Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Balmain SS09

Continuing on the same vein as last month, I’m showing the Balmain collection from the next season. I just wanted to stay on the same brand because I have noticed something interesting about Balmain recently, and please correct me if I’m wrong. Looking at last month’s Met Gala, I don’t recall a single celebrity being dressed by the brand. That was surprising to me because for the past two or three years Balmain has been a constant presence on the red carpet at events of all calibers. Previously they have dressed Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner for the Met Gala but this year Jenner wore Versace and Kardashian wore Vivienne Westwood. Furthermore, I have actually noticed less of Balmain on social media. It doesn’t seem to be as buzzy a brand nowadays, with Saint Laurent overtaking for the embellished pieces (I’d say). Is Balmainia over? What happened to Olivier Rousteing’s legion of famous friends and fans?

I think the lack of interest in Balmain at the moment is because their styles have been ripped off by fast-fashion brands too frequently for people to want to spend that much money on them now. Look at the off-the-shoulder bodycon dress that Kylie Jenner wore. It retailed for over $100 yet you can buy a near identical copy for $25 online, plus you can get it in just a shirt or in a jumpsuit. Moreover, the expensive embellished pieces seem almost wasteful now as they make so much of an impact that they’ll never be worn more than once. This is fine if it’s just celebrities wearing them on the red carpet but if it is actual customers purchasing the items it seems silly in a way. I could be wrong about all of this because this is just based off of my observations.

In terms of the SS09 collection, I think Christophe Decarnin was at the top of his game. The pieces are every rock chick’s dream. They are super glam but in the coolest way possible. The colors are great. There is a perfect mix between distressed elements and formality. 9 years later, these styles still feel fresh and would not look out of place on the catwalk nowadays. I’m obsessed with the green dress worn by Natasha Poly with the huge shoulder pads and glittering gems. Plus, I’m a sucker for Madonna so I dig the soundtrack of the show. I like how the models all have multiple looks and how the casting is so great (all of my mid-2000s faves in one place). Honestly, there is not too many things I can fault.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Balmain Fall 2008

Christophe Decarnin’s Balmain is to 2008 what Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent is to 2017. By that I mean they cater to a very similar customer. The wildly glamourous, slighly rock’n’roll party girl who still shops at Saint Laurent probably moved there after Decarnin departed from Balmain. First fed by Hedi Slimane’s rock chick look, the glamour that this girl lives for is still there but in a more retro, 80s way with Vaccarello. I love all three designers. They all create such cool pieces that I’d just love to wear.

For this collection, I seen a lot of embellishments and I got serious rock’n’roll vibes which is always welcome. I’ve found myself becoming increasingly inspired by rock bands like the Rolling Stones and Blondie. I think the key to longevity in the music business (besides good music, of course) is creating an iconic look. Both of the aforementioned bands have done that. I’d have hair like Debbie Harry if I could work out how to stop it from snapping off. Honestly, I can’t believe this collection is nearly ten years old because I know that if it had been marched down the runway this past season it would’ve gotten a lot of love. I’m surprised that the cool girls of Instagram (Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner etc.) haven’t started wearing mid 2000s Balmain yet. I don’t think Decarnin necessarily gets the credit he deserves for the trends that he started and for the revival of the Balmain brand overall.

Here are my favourite looks:

I really want this at some point in life

Snejana!!

 

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Louis Vuitton SS05

Normally when composing these posts I start with a show that I want to feature in mind and then work to find a video and images to accompany it. This time I came across this show on YouTube, just randomly, and it spurred a whole tangent of discussion (can it be called discussion if its just with oneself?) so I thought it was worthy of a feature.

I was struck by how “old” these clothes looked. By that I mean these clothes are not made for teenagers, or even women in their twenties. They’re for consumers aged thirty plus, I’d say. This is what is of great interest to me because it’s different from the approach most brands are taking nowadays. Let me put it to you this way: a sixteen year old girl from Kansas likes a Louis Vuitton picture on Instagram, she may be obsessed with an outfit from the show, she may repost a picture. Is she buying it? No. However, a forty-five year old woman might see a picture of a look from a show on social media (because yes, it isn’t just used by Millennials regardless of the stereotype) and actually head to the store to try it on and maybe even buy. Why is it that despite the two consumers seeing the item on the same source only one leads to a potential sale? It all comes down to money. Teenagers, and even most millennials, aren’t often in a position to be spending money on luxury items, and if they are it tends to be accessories, shoes, and, increasingly so, streetwear. Gen X and above are. I understand that brands are targeting millennials because they are going to be the next generation of consumers to really keep the brands going, but I do think it’s important not to overlook your key demographic because they can be the ones keeping the company afloat.

Now this actual collection was loosely inspired by the 1940s, seen in the skirt suits and silhouettes. However, what stood out to me was all of the patterned pieces. Perhaps in 2004, we were all a lot more accepting of colors and prints. Nowadays, with minimalism thoroughly ingrained into our brains and way of dress, prints can seem too much, even though maximalism is making it’s way back. I feel like nowadays the focus is more on solid colors and also textures (perhaps a metallic yarn woven into a knit) instead of pretty florals, but I could be wrong. Also, I really liked the runway. The lights were cool but not at all distracting. I think it would’ve been fun to attend a fashion show, even ten years ago, before camera phones took over and every moment was documented. I’m not the biggest Marc Jacobs fan but I did like a lot of his work for Louis Vuitton.

PS – Apologies for the low quality images. I haven’t come across HQs yet.

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Fashion, Fashion Week, Opinion, Shows

Fashion Month – Fall 2017

I’ve been really terrible at blogging for the entire month of February. I have a zillion drafts saved with various titles about events that happened throughout the month, yet I have no desire to write about them now because it’s just too late. Like, aren’t we all over New York Fashion Week? Hasn’t the shock of Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy departure worn off? I feel like instead of typing out my thoughts on these events, I’ve discussed them in person, either with my friends or in school. That being said, I’ve kept a long-running note on my Macbook with various observations that I’ve made throughout fashion month so instead of breaking my posts up by city, I’m just going to put it all in one post in a rambling post. I hope you enjoy!

NEW YORK

Ok, so the exciting thing about New York Fashion Week was the fact that Raf Simons was back. Even though he had only been gone for such a small period of time, it seemed like an eternity in fashion when everything moves so quickly and a few seasons feels like 4 years. I personally liked his debut ready-to-wear collection for Calvin Klein, especially the transparent plastic over the trench coats (reminded me of the Doom Generation which I was obsessed with when I was fifteen) and the heavy focus on outerwear. However, I can see that the #mycalvins will be a thing of the past and that sucks but the Moonlight cast underwear ads are incredible so we’re all good. Alexander Wang was another show that I really liked, especially these two looks (a and b), and the venue was cool. The long leather coats at The Row were super cool. I loved this suit at Jason Wu. A theme I noticed throughout NYFW was grey blazers, in some form of check. This made me mad at myself because I used to own the most perfect vintage Ralph Lauren one a few years ago but I gave it to charity because I rarely wore it. Big mistake. I normally love Area’s lookbooks but they moved to a show format this season which was kind of sad actually but it does show growth for the brand. I’m obsessed with this coat from Proenza Schouler. Anything that combines vinyl-looking leather and fur/shearing, I’m onboard with. Narciso Rodriguez’s collection was very much how I wish I dressed on a day-to-day basis.

Alexander Wang

LONDON

By the time London Fashion Week rolled around, I was in LA. During that time I barely touched my phone for social media or email purposes. I just used the Maps app for directions.

MILAN

I didn’t like the runway at Gucci because I think it was too distracting for the actual showgoers, plus there were too many looks. The standout ones were a, b, and c – I’m so happy about the return of snakeskin boots. The colors at Max Mara were perfect. Honestly everything about that show just looked so good. The styling was sublime. I was so into the red boots at Fendi. I want a pair already, it was an instant sale (if only I could afford them). This coat at Prada is to die for. The dry-cleaning theme at Moschino was hilarious, they even put a wire hanger in the model’s hair.

Prada

PARIS

This dress at Jacquemus is so beautiful, it reminded me of vintage Chanel with a twist. This brand has the best IG. I love the new Saint Laurent, even if it’s just 80s redone. I’m so desperate for a pair of the logo earrings. From this collection I loved the sparkling mini dresses (a and b), the latter of the pair being a better version of the one I wore on New Years. Surprisingly I found myself liking a lot of looks at Off-White. I say surprisingly because although I like Virgil Abloh and admire his work ethic, I have never been the biggest fan of his clothes. However, this collection was interesting to me, even though it was entitled “Nothing New” I thought it was different for him. I want to wear this look, but I also like a, b, and c. This coat at Mugler was 80s power shoulders to the max and I thought it was so fun. Balenciaga was actually interesting to me. Normally I’m not a big fan of Demna Gvasalia but this collection was great, particularly a, b, and c. It was sad to see a Givenchy collection without Riccardo Tisci (I wasn’t ready for his departure to be a real thing) but I do like how they directly referenced pieces from his tenure. It was a nice tribute. Louis Vuitton rented out the Louvre for the show and honestly this is an instance where the design standard matched the location. I loved it. In particular, a and b.

Off-White

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Yves Saint Laurent Spring 2007

Let me start this off by saying I’m so into the runway. It’s like a meadow. So interesting. The length of the catwalk is covered entirely in violet flowers, making it perhaps a dangerous but nevertheless beautiful sight. From what I recall, no models fell which is a feat in itself.

Stefano’s tenure at YSL isn’t discussed too much nowadays. I think this is because of the extreme rebranding done by Hedi Slimane (most obviously, renaming the line). Now that Hedi has departed and Anthony Vaccarello is holding down the fort, I feel like Stefano’s contributions will be looked over even more. As a kid, when I seen celebrities wearing YSL, it was Stefano’s designs. I actually liked him, although I did prefer Hedi. It’s just cool to think that the tulip skirt silhouette that was so popular for a few years in the noughties was reintroduced by him. The effect that individual designers have on fashion is not often noticeable until a few years later, unless they are producing a shift of seismic proportions a la Demna Gvasalia.

My favourite looks from the show:

 

See full collection here.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Balenciaga Spring 2013

I, like everyone else who likes fashion (almost literally), love Nicolas Ghesquiere. I, also like many other, prefer his work at Balenciaga. Honestly, I like him at Louis Vuitton but there I feel that he has been tasked too much with creating a specific look and it’s getting slightly repetitive. You can see that there’s not as much buzz around the shows as there was a year or two ago – probably because it’s all about streetwear like Vetements/Demna, fashion’s current golden child, at Balenciaga.

For the Spring 2013 season, Ghesquiere presented a very safe but beautiful collection. It was clothes that would be worn, and honestly most of the looks are still relevant today, 5 years later (almost). For example, I remember seeing the opening look – the cross over, moulded bra top – and thinking I know this is going to sell, and now you still see girls wearing similar tops and you can still buy similar tops in stores now. The trickle down effect was so real on that item. Some people disliked the ruffles (too flamenco, they said) but I loved them. I’m partial to a ruffle. They’re flirty and feminine, yet I like how they were slightly toughened up by being in black with the contrasting colour underneath (often white or pink).

To me this collection was classic Ghesquiere. There were clean lines, minimalist details with little twists and slight architectural elements. The aforementioned coupled with the micro-mini proportions made for an interesting collection. To put this show back into context, this was the season that Raf presented his first ready-to-wear collection for Dior (highly anticipated) and Hedi’s first collection for (Yves) Saint Laurent, plus Marc Jacobs’ checkerboard escalator extravaganza for Louis Vuitton. Competition was high yet despite all of the noise, to me, Ghesquiere’s collection spoke the loudest. And it’s still influential today. That speaks volumes.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Gucci Spring 2011

When I think of Gucci, I still think of Frida Giannini. I actually miss her designs. It’s so funny to me just how drastically different Gucci is under Alessandro Michele. It seems like a different brand. Frida’s Gucci was always more appealing to me, visually, but it seems that Michele’s designs are working commercially. Gucci is booming right now and has been for the past few years. Not only is it the it accessories brand at the moment but it’s designs are now uber trendy and coveted by all of the celebrities who matter. If you wear Gucci on the red carpet, you’re guaranteed a press mention somewhere (or everywhere). In my opinion, Beyonce and Harry Styles are the only people who wear the new Gucci well. Most people end up looking a little bit too librarian for me liking. Regardless, it’s selling so well.

I do often think of Gucci as an accessories brand, especially because most of the items that I’ve ever wanted from the brand have been in that category. I love their bags, especially the Soho totes, and the classic loafers that I believe everyone should own a pair of at least once in their lives (I’m not there yet). I even loved the fur trimmed loafers that Michele presented, even though they became such blogger bait that it became slightly embarrassing.

Regardless, it is Frida’s Gucci that I actually like. Of course, Tom Ford’s wins in all categories. It was he who made the brand what it is today. He revived it. He made it sexy. He made it shocking. He made it cool. Frida worked on the accessories under him and became creative director a few seasons after his departure. During her tenure at the brand, the sexy styles continued but things became a little bit less overt than what Tom had shown.

For the Spring 2011 season, color was big. The opening looks contrasted with the sleek black looks towards the end and are actually the styles that have endured. Images from this collection are still shared online 6 years later. The second look of the show, the purple twisted top with the orange pencil skirt (actually a dress) and golden belt, was worn by various celebrities at the time and made it into various editorials and even the ad campaign for the season. Jennifer Lawrence wore it on the cover of Flare Magazine and it’s actually my favorite look of hers, ever. You can buy this dress on 1stdibs just now for $3147. It was definitely the standout piece of the season. The reason that I love this piece so much is that it reminds me of the jewel toned outfit worn by Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. I have wanted to recreate that look ever since I seen the movie as a child.

 

Looking at the advertising for this season again so many years later, I’m feeling slightly nostalgic. I remember these images, tearing them out of magazines and sticking them up on my bedroom walls. That was my first real foray into fashion. I would collect images and stick them on my wall, eventually moving on to compile binders upon binders of images. I still have them at my parents house and I enjoy looking back on them every so often.

 

The reason that I loved this collection so much was the hark back to 70s glamour. Fashion photography at that time was at its peak, in my opinion. Chris von Wangenheim is my personal favorite and I adore his collection of images of Gia Carangi. Giannini noted his images, along with Guy Bourdin and others as the inspiration behind the collection, along with noting Marrakesh as a key destination. As a result of this, the color palette was vibrant and fun, the materials used were sumptuous and just looked luxurious, and the models just looked so good. Very Yves Saint Laurent but not in a derivative manner. I personally think that elements of this collection have influenced Olivier Rousteing’s work at Balmain. I adore it and I miss it. Long live glamour.

See images below

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Fashion, Shows

Chanel Metiers d’Art – Paris Cosmopolite

I cried when I watched this show. About 11 minutes in my eyes started to well up with tears. By the end I was bawling. For once I was actually thankful that I was just watching the show on YouTube in bed because that would’ve been hella embarrassing to do that in person. I’m so happy. I finally feel something towards fashion again. This show has reignited my love for all things fashion and actually made me excited about it again. I now remember why I love all this shit in the first place. It sounds so dumb but I’ve been feeling so uninspired recently, especially in terms of fashion, and I just feel like this has reignited my desire to be involved in this industry and just made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Fashion, to me, is about society. It does not exist in a vacuum and it is not just clothes. The mindset that I’ve had over the past few months is that it is just clothes and nothing more. I’ve found it all so dull and I’ve found clothes in general very boring. I felt so lost. Now I feel found. I cannot articulate myself very well right now because the matter is so personal to me and links back to things that happened years ago, but what I will say is that this is not the first Chanel show to save me when I needed it most. Fashion is no joke people.

To me, this show was about the separation between women and girls. That’s what it made me think about. How some females, regardless of age, will always be girls and how others will be women. What’s the difference and how do you make the transition? I feel a little bit like the main character in the movie 13 Going on 30 right now, in the flashback scenes when she is desperate to be “thirty, flirty, and thriving”. That’s how I feel in a way, because it means I’ll finally be a woman. I actually can’t wait to be a real adult and have real adult responsibilities again. This is something that I’ve really struggled to wrap my head around when coming back from working full time to attending college full time. Currently I’m just a student and nothing else and it’s very strange to me. It has given me so much time to think about things.

What made the difference between the women and the girls so pronounced to me was the age of some of the models. I wondered why there were 16 year olds walking in the show. This isn’t something that has ever bothered me before today but I just thought about it and I can’t make sense of it. If the target customer of Chanel is a mature adult, why would a teenager wear the clothes on the runway? A lot of the models, whilst beautiful and striking, looked a little bit like they were playing dress-up. It was funny to me. It just showed that the clothes were made for sophisticated women and not girls. With the whole Instagram age, I feel like people are girls for so much longer. It all comes down to the way we dress, and more importantly, the deformalisation of dress. Casual wear is king. I cannot count the number of women I see wearing leggings as pants or exercise gear just as a regular outfit. It makes sense given that athleisure is such a huge category now.

There is no such thing as turning a certain age and becoming a woman now. I think it 100% comes down to the way you carry yourself, and to me a huge part of that is the way you dress. I often find myself gravitating towards items that I know are too old for me. I’ve actually made a huge effort to dress younger since I’m back in college. It’s working, a little bit. I don’t want to ever look like I’m trying to be older than I am (although I do often forget how young I am). I would love to be regarded as a woman, however. I know that I won’t be. I know that when people look at me they will see a girl, which is why I know the Chanel collection isn’t really for me (well, the majority of it). Karl creates outfits that are made for an older consumer but puts them on young girls. Honestly, somethings actually look really great on the models. It all comes down to the way the model walks and how confident and comfortable she appears to be in the outfit. Liu Wen looked perfect, for example.

I had so much to say about this topic but most of it was just random incoherent ramblings. Honestly, I am so thankful for this show. It has made me think about more than clothes. For instance, the coming of age of women. I know I didn’t go into much detail about this but it is something that is on my mind. I’m considering actually writing a further post on this and exploring it in more depth if I can manage to articulate myself in a better way. My brain is all over the place at the moment because I’m just feeling so inspired at the moment. We shall see.

In terms of the actual clothing, I liked a lot of it. As I’ve said in previous posts, Chanel is very hit or miss for me. I often find it over-styled (similar to Prada) or too mature for my liking. When it comes to the pre-season collections, Karl seems to always hit it out the park. (Is that a real phrase?) I like how you see the work of all of the little ateliers that come together to create the collections. For example, the embellishments were really quite stunning. Lily-Rose Depp wore a fantastic look. Actually, both of the looks she wore were stunning. I loved the tulle straps on the black dress. It was very old Hollywood. Karl said this collection was inspired by the elegant women who visited the Ritz over the decades and for that reason you couldn’t put a set time frame on the clothes. I liked that. I honestly think that the clothes were so old Hollywood glamour that they didn’t look completely modern, but that was the appeal. I miss the old way of dressing. I often wish that I was alive during that time period just to have experienced the excitement of it all (minus all of the terrible events that happened like wars, disenfranchisement of women, minorities etc.). I guess at the time it wouldn’t have been exciting, just like ripped jeans aren’t exciting in this day and age. I wonder if in 75 years time people will wish they were alive in the 2010s?

Finally, the set of the show was a dream. It’s funny because normally for these shows Chanel travels to some far flung location and creates a collection based on that location, using it as an inspiration (sometimes veering into an appropriation level). This time, they stayed in Paris. Instead of being inspired by a specific location, Karl was inspired by the travelers who came from other locations around the world to Paris, specifically to the Ritz. Everyone knows that the Ritz is the epitome of style and luxury. When you’re getting glam and stylish, you’re “putting on the Ritz”. That’s exactly what this collection was about. 100%. Also, the dancing models and the level of audience interaction was so fun. It felt very much like an old salon style couture presentation mixed in with a Pat Cleveland style runway jaunt. I’m inspired. I’m happy. Thank you Karl for making me so happy again. I genuinely appreciate it.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Lanvin Fall 2006

When I was typing my initial thoughts on this collection I put “Playboy bunny bow ties mixed with tailoring, bubble hems and satin, tulle and ruffles”. I stand by my thoughts. I’d call it moody ballet chic, which works for me given that Lanvin makes the most beautiful and cushioned ballet flats ever. I like the dark colour palette used in this collection because I think it contrasts with the girly nature of the clothes. The light, sheer tulles and feminine shapes work because of the dark colours, not in spite of, in my opinion. To me, this collection is what I think of as sexy. The plunging necklines are accentuated by silky bows around the neck. Honestly though, I think this collection looks very of its time. I’m going to pin that on the satin.

This collection is what I think of when I think of Alber. I kind of miss him. I was never the biggest fan – Lanvin wasn’t one of the shows that I’d specifically look out for on the calendar – but I appreciate his work and it’s consistency. I think it’s weird that he is gone, especially because he seemed to be so popular with critics, consumers, and generally everyone in fashion (apart from Abbey Lee Kershaw…). I hope he finds a new post soon, one of a similar calibre where he can show off his skills.

.

 

 

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Gucci Fall 1996

Tom Ford’s Gucci is associated with sex. That’s the key word that people always use to describe his work at the house, and can you blame them? Button down shirts unbuttoned all the way down, floor length furs, shirts and dresses cut down to the naval were all staples of his era. There were also pant suits with pinstripes and some nice overcoats. However, they were paired with the aforementioned shirts. Everything was sexed up. It worked. In a time where models were critcised for not being sexy, Tom Ford dressed them in a way that may have looked too much on the 80s supers.

Models like Kate Moss, Kirsty Hume, and Jodie Kidd all walked in this show, each wearing multiple looks and looking great in each and every one of them. The most iconic pieces from this collection were the Halston-esque white jersey dresses at the end. They were almost understated with random cut outs that were much more risque at the time than they are now.  The campaign images, on the other hand, are still fairly shocking now because of just how suggestive they are.

I feel like Tom’s Gucci collections have got less and less shocking as time goes by, purely because almost everything has been done now. We are desensitised to nudity and sex because it is commonplace. Fashion has perhaps gone as far as it can. Whilst Tom’s looks were boundary pushing at the time, they’re fairly tame for nowadays. In this collection in particular there are no micro minis and the models are actually covered up. Of course, Tom did do collections that were more like what I just described also (Spring 2003 in particular) but this one was actually fairly tame, despite the shock it caused.

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