Monday, 28 February 2011

LFW: Erdem Fall 2011 – Art Museum

Sorry this update is so late - I spent last week pretty much holed up in a hotel room with food poisoning. Thankfully, I'd seen all my shows, but even being vertical felt like a challenge, so I'm afraid to say I neglected my write-up of Erdem in favour of peppermint tea and ginger biscuits all week! Anyway, here we are (better late than never eh!):

This Fashion Week, Erdem specifically referenced “painting” as one of the inspirations for his collection, and “the V&A” as one of the perennial influences on his designs – as if any of this required articulation. Looking at Erdem’s pieces is, frankly, more like going to an exhibition than indulging your inner shopaholic: the pieces are so firmly grounded in classism (classicism?) that they feel like a work of art, an intellectual pursuit, rather than a guilty pleasure.

The most evocative element of the Fall 2011 collection was Erdem’s trademark use of painterly prints. This season, [century] watercolours showed alongside [century] silkscreened prints, tapping into an altogether artistic vein of inspiration. As well as employing the more obvious use of prints to directly reference art and classicism (classism?), Erdem also embraced classic shapes and structure: high necklines, 1940’s boudoir-inspired bodices, knee length pencil skirts on dresses and floor length pieces all made an appearance, a beautiful reminiscence on past but immortal styles in both art and fashion. The collection was modernized for the woman of the present by the occasional plunging neckline or just-above-the-knee slit, resulting in an aura of immaculate, rather than outdated, good taste.

Erdem is always one of the prettiest shows to watch, and this season was no exception. What transformed the collection from a habitual pleasure into a standout, however, was the more blatant than usual blurring of the lines between art and fashion, resulting in something more than just clothes. I’m going to have to call my art curator – she’s got competition.

All images: (Good news – I’ve decided on a new DSLR, at last! Good, original photos coming soon!)

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

LFW: Danielle Scutt Fall 2011 – Gypsy Wedding

Danielle Scutt is one of the bright young things Britain has to offer, a Central St. Martins graduate who sent out her first independent collection in 2008. This youthful freshness might explain what seems to be her interesting and slightly avant garde inspiration for her Fall 2011 collection: that of a beautiful young gypsy girl attending a wedding or other glamorous event in a piece she found at a small thrift store – which just happens to be vintage YSL. The gypsy trend is one that has not been plumbed for quite some time, and it’s rare to see a designer at Fashion Week going somewhat against the grain, but while Danielle Scutt’s vision may be of the past, her clothes are definitely of the future – the future of fashion, that is.

While Scutt’s collection clearly evokes the gypsy trend of old, the looks (sometimes even the very same pieces) are somehow simultaneously updated with on-trend structure and details. One look sashaying down the runway paired a fresh, bandage-style take on the popular-for-spring crop top with an altogether current skirt (midi length, pleated and high-waisted in a deep, caramel-meets-camel tone: in short, very on-trend), yet somehow the combination of a loose, swingy skirt and off-the-shoulder, bodycon, skin-baring top added up to a decidedly Romany-inspired vibe. Perhaps it was the Esmerelda-esque jewellery (long, golden, and involving lots of looped chain and big gold hoops on everything, from necklaces to belts) that appeared on practically every look, including the one described above. Other embellished looks included black jumpsuits and a two piece work suit, consisting of a grey midi skirt and sharp grey blazer (worn open with nothing underneath – the sensual savage!).

It cannot be denied that Danielle Scutt took a risk this season with her path-forging gypsy-themed Fall 2011 collection. I, for one, applaud designers who take a risk; who dare to follow their muse rather than everybody else’s. This is exactly what we need more of in fashion: trail blazers, creativity, and clothes that maintain both a strong identity and a subtle chameleonic relaxation – clothes that allow you to wear them, and not the other way around. In my opinion, Danielle Scutt has done beautifully, and I applaud her.

All images: (once again, I apologize! I’m expecting a new DSLR soon, which I hope will solve the problem of my own poor quality images!)

Monday, 21 February 2011

LFW: Clements Ribeiro Fall 2011 – Swinging Seventies

The label Clements Ribeiro is made up of married power duo Suzanne Clements and Inacio Ribeiro, and perhaps this is the reason for the incredible, unexpected synchronicity of the collection. The madcap mix of prints and seemingly contradictory inspirations are like two separate personalities, married (pun intended) and made to work not so much through compromise but through mutual understanding. In this case, the marriage is between two different time periods: the swinging seventies and the 21st century, and it’s a match made in heaven.

The seventies were clearly present in the Fall 2011 collection, from paisley and leopard prints and tie dye to towering platform shoes, the fluidity and calf-grazing midi lengths of the skirts and the peasant lace blouse-inspired top halves of the dresses. The gorgeous mixture of prints (one look went from a white Miss Havisham-esque halterneck collar to a white and purple tie dye shirt to an identically-coloured paisley print midi skirt) also contributed to a distinctly 70’s peasant-meets-hippie vibe.

All this might be making the collection sound like a dated throwback – not so. On the contrary, modernity plays a large role in the collection, tempering the 70’s feel and bringing the collection into the present. Military-inspired details and appliqué made their appearance on various jackets and coats; even on a modern bright blue cardigan. Recently-popular skinny belts topped many of these, and for such a small detail made a markedly large impression on the feel of the collection as a whole.

Clements and Ribeiro took a risk with their medley of strong elements and inspiration from two opposing time periods, but it paid off: like any good marriage, neither was compromised, but worked together to agree and produce a perfect partnership.

All images: (much better quality than my digital camera produced while the DSLR was out of action!)

Friday, 18 February 2011

Don't freak, PETA

It's still bitterly cold over here in the UK on occasion, and while I would gladly suffer any degree of severity when it comes to the weather for London Fashion Week, I'd rather not have to. This gorgeous fur coat is the perfect solution. I bought it several months ago (in the autumn) from Topshop, when you could still describe the weather as somewhat seasonal, so I didn't really have an excuse to wear something quite so ostentatious. However, thanks to the weather and the occasion (LFW), I can now proudly flaunt my faux fur anytime I want. Thank God for that.

Faux fur coat: Topshop
Floral body: Topshop
Lace maxi skirt: Forever 21
Ankle boots: New Look

London Fashion Week begins...

...and thankfully my press credentials arrived by email a couple of days ago, just in time! Phew! See you there!

NYFW: Marchesa Fall 2011 – Black Swan

In the critically acclaimed film ‘Black Swan’, unstable and dedicated dancer Lily goes through a terrible mental transformation in order to become capable of dancing the parts of both the innocent, pure White Swan and the dangerous, sensual Black Swan, all to snare a principal role in a company production for the first time. As her mental state fluctuates, Lily seems at times beautiful and fragile, and at others deadly and powerful. Besides the incredible acting and directing, one of the most powerful aspects of the film is the costume and makeup, used to impressive effect to reflect Lily’s state of mind. That having been said, Marchesa could easily be taking inspiration from ‘Black Swan’ with their dramatic and double pronged Fall 2011 collection, which epitomizes both the delicate, pure perfection of the White Swan and the sexual, unapologetically present aura of the Black Swan.

The first look (as posted above) perfectly epitomizes Odile, the Black Swan, in all her striking glory: the mesmerizing black and white spider web pattern on the bodice and pooling skirt that suggest an evil sorceress, the sexual bias cut design of the gown and provocative sheer arms, the velvety ‘touch me’ tactility of the skirt, and the black cloud of tulle surrounding the shoulders and head like wings. The next look, in total opposition, is Odette’s opening outfit: the white and nude fabric, the white rose (symbolic of purity) and vine appliqué, the flowing sheer tulle skirt that pools about the feet like mist as Odette meets the Prince on the lake for the first time. There are other, just as beautiful and detailed, dresses in the collection, and each one seems to fit perfectly with each part of the story. There is an almost gothic white and black gown with a completely sheer skirt, topped with a black blazer, which could well be Odile as she transforms into Odette under the spell of the evil sorcerer. There is a gorgeous white bridal-themed gown with an impressive full tulle skirt, which the model carries with confidence and a defiant look in her eye – it’s Odile, tricking the Prince into falling in love with her at the ball while disguised as Odette. Finally, there’s a delicate sleeveless number, with a skirt that fishtails into soft ruffles that tumble like a waterfall and spread around the feet: Odette, restored, finally, to her Prince and her happy ending.

It may have been Rodarte who designed the incredible ballet costumes for ‘Black Swan’, but Marchesa is really giving them a run for their money with their Fall 2011 collection. Whether you choose to play the Black or the White Swan, you will no doubt look ravishing in any of the Marchesa creations. I don’t know about you folks, but that seems like a happy ending to me.

All images: the Cut (

Thursday, 17 February 2011

NYFW: Oscar de la Renta Fall 2011 – Russian Doll

Oscar de la Renta is known for his sophisticated, elegant attire, and for Fall 2011 he brought his wealthy, uptown look to global royalty as Russian Tsarina and Oriental princess-inspired looks stormed down the runway. My favourites were the Russian-themed looks, which brought to mind images of a young, modern Anastasia marrying her traditional Cossack attire with that of a glamorous American designer while on diplomatic visits with the American President.

De la Renta clearly experimented with degrees of traditional-meets-modern, as every look, while clearly part of his Cossack inspiration, was different from every other. One look might well have existed in Anastasia’s times, with a fur-rimmed hood, string of rubies as a necklace and a melee of a dress: a mishmash of Russian-themed prints above the waist and rolls of opulent fox fur below. Other looks, on the other hand, were almost completely modern: a gorgeous, floor length, highly embellished sequined gold dress with a form-fitting design and bandeau bodice was given only a hint of Russification by a traditional black fur Cossack hat.

The shapes and materials used were just as experimental: full fur and feather skirts were paired with boucle jackets and two-piece boucle suits were the perfect daytime foil to the dramatic embellished floor length evening gowns.

De la Renta can always be relied on to produce stunning, elegant clothing, and his Fall 2011 collection did not disappoint. The worldwide royalty theme only added to his much-loved sense of opulence and exoticism, and I for one would love to play dress up in his clothes fit for a princess.

All images: the Cut (

NYFW: Dennis Basso Fall 2011 – Millionaire in Manhattan

Dennis Basso started his business in 1983 and is one of America’s premier couture designers working with fur, so he clearly knows his stuff. It shows – the Fall 2011 collection is masterful, and while most definitely a showcase for his magnificent and famed furs, never forgets the concept of the whole package: the furs aren’t the only magnificent thing here. Don’t you worry about the cold – Dennis Basso has got it all wrapped up.

The collection was all about how the fashionable, wealthy young woman does winter – elegantly, of course. The materials were a gorgeous, luxe mix of pure warmth: thick wool, velvety and light jersey and, of course, fur. The latter materialized everywhere: there were gorgeous, tiger’s eye-toned teddy bear coats, glamorous fur-adorned holdalls, fur stoles and snoods and intricately structured fur coats (the standout piece was a coat of two different types and colours of fur – a smooth, silky grey rabbit’s fur type and a more voluminous chocolate variety – with fur-furnished shoulders and cuffs, a drawstring tie at the waist and flowing, folding lapels).

While the fur was the main event, the side show was pretty good too: grey woolen legwarmers appeared over sheer tights and under knee length crocheted dresses with unexpectedly sexy plunging necklines and cozy long sleeves that covered the hands, and crocheted arm warmers in classy grey and trendy mustard appeared alongside an ingenious frilled halterneck crocheted wool dress and a layered ensemble of a knitted chocolate boyfriend cardigan belted over a light jersey dress topped with a fur stole, respectively.

The absolute beauty of this collection lay in its youth: despite the heavy use of crocheted and knitted fabrics and fur, the styling resulted in a ‘glamorous young Manhattanite’ vibe, bringing the collection into the present and affording it a priceless relevance, something quite difficult to come by in regard to fur-themed looks. Dennis Basso finds the perfect balance here, giving his hard-earned experience full expression yet without relying on past success or seeming dated. Bravo.

All images: the Cut (