THE ballet pump – a starlet classic which we all have at the back of our wardrobes – hasn’t had an easy ride over the past few years. Deemed polite to the point of prissy, the staple shoe developed a bad rep after the high street was flooded with every variation imaginable a decade ago… the patent, gingham or leg-toning adaptations during the Noughties.
Now is the time to switch your attitude to the humble ballet slipper. The simplest of all-day, everyday shoes has made a comeback thanks to Celine: Phoebe Philo showed a stretchy, pliable style on the spring/summer 2015 catwalk. The key to the new-look ballet pump is an elegant almond-shaped toe (rather than round) – try Lanvin, A.P.C or French Sole. Pick a punchy red or tan, matte leather – extra marks go for authentic balletic details such as ribbon ties or blush silk, which works particularly well with suiting, where a box-fresh white trainer now feels a little obvious.
Over on the red carpet, the ballet shoe is elbowing the lace-up stiletto out of the limelight: Karlie Kloss made a very convincing case for the uber-classic Chanel pump at the Tribeca Film Festival last week, pairing hers with a little tweed dress. They look chic, in a sprightly sort-of way, don’t they?
Maybe heels are simply feeling like too much hard work, or post-normcore there’s enough irony to dressing safe to make it appealing now. Either way, the modest ballet pump feels refreshingly feminine for summer 2015 – which is something we shouldn’t be afraid of.
Q: HOW many ways with an army jacket? A: dozens. Rodarte’s Mulleavy sisters presented another blockbuster collection, anchored by the army jacket.
They reprised the military topper in so many reincarnations it was hard to determine which was more beautiful than the next (no doubt, international buyers will be pondering over that very matter for days on end when it comes to the task of placing orders that stay within budget). There were white jumbo corduroy versions with khaki patch pockets, others in canvas and with sleeves clad in netting or dripping in iridescent pailettes; some had leather strapping, or hoods, others had athletic stripe collars – they kept coming and coming, and crucially not to the point of boredom.
Far from it.
Eveningwear, (for sake of argument let’s call it “eveningwear” but no doubt a Rodarte girl will wear any one of these dazzling, fluttery frocks at any time of the day) was standout. There were ragged, diaphanous slips made from a mishmash of all manner of confection – silk, sequins, netting, appliqué petals, crystals, even ruffled and knitted sections were spliced in there, thrown in for good measure. If all of that sounds like something horrendous from a dressing up box, it really wasn’t. These girls are expert at crafty couture, their appeal rides on the currency of it-shouldn’t-work-but it-does, and this collection was another example of that ringing true.
Other gowns streaming in nude ostrich feathers oozed more commercial appeal, one of those would work on a red carpet the world over and frankly, any woman – not just a die-hard Rodarte fan – would deem it pretty.
A final note: thigh-high lace-up boots and spray-on high-rise white jeans are cool again.
WHAT better way to cement your reputation as the working woman’s go-to brand than to stage your spring/summer 2015 fashion show in an entrance tunnel to Kings Cross tube station? The novel idea came from Whistles, who in doing so cleverly took their customer off the catwalk and put her into context: on-the-go and always looking good. The tight edit of sleeveless jumpsuits, cutout dresses, tactile knits and statement jackets in a limited colour palette of white, black, peach and the palest of blue all emanated the brand’s progressive-but-pared-back mix and will no doubt fly off the shelves when they hit the shop floor next year. A very stylish commute beckons.
Massimo Nicosia wanted to incorporate plenty of Pringle of Scotland’s almost 200-year history into his Spring ’15 collection. He did it in a very contemporary, perhaps even futuristic way, continuing his experiments in 3-D printing, a technique he first employed (to much acclaim) for Fall. This time around, Nicosia created a nylon-powder chain mail. Assembled with panels of woven cotton and silk, it was used for airy, funky tops and a dress. “I wanted to combine the artificial and the natural,” Nicosia said of the 3-D printed looks. However, the high-tech textile wasn’t the designer’s only forward-thinking interpretation of Pringle’s signature knitwear.
Leather embellishments on a diaphanous white dress mimicked a cardigan stitch—the tactile effect was slick, and it made more than a few of the audience to do a double take during its trip down the runway. Similarly, traditional pullovers were completely reimagined; in one instance, loosely woven threads were trapped inside a mesh casing. In another, fil coupe fragments in watery hues of green and violet were patched onto a roomy organdy jumper.
Water was a primary point of reference for Nicosia this season. Using Ophelia by Sir John Everett Millais and Pablo Picasso’s The Bathers as inspiration, he attempted to translate its lightness, transparency, and reflective properties into fabric. This resulted in a number of sheer silk tops with woven collars and sleeves. A few of them were covered in translucent turquoise triangles that protruded from the chest—they were meant to act as prisms. Elsewhere, silver beads were used sparingly on a honeycomb knit dress to provide just a hint of shimmer. That piece stood out for its serene simplicity.
Returning to Pringle’s heritage, Nicosia played with the idea of lingerie (the house manufactured undergarments back in the day), and turned out hyper-thin silk knit tanks and bodysuits. Pleated and leather-trimmed skirts felt a little stiff and lacked the liquidity of Nicosia’s refreshing dresses and tops, but on the whole, the designer produced an innovative—and versatile—Spring lineup that will appeal to loyal Pringle customers and beyond.
Shop the beautiful and elegant artwork of Pringle of Scotland Spring/Summer 2015 below: