With Respect. Alaïa SS19

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.

It’s Real. A Détacher SS19

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.

Off-The-Radar Goodness. The Elder Statesman SS19

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The fashion month has just finished, and one can’t forget about the brands that usually stay off-the-radar during those four weeks of runway marathon. They need their spotlight, too! Re-seeing The Elder Statesman‘s look-book few days after all that Paris fashion week fuss is a true pleasure. The Los Angeles-based label, found and designed by Greg Chait, is known for its incredible cashmere goods and love for everything that’s artisanal. But lately, Chait seems to enjoy introducing new additions to his extremely luxurious, yet niche brand. While the Swiss silk, the designer’s discovery from the last season, appears in the form of a gorgeous tie-dye dress, it’s linen that’s lately on Chait’s mind. Sourced and produced in India, the pieces made out of that often underrated material stun with summer-ish colour gradiations. What else is new to The Elder Statesman? Corduroy pants. They look so, so good with a matching yellow sweater. Love.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Future is Now. Louis Vuitton SS19

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While Nicolas Ghesquière‘s autumn-winter 2018 collection for Louis Vuitton was a bourgeois wardrobe fantasy, this season the designer returns to his all-time favourite themes: sci-fi, 80s call-backs and the clash between the old and the new. Innovative, rubber-like materials were used in architectural coats (that instantly recalled Nicolas’ brilliance at Balenciaga). The way the designer combined over-sized, space suit sleeves with meticulously embellished mini-dresses was so, so good. Need a fashion space-suit? Ghesquière has you covered with a floral ensemble. But there were also more approachable, easy clothes. Take the perfectly tailored blazers and boldly printed tank-tops. Oh, and the models! The casting stunned with beautiful diversity, from gorgeous new-comers and androgynous girls to runway veterans and transgender males. For Nicolas, the future is now.

Also, it’s the end of my Paris fashion week coverage. And a very happy good-bye to the fashion month.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.