Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Giamba

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Designers often feature a mood board backstage. Sometimes you feel they’re just for show. Other times? Well, there are insights and there are insights. Giambattista Valli’s smattering of inspirational images at his Giamba show today was small but deeply significant: outsider artist Vali Myers, with her facial tattoos; a very young Nina Hagen, when she was still a pop star in East Germany; Eva Ionesco, who sued her photographer mother, Irina and notorious Parisian rake Jacques de Bascher.

Each one of them was the embodiment of a particular attitude that Valli fed into his collection. Myers’ tattoos and de Bascher’s harness, Hagen’s punkitude and Ionesco’s twisted Lolita—that was Giamba for Fall 2015. His own title for the collection was actually Instagram Lolitas, and the slight seediness of such a notion illuminated clothes that felt like an unabashed blend of sweet and decadent.

So there were sheer dresses of candy-colored flowers embroidered on organza, and there were black leather-backed tunics of mink. There were gilded jacquards that were clotted in their almost Klimt-ian density, and there were pure white lace shifts. But that shift was ensnared by a black leather harness. And it wasn’t alone in the weirdness of such a contrast. If there was a pretty dolly-bird trumpet sleeve, there was a sickly acid yellow fur. Valli described his obsession with flowers as “trippy,” but the lysergic nature of the collection scarcely stopped there. Was that a mountain landscape rendered in a micro-sequined georgette smock?

The designer’s postshow glee suggested he had a lot of fun with his latest outing. Maybe it was a relief after the intensity of haute couture. Or maybe it was because, as he said, “I just want to inspire girls. They may not be able to afford the clothes, but they can go and do the look, with the layered leggings and the face tattoos.”

And when was the last time you heard a designer say that?

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Spring/Summer 2015 Marchesa

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A touch of Hollywood hit the London catwalk courtesy of red carpet favourite Marchesa. The American label, so adored by silver screen starlets, made a one-off appearance on the LFW schedule, punctuating day two with stateside sophistication and sparkle. It was a blink-and-you’ll-miss it moment as the label, a fixture on the New York fashion scene, decamped to London for a season to celebrate its ten-year anniversary.

So what did designers (and Brit ladies) Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig bring with them across the Atlantic? It was a greatest hits selection of American muses. There was the Woodstock hippy gal in her tiered Bohemian guipere dresses, the Palm Springs princess beamed in from the Fifties in her baby pink tulle gown and the LA band chick; in black lace trousers and white bib-fronted sleeveless shirts, eyes kohled to soft rock perfection.

It didn’t feel like a London collection but that’s the point, it was a hands-across the water moment, one designed to show that those fashion labels with a truly global perspective shine on.

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Whether a short cocktail dress or an extravagant floor length gown when it comes to Marchesa there is always something for everybody. Find an excuse girls, in order to feel like a true princess these dresses need to be worn!


Cannes Glamour | 22/05/2015

Glamour might be the idea most commonly associated with red-carpet dressing—“Old Hollywood glamour” is spoken so often during red-carpet broadcasts you could make a drinking game of it—but at recent ceremonies, glamour has given way to something much less enticing: reality. Over the past year, red carpets have become more practical (The Grammys), less formal (The SAG Awards), and lost some of that high drama (ahem, Oscars) a true fashion obsessive would come to expect. That put a lot of pressure on this year’s Cannes Film Festival, typically the most outrageous red carpet of them all, to bring some of its signature fashion A-game. Would it deliver?

Now past the midway point of the festival, it seems as though Cannes won’t be bringing the same high-fashion excitement of years past. Whether you came to rely on the premieres of the festival to bring the latest haute couture, as was the case last year for the Clouds of Sils Maria cast in Chanel; some gender-bending like Aymeline Valade’s Saint Laurent tux in 2014; a bit of romanticism à la Kirsten Dunst in Rochas in 2006; or a little touch of sheer craziness, like Madonna’s Jean Paul Gaultier lingerie of 1991, the best you’d drum up in 2015 would be some streamlined, clerically chic numbers with posh diamond jewelry. Even the photo calls, which take place in the daytime against a pastel Cannes sky and have, in years past, birthed plenty of exciting cocktail looks—like Diane Kruger in Alaïa or Charlotte Gainsbourg in Louis Vuitton—have become strangely serious. Natalie Portman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, and more chose to wear black for their photo-call appearances this time around—guaranteed appropriateness, but not much in the wow department.

It’s hard to say precisely why the red carpet is moving in such a safe direction, with the runways and high fashion championing eclecticism and risk taking. Perhaps the viciousness of red-carpet commentators, professional and of the Internet’s comments sections alike, have something to do with stars playing it safe. More likely is the fact that such high-profile events come with plenty of business arrangements that dictate which stars will wear which jewels and dresses, leaving little wiggle room for experimentation.

Still, this year’s festival gave a much-needed platform for the women willing to go there to push the boundaries of what red-carpet dressing is really about. Cate Blanchett stunned in a full, printed Giles number at the premiere of her latest film, Carol. Lupita Nyong’o flaunted an emerald Gucci gown with sequin embellishments, and Liya Kebede sported shimmering, nontraditional runway looks from Louis Vuitton and Proenza Schouler. “Cannes is certainly a place where you can go for it: trains, capes, drama, romance, beauty. You will find it all here,”

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Cannes also served as an exclamation point at the end of the sentence that has been Sienna Miller’s style transformation. The actress and jury member started the festival off strong, in a metal-detailed Balenciaga dress, changing into a one-shouldered, navy Lanvin number for the opening night. Later on, she dared to don a black Sonia Rykiel cape look with Bulgari jewels, and most recently she sported a Valentino kite-like dress that will go down as a lesson for how to do Cannes in a way that is both modern and chic. With the amfAR gala and the closing event still to come, there’s some hope that a little more unexpected drama might appear, but if it doesn’t, at least we’ll have Blanchett, Miller, Nyong’o and co. to hold us over until next year.


Spring/Summer 2015 David Koma

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David Koma unveiled his debut collection for Thierry Mugler (at which he was appointed artistic director at the end of last year but in which he began in the role the beginning of 2014) this June as part of the bi-seasonal run of pre-collections. It’s a fashion fit. Both brands have a pre-occupation with body-conscious silhouettes and women with a strong sense of power – an attribute Koma will always be drawn to.

For his own eponymous collection though, he let that slip a little – purposefully we might add – for something softer, supple and sleek. Body-skimming, there were still juts and angles to contend with but so too were there sheer skirts below asymmetric necklines, cut-outs, spiral-cut tops, panels of lemon gems and shorts-based tailoring. It was less harsh and austere than we have seen from him before. Later in the month we’ll see if the same can be said for Thierry Mugler’s debut mainline collection.

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