Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Dries Van Noten

IMG_8766IMG_8762If you’re going to a ball, then make Dries Van Noten your date. The designer put his casual-cool spin on fairy-tale dressing of the Cinderella kind – making tie-on splaying train skirts a must for next season. And if it’s not one of those (and they came in every eclectic incarnation – from utility style fabrications to molten and iridescent), make it a pair of cargo trousers. Note, here, they looked good with everything. Effortless has always been this designer’s forte after all.

“Anything goes,” enthused Van Noten backstage. This was once again an artisanal exploration into his easy dressing aesthetic but this time anchored within a more eveningwear-orientated domain – “couture and the casual” and “grounded glamour” were the buzzwords.

So macs became evening dresses, cinched at the waist and billowing behind; feathers and flowers fastened at the neck; brocade-rich boots were on feet. It was about layering individual garments together to incredibly rich effect – pailette-drenched arms on tops; a sandy-coloured trench atop sequin gowns beneath; velvet wide-leg trousers; shorts thrown into the mix; Scarlett O’Hara skirts.

“It’s about passionate women,” continued Van Noten backstage. By which he meant the combination of Anna Piaggi flamboyance and Jane Birkin nonchalance.

This was dressed-up dressed-down, and a beautiful collection.

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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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