Wednesday, 17 February 2010

New York Fashion Week: DKNY's Love story

Slouchy, oversized jackets and flirty pleat minis were key standouts pieces in Donna Karan’s sixties student inspired collection for DKNY. A young Ali McGraw was brought to mind with patchwork mini-dresses, cropped trenches and striped long-sleeved wool jersey tees finished with elongated scarves and woolen tights.  60’s penny loafers were given a harder edge though with a vertiginous 70’s platform finish. In a daywear palette of neutrals  brown, tan, burgundy, and bronze, a gray hooded toggle coat was the standout outerwear piece in a story that looks set to cement the Love Story mood for a perfectly preppy autumn.

photos:Marco Madeira/

Jacobs goes marching on

The new Marc Marc Jacobs  saw the military trend galloping from strength to strength in  a collection that could have been sourced from an east Berlin thrift shop – all eastern army surplus in a distillation of the vintage spirit that has driven the range since its inception. Khaki melton oversized coating,  red square fur hats  and little drummer boy jacketing  sat with menswear-inspired tailoring for daywear which translated to pretty drop-waist lace and structured metallic brocade dresses for night. Relaxed styling and a spirit of thrift bonhomie imbues this collection with a likeability and accessibility which seems to grow by the season. 

Monday, 15 February 2010

New York Fashion Week: Wang cuts and sews

Alexander Wang chose Wall Street as the starting point for autumn, superficially taking the traditional banker's suit and deconstructing its classic menswear components to re-configure in torso exposing crops which fed into a  90’s referenced collection. A successful progression for a designer more widely recognized for his skills in easy jersey layering, though a silhouette that  would be a challenge for any other than the most midriff-confident to carry off. Tailoring segued into elegant eveningwear which flagged lace and velvet as key autumn fabrics which echoed  Lanvin in its elegant drapery and a more mature cocktail luxe for the older Wang customer. 

Accessories are already 30% of Wang's turnover and the boxy calfskin bags, metal-detailed clutches and oversized ankle boots on show look set to keep sales on the increase.
photos:Marco Madeira/

Friday, 12 February 2010

Lanvin Loves Leopard

Alber Elbaz  at Lanvin offered some straightforward looks for pre-fall — grey flannel suiting, a black denim trench worn over a washed leather vest and skirt—but throughout Elbaz took his inspiration from the ‘leopard lady’; a real Frenchwoman that the designer and his team often see in the streets around Paris.  Never without her leopard coat,  even at the height of summer her animal aesthetic informed the collection's mix-and-match prints,  collaged furs, and jewelled tops and skirts. Alber's more-is-more layering is sure to translate into an item driven big cat fest on the high street, but for those of you who can't wait till the autumn we love the look shown with a  50’s silhouette from Posh Girl Vintage, and for those of you on a more modest budget you can rock the look with an 80’s vibe for a mere £20 at Stegnome Vintage

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Alexander McQueen dies.

Very sad news today as the death of  Alexander McQueen is announced, just days before the start of London Fashion Week and weeks before he was due to unveil his new collection at Paris Fashion Week.

McQueen trained in tailoring after leaving school at 16 and went to work at Savile Row’s Anderson & Sheppard, eventually making suits for Prince Charles.  He had the distinction of being named British designer of the year four times between 1996 and 2003 and went on to be awarded the CBE, as well as being named International Designer of the Year at the Council of Fashion Designer Awards. Hoping to work as a pattern cutter tutor at  Central Saint Martins he was persuaded to enroll in the course himself and after graduating set up his own label based in the East London. He went on to be named head designer at Givenchy in 1996, succeeding John Galliano, before joining forces with Gucci, who bought 51 per cent of his own company.   

His distinguished technical ability and fearless  approach to design was matched only  by a creative vision which gave rise to  some of the most dramatic and inspired catwalk collections of the last decade. Fashion has lost one of its best and most rare.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Breast is Best

Forget the haberdashery department: the shoulder pad has been relegated to second place in the  styling accessory pecking order as we now say yes (I’ll take two please), to the nipple cover. As underwear goes outerwear for this spring summer Selfridges report a 20% increase in sales of the nude modesty managers. Women investing in sheer luxury underwear and lace bodies are no longer hiding their assets under a bushel, but want to preserve some element of modesty as they follow the lead set by Dior, Gaultier and Berardi in the move from under to outer. If you’ve got it, flaunt it. Just not all of it apparently.

Dior, Jean-Paul Gaultier S/S10

Photos: Monica Fedi/


Monday, 1 February 2010

Spring/Summer10 Couture

Couture is still finding its way in its process of evolution and development if the Spring/Summer’10 shows are any indicator. Whilst fast trends, fast fashion and recession-busting pricing still drive the high street, couture is addressing a shifting demographic and client base. If modernity and a more youthful outlook point the way forward in the search for a new client base, then designers were reflecting this on the catwalks in both day and eveningwear.  A fresher approach was evident in both styling and fabrication, with lamination, lurex and metallics updating the traditional swathes of tuille, taffeta and lace.  Now in his fifth year at  Givenchy, Riccardo Tisci hit his couture stride with a 70’s inspired collection which managed to balance a confident menswear-driven tailored approach with a glam-rock sensibility.  Tisci clearly has the  design sophistication to address his core clientele, but as importantly the commercial awareness to  appeal directly to a new generation; music a-listers who know the value of an alliance with high fashion when it comes to self-promotion. Fully-beaded and electrically-hued jumpsuits and  skirts may have jarred with traditional notions of couture, but were pure GaGavenchy 

Givenchy Haute Couture
Photos:Monica Feudi/

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Revolution will not be televised

The A/W10 pre-fall collections are looking heavily committed to military following next summer's plethora of uniformed neutrals. At Chanel Karl Largerfeld charmed the very disposably incomed of Shanghai with an homage to the Paris of the East with Maoist  suits and communist caps. At Burberry Prorsum Christopher Bailey has, unsurprisingly, conjured a much more British affair, with a very regimental take on military in army khakis and air force blues. Epaulets abound as the shoulder maintains it's importance as a silhouette definer even into next winter.  We're stalking the last vesitges of the sales to channel winter military in anticipation of a khaki driven 2010 as the credit crunch (and the snow) shows little sign of abating.

 This Ralph Lauren padded jacked from Harvey Nichols offers double bang for your buck covering both military and sportswear trends - very Swiss paratrooper. And it's reduced from £420 to £162.