Stella & Fanny. Erdem SS19

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At a first glace this seemed to be a very typical, Erdem collection. Floor sweeping gowns made of satin; puffed sleeves; huge bows in the brightest colours; lots and lots of brocades and lace. A wardrobe suited for a palace dame, you might think. But in fact, the idea behind the collection isn’t that regal, or even conservative, as you might easily suppose. For those more concerned, this collection was deeply connected with the contemporary politics of gender self-identification. Erdem Moralioglu and his parter, Philip Joseph, lately bought a house in Bloomsbury, “and there was a plaque around the corner dedicated to two sisters, Stella and Fanny, who in fact were Frederick Park and Ernest Boulton, who lived as women in the 1860s.”  As Sarah Mower teaches in her Vogue feature, “Fanny and Stella, retrospectively honored as heroines of queer London in that plaque, were very publicly out and about in Victorian nightlife. In 1870, the notorious ladies were arrested leaving the Strand Theatre and charged with “conspiring and inciting persons to commit an unnatural offense”—although they were later acquitted.” Not only were the Victorian era-inspired garments a clue for this quite very uncommon reference, but as well a gender-fluid model casting that appeared on the runway. The beauty of craftsmanship and dress-making was embraced in this gorgeous line-up, yes, but as well the beauty of something much, much deeper and humane. “Far beyond any perceived thrill of cross-dressing,” the designer wrote in his press notes, “these were individuals with the courage to explore the power of self-expression.” Powerful.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Victorian Girl. Simone Rocha AW18

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Except for Matty Bovan‘s collection which was a bomb, it seems that the London designers prefer to revisit their archives this season. There’s no way Simone Rocha can go wrong with her signature dresses with ‘leg of mutton’ sleeves and meticulous embroidries – her customers adore them. Even though the collection was filled with Rocha classics, his time around, the designer immersed herselft into Victorian-era fashion and brought lots of bows, ruffles and ornaments that richly decorated the bustlines.  Although Victoriana is a hard thing to do for contemporary designers (falling into the ‘too literal’ trap…), Simone pulls it off like no other, making her delightful gowns look precious, but not over-dressed or forced.

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Collage by Edward Kanarecki.

Anglomania. Gucci Resort’17

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Just a few weeks before Britain’s choice whether to remain in European Union, London has suddenly become the capital of resort 2017 collections. Firstly, Dior showed its mild collection in Blenheim Palace; secondly, Alessandro Michele, the creative director of Gucci, proved that Italian fashion goes in pair with anglomania. Covered with dark-green, needlepoint cushions, the famous Westminster Abbey was transformed into a venue for the most eccentric Michele’s show up to date (note: every show by Gucci gets even more peculiar and twisted…). Gucci girls and Gucci boys went down the Gothic church, all bold and playful, reivisiting cult fashion tribes of London. From Camden Market loving geeks to Rolling Stones fanatics in slim denim trousers and t-shirts (with old-school GUCCI logos – next season’s must-have), Alessandro praised Britain’s biggest style eras in this extremely non-chalant outing.

To dive in this gothic sea of inspiration!” he began. “The punk, the Victorian, the eccentric—with this inspiration, I can work all my life!” The former, origing from Vivienne Westwood’s rebellious times of SEX boutique and Sex Pistols costumes, was reflected in tartan ball gown and badass, yet classy attitude of the clothes. One of the jackets was a perfect Victoriana sleeve sample, but all in baby-pink astrakhan fur; Thatcher-era Kensington grannies crossed the abbey during the show, wearing printed silk dresses and foulards on their heads; there was even a Spice Girl moment which will be remembered for long in the industry – rainbow striped platform sneakers HAPPENED, spicing it all up. It’s not a surprise that Alessandro thought of Scottish kilts, too – they were worn casually with lady-like, blue pea-coats. Chic, right?

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Looking at this collection, you might be confused with all that opulence of topics, and even doubt whether this is still about so-called “good taste”. But Alessandro Michele, who made the ready-to-wear sales spike in this 95-year-old Italian brand, blurs the term. In fact, these outfits remind me of great, vintage-selling Instagram shops, which are loved for the extraordinary styling. Let me recommend you @the_corner_store – check it out by the way. .

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Back to Gucci. While writing this, I’m listening to Siouxsie & The Banshees “Face to Face”, and I’m authentically feeling the mood conveyed by Michele. It’s rock’n’roll, slightly alternative, very theatrical – breaking the rules and even the system. Of course it’s not as radical as Westwood and McLaren – but it’s a leap away from all this safe minimalism which is trending for the last few years. And if I mention that I’m watching the second episode of 80s favourite comedy show, Absolutely Fabulous, starring Eddy and Patsy, you can imagine the affair I feel with this collection. Glam, over-the-top effect and never-mature clubbing lifestyle. I love it! Although Alessandro is an Italian, who loves embroideries and lace, he’s also an anglomaniac, obsessed with unconventional youth and aristocracy-meets-punk thing England is famous of. “You are part of the culture of Europe!” exclaimed the designer backstage, showing his love for British art, fashion and music side. I’m quite sure that if all the Brits take a peek at this collection, they will be sure about their vote during the referendum coming this month.

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Baby Boom. Simone Rocha AW16

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I am always praising Simone Rocha for being a young and independent designer, who doesn’t fall into the trend of having pre-collections. And that’s truly rare in today’s fashion industry – even though there are a few exceptions in this case, like Gareth Pugh or Vetements collective. Two collections a year give Rocha the time for the creative process, which is so in need at the moment, and lets the designer convey her vision to the fullest. And, as her gift keeps on giving, it’s a good occasion to congratulate the designer – she has just given birth to her baby, Valentine! And, to a surprise, this event gave Simone a creativity boost this season, looking deeper into the meaning of “baby-boom”. “I started to do this wrapping and swaddling with stoles. There’s something a bit surgical and matronly going on—sick-y nudes, the lilac of the uniforms that nurses used to wear. Medical aprons; knitting as women do when there’s a baby coming; schlumpy, relaxed shapes—and a little bit of trauma!” Yep, this doesn’t sound like your average post-pregnancy reflection.

Indeed, the autumn-winter 2016 collection had a lot to do with nurse uniforms, being psychedelically revamped with a various shades of pink. The fur stoles and fluffy Mary-Jane flats gave the feeling of babyish innocence, but that can’t be said of the darker dresses and coats – Rocha’s “matrons” with strict black bows lurk from the Victorian history of hospitals that up to now haunt Irish tales and stories. The woman behind AW16’s plot is both, sweet and sour – she might be Lolita, Mary Poppins or Jane Eyre one day – and she is blooming just as the designer herself.

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Victorian Surf

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Upon entering the Marc Jacobs SS14 show in New York last night, the audience were floored and delighted by Stefan Beckman’s incredible set design. “Victorian Surf” Beckman told LOVE the key concept behind the project moments after the show. “Marc was inspired by many things; a dark beach… But also the theatrical aspect of a set where you are aware of the artifice. Ideas that play opposite of each other. The decadent drapes against all of the debris washed up on a moody beach”. Marc Jacobs settings (for his line and Louis Vuitton) always shock, but this season… He really nailed it. The venue is so sentimental… Does Marc still felt the Sandy Hook that destroyed his newly renovated house in New York?

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“(The flooring) was inspired by the recent Paul McCarthy show at the uptown Armory. Marc and I loved the dark sand and how it looked with everything” – Stefan Beckman

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Weird Party. Marc Jacobs SS14

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“It’s more of a weird frat party, Burning Man, shores-of-Gotham City sort of beach scene. It’s a lovely nightmare, or it was for me anyway.” And this, more interestingly: “I didn’t want the cliché of Spring and Summer, I wanted it to be about girls who have no problem coming to work in a Victorian gown and Birkenstocks” said Marc Jacobs about his SS14 collection that with grace closed the New York Fashion Week. The venue was amazing- a huge, huge place, that reminded of something like a beach apocalypse- beach chairs, towels, sand, trees, cigarettes were lying in chaos everywhere. The models (the set of them was really impressive) were for example Cara Delevigne who flew straight from London through Atlantic to walk the runway for Marc and comeback on London Fashion Week… Sky Ferreira (!!!), Edie Campbell, Lily Mcmenamy, Georgia May Jagger and Hanne Gaby were also here. Coming back to collection, Marc Jacobs broke all the rules of the SS14 but in a good way- when everybody were into pure minimalism and pale clothes, MJ slapped it, with a print, embroidery and colour bomb- in a much darker colour than I expected. The clothes were inpired with Victorian era, widow weeds and some 21st century- birkenstocks again rocked the runway just like funny backpack totes! Definitely, that was one of these “weird” parties I would love to come…

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