Essays, Fashion

Why Do Fashion Brands Continue to Look Back?

It seems that fashion is increasingly referential. Nothing is really new anymore. No new silhouettes are created. No new innovations are made. Nothing. But is this a bad thing? And is it unexpected?

I started to think about this topic after catching up with all of the shows at Milan Fashion Week. There were two brands in particular that I felt specifically looked back in time, into their own archives – Versace and Dolce & Gabbana. However, their techniques were different. Versace was deliberate, Dolce & Gabbana was not.

This season’s Versace show was, as Donatella put it, a tribute to her late brother Gianni Versace, to mark the twenty year anniversary of his death. The show was filled with her takes on his most famous designs. It was like the highlight reel of Gianni Versace’s career and what made him, and the family name, famous and into a¬†brand. Donatella looked back into the archives (no, literally, she went to the physical archives and looked at his pieces) and chose the silhouettes and prints which were most iconic and ran with it. She featured the Marilyn Monroe and James Deen portraits by Andy Warhol (which Gianni turned into a multi-colored, tile print), she used the baroque that was last¬†en vogue back in 2013 when hip-hop artists like Migos and Drake were obsessed with the brand, and the leopard print (most notably, the yellow version worn by Kaia Gerber who opened the show). According to this New York Times article on the show, “Every garment will come complete with a label that notes the collection and the year, so consumers will know the moment of origin.”. It is a way to incorporate the brand’s history into it’s present show but do it in a way that is of the moment but still collectable. I suspect that items from this show will be just as valuable as the originals from 20+ years ago. Many have wondered if this collection was Donatella’s farewell to the brand as rumors about her imminent departure have been swirling for months now, but she says otherwise. It was, in fact, just a tribute to her late and beloved brother. Of course, no mention of this show would be complete without bringing up the finale which featured the supermodels of Gianni’s shows marching out to Freedom ’90, the iconic George Michael song which lent its sounds to a Versace show back in 1991. Of course, the crowd went wild for this. It was nostalgia at its finest, and that’s what made this show great.

The finale gowns at Versace.

Dolce & Gabbana, on the other hand, offered none of the nostalgia factor. They produced a show of beautiful, albeit boring, clothes that could’ve been any one of their shows from the past five years. Dolce & Gabbana refuse to innovate anymore and it has gotten dull. It is hard to believe that 10 years ago, they were one of the main attractions in Milan and they actually made futuristic, fashion-forward styles. Remember the show opened by Snejana Onopka strutting down the light-up runway, after arriving in a glass elevator and descending down some stairs, to the sound of Justin Timberlake’s Sexy Back? That would never happen nowadays. Instead they play it safe, season after season, year after year. I guess they are doing what works for them and their business, but that is why Versace was all over your social media for the entire weekend and Dolce & Gabbana was a blip that almost went unnoticed.

Dolce & Gabbana SS07

Designers often look back though, at their past work (like the No. 21 show, also at Milan Fashion Week), or at the brand’s own heritage. That’s what almost every designer does who becomes the Creative Director of a storied brand, like Julien Dossena at Paco Rabanne. The chainmail, futuristic styles are nothing new, but they work and people love them because they look cool. It is said that Alexander McQueen was so impressive because he is one of the only designers of the past quarter century to create a brand new silhouette, the Bumster, the ultra low-rise pant style which exposed the top of the butt and caused women to shave their pubic hair because the top of the area was revealed. When the Bumster trickled down into mainstream fashion, it came in the form of low-rise jeans, beloved by your favorite mid-2000s celebs who loved to show off their g-strings peeking out above their waistband.

McQueen’s Bumster

Maybe this is just how fashion is going to be going forward. It isn’t about innovation. It’s about commercialism. It’s about sales. It’s about social media coverage. It’s about short-term attention. It’s about building a brand. The only way to build a brand is to be consistent, but I believe that there is a way to do it by innovating or making some changes and introducing new things along the way.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Alexander McQueen SS07

This is one of the most iconic Alexander McQueen collections due to the finale dress. Made with real flowers that rotted off during the show, the dress was meant to represent the idea that beauty decays and is not forever. This particular piece has been analyzed time and time again by fashion scholars, museum exhibitions (Savage Beauty, for example), and die hard fashion kids on Tumblr. However, the rest of the collection is just as extraordinary. Overwhelmingly pretty and romantic, the collection is a standout from the designer and in my top three favorite shows of his.

I feel like we just don’t see runway shows like this anymore. Clothing is much more commercialized nowadays with things ready to be worn straight off the runway and on Instagram. You can’t imagine people wearing McQueen’s designs for likes, because they weren’t that kind of pieces. People often debate whether fashion is an art form and with McQueen’s designs it is easy to argue that it is. He created beautiful, intricate, museum-worthy pieces that were not made just to be sent to retailers to sell on the shop floor. If you see McQueen in Barneys it won’t look identical to the runway pieces because they make modifications to make the collection more sellable and wearable for the everyday customer. I’m so curious as to what this collection will have looked like in the stores because you know the big gowns will have been changed, but I wonder by how much.

 

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Fashion Week

London Fashion Week Highlights – Fall 2016

I’m looking at all the London shows a little bit late. I fell behind on New York and spent so long doing other things that I didn’t catch up until 2 days in to London. If I can’t keep up and I’m not even there, how on earth do people manage the entire month in person? Madness.

London is a week that I don’t mind not paying full attention to because I don’t have any of my favourite designers showing there. I quite often see looks that I like or pieces but not full collections. I find it more difficult to list entire collections like I usually do with the other three cities, hence why the “And the rest…” list is a lot longer. I suggest clicking through the links if you’re interested. It’s just straight to the shots from Vogue Runway. I find it easier to link it that way than to include every single image or this post would never end! There’s not a brand that shows in London that particularly resonates with me and makes me want to wear the clothes every day, apart from perhaps Barbara Casasola. However, I am often surprised with what I like in London. It’s not as predictable as other fashion weeks.

Gareth Pugh

As of the 21st, Gareth Pugh is the only show that has made me stop and pay attention. I’m so impressed by the entire collection. It struck me as a mix of Alexander McQueen, Edith Head’s costumes for Hitchcock’s films, and Dior’s New Look. The shoulders were exaggerated, the waists were waspy, and the construction was superb. Everything looked so expensive, minus the star spangled pants. I want the Prince of Wales check (or is it houndstooth?) skirt suit, very retro and 1950s. He brought the drama to London that just reminded me of McQueen’s take on glamour.

Barbara Casasola 

As I said before, Barbara Casasola is one of the brands in London that I actually truly like, although I’ve never actually seen any of her clothes in person. Just looking at the designer taking her bow, she looks so chic in a minimal, effortless way. I think that’s the entire aesthetic of her brand. The overall vibe of this collection reminded me of early Prada or 90s Helmut Lang (the colour palette particularly). It was very undone, relaxed, I-rushed-out-the-door-in-the-morning, and I think it worked.

Alexander McQueen

I can truly say I love Sarah Burton’s collection. This is the first one that she has designed that I’ve been 100% sold on. There was leather, there was fur, there were embellishments aplenty, and to top it all off, most of the clothes were wearable. You can imagine that most of the pieces will be retailed without too many modifications which is nice considering often what you see on the McQueen runway is miles from what you see in stores. There were some pieces that I felt were slightly Riccardo Tisci (who cares, I adore him anyway) but overall I really thought it was a strong collection. It was slightly whimsical and romantic yet tough¬†and cool. The juxtaposition of the metal hardware and the tulle was fun. It will be sad if the rumours about Burton’s departure are true (I personally don’t think they are, but what do I know?) but if they are at least she will go out on such a high.

And the rest…

I’m glad that¬†David Koma’s clothes are beginning to get more attention. Celebrities are wearing his stuff, often Kardashian-Jenners but that exposure is valuable. This season I loved this dress¬†(he does a mini so well) and this coat. Outerwear is not what I expect from him but I really liked it.

The snakeskin trench coat at¬†Burberry was fun (I’m always for a trench coat).

I love these two (i & ii) looks at¬†Christopher Kane,¬†an art print on clothing pokes fun at the question “is fashion art?”.

The final look at J. JS Lee was strong, as were the coats.

Felder Felder plays up to my glam rock needs. This collection was slightly Hedi for Saint Laurent but I still liked many elements of it. For example, the blue print on the crinkled skirt and also the fingerless gloves Рsome of the best wear them like Karl Lagerfeld & Madonna.

I wish they’d styled this look at Eudon Choi without the shirt underneath. I love a knit-on-knit look.

I liked this dress at Julian Macdonald but it looks almost identical to a design of his that Kourtney Kardashian wore a month or so ago. I found the rest of the collection a little derivative of himself, Versace, and Roberto Cavalli.

This coat¬†at¬†Topshop Unique looked so cosy, although I wish they’d fully lined it in fur instead of quilting.

Knitwear is what Pringle of Scotland is known for. This season I liked this dress (spaghetti strap dresses are always useful for layering, especially on top of a thinner sweater) and this coat in particular.

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Editorial, Fashion

Lupita Nyong’o in Elle UK

I am obsessed with this photoshoot, quite simply. Lupita just radiates happiness and it is impossible to look at her and think anything negative. Ever since she came into the public eye merely two years ago she has stunned people with her beauty and fabulous outfits. I cannot lie, I’ve never even seen her act so anything I think about her is based on interviews or photographs. She just seems like a downright nice person and I like that.

This photoshoot was for the cover of Elle UK, a magazine which I subscribe to and therefore get the subscriber cover. Sometimes this sucks because the main cover is better but in this case I prefer the subscribers one. The look is Chanel and the embellishments are beautiful. In the main cover she wears Louis Vuitton. I adore Nicolas Ghesquiere and his designs but I am so fed up of seeing them on so many magazine covers. My particular favourite look is the sheer, embellished Alexander McQueen gown – so stunning. Read the Elle UK interview here and see some of the photos by Kai Z Feng below:

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Fashion, Opinion

Savage Beauty @ the V&A

How many of you have been to visit the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” exhibition at the V&A? I visited in the middle of May and it was jam packed. I queued to get in, unexpectedly considering the exhibition had been open for over 2 months. When the exhibition was at the Met in New York, it was the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history and the most popular fashion exhibition in history; I suspect the result will be similar at the V&A.

The Shalom Harlow dress, mentioned below.

Now everybody loves Alexander McQueen. In fashion, it’s almost blasphemous to say you don’t. He has an appeal which reaches beyond fashion to the masses. Everybody knows who Alexander McQueen was, or at least they’ve heard the name. There’s even calls for his face to be on the ¬£20 note (although somehow I think he’d hate that). He really is a national treasure.

The first “Savage Beauty” exhibition was shown in New York back in 2011, a little over a year after McQueen’s death, and I think, from what I’ve read, the exhibition shown in London is pretty much the same. It is split up into sections such as “Romantic Naturalism” and “Romantic Exoticism”, and features pieces from all of his collections, starting from his graduate collection at CSM. You even got to see the Kate Moss hologram in real life, and it was maybe my favourite thing from the exhibition.

Sarabande

Unfortunately, I can’t include any photos (I didn’t even try to take any) because they’re pretty strict about that in the V&A. I really hate that, you should always be allowed to take photos. Really, the only way to see the exhibition is to visit yourself. I can tell you that everything I wanted to, and expected to, see was there. The Sarabande dress with the flowers; my favourite pieces from the Plato’s Atlantis collection; loads from Voss, The Widows of Culloden, and It’s Only a Game. Also, the exhibition shop was great too.

My only complaint was how busy it was inside the exhibition (and the aforementioned photo ban). Most time slots were sold out all day, but I thought by 5pm when I went it would be quieter. The volume of people going in at each time wasn’t the problem, more so the volume of people leaving (read: not enough people left). I get that people want to stay and take their time, absorbing everything around them, but there was one room with high ceilings and the walls were filled with dresses, headpieces, and accessories. In the centre of the room was a raised platform with the spray-painted dress that Shalom Harlow wore and there’s a bench all around the base of the platform. I think for optimum viewing of the pieces, you needed to sit down and look up, but of course it was so busy and some people sat there for ages (at least 15 minutes, which doesn’t sound like much but is a long time in the context). Also, I wish I could’ve gotten a better look at the Shalom Harlow dress without practically sitting on someone’s lap.

If you get the chance, definitely go and see the exhibition. It’s really worth a visit, especially because it’s not often you get the chance to see McQueen’s body of work in its almost entirety.

The exhibition runs at the V&A in London until 2nd August 2015. Tickets can be bought here. 

PS – I just did a Google Image search for the photos and linked them via url, I think this means the source can be traced.

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Fashion, Shows

Fashion Flashback: Alexander McQueen Spring 1998

Since the Savage Beauty exhibition is well under way at the V&A in London, and I’m visiting it later this month, I felt that it was a good time to do an Alexander McQueen flashback. I think it’s quite true to say that McQueen is one of the most beloved designers of all time, and perhaps one of the most innovative as well.

A few months ago I browsed through a feed on the Fashion Spot which showcased all of McQueen’s collections pre-2000, right from his graduate collection through to his tenure at Givenchy. Then after the year 2000, his collections are easier to find online. I chose this particular season because it is perhaps one of his most controversial shows, at least with the name anyway. The collection was¬†titled “the Golden Shower”, look on Urban Dictionary if you don’t know what it means, and later just called “Untitled” after the show’s sponsor rejected the original name (once you know the meaning, you’ll understand why). ¬†It is one of my favourite McQueen shows not just for the clothes but for the set. About halfway through the show, artificial rain started pouring down on the runway. Models, wearing heavy black eye liner that began streaking down their faces, continued to walk, often wearing white clothes that went see-through and clung to the body. It was really just beautiful and so theatrical. Keep an eye out for Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen (who recently retired from the runway) in the video.

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Celebrity & Red Carpet

Diane Kruger in Alexander McQueen

I remember back in about 2006/2007, I used to make Powerpoints on my mum’s laptop of celebrities with the best style. They always included Nicole Richie, Paris Hilton, Sienna Miller, Victoria Beckham (I loved her WAG look back then), and Diane Kruger. I had literally no idea who Diane Kruger was. I didn’t know she was an actress but I did know that she was always immaculately dressed, which I found out from the many InStyle magazines that I used to stock pile. With Diane, things haven’t changed. I still haven’t seen a single movie of hers but I do continue to see photos of her looking great.¬†

Recently, she wore an Alexander McQueen dress to an event and looked damn brilliant. Now I have said a few times before that I’m not a huge fan of Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen but often when I actually see it on people, minus the ugly runway styling, it looks good. The dress is from the Spring 2015 show and is pretty and girly, but not childlike. It is covered in floral appliques and has ruffles all down the skirt. It sounds hideous when it is described and words really don’t do it justice. I just think she looks stunning. What do you think?

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Fashion Week, Shows

Paris Fashion Week Highlights – Fall 2015

I want to start this off by apologising for the lateness of it all. I have been crazy busy over the past few weeks, and unfortunately this blog is always the thing that gets pushed to the end of the to-do list. I’ve been taking my midterm exams and also have just got back from a trip to New York. When I was there, I visited a great exhibition at the Museum at FIT which I think I may write another post on. However, this is about Paris Fashion Week so I’ll get back to that.

It is the end, and I am a little bit sad that it is all over. I feel like it has been a very long month. I can’t even remember most of the shows from New York Fashion Week to be honest. Now that even Paris is over, it feels strange. Fashion month is a frenzy, a seemingly neverending madness. But when it’s over, everything just stops. I feel like things go slowly again. And then new editorials, adverts, and whatnot come out, then it is pre-fall season, then it is fashion month all over again. As you know, fashion never stops.

Paris is always thought of as the best fashion week. It is certainly the most prestigious and well respected. It is thought of as the epitome of European fashion, and the fashion world in general. And I suppose that is true. When you think of all of the big name brands that showcase there, only Milan can rival it. When I look at the collections, I write down the names of the brands that I liked: in Paris there were 32, and that was with me harshly editing and going based on snap judgements.Let us get started, for the last reviews of the season, and as a warning, this may be a long one…

 GIVENCHY

I think it is quite sad how the media focus of Riccardo Tisci’s work at Givenchy is rarely on the clothes, and often on the guests in attendance. Let me say this once and for all, the guests do not matter, the clothes do.

Riccardo Tisci is a great designer, and he has proven that time and time again, this collection being one of those instances. I didn’t see the whole “chola” reference (I’m guessing the gelled down baby hairs that FKA Twigs has been doing recently re-triggered this style) but I definitely get the Victorian thing. It was gothic without being extreme. The face jewellery, I could’ve done without as the clothes really spoke for themselves, they didn’t need gimmicks. The collection was almost entirely black and deep red and blue tones, which works for me, and featured velvet, lace, brocade, and lots of corsets that actually looked rather elegant and not at all trashy. There were plenty of stunning dresses, and many looks that I can’t wait to see in print. Whenever I look at collections I wonder what pieces will be used in their advertising. For this collection, I’m placing my bets on this dress (or either of the two that came after it), and this look, and perhaps one of the peacock feather looks¬†– gelled down baby hairs and face jewellery included.

LANVIN

I fucking love Lanvin. I mean, how can you not? As a brand, it retains that old-time glamour and luxury without ever feeling dated. Alber Elbaz is a much loved designer, and there is good reason for it. For this collection, he looked back into the archives and found some things that inspired him, along with Morocco, his birthplace, which may be why some things look slightly vintage Yves Saint Laurent (he was heavily inspired by Morocco, visiting the country numerous times throughout his life). I think this collection took you on a journey, from the modern, more sportswear-like dresses at the beginning, to the shearling, bohemian-esque looks in the middle, to the abstract florals at the end. It was really a three-part story. Basically, I’m sold. I’d be a Lanvin girl if I could afford it, but really the closest I think I’ll get is a pair of their ballet pumps, which, by the way, are the softest and most cushioned ballet pumps I have ever encountered in my life. Oh, if only I had a pair of them, I might not even need a Lanvin dress… Although I wouldn’t say no to¬†this beauty.

CHALAYAN

I think this may be my favourite collection out of fashion month in its entirety. It is stunning. Hussein Chalayan is a very fashion-forward designer, sometimes too ahead of his time for people to appreciate it when they first see it, but I think this collection was very clearly good, very obvious to see. I don’t know the big story or meaning behind the collection, so I am judging the clothes on face value because that’s all I’m really qualified to do – and I love them. The fur cuffs on suit blazers and the random slashes on trouser legs, held together with chains, and boxy blazers were all interesting touches that added to this collection. I wish Chalayan got more attention because he certainly deserves it.

NINA RICCI

I have to admit, Nina Ricci is a brand that I have never paid attention to. I’ve always associated it with perfume, not so much clothes. However, when I seen this collection, I perked up. You see, they have a new creative director and I think that change is definitely welcome. His name is¬†Guillaume Henry, and he came to Nina Ricci from Carven, a brand that has been picking up popularity in recent years. (I’m still in love with this deer coat from Fall 2013.) For this collection, he definitely piqued my interest in the Nina Ricci brand and actually made clothes that I’d want to buy. Often when I see things on the runway, I like them but don’t think they could translate into my daily life. Sometimes I think “oh, I live in the wrong place” or “oh, maybe in 10 years time, I’m a little too young just now”, but with this collection, I felt like many of the pieces could seamlessly weave themselves into my wardrobe. There was a good selection of nice coats, some fur, pretty day dresses, and the odd pair of trousers dotted in too. I really did like this collection and I hope that Guillaume stays for a long time, because I enjoy his style. It fits with my own.

ALEXANDER MCQUEEN

I cannot pretend I’ve never said a bad word about Sarah Burton, because I have, as has most other people who are fans of the late Lee McQueen. However, as she has said before, she did work with him for years and years so she really does know her stuff. For me, this was the first collection since she has taken over that I have really loved, that has actually hit a mark with me. Alexander McQueen is in the press again as the hugely popular “Savage Beauty” exhibit has just opened up at the V&A, which I’m guessing makes it a little bit more difficult for Sarah Burton as everybody wants to look back and relive the magic of Lee, and she definitely has huge shoes to fill. It must be awful being constantly compared to him, so I will try and refrain from doing that in the future. I can’t wait to see the exhibition, but I’m not going for another couple of months sadly… Anyhow, Sarah Burton designed a solid collection. There were ruffles that looked romantic, not dated. There was leather that looked wearable, not fetishistic or too biker. And actually, there were lots of pieces that looked wearable. I just wonder how much of this collection will make it into stores. Whenever you see Alexander McQueen in store, it is never anything like the runway – sometimes it seems like a completely different brand. I’d like to see some of this in my local Harvey Nichols, perhaps this coat?

And the rest…

At Louis Vuitton, Nicolas Ghesquiere seems to be working hard to carve a new house DNA. I like what he does, as do many other people. He is probably one of the most popular and influential fashion designers of modern times. I enjoyed the little spaghetti strap dresses this season, and also the beige pant suit which looked brilliantly tailored. Really, he deserves his status at the top of the industry.

I liked all the brown at Rochas. As I said before, I think in another fashion week review, I like brown. And tan, and beige, and camel, and most other shades of brown. It is softer than black. A couple of the looks in particular were really nice. For example, this coat and belted dress look, and also this fur coat with the pussybow peeking out from beneath.

Maiyet was quite a collection. I am particularly a fan of the oversized, slightly slouchy fit of the clothes. These three looks are sublime (x, y & z).

I really love this coat at Leonard.

The Zoolander appearances at¬†Valentino¬†were actually a lot more exciting than the clothes in the collection, and I’m so glad that they’re making a sequel. Surely this high profile stunt will boost sales, or at least attention, for the Valentino brand. Don’t get me wrong, they were lovely clothes but I think they were overshadowed by all of the Zoolander hype. I love how Owen Wilson and Ben Stiller have been credited as Hansel and Derek Zoolander on style.com though, see fashion does have a sense of humour!

Until recently, I had never really seen¬†Chanel¬†clothes up-close in person. I’d never actually touched them and felt them, I’d only looked through glass. When I was in Bergdorf Goodman last week, I touched them for the first time, and now I get the hype. I always wondered how Karl Lagerfeld could put out collection after collection of 80+ looks, and if they were ever actually nice in person. Now I know they are even nicer. This collection was another one of those that, upon first glance, seems to be a whole lot of looks, many of which are similar. But I suppose the Chanel customer likes to have options. A few looks stood out to me (x, y & z). Also, the set was incredible. The whole brasserie set-up was immaculate and really set the scene. If Karl does one thing consistently right, it is set design: Impeccable.

Lemaire,¬†designed by Christophe Lemaire, the former artistic director of Hermes, produced a brilliant collection full of streamlined silhouettes, and polished pieces. It was a demure kind of sexuality that the models emitted, nothing too outrageous. I’d wear these two looks if I could get my hands on them (x, y).

Anthony Vaccarello¬†is the new Versace. That’s why he has been hired by Donatella. Out of his own collection, I really loved the brown suede used in this collared bomber jacket¬†and also this dress with cut-outs, and also this super-sexy suit-like dress.

I wanted to love¬†Balmain,¬†because I usually do, but this time I didn’t. It was too much. However, I did like the opening look (mainly its top, I could’ve done without the pleated trousers and just had flowy trousers instead), this white coat (if it wasn’t belted shut, I didn’t like the styling), and this glitzy dress (although I can imagine that Kim K already has it on pre-order which ruins it for me a little bit. Fuck I was planning to stop talking about her…).

It has been said that Alexander Wang has finally come into his own at¬†Balenciaga, and I think that I agree, but this season I just haven’t been a fan of Alexander Wang, not at his own line or at Balenciaga. I did see the dress that I included in my “wishlist” in person and it is as great as I expected. However, great is not what I’d call this collection. Yes, it referenced the archives which I suppose is good, but it just wasn’t as good as last season (which I loved), and also some of it was a bit too Raf for Dior. I liked this dress a lot though.

David Koma’s¬†Mugler¬†was sexed up, as always, but it didn’t seem old. I don’t think he needs to find new tricks because he has clearly developed a style that works for him. I loved the skinny pants this time around though (x & y), something slightly different than mini dresses. Hey, you all know I’m a Koma fan, I rarely have ill words to say.

This dress at Emanuel Ungaro was absolutely insane. The folds were just like a fan. I would love to see this in person and feel how it is like that.

And finally, as always, Hermes was flawless and refined luxury. I like this new creative director.

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Celebrity & Red Carpet

10 Looks From Spring 2015 Catwalks That Nicki Minaj Should Wear

After my near psychic experience with Nicki Minaj and her wearing of the Saint Laurent sequinned leopard print mini dress at the EMAs, I have appointed myself her unofficial stylist. Yes, a bit rich coming from a random person on the internet who has no relation to Nicki at all (although I did meet her that one time), but still it’s just a bit of fun. Nicki is the ultimate person when it comes to fashion just because she is brave. Nicki tries out anything when it comes to fashion, like really the most outrageous costumes are nothing to her. She has zero fear. It is because of this that she can be moulded into anything, fashion-wise. The most avant-garde designers cater to Nicki but everything she wears aren’t¬†always wild. Nicki does crazy, sexy, classic, fun: you name it and she suits it. Anyway, I am going to use this post to choose looks from the Spring 2015 runways that I think that Ms Minaj would wear well – whether it be on stage, to events or just in daily life. PS – Nicki, if you see this and choose to wear any of these looks, get in touch… Let me add this to my CV. Hahaha.

 

I’m going to cheat on my list, instead of just 10¬†looks I’m going to choose 10 designers (some may have multiple looks). Let us commence…

  1. ALEXANDER WANG –¬†Nicki is already a fan of Alexander Wang so it is pretty much a safe bet that she will wear some pieces from his collection. She has already been seen in one of the Stan Smith inspired white and green tennis dresses at the EMAs. She attended the Spring 2015 show, so she will definitely have already seen all of the looks, it just comes down to what ones she will actually want. I have chosen the two below because she typically favours shorter styles and I think the pleated skirts would create great movement.
  2. CHANEL –¬†I have chosen some looks from Chanel because it is a brand that has status and is synonymous with wealth. Nicki has name dropped Chanel in a couple of songs before so it is likely that she would be glad to wear the brand. I have chosen a two piece skirt and top coordinate, worn by Lindsey Wixson on the runway, because of its cropped style and matching print, something that Nicki is fond of. I also chose the cardigan look (leg warmers optional) worn by Gisele because it reminded me slightly of Nicki in the Dazed shoot wearing Marc Jacobs. The knitwear is sexy but in a subtle way. Finally, I chose the mirrored-style cocktail dress with the Chanel belt because of the sheer panels and the belt mainly.¬†
  3. DOLCE & GABBANA РDolce & Gabbana is one of my favourite brands, and a brand that I wish Nicki wore more often. The Sicilian glamour is something that I wish I could embody. First I chose the lacy cami top and bejewelled jeans ensemble because it was probably one of my favourite looks of this entire season. Secondly, I chose the black lace mini dress with the gold and jewels just because it is so beautiful and I can imagine Nicki looking brilliant in it. 
  4. BALMAIN –¬†A Nicki Minaj outfit list would be incomplete without Balmain being mentioned somewhere on the list. I didn’t actually see very much from this collection that I thought would be perfect but I thought that this dress was suitable. Nicki mentions Balmain in the song Anaconda¬†and wears the FW14 collection in the video. However, a new season means new looks and I am sure that Nicki will wear something from the collection. I have chosen this black and white dress.
  5. MOSCHINO – Back in 2010/2011 when Nicki first hit it big, she was famous for her Barbie image so Jeremy Scott’s collection for Moschino seems perfect for her. I mean, the image is much more toned down now, perhaps she has even retired the character? However, I felt that it would be sinful to pass over this collection.
  6. BALENCIAGA –¬†Designed by Alexander Wang, a Nicki favourite, Balenciaga seems like a clear choice. I chose this little back playsuit because I thought the sheer panels were fun and provided the right amount of coverage. I can imagine Nicki wearing this on stage to be honest as it affords her the room to move around and dance.¬†
  7. JEREMY SCOTT –¬†Nicki wore a lot of Jeremy Scott in the past (like say circa 2011) and was actually in an Adidas commercial with him. His designs are so wild and usually unwearable, but often there are a couple of pieces in there, that out of the show context, could actually¬†be worn. I chose this psychedelic print dress first because it is something that I can see her wearing (or has she already worn it?) and next I chose two looks which I intend to be worn together. First, a patchwork bomber jacket and secondly, the matching shorts. Underneath the bomber jacket I imagine her wearing a sheer lace black bodysuit.
  8. VERSACE –¬†Donatella’s woman is strong, sexy and confident. If Nicki Minaj doesn’t perfectly fit that description then who does? The pieces I chose from the Spring 2015 collection are quite varied. For example, the pink shorts suit is a little bit different from what she normally wears but I can imagine her looking great in it. Similarily, pink and red skirt and dress combination are a little different because of the asymmetric length of the skirt. Finally, the large grid mesh coordinates are a little more traditional Nicki and the aqua colour would look brilliant on her.
  9. DAVID KOMA –¬†I love David Koma, I have said this so many times and I will probably repeat it until I feel I have been sufficiently heard. Now, don’t quote me on this, but I don’t think that Nicki has worn David Koma before as he is a relatively new designer. I can’t remember ever seeing her in his designs anyway. I think some of his stuff is similar to Versace, or even the most recent Versus collection. His Spring 2015 collection was so strong that I struggled to whittle it down to just a select few. The ones that I have chosen are pieces that I think that Nicki would actually like herself and perhaps even choose.¬†
  10. ALBERTA FERRETTI –¬†I think if Nicki wore either of these outfits, she would look so pretty: because that’s what they are. These outfits are girly and feminine. I think she would be more likely to wear the crop top and shorts combo but I love the little strappy dress. I think it is stunning. I can imagine her in it and I kind of wish she would wear it. The colours in the dress would make her skin look radiant. Also, I hope she would wear the entire looks with the shoes included because really, the styling of the two are on point.

Now obviously there were many more looks that I could see her wearing but I don’t want this list to be too long. Two designers that she is very fond of, Alexander McQueen and Saint Laurent, were two that I didn’t find many outfits that I could see her in. For Saint Laurent, I think she would definitely wear this dress (linked). As for McQueen, often the clothes that people actually wear are a hell of a lot different than those seen on the runway. For that reason, I think it is important not to rule out an appearance in the brand. If any of my predictions are right, I will be very happy. If this list were anything to go by, I have Nicki dressed for all public appearances for the next few months. I enjoyed making this list, perhaps I shall make another one when the Fall 2015 collections are out? Let me know.

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Essays

Commercialism – Fashion’s Swear Word

“Commercial”: a word that business minded brains love to hear but makes artists recoil. Fashion is a bit of a paradox. On one hand, designers are artists who love to create, regardless of whether it will sell or not. Some make clothes that aren’t even wearable, that won’t even make it off the runway. Think of Alexander McQueen’s dress from his Sarabande collection made of flowers that rotted as the model walked: that was art. On the other hand is the CEOs of the companies, the business brains who want to make sales. If it weren’t for sales, the business wouldn’t survive. That is what creates the issue. The artists want to create without restrictions whereas the “men in suits” want them to create something that sells.

Alexander McQueen's designs

Alexander McQueen’s designs

A very avant garde, out there collection will likely be praised on the runway. Critics will love it. It is so easy to get lost in the fantasy of fashion that we can forget that it is a business. The clothes need to be sold in order to make a profit and generate funds in order to create the next collection. It can’t all be fun and games, a magical dream world. However, when designers create a commercial (read: sellable) collection, they are often criticised. But aren’t they doing something right?

Some of the most successful designers are the ones who create clothes that people want to wear and will therefore buy. When I say successful, I mean it in monetary terms. Take Ralph Lauren who personally has a net worth of $7.9 billion, according to Forbes, and a company worth even more. Ralph Lauren is a man who has built himself an empire, literally a self made billionaire. That is not something to be taken lightly. And you know what made him so successful? It was the fact that he built a lifestyle brand that millions of people wanted to buy into. It was aspirational yet reachable, so people bought it – and continue to do so to this day. Just recently did he launch a womenswear division of his hugely successful Polo range. But we all know that Ralph Lauren isn’t any great artist. He simply designs clothes that people want to wear. Very commercial, very normal, very successful.

Ralph Lauren (Left - from Spring/Summer 14, Right - An earlier advert from 90s)

Ralph Lauren (Left – from Spring/Summer 14, Right – An earlier advert from 90s)

Take another designer, Lee Alexander McQueen. He really is the exact opposite of Ralph. He was a man who was more an artist than a designer. He created clothes that were more than just clothes, they were something so much more significant. His designs had a meaning, a purpose. But really, whether he would class them as it or not, they were an art form. Even the shows were big spectacles: less a line of models strutting down a catwalk, more a piece of performance art. So how is it that even though what Alexander McQueen created was so experimental and artistic, it managed to sell? Well that is really down to the fact that what you see on the runway is rarely what makes it into the stores. Even if a collection looks slightly more commercial, it will still be edited to suit the market. Hem lines will be fiddled with, slight details will be changed and some looks may not ever even make it into production.

If everything is edited down anyway then why would designers bother making art-like pieces? That is something that I have often wondered, and I’m sure many others have also. But then it’s easy to understand when you really think about it. Fashion is a form of expression. The designers create what they imagine, things that they have dreamed about, and make them into wearable garments – even if they are only wearable temporarily. Despite the fact that¬†they are going to be changed so much before they actually make it into the store, the clothes that make it onto the runway are still seen. They are an outlet for the designers’ creativity to be showcased.

John Galliano's designs

John Galliano’s designs

However, this aforementioned creativity is becoming increasingly rare. Out of the four main fashion capitals, in general, London is the most experimental. Yet this season, there were more and more commercial-like collections. Designers are playing it safe. Or not even that, they are just creating clothes and it so happens that these clothes are more wearable than what others have created in the past. I am all for this wild inventiveness that the likes of Alexander McQueen possessed and John Galliano still has, but really, when looking at collections I prefer to see pieces that I would like to wear myself.¬†I love to watch the big spectacles of shows that very creative¬†designers put on, and enjoy the clothes whilst watching it, but see it just as a performance piece, as beautiful clothes but not as something that will ever really be sold. These are the pieces that make fashion what it is. They are museum-worthy and blur the defining lines¬†between fashion and art.¬†As a consumer, I don’t get anything from looking at clothes that I know would have no place in my daily life (apart from to look at in lust). That is one of the biggest issues in fashion.

So yes, maybe commercial is¬†a dirty word in fashion, but I don’t think it is that bad. We can’t just refuse to acknowledge that fashion is a business. Yes, it is a wonderful form of expression (with some pieces even veering into art) but it is also an enterprise. Fashion provides livelihood for many people. As an industry, it employs over 25 million people worldwide and generates money that is used for more than just clothes. It can fuel an economy and it does more than just clothe us. Fashion is so important to the world and touches each and every one of us, whether we like it or not. So let us enjoy the artistic pieces when they come, even if they are few and far between, but don’t shun the designers who create clothes that are less inspired. Even if something looks basic, there is likely hours of work and ample thought that has been put into it before you see it. Sometimes the most understated of things take the longest to perfect. Appreciate the grandeur of fashion but also realise that, sometimes, more lucrative (for the designer) and wearable for us is the way to go. We all win in the end.

 

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