Autumn/Winter 2015-16 Ralph Lauren

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When the talk of New York fashion week isn’t revolving around the brutal weather front, then it’s chat about newest latest happenings. That week, it had only been about one thing: the Polo Bar restaurant – Ralph Lauren’s latest opening, a cozy, dimly lit den serving the best steak in town, a stone’s throw away from the new Ralph Lauren Polo Fifth Avenue store. Woody Allen has already been, so too half of the fashion fraternity. It’s a roaring success.

What to wear there? Well, Ralph Lauren of course. In fact, any piece from his collection this morning in 50 shades of brown would fit right in to the equestrian clubhouse feel. Take ‘Truffle cashmere’ for example – it conjures good things doesn’t it? Rich, expensive-looking deliciousness, in which to pour oneself come autumn. This was a classic RL collection; from the layered knitted ensembles, reined in with a low-slung saddle leather belt, to the two-tone wool and suede ponchos, shearling coats and oatmeal flannel trousers.

Celebrity stylists would be wise to put a call in now to request that sublime black strapless gown, devastatingly beautiful in its restraint and simplicity. The woman in that dress can’t not but feel good about life.

This is exactly the sort of collection that his legions of women will shop at his Madison Avenue flagship in New York – and anywhere else in the world for that matter.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Alberta Ferretti

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ALBERTA FERRETTI’S show  was like opening the gates to the garden of Eden and seeing what lies behind. Well, a tribe of bohemian nymphs in sheer barely-pink coloured gowns with petal appliqué, of course. One, even had the latticing of a pagoda, its pink flowers seemingly weaving in and out of those lines. Other shorter, just as romantic styles boasted blooms of crochet florals and raggedy, leafy hemlines.

Pocahontas was also skipping around in there, in tan-coloured ankle-grazing suede waistcoats with whip stitching and decorative punch-outs, and elsewhere in all that fringing and criss-cross lace-up gladiator sandal-boots.

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The thing about Alberta Ferretti is this: these looks are never going to be cutting edge – that isn’t what she has built her brand upon. And I’m sure she doesn’t mind a bit about that, because her successes are in making women look and feel pretty. It’s as simple as that and she did that again with this collection. Any one of these dresses would work at any summer function, day or night. A garden party? Why, of course. A guest at a wedding? Look no further. A gown for a trio of bridesmaids? yes, she had those by the dozen. A bohemian bride? Yes, a couple of those were in the offing too. Doing pretty – that sells.

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Spring/Summer 2015 Valentino

FOLLOWING on from their couture collection, which channelled the Pre-Raphaelites,  Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli presented a collection that took its cue from the 18th century tradition of the Grand Tour, a trip taken by young Europeans to explore the art, culture and traditions of Italy. Rome and all-out classicism, views, ruins, and souvenirs were all tapped, even, right down to a soundtrack that felt like a tourist board melody and a palette that in parts looked to be informed by Neopolitan ice-cream – a fluttery sheer silk dress floated its way around the body in vanilla, strawberry and chocolate stripes.

It was romantic, artisanal and all out beautiful – from the simplicity of those double linen coats and backless pinafores, to the overwhelming intricacies of their eveningwear (as usual, it was one look more breathtaking than the next). Gowns were embroidered in wispy gold starfish, or watery seascapes, elsewhere, they came heavily encrusted with feathers, bugle beads and embroideries and shuffled barely an inch off the floor (a Valentino hemline is a thing of absolute precision and perfection).

What is perhaps even more remarkable than all that finery, and that extreme level of craftsmanship – which it’s no exaggeration to say is comparable to couture – is that these clothes are imbued with such a sunny youthfulness, everything is apparently so effortless to wear. Those scarf print silk jumpsuits and devastatingly pretty white eyelet lace dresses and skirts are the sort of summer pieces one could happily slip into in five seconds flat – and go anywhere.

It was all anchored with flat knee-high gladiator sandals – ideal for exploring the ruins, perhaps – some boasted dangling charms that looked like they had been picked up while browsing bazaars. Half-up, half-down hair was intertwined with precious gold marine trinkets such as seashells and starfish. Spectacular.

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