Spring/Summer 2015 Versus Versace

IMG_8593 IMG_8600Some things are made to go together; gin and tonic, strawberries and cream, salt and vinegar, say, so too Anthony Vaccarello and Versace. He – the master of the slit and slashed minidress and pioneer of all-out sex appeal often delivered on leggy best friend, Anja Rubik; and Versus, the sidekick of Versace, the Italian house that practically invented sex – are a match made in heaven.

Half of the battle of a house producing a winning collection is in the hiring of a designer who just “gets it” and the hiring of the Belgian (of Italian descent) here is not much short of genius. Bravo to whoever cooked up that contract. One can only imagine the fun Vaccarello must have had mining the archives. It must have felt like all his birthdays and Christmases had come at once. Gold! Medusa heads! Bondage strapping! Safety pin dresses! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

All of that was whipped up tonight (even, including BFF Rubik). There were so many brilliant looks here today and here’s the crux of it, and really, where others before him have perhaps failed; he kept it simple. Firstly, it was almost all black with gold accents, well, why over-complicate matters when that will do just nicely? It wasn’t all thigh skimming miniskirts, there were some great low-slung tailored trousers partnered up with bondage-backed bodysuits boasting gold chokers as halter necks, as delicate as fine jewellery, and elsewhere, unbuttoned black silk shirts (sometimes, combining the two into a fierce jumpsuit). He rendered the medusa head into super desirable belts, and re-proposed the safety pin dress into a neat proposition for now.

And even better news: it’s all available to buy online now. One question, what are you still doing reading this?

IMG_8608 IMG_8591

 


Spring/Summer 2015 Viktor & Rolf Couture

IMG_8579 IMG_8586

Every look in Viktor Horsting and Rolf Snoeren’s haute couture collection originated from the same three elements: a floral-print baby-doll dress with smocked detailing, a pair of flip-flops, and a straw hat. But the duo did not so much explore this country-gal typology as mutate, amplify, and explode it. So outsize was this feat—a slo-mo Flowerbomb, to borrow from their best-selling fragrance—that before the show even began, three dresses had been purchased by the art collector and patron Han Nefkens, who will donate them to Rotterdam’s Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. To be sure, they will look better in an exhibition than on the red carpet.

The designers worked with Vlisco, a Dutch company dating back to 1846 that specializes in batik-style, wax-dyed, and block-printed textiles widely popular in West and Central Africa. The opening version of the A-line dress, propped up by an exaggerated petticoat of silk organza, appeared like a coloring book—unfilled and outlined in inky blue. With this baseline established, each subsequent surrealist creation materialized into a hallucination of dimension and color: Flower cutouts with knotted stamens lifted from the fabric in voluminous clusters, while other flowers drifted off the dresses entirely, extending upward until they were supported by the headgear. Even the indigo outlines turned 3-D, dangling off the hems as embroidery. All the while, straw sheaves stretched the width of the runway thanks to carbon fiber reinforcements, forcing the models to sidestep past one another in a dance-like acknowledgment of this madcap moment.

But rather than whimsy—Chanel’s greenhouse of mechanical flowers and futuristic incrustations ticked that box yesterday—the designers steered the mood toward madness, scoring their somber parade with a remix of that haunting “la la la la” from Rosemary’s Baby. They mentioned being struck by the “raw energy” of van Gogh’s landscapes, citing his quote: “I put my heart and my soul into my work and have lost my mind in the process.” Ah, yes, the struggle of any creative person well aware that memorable output does not result from apathy. But as the collection implied, one does not go from zero to unhinged in a heartbeat: It was the degrees in between that gave this undertaking such depth.

IMG_8588

IMG_8587

 

 


Spring/Summer 2015 Giorgio Armani Prive Couture

SpringSummer 2015 Giorgio Armani Prive Couture 3

As Armani enters its 40th anniversary year, it felt fitting that this couture presentation would celebrate the ideas that have been fundamental to the designer during his four decades in luxury.

And so Giorgio Armani looked to the orient – with bamboo printed in jackets and appliqued onto dresses glazed with a veil of shimmering beadwork, obi belts in lavish satin, and a muted colour palette of greys, blue and sage green. “Nature seen through culture,” the notes described. Similarly, earlier in the day, Karl Lagerfeld had invited us into his Chanel paper foliage jungle.

With a foot now into awards season, lavish feather dresses made for especially standout pieces – no doubt soon to swap the catwalk for the red carpet, where they’ll fit in a treat. In a world where fashion moves forward in the blink of an eye, it’s good to sometimes be reminded that true glamour never goes out of fashion.

SpringSummer 2015 Giorgio Armani Prive Couture SpringSummer 2015 Giorgio Armani Prive Couture 6 SpringSummer 2015 Giorgio Armani Prive Couture 5 SpringSummer 2015 Giorgio Armani Prive Couture 4

 

 


Simone Rocha on Nudity

simone-rocha-sheer-spring-looks 4 simone-rocha-sheer-spring-looks 3

Nudity always attracts attention,” mused Simone Rocha in the Spring 2015 issue. Though her designer peers may have garnered more of it for their extremist displays in recent months, the perverse belles Rocha sends down her runways have long been brave enough to show off a little T & A. Look back at her graduating collection from Central Saint Martins and you’ll find sheer blazers sans pants strutting out between see-through dresses and blouses. At that time, all came with demurring underpinnings. Two years later, her premiere runway show opened with a translucent lace coat; one year after that, filmy dresses obscured breasts with dotted flowers; and by Fall 2015, her woman was completely free, sauntering the catwalk in a gauzy pale pink number, nipples exposed, with cloudlike padding on the hips. Perhaps it’s been Rocha’s careful progression that’s lessened the shock of her revealing girlishness. Nevertheless, as a female designer, her relationship to the use of nudity is as studied as the garments she creates. Below, Rocha weighs in on her sheer fabrications, celebrity nudity, and the art world icons who influence her work.

As a female designer, do you feel that it is empowering to use the nude female form in your work?

You know, I always like to show some skin. I like for it to feel kind of provocative, and to feel kind of feminine, and to know that somebody has a bust or a waist or a leg—I know we all have legs [laughs]—but I do like that [nudity] enhances the idea of femininity. Because underneath all the clothes that we all wear every day, that’s where our bodies are, and I think the balance of the body meeting fabric can make interesting clothes.

Why did you first start to work with sheer fabrications?

From the very beginning when I was designing, I was working a lot with tulle and with see-through fabrics. It was really to play with how you saw proportion on the body, and it was another way of playing with the silhouette. That was really what drew me to it originally as a designer—the contrast of having something hard and soft or solid and see-through, something that makes you look twice. That combined with a lot of influences that I look at for my collections, like the work of Araki. You know, I didn’t want to ignore the idea of flesh, because it was something that I find very interesting in Araki’s imagery, so I wanted the clothes that I was making to still be able to see that flesh and have that balance. I wasn’t only looking at Araki, but also the artist Louise Bourgeois and all her figures, which are also covered in tapestry but they’re still nude forms. It was a mix of being inspired by things that are very feminine and nude, and not ignoring that when making garments.

Do you think nudity still has a shock factor? The exposed male models at Rick Owens last January were shocking, but exposed female models don’t tend to garner as much buzz.

I don’t think it should be shocking. I, personally, have never done anything sheer for shock value. But I suppose it depends on the designer, if they’re really looking for that shock feeling. I think it’s about human nature at the end of the day; it would be shocking if someone walked into your office topless. But I do think right now is an interesting time; it’s not just nudity—people are being exposed as themselves. Before, if you were exposed, it was as an object or in an objective way, but now people are really being exposed to show themselves and their own personality in their work. It’s a good time to be able to express yourself in that way.

Do you think that the nudity seen on the runways is influencing pop culture? There was a lot of talk at the Met Gala about all of the see-through or sheer bejeweled dresses, and elsewhere, pop figures are using their bodies as their tools for empowerment. I’m curious to see if you think that stems from fashion or it’s just a cultural tide.

I think it’s probably more of a culture thing. There have always been clothes like that at different times in fashion. I don’t know a huge amount of celebrities, but maybe they feel like this is the time that they can wear what they want. I don’t really dress a huge amount of celebrities, so I don’t know what they’re after, but I’d say at this moment in time skin is very in. But for me it’s always been in. You know, in Lucian Freud paintings, people are always naked. Louise Bourgeois sculptures—it’s all bodies naked. So maybe now everybody feels like that.

How do you hope a woman feels when she wears one of your pieces?

I hope that she feels feminine, but at the same time strong and comfortable and real. You know, I don’t want women to feel like they’re in a glass box. I want them to feel very special and relevant and comfortable in their own skin in whatever world that is. I’m very proud to be a female designer designing for women, and I think it’s great that people feel like they can express themselves through dress today. I like that there’s a lot of thought behind things, and I want people to see that in my clothes a lot of thought goes into it. And if they’re having the same thoughts, that means my work is for them.

simone-rocha-sheer-spring-looks 6