An ode to slow Haute Fashion

So, the fashion industry has been experiencing some serious turmoil with the designers resigning, and maisons left without creative direction.

There are numerous reasons for a designer to leave. The discrepancies with the financial direction, the creative limitations or just a fight with the brand director. Case in point: Alber Elbaz. This is an ongoing fight, given that after his exit from Lanvin, his creative team has been very outspoken of their not so loved direction.

The rumor mill has it that Stefano Pilati is leaving Ermenegildo Zegna for Lanvin. So we haven’t hear the last from this particular case.

Now, there’s a new case of designers leaving and having issues with the brands, given the pace that fashion has come to thanks to fast fashion (we are looking at you Inditex and H&M). The luxury houses have to take on a much faster pace in order to catch up with the created demand of trends from the consumer, and the fact that fast fashion steals some inspiration, doesn’t make things any easier.

Designers who are artists first and foremost, are succumbing to the pressure of not having real time to look out for inspiration and the magic that makes luxury fashion special and different. I’ve written about this and I believe it is right. First, if the industry slowed down, we would be a lot more eco conscious and we’d stop creating obsessive consumption and actually create unique pieces that the people would want.
And there’s the internal job of the artist, of the creative process. If they have to put out around 6+ collections every year, there’s no real time to really fill the collections with inspiration and the love of creation that designers can give to their clothes.
Should these concerns go any further, we will be seeing a change very soon.

And now, in an ode for true inspirational, magic fashion, the latest Spring 2016 Haute Couture. You’ll notice the trends (beyond the pale rose and the serenity blue pentanes), we are aiming for colors, for very sheer and see-through fabrics, with a lot of flounces and tassels, mixed textures and flowers (that can’t be left out, because it is spring)

Alberta Ferreti with her Limited Edition, inspired in the Marchesa Luisa Casati with femme fatale in the 20’s silhouettes with a strong layer of animal inspiration, specially in the accessories.

Jean Paul Gaultier gives an homage to vintage french night life in his very particular way, enjoying that he no longer has his pet a porter line, and he can go all out and have fun and make great pieces in Couture.

Alexandre Vauthier just goes out for the sensual woman living the nightlife and enjoying herself. She’s a team and she’s elegant all in one. there are some powerful statements in this collection. And a lot of red carpet possibilities.

Armani Privé gives a sense of continuing his latest Couture collection that had flowy and soft, delicate fabrics with soft prints but this time he went for the mauve tone, going for lilac. And frills, bubble skirts and dresses. And the very trendy flats with straps.

Karl Lagerfeld is going eco friendly with Chanel, or as much as the brand is able to. He went for wild cotton and other natural fabrics, without forgetting the traditional Chanel linings, mixing them up with long printed playful dresses and some 20’s inspiration.

Dior has been left without a Creative Director. The kids who were working with Raf Simmons took over this collection whilst the direction looks for an appropriate designer. And of course, the result is that the brand suffers. This collection is not bad, it is just flat, there’s nothing surprising, nothing Dior-like but the basic guide lines. I don’t see Dior doing so well this time.

Elie Saab is changing. Or at least, the inspirations have changed. India meets boho-chic this could’ve been called. And it is just wonderful. It is the proof of craftsmanship, and shiny boots that everybody will love. Enjoy the flowy fabrics, the sari-like crossing, the beading and the embellishments, the show jackets with long necks and sheerness.

Giambattista Valli also homaged Paris (due to the terrorists attacks back in November), through its gardens and its flowers. And an encore from the last collection, Remember Rihanna in the huge pink layers tulle dress? Well, there’s a new version, with a black bandeau. It is not so creative, but it is beautiful. Oh, and the skirt with the short front and the long (even train) back are back.

I just don’t really understand Riccardo Tisci. I do not like most of what he’s done for Givenchy, and lately that horrifying lamp-like dress Cate Blanchett wore and the rather ill-fitting green gown that Julianne Moore wore for the SAG Awards. That one is actually in these pictures. It is not a bad dress, but it didn’t fit the redheaded actress right.

Maison Marginal has benefited greatly from the talent of John Galliano. The designer has refrained from his popular antics in the runway, and has found a way to mix the Marginal values with his own. As you know Margiela values are a little weird, and you can add to that the magnificent Galliano creations. There’s texturing, there are weird mixes and matches and some are big. And the boots are to die for.

Bertrand Guyon has also been a good match for Schiaparelli. He seems to understand the influences and inspirations that come with the brand. And this time, food and the lobster dress were the prime focus. All the elements of a picnic, including the blanket are included in the clothes, and it is a lot of fun.

I’ve always liked Ulyana Sergeenko’s collections. They have all that russian thing going on, and also that touch of femme fatale. The first collections were a little slow, and then they picked up. These one, I just didn’t get. There were corsets, and lingerie popping out, and 80’s trends, and country dresses. There was no common thread, no sense of order. It never built up ‘cause there was no where to go.

I love Valentino once more. The fact that Chiuri and Piccioli are aiming for their roman background has made their collections just the more beautiful. The last greek-roman one was just great, and this one is also fantastic. They went for a little baroque, but they kept the feminine, the sensual, the delicate and elegant, and the beautiful accessories featuring old coins, even in the feet.

Donatella Versace has gone to the vault of inspiration and it may have not been as good as they thought. The white suits with popping bright colors and slits are a good way to go, and even some of the roman inspired dresses, also rather colorful (like the one Brie Larson wore). But then there were all those weird Swarovski straps coming and going, like tying up the dresses pieces of a dress are a little bit too much. It is going for sensual and sexy to plain tacky. Maybe it’s time to back down a little.

Viktor and Rolf, as far as I’m concerned, do not design clothes to be worn, but to be seen as pieces of art. And this time, Pablo Picasso was the biggest influence. The eyes, the mouths, the heads, even the boobs were all marked out on very white canvas. Even over the models’ faces. It is interesting how art truly translates into fashion, the way Viktor & Rolf do it.

Zuhair Murad is a master of red carpet creations. The clothes are just picture perfect, and actually really beautiful. The dresses are dreamy, and this occasion is no exception. With the corsets and skirts worn by Elizabeth I and the english court of the time, the embroidered fabrics and the lace have a huge moment. Do not miss the wedding gown at the grand finale. Another master creation of artisan hands and dedication.





Haute Couture, my love!

I get really excited every time Haute Couture begins. This week really allows the whole fashion industry to dream big, to turn fashion into art, and to determine almost every trend that we’ll be seeing the next year.

And this is sure a very particular Haute Couture Week. Giorgio Armani avoided his usual extra minimal creations and shocked in pop pink, metallic shades and fluffy coats. Karl Lagerfeld designed a jacket with 3D laser for Chanel, and celebrated his 50th anniversary as Creative Director of Fendi with a collection that has PETA crawling up the walls.
Viktor & Rolf showed literal “Wearable Art”, modifying the creations directly on the runway.
And trends are running a little wild for Fall&Winter 2015. A LOT of flowers and bright colors, specially bright pink, orange and gold. There are tons of sheer fabrics and cut outs, with those 70’s silhouettes that most brands hinted last season. 70’s is going on strong and fluorescent 80’s are well on their way. Also, Fur. Fur everywhere. Not only on Fendi’s Haute Fourrure collection, but almost in every runway, so get ready for some serious PETA fury, and tons of horrific posts on every single social network.
I have to say, this is some great Couture.

Karl Lagerfeld celebrated his 50th anniversary leading Fendi. This is also the first time the Roman based maison has a Haute Couture collection, which makes it even more special. Since the announcement, The Kaiser called it “Haute Fourrure” given the amount of fur he would show, and he was not kidding. This collection was different to the rest because it was mostly black and white, mixing chinchilla, sable, mink with feathers, seemingly plastic fabrics, diagonal lines and thigh high printed boots.
This is luxury and excess at its very best.

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What can you say about the Enfant Terrible of Fashion? Jean Paul Gaultier decided to stop working on his Pret A Porter collection and give his full attention to his Haute Couture. I’m sure there a lot of women disappointed, but the man is just as talented as he’s ever been. The collection has a clear nautical influence, but it is colorful, filled with gold-thread embroidery and with big weird head pieces. A lot of geometrical cuts, mixed textures and fun. You could feel the positive, fun emotion that surrounded the creations.

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I have to be honest. I’ve never really liked a Viktor&Rolf collection, and maybe because they have this abstract art vision towards fashion. This particular collection made that statement obvious. The pair has also ditched their Pret A Porter collection to focus on their “Fashion is Art” concept. They called this one: Wearable Art, and it could not have a better name. Viktor and Rolf were over the runway, fixing the dresses right there. You can see it.

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Alexis Mabille elebrated 10 years as a Couturier and has received the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres distinction. For this collection he called 15 of his muses, among them Ditta Von Teese and Berenice Bejo and portrayed them as the true people who wears these clothes, as the heart of couture. Photographer Matthew Brookes made an awesome job.

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Elie Saab has a very clear formula for his collections. He’s Red-Carpet-perfect-choice. The sequins and beads embroidered dresses with that ethereal feel and princess-like luscious fabrics makes you feel like you could wear each dress to just be around in your house, and feel like you’re the queen of everything. This time, Saab tried some palazzos which is the novelty, and those black gowns with the flowers… Trust me, we’ll be seeing a lot of these on the red carpets to come.

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Maison Margiela was without a doubt the place for John Galliano to make a full come back. The ability to experiment with fabrics, textures, images and contradictions that already came in the DNA of the maison were just the place to bring back the immense talent that Galliano has. And when I say contradictions, I mean a dress made of what could have been a bag for potatoes, to “origami-like” printed dresses

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Alexandre Vauthier chose Los Angeles as the muse of this collection. And fringes, fringes all over. At the edge of a dress, from the belts on the shoes. It empowers a woman who wants to feel like a sexy rockstar with cut outs, thigh high slits and super short skirts, very LA if you ask me.

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Mr. Armani shocked his audience as he drifted away from his usual minimalistic ways towards a very early 80’s bright colored collection, with a Punk feel to it. Filled with feathers and bright sequins, blue, green and pink over green and making an ombre appearance. It was an odd choice for Armani, even though the silhouettes of the gowns and the jackets clearly had the Armani seal all over.

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Bouchra Jarrar up until now, designed for the working every day woman. And the clothes were beautiful and functional, but this time she went for a younger woman, with crop tops and pleated sheer skirts over short ones. There was a lot of fur, even in the crossed crop tops, mixed with big waisted pants.

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This Fall, Chanel was showing in a Casino. Kristen Stewart, Geraldine Chaplin, Rinko Kikuchi, Rita Ora, Lara Stone, Vanessa Paradis and Julianne Moore played at the tables, while the models walked around with Lagerfeld’s creations.
Since he also showed his very first jacket cut out by 3D laser, the whole collection had that “machine over man” theme going on. With a classic Chanel and incredibly oversized coats and jackets, but doll-like cheeks, lips and hair.

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My dear Giamba, always so beautiful and so great. Giambattista Valli has this classic italian work and he mixes it with his inspirations. This time, he went for Talitha Pol and Syd Barrett, some psychedelic view with bright colors and textures, and those huge dark shades. From the short feathered dresses, to the long and incredibly big fluffy gowns and that long black dress with flowers. You just fall in love with all of it.

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Alberta Ferretti is also a new addition to the Haute Couture Week, with her Limited Edition line. And I saw this one before, and I think it is perfect. It came out of a glorious french palais, and it actually did ‘cause Alberta has moved her atelier to a french chateau, that once belonged to the Rotchschilds, at Rue Faubourg Saint Honore. It has the baroque, and the feminine. It is delicate and sweet, and it has an immense amount of artisan craftsmanship. It is beautiful.

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Raf Simmons has taken his place at Dior perfectly, I just don’t think this was his best work. The environment created for the collection was a sign for big things to come, and yet I was not that greatly surprised. The big coats, the white loose dresses, that seemed like old night gowns. The crystal sequined dresses, and the ones with the flowers were nice, but for me it felt a little lost. Like the pieces didn’t quite match.

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I believe I forgot that Marco Zanini left the creative direction of Schiaparelli, and from here, it looks like the very best thing that could’ve happened to the brand of my dear Schiap. Bertrand Guyon stepped up and took over the collection, and I think this one has got it right. The values, the muscles that conform the Schiaparelli brand. The quirky and the elaborated, from the prints on the dresses to the head pieces, the diverse influences, the man has the right idea.

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Ulyana Sergeenko has gone from really weird to chosen by Rihanna for her crazy videos. The woman takes all her inspirations from her homeland, this time from the Soviet Russia, with a very elegant point of view and a naughty one, with sheer pieces and showing a lot more skin that ever before. Maybe that’s another reason why she caught Rihanna’s eye.

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I’ve said ti before, and I will say it again: Donatella has made some great work with Versace. She’s kept the theatricality that Gianni had, but the clothes have a lot more understanding. They are sexy and bold, and yet they have that quality, that feminine trait. This time, Donatella went full 70’s flower child, with a twist. 25,000 orchids filled the crystal runway, as they made the silhouette of the Versace Medusa on the back, where all the models came from. And they had flowers on their heads, and their backs and they seemed to form the strings that kept the pieces together. It was simple and strong as most things in nature do.

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Secret Garden IV: teaser

Rihanna happens to be the first “dark colored skin” woman to ever be in a Dior Campaign. But she was chosen due to her fashion choices, and her ability to pull off almost everything she puts on.

Steven Klein photographed the campaign at Palais de Versailles, which will finally drop on May 18th. And of course, there’s a video, but we won’t be able to see it until next week. So we have the teaser for what’s to come


Fashion 2015

Some fashion big names are already showing their PreFall 2015 Collections all around the globe. You can see beautiful dresses at Oscar De la Renta (the last collection he actually worked on before passing away), Elie Saab, and Raf Simmons pulled off a “Chanel-like” display by showing his Dior Pre Fall collection in Tokio, yesterday. As Chanel did it at the Metier of Arts in Vienna.

And also, brands are launching their ad campaigns for Spring 2015, which is a little confusing.

But lets talk about Balmain and its full A-List model campaign. Featuring Adriana Lima, Joan Smalls, Rosie Huntington Whiteley, Isabeli Fontana and Crista Cober, photographed by Mario Sorrenti, the models appear to be acting like regular people, eating burgers, playing video games, basically laying around and having a massive cat fight. All this day-to-day activities while wearing black&white, skin baring cut out and colorful skin tight Balmain creations, inside of what could be The Enterprise or the Death Star.

And these images are just the beginning.

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Couture going on fashionably street

I recently read that if fashion is made out of details, Cuture is made out of dreams. And I firmly believe it. Couture is the fabric of fashion’s biggest dreams.
And it has been proven over and over, now that Couture is going a little street to become a little more modern and a little closer to everyone.
Couture can be inspired by anything, There’s Gaultier who chose vampires, or Raf Simmons who took orchids and Marie Antoinette, or Ulyana Sergeenko, who’s closest inspiration is her motherland Rusia. This time, the revolutionary with a ton of silky fabrics.
We all know that Couture is only available to very few people who get to pay and wear the master creations, but it is also a source of endless inspiration for the more down-to-earth brands and for all of us who understand that fashion is creation, is communication and human expression at its best. And it is artisan craftsmanship work designed by a master fashion mind that makes us dream.

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Alexandre Vauthier is always a constant surprise and delight. He’s all for empowering women, making them look sensual and daring. This collection is not an exception, asymmetric cuts, down-to-the-belly-button necklines, high slit dresses, cut outs and crop tops, he went for a little rock inspiration with a touch of yellow and a spat of embellished very short red dress.I’m pretty sure the geometric patterns haven’t left us completely, since there are some harem pants with that fabric, but it’ll go out quietly soon.

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Bouchra Jarrar went also for the 50’s inspiration in a more true-to-date approach than Donatella. Of course, these pieces are far more tailored and more mixing masculine and feminine, with the bicolor man shoes. asymmetric bicker jackets, with flowy soft skirts and the perfecto pants in flawless satin. For Bouchra it’s just always simple elegance, in a woman who wants to try somethings new, but not go too far.

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The Kaiser again took Chanel to a new place, with the inspiration of architectonic works of Le Corbusier and avoiding the tailoring all together with fabric and intricate sequined pieces glued with silicone, as well as working with materials such as plastic, and suggesting sandals for winter. Then again, this si Karl Lagerfeld we’re talking about, and he can chose to put shorts under short skirts and a pregnant model bride to close his magnificent runway. Do not miss the golden embroidered dresses, the seined and very embellished details and the red. Here are the new trends.

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Unlike John Galliano, who was always up for a good dress up, Raf Simmons goes for the concept that Couture shouldn’t be only for special occasions, but for a daily life use. That is if you are talking about coats, simple dresses, and tailored pants that can be matched with a blouse and things that you can actually wear rather than a huge 18th century Marie Antoinette inspired dress or massive fur coats. This collection is rounded and complete, it is not what you’d expect from Dior, because most of them are just easy, every day wear. But as I was telling you, Couture has now started to take that path.

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My beloved Giambattista. Always going for eccentric looks, inspired this time by moorish and spanish tradition, as well as old Hollywood glamour. A little of a PJ’s wink and a lot of big colorful full skirted dresses, with stripes and embroidered flowers.Those petals and the mohair are just so out of it, and yet so beautiful. We will definitely be seeing a lot of Valli at the red carpets to come.

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As I warned this would happen, Maison Martin Margiela has gone for some creations a tad more wearable that all that crazy which with the mason started. This time they were playing exquisite corpse, which used to be a game surrealists played, by adding a part to a drawing in paper, an d then passing it along to somebody else who had no idea what was there, or what had been added. So yeah, this has Margiela written all over. Again repair in the very beaded, sequined work, we’ll be seeing a lot of that soon.

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Alexis Mabille has gone for the Susan Sontag’s feminine and masculine paradox, or so he said, because the collection is very girly in an old hollywood glam kind of way. To the exception of one pant suit, a huh waisted short and a skin tight jumpsuit, the rest are just perfectly crafted gowns and dresses. Maybe he got the idea wrong, but a job perfectly executed.

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Armani will always go to his comfort zone to start a beautifully crafted Couture runway. The red Lacquer was a main ingredient even when he started with pant suits and very elegant, classical skirts and jackets. And then all went sparkly beaded and tulle madness, with the red as the connecting threat of it all. It’s an experimental ground for everything to come, Armani has left it clear.

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I love Elie Saab, please don’t get me wrong, but he has done the same dresses over and over again for quite sometime now. Tha Couture collection is always aiming for night or formal events, specially those with a red carpet in them. Now he decided that pearls would be the perfect beading for his creations. He’s also going for short dresses for a cocktail event, some ombré effects, and stripes and sheer fabric. But it’s the same thing we’ve been seeing for a while.

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Ulyana Sergeenko went for a dark period at the russian history for inspiration. The time when the last czar was overthrown and the Soviet Union started. It could’ve been more believable if it didn’t all look like femme fatales and James Bond-Like spies. It will remind you a lot of Jean Pal Gautier’s corsets at the beginning of the 90’s decade. She’s going for the right direction, but she needs to find her own voice, sooner rather tha later.

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I have not liked the latest job of Pier Paolo PIccioli and Maria Grazi Chiuri at the head of Valentino. But I am always moved by those who chose to be inspired by their historical roots. This time Chuiri and Picciolini took inspiration from the 19th century reprise of roman togas and pre raphaelites, going back to nature and beauty. Even the production on the runway suggested it right away. This si a much simpler, nicer collection.

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Silver, turquoise, navy blue, and red were the primary tones at the Zuhair Murad architectonic inspired collection, with some geometric patterns and some very structured dresses. The more beautiful ones were those skin tight and the short ones that aimed to a younger type of client. Because, then again Murad is having the Elie Saab Effect, going for his classics, over and over.

En el pasado…

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