Chic, Chic, Chic. Alaïa AW89

A few days ago, I discovered this delightful autumn-winter 1989 Alaïa collection, and it’s unbelievable how timeless all those Monsieur Azzedine’s designs are. Actually, they even get better with age. The colours (especially all the shades of curcuma!), the cuts, the softness of wools and cashmeres used in this line-up, the body-conscious eveningwear, which looks both seductive and comfortable… it’s all so good. And of course, it was presented on the rue de Moussy – the live & work space Azzedine Alaïa built in the Marais district of Paris that would become a welcoming mecca to models and clients. What’s interesting, it was unfinished when the designer presented his winter 1989 show a month after the regular season ended (Alaïa famously presented on his own schedule, when he felt finished, and not according to a calendar date). According to The Los Angeles Times, the glass-roofed space was leaky, dampening the models as they paraded in a collection that underlined some of the tropes the designer had staked out as his own: sculpted leathers and clingy second-skin knits. The flowing bias-cut dresses in shimmering metallics definitely looked even more spectacular as they were slightly wet. Below are some of my favourite looks from this highly underrated collection.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

The French Charm. Patou Resort 2021

Since the first season, I’m following Guillaume Henry‘s steps at Patou, and I must say that with every single line-up, it gets better and better. I can’t believe this Parisian brand-and-designer match is still so underrated! The label released it’s resort 2021 collection now, when the clothes are arriving to the stores. Patou’s team pulled off this collection during the most severe days of lockdown in Paris. “Everyone was at home, exchanging ideas on Zoom,” Henry says. “My magic team!” The look book models are the Belgian singer Tessa Dixon and some of the Patou people – a lovely nod to the power of team-work. What they’ve come up with – despite it all – is a continuation of the optimism and joie de vivre of the house, grounded in that French-girl taste for useful, classic tailoring – which is spring-summer 2021‘s signature. The gold brocade dress, the feather-trimmed trousers, and the multicolored, stylized 1970s prints must have felt like a shot in the dark when they were designing them. But the most charming pieces were the most grounded ones. Henry has a delectable way of combining the French vernacular of down-to-earth, traditional work with flights of fashion fancy. Part of it was inspired by looking at vintage photographs of Les Forts des Halles, the porters at the old Les Halles market in the center of Paris, who used to wear felt hats to carry crates of farm produce. That’s where the oversized, turned-back-brim hats in his collection originated; one of his charming side strategies for keeping French regional working-class culture alive and relevant for a new generation. Also, you immediately think of Émile Bernard’s “Breton Women” paintings while looking at Patou’s black and white silhouettes – like the brand’s oversized, cocooning duffle coats styled with a white, hand-cut collar. Love!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended. Gucci SS21

COVID-19 made fashion rethink many matters, from fashion week schedules to overproduction, but most of all, it accelarated the reflection on how to show a collection to wide audience, through the digital media, in the most appealing ways. Most of brands come up with a video or film. But the latest example takes notes from Netflix. Gucci‘s Alessandro Michele hired the one and only Gus Van Sant to make seven-episode miniseries that were shown one by one, for the entire week. At moments, the experience was bumpy. The poll I’ve made on Instagram mid-week suggested that 75% no longer paid attention to the digital Gucci event. While the visuals of Ouverture Of Something That Never Ended were striking, Silvia Calderoni’s acting was phenomenal and Gucci celebs appearances were amusingly witty (Harry Styles made a cameo wearing a pink tee tucked into denim shorts, and pronounced his improvised modern-day art manifesto: “when it comes to making art it’s about finding the thing you’ve always wanted to see that has never been made. It’s always an uncomfortable moment, I think, when you find the thing. You don’t know if you love it or hate it because you don’t really know what it is yet. But I think that’s the most exciting place to work in“; Florence Welch glided through a Gucci-fied vintage store and slipped handwritten notes into the pockets of jeans or the purse of a passerby; Billie Eilish performed her new song and danced with her pet robot dogs in what looked like the suburbs of L.A.), the focus on the clothes was hard to comprehend. Fashion films are pretty much always product-driven and lack substance, and here it was quite the opposite. There was plenty of substance, but I felt there was not enough of the collection itself. Maybe, as some editors suggested, the episodes could be shoppable? It would be great to find that golden balance. The miniseries streamed on Instagram and on a dedicated site dubbed GucciFest, where the brand also supported videos made by 15 emerging designers from around the world – which was a lovely gesture. Once you finally look at the look-book to see the actual spring-summer 2021 (and pre-fall 2021) clothes, you will be surprised (or not so much) that Michele decided to utterly focus on the core of his Gucci. The 90 looks saw some most distinct signatures, as well as Alessandro’s archives (especially pieces from his first Gucci collections). There was pretty much nothing new, and the collection was free of bizarre over-the-topness that made the label feel just too much for me in the pre-pandemic times. So, the brand’s customer will be pleased with all the vintage-y, wearable styles that are just the right amount of quirk, while the rest of the audience might use the line-up as an inspiration-filled portfolio. It seems to say: “shop your closet, no need to buy new stuff“.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Effortless and Warm. Proenza Schouler SS21

In the absence of a New York Fashion Week show, the Proenza Schouler designers – Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough – made their first-ever book with the photographer Daniel Shea. Shot in August, it pairs expressive model shots with even more evocative images of the city: the skyline at sunset, the Empire State building seen through a tangle of power lines, a super-tall tower on Billionaires’ Row. It’s an ode to their hometown in a year when they’ve spent very little of their time in it. In the early months of the pandemic they were up at their place in the Berkshires. They spent March and April on Zoom business calls trying to figure out how to make it through this unprecedented situation. When they finally turned to their next collection, their normal processes weren’t possible: no research trip, no dips into their archive, no silhouette studies on a model. “All we walked into the studio with was a feeling. We wanted something that felt effortless and warm; we wanted to get rid of the sharp edges. It just had to make you feel good. For us that’s what fashion should be at its most successful. It should make one’s life easier and feel good,” Hernandez said. “A forever quality,” McCollough elaborated, “something that lasts.” There are decorative treatments for both night and day here; allover sequins cover a straight-line shirtdress, and the shoulders of a button-down shirt and waistline of button-fly trousers are graphically dip-dyed. But the big story is really the attitude adjustment; without being boring the clothes feel simpler than what they’ve put on their recent runways. They emphasized easy-to-wear ribbed-knit separates and dresses, and stripped any artifice from their tailoring, which is just slightly oversized and mannish save for the suits’ soft pastel colors. Putting the accent on silhouette, they made a dress with a choker collar, a cut-out asymmetrical neckline, and voluminous sleeves, then cut the drama with puffy slippers. Those flat shoes are a key to the season’s new mood, a timely nod to our more circumscribed lifestyles and the renewed value that women are placing on comfort. It’s looking more and more like we’ll be staying homebound well into 2021. The collection’s knockout dress in stretch jersey with circular cut-outs on the bodice will be similarly comfortable, but the reason that women will really respond to it is because it looks like a guaranteed good time.

Collages by Edward Kanarecki.

The Gift Guide For Her – Cozy & Chic

This year, I’ve decided to create dream gift guides that might make it easier for you to go (and filter) through the festive season. Get ready for a selection of beautiful items that will spark joy and last for years. The ones that will certainly please one’s senses and deliver heavenly feelings. Treat your loved ones and yourself! Here’s the curated edit of the most covetable delights, which are both cozy and chic!

Covered Up. What’s better than cashmere? To be honest… nothing compares. Cashmere In Love‘s balaclavas are crafted from a super soft glitter infused Mongolian wool cashmere blend, and combine elegance and retro spirit – with a hint of rebellion. Fold it into a beanie or pull it back to use as a neck warmer.

“Megeve” balaclava by Cashmere In Love

Precious & Timeless. Combine durable utility with ravishing exquisiteness.

Marine Serre chain-bag water bottle, Chloé “Franne” ribbed wool and leather boots, Simone Rocha flower drop crystal earrings & Miu Miu pink wool cardigan

Elevate Your Space! A perfect gift for a person that loves to update their surroundings. Or just give this present to your lounge-y living-room.

The Elder Statesman cashmere cushion

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NET-A-PORTER Limited

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Glamorous Lounge-Wear. Especially, if its scented with pêche de vigne combined with Sicilian blood orange, davana oil with infused rum and cognac, Indonesian patchouli, sandalwood, labdanum and vanilla. Or simply: Tom Ford‘s magnificent Bitter Peach.

Tom Ford “Bitter Peach” fragrance, Victor Glemaud purple and red knitted tank top, Saint Laurent round earrings & Cashmere in Love knitted cashmere pants

Soft Minimalism. If you’re in search for a timeless, elegant gift, look no further – Lemaire is the perfect label. I mean, those boots! They are b-e-a-u-t-i-f-u-l!

Lemaire printed boots made in collaboration with Martin Ramirez & Lemaire silver long drop earrings

Comfort Zone. 2020 wasn’t easy, we all know that. Take some time for a rest. Comfort for your skin, for your feet, for your senses…

Lauren Manoogian hand-knit scarf, Louise Madzia “Body” plant pot, Chloé chain necklace, Augustinus Bader “The Face Oil” & Bottega Veneta quilted sneakers

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NET-A-PORTER Limited

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Helmut Newton is always a good idea.

Helmut Newton “SUMO” 20th Anniversary Edition Book by Taschen & Wolford x Helmut Newton Edition t-shirt

Tactile Statement Pieces. Pick from Julia Heuer‘s fantastic pleats or Lauren Manoogian‘s fleecy alpaca slippers, and you’ve got the gift that keeps on giving each season, at any occasion.

Julia Heuer Multicolor cardigan, Julia Heuer trousersLauren Manoogian alpaca slippers & Bottega Veneta sculptural clutch bag

Knitwear. The softest and fleeciest of them all? A great knit is an unforgettable present, which will serve for years and years and years to come.

Brunello Cucinelli abstract knitted jumper, Lauren Manoogian beige cardiganLauren Manoogian alpaca dress & The Elder Statesman tie-dyed cashmere hoodie

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TASCHEN

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Winter Classics.

Chloé argyle wool and cashmere-blend knit, Louise Madzia ceramic plate, Diptyque “Tubereuse” candle& Cashmere in Love hoodie

Nocturnal Chic. Eveningwear that will easily jump to bold, everyday wardrobe? Dries Van Noten never dissapoints, and his gorgeous autumn-winter 2020 is the definition of the word ‘festive’.

Dries Van Noten sequined chiffon shirt, Dries Van Noten feather trimmed sequin chiffon skirt & Dries Van Noten quilted velvet skirt

More festive gift guides are coming soon!

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NET-A-PORTER Limited

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All collages by Edward Kanarecki.