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AltaRomAltaModa

While Milan keeps tight hold of its place as Italian fashion capital - and one of the world fashion capitals as well - Rome is more and more gaining ground in the field. With its AltaRomAltaModa, the city has become one of the most recognised fashion spots in Italy, after Milan and Florence - the latter one having the worldly famous Pitti Uomo event  especially for the Who is on Next? event, this year got to its 10th birthday, in collaboration with Vogue Italia to find and bring up the new talents based in Italy (more info about this year’s edition in another post I’ll upload one of the next days).

DAY 1

Couture, as the name of the kermesse says - Alta Moda is High Fashion in Italian, as many of my readers SHOULD know (è_é) - is of course the focus of this Roman ‘fashion week’, and indeed Sarli Couture was the first brand to show its collection. In a world where couture and prêt-à-porter are more and more similar, you can’t really describe as couture a collection with no drama and no innovation in it. This show, with a vague 60s vibe had some elegant and clean pieces, and there were also some good ideas, I must say, in the embroidery and decorations, but in general it seems to me that, to make the collection really modern and new, there was something missing. Just didn’t satisfy me at all.

Luigi Borbone chose silk and tweed in dusty warm colours, the most recognisable recurring theme of this discrete collection in which measured opulence was the key concept. Antonella Rossi was inspired by 60s as well, and by opulence again, but this time it seemed to me there was no try at modernising the style. Old is only good in museums, let’s try and learn the lesson.

Giada Curti's main question(photo 1) seemed to be 'can Armani and Dior live happily together? She gave the impression she tried to answer the question using a mix between Armani's understatement and Dior's femininity. As a result, this collection was not at all the most interesting in terms of originality, but I must say it's anyway laudable and enjoyable.

DAY 2

Fabio Quaranta (photo 2 & 3) was possibly the real surprise of AltaModAltaRoma. Men and women were walking the same catwalk reinforcing a trend that I’ve seen in many collections lately: boys and girls exchange their respective wardrobes. So, the vaguely countryside-like oversize jacket of the man becomes a little tweed waistcoat/bermudas ensemble for her; girls wear boyfriend blue jeans, boys turn to floral/brocade-patterned ensemble in soft colours. This collection by Quaranta was without any doubt one of the most complete summaries I’ve seen so far about what is happening in fashion right now.

Rani Zakhem, unfortunately, was not as brilliant. Gowns, gowns, gowns… Beautiful, but still so predictable. And then, where’s the unique point of view of the designer? I’ve seen Elie Saab, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana in this collection, but nothing new and personal.

Accademia Kofia (photo 4), the first of many schools showing at the event, convinced me even more of something I’m more and more persuaded everyday: students are the most creative source of fashion we have. With an imagery that went from childhood to fairytales and cartoon, this collection took creativity itself as ispiration, and the result was STUNNING. Can’t you see the marzipan roof of Hansel & Gretel story in the skirt of the photo? Just brilliant!

Antonio Grimaldi Haute Couture, to close the day, was surely not the best collection I’ve seen, but you can definitely see alta moda in the attention to details and in the decorations.

DAY 3

Greta Boldini (photo 5) chose white as the purest colour, accompanied then by pearl, bronze and sky blue as shades of fine luxury and femininity. This collection definitely wanted to celebrate minimalism without giving up on the richness of cut and textile. And minimalism was evident in Sabrina Persechino's collection (photo 6) as well. I wondered if her direction was a new minimalist take on Asian fashion, because this is my impression. From the shape of the hats to the cut of the first looks - reminding of the side button-fastening of kimonos - the collection evolves to a kind of contemporary architectural inspiration. The passage from traditional to modern?

Curiel Couture just delivered one of the worst collections so far: not cohesive, feathers, lace, glitters, paintings, velvet were the main choices for this line. Maybe too much?

DAY 4

Beat of Africa opened the fourth day of AltaModAltaRoma with a splash of colour. What’s more representative of the continent than its prints? And what’s the most difficult thing a designer can do with prints? Mixing them, of course! That’s what Lisa Folawiyo (photo 7) brilliantly did without running the risk of being ridiculous. And of course, Stella Jean (photo 8), the queen of exotic prints, - have I already said I love her to death??? - couldn’t miss this opportunity. The giraffe coat is just OUTSTANDING! And she also managed to make her prints work with menswear as well!

San Andrès Milano (photo 9) paired together tartan and silk, lace and silk, stripes and silk… The luxurious material becomes an element to add a rich vibe to every style, and viceversa the playful styles help putting irony into the richness represented by the glossy silk. 

Esme Vie, one of the most successful designers born with Who is on next? delivered a collection where simple and clean were the keywords. No prints, very little decoration, solid plain colours and just some flowers - in the same colour as the outfit - to add a little something to the looks. The only concession to opulence is the slightly shiny quality of the fabrics used. Immaculate, I would say.

Peter Langner started his collection in a slightly dark way, to continue towards the end lighting up more and more. The fabrics manipulated in different ways give the impression of a subtle, interesting movement visible even from the photos. Only negative note - sometimes there was really too much going on (like in the black tulle gown at the end of the catwalk).

Renato Balestra - like in plastic, it’s fantastic! used to sing Aqua in the 90s. Wonder if he agrees after all the surgery he got - delivered a not bad collection after all - I expected much less from this dinosaur of Italian fashion, to be honest. Anyway, the problems were the same as with many others ‘old-generation’ Italian designers. They can’t really separate their style from surpassed conceptions just like the ever-existing dichotomy black/white as well as from the idea that elegance is in most cases - like this collection wanted to prove, I would say - a long evening gown. Concepts that can be revisited and reproposed for sure, but not from Renato Balestra. He’s not able to do it.

DAY 5

The last day of Alta Moda in Rome was dedicated to fashion schools. After seeing the works from the students of Scuola di Moda Ida Ferri I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the worst fashion can offer me. To talk about talent, instead, one of the schools really struck me: Accademia Altieri (photo 10). The element that really distinguished the schools among others was basically the unpretentiousness of the designs by its students. Simple looks were made unique with just few steps - just look at the simple pullover in the photo, and how it’s destructured and draped. Even the drama, which made its presence felt in some gowns, was measured and balanced the rest of the creations.

In general, AltaModAltaRoma seems to be, despite its still not being mature and lacking of organisation - you could see it from the fact that there wasn’t a clear direction for the seasons to show, but a mix of couture, fall collections and summer lines -,a very good opportunity to experience fashion from every point of view: not only did we have runway shows, but also talks, exhibits and workshops. A real 365 degrees insight into fashion.

Stay tuned for full coverage of this year’s Who is On Next! DON’T MISS IT!

xxx

Dolce & Gabbana ALTA MODA

What’s more Italian than a Dolce & Gabbana collection? The duo of designers have been continuously referring to their - and my, actually - homeland for their last collections, whether ready to wear or haute couture. And this last, amazing, fairytale-like Alta Moda collection was not an exception. This time, the stunning scenario chosen to present their line was Capri, a place not new to the showbiz, after being one of the hottest places for celebrities during the 50s. And it was just the 50s that Stefano and Domenico called back to life with this collection where the ingredients were effortless elegance and a strong, innate Italian vibe visible in the patterns, in the cuts, in the high quality of all the pieces delivered to the Capri-style dressed crowd attending the show in the breathtaking natural stage of the island.

The collection was made of pieces created to satisfy every taste and every need: two pieces swimsuits were paired to coats as well as to fur boots, in a mix of seasons and styles that was the real turning point of this collection compared to their previous ones. Indeed, there was an obvious fil rouge linking this line to all the other latest collections created by the duo, totally visible in the returning floral and fruit patterns (lemons, again, maybe as a symbol of Domenico Dolce’s Sicily), gold and golden embroideries (do we really want to talk about the gold bustier in the last photo? DIVINE), a continuous return to the elegance of simple, even with a tad of chastity to them, yet undoubtedly sexy, black dresses. All things that we’ve already seen from them, and that, if after a first look could seem too redundant, at a second glance present some details that distinguish them from the past collections.

And so, the classic Italian black lace is paired with sailor horizontal stripes; the beautiful ballgowns with full skirts have now a pattern inspired by the blue and yellow majolica ceramic of the island; waists are higher, skirts are wider, colours more varied. 

Yes, overall, the general impression is that of a collection with too many references, even if updated, to their previous seasons. But it seems to me like a consciously made choice. What Dolce & Gabbana have wanted to do with their fashion lately, especially if we’re talking about Alta Moda, is exploring their first and foremost inspiration, their homeland, Italy. And Italy, as a whole nation, is made of differences, as well as of similarities. Just like Dolce & Gabbana’s collections.

In a moment like this, in which this nation seems to be tired, broken and, I would say, feels old, their message is tremendously true. North or South, East or West, one thing is sure: WE ARE ITALIAN.

xxx

Paris Fashion Week - Fall 2014 Couture: DAY 5

I’m sorry sorry SORRY for just leaving my blog untouched during these last days and not even finishing my reviews about Paris Fashion Week! But even if with three days of delay, now I’m ready to cover the last day of couture fashion shows :D

The first thing I thought watching the Serkan Cura show - the designer who opened the last day of this fashion week -  was ‘how many birds did they kill to create this collection?’ EVERYTHING was covered in feathers! Each look singularly was not even bad, but in general my personal opinion is that it lacked consistency in style, apart from the feathers and the drama, the only positive point I could think of about this show.

Zuhair Murad, who has easily become one of the most loved designer for his elegant and timeless creations presented a collection which was good, but at the end of the day the problem stays the same: he always is elegant and timeless in the same boring way. In general it didn’t seem to me that the clothes showed a young aesthetic, in fact it was borderline old fashioned. The silhouettes were very predictable and of course, all the dresses were fairytale like and something a princess would wear, but this makes this show a classic, already-seen couture fashion show. What has Zuhair Murad brought to the fashion biz this season? Nothing, just like Elie Saab always does - is it a coincidence they both come from Beirut and they design the same fucking things? This show would leave me even indifferent if it wasn’t for just one small detail: THE SHOULDER DRESS. My worst enemy. I think it’s like the cheapest thing a designer can create. Shame on you Zuhair.

Ralph & Russo (photo 1,2 & 3) didn’t deliver the most original and unique collection for sure, but at least they had some very interesting ideas. There was a very strong 50s vibe to all the outfits, updated with white lace prevailing over anything else. The lace, especially, looked like it had some baroque feel to it; it was a sort of mix between lace and brocade. One of the pieces I liked the most was the silky top which becomes a beautiful long drape flowing in the air with a mesmerising flowy movement. The last part of the collection looked like an evolution of the first one, a try to add some avant-gardea drama - and the result was not that bad after all.

Dice Kayek (photo 4,5,6 & 7) had a whole collection of total showstoppers. It was like a fashion zoom: every piece presented an oversized detail, like pleats, knots, big puffed sleeves. The colour palette was very clean and plain, going from pastel shades to bright tones of blue, yellow, red, as well as a more minimal optical white. The cherry on top of the cake was the shoes in colour blocking with the rest of the outfit. Contemporary is definitely the best word to define this amazing collection.

xxx

Paris Fashion Week - Fall 2014 Couture: DAY 4

Day 4 of Paris Couture Week was definitely THE BEST until now! There were very few runway shows but every one of them left a good impression on me.

Maison Martin Margiela (photo 1) created an ethereal collection which took inspiration from Art Nouveau. Chiffon, feathers, embroidery, sequins adorned the dresses, however without making the woman look heavy at all, but adding grace to her figure. Grace which was sexed up by a huge amount of skin left showing, resulting in an artistic concept of naked beauty.

Frank Sorbier then delivered a not so bad collection where drama was present in every piece. The thing that in my opinion threw it under the bus was the lack of a cohesion whatsoever. Pity. Elie Saab (photo 2) is not at all among my favourite designers, I would definitely say he’s one of the designers that I like less, because, even if it’s undoubtedly true that he can design beautiful gowns, he really always does the same sort of thing: long dresses, sparkles, glitter, draping… And he did it this time as well. The fact in his show there was no daywear at all tells a lot about how traditional and closed is his view on couture. But anyway, there were some dresses which really marked a sort of evolution from his usual line of work - like the one I put in this post - and, as I wrote before, it’s impossible not to admit that his gowns are exquisite.

Rad Hourani (photos 3,4 & 5) had one of the most interesting collections of this couture fashion week, and probably the most interesting of day 4. There are two main reasons for this: 1. he also designed some menswear couture pieces; 2. he showed a new take on kimono, a piece which is already “destructured” and minimalist in its way and was dismantled again by the designer to analyse its structure more deeply. Another striking point - at least for me - is that the collection was total black - a dusty shade of black, I would say - and yet it hit you right in the face with the power of a rainbow. The result was an ensemble of edgy silhouettes with clean cuts, all of them made cohesive by the obvious reference to the kimono. It really looked like every gown, skirt, top, was just the same item turned around, draped differently, transformed to look like another piece of clothing. Brilliant!

Jean Paul Gaultier (photo 6) turned to horror stories for his - over the top, of course - collection with an army of vampire models walking the runway in black and blood-red - could there be a more obvious choice of colours? The styling with a pale skintone paired with rouge lips was definitely the last, perfect touch to make all the models look like femmes fatales.

For Adeline André, showing after Jean Paul Gaultier, couture rhymes with basic and minimal: all her pieces were just plain, cleanly cut outfits worshipping the god of minimalism. Valentino (photos 7,8 & 9) instead chose a more sophisticate take for its own collection. It seems past, in a historical sense, not in its common sense used in fashion as cyclical reference to old styles of clothing, it’s a must of the season. And it couldn’t be different for Chiuri & Piccioli, who are constantly inspired by (Italian) history. Most of the clothes were definitely inspired by PreRaphaelites - you could see the draping which made the models look like beautiful, ethereal figures painted by Dante Gabriel Rossetti - and Pompeii - the decorations, for example, like in photo 9 especially -, seen, maybe, as a symbol of past which is kept unaltered until today and even becomes part of modernity. It seems like the two designers are suggesting that the new period that is opening for the fashion world will be characterised by a more acute interest in history, without only referring to fashion and costume history. 

Last designers to show yesterday, Viktor & Rolf's collection (photo 10) was all about red carpet - no, not the glam and celebrities connected to red carpet, but the carpet as an object. It's always very interesting to notice how Viktor & Rolf always manage to narrow their inspiration sphere to only one item and build a whole very cohesive story around it. This time the inspiration was extremely simple and yet new, unexpected and giving birth to a lot more of profound reflections. The irony with which the two Dutch designers put the red carpet on the models' bodies resulted in a fabric which is manipulated and transformed into dozens of different shapes. The colour was of course total red, but yet this doesn't mean that the colour palette stops only to plain, solid shades, as proven by the animalier prints in different tones of red. The general impression is an effortless look with a lot of effort in the thinking behind it.

xxx

Paris Fashion Week - Fall 2014 Couture: DAY 3

Day 3 is one of the most awaited appointments in the Couture agenda, basically because the most important of all the couture brands shows during this day: Chanel (photos 1,2 & 3).

Keiser Karl seems to be inspired by a dimension without time and space constrictions, a dimension in which the fashion he created can only be defined as pure Chanel. We have all the signature characteristics of the brand: high femininity, structure, attention to detail, the evergreen tweed and, a constant feature in the last Chanel collections, flat shoes. In this auto-referential effort Lagerfeld’s main concern, focus and inspiration was the structure. I already wrote yesterday about the focus on structure in Raf Simons’s Dior collection; but while for Dior there were also multiple references to history, for this Chanel fall 2014 couture collection the one and only inspiration came from architecture: you could notice this aspect looking at the cut and the shape of the silhouettes - the dress in photo 2, doesn’t it look like a skyscraper? And the cutouts of the vest in photo 3 definitely resemble the glass surface of a skyscraper -, very stiff, bold and perfectly balanced, as well as from the colour used, grey, brown, chalk white, which make me think of everything that has to do with buildings and construction. If we even think about it, architecture is all about finding a balance between comfort and aesthetic, creating beautiful places in which people can live. Isn’t this the very core of Chanel world? The fact that tweed, a very stiff fabric absolutely suitable for architectural shapes and, at the same time, warm, soft and cozy, is the signature fabric of the brand, tells us a lot about this.

Bouchra Jarrar with her collection presented a sort of biker style suggested by the insertion of leather cut in edgy shapes and balanced by silky trousers and pleated chiffon skirts, as well as white and cream tailored trousers. Stéphane Rolland (photo 4) chose this time to present her collection with an exhibit, a not-so-right decision: her inspiration seemed to come from the original Schiaparelli aesthetic, but in such a literal way that the dresses, despite being impeccable and showing an interesting visionary aesthetic, looked like historical costumes. And the exhibit gave credit to the impression of being in an art gallery. Fashion meets art, but let’s try to stay within the limits.

Armani Privé (photo 5), instead, which is usually very subtle and sober, this time went a little bit edgier. Thick textures, large shoulders, bold cuts, big volumes: the Armani Privé woman looks like a - pretty - warrior protected by a - feminine - armour, in a colour palette going from usual Armani shades of grey and black to a more unusual blood red. It seems like King Giorgio took colours - contrast between black and white, for example - and silhouettes - knee-length coats and little dresses - from the 60s and made them sharper, changing curves into angles and adding some 80s over the top large shoulders on his models. The flash of polka dots in the mid-runway looks adds a little bit of sweetness to a very strong collection.

Ulyana Sergeenko (photos 6,7 & 8), from Russia, is one of the fastest growing designers and now that everyone - well, at least the fashion biz - on this part of the world knows her, it seems that she wants to play big - or at least bigger than usual. In this collection there were many more Western inspired styles than in her previous collections, styles that she smartly mixes with one of the main features brought to your mind if you think of modern Russia: luxury - we see it in the precious leather, the fur, the gold details, the glossy silk. If this is usually something seen as already surpassed and old in fashion - with the exception of Cavalli and Versace - for Ulyana is not old at all, as it’s so far away from her usual style. Everything in this collection screamed sexy - even dominatrix if we want to push the boundaries a little bit further - but with never being vulgar. The contrast between hard and soft - which you can totally see in photo 6 - was the thing that won me over without any doubts at last. Awesome.

xxx

PARIS FASHION WEEK - FALL 2014 COUTURE

And just after one week or so from the previous Menswear collections, Paris opens up again to fashion for one of the most exciting moments in the agenda of a fashion lover: Couture Fashion Week.

The debate about whether high fashion is dead or not is put aside while we are all blown away by the creations of some of the most talented designers on earth. These first two days already showed some great ideas but I’m excited to see what comes next.

Monday opened with two designers who decided to come back after some years of silence. The first one was Fred Sathal, with a collection full of kaftans and lots of sequins - as well as a lot of fur/dead animals, pity! - which brought to the viewer’s mind images of a sort of hippie/70s glam. But the real comeback was the one by Stéphanie Coudert (photo 1) who presented a collection with a vague colonial inspiration, sort of Parisian elegance meets North Africa - it’s not the first time I talk about a colonial inspiration during the last runway shows, is it just a coincidence???. We see Paris in the sleek, effortless and feminine silhouettes, renewed this time by the not-so-obvious ‘exotic’ details. 

Atelier Versace (photo 2) closed the opening day of couture and WOW! For the first time Donatella convinced me in some way, putting aside for one moment some of the kitsch/trashy style which characterises her brand. If it wasn’t for the huge amount of leather, of naked skin and the presence of bustiers on draped dresses, as well as a vague over-the-top feeling, I would never say this collection was designed by Versace. Finally Donatella understood that a little bit less is A LOT MORE! The style was definitely sort of 50s - reminds me of the first Christian Dior, an inspiration which I’ve already found in some others collections during this couture fashion week - contaminated by the sexual - notice, NOT sexy - Versace style. 

On the second day the excitement didn’t seem to fade out as the day started with an explosion by Schiaparelli (photo 3). Marco Zanini, the head designer of the newly restored historical brand, is definitely into the brand mood, and you can totally see it by comparing this amazing collection to the previous one of the beginning of the year. A total throw up of styles and decades - 80s but also 30s, 40s, 50s, sometimes mixed together until they become something else and sometimes standing out in a recognisable way - which, even if very different from each other, gave birth to a cohesive collection brought together by one thing: IRONY. 

On Aura Tout Vu delivered a collection in which there were some nice moments - like the dresses with spikes and crystals ‘coming out’ from the model’s shoulders and back - but in general too shiny and too predictable. Shoulder and draped dresses have been overused to be the definition of couture.

Raf Simons for Christian Dior (photo 4) continues not to disappoint. The collection was a sort of historical reflection about different periods, from before the twentieth century until now, he touched every decade in between for this HUGE collection - both in quality and quantity - which, nevertheless, had one fil rouge: more attention to structure than to decoration. It started with dresses with a hint of crinoline, then some references to the first Dior of the 50s - again - to gradually pass to 70s-like trousers and jumpsuits or coats and dressed with a vague 60s taste. Colours were nearly always plain, going from white, to grey, to really soft shades of pastel pink as well as some fuller colour, like brown. 

Giambattista Valli (photo 5,6,7) was the real attention grabber of these two first days. I can’t help saying his WAS MY FAVOURITE SHOW. A sort of loungewear, relaxed feeling opened the collection with his striped dresses draped in unusual and architectural ways; then flowers took over, and despite having been a constant in fashion for years now - so that they are slightly starting to become a little bit boring, even if, at the moment, I have to admit I still accept them - Valli managed to renew the floral theme using a wide range of fabrics - chiffon, organza embroidered with flowers, fake fur. The closing of the show was given to stunning princess dresses in dégradé bold colours - lemon yellow, strawberry red, sky blue - mixing a 50s Christian Dior style on the skirt - third time I mention it today! - with a sportswear-like top. 

Alexis Mabille closed the shows for yesterday and, well, I have to admit it was not the best closing one could wish for during Paris Fashion Week. One point in favour of the designer was the presence of two contrasting inspirations, the menswear wardrobe - visible, for example, in some tuxedo-inspired necklines - as well as Spanish tradition - in the deep red shades of the dresses, the lace and, not least, the hairstyle. However, in general, the impression was of something already seen and not at all exciting.

Stay tuned for full coverage of Paris Fashion Week, going until Friday. Today Chanel and Giorgio Armani Privé showing.

xxx

Lovely tumblr noticed me with a lovely email saying that my blog is already one-year-old! How time flies away, doesn’t it! I wanted to celebrate in some way, but really didn’t know how - if you then think I was all day at work you understand the time to celebrate is reduced to a short amount. But hey, what’s better than Prada in an occasion like this???

Miuccia presented her new resort 2015 Miu Miu collection in Paris on Saturday and, of course, we all know she did a great job - as usual. But this usual predictable perfection in her work doesn’t seem to become boring at all. 

The collection manages to be brilliant and wearable at the same time. In this case I can’t help remembering the words from my fashion journalism teacher at Central Saint Martins when he said ‘wearable is just a word fashion writers use not to say “boring” ‘. Miuccia proved him wrong. The stunning ability of her clothes to shift from editorial and runway-worthy to everyday looks is stunning, just like the mini dresses from this collection, as comfortable to wear as the wrap dresses from DVF, in flowy fabrics just like chiffon, lighted up by bright shades of fuchsia or orange or - the most frequent colour in this collection- blue - electric, sky, navy.

The style was undoubtedly a throwback to the 60s: the decade was brought to your mind immediately by the colour blocking with black as well as from the length of dresses, from the palazzo trousers and, most of all, from the patterns: florals, paisley, abstract, everything delivered in a maxi version that is the real twist which brings you back to the 21st century.

The piece that I liked the most? The cute little knitted top which accompanied different looks: very smart - as it goes basically with everything but it can also be used alone -, simple but at the same time a head turner which, adding just little detail, can renew your entire look. Just like Miuccia does every season with fashion.

xxx

PARIS FASHION WEEK - MENSWEAR SPRING/SUMMER 2015

I wanted to write this post yesterday while my head was wrapped in cling film - if you’re wondering why, it’s because I dyed my hair with henna - but I couldn’t finish looking at all the runways before going to work. Thank god today I did it and I’m finally ready to say everything I think about these - this time I have to say - AMAZING 5 days of runway shows in Paris. While Milan had a sort of understated feel to it, Paris was all about innovation and it’s actually the first time that Paris Fashion Week really hits me with the strength of a storm.

In general I noticed a 70s vibe uniting most of the collections - even if some designers were inspired by later decades, 80s and 90s - as well as a sort of postcolonial throwback to exotic places. Let’s see now the collections in Paris day by day.

June 25th

Russia is becoming bigger and bigger in fashion, one fact proved by the presence of Gosha Rubchinskiy in Paris, with a collection in which the inspiration from the 90s, with baggy tracksuits and oversize shirts, was mixed with a sort of return to Russian traditional style - one expedient which is featured in many Russian designers nowadays, like Ulyana Sergeenko for example. Inspiration from abroad was definitely noticeable in Walter Van Beirendonck's (photo 1) collection, displaying an army of beautifully designed kimono-inspired suits in very soft but vibrant colours. Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino (photo 2) managed once again to catch everyone’s attention even with such a subtle and, I would say, humble collection as this one, in which different styles were linked together by a en effortless feel given by basic cuts and simple silhouettes - the wow factor being the patterns in most of the cases, like the dandelion-printed fabric in the photo: just exquisite.

June 26th

If Walter Van Beirendonck went to Japan to draw inspiration for his collection, paradoxically Issey Miyake Men (photo 3), a Japanese brand, moved to the Caribbean for the same reason. The ‘tropical dandies’ depicted in this collection are elegant and smart with a relaxed feel which really suits the hot weather of Central America. Louis Vuitton (photo 4) was probably one of my favourite collections this time, if not for innovation at least for the quality of details and for the strong 70s vibe which was perfectly represented by this runway show. Asia was the field of research for Yohji Yamamoto which presented a collection in which a mix of turbants, draped fabrics, long kimono jackets suggested a trip which went from the Middle East to India to China and Japan. Another strong collection of the day was the one by Dries Van Noten (photo 5), for which the word ‘delicacy’ is the most effective in describing the atmosphere given by the looks clearly inspired by ballet - just like Bottega Veneta in Milan. 

June 27th

Japan was again called as inspiration from Junya Watanabe on the third day, even if this time extremely modernised and contaminated by the personal view of the designer. Still, traces of the Japanese culture and tradition could be found in the patterns and in the cut of the extremely interesting patchwork jackets and suits. Maison Martin Margiela presented a collection in which some references to the female wardrobe were noticeable in the details, like the length and the fit of the jackets for example; a collection which evolved from extreme minimalism to the colour and joy of the last pieces. Juun J., another talent from Asia, decided instead to mix urban baggy street style to classic elegance giving birth to a collection in which the opposites meet with happy results - what about the pinstripe oversize suit? Comme des Garçons (photo 6) shocked again as usual with a collection in which very serious and classic cutted suits were ironically ‘updated’ by insertion of animal prints and futuristic shoes. The highlight of the collection? Of course the summer coat completely cut out. Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy turned again - this is not the first time this happens - to sport for a collection in which activewear and formalwear meet resulting in blazers paired to baggy shorts and stripes which you would usually see on basketball players’ clothes going to decorate formal suits. Henrik Vibskov (photo 7) delivered one of the most interesting collections of the whole fashion week, inspired, I guess, by the word ‘construction’ itself: you could see it in the structured origami jumpers as well as - very obviously, I would say - in the ‘brick’ pattern of some pieces - including the ironic jumper saying ‘BRICK a leg’.

June 28th

The day was opened by Kenzo designers who presented a big collection with a plethora of colours, patterns and different cuts. Dior Homme, later in the day, was a good collection but yet not amazing, apart from the few pops of colour which lighted up the too classic general atmosphere of the line. The real protagonist of the day was Mihara Yasuhiro (photo 8) who found countless ways of delivering the same thing: a sort of inspiration coming from far away places, mostly India, which was visible, for example, in the paisley pattern, once used in its most classic way as a total pattern, another time transformed into a sort of leopard print pattern - see photo - or fragmented into pieces.

June 29th

The last day presented no less surprises than the previous ones. Agnés B. presented a collection in which three types of men were displayed: the simple, understated elegance kind of man; the super chic dandy; the colourful and a little bit over the top one. Rynshu was all about future, no need to look at the past, a past in which men and women had very distinct and separated ways of dressing. This time, the two wardrobes were interchangeable and shared the same patterns, colours and, why not, silhouettes. Paul Smith took inspiration, as well as many others we’ve seen during this fashion week, from a postcolonial Asia, again with a strong focus on India, for a colourful and ironic collection. Umit Benan was inspired by the 80s more than by 70s like most of the other designers, and he placed his models, which looked like characters coming from films of that decade just like ‘Trading Places’ and ‘Wall Street’, in a tennis court - obviously suggested by some pieces in the collection. But the grand finale came with the last two shows of this fashion week: Thom Browne (photo 9) and Saint Laurent (photo 10), two very different designers, I would say. The first one, being my favourite designer as you would happen to know if you read my blog constantly, presented a visionary collection without falling short of expectations, this time accompanied by an army of the most well-dressed robot soldiers I’ve ever seen. Leaving his usual grey shades only for the first half of the runway, Thom Browne adorned these extremely structured and stiff ensembles, which, I want to remind you, wanted to represent a sort of robotic characteristic of the human being, with symbols from nature, just like flowers and butterflies. Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent, instead, managed to win me over at last: I’ve always been skeptical about his designs, but this collection really marks a change in my opinion about him. A full and complete revival of 70s glam rock in which skinny leather trousers, denim jackets and black specs represent the perfect end to a glorious Parisian fashion week.

xxx

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