Monday, February 26, 2007

Milan - Autumn/Winter 2007-8, Day 4

Etro - Rather boring colors and prints. Older woman who likes to blend in.

Alberta Ferretti - Elllllegant work clothes. The day dresses are impeccable - classic but perfectly fitted. The evening - classic but with the right amount of dreamy - beaded/studded/furry/unprecious ruffling. Possibly perfect coats.

Jenny Packham - Minis and sequins and psychedelic Indian prints and thoroughly luscious satin - it would be hard not to get excited here. So much fun.

Bottega Veneta - Understated but obviously luxe work pieces and renaissance princess evening pieces.

Pollini - Rifat Ozbek - 80s Space Age. I feel like I'm viewing a Claude Montana show.

Prada - Long, lean, and loose. Loose shag carpeting sweaters, loose scrunched silk pencil skirts, double-breasted coat dresses (leather or wool). I'm not quite sure what to make of it. The standard ugly-pretty applies, and the silhouette is definitely comfortable, but polish (even a wrong sort) does not seem evident. I think this will take some getting used to.

6267 - The label everyone seems to be talking about has me thinking of Claude Montana again. This isnt a compliment. There are some winning dresses, however. I like the tailored bust looks.

Jil Sander - Austere and minimal, but with a hint of quirk (a cape here, lamé there).

Milan - Autumn/Winter 2007-8, Day 1-3

Schumacher - Smart separates and dresses. Utterly wearable and put together without over-detailing or preciousness.

D&G - Micro-leopard print and slouchy tuxedos. Not the usual overtly sexual, more buttoned up 60s with bow-front high-necked blouses, Chanel-esque belted minidresses, and lotsa polkadots. Unnervingly nice.

La Perla - Adorable tiered/banded skirts and ultra-form-fitting waists. The tailored looks work a lot better than the drapey freeforms.

Giorgio Armani - Less boring than usual. Puffed skirts and sleeves still seem a little old, but the satin 30s coats are perfection. The fishnet sleeves are sexy and provide a youthfulness that is usually missing.

Just Cavalli - Too much eurotrash cheesy sexy. Like a bad D&G, but with exaggerated shoulders and a fake toughness. Plus, the world's worst mens looks.

Maurizio Pecoraro - 30s tunics, hats, hair, makeup. So chic, but classically dramatic.

Burberry Prorsum - The hardest, edgiest, military jackets. Sexxxy dresses that are borderline scary. Bondage, belts, gloves, and boots. Studded platform sandals. Definitely gorgeous, but are you tough enough to pull it off?

Pringle of Scotland - Grown-up full pleated skirts - nothing cute about them. Perfect, plus pockets! I could wear these dresses everyday.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


My friends and I have been having conversations about the state of fashion. I dont know if they realize that's what we're discussing, but it's all got my brain working.

Today's New York Times Thursday Style contains a surprising amount of criticism towards the Fashion Industry. This is a too rare event in fashion coverage. It is difficult during the Fashion Weeks to find a single bit of a critique for a show. American Vogue is more apt to do so than British Vogue (particularly of British designers) and the newspapers tend to be a bit too harsh - I feel often missing the point of certain shows to showcase a sort of fantasy, not to be a look book of the new season's wares. Perhaps I'm mistaken about what most shows should be. Also, a tenured designer seems to get a pass in the face of bad design, when a lot of new designers dont even get reviewed. The internet has helped in making almost anyone with a pair of scissors (or who can hire someone with a pair of scissors) capable of staging a show and getting their photos online, but I dont really have any hard data about how that translates to success or even sales.

One article talks about the state of Italian Fashion. On one hand, it is dated and stuck only on the success of their established designers, with no interest in cultivating and supporting new talents. On the other, what is passing for fashion is often just dumbed-down overtly and overly sexy club gear. A new denim line is not the next Valentino or Miuccia Prada. I dont think such problems are limited to Italy, though. Yes, American Vogue is very much a champion of *certain* small labels, and yes a lot of effort is put into documenting a lot of shows for labels that maybe should not be staging shows. But is that really American Fashion? Is that how people are dressing? Who is influencing whom? A celebrity wearing clothes right off the runway instantly dates that designer's entire show. Who wants to buy the dress at full price that we saw on the red carpet six months ago? How does that attitude affect sales? And if it doesnt? Then *why* does that person want to own that dress? Is it because of the quality and timelessness or even the "now"-ness? Or is it just of accruing *things* and displaying wealth? There's nothing wrong with a consumer feeling either way, but it pains me to see the entire industry accepting the latter.

In my opinion, what passes for Fashion is the disposable kind found at the mall and H&M. I dont want to be a snob, because honestly I wont even pay H&M prices oftentimes, but I dont feel that is the way to build a wardrobe. [And if such an idea bores or horrifies you, then what are you doing reading this?] That seems the perfect way to just spend money. Quantity and effervesence.

Just yesterday, my friend brought up this concept. How much should be spent on a quality, lasting wardrobe? She had spent the weekend with an 80-something friend, sorting through her extensive collection of dresses from the 50s and 60s - including a Nobel Prize dinner evening gown, and was wondering how much money she had spent then and how much it translates to today. I would not even know where to begin. Money does not translate into quality. An expensive dress can still be made from cheap fabric or sewn on a machine in a factory in China. (Not to say Made in China means a lesser quality). I feel that proof of quality has to come from helping to pick the fabrics and finding someone to make your clothes by hand. This doesnt have to mean Couture. And maybe it just means having fewer clothes and more accessories. Deciding on the items that you are willing to sacrifice quality for...

I think with all good things, moderation is key. As well as the mantra "Buy the most expensive X that you can afford, just have a lot less X."

What do you think?

Sunday, February 18, 2007

London - Autumn/Winter 2007-8, Day 5-6

Gareth Pugh - Yikes, you can remember this fella, right? I still havent figured him out yet. I think I'm too freaked out to.

Nathan Jenden - There will certainly be no shortage of cute party dresses this fall. Cute, wearable, hardly groundbreaking, but you cant fault nice.

Giles - Ignoring the comically oversized scarves and sweaters, some of the most comfortable and dramatic and dreamy dresses around. More party invites, please.

Central Saint Martins - A lot of pictures to review here, and unfortunately I dont know the designers' names, but I love this dress (shirt?).

Jens Laugesen - Somber but beautiful - puffy skirts and sleeves and ruffled high-neck collars. Still party-ready, but more serious-minded.

Marc by Marc Jacobs - Showing in London for unknown-to-me reasons, the alpine iceskaters and bookish minis and separates are still exciting prospects.

London - Autumn/Winter 2007-8, Day 3-4

Paul Smith Woman - A none too thrilling,yet entirely acceptable Great Gatsby look. Long strands of pearls, tennis cardigans, low-cut and loose dresses, menswear pinstriped suits.

Christopher Kane - I have been quite excited for this show. I'm still swooning over last season's dresses. This time, the same verve in leather and crushed velvets. I miss the neon, but welcome the metallics and am impressed by the Renaissance Fair-inspired dresses and coats. His world just looks like fun.

Sinha-Stanic - Quiet suits - all rounded shoulders and short jackets - and sexy minis. The metallics came across a little old and dated in some looks.

Marios Schwab - More quilted sleeping bags - but still in a trim silhouette. I can really get behind the quilted dresses and soft, sexy sweaters.

Roksanda Ilincic - Tulle-d ankles and collars, ruffles, and satin bows. It comes across best in minis which arent being overtaken by the details.

Preen - Oh yeah. The excitement I was hoping for at Christopher Kane. Pleats everywhere, on bodices, on shoulders. The shoulders appear to be missing bits of a suit of armor, just recreated in knits and wools. Neon that looks so cool for cool weather, and super sexy hooded sweater dresses that I guess are actually good for cool weather.

Hamish Morrow - Even more sleeping bags! I'm going to call this an under-the-radar trend. Not one that just anyone should pick up on, if perhaps you need to worry about puffy pieces making actual parts of you puffy. Laces, satins, and complicated draping and wrapping. Nicely serious, futuristic sexy.

Aquascutum - So many lovely looks. Fitted dresses, corsets, rope-accented sweaters, drum major jackets and capes, little trenches. Just lovely.

Biba - Youthful and wearable, but entirely appropriate flirty-skirted dresses, sexy trousers, and buttoned-up blouses.

Jonathan Saunders - Center of the body focus - with zippers and contrasting fabrics on slim dresses and coats. The colors are just beautiful (especially the gradations) and so very dramatic. Especially on such simple and elegant pieces. I think my London favorite, so far.

London - Autumn/Winter 2007-8, Day 1-2

Ben de Lisi - Pretty metallics and laces and draped dresses, with a bit of an 80s touch.

Noir - Elegant, yes; but a little off, not in the right way.

Peter Jensen - Rather shapeless and ugh on the whole, but with some adorable plaids and suits.

Duro Olowu - The best prints - a sort of modern African look. Perfectly mismatched pieces.

Richard Nicoll - Bibbed front shirts and jackets that remind me of a modern pirate. Some fun alternatives to ruffles and minis.

Erdem - More great prints and ruffles and minis. Blousy coats. Just pretty and cool.

Todd Lynn - Fairyl ugly menswear.