Spring/Summer 2015 Coach

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You can take a Brit abroad but you can’t take the Brit out of them once there. Stuart Vevers continued with his youthful reinvention of Coach – the traditional American brand at which he was installed as executive creative director last year – with his spring/summer 2015 collection. A collaboration with Californian artist Gary Baseman to make fun little creatures was testament to that as were his choices of Americana to plunder: sub-cultures, skate and surf (ever the popular right now) combined with the spirit of New York. He said it was a celebration of “beautiful oddness” and that’s where that brilliant and irreverent Brit wit stepped in for an overhaul that won’t necessarily strike a chord with a traditional Coach customer of seasons past but will put it right in front of the noses of a new generation who won’t be able to get enough of these characterful and cool pieces: shaggy, pastel jackets; critter-knits; satchels and clogs; and long lean flare silhouettes and short sharp miniskirts.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Roland Mouret

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“To be desirable,” said Roland Mouret backstage before his show – that was the point of the collection. “The meaning of desire. I want women to feel like they want to steal the clothes from the hanger straight away.”

To this end – and with an imminent New York store opening – Mouret was going back to looking at what defined him. And joy and desire was what he concluded – his sculpted silhouettes here softened in colour-blocked pastels to make this a young and fresh collection that in plenty of white, primrose yellow, pink and lilac was the embodiment of spring/summer.

Bold floral appliqués blossomed on tote bags and skirts, dresses too – at the front and as little caped backs; elsewhere came hibiscus prints laser-cut into cotton mesh for jackets and splaying A-line skirts; asymmetric hems were accompanied by injections of grass green; shorts were out in strong force and cemented that youthful sensibility. It was refreshing.

It had all started in the fittings, explained Mouret. His women chiming in with the covetable buzzword and so leading him to develop the Mouret DNA which, while still obviously underpinning the collection today, took on a lighter and relaxed new note this time round. It was refreshing.

“I’m a practical person, a Virgo, so I’m always thinking about what women will live in, trying to anticipate their feelings – people will buy because they desire,” he summed up.

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Simone Rocha on Nudity

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Nudity always attracts attention,” mused Simone Rocha in the Spring 2015 issue. Though her designer peers may have garnered more of it for their extremist displays in recent months, the perverse belles Rocha sends down her runways have long been brave enough to show off a little T & A. Look back at her graduating collection from Central Saint Martins and you’ll find sheer blazers sans pants strutting out between see-through dresses and blouses. At that time, all came with demurring underpinnings. Two years later, her premiere runway show opened with a translucent lace coat; one year after that, filmy dresses obscured breasts with dotted flowers; and by Fall 2015, her woman was completely free, sauntering the catwalk in a gauzy pale pink number, nipples exposed, with cloudlike padding on the hips. Perhaps it’s been Rocha’s careful progression that’s lessened the shock of her revealing girlishness. Nevertheless, as a female designer, her relationship to the use of nudity is as studied as the garments she creates. Below, Rocha weighs in on her sheer fabrications, celebrity nudity, and the art world icons who influence her work.

As a female designer, do you feel that it is empowering to use the nude female form in your work?

You know, I always like to show some skin. I like for it to feel kind of provocative, and to feel kind of feminine, and to know that somebody has a bust or a waist or a leg—I know we all have legs [laughs]—but I do like that [nudity] enhances the idea of femininity. Because underneath all the clothes that we all wear every day, that’s where our bodies are, and I think the balance of the body meeting fabric can make interesting clothes.

Why did you first start to work with sheer fabrications?

From the very beginning when I was designing, I was working a lot with tulle and with see-through fabrics. It was really to play with how you saw proportion on the body, and it was another way of playing with the silhouette. That was really what drew me to it originally as a designer—the contrast of having something hard and soft or solid and see-through, something that makes you look twice. That combined with a lot of influences that I look at for my collections, like the work of Araki. You know, I didn’t want to ignore the idea of flesh, because it was something that I find very interesting in Araki’s imagery, so I wanted the clothes that I was making to still be able to see that flesh and have that balance. I wasn’t only looking at Araki, but also the artist Louise Bourgeois and all her figures, which are also covered in tapestry but they’re still nude forms. It was a mix of being inspired by things that are very feminine and nude, and not ignoring that when making garments.

Do you think nudity still has a shock factor? The exposed male models at Rick Owens last January were shocking, but exposed female models don’t tend to garner as much buzz.

I don’t think it should be shocking. I, personally, have never done anything sheer for shock value. But I suppose it depends on the designer, if they’re really looking for that shock feeling. I think it’s about human nature at the end of the day; it would be shocking if someone walked into your office topless. But I do think right now is an interesting time; it’s not just nudity—people are being exposed as themselves. Before, if you were exposed, it was as an object or in an objective way, but now people are really being exposed to show themselves and their own personality in their work. It’s a good time to be able to express yourself in that way.

Do you think that the nudity seen on the runways is influencing pop culture? There was a lot of talk at the Met Gala about all of the see-through or sheer bejeweled dresses, and elsewhere, pop figures are using their bodies as their tools for empowerment. I’m curious to see if you think that stems from fashion or it’s just a cultural tide.

I think it’s probably more of a culture thing. There have always been clothes like that at different times in fashion. I don’t know a huge amount of celebrities, but maybe they feel like this is the time that they can wear what they want. I don’t really dress a huge amount of celebrities, so I don’t know what they’re after, but I’d say at this moment in time skin is very in. But for me it’s always been in. You know, in Lucian Freud paintings, people are always naked. Louise Bourgeois sculptures—it’s all bodies naked. So maybe now everybody feels like that.

How do you hope a woman feels when she wears one of your pieces?

I hope that she feels feminine, but at the same time strong and comfortable and real. You know, I don’t want women to feel like they’re in a glass box. I want them to feel very special and relevant and comfortable in their own skin in whatever world that is. I’m very proud to be a female designer designing for women, and I think it’s great that people feel like they can express themselves through dress today. I like that there’s a lot of thought behind things, and I want people to see that in my clothes a lot of thought goes into it. And if they’re having the same thoughts, that means my work is for them.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Paul Smith

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“Its effortless, it’s all about being effortless, did you see how the models just naturally put their hands in their pockets?” Paul Smith was quite taken by the aspirational army of easygoing urbanites that had walked the runway just seconds before.

There was nothing flash about this collection, there were no tricky details or smash, bang wallop summer prints and sprays of colour. Instead these clothes were utterly unapologetic in their elevated normcore appeal. Wear this stuff to live in, was the message. Think giant pockets, loose tailored shapes, khaki cotton trousers and easy, breezy sleeveless linen tops. The elegant, striped drop-waist, pleated dress, worn with super chic flat sandals and leather, across-the-body bags made for a wardrobe that chic, metropolitan commuters can feel comfortable in.

The bag featured in almost every look, from backpacks to relaxed folded totes, each came in muted palette (the grey was best) and in buttery leather.

“A modern girl can wear these clothes,” said Smith backstage, ” The fabrics were linen or cotton but there was a structure about them which gave them this bounce and they had life. She’s not looking for attention through her clothing. She’s happy in her own skin.”

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