Bustle, knitwear and tulle, Kawakubo-style. Comme des Garçons aw’95
#comme #bustle #pink #knitwear
51 Shades of Grey #1
The too-good-to-be-true heatwave is properly over and we’re back to the kind of schizo British weather I understand and can dress for with the least amount of stress.
Now that chilly winds have begun kicking up again I’ve welcomed back the Vans. Unlike the Mister, who likes to scuff up his trainers as soon as he’s bought them, I want my kicks as white and fresh-out-of-the-box-looking as possible (the fabric on the insides is for my eyes only) and have employed toothbrush and detergent several times this summer.
I’ve been banging on about Mêhlê quite a bit lately. This black dress is the newest addition to my wardrobe, riffing on a 20s drop waist and pleated skirt with a sporty, tennis feel - all things I love. Amongst the things I’ve been Googling recently are shots of tennis/style heroines from the ’20s, Suzanne Lenglen, Kathleen McKane Godfree and Lili de Alvarez all cropping up looking understated and chic in all-white, body-skimming dresses.
In 1931 Alvarez played at Wimbledon wearing Elsa Schiapparelli’s excellent bifurcated skirt (culottes) and causing an uproar - GET THAT WOMAN BACK IN A DRESS! - as shifting fashion paradigms do.
A predilection for monochrome is, of course, always going to lead to famous fashion imagery from the early nineties - the supers shot by Peter Lindbergh, Calvin Klein campaigns by Bruce Weber and portraiture by Herb Ritts. The slicked back wet hair is an easy fix while my hair continues to grow at a ridiculously slow rate, as well as touching on that sporty, stripped back vibe from the period, as seen on Christy and Linda.
Then there’s the coat, which you’ll probably recognise is from Topshop Unique - the perennial fail-safe for colour-shy types with a fondness for a slick, minimal silhouette. Kim Basinger’s killer wardrobe in 9 1/2 Weeks is impeccable and whenever I put on this coat I feel way cooler.
Feeling yellow. Poolside looks on the table: Janice Dickinson, Vogue Italia ‘83 or Fila short tracksuit
Holidays in one week. This is all I’m packing #adidas #mehle #callyblackman
Mehle day♥♥♥ @wearemehle
Samurai #wearemehle #nicolefarhi
Shanshan Ruan spring/summer ‘15 lookbook
I first met Shanshan in Paris, not long after she’d won the Public Prize of the City of Hyères for her IN MOTION collection at the 2013 edition of the French fashion and photography festival. Since then she’s been gearing up to launch her own label and here are the fruits of her labour: the lookbook from her first commercial collection, WONDERING LINES, unveiled during the latest menswear shows (for spring/summer’15) and still on display at Joyce Gallery Palais Royal in Paris.
The curving lines of her sketches have been transferred to crepe, mousseline and silk to create pieces which aren’t constructed in the usual front/back patterns. The effect promotes the sense of fluidity and ease of movement, the curving lines transferred to the garment with layers of sheer silk, fluted hems trailing across shorts and trousers.
Ernesto Artillo’s dreamlike collages were drawn upon for inspiration, and the sobering palette was chosen to highlight the particular nature of the construction.
A white stripe down a trouser leg and a neoprene coat bring an athleticism to a collection; the designer was keen to produce a loose, elegant wardrobe comprised of the finest materials without compromising on practicality.
Model: Sahra Medjkoune
Hair & make up: Salomé Herve
Photography: Eric Démaret
Styling: Cassandra Kirk and Shanshan Ruan
- Look! Darling, Armani.'Magazine' - Absolutely Fabulous
- Only Emporio.
- I can just felt pen that out. No one will know.
The London Textile Fair 2014
Cottons, silks, polys, weaves, prints and textures - this year’s London Textile Fair was full of it all.
The two-day textile event showcases the fabrics, trims, prints and accessories of over 250 suppliers and mills in the UK, France, Italy, Turkey, Spain and more.
It’s a trade event first and foremost, with buyers from the big guns (Burberry, Alexander McQueen and Victoria Beckham) down to high street (ASOS, COS and Topshop) visiting to check out the samples; while soaking up the wealth of weave and texture I spotted Preen, Holly Fulton and River Island teams perusing the rails for future collections.
Examples of the delights on display at the London Textile Fair at The Business Design Centre in Islington
Maja Mehle, designer and founder of the excellent London-based label MÊHLÊ visited the tradeshow for the first time this year.
"It was really really good, got some new contacts, new fabrics. It’s a lot easier than just randomly searching on the internet.. seeing [manufacturers] at the fair, it was just more convenient to speak to them, ask them questions, see all their samples.
"As a small brand it’s sometimes difficult to be taken seriously. Plus this fair was a lot less intimidating than Premiere Vision in Paris."
The roll call of high profile labels represented means that fabric and prints I saw yesterday could well be in shop windows and editorials in 12 months’ time, fashioned into dresses and coats - for a geek like me that’s exciting.
The event’s list of exhibitors continues to grow and after much demand from Asian mills and manufacturers, the organisers behind the tradeshow will host The London Asia Textile Fair in October, specifically organised to bring the best from the region’s textile industry to London’s high profile brand buyers.
"Glorifying McDonald’s" - A reaction to a reaction
There’s an irony in blaming the fashion industry - regularly chastised for its preference for skinny models - for the UK’s obesity problem.
Jeremy Scott’s fast-food collection for Moschino went viral and obesity professional Dr Ian Campbell has claimed that “while the occasional McDonald’s meal is not a problem, to present it as fashion is disappointing. Is it glorifying McDonald’s? I guess it is.”
As an influential applied art with an industry worth billions, fashion will always be scrutinised and judged, as it should be. Sometimes however, I get the feeling that it’s a target easily branded as the cause for all the world’s woes and this is one such instance.
This professional consternation at the irresponsibility of Scott’s show misses the point of the collection, and while a huge number of people whose interest in the fashion industry is minimal and for whom the development of concepts is not important will still be exposed to the imagery that has run rampant through social media channels, to claim that the food is being championed is a sloppy observation.
Franco Moschino established his label in Milan in 1983. In her essay on the image of fashion in The Glamour of Italian Fashion since 1945 (the excellent accompanying tome to the V&A’s exhibition), Maria Luisa Frisa says of the designer:
"Franco Moschino took the forms of fashion, Italian stereotypes and the languages and practices of art and used them to create an extraordinary montage in which his collections became more than a simple sequence of garments. He claimed the freedom to criticise the system from within, pointing out its defects."
Scott’s fast-food collection continued in that vein by reversing mainstream values of high and low culture in an irreverent* style true to the house codes. His spring/summer ‘15 menswear collection, shown recently at LC:M, continued the founder’s penchant for criticising the industry with ‘fakes’ and imitations of other fashion labels (see the “FaxSara” and “Charmès” ads on his Yellow Pages jacket from Moschino Cheap and Chic spring/summer ‘94).
*A over-used and miserable word, but acceptable here, I think. If the collection had not been so, would it have caused such a stir?
Yes, the majority of people won’t bother to discover the creative ideas behind the clothes and will take away (no pun intended, ha ha though) the face value image of a model wearing the famous golden arches on her T-shirt. But is that image going to cause our poor, stupid teens to rush to McDonald’s for a hamburger? Surely the pictures of apple slices and jogging thin people decking the walls of the average Maccy Ds - the ones we gaze at while we suck the grease off our fingers - are sending the really befuddling messages.
At no point does anyone chomp down on a handful of fries as they walk the runway and one look at Lindsey Wixson, from even an impressionable young person, would be enough to discern that the model doesn’t spend a lot of time in her local McDonald’s.
It’s not the food that’s the (anti)hero here, it’s the aesthetic, and knowing the Moschino style and Scott’s rampant enthusiasm for applying it to fashion in the 21st century, it wouldn’t be surprising if it became the source of next season’s ridicule.
LC:M spring/summer 2015
Psychedelic Rodeo at Katy Eary
Breathable airtex layers for a schizophrenic English summer at Baartmans and Siegel
Body-lengthening layers and gingham at Nicomede Talavera (MAN)
Xander Zhou’s boys troop by in a jarring mix of sportswear and wide tailoring
"Here, in one of the most handsome and historic quarters of London, can be found all the knowledge you need to be the perfect gent." - Jermyn St St James’s offers sartorial pointers at Fortnum & Mason
Sir Tom Baker’s suited rock n’rollers
Kibbo Kift inspirations played out on torn and frayed denim at Liam Hodges (MAN)
Duchamp’s slim-fit tailoring in summer checks and stripes
Astrid Andersen’s feminised masculinity
The Hentsch Man decked out for South American summer nights
(All photos my own)
London Collections: Men is a newcomer on the international fashion circuit. For several seasons the committees behind London’s premier menswear event and Florence’s well-established and respected Pitti Uomo tradeshow have been at loggerheads, causing schedules to overlap and forcing editors and buyers to choose who’s better, who’s best.
The unpredictability of British weather and its link to homegrown eccentricity was a feature at Burberry Prorsum and Baartmans and Siegel at LC:M SS’15. Granted, it’s not surprising at the former, whose oft-traded upon heritage of mackintoshes and gabardines has been artfully spun with digital branding by Christopher Bailey. Models worn plenty of layers and the designer demonstrated his awareness of the zeitgeist with a buttoned-up denim jacket worn as a shirt under a dark denim tailored suit. All that denim and yet distinctly Burberry in style. Add to those a floppy hat, a leather bound notebook and satchel and you got the feeling that last season’s poets were gone, to be replaced by trainspotters on tour.
Baartmans and Siegel chose utility in both design and fabric as the foundation of their outdoorsy collection catering to “the schizophrenic weather spectrum of an ‘English Summer’ “, with breathable airtex jackets and double layer shorts in military green and blue. Shell jackets (with detachable hoods! Isn’t it marvellous when fashion is functional?) were layered under tailoring and dressed up with slick bombers and narrow cut trousers.
Patrick Grant’s seaside-inspired collection for E Tautz was beautifully done. Dark denims, wide cut belted shorts and thick white stripes on dark blue came together to form a boy gentleman: dapper, youthful and out for larks. Brown jackets in showerproof silk sat well with navy, while wide cut trousers with thick turn-ups were worn with chunky knits - perfect for paddling on a windy stretch of beach.
Several labels looked to more exotic climes for summer inspiration. Hentsch Man travelled to Havana and Rio to soak up the smell of cigars and sip rum (or at least, rum-flavoured lager). Pale green, washed out pink and faded blue and white stripes mixed with darker tropical prints on slim fitting casual tailoring.
Duchamp divided their collection into three stories: Elegant English Gentry, Contemporary Riviera and Summer Eveningwear. Formal or casual, slim-fitting tailoring was the order of the day, whether that be a three-piece suit in a grey check, a seersucker shirt and rather tight white trousers or an electric blue dinner jacket.
Chucs Dive & Mountain Shop relaunched during LC:M on Dover Street. Like Duchamp, Chucs is drawing on the idea of timeless elegance, reverting to old codes of seasonal dress (for the upper classes) with that all-important ‘modern update’. Video clips of tanned cliff divers leaping off La Quebrada in 1950s Acapulco and Sean Connery spying Ursula Andress as she emerges from the sea were shown to convey a honeyed nostalgia for the halcyon days of Hollywood seaside resort glamour. How has that been translated into clothes? With polo shirts, short shorts in gingham and archive prints sourced from Lake Como.
Speaking of gingham, it cropped in several collections. Richard Nicoll, LC:M’s breath of minty fresh air, presented a dark blue gingham boiler suit (a piece he likes to revisit) with patch pockets. Alongside this were silver foil jackets, icy blue denim trousers with a loose fit and boxy denim style jackets.
N.B. If you buy one thing for next summer make it a boxy denim jacket.
Nicomede Talavera, who had his debut runway show with MAN, produced elongated silhouette with blocks of colour and gingham on tunics and pleated knee-length panels over trousers. Fabrics were crinkled to give a plissé effect lengthways and further drew the eye from torso to knee. Trousers and shorts were wide cut and loose-fitting and, paired as they were with pumps, had a skater vibe. Liam Hodges and Bobby Abley (both of whom also showed with MAN) leaned towards this cut on shorts; Hodges’ Kibbo Kift-inspired collection of badge-sewing, wild boy scouts wore dark denims while Abley’s surf/skater boys wore neoprene, torn denim and glitter sweats.
Astrid Andersen and Nasir Mazhar continued to outfit their street tribes in big, logo-emblazoned sportswear. Andersen brought her particular brand of gender ambiguity by mixing crop tops and lace with large basketball vests and belted kimono jackets. Mazhar made his tracksuits with metallic brocades and slinky pyjama print fabrics, all terrifically polished.
Under the umbrella of tribes and blazing logos we must include Moschino, whose French fries phone cases and quilted bags have made it an accessible must-have for wannabe tribe members since Jeremy Scott’s fast food debut for the label. FAUXSCHINO embroidered gold on black and acid house smileys on world flag sweats and bombers all unabashedly celebrated branding in a two-dimensional, 90s pop graphic style.
Topman Design and Katy Eary both went back to the 70s, tapping styles which felt out of tune with the current mood. Eary, inspired by Dallas Buyers Club, took a psychedelic rodeo turn with printed shirts in pink and peach, purple suede fringed bikers and spiky cactus patchwork. Topman Design went down the Woodstock route and was largely forgettable - Eary’s collection was at least spirited.
Warplane motifs began the show at Christopher Raeburn, but it was his panache with sports and outdoor-influenced basics that shone. This, combined with loose-fit trousers and his trademark parachute silks make for an elegant aesthetic which comprises street and sportswear but without the noise.
Finally, Craig Green - he of floor-sweeping print and colour and Daily Mail-maddening presentation concepts - stripped everything back with a monochrome collection of tied shirts, trousers and jackets in cotton and quilted panels so white it was almost angelic. Even black samurai ensembles had a monastic, reverential quality.
What conclusions to draw from the spring/summer’15 collections? Sportswear isn’t going anywhere, neither is tailoring. Denim will be prominent and cuts will be looser.
For CRACK Magazine
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South American urban summer for the Hentsch boys #LCM #SS15