Duality. Prada SS19

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I wanted to break the rules of the classic,” Miuccia Prada said after he spring-summer 2019 show. “To discuss a wish of freedom and liberation and fantasy, and, on the other side, the extreme conservatism that is coming—the duality out there.Prada had a crisp white shirt topped with an elegant sweater. Then, a portion of cycling shorts, duchesse satin A-line tunics and baby doll dresses. Again, something more mature – knee-length socks and heels. Plunging bodysuits in bold, retro patterns with straps under the breasts oozed with youth. That was a collection of contrasts, especially in body exposure and lengths. But it was also a dilemma between formal dressing and dressing freely. The closing look – a dress that looked like a t-shirt and a richly embellished skirt – was like a hybrid, blurring the lines between the daily comfort and glamorous occasion-wear. But it’s also worth noting that Miuccia creates fashion for women, designed by women. Other than the ready-to-wear, the designer invited three female architects – Kazuyo Sejima, Elizabeth Diller and Cini Boeri – to design unique accessories out of the signature, Prada nylon. Whether it’s a pillow-y ‘yooo bag’ from Sejima or a tent-like coat by Diller, expect the most innovative garments of the season coming from that incredible collaboration. As usual, Miuccia treats us with mindful, intelligent fashion.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Connected. Jil Sander SS19

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It’s the third season at Jil Sander for Lucie and Luke Meier. And actually, it’s the first time when I’m convinced that they’re the right fit for this brand. This designer duo always highlight that Jil Sander isn’t what many people have in mind – an image of stern, cold minimalism. Sander’s work was minimal, true, but it rather turned towards tactility, comfort and a certain connection between the garment and the body. All that was beautifully presented in Meiers’ spring-summer 2019 collection in Milan. There were those boxier, slouchier pieces (like the pistachio shirt with exaggerated cuffs) and more feminine pieces (take the flowing, knitted dresses or the black, ankle-length skirt with hand-sculpted frills). The accessories game was exceptionally good this season as well. XXL bags (held upside down); platform sandals; jewellery that looked like wearable sculptures. It’s worth visiting the nearest Jil Sander boutique this season.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Drama. Richard Quinn SS19

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Although the Queen didn’t attend Richard Quinn’s show this season, the front row at his spring-summer 2019 presentation sparked interest. Art students from Quinn’s high school in London and Central Saint Martins, where he earned his degree, were all here, absolutely stunned and impressed by the British designer’s creations. In recent years, arts programs have been dramatically underfunded in British schools, and this was Quinn’s admirable way of drawing attention to that problem (cutting out art programs is a short-sighted action – it’s the fashion industry, for example, that plays as a very profitable export for Great Britain). Speaking of Quinn’s collection. ‘Dramatic’ is the word that fits it perfectly. Models in velvet ski masks opened the show in black tutus and heels, with a storm clouds projection in the background. Three looks in, and we’ve got 50s cocktail dresses in the boldest florals, gowns with feather trimmings and meticulously embroidered pyjamas. That major sequin work is just ‘wow’. The leopard print that appeared on the ladylike coats and drop-waisted frocks in the end brought the collection proper spice. Quinn conquers the evening-wear niche, that’s for sure. And proves he’s not a one-season wonder.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Tisci’s Take. Burberry SS19

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London fashion week didn’t see a big debut for a while. But was it worth the wait? Riccardo Tisci at Burberry seemed to be an unlikely choice from the beginning. The brand’s logo and identity changes felt vague and predictable. A post-show, 24 hours only merch shopping via Instagram had to have everyone like ‘wow’, but I guess no one really bothered to buy anything. You might think that 134 looks in a collection have to speak loud and clear about the designer’s vision. That’s what I thought before. Well, maybe that number of looks tried to say a word or two, but in overall it felt like Tisci wanted to seize too much and mention too many things at a time in his first collection for this historic, British brand. The first part of the collection referred to Burberry’s heritage – trench coats, Burbs checks and silk foulards – and played with the notion of conservative, British middle class from the Thatcher era. If Riccardo developed that a bit further and kept the show in these 50 outfits, that might have been a good shot . But then, a dozen of identical menswear looks appeared, aesthetically closer to Prada and 90s Helmut Lang than Burberry. Another ton of womenswear (this time related to the punk movement, unfortunately looking shallow, preppy and… tired) and a portion of men’s unamusing streetwear (think sweatshirts and prints that are very close to Riccardo’s work at Givenchy – this time, however, we’ve got creepy, Victorian families photo instead of Catholic iconography) appeared on the runway.  In the end, we had this quite stiff line-up of ladies’ eveningwear. I liked Christopher Bailey’s last seasons at Burberry, but I never really looked at his collections again. Tisci’s debut could have been more focused and gripping, that’s sure, but let’s give him time. And please, narrow down that scope!

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.