Heohwan Simulation

May 31, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

It is a fact that Hwan Heo is a Korean designer and that his young brand is based in Seoul. But is that information relevant? Heo studied design in London. He presented his first five collections there, and the latest he debuted in Milan. Beyond that, though, you wonder about the relevance of Heohwan Simulation‘s geographic origins because it’s so difficult to locate anything specifically “Korean” about the label’s clothes. They have an international passport, you might say. This season, for instance, Heo was riffing on the not-very-Korean themes of eighties metal bands and, er, Kant. As in Immanuel Kant, the 18th-century philosopher. The link between these two themes was both simple and hilarious: Metallica’s second album is called Ride the Lightning, while Kant located beauty in the sublime of nature, e.g., awe-inspiring spectacles such as lightning. Duh. That translated into an appealing lightning motif through much of the collection, and lush floral prints and one collaged from the covers of old hair-metal albums. Apropos of the latter, this collection had a nice sense of fun—for all the rather dour black jackets and coats, with their cocoonish, Claude Montana-ish cuts, there were also pieces like a white leather bomber with black lace and fringe, which seemed the very apotheosis of late eighties L.A. groupie-chic. But then there were also items with a really artisanal loveliness, like those in a graphic, black-and-white wool fabric that seemed to be unraveling. All in all, this was a collection that showed a lot of promise—Heo hasn’t quite defined himself yet, but he’s full of good ideas and capable of making some very desirable clothes.
—Maya Singer
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Phoebe English

May 30, 2014 by  
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Phoebe English continues to impress. The neophyte London-based designer is evolving her brand only incrementally, and this season, like the last, felt more exploratory than finished and whole. But the ideas English is playing with are genuinely interesting, and with this collection, you can see her larger ambitions beginning to emerge. The thing about English—the thing that makes her work surprising but that also limits her, for now—is that she builds her collections from the materials up. This season, for instance, her standout pieces featured ticking—striped upholstery fabric—densely ruched and sewn together in bands. Elsewhere, English deftly draped latex and made arresting use of her signature tulle. But her textile sense puts her in danger of a kind of myopia. Even given an aesthetic preference for easy pieces and layered silhouettes, English’s collections veer a little too close to shapelessness. More definition, some sharpness, is required to make this brand grow.
—Maya Singer
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Lindsey Thornburg

May 29, 2014 by  
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Back in 2006, Lindsey Thornburg launched her namesake collection with witchy cloaks whipped up from deadstock Pendleton blankets. Over the years, the free-spirited designer has expanded to offer a full ready-to-wear range, but she remains best known for her capes, so it makes sense that she decided to keep the focus on them this season. Thornburg has built a strong relationship with Pendleton, and since Fall ’12 she’s been officially partnering with the historic Portland, Oregon-based mill on a co-branded line. Their latest collaboration stars in the Fall ’14 lookbook and its corresponding video, which features models stalking around a dry forest like high priestesses in some coven in Thornburg’s signature, sweeping toggled cloaks. What the collection lacked in scope was reconciled by its breadth of vibrant, graphic prints that were either custom-developed or Pendleton originals. To be sure, these bold patterns were the most psychedelic Thornburg has done to date, with highlights including a warped, Technicolor plaid, as well as an American-flag-inspired “stars and stripes” motif and a landscape print that evoked what the designer called a “cactus mirage in the middle of a peyote trip.” The result was Thornburg at her bohemian best, but we’d still like to see her make a more concerted push into other categories.
—Brittany Adams
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Adidas by Stella McCartney

May 28, 2014 by  
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Nature was on Stella McCartney’s mind as she designed her latest collection for Adidas. And that was reflected here in quite a few ways: There were the impressionistic photographic prints of the countryside in the south of England, carried over from Pre-Fall, and wood-grain prints that were new; there was also an earthy palette including forest green and bark brown. But the really interesting engagement with nature was happening under the surface of this Adidas by Stella McCartney collection. For one thing, McCartney focused additional effort on using organic cotton, as well as introducing a low-waste dye process. Elsewhere, thermal running pants—featuring new “climaheat” technology—and McCartney’s first trail-running shoe were less exemplary in terms of sustainability, but these did suggest that McCartney would like people to get outside, into nature, rather than merely appreciating it as an aesthetic. And if that exploration of nature should go awry? Not to fear, as long as you’re wearing one of McCartney’s ski jackets outfitted with Recco geolocation technology. GPS tracking never looked so good.
—Maya Singer
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Rachel Zoe

May 27, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Rachel Zoe canceled her New York fashion week show in February to spend time with her newborn son and promote her new book, Living in Style. Taking a step back worked out for the celebrity stylist-cum-designer, whose new lineup felt more focused than those of seasons past. Zoe has a long-standing affinity for the glamour of the seventies, but this time around she went for a swinging sixties vibe, which tapped into one of Fall’s major trends. “I’ve said it before: I don’t think that my love for French ingenues of that era is ever going to change. It’s how you express that and make it new and modern,” Zoe said during a phone interview. She made references to the youthquake era with boxy jumpers and pleated miniskirts that looked fresh teamed with pointy oxford flats. Clean shift dresses were updated in a variety of novelty fabrications, including a slightly frayed tweed accented with delicate metallic chains, while classic bateau stripes were tweaked with graphic matte sequins. While there was nary a flared pantsuit in sight, Zoe managed to incorporate plenty of her signature tailoring throughout the collection. Among the highlights were a pair of pleated, wide-legged leather pants, as well as a houndstooth blazer shown with matching suspender trousers, and a menswear-inspired peacoat that popped in an electric “peacock” shade of blue. Still, Zoe couldn’t resist addressing the bohemian side of the sixties, so she also included lace baby dolls, groovy fringe tops, and brown suede bell-bottoms. They diluted the collection’s message a bit but should still appeal to her customer. All in all, this was a big improvement for Zoe.
—Brittany Adams
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Nomia

May 26, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Every cool girl who lived in New York during the nineties remembers X-Girl. The fashion line cofounded by Kim Gordon quickly earned a cult following for its shrunken tees, miniskirts, skater pants, and celebrity supporters such as Sofia Coppola and Chloë Sevigny. As a streetwise Manhattan native, X-Girl left a lasting impression on Nomia‘s Yara Flinn, and she cited the brand as a reference point for her new Fall collection. At a showroom preview, the designer also reminisced over days spent leafing through Delia’s catalogs and thrifting at Canal Jeans. Flinn channeled her nostalgia in a modern way. She paired Lurex-flecked mock turtleneck dresses with clean parka coats that looked pretty in pastel-colored taffeta, for example, and teamed cropped sweaters with crepe maxi skirts boasting killer high slits. This season, Flinn was a bit more playful in terms of introducing color and experimenting with specialty fabrications. She latched on to still-happening fringe, which accented several pieces including a boxy T-shirt dress and split-seam tunics. Other highlights included a bomber jacket that came in plush, Astrakhan-effect velvet, and patch-pocket jumpsuits that gave off a utilitarian vibe. Compared with recent outings, there was less emphasis on streetwear and more emphasis on sophistication, which felt like a definite step forward for Nomia.
—Brittany Adams
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Camilla and Marc

May 25, 2014 by  
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There is a funny disconnect in learning that sister-and-brother duo Camilla Freeman Topper and Marc Freeman used Francis Bacon’s Three Studies of Lucian Freud as a starting point for their new Camilla and Marc collection. Their clothes have none of Bacon’s bilious color, and even less of the unsettled abstraction conveyed in the famous painting, which Christie’s sold for $ 142.4 million last year. In the end, it was the geometric frame enclosing Freud on the triptych that inspired the Australian designers, who went so far as to have a similar piece made for their video and lookbook.

While its sharp linearity appealed to the designers, they ended up with a more feminine balance thanks to floaty organza, a strong diamond jacquard, and soft georgette, all in a palette of mostly black, red, and white. Their checkered lace was the winning material; the openwork grid was pretty and assertive in equal measure. It also conveyed the “game board” theme they used as an additional frame of reference to convey “power and confidence.” It’s in these instances that you wonder whether ideas detract from execution. And yet the designers maintained their figure-flattering silhouettes—waist-emphasizing, knee-grazing, décolletage-baring—and even managed to introduce a neoprene duffle coat and flawless silk satin pant that showed their ability to think forward and finesse. Get past the Bacon comparisons and the other influences and you’re left with a strong, wearable collection that can hold its own.
—Amy Verner
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See by Chloé

May 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

The See by Chloé team used three key terms starting with “p” to describe the new Fall collection: pretty, preppy, and party-ready. Those words not only described the lineup, they also spoke to the carefree nature of the diffusion brand in general. This season, Clare Waight Keller and co. put a youthful spin on typically grown-up fabrics such as pied-de-poule tweed, which was blown up and shown on flirty drawstring miniskirts and hooded bomber jackets. Meanwhile, a delicate Chantilly lace with a gold foil finish was cut into sporty sweatshirts, wispy slips, and thigh-grazing shifts that looked modern accompanied by a faux fur collar and basket-weave loafers with a slight David Bowie vibe. The faux fur incorporated throughout—on a plush, melon-colored chubby and shearling effect toppers—looked like the real deal (without the luxury price tag, of course). Other playful highlights included basic shirtdresses and button-ups with sequined, trompe l’oeil accents, as well as easy silk separates featuring a “galaxy” print inspired by one of Karl Lagerfeld’s original patterns for the French fashion house from the early eighties. All in all, a very energetic and wearable outing from SBC.
—Brittany Adams
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Maison Martin Margiela

May 23, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Marion Cotillard turned up at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this week in a minidress from Maison Martin Margiela‘s Artisanal collection, densely embroidered from neckline to hem with multicolor buttons, crystals, and various other doodads. By and large, the label’s new Resort collection is far less embellished, but the lab-coated designers in the MMM studios can’t resist making their tweaks. A sweater is never just a sweater, instead it’s a little pink mohair knit with detachable shrug sleeves. Jackets, as smartly tailored as usual, feature linings that peek out from lapels and sleeves, or entire second jackets that can be layered or worn separately. Pants were mostly left alone—why mess with a good thing? But skirts were a different story; one leather style was actually a vest worn inside out and snapped around the waist over black stirrup pants.

The MMM ethos is to challenge expectations. They created “summer fur” by quilting raffia for a bomber jacket, and turned tweed into a warm-weather fabric by weaving laminated threads. But if they’re fashion intellectuals, it’s not only about experimentation for experimentation’s sake. They also like to have their fun. The girl who wears their glass-beaded backless bib and tuxedo pants on the red carpet is guaranteed to have plenty fun of her own.
—Nicole Phelps
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Cerre

May 22, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Since launching Cerre in 2005, L.A. husband-and-wife duo Clayton and Flavie Webster have developed a following for lambskin biker jackets that are handcrafted in their Melrose Avenue atelier. In recent years, the West Coast brand has been tapped by A-list costume designer Trish Summerville to create hundreds of custom pieces for Hollywood blockbusters The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. But if it’s Cerre’s perfect Perfectos that continue to draw new customers, it’s the increased focus on tailoring that keeps them coming back. This season, the Websters focused on a comparatively relaxed silhouette with high-waisted, wide-legged trousers and slouchy suiting separates that gave off a confident, androgynous vibe à la Katharine Hepburn. Elsewhere, they cut more feminine pieces from menswear-inspired materials that didn’t feel too precious. A one-shouldered black dress and circle skirt—both of which featured flattering, asymmetric cascades—came in a luxe felted wool that was also used on a windowpane-check poncho. As usual, outerwear was a particular strength here, with standouts including sumptuous wrap coats accented with subtle architectural pleats around the neckline. In terms of leather items, a swingy trapeze dress and tough pencil skirt with a zipper that curved around the hip felt fresh. Ditto went for the oversize, buckled hobo bag. Instead of models, the latest short video stars real friends and supporters of the brand, such as fashion editor Annina Mislin and Natalia Bonifacci. “People always ask us, ‘Who is your woman?’ We have her and decided to show her off this time around,” they explained.
—Brittany Adams
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