Z Zegna

June 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Z Zegna‘s guest show at Pitti Uomo (which included a highly entertaining acrobatic extravaganza) marked the relaunch of the label. Zegna Sport has essentially been folded into the Z Zegna range with the intention of creating a line of youthful, high-performance clothes that still focus on quality materials and slick Italian tailoring. Company veterans Paul Surridge (former creative director of Z Zegna) and Murray Scallon (formerly the head designer at Zegna Sport) are now codesigning the rebooted brand, and they both stressed the importance of merging practicality, functionality, integrity, and style.

Z Zegna’s Spring ’15 was largely based around an on-the-go urban man and his daily commute. This inspiration served the designers well when it came to outerwear. The “motor parka,” designed specifically for men who ride a motorbike or a Vespa, was particularly brilliant from a conceptual and aesthetic standpoint. “It’s a cross between a short jacket and a cape,” explained Scallon. Though it was made out of tech fabric (and thermo-sealed, for that matter), its cut and sweeping silhouette were both masculine and elegant. Snaps down the side allowed for mobility, and there were even straps on the lining that can attach to the leg to prevent wind-induced sartorial mishaps. The chunky cotton-nylon-blend cardigans were great, too, with their beaded texture, deep pockets, and subtle shawl collars.

The suiting is where the pair got more experimental. Zegna has developed a Techmarino fabric, which is made of wool but feels a bit like nylon. This light, breathable, and basically rip-proof material was employed for everything from drawstring-waist shorts and crisp blazers to slim trousers and hooded windbreakers. The intention here was good, but the execution needed finessing. As they strolled down the runway at Florence’s Stazione Leopolda, some of the models looked like they were wearing glorified tracksuits rather than Italian-tailored garments. And the sweatshirt-collared shirt hybrids, paired with matching ties, may have been too far afield for Zegna’s loyal customers. Catering to a new crowd of potential clients is a good move for a classic brand like Z Zegna, but just because a 20- or 30-something desires practical, comfortable clothes, doesn’t mean he wants to feel like he’s dressed for the gym while entering the office.

The designers are on the right track, though, given the evolving activewear-as-ready-to-wear trend. They looked to the street for their styling cues, and their sporty slant felt on point. They even created some very luxe sneakers. Offered in a variety of textures and colors, the kicks’ tongues and toes featured the brand’s emblem—a pentagon—which was also worked into clothing prints and laser-cut linings. “Zegna is a name that’s hugely known, but maybe the younger generation still thinks of it as something their father would wear. This collection is all about celebrating the accessibility of what Zegna can be, and making it relevant for a younger generation,” said Scallon.
—Katharine K. Zarrella
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Paco Rabanne

June 19, 2014 by  
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Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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No. 21

June 18, 2014 by  
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Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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Eudon Choi

June 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

A few seasons back, Eudon Choi was one to watch; now people are staring, somewhat obsessively. This Resort collection, his first, was based on the 2012 Bauhaus exhibit at London’s Barbican—its impact lingered for him, and he was especially influenced by the wooden toys created during that halcyon period of German artistic expression. Yet Choi took a relatively heavy reference and turned it into something light and playful, with colors one might find in a baby’s nursery: sherbet yellow, dusky rose, sky blue. For example, a tailored yet forgiving cotton poplin dress had bow details and linear paneling at the back—hot-weather dressing at its best. That same fabric showed up in a boxy blouse with more bows, as well as a couple of “work” shirts with ruffle details on the inside of the collar. This was a fresh take on the white shirt, and it wasn’t surprising when Choi mentioned that his top sellers have moved from outerwear to shirts.

Simplicity met sweet with a series of looks in mikado silk with that bow detailing again: There was a strapless jumpsuit, an uncomplicated tunic dress, and a bomber jacket that stood out for its solid, high-quality snap buttons. The inner child was summoned via a sweater with a rocking-horse motif and a sweatshirt that had crystal detailing of clouds and thunderclaps. Some supersoft cashmere sweaters showed those Bauhaus sharp angles and straight lines, but the effect was offset by the nursery-room colors. Then came the look with the most overt Bauhaus reference: a trapeze dress with a ruffled hem and patchwork palette—that was one for the art lovers, said Choi: “I was thinking the collection would hit the shops in October, just in time for a customer looking for something to wear to the Frieze Art Fair.”

Choi really hit design gold with the last looks in sherbet yellow and sky blue, all in cotton embroidered on organza. There was a knee-length skirt with folded hem pleats, and a peplum blouse and trapeze dress with a subtle geometric pattern was structured yet flowy at the same time. It showed how much time Choi spends on fabric innovation as well as design and wearability. Those items are bound to create a lot of excitement on the shop floor.
—Afsun Qureshi
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Casely-Hayford

June 16, 2014 by  
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Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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Agi & Sam

June 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

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Opening Ceremony

June 14, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

There’s always a lot to take in at an Opening Ceremony presentation. This morning, that included a parade of models down Howard Street, two lithe live violinists whom Carol Lim and Humberto Leon had discovered busking in the subway, and the much-expanded Opening Ceremony store itself, where the presentation was held. Then, of course, there were the clothes: Lim and Leon chose to show their women’s Resort and men’s Spring collections in tandem, and both of these collections mashed up a multitude of materials and ideas. Sensory overload has become something of a signature of the OC brand.

At any rate, the ideas here were worth exploring. Conceptually, the most interesting one was about magnification vs. micro-fication, demonstrated in prints that featured photographic fronds and palm trees, on the one hand, or magnified bacterium (or something) on the other. One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small. And the trippiest print of all, for some reason, was the one with all the anemones. Why anemones? Why not? Lim and Leon used the anemones in both the men’s and women’s collections.

From the point of view of sales, meanwhile, the most interesting thing in the women’s collection was the new denim. As Leon explained, Opening Ceremony has no intention of getting into the skinny denim trade; they just want to use denim as a fashion fabric. They’ll find lots of takers for their printed and stitch-detail minis and jeans, which looked particularly good paired with this collection’s fine, graphic ottoman knits.

Over on the menswear side of the store, the vibe was more sporty. Mesh, zip details, anoraks. Fabrications were key here, with cool materials like a latex-coated cotton done in yellow or a spongy technical that gave pieces like a natty gray coat a futuristic feel. The op-art knits compounded the trippiness. Taken together, these men’s and women’s collections may mark the moment that Opening Ceremony matured its tone from quirky-cute to downright weird. Which isn’t a bad thing in the least.
—Maya Singer
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Preen by Thornton Bregazzi

June 13, 2014 by  
Filed under Fashion News

Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi have got their Preen by Thornton Bregazzi thing down to a science. Sport elements, fractured pattern, an emphasis on the dressy-but-not-too-dressy dress, the color red—these are some of the boxes Thornton and Bregazzi tick off in their collections, season in and season out. Given the emphasis on commerce, Resort isn’t the season to ask for a major update. But one is starting to seem due. In the meantime, however, this collection made for a pleasant visit back to the Preen comfort zone, with a lot of appealingly breezy dresses in a fractured ikat-inspired pattern of silk dévoré, and others in an irregular dot. They also included activewear references, like zips, mesh, and the graphic line down the side of a pair of trousers. There were a couple of dubious looks—a blazer with nylon anorak sleeves, for instance—but in general Thornton and Bregazzi did yeoman’s work on the details of these clothes, and the best pieces here had a sense of surprise as a result of that. Perhaps the single most compelling look, for example, was the trenchcoat, cut long or short, with an interior halter that made it seem to be falling off the shoulders a bit and neon vinyl stripes along the cuff. There’s some kick in the old Preen codes yet, that’s for sure.
—Maya Singer
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J.W. Anderson

June 12, 2014 by  
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Our review will be posted shortly. See the complete collection by clicking the image at left.
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Marios Schwab

June 3, 2014 by  
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