Reality Check. Balenciaga AW19

That’s a fact: Demna Gvasalia delivered the best coats (outerwear, even) of the season. Literally every coat that appeared in Balenciaga’s autumn-winter 2019 made me drool! Those volumes. The designer focused on the streets of Paris and how Parisians really dress (forget the Jeanne Damas and Caroline de Maigret archetype of Parisian chic). He thoroughly investigated outfits people wear in their metro commute, to the parties, on a dog walk, for groceries. And here we are with more than 100 looks, featuring faux-fur, floor-sweeping coats in Cristobal Balenciaga-esque architectural silhouettes to vintage-y leather jackets and quilted belted robes in satin. Tailoring was strong, too, just as the dresses. From the polished, sleek mini-dresses that closed the show to flowing, maxi-gowns (like the one Stella Tennant had on, made from some fancy, metallic fringes), each looked was distinctly Gvasalia – sharp, ironic, delightfully confusing. I really loved this one ‘super-nornal’ outfit that featured a black turtleneck, leather slouchy pants and a pink, polka-dot shopper bag. That’s exactly how editors dress in Paris. Again, this collection was extremely Paris, but not in this fashioned-up manner we often get to see. As the designer said backstage, “It’s real. When I’m on the streets of Paris, that’s what I see.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Classics. Salvatore Ferragamo SS19

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It’s the second season at Salvatore Ferragamo for Paul Andrew (who does womenswear) and Guillaume Meilland (menswear), and it seems that the two are a perfect match for this Italian, heritage house that specialises in leather goods. The designers, who gracefully coordinate their roles in order to create a harmonious image of the brand, prove their integrity with this grown-up, well-considered line-up. From the casting (Stella Tennant opening the show, Carolyn Murphy closing) to the colour palette (neutrals, like sun-kissed beige and khaki, contrasted with bright turquoise or orange), it’s all about classics. There’s shirting; there’s gorgoeus outerwear; there’s evening wear that stuns with craftsmanship. Menswear is equally good – we’ve got absolute essentials like trench coats and elegant pants, all refined and kept in a loose fit. The footwear and bags (the stuff that Ferragamo sells the most) are as well refreshed. Somehow, after all these years, you want to enter the brand’s store and take hold of their goods. Paul and Guillaume, bravo!

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

A Decade. Victoria Beckham SS19

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Here we’ve got the other anniversary collection from London. Unlike Mary Katrantzou, Victoria Beckham didn’t revisit her archives literally for the collection that celebrates her 10 years in fashion. And, other than the appearance on the London fashion week schedule, major media fuss and the appearance of model greats on the runway (like Stella Tennant, who opened the show, Małgosia Bela, Grace Bol, Tasha Tilberg and Liya Kebede), that was a very regular, Victoria Beckham collection. Chic, slouchy tailoring, super-slim crepe trousers that are here to be worn underneath every second dress you’ve got, satin tank-tops with lace inserts, minimal eveningwear, over-sized shirts. Wardrobe essentials, elevated with a refreshing colour palette and minimal-feminine sensitivity. Soul II Soul’s Back To Life played in the background, reminding the soundtrack from Phoebe Philo’s remarkable spring-summer 2014 collection. This triggered the inner finding of parallels between Philo’s work, and Beckham’s brand codes the designer repeats and refines every season. But then, I can somehow forgive Victoria for doing that. Look at her now, 10 years later. That body-con dress and killer stilettos are buried deep, deep in the fashion history. Let’s see what the next decade brings for this iconic, ever-changing woman.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki, featuring Euan Uglow’s painting.

Men’s / Seducing. Berluti AW18

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Let’s start from a very abstract concept. If Phoebe Philo decided on menswear (something Hedi Slimane has done a few days ago – read the news, if you still haven’t…) during her tenure at Céline, she would have chosen Haider Ackermann to do it – that’s for sure, looking at his latest offering for Berluti. It’s heavenly. It’s precisely what seduces me in menswear. Those soft cuts, colours. Not speaking of the jaw-dropping materials used. Just take a glance at the butter-y leather cognac coat or the pastel blue (!) pants. Or that luxe shearling. I really don’t need anything else in life. The ‘borrowed from men’ women’s line also has lots to love about it – from Stella Tennant walking down the pale pink runway to that one grey suit that is pure perfection. This might be my ultimate favourite of the men’s autumn-winter 2018 season.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.