Spring/Summer 2016 Marni

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Marni lightened and brightened up the morning for a collection that was laden with Lego colour and eveningwear elegance when it came to layering that twisted and tucked, pinched and folded into place.

It was sportier, and felt like a fresh burst of energy from Consuelo Castiglioni – white, daffodil yellow and the richest of jewel green to incarnate a wardrobe full of wide-leg trousers (a continuation from last season), split tunics and layered dresses and tabard styles. Just as we’ve come to expect and love from the brand, you never quite know where one garment begins and the other ends – here it was a game of dress up with long sleeves splaying out over fingers, sequins jangling beneath asymmetric hems and leaf prints that danced on shoulders in yet more sequins before making a bold impact as print in yellow and green across a mid-length dress. Sculpted graphics did the same and echoed the installation surrounds of the catwalk. That favourite T-shirt-beneath-dress combination factored in a lot here – but upgraded by Marni’s signature complication.IMG_4521

But it’s never just the clothes to contemplate with Marni – you’re looking at those accessories just as much, because they are key in defining and describing the Marni woman. They are so often the dot on the “i” and the cross on the “t”, as it were. Those same leaves hung from lobes in gold, wrists were weighted down by angular bangles and bags were long, width-wise, in metallic and scrunched like a sandwich bag or came as luxe shoppers. And the way to wear your hair is in minimalist bunchies.

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Spring/Summer 2016 Lanvin

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With hot-pink, heart-shaped cookies and fizzing raspberry champagne enthusiastically and generously handed out to show-goers, this Lanvin show was a party-slash-love-in.

What started as a buttoned-up, pleated skirt uniform affair in a series of frayed tweeds (the staples that Alber Elbaz believes to be essential in a woman’s wardrobe), quickly morphed into dresses possessing some of the brightest sequins and full-on gem-stone shine that we have seen so far in the City of Light. It was unapologetic glamour and, as with all Alber’s creations, a celebration of womanhood.

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“It’s a celebration of femininity, of colours of shine and volume, silhouettes, bows and crystals,” said Elbaz of the sequinned cardigans, flapper-style dresses, classic A-line party dresses and rich jewel hues. Decoration was big here too, with ensembles accessorised with chandelier earrings, bold layered necklaces and brooch-heavy lapels – this season’s requisite bling not new to Lanvin, but a factor that will mean this collection comes into its own next season when it sits beside its contemporaries on the shop floor. What it was not, he told us, was playing to any predictable trends.

“In terms of the androgyny that everyone else is talking about – where the man is the woman and the woman is the man – I think that women are women and men are men. Women need to be women and men need to be men. I didn’t look at any reference for this collection but I was asking myself what is it that I need to do as a designer? And this is it.”

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While you won’t see Elbaz tapping into normcore anytime soon, the prints of Lanvin handbags, shoes, perfume bottles and the address of its Parisian flagship in the last third of the show, did in fact reference trends around him, albeit in more of an existential sense.

“It’s a different job now,” he reasoned, in his trademark soothing tones. “First, I started as a designer, then I was a creative director and now I have to work on the image – so we are image makers and we sell iconics, to sell shoes and bags and perfumes. I think that it is important to show both sides co-existing.” The upshot? Women will find plenty to fall in love with come spring.

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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 Vera Wang

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THE fashion landscape right now is full of street styles, urban edge and sports accents. We dress down, we feel comfortable and then of course there is the opposite end of the spectrum: dressing for the red carpet. But who really does that?

For those somewhere in the middle of all of this comes salvation in Vera Wang, who designs for adults, riffs on classics and keeps within her own parameters to surprisingly stand out. Masculine shirting, wide-leg, loose trousers and straight-down dresses that gave no hint of feminine curve, jackets and coats of off-kilter proportions – it was full of subtle segues.

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