Mugler

August 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Since Nicola Formichetti and Sébastien Peigné took over at Mugler last year, their runway shows have been strictly high-concept. Emphasizing the sales-floor viability of their aesthetic hasn’t been the priority. So it was interesting to encounter the pair in a showroom setting, pointing out the similarities and differences between the editorial pieces “for magazines” and their commercial equivalents.

Resort is their most relatable work so far. Inspired, they said, by Asia, flags, the Olympics, and the work of New York illustrator Mel Odom, with whom they collaborated on a kissing print, they focused much of their attention on tailoring. High-waisted, full-leg trousers will find buyers, as will little leather Perfecto jackets and boxy, man-size T-shirts. The “runway” versions of the color-blocked flag tees were printed many times over for a rubbery sheen that shows up in the lookbook pics. The “real world” styles were printed less often, which not only lowers the price but makes them softer. Not the kind of details that will earn them Facebook “likes,” but vital nonetheless. Something else important to the brand and the bottom line: Formichetti and Peigné will be launching Mugler’s handbag range at the show in September.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed

Chanel

August 12, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Maybe it’s because he speaks so fast that there always seems to be a slight undertow of scorn in Karl Lagerfeld’s aperçus. “In fashion, the future is six months,” he practically spat after Chanel‘s Couture show today. That could be why he took New Vintage as his theme. “Vintage is depressing,” Lagerfeld clarified. “But ‘new vintage’ is something to come. It’s preparation for something that could last.”

The show was staged in the Grand Palais, as has become custom, but this time Lagerfeld used the Salon d’Honneur, a space that had been closed off for 70 years. The walls were painted, the ceiling and door surrounds customized to an interior design concept that Coco Chanel used in her original salon de couture. But here it was refreshed. “A renovation of the existing spirit for our time,” Lagerfeld said.

Renovation wasn’t, however, the thrust of the actual collection. It was far less jeune fille than it’s been of late. When Jamie Bochert and Stella Tennant stepped out on the catwalk, they looked like substantial women of character. Their clothes had a 1940’s line—broad shoulders, swingy coat, cape backs—in a color palette of black, gray, silver, and dusty pink that spoke of film noir interiors. Their hair also had a forties flavor, with a Rosie the Riveter snood. In other words, there was nothing new about this particular vintage. But it worked, in a gutsy, grown-up way. Lagerfeld’s portrait of Chanel adorned the invitation and, in keeping with that nod to heritage, the spine of the collection was suits. Except that the classic tweed was actually embroidery on tulle. Thousands of hours of handwork. Couture in excelsis.

Lagerfeld paired the suits with sparkling hose and wove silver through his “tweeds.” There was gilding galore. “These clothes are for a world of privileged people,” he said, with a hint of resignation (surely not scorn). And it was a wide world of clothes on display: an ethereal gilet spun from what looked like thistledown followed hard and less than coherently on the heels of a tracksuit in dégradé sequins. But that wayward abundance has always been the rule with Lagerfeld’s Chanel. And who knows how that tracksuit will look on the block at Sotheby’s in 50 years?
—Tim Blanks
Runway Feed

Givenchy

August 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Riccardo Tisci brought together dueling impulses in his Fall Couture collection: On the one hand, he returned to the simple lines of the sixties, when Hubert de Givenchy was at the center of the Paris scene. On the other, he riffed on the look of gypsies, specifically the gypsies you encounter in present-day southern Italy, where he’s from. The haute and the street—it’s the kind of mix this designer loves.

After seven years at the house, the Tisci codes are instantly recognizable, and copied nearly as quickly. Beaded fringes will be multiplying at the fast-fashion brands as quickly as machines can string them. Here at the mother ship, of course, the beads were painstakingly strung by hand, red and black ones in a pattern that together created a mosaic design to match the embroidery on the top of a floor-length cape. It was the collection’s pièce de résistance, and under it, the model wore a jumpsuit made from jersey on top and beaded velvet on bottom, complete with attached open-toe, kitten-heel booties.

Beyond It factor, which he has in spades, technique is the thing at Tisci’s Givenchy. The black nappa fringe on a dress boasting intricate leather embroidery extended all the way to the ground, and a halter-neck gown came with a built-in cape that was obsessively embroidered with sequins not on its outside but on its inside.

You felt like Tisci was fighting his own impulses with a pair of nude-colored dresses that featured sheared mink bodices and narrow, unadorned wool and cashmere skirts. And yet that was intriguing, too. It’s more than likely that his signatures—a lavishly beaded and fringed cardigan that shaded from cappuccino at the neckline to deep espresso at its hem, for instance—will be the collection’s hot tickets. But those restrained column gowns pointed in a new direction, one that’s worth exploring further.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed

Armani Privé

August 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Giorgio Armani’s morning-to-midnight scenario gave him the perfect excuse to offer his clients an entire wardrobe in the most traditional sense of haute couture. If that didn’t make for his most drama-laden show, that’s scarcely the point when you are as absorbed by the exigencies of daily dressing as Mr. Armani is.

Nor was the kind of woman who would arise to don the pale blues and lilacs paired with black velvet pants that were part of the matinal Armani offering really the point. His point was this: easy jackets with a broad, slightly peaked shoulder, trousers with a generous volume, flat shoes. And Armani has made this point so convincingly throughout his career that its reiteration here could be called icing on a billion-dollar cake.

There were dresses, the best being a pair of lean cocktail numbers in lavender and mauve organza. Armani’s tendency to pair models on the catwalk, coupled with the subtly exaggerated makeup, gave these looks a slightly android Blade Runner appeal that underscored the futurism that infuses Armani’s work. So did his headgear. The little black berets by Philip Treacy and the beaded veils created a through line of uniformity.

Armani said it was mystery he was after with those veils, and to his credit, when Aymeline Valade eased down the catwalk in folds of midnight organza, her shoulders veiled in tulle, her features subtly concealed, it was mystery he got.
—Tim Blanks
Runway Feed

Revillon

August 9, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Designing his first Resort collection for Revillon, the Parisian furrier founded in 1723, newly installed creative director Andrew Heather faced a challenge: how to make fur relevant for a warmer season. He answered it by using fox and goat as an accent on lace. And not just any lace, but a lace he designed to resemble a civet’s spots and stripes and also needle-punched with mohair, then cut into a black cocktail dress, worn with a long matching scarf tossed over the shoulders, as well as a peony pink T-shirt, skirt, and belted jacket. Another good idea: a mink redingote sheared so thin it could pass for silk velvet. Heather’s is a discreet kind of luxury.

He’s also got a practical streak, despite years spent in the couture atelier at Givenchy, and he exercised it today with a trench made from kangaroo leather, which he chose for its papery touch and its light weight.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed

Ulyana Sergeenko

August 8, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Ulyana Sergeenko, the Russian couture collector and street-style star turned designer, put on a runway show smack dab in the middle of Chanel and Armani Privé today, and had the kind of front row that other up-and-coming designers dream about: Carine Roitfeld, Grace Coddington, and a coterie of her own high-spending countrywomen, who gave Sergeenko a standing ovation when she came out for her bow. Her pal Elena Perminova was actually wearing a variation on one of the looks on the catwalk. Not a bad business plan—the Russian crowd is obsessively photographed on the streets outside the shows. Inside the Théâtre Marigny, there was more than a handful of young women wearing what has become Sergeenko’s signature look: clingy sweater tucked into a fifties-style full skirt, some extending all the way to the ground.

And there was more of that on the runway, as well as Russianisms like military great coats lined in fur and chintz apron dresses, plus street-style bait like a puff-sleeve turtleneck top and matching bloomers. The accessories—babushkas, hand-carved wooden heels, big fur hats and gloves—put the accent on the designer’s heritage. Natalia Vodianova, the Russian supermodel, closed the show in a floor-sweeping black coat and flower-embroidered tulle veil. “Bellissima,” Anna Dello Russo crowed backstage afterward. Sergeenko is a storyteller, but if she wants to break through to a wider audience, she’ll eventually need to curb the fairy tale.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed

MP Massimo Piombo

August 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Italian flair, French sophistication, a touch of debonair British elegance: These were the ingredients of designer Massimo Piombo’s Spring collection, and they made for an exquisite cocktail, shaken and stirred to perfection and best enjoyed, you imagine, on a terrace of the Hotel Splendido in Portofino. A growing partnership with the Neapolitan brand Kiton has brought impeccable in-house tailoring execution and a sartorial spirit, mixed with the refined restraint that is typical of Piombo’s native Genoa. “Italians understand beauty as nobody else does, brought up as we are with a natural feel for quality,” he claims. “Luxury for us rhymes with style and not with money and has more to do with memory, romance, charm, and wit.”

The Genoese have been known for centuries as kings of the sea, secretive and powerful merchants who crisscrossed the world bringing back exotic wonders from remote lands.
Piombo has the same soul-searching malaise of a true eccentric traveler. You can see that in his treasure trove of lovingly researched fabrics: rare French silks from the hidden archives of old Lyon factories; Irish or Belgian linens of the softest texture, spun after the yarn has been put to leaven as if it were dough in dark, damp caves; Massaua cotton from Ethiopia, a modest, inconspicuous fabric light as a whisper but of such quality as to be chosen by local noblemen for their Savile Row suits; cashmeres and cottons dyed and printed in India with old hand looms, perfect and unique in their touching imperfection. This is the wardrobe of a well-read, worldly pirate—dapper in a dark blue hand-printed silk tuxedo, off for an old-style grande soirée in Antibes, chez Hotel du Cap.

Elegance with a well-born ease, a nonchalant attitude, an educated mind: Massimo Piombo is ready for his close-up, the brand very much a doppelgänger of himself. And what else if not blue would be the color of choice for the collection? Make that more than 50 shades of true blues reminiscent of the enchanting Portofino bay, where you can picture him carefree and chic as hell, strolling about the Piazzetta, eyes grinning with a mischievous sparkle, charming everyone.
—Tiziana Cardini
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Damir Doma

August 6, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Damir Doma opened up shop on Rue Faubourg Saint-Honoré on Sunday. A store to call his own (and after only five years in the business) is reason enough to deliver a sharp, sellable Resort collection, but the designer said he had another good excuse, too. “When I went back to look at Fall, I think I went too costumey,” he said of his most recent show. “I decided to take out the strong bits and do them in a more cool and effortless way.” Step one was to introduce denim to the lineup. His jeans came in a blue so faded they were nearly white and with a crossover waistband. Paired with a lapel-less linen blazer in the same almost-blue shade and cinched with a black leather belt, they met both his criteria for success. Same goes for a tank dress made from texturized black silk. Fitted through the torso, it fell loosely from the waist to below the knees with the kind of everyday ease that will make girls reach for it again and again.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed

Elie Saab

August 5, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

In Constantinople’s Wake was the name Elie Saab gave his show. The Byzantine Empire proved fertile territory for the designer. This was one of his prettiest shows to date, focused, as is his custom at Couture, almost entirely on cocktail dresses and evening gowns, and remarkably light despite the resplendence of all its thousands of beads, sequins, and crystals. It helped that he chose such delicate fabrics—Chantilly lace, silk jacquards that looked gold leafed, and a mosaic-print georgette—and that he used such soft shades of pink and blue. In the past, Saab’s colors have appeared dull or muddy. Not here, although a vivid jade felt garish in comparison to the sun-washed pastels.

He opened with a caftan shape in embroidered black tulle. The silhouette looked novel for him, but he mostly stuck to his Oscar-winning formula of red-carpet frocks. His talents don’t lie as much in patternmaking (the cuts are quite simple and repetitive) as they do in his way with embellishments: where he insets lace or stitches paillettes, how low a dress dips in back, how high a slit rises on the thigh. A sky blue silk crepe dress with gold guipure lace scrolling down one arm and side was particularly lovely. It’ll be a lucky actress who gets to wear it first.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed

Anne Valérie Hash

August 4, 2012 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Soft tailoring is Anne Valérie Hash‘s main gig. Comfy isn’t a word that gets used much in fashion, but maybe it should. It’s the reason why shoppers respond to her jackets that slouch on like a sweater and crossover waistline pants. Practicality isn’t a quality that gets cheered much, either, but Hash embraces it, whipping up blazers in a Japanese technical cotton that are completely reversible. She’s even got a “dress in a bag” in her new pre-collection. Take it off and you can stuff the whole thing into one of its gathered sleeves. If that cobalt jersey number was more marketing gimmick than anything else, it showcased Hash’s gorgeous color sense. The same shade of blue was used as a waistline accent on a great-looking terra-cotta all-in-one. Jumpsuits are doing well for the designer in stores, so she added several new styles to the lineup. There’s no reason to think they won’t perform just as well.
—Nicole Phelps
Runway Feed

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