and respect.
Collages by Edward Kanarecki.
When you’re a designer like Mona Kowalska, and you lead a brand like A Détacher, you don’t necessarily need a New York fashion week attendance. The success behind this label isn’t propelled by celebrities; a world-wide distribution across multi-brands; or even a perfectly curated Instagram feed. It’s all about one store in New York’s discrete Nolita (that as well sells hand-picked rarities, niche scents and vintage) and a loyal client-base that consists of female professionals that appreciate what Mona does. Kowalska celebrates the 20th anniversary of her brand this year, and her spring-summer 2018 look-book presents her brand’s pure quintessence. Balloon-sleeved dress, harem pants, stacked-heel boots in ecru, pleated skirts in abstract patterns, a loosely fitted blazer. Those are just some of the pieces that catch one’s eye while browsing the collection. A Détacher is as well-known for its knitwear – see that deconstructed, short-sleeved top. There’s also that logo print episode, but it isn’t as obtrusive as we know it at other brands. The collection was shot at the designer’s Brooklyn home. The model poses spontaneously, surrounded by artwork and books. It feels real. And it’s real. Kowalska’s fashion is intimate, but then, it’s made for wearing, not just for editorial styling. Conclusion: I’m sure that the label will continue to prosper for many, many years to come.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.