SS21 Dialogues by Prada

So… this is what arrived to my mailbox last week. Super thrilled to share the Prada spring-summer 2021 “Dialogues” book featuring the BIG conversation between Miuccia Prada, Raf Simons and the global audience. Each question is actual food for thought, and one of my answers is featured on the pages of this extraordinary concept. This Prada collection is contemporary fashion history moment, and receiving this beautiful portfolio (under the creative direction of Vogue Italia’s Ferdinando Verderi) is so, so major for me.

Thank you Prada!

Cosmic Goddess Power. Mugler SS21 (2)

Cosmic goddess power hits the Earth – that’s how one might discover Casey Cadwallader‘s brilliant Mugler collection for spring-summer 2021 (part 2). “It’s important to do the jaw-dropping scandalous stuff; that’s what this house is built on. But it’s also about trying to address an interesting day-to-day wardrobe too,” Cadwallader said. Well, about as “day” as Mugler will ever get. “A lot of young people want to buy Mugler now. I’m trying to do the right thing for the right price,” he explained, pointing to expressive pieces made from recycled Lycra that won’t empty that demographic’s wallets. He’s also thinking a lot about how to elevate sportswear; combining sport with lingerie. Take, for example, the graphic, gravity-defying top that Bella Hadid wears, the one that looks like it’s supported on nothing more than a wing and a prayer, but is in fact a smart combination of fabric technology and illusion. It’s made from a super-stretchy mesh that not only sculpts and smooths the body but also completely disappears against any skin tone. “The idea of shape-wear is built into these garments; there is a lot of attention on fabric technology,” Cadwallader said. “For me, all bodies need to be designed for, not just skinny bodies, although, even skinny bodies sometimes have a bigger butt or boobs and…the clothes help you out with that instead of making you feel bad for having them. I’m celebrating different body shapes.” Cadwallader is having fun making these videos, too. “Should a hyper-charged Hunter Schafer jump off a box onto the runway to drum and bass music? Yes!” he exclaims, of his nine-minute film directed by Torso Solutions, which also stars Kembra Pfahler, Alek Wek, and Dominique Jackson. “I’ve always wanted models to break into dance on the runway or to do something, but when it’s a live show it’s very risky. The runway can be intense and scary, and the audience is often exhausted, but when you’re doing a film you can mess around, play, and edit.” Like deciding to “rewind” and present the whole show backwards, as he does here. The best news? Having just moved the house to a see-now-buy-now model, it’s all available to buy right now.

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Balance. Area SS21

Area‘s Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg play along their own rules – and it certainly works. The pair presented their second see-now-buy-now ready-to-wear offering, filled with signature glitz, twisted with a pinch of Dada, and photographed by Paul Kooiker. Unlocking the ability to offer the full Area proposition has opened up a new galaxy of creative potential for Panszczyk and Fogg. The more conceptual pieces take the idea of duality, two ideas swirling together, and represent it literally in a spiral of fabric on bosoms and blazers. Models wear full face masks and giant crystal bow headbands, their feet tucked into platform disco-inspired clogs. The surreal look-book only makes the Area proposition feel all the more appealing, highlighting the more challenging garments and elevating the easy-in-approach ones. There’s a freedom in Area’s new path forward of fusing comfort, creativity, and smart e-commerce. That’s their gold recepe for a small brand thriving in harsh times.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Power Move. Area Couture SS21

You really couldn’t wish for a better ending of an incredible (digital) haute couture week. Saying that this was Area‘s debut couture collection is quite a false statement, since each collection coming from New York-based Piotrek Panszczyk and Beckett Fogg is a couture-level fantasy. The designers ditched the spring-summer 2021 ready-to-wear schedule, making a bold power move not only for themselves, but for American fashion (same can be said of Schiaparelli’s Daniel Roseberry!). Area’s bold 14-look couture collection showcases their range of talent (think showgirl crystals and outlandish silhouettes combined with technically ambitious tailoring), and their lookbook, which stars Precious Lee and Yasmin Wijnaldum, is a sort of statement of intent. This is most certainly not old-world couture, with its strictly sample size casting. “Difference for us is a positive thing,” Fogg told Vogue. Lee opens the lookbook in a black smoking, featuring extravagant metalwork trimming the cuffs. The designers, who are catholic in their references, said they were looking at the coin embroideries of Berber peoples for the jacket’s embellishments, as well as for a pair of delicate and quite dreamy dresses made from thousands of individually hand-finished circles of organza. The rib cage pieces, embroidered with Swarovski crystals in India and assembled in New York, look destined for the Grammys or concert stages, once IRL events ramp back up again. Cake dresses whose tiers are fashioned from duchesse satin fully panniered in tulle do take their cues, Panszczyk said, from the couture of Emanuel Ungaro, Yves Saint Laurent and Cristobal Balenciaga, but the Area designers constructed them so they are open on one side. Wijnaldum flashes skin from her shoulders to the crystal-encrusted tops of the black leather platform clogs that Area will be selling with their third ready-to-wear drop later this year. This couture season has shown us that some of the designers are ready to challenge the system and are capable of reflecting the times we are living in. But seeing the new generation taking couture to new dimensions and redefining it is what I’m looking forward to the most!

“Live” collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Be Bold, Be Extra. Charles De Vilmorin Couture SS21

Couture is changing, and the best sign of that is the appearance of new, young talents. When Charles de Vilmorin launched his first collection after graduating from design school last year, no less a French fashion legend than Jean-Charles de Castelbajac was singing his praises: “Charles designs his dreams, paints his creations on the skin as on paper – and these silhouettes transform his muses into psychedelic conquerors…. His future is passionate.” Then, in December, Jean Paul Gaultier sponsored the young designer’s guest appearance on the Paris haute couture calendar. His spring-summer 2021 debut was virtual, but there’s no arguing that De Vilmorin is enjoying a charmed rise. The exuberantly patchworked puffer jackets of his first collection evoked Niki de Saint Phalle’s iconic Nanas. He must feel a connection with the artist. In the video he made this season with Studio L’Etiquette, De Vilmorin operates a paint gun, an obvious reference to the shooting paintings of the early 1960s with which De Saint Phalle made her name. The late artist attached buckets of paint to her canvases, then invited people to shoot at them; the paint would splatter all over her work when the bullets hit. De Vilmorin’s technique is more controlled, but his Instagram account reveals that he did paint his textiles by hand before they were assembled into the 11 looks in this collection. Flowers, butterflies, and psychedelic nudes are his chosen motifs, and the silhouettes, which are worn by all genders in the video, are playful. He likes a puffed sleeve and a full skirt and sprays of feathers at the hem of a dress. The short film stars De Vilmorin’s friends, and he says he keeps them in his mind when he’s designing. “You don’t need a special occasion to wear something extra,” he insisted. Hope to see more of his bold fashion in the near future!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.