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It’s been a while that I haven’t written about a new collection/collab here in my blog. And now it’s time, because one of the most awaited capsules of the season is going to be released to buy soon.

It’s ALEXANDER WANG FOR H&M. As it’s been doing for the last ten years, the Swedish low cost brand teamed up with a great name of the fashion biz to create a limited edition collection; this time it was the Balenciaga designer’s turn, and the result is OUTSTANDING.

I haven’t seen such a good collection for H&M since Lanvin in 2010. Anyway, instead of taking the challenge as an easy one and just designing hurried and basic pieces, Wang really put his aesthetic into every piece of the collection. 

You can totally see the activewear vibe coming from every single piece, both in design and in the choice of fabric: there are criss-cross tops, biker-like leggings and even fighting gloves (real ones or in the keychain version); Wand keeps his sporty touch even when it comes to designing high-heels - and they are sooo sexy - or dresses - there are maxi-dresses as well as form-fitting frocks. The choice of fabric is the most contemporary a designer can make: a lot of stretchy textiles as well as neoprene jackets, coats and sweaters - I actually NEED one of those sweaters! Colour? Apart from some neon splashes of yellow and blue, the main part is given to black and grey, in a game of dark colour blocking which won over even a freak colour lover like me.

The collection will be in stores from November 6 and the prices range from about €10 for the smallest accessories to €350 for coats and jackets. And I’ll be there queuing and ready to fight for my ‘little Wangs’. You can count on it.

xxx

Project Runway Season 13 - Episode 13: Finale Pt. 1

No one was eliminated during the first part of the finale - I was actually hoping - I’m sorry! - Char was being sent home, but nothing happened really.

The designers went on a trip to ROME to find their inspiration for the collection - how amazing was that! On the other hand I was cursing myself for not being in Italy at the time the designers went on this trip - and Tim Gunn, can you imagine meeting him randomly on the street?!? Heart attack! - but after all, even if I had actually been in Italy at the time, I wouldn’t have been in Rome, so I just came to the conclusion destiny is really cruel é_è
They had the opportunity to see historical sites, incredible architecture and living the Italian way of life for some days; moreover, they were brought to a very expensive fabric shop where they could choose to buy something with the 9000$ they were given to create their finale collection. Only Amanda and Char bought something, and while the latter opted for a colourful but ‘not-so-sure-if-it-works’ fabric, Amanda bought a beautiful silky chiffon which could really be a winning move. I wouldn’t have probably bought anything, just like Sean and Kini did.

Once back in New York after they started creating their collection in the respective cities, the judges just SUDDENLY decided they would have liked to see a preview of the finale collection of each of the four designers left; after all, a nice move from the judging panel, a move which gives the opportunity to the designers to have some feedback from them and possibly change the less successful things… and many things are going to change, I’m tellin’ ya!

So each designer sent down the runway three looks, and while two of them did very well - and we all knew they would have done a great job - the other two left the judges feeling confused.

Starting from Amanda I cannot help agreeing with the judges. She has definitely a good collection, you can already see it from this preview. She basically sticked to what she can do, but instead of finding it repetitive, I think I find it smart and kind of showing that she already knows who she is as a designer. Ethnic prints, colour blocking and AMAZING jewellery! Yes, she created her own jewellery pieces and I was so happy to see someone thought about it, because accessories are often something that can make or break a WHOLE collection. One thing now she has to do is maybe spicing up a little bit everything, making it more interesting; for example, the gown of the photo, I LOVE it, but it would be nice to take it to another level in terms of design and making something less basic. We’ll see, but she’s definitely on the right track.

I’ll repeat it again: Char didn’t deserve to stay in the finale. I’m really considering the idea they did it just because she was saved by Tim, so they didn’t do anything like ‘questioning’ Tim’s decision. Anyway, as the judges said, her collection doesn’t look cohesive at all from this preview, and what’s worst is that this was not her only problem. Some choices are tacky in my opinion - the look made out of the fabric she bought in Rome was really not sophisticated at all, nor urban, nor ANYTHING. Just bad taste. Even if she edits it, I don’t think she’s going to wow the judges in any way. I’m sorry to say this because as a person she’s sweet and definitely one of the best characters of this season, but this is it.

Don’t be surprised for the bad feedback Kini received from the judges: I TOLD YA! I told you million of times that he was going to do that; i told you that he’s a perfect tailor but not a perfect designer and that his vision of extreme elegance and flawless gowns is beautiful but old; and I told you that with the continuous praising him the judges were conveying the WRONG idea that a beautiful evening gown is the key for success in the fashion world. This is the result: a boring, old, predictable collection. It’s obvious that Kini can sew and has a careful eye for the woman body, but this is not interesting; what he brought to the runway it’s something you can see in from an old school designer, still existing just because old, rich women buy their clothes. This is NOT the future of fashion, and Project Runway MUST be the future of fashion. The only piece I really liked was the top in the photo I chose - I guess it’s all denim, it’s incredible how he manipulated it, THIS is the direction he has to go (and I was sad no judge told him so). If he wants to deliver a sophisticated, posh collection, he can do it, but in a more modern way. His collection really reminded me of Stanley’s in Season 11. He was one of the best designers of the season, and then got immediately eliminated during the finale for making the same mistake Kini is doing now. Now he has to rethink his entire collection, and I can’t wait to see if he’s really a magician as the judges think. Anyway, I saw it coming during the whole season. Sorry!

Sean had definitely the strongest preview among them all. I don’t care if he’s doing fringes AGAIN: that’s his thing in this moment, and if he feels like doing it, why shouldn’t he? After all, we haven’t seen it SO MUCH from him; in 12 episode I guess he used fringes only three times; during the past seasons of PR there were designers who used the same technique for many more than three episodes. This is just the direction he’s going in this moment of his artistic career, and what’s more is that fringes are used in different ways: I just died when I saw the first draped dress with the little blood orange fringe on the back, a touch of feminine sexiness. His inspiration, then, is so fascinating: talking about the betrayal of Caesar gives him the chance to explore an interesting and not boring at all world of life and death, mystery, blood. I’m just in love with his collection.

So, now we just have to wait to see the entire collections of these four designers; for now, I’m definitely rooting for Sean, who’s totally the clear winner of the competition in this moment :)

See you next week!

xxx

P.S: I’ve seen Project Runway Kids is starting next Thursday, I’M OVERLY EXCITED!

Missoni at the University of Milan: Lesson 3

Rosita Missoni was the special guest for this week’s lesson of Missoni’s Wednesday. I could hardly explain the emotion I felt finding myself in front of a real fashion legend. 

Rosita is now 83 but nothing in her appearance or in her attitude tells anything about her age. She was wearing (photo 1 was taken by my friend Marcello - thanks!) a big colourful poncho covering a jersey black and white floral ensemble. A long, white chain along her neck, she wore quite many pieces of jewellery, but the overall effect was not that of ‘too much going on’: earrings and ring coordinated in black and white checks, another mother of pearl ring on the other hand referencing the white face of the simple golden watch on her wrist. 

I was moved when she started talking. She started from the very beginning, from that now far 1948 in London when she met Ottavio during a school trip - how odd is that?. She sweetly called him ‘Tai’ while talking. He was an athlete at the London Olympics (photo 2); she was just 17 when they fell in love in that Piccadilly Circus where Cupid was probably grinning while looking at them and knowing what was going to happen in the years to come.

In 1953 they started the business, and it was crazy and emotional at the same time the idea of being in front of a woman who really lived during the ‘golden’ decades of fashion: she referenced the era of Chanel, even before she met Tai, she talked about the fashion in the 40s and the 50s, and all I could think of was how amazing it was to, for the first time, knowing about these things, not from a book, but from a person who was there. And I was moved by the thought and by how lucky I felt of having this opportunity.

She then talked about how the world of fashion started getting interested in the ‘Missoni revolution’: among others, Anna Piaggi (photo 3) and Anna Riva (photo 4; she was actually there during the lesson, among other famous fashion journalists), who immediately understood the importance of what Rosita and Ottavio were doing and who went to their factory/home in Gallarate to know more about Missoni. And from there the first successful moves: in 1958 ‘La Rinascente’ (the biggest department store in Italy) ordered 500 pieces, a huge request for a newborn brand like Missoni was in those years; and then the first shoots in the magazines; and the meeting with Diana Vreeland (photo 5) in Rome, when, after seeing the dresses and the prints which were to become worldly famous, the legendary director of Vogue USA exclaimed: ‘Who said the colours are only seven? There are SHADES’. And then she called Rosita and Ottavio in New York at the end of the 60s: a whole new world was opening to them.

She also talked about the ‘put together’ style, which really characterised and characterises even now the Missoni aesthetic: mixing prints, fabrics, layers, pieces of clothing.

At the end of it all, I couldn’t let go the opportunity of asking a question: given the fact she really represents, together with Ottavio, the symbol of the past of this brand and the continuity of the name of Missoni at the helm of this maison - after all, her daughter Angela is now creative director of the fashion house - does she think there could be place for collaborations with designers from outside, even from outside Italy (as we’ve seen Moschino doing with Jeremy Scott?).

She just thought about it a couple of seconds before saying YES. And yes, they had collaborations with international designers during the past, for example with Emmanuelle Khahn in the 60s.

Listening to all the stories Rosita had to tell, one thing came to my mind: the Missoni history really is a proof of that thing called ‘butterfly effect’, that concept which tells that an action, even a little one, has a consequence, that in turn has another consequence and so on. The ‘Missoni butterfly effect’ started with a trip to London, which started a love story which still continues even now: it continues in Rosita; it continues in their children who guide the fashion house their parents started more than 60 years ago; it continues in the amazing prints and flowing garments which are loved in turn by the whole world.

I actually haven’t understood if there will be another lesson with Rosita, anyway the next Missoni’s Wednesdays class will be on October 29, and I’ll be here to fill you in with all the details :)

xxx

Project Runway Season 13 - Episode 12: Who’s In and Who’s Out

Semifinal time! During the last episode the designers had to face their LAST challenge before the so much awaited finale - but was it the final challenge for real?

The rules this time were pretty straightforward: creating a streetwear style to show their own aesthetic. Mmmh, too easy for a semifinal. That’s why a usual Project Runway twist popped out after a while: each designer had to create a second look using one of the losing outfits from the past episodes. Exciting!

Finally Amanda managed to be my favourite of the episode: better late than never. I think her look was really strong from every point of view: colour, shape, style, choice of fabric. What I particularly liked was that it could easily transition from day to evening as it’s a really smart silhouette. The matching of the colours is just perfect and beautifully balanced and overall I think this was one of the best outfits of the whole season.

Char instead continued to prove that maybe the judges weren’t so wrong the first time they sent her home. Her looks were not THAT bad but among all the others were definitely the less remarkable, especially this look, made from Korina’s losing outfit. It’s just a little black dress, which we all loved, but let’s not forget this is a design competition. And what is that grey thing - it’s not even a belt - on the waist? Her streetwear look was cute, but again, nothing special and I actually expected the judges didn’t like it. But at the end they decided to give Char the fourth place for the finale. I wouldn’t have probably opened another finale place for her, I think that, especially in the last weeks, she hasn’t been consistent in her work, always swinging between low and high scores. I’m starting to wonder if they did it just because she was saved by Tim - more or less like what happened with Jessie during the last season.

Of course I’m going to open a little parenthesis about KORINA. If you always read my PR review, you knew it was going to come. For as much as I appreciate again her honesty and sincerity, that reaction was totally exaggerated and I just wanted to slap her so hard because it was too obvious she was dying of envy. She was completely shocked because she won a challenge, so she thought she was GOD, and then she was eliminated in the episode after that. Korina, my love, Heidi has repeated it in every episode for 13 seasons: in fashion one day you’re in, the next day you’re out. Deal with it.

What about the others? Emily, the eliminated of this episode, was in the middle for me, but Kini had for me worse dresses than her. I know, it seems like I don’t like Kini at all as I’m always criticising him in my reviews, but I want to repeat that I think he really deserves to be in the finale, I just think that, for example in this episode, the skirt he sent down the runway for his streetwear look was one of the most awful thing I’ve seen in 13 seasons of show and the evening gown he made from Mitchell’s losing look was SO PREDICTAAABLEEEEE! I wanted to scream out loud when the judges were praising him - again - for having created - again - a flawless evening gown. PEOPLE, IT’S B O R I N G. It’s like what Elie Saab always does: the same f*cking thing. But the difference with Elie Saab is that these designers are not famous yet, so they should all be about innovation and interesting things, not something beautiful but without any new value to it. Nevertheless, Kini can perfectly sew and I’m curious about what he can bring to the finale, but really, I don’t think he can win - I was actually completely wrong about everything during this season, so never say never. Sean, instead, is probably the only one who deserves the win, even if I’m still not sure about his talent as a designer. I just can’t get out of my mind the mediocre outfits he made in the first episodes, and even if he’s never been among my least favourites, this really makes me doubt. 

In general I can already say I was not impressed with these designers at all. In the last year the level, let’s be honest, hasn’t been as high as the first, let’s say, eight seasons, but this time in particular is really difficult to pick a clear winner because no one really deserves it in my opinion. Despite this, we have to remember that Sean brought many exciting new things to the table: the blue fringe dress for Heidi; the colour-changing dress of the rainway, which was something absolutely new in the world of fashion; and during this last episode he proved his aesthetic can all be about simplicity and minimalism (he tried to create something minimal during the first episodes as well, don’t know if you remember about the navy coat) with a really strong total white ensemble (has a PR designer ever had the guts to send a total white cotton look down the runway?), not to talk about the totally innovative shape of the skirt he delivered this last time. I guess he’s the only one who can still wow me during the finale and convince me that not only does he deserve to win, but also that he can be one of the most innovative designers in the history of Project Runway.

I can’t wait to change my mind. Try me, Sean.

xxx

Missoni at the University of Milan: Lesson 2

If you missed the first post about the topic, read immediately at http://oncemorewithfashion.tumblr.com/post/98998620115/missoni-at-university-of-milan-when-fashion-goes

On Wednesday the second lesson of the cycle ‘Missoni’s Wednesday’s’ was held during the fashion history course for my MA at the University of Milan. This time Luca Missoni, son of Rosita and Ottavio, spoke again. He continued the talk about the archives and how important is to keep documents and memories. But he also spoke about something which people are more and more aware about: art and fashion. 

A company like Missoni, which has made art a strong point of their work since the beginning - and in this case I refer to art AND craft, as Missoni is one of the few companies which actually produce their own textiles - has always been involved in art. At this point, it’s better to distinguish between fashion for actual use - and I mean creating fashion that is going to be worn - and fashion for fashion’s sake. In 1990, during the Football World Cup in Italy, many Italian designers and brands were asked to create a collection inspired by a continent. Missoni chose Africa - and their prints and vibrant colours are enough of a reason to explain why they chose that continent - and you can see some of the pieces in the first two photos I posted. The collection was presented at the Opening Ceremony at the San Siro Stadium in Milan, where African models completely rocked the beautiful tunics and the over-the-top but elegant accessories. And then what happened to those outfits? They were surely not released in the market, as they were created for THAT occasion especially. They quietly returned to the Missoni headquarter, in the countryside, and are now kept in the archives and used, from time to time, in exhibits and museum showings. Useless? I don’t think that is the case. Missoni understood that, after all, an international brand can’t always create clothes for people to wear; sometimes you just want to aesthetically and visually enjoy those beautiful pieces as pieces of art.

Among the many exhibits in which Missoni as a brand took part - exhibits in which not only clothes were shown, but also art installations and other non-fashion objects (always in Missoni style, though) - there was a collab with the Museo del Traje in Madrid, called ‘El arte del tejido en movimiento’ (‘The art of the textile in motion’), held from February to April 2009, in which Missoni proposed a new, exciting reflection on fashion and art: how the textiles move when WE move, how they interact with our bodies. Again, the Missoni aesthetic made of stripes, zig-zag patterns and splashes of colour was particularly suitable for the purpose (photo 3).

Art and fashion then meet traditionally in one of the most ancient forms of artistic enjoyment: theatre. In 1983 Missoni produced the beautiful costumes for the ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’ at ‘La Scala Theatre’ in Milan and once again proved that the brand is all about tradition but looks forward to innovation as well. In particular, Ottavio and Rosita managed to deliver a beautiful wardrobe for the characters (among them, 120 choristers) inspired by the classic opera, but at the same time, the Scottish setting - and what’s more Scottish than tartan? - gave them the chance to experiment with their own aesthetic and add a little bit of that Missoni style which they created thirty years before and which made them so loved all over the world.

Next week lesson with Rosita, and I can’t even explain what an honour will be to learn about fashion from a legend like her. I LOVE MY LIFE :D

xxx

Paris Fashion Week - Days 7, 8 & 9

And finally we did it: we made it to the last days of this fashion month. Well, what to say about it? I’ll be honest. I wasn’t impressed by any fashion week, and apart from very few designers and collections, the overall impression is really mild. But there will be the time to talk about it. Now, let’s get through the last three days of fashion week.

Day 7

Stella McCartney chose two very different pieces of a person’s wardrobe: pajamas and uniforms. What are they doing together? Well, the pairing was strange but the simplicity of the two works really well. Sacai had a military inspiration as well - it was often present in these last three days - which was well-balanced with lace and flowers. Femininity with strength.

Giambattista Valli (photo 1) went a little arts-and-crafts, but in a positive way. I loved all the different ways he gave volume and shape to the clothes: fringes, lace, three-dimensional little flowers. Emanuel Ungaro (photo 2) is one of those brands with a very clear traditionally chic aesthetic, but this time there was a happy pop of colours, a flamboyant appeal to it. It was soooo sexy. The maxi dresses were just perfect. And the prints made everything the more vibrant.

Elie Saab had its usual extremely elegant appeal but this time - thank god - there was also the sporty feeling we’ve seen so much on the runways this year. Sonia Rykiel (photo 3) presented a urban tribe made of sexy women in sheer gowns, fringes and looks using menswear shapes. Saint Laurent (photo 4) delivered its usual rock and roll and an extremely wide range of hundreds of pieces - in perfect Slimane style. I liked the fact the length of the dresses was constantly above the knee - it added cohesion - and the glitters were used in a glam but not predictable way.

Day 8

Chanel (photo 5), after having get us used to new and exciting ways of conceiving the runway shows, this time organised a feminist protest to present its collection. And it was remarkable, as it was obvious, in the looks, the reference to the gender crossing theme. The silhouettes were longer than usual, they looked like this time Lagerfeld wanted to really cover the body. And there were military uniforms and armours in silver: to face modern life in the right way.

Jean-Charles de Castelbajac (photo 6) tried to imagine his clothes in the future; it wasn’t completely successful, as I think the silhouettes lacked some imagination. Yet, he didn’t do what everyone else does when imagining the future: going extra-surreal and becoming NOT real. I liked the colours - it kind of reminded me of Italian Futurism - and the multicoloured stitching over the white pieces.

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino (photo 7) really like historical inspirations, and we noticed. This time it was all about the Grand Tour, that trip around Europe which brought many noble - and less noble - boys, between XVIII and XIX century, to Italy, the most important destination of the whole travelling period. And this was all about the glass windows of the churches, visible in the prints, as well as Classic silhouettes, in the artistic and historical meaning.

Iris Van Herpen (photo 8) used the most innovative 3D effects for her amazing dresses, using unconventional materials - metal, silicone - and stating that there can be a REAL futuristic fashion. 

Alexander McQueen closed the day. I found it too black - oh come on, it was McQueen after all, I can’t expect colours, I know! - but I liked the fact that the kimono shape was clearly the basis for every single look. I simply loved the last gowns - those skirts were out-worldly.

Day 9

The collection by Louis Vuitton had a sort of Hedi Slimane feeling - I know it’s rough talking about another designer, but its rock and roll 70s style really reminded of him. But it was a sort of polished and clean Slimane. I loved the contrast between the leather pieces and the bon ton ones.

Masha Ma (photo 9) went on to cover her girls but anyway it was somewhat sexy. And the colour blocking was there, but it was soft. Nothing excessive, nothing extreme, very pleasantly done.

Allude chose knitwear and graphic effects for their dresses, while Hermès (photo 10) gave a great proof of what effortless and elegantly understated means. The different garments were slightly oversize, which added a lot of coolness and modern vibe to them. This collection was definitely the cleanest of all. And it had, in my opinion, some calming, soothing effects.

Stay tuned for THE BEST OF Milan and Paris Fashion Week! Thanks for reading!!!! 

xxx

Paris Fashion Week - Days 4, 5 & 6

Day 4

Loewe opened the first day focusing everything on deconstruction, using the pieces of fabrics like a puzzle, but there were also distorted checks and I loved the samurai trousers in leather. From Chalayan’s collection I particularly loved the black suit-like looks which rendered the gender crossing theme once again on the catwalks. 

Issey Miyake (photo 1) had an amazing collection all about future: there were 3D fabrics, structured but extremely light, in pastel colours. Coats, shirts, capes: everything was futuristic. And the best companion for all this innovation was, of course, a very traditional fabric instead: cotton. Plain white cotton. Amazing.

Julien David was really romantic and I particularly loved his choice of fabric, while Dior, with Raf Simons, continues on its historical path, this time mixing the past with the future. What struck me was the meticulous detailing - for example the long rows of really tiny buttons on some of the dresses - and everything was delivered in a very Dior style - what about the ample skirts of the gowns? - but, in general, it seemed to me everything was uninspired.

Undercover (photo 2) brought to the runway a dark fairy-tale - and the scenario helped this impression, with skeleton-faced apples, and the styling of the models itself was kind of creepy, but it was also an impression coming from the necklaces, shaped as thorns. It was like being in a story by the Grimm brothers. There were different sections to the collection: first some princess gowns, then simple yet girly coats and after that it was all about prints - the wooden print was GENIUS; at last, the leathery total black. 

Andrew Gn mixed Asia with Impressionism, and the result was nice, but it didn’t really work out completely, it didn’t make me interested. A.F. Vandevorst (photo 3) were inspired by flying and parachutes; it could become sloppy, but the designers managed to make the stiff wrinkly parachute fabric elegant and even feminine with shapes that brought it to a higher level. There was even the impression of the movement given by how they structured the textile.

Day 5

Junya Watanabe was taken by the creative frenzy of Japanese designers who all became sort of Comme des Garçons style designers for this season. And with this I mean looking for unusual shapes and exaggerated concepts. For Junya, it was about circles covering the models, as well as three-dimensional diamond-like shapes in PVC and leather. Tsumori Chisato, from Japan again, chose a 40s style Japanese fantasy garden, visible in colours and shapes directly inspired by the architecture of flowers. 

Viktor & Rolf (photo 4) had sport EVERYWHERE in the looks, but it was paired with playfully coloured flowers and balanced by ballerina dresses - still sporty, but at least it was the graceful side of sport. And there were pleats and ruffles as well. Acne Studios (photo 5) was a schizophrenia of styles: from eccentric fruit and lipstick prints to naked tone blazers. Still, it worked: even in the most unconventional pieces there was a minimal vibe in the use of colours and in the often deconstructed lines. Minimal extravaganza.

Véronique Leroy chose mesh and tweed, creating a collection which went kind of Chanel in a contemporary version - which is, after all, what Karl Lagerfeld has been doing all these years. It’s then useless to say Vivienne Westwood’s passion for period costumes continues - it’s part of her DNA. Nature was another great element in her collection: the models looked like survivors of a shipwreck on a desert island, but, among them, there were also rich noblewomen. I have to admit everything was a little bit messy though.

I usually like Comme des Garçons collections (photo 6) but never like this time. I would have called it “Red Nightmare”: there was blood, a lot, there were torn apart garments - look at the photo, it’s basically a coat completely destroyed where only the buttons are discernible to make us understand it’s actually a coat - and there were fairytales. But it’s the creepy, killer parts of them: there were red roses, like the ones from Alice in Wonderland which remind of the Queen of Heart’s scream ‘She shall be beheaded!’; there was a creepy Red Riding Hood, and we know she’s soon going directly to meet the bad wolf. Everything was absolutely fascinating.

Jean Paul Gaultier say goodbye to the ready-to-wear runways with a celebration, a parade where sporty girls, businesswomen and wrestlers competed for the title of Miss Jean Paul Gaultier. A funny way to say farewell to prêt-a-porter with no melancholia or nostalgia, but laugh, in JPGaultier’s style. Olympia Le-Tan played with the clichés about schoolgirls and the sexiness of their uniforms.

Day 6

How talented is Phoebe Philo? Her collection for Céline (photo 7) had all the brand signatures but this time she went for bright colours and a tiny tad of frivolity - ostrich feathers, ça va sans dire. I loved the long tunics, capable of making everyone appear slender and fabulous :D

Martin Grant went for an obvious girly elegance in his collection, while Chloé presented a collection in which the muse was definitely a romantic French girl, wearing everything from lace to flowing gowns.

John Galliano (photo 8) had the most showstopping collection among all. I usually love when designers make crazy things with materials and there was so much of it happening here that I was amazed and never, not a time, bored: complete looks made of white chiffon perfectly structured and sewn together, furs made of what looks like hypermodernist rugs, structured jackets, chiffon gowns in bold colours. It was extremely fun to watch.

Akris was inspired by the Russian artist Malevich, and while I loved the minimalism of it all, the inspiration was too obvious. Last but not least, Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy made me wonder where all the sporty pieces he himself made so popular were. Where were they? It was a good collection and I’m not saying he should always do the same things over and over, but I would have liked to see some of that style in a gentle transition to something different. It was too sudden.

xxx

Project Runway Season 13 - Episode 11: The Highest Bidder

What an exciting episode!!! This time designers had to work in groups of two - so it made three teams - to create two garments - and then it became three after one of those Project Runway twists we really love - using materials found in some storage units which the designers had to obtain through a bid. Playful!

The groups were thus composed: Amanda with Kini, Char with Sean and Korina with Emily.

The best group was definitely the first, and I actually chose Kini as a winner. I actually liked Amanda’s look better than his, but in the end he did an amazing job with the football and made most of the pieces in the mini-collection, so BRAVO! That dress was just sick, in construction as well as in style. And I loved the little quilted fur bomber jacket - just a touch of badass which really suited all three pieces.

I have to be honest, this time I really thought no designer did a bad job; everyone had something interesting in general. Nevertheless, I couldn’t understand what happened, but I can’t really figure out WHY judges liked Emily’s so much. I thought there were some good elements, such as the fabrics, and the belt, but in general it was the weakest among all. That stuffed-pet fur on the neckline was just HORRIFIC and even though I liked the shoulders, I really do think, as Tim said, that it’s obvious it comes from an armchair. 

Korina, the eliminated designer of this episode, did a very good job in my opinion; I didn’t understand why Nina was saying that she always does that Navajo-like style, because it’s not true. In fact, I was actually expecting her to do it much more often than she did, and anyway I think in any case it was really pretty and it worked. On the other side, though, I really couldn’t stand Korina’s attitude anymore. She kept on complaining about Char still being in the competition - cut it! - and she was really rude to the judges. I understand you sometimes get defensive when everyone is attacking your work, but that was too much. At the same time the thing that bothered me more was really the resentment she had against Char, and not the fact she spoke out on the runway when she said that she’d have rather worn something already seen (her outfits) than something which she couldn’t walk in (referring to Sean and Char). I mean, yes, it’s rude, but at least it’s honest; the fact about Char being eliminated and saved by Tim, instead, was just really BAD. And I really appreciated what Emily said when Char and Korina were creating the last garment in one hour: this negative energy will show in her work; I don’t want to work with such people. And she was right. Char’s dress was really simple and, incredibly, one of the prettiest she made actually; Korina’s dress had a good concept but, errr, it was messy and undoubtedly worse than Char’s.

So the witch is dead, and now we’re left with only FIVE designers - OMG. Fashion week is near. Next one to be eliminated MUST be Emily, because she really doesn’t fit in the remaining group. And I guess than it’s Char’s time. I mean, it’s obvious now that the three strongest contestants are Amanda, Sean and Kini. For the first time, though, I’m not convinced at all by any of these contestants. I’m totally uninspired by what they do. Amanda is always up and down, and sometimes I question her taste level; Kini, I’ve already said it, it’s more of a perfect tailor than a good designer; and Sean makes AMAZING things but also very boring ones. 

Anyway, I can’t wait to see the next episode because I was SHOCKED by Korina’s reaction when she was said she had to work with Char. She’s such A BITCH.

xxx

Paris Fashion Week - Days 1, 2 & 3

Fashion Week just finished and we said ‘bye, see you in stores’ to the collections of this Spring 15 season. I’m finally ready to write about all the runway shows of Paris Fashion Week, and as nine days of shows are behind us, I decided to divide them into three groups. Today, the first three days.

Day 1

Léa Peckre delivered a collection of simple dresses in sheer fabrics, without giving up on girly and feminine decorations. It was sexy, a little bit serious but at the same time a little bit playful, a happy contradiction. Pascal Millet went all sexy and provocative, among all the pieces I liked the long chemisiers.

The most defining style for Dévastée collection was hipster chic. It could sound like a strange thing, but the prints or laser-cut textiles drawing a world of symbols on the garments gave me a hint of ‘hipsterhood’, but the silhouettes and the shapes were chic and subtly elegant. Photos of hands, childlike drawings, maxi polka dots were just some of the other elements giving life to this fresh collection.

Anrealage (photo 1) put on an A M A Z I N G show! This is the first time this brand, from Japan, shows at Paris Fashion Week, and the start could only promise more wonderful things for the future. The name comes from the intermingling of three words, real, unreal and age. And I don’t know if it is because the name suggested it, but I could really see this real/unreal thing in the shadows covering like a blanket the entire collection. There were shadows in the black/white pieces, there was the umbrella casting a shadow over one of the models walking down the runway, lace, knit. And there were also the plain white pieces, at the border between sculpture and fashion.

Anthony Vaccarello had a collection where the strong point was the wide range of pieces available, but in general it really looked like too much Versace - remember he’s the new designer for Versus Versace. Jacquemus (photo 2) was really about summer, I particularly liked the sailor stripes on the deconstructed dresses.

Hood By Air (photo 3) presented the second part of the spring15 collection, after New York - the third part will be later in October. This time I could see a sort of period taste in the looks - it reminded me of Pirates of the Caribbean, am I wrong? - and it was actually more feminine than usual. It’s really becoming a very relevant brand in the showbiz, I guess we all expect great things from it.

Day 2

I’ve seen similar collections to Christophe Lemaire’s before, but this one had a level of cleanliness you can’t really see often. There was just one colour per look - and when it’s two, one of them is either white, cream or black. There were essential coats, white shirts, perfectly fitted trousers: basic pieces appealing to everyone and which everyone should have in their closet.

The collection by Cédric Charlier (photo 4) was not my favourite but I really appreciated the fact it was coming from a reflection about the process of tailoring and sewing: you could see it in the dangling threads, like garments left unfinished - but still tailored at a second glance; you could see it in the tailor’s chalk signs, in the raw hems, in the layers of ‘free’ fabric flowing gently during the walk. And I loved the wide range of materials. 

Damir Doma delivered an interesting collection where the sporty look we’ve seen so much during this season was perfectly mixed to the biker style. Most of the times one of the two prevails, but in general it was a happy marriage. Dries Van Noten's hippie extravaganza (photo 5) was inspired by the famous painting Ophelia, by John Everett Millais, and of that painting had the dark atmosphere and dull - but vibrant - colours. I found the mixing of prints brilliant, and the use of fabrics amazingly chic and elegant, as they were mostly chiffon and silk. The collection was really long, but unlike usual, this was a strong move as it enabled the viewer to gradually fall in love with the line.

Rochas (photo 6) was frankly all about safeness: it was romantic, it was traditional, hyper-feminine, and the elements used to convey this atmosphere were the ever present lace, chiffon and powdery tones. Yet, the collection was exquisitely executed and conceived. The chiffon was so ethereal it looked impalpable, and most of the dresses were traditional, yes, but they were one of those which can still make a woman dream. But wait, what about the shoes? A happy contradictory, definitely not-safe little detail which make you question everything this collection was about.

Aganovich went for draping, but it was a highly-structured kind of draping. I preferred the pieces which had less draping but more clean volumes, like the beautiful kimonos. Draping was present in Vionnet’s collection as well, sending Greek goddesses with a future-like style. The simplicity of the whole collection really remembered the early Vionnet.

Balenciaga (photo 7) delivered all the signature elements of the brand: strong structured shapes - in the armour-like tops made of chiffon or the biker jackets in stiff fabrics - and looks polished to the extreme. I loved the webs covering some of the looks, made of lace, knit or leather. And I found very smart the vague sporty feeling pervading the whole collection.

Day 3

Roland Mouret (photo 8) was organic and cohesive even if the pieces were all very different. A pleat there, a straight line here, a raw hem on a dress, colour blocking and thin elegant obi belts were the elements which really caught my attention. I fell in love with Manish Arora (photo 9) and his attempt at merging cultures: Indian heritage and Western shapes. One thing I noticed were the eyes scattered throughout the collection: a reference to clairvoyance maybe? The see-through of most of the dresses could be a hint of that.

I was shocked at how bad Balmain’s collection was: it was just 80s old - this was Paris Fashion Week, not an exhibit of 80s fashion in a museum. Barbara Bui (photo 10) put on another very good collection. There was Indian tradition in this as well, and the designer decided to mix it with streetwear. Most of the pieces are just slightly better than good but the outerwear was just so amazing it outshone many other collections. And when bright colours and embroideries were not in the look to reference the Indian part, there was the draping which kind of reminded of the Sari.

The shows on the third day were closed by Christian Wijnants. What’s better than waterproof fabrics when the inspiration is sea? And there was also chiffon to let beautifully flow in the Ocean wind, as well as knitwear to cover yourself on the boat in chilly days. 

xxx

Missoni at University of Milan: When Fashion goes to class

As I think I told you a couple of times - but I’ll probably explain better in my ‘column’ called ‘Bedtime Stories’ - I enrolled to the University of Milan to start studying at the MA in Fashion Communication, and an awesome, amazing, unexpected surprise came up during the very first days of courses.

The fact this is the first year this course has been started already made me happy, but when I started my Fashion History classes and the professor told us there will be special guests during the whole course I think I was in heaven. And guess what? Members of the Missoni family - yes, THAT Missoni - agreed to come to class on Wednesdays to teach us about fashion from an insider’s point of view. HOW EXCITING IS THIS? 

And yesterday we had the first of this cycle of lessons. Luca Missoni, the son of Ottavio and Rosita, founders of the brand, came to tell us about the brand’s history and how this history and all its memories are kept in order to be passed down to the next generations. 

The first thing I personally did was putting myself in the position of the fashion blogger, or better and more in general, in the position of the fashion WRITER. What better way to talk about a person involved in fashion if not trying to notice what he was wearing? Luca Missoni was DEFINITELY wearing Missoni: you can recognise those patterns among thousands of others. A jersey sweater in the shades of navy and purple was paired with some very sober brown normal-fit trousers and brown suede shoes. What struck me, though, was an usually ignored element: his socks. At first I couldn’t distinguish what was written on it, but then, after five minutes of glancing at them, I understood: ‘Luca’ was embroidered on the upper edge. Suddenly, the understated and nearly ‘normcore’ style he had took a dandy turn with this little, hidden detail.

Luca - which you can see in the first photo - told us about how the brand is basically a family-run business, and how it has been kept this way since its beginning, in 1953. And what a beginning. His parents, Rosita and Ottavio (photo 2), met for the first time in London, where Ottavio was running for the Italian team during the Olympics. And they fell in love. And after returning to Italy, they started a business: he was a tracksuit-maker while also being an athlete, while she worked as embroiderer. The business they set up, started growing and growing, until becoming what we know today. And this is to really cut a long story short, as Missoni’s history is deeply fascinating and full of anecdotes and memories to tell.

Through the use of photos coming from different decades of fashion - amazing, stunning, colourful and innovative pieces - we learnt a little bit more about a brand which we all talk about, but which we don’t really know deeply. And so we learnt that before Missoni, jersey was not much used in fashion apart from the activewear section of the market, so they were kind of pioneers in the use of this - and others, like for example lurex - fabric. But they were also some of the first ones to understand the importance of archives, and the importance of keeping track of documents to transmit the memories of the brands: everything is document, from magazine articles to photos - also private ones from the members of the family - to the dresses, which are kept together with their fabric samples, their colour palette and the photos of the catwalk in which they were presented. 

This attention for the meaning of memory was definitely visible during the 50th anniversary of the brand, in 2003, when the family decided to present a collection (photo 5) where models walked down the runway wearing their historical creations for each one of those fantastic, successful, innovative fifty years. 

And I can’t wait to attend the next lesson. I’ll keep you updated.

xxx

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