Friday, October 30, 2009

At Dries Van Noten, West meets East for a makeover!

Creator: Dries Van Noten

Show: Spring Summer 2010 RTW (Women)

Date Held: Oct 4th 2009

Place: 7, Place Vendôme, Paris

Inspiration: ethnic fabrics from the east like Ikats from Uzbekistan, batiks from Bali, Banarasi silk from India and chinoiserie from China

Color Palette: Varied - emerald green, mustard yellow, lemon yellow, ink blue, pink, gold, silver

Collection's Composition: boxy emerald green jackets with Chinese embroideries, heavily beaded shirts, pink brocade coat with gold brocade, dresses wrapped like a saree, slim cut cropped pants, ikat printed cuffed shorts, short saree skirt with a floor grazing drape, a strong-shouldered jacket lavishly embroidered in silver, micro floral print pants

Accessories: black tipped pumps with emerald metallic heels, ikat print pumps, multi roped pearls hung with a large crystals, chunky collars of semi precious beads hung with rectangular metallic pendants, bold cuffs composed of diamante, crystals and dazzling stones, bags in beige contrasted with black lining, emerald green clutch in metallic skin, red envelope clutch in gold brocade, ikat print clutches

Pièces de résistance:

Philosophy Behind Collection: Dries described the collection as "authentic". By using the antique skills of Indian weavers working on hand looms and ethnic fabrics from Bali, Sumatra and Uzbekistan, Dries stressed the importance of not forgetting the past but rather applying it in today's context and enriching ourselves in the process. A good moral lesson during recession!

High Points:
Who but the genius Dries could have thought that something as common (at least in India) as an ikat printed silk saree could be transformed into dresses and skirts resplendent in Parisian chic, that a blazer could be cut out of a heavily worked silver threaded Banarasi saree or a delicate pink gold brocaded saree could transform itself into a crisp cuffed shorts? It was as if a young European girl on the cusp of womanhood was playing dress up with an Indian woman's sarees dreaming of cutting them into trousers, shorts and blazers and wrapping them into dresses and skirts to suit her tastes, thereby juxtaposing tradition with modernity! The ikat print shoes and purses in addition to the heavy weight pearl chokers are also worthy closet inclusions.

Low Points:
The collection as such didn't leave anything to grouse about, except at times the styling seemed to fall a bit short especially in those places where the look was getting a bit busy with too many prints vying for attention.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Meet the Leg Breaker, Her Highness Armadillo!

Imagine a world submerged in water, and man in the process of devolving into fish again! At least that's what McQueen wanted us to conjure during his Spring 2010 show. Maybe in a watery world a one foot tall heel might help humans wade above water till the "devolution" into sea creatures is complete! Yet as things stand today are these Armadillos, the giant sisters of stilettos an absolute necessity or a gross fashion crime?

First it was the issue of the reed thin models getting thinner every year and now with shoes like these with each passing year they seem to be getting taller as well! Seriously, is a 6 foot tall model wearing a one foot tall heel and weighing 95 lbs the new definition of beauty? Or is it just that McQueen is tired of fighting his legal battles with Steve Madden and hence created something that is copy proof?

What is the limit for this "thin as a reed and tall as a tree" obsession? Is it time to set some standards for maximum permissible heel height as well?

To muse, baring the affordability factor would you do the Armadillos? If so, why? And designers please DON'T KILL THE MODELS with your perverted ideas of fashion!


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Lanvin wraps, drapes, bejewels and delights!

Creator: Alber Elbaz

Show: Spring Summer 2010 RTW (Women)

Date Held: Oct 2nd 2009

Place: Halle Freysinnet, 55, boulevard Vincent Auriol, Paris

Inspiration: new age minimalism, sculptures

Color Palette: black, pink, salmon, peach, vermilion, jungle green, orange, yellow, gold

Collection's Composition: pouf sleeved cocktail dresses, tuxedo styled LBDs with DJ lapels and bloused back either sheer or ruched forming a spine, delicate dresses comprising of sheer fabric wrapped over nude slips, softly draped leather dresses, pleated polyester jumpsuits asymmetrically falling over one shoulder, poncho style dresses, jumpsuits and cock dresses embellished with countless beads, crystals and sequins

Accessories: heavy necklaces, earrings and bracelets appearing vintage and plundered from a Pharaoh's tome, shoes in metal or crystal high heels buckled on or ornamented with thick gold anklets, clutches and hobos in python or soft leather

Pièces de résistance:
Way too many!

Philosophy Behind Collection: In what Elbaz termed as "new minimalism" the focus was more on new techniques of wrapping, tailoring and the use of innovative fabrics mostly man made that this could be the future of fashion. He realised his vision of minimalism by deliberately toning down the aesthetics of the collection which needs a closer inspection by a reasonably "fashion" conscious eye to appreciate the nuances of asymmetry, draping and embellishing embedded in his collection.

Targeted Buyers: "Real Women" - not too thin

High Points: JEWELLERY JEWELLERY JEWELLERY - worth a princess!

Low Points: Despite being Elbaz's finest collection till date, the clothes lacked a sense of aesthetics, these are not clothes that send you into a rapture at first glance, but rather pleases by their attention to detail!


Friday, October 23, 2009

"Here a shoulder, there a shoulder" at Comme des Garçons

Creator: Rei Kawakubo

Show: Spring Summer 2010 RTW (Women)

Date Held: Oct 2nd 2009

Place: Avenue de Wagram, Paris

Inspiration: Fashion's creative force seesawing with greedy consumerism, adult delinquents, shoulder pads

Color Palette: Varied- bright colors like red, orange, pink, gold, military green, beige, blended with Rei's usual colors of black and white

Collection's Composition: Shoulders being the main focus, the collection comprised of leather shoulder braces, jackets and dresses "embellished" with shoulder parts of jackets in various colors and patterns, skirts and dresses constructed from a collage of fabrics including brocade, silk and sequin scraps, floor length transparent beige trench coats; all their volume counterbalanced by either plain trousers or polka dotted biker shorts worn over black hose.

Accessories: Extreme candy flossed hair in pink, lime and lilac, decorated with giant safety pins and little conical hats by Stephen Jones, little lace-up shoes

Pièces de résistance:

Philosophy Behind Collection: Rei emphasised creativity as the driving force behind fashion as opposed to mindless commercialisation realised through the herd mentality towards prevalent trends. She made her point by poking fun at fashion's current obsession with 80's inspired grand shoulders and proved that she can express any trend in her collection through her own language of deconstruction and superior creativity.She had dresses and jackets not made with pointy attention seeking shoulders but rather used shoulders of various jackets as ornaments for her clothes.

Targeted Buyers: Comme des Garçons' typical customer namely the art student or one with extreme sensitivity to the nuances of fashion. In a word, for the anti-fashion minority!

High Points: This collection once again proved Rei's superior craftsmanship in addition to her extreme creativity manifested through her strong command of deconstruction.The inclusion of rich colors, this spring, through the coercion of a multitude of fabrics creates a strong visual impact.

Low Points: Though an exemplary collection, this is not one of Rei Kawakubo's defining collections as she pretty much stayed within her comfort zone of seen before techniques of deconstruction.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

At Prada, couture meets trash!

Creator: Miuccia Prada

Show: Spring Summer 2010 RTW (Women)

Date Held: Sept 24th 2009

Place: Via Fogazzaro, 36
- Milano

Inspiration: Italian architecture - doorways in streets, chandeliers and marble floors juxtaposed with touristy beach scenes reflecting the highs and lows of life.

Color Palette: Primarily black, gray and white with a bit of yellow, blue and purple coloring the prints

Collection's Composition:
Fly away jackets and bermudas in steel gray with raw edges, knickers in burgundy, green, white or silver, waistcoats crossed over at the front, rose printed coats on black silk, beach scene complete with palm trees, sand, clouds and people in beach loungers printed on silk blended with nylon strands and constructed into sleeveless dresses, jackets, mini skirts and cycling shorts, floaty halter tops, and white stretch cotton T-shirts and briefs worn under jangling layers of hinged clear plastic beads resembling chandelier crystals

Pièces de résistance:

Accessories: Crystal belts, bags in clear plastic at times embellished with crystals, Perspex and PVC stack-heel sandals and pointed toe pumps in clear plastic with some sandals spilling crystals from the heels and the vamp, over sized clear plastic goggles

Philosophy behind collection: Miuccia wanted to send out a message relevant to the recessionary times we live in by projecting life as a mixed bag of joys and sorrows. Her message was expressed by contrasting steel grey blazers and cycling shorts symbolising hard work and endurance with beach scene printed dresses and knickers signifying good times and leisure. The collection also projected a "rich contaminated with poverty" feeling with raw unfinished hemlines, short knickers and plain cotton t-shirts adorned with crystals.

Targeted Buyers: The entire collection has a youngish look, focusing on young women with a daring alternate sense of style, although the long jackets in either steel gray or beach scene prints could adorn women like Anna Wintour.In short, only for the fashion crowd!

High Points: The proportions of the jackets seemed fresh, the other strong point being the beautifully executed "picture post card" like beach scene printed dresses, the transparent thick plastic frames are this season's IT glasses bound to adorn many a fashionista's eyes.

Low Points: Though the idea of expressing trashy elements(plastic bags, raw hems) through couture fabrics seemed a novel idea, the translation that ensued was weak, contrived and too direct. The collection was not overtly stunning largely due to the lack of variety in the collection which heavily focused on knickers and shorts with almost nothing appearing below the knee. Many of the elements like unfinished hems, clear plastic bags and shoes, crystal embellished dresses have already been seen much too often to evoke any sense of shock or surprise. The plastic shoes and bags without the "Prada" tag could sit for ages on a retailer's rack and go unnoticed!


Monday, October 19, 2009

French Vogue painting Lara Stone black, much ado about nothing?

French Vogue and especially its editor Carine Roitfeld find themselves in the middle of a "race" riot. What started as an innocent photo shoot with Lara Stone(a white Dutch model) painted black has snow balled into a controversy! It had people at all levels dissecting the supposedly "arrogant high handedness" of Ms.Roitfeld to have come up with such an outrageous idea and the most common denominator of the whole issue being that if she wanted someone black for the shoot she should have got a model of African descent rather than painting a white model black. That a medium of artistic expression has got tinged with racial discrimination owing to the myopic view of many is very saddening. Suppose a model is painted yellow with intermittent black stripes does that mean insult to a tiger and should a tiger have instead been used in the shoot?

Fashion is largely aspirational and fashion shoots always fantastical, constantly projecting a "what could have been" world, alien to the one most people inhabit. Anything/Anyone conventional in fashion is quick to be named a drab.So why then should a regular photo shoot attract negative attention? If the series of pictures constituting the photo shoot are observed carefully, its evident that the model's (Lara Stone's) skin tone gradually changes from a darker shade to a lighter one. Wasn't that not what happened in evolution as well? Africa is the mother of all mankind, with man originating there and progressively spreading to the rest of the world, the color of his/her skin tone a direct consequence of the temperature in the region. Maybe Ms.Roitfeld wanted to bring out a message of unity that beauty is independent of skin color. And this isn't the first time that the skin color of models have been tampered with, Spring 2003 RTW show saw John Galliano paint his models blue(see below), resembling Indian Goddess Kali. Should that too be taken as an insult to an Indian deity or commended as an effort in blending eastern and western cultures seamlessly to produce a new aesthetic in addition to exposing the little know cultural aspects of eastern countries to the West and in the process unifying the world?

As for the repeated allegations of fashion houses preferring white models to black, the reason however hard it might be to accept for some, is purely driven by business. A simple look at their revenue charts points the white to be the major consumers of their products. How would you sell your product to a consumer who cannot relate to your ad? Even in a country like India which eulogises white skin, a white model will not be preferred to an Indian model of darker skin tone by a fashion house selling sarees for the simple fact that its customers cannot relate to the white model!

Racism still exists but to say that it exists in every nook and corner is an untrue generalisation. The worst could be that in these tough times when magazines are cutting corners in every possible way Ms.Roitfeld might have thought of this photo shoot as a financially profitable one driving her magazine sales up and unfortunately she might have succeeded in her endeavour by playing with people's willingness to jump on the race bandwagon at the slightest provocation.

In a world submerged with problems of a much larger scale, lets learn to treat a fashion shoot as one, indulge in the fantasy, turn the pages and get back to our life instead of trying to read too much between the lines and concocting non existent meanings out of fantasy.

P.S:The first photo shows Lara Stone in John Galliano's clothes and coin jewellery from Fall 2009 RTW.


Friday, October 9, 2009

Red Red Lips!

First came the skirts and now its the red lips and nails, what would Marc Jacobs' next step embracing femininity be? Is he musing "Oh, how I wish I had some red wine to go with my cosmetic flight of fancy?"

More importantly, is this photo worth $80 and if you decide to buy these cosmetics from Nars what is Marc Jacobs influence in your decision ?

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Front Row Mavericks:Day 3 2010 Spring Paris Fashion Week

'Mavericks' is too mild a term to describe this repeat offender at the Front Row, I guess 'enfant terrible' would be a more precise description of her! Attention she grabbed plenty, permanently etching images of her in the delicate minds of the infinite that set eyes on her through her style, inimitable, for reasons more than obvious. Brace yourselves for a ride through the Horrorland of the Mother of all Mavericks, Rihanna! Seriously, its a terrible injustice to her to say that she took Paris by storm, in my opinion she is raking a whole tsunami out there! Now for all those fashion show attendees in Paris experiencing mild tremors at the shows, you know who's to blame...

Here she is en route to Jean-Paul Gaultier's fashion show, dressed in Loubs, skin tight leather pants and what appears to be, depending on my mood(cynical vs generous), either a blazer straight from a "cut and paste" crafts class or borrowed from the costume department of a ridiculous sci-fi movie that never saw the light! You decide.

She makes a grand entry with everything perfectly held in place...

And oops why moved my shield of honor wonders a much troubled Rihanna!

Michael Jackson's "Anne, are you ok?", is what comes to my mind right now.To all my tough-as-a-nail readers who haven't fallen over backwards from their perching place, a big shout out from me "BRAVO"!


Friday, October 2, 2009

John Galliano embarks on a crime cracking spree!

The inspiration was Film Nior and the models glided on the runway in delicate dresses in bright colors and laced silken lingerie, the show being a modest sister of Dior's Haute Couture version which we witnessed a few months back! But the look that held me in awe was John Galliano entering the runway as a detective lurking in a spooky corner whose dark silhouette ominously looking out for trouble and then lo behold the lights are on John and we see him dressed in a nude trench coat and black trousers looking every bit the Sherlock Holmes he plays and seeing him take his final bow at the end of the runway with an enigmatic "I-know-it-all" look left me exclaiming "Monsieur Detective my vanity case is missing, will ye come home and solve the case of my stolen vanity...?

Here's the drama as it unfolded on the runway of Christian Dior's Spring 2010 RTW fashion show...

First the shadow figure...

Then the MAN

And finally the killer look...

As Jim Morrison once sang, This is the End, Beautiful Friend...

P.S: John Galliano's look was actually inspired by Humphrey Bogart's movie character (shown below) , I likened him to Sherlock Holmes for the similarity of the role played (namely detective) and not the look.