Spring/Summer 2016 Gucci

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For his second ready-to-wear collection at Gucci, Alessandro Michele (who took over from Frida Giannini at the beginning of this year), presented a wealth of ideas that firmly and strongly built on what he started to show us his intentions were last season.

But where those had a slight softly-softly approach, this time the ideas came with gusto, staunchly setting out to follow up and consolidate what he started and take it somewhere even better. You know this is going to be one very desirable collection and one that will have significant impact on the season ahead.

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It was his blend of geek-chic still but with solid Gucci accessory references and everything was amped up – from colour to decoration, frills and glitter, shine, sequins and embroidery which dazzled down sheer column flounced dresses or climbed and wound round the backs of those sheer pussy-bow blouses he so managed to put on the map for autumn/winter 2015 (he’s the reason you have one, or are soon to, in your wardrobe).

The house’s signature red and green was used to strong effect, as were its GGs that featured on backless shoes – in fact the accessories offering, what with its brooches and pearl-punched shoes, shimmering shades and more – was a magpie’s dream, expensive vintage. Everyone will want a piece of it – once it becomes too hot to wear their fuzzy Gucci slippers from last season, of course (there were a lot of these gracing the front row).

The show notes described a “treasure chest of aesthetic references”, which was entirely apt. It was a continuation of that studious Seventies sensibility, this time overlaid with a disco effect and the beret proves still to be the Gucci girl’s best friend. The Alessandro effect looks set to stay.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Isabel Marant

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Isabel Marant’s boho-band blend dipped its toe into Eighties waters today – high waists on white jeans cinching in her cable knits or reworked Bretons, rah-rah frills jiving down sleeves and skirts, single earrings to compound the point.

There were huge boyfriend-sized jackets and all the pieces she does so well and so right for her customer. It’s always youthful, it’s always that embodiment of nonchalance – it’s always that girl, it is Marant herself.

But a twist in proceedings came towards the end of the collection in a boudoir surprise: sheer white and black swingy dresses with lacing frothing down the front into frills. Surely this was a little more girly and sweet than we know from this chick?

But, wait, hang on, she can do frou too! But when that’s not her vibe, there was plenty here for stalwart fans – those who merely need a style update on the seasonal Marant staples that already inhabit their wardrobe.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Chloe

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Clare Waight Keller dedicated her show to International Women’s Day on March 8 and the notes came with a little anonymous self-empowering poem that she’d signed off with. Because if there’s one thing Chloe is all about, it’s embracing and celebrating women, femininity.

Today was a kind of greatest hits of the label that laboured its efforts in the Seventies: skinny little scarves tied around the necks of plunging V-neck maxi dresses; wide-lapel peacoats; natty waistcoats and billowing blouses; chemise-y sheer frills on little perky dresses and later those that fell loose and languid. Coats were substantial and solid investments, they always were here. And corduroy and denim got brief, but era-ticking, outings as Fleetwood Mac’s Dreams so easily summed up the mood: romantic, nonchalant, just as the way the Chloe girl is supposed to be. She’s young but sexy, feminine but strong and likes her masculine tailoring just as much as something delicate and pale.

In a fashion landscape saturated by the Seventies right now though, it of course didn’t feel new. But that wasn’t really ever going to be the takeaway from this and true Chloe girls – or even just those in search of a good coat or pretty dress – won’t mind in the slightest.

“Live life to express, not to impress” – just like the poem said.

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Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Alberta Ferretti

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Such is the effect of social media that it got Alberta Ferretti wondering what the equivalent of a selfie would have been way back when. She found her answer in portraits from the Renaissance – because they depicted strong women with character and personality. And so this became her starting point – a wander through history but with a streak of modernity in there too.

So dresses – lots of them – were all very pretty and historic, riffing on that folksy princess Valentino vibe, ruffles and frills and flouncy collars. The girls walked out from a projected sun-risen forest, the same vermillion and rich shades stretching out onto their gowns, embroidery and embellishment undoubtedly opulent though Ferretti herself would put emphasis on the material’s exclusivity and technicality over anything else.

There were Guy Fawkes girls in black velvet jackets and regal ruby decoration; there were shapely sheer sleeves on blouses beneath demure pinafores and there were cosy Red Riding Hood capes to further emphasise that fairytale point.

“For me, it’s important to dream. If you dream it, it will happen,” reasoned Ferretti backstage.

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