Thursday, January 29, 2009

Jean Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Fall 2009

For a change in recent seasons, I was pretty happy with a few of the haute couture collections which I had been pretty bored with. Above all though, is definitely Gaultier’s collection. While it’s not as good as his best ones, it’s certainly very beautiful!

From heavily embellished short dresses, to elaborate and dramatic gowns, all the way to sexy, structured suits, there is truly a little bit of everything here. Speaking of the embellishment, it’s beyond impressive; not only in intricacy but the compositions are really gorgeous on top of these already well-cut garments. I love the reoccurring smoke-like designs and the differed sized netted fabrics layered on one another or on solid fabric. It is a nice contrast to the sharpness of the designs in general.

The looks really speak for themselves, though. So many gorgeous elements here to admire and like I said, while it’s not his best offering, it’s nothing to shake a stick at by any means. However, whether they’re worth shaking a credit card at may be a different story.

Ann Demeulemeester Menswear Fall 2009

I really loved Ann’s menswear collection this year, and I guess if you’ve looked at the images above, it is no surprise why. The overall mood is so romantic without being cheesy; it’s reall lovely. Also, I think this collection is a step in the right direction for her, as I was getting quite bored with the whole purple thing that kept continuing over. While this is very much the Ann we all know and love, it is a notch above what she’s been doing (in both her men’s and women’s lines) for the last couple of years.

The color palette is a dream and couldn’t be more suited to the pieces themselves. I really like all of the jackets she’s shown here. While they’re nothing new, they’re perfectly suited for the vibe she’s created with this collection. Also, the fabrics she used for them – and in the collection as a whole – are nothing short of perfect; these rich, strong, luxurious fabrics really do everything to enhance the designs and help create the perfect silhouettes.

Aside from amazing fabrics, her great choice of materials did not stop there. A few fur pieces made an appearance and really step up the whole collection. Texture wise, there is so much going on within these individual fur garments; they’re truly an aesthetic treat in addition to surely feeling divine to the touch.

Another element that makes this a truly fantastic collection is without a doubt the knitwear! I can hardly believe the size and volume of some of these knitted pieces. In the closeups, the patterns within the knit look intricate, clean and so soft – meanwhile overall creating a top-heavy and amazing silhouette.

To counterbalance the elaborate tops, are plenty of wonderful boots, Ann style. Her more classic models make a reappearance this season as well as plenty of new ones to keep breaking the bank of her fans, including an absolutely irresistible pair of pony hair equestrian boots. The kind of boot that make me wish I were a male, just to be able to wear them; they are decadent and the light shines off them brilliantly.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Miharayasuhiro Fall 2009

Yasuhiro’s collection was certainly one of the most easy on the eyes out of what we saw this season. With the soft neutral color palette and overall air of comfort and ease, there’s not much to dislike here.

First of all, the trousers are amazing. The cut is perfect and also the drop crotch is pulled off flawlessly; doesn’t come across as too trendy or gimmicky. Aside from the drop crotch ones, the skinny cut ones look fantastic as well as the cropped trousers. There is a lot to admire here but I just had to mention the pants right off the bat.

The outerwear is really nice as well, and is very cohesive with the collection as a whole. Many of the pieces could be styled either in a casual or more dressed up looking way, and with the cost of high end designer outerwear, versatility is truly an important factor. But enough with all that practicality nonsense – the pieces look mighty good, which is the most important thing, right?

The accessories are really the icing on the cake. While I don’t love them all personally, I very much appreciate the craftsmanship that’s gone in; they have an aged look to them which increases their appeal quite a bit. I like the quirkiness of the embellishments and hardware… it all adds a very cool touch to the collection.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Gareth Pugh Menswear Fall 2009

Well, it has happened! Gareth has shown his first all-menswear collection in Paris and in my opinion, it went off quite well. The collection isn’t nearly as androgynous as I was anticipating, but I can definitely appreciate where (I speculate) that he is coming from here.

As far as the theme… well, let’s face it, you’d have to be blind not to notice the industrial/goth/club overtones. I think perhaps he could have taken a less literal approach – but I have to say, that is one of my only gripes. I think the overtness of such a throwback and rebellious genre may not work in his best interests as far as how it will be perceived by others. However, I am fine with it, but then again, I am pretty sure he and I have similar backgrounds as far as that whole scene goes.

Given that he’s been producing and showing menswear for a while now, I wasn’t sure what to expect from a solo mens show – particularly after the extravagant SS09 womenswear collection he just graced us with. While I don't think this is the greatest collection ever, I do think it’s pretty impressive that this FW09 menswear line was not only a complete departure from his SS09 womens, but it was actually a progression upon the menswear he’s been working at for quite some time now.

He went with the patent leather triangle garments to act as the centerpiece of the collection, providing a great array of different takes on the design, including suits, trenches, puffy winter jackets, pants, etc. It’s safe to say the best part of this is the outerwear, and surely that’s no accident. After owning one of these pieces – I have to say I am really excited about the prospect of more. But unfortunately, I think people who haven’t handled or worn his pieces easily write them off as ‘unwearable’, when really they’re anything but.

Pugh’s work is funded in part by Rick Owens and in turn, is produced at the prestigious Olmar+Mirta factory – the same place as Rick’s stuff is made. When people say his stuff looks cheap and poorly constructed, it’s a sure sign they’ve never worn Pugh’s stuff themselves, as the construction is actually quite great and the materials are the same ones that are used in Rick’s lines.

I also have to mention the boots, which are phenomenal. I love severe and heavy footwear and, well… who doesn’t love a good skullkicker type of boot, anyway?

overall – bravo to Gareth. Can’t wait to see what he’s got lined up for his next womenswear show :D

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rick Owens Menswear Fall 2009

True to form, he delivered nothing particularly outrageous or unexpected, however, that it not to say it was boring or a disappointment – by any means. Some people are bothered by monochromatic collections, which I suppose I can empathize with to a degree. However, if there is enough beauty, depth and thought put into the textures and details within that singular color palette – then not only am I not bothered by it, but I find it totally admirable. My closet is basically monochromatic and therefore I heavily rely on interesting textures, beautiful fabrics and intricate detailing to build upon it.

At any rate, I think he’s done some great things here, if you take the time to consider. The variety of different leathers and textiles is so delicious; particularly the crocodile jacket with asymmetrical zipper – I think it’s fantastic. The proportions are nothing new, but they always look fresh to me, but I suppose maybe I am just a typical Rick fan in that way.

Perhaps he might catch some heat for these boots with the fur, so to speak. However, knowing Rick’s background, he came from the LA club / freak show scene of the late 80’s and if you are elderly enough (don’t worry, I am too) to remember those days, or possibly have been to a rave or two during that time, one of the things that the lovely gender benders would wear were hot pants with these elaborate DIY fur boots. The ones he’s done here are very similar in concept and material (although clearly his are ridiculously higher end), so I can’t help but wonder if this is somehow a nod to that era somehow.

Overall I really like it. I think some of the looks were maybe a little redundant, at least for a runway presentation, but it was also nice to see the range of things he’s produced. The basics, as usual are genius, the styling is amazing and what’s nearly the best part about is work is – the quality of the materials and the construction is perfect.

Number (N)ine Fall 2009 "A Closed Feeling"

I’ve come to not speculate in advance on N(N) shows because frankly there is no point anymore. What was once a brand who came a bit close to falling in a niche, has emerged as one with fully themed collections which, at the very least, have been entertaining. Good thing I didn’t bother speculating because I am not sure I would have ventured into the ballpark of this collection. Constructed out of an array of textures and fabrics that look eerily similar to my grandmother’s sofas, which have been encased under clear vinyl slip covers for the last fifty years... this collection is a special one to say the least.

From the all-too-obvious influences Miyashita took here, to the maturity in the silhouette, there is a lot to think about and a lot to take in aesthetically. The silhouettes are so lovely; the capes and cuts of the jackets are divine. Styling and proportion-wise, how could I not love this? The top-heavy shape due to the hats and structured upper half of the body paired with a skirt or cropped trouser and boot; it’s definitely such a great look.

The textures, patterns, fabrics, embellishment, fringe – there are a million things that draw the eye in… but it’s all so cohesive and beautiful. The color palette is seriously a dream; I adore the, for lack of a better term, earthy tones, topped off with the muted colors. The styling is heavy but isn’t it always with N(N)? For me, it works.

The emotional impact of this collection is so strong - the array of different textures, like wearing every single thing in the house at once. The paranoia, the reclusive factor, the hiding, the beauty... it's just a masterpiece from head to toe, beginning to end. Eternal thanks to Miyashita for being beyond brilliant.

Today is only just day 2 of Paris as well – lots more shows on the way. :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Lanvin Pre-Fall 2009

Oh, Mr. Elbaz, thank you. I was really scared after Spring’s frankly cheap looking collection… but this not only reinstated my love and faith in his vision for Lanvin, but it’s actually stunning above and beyond that. The rich fabrics, the heavy styling and mucho accessories – it’s overtly luxurious and I love it. I would love to kidnap him, pinch his cheeks and buy him a pink and blue swirl lollipop for this collection. Yeah, sure… we are in a recession. But do I want to look like I am? No. Bring on the decadence, I say.

I am absolutely in love with the fur coats/bolero here because, while I’m very glad fur has made a comeback, I see a lot of cheap looking pieces out there currently (even if their price tag is not), but these are phenomenal and I love what he’s conveying with them. The huge dramatic collars warm my cold soul and paired with the slouchy gloves and draped fabrics… oh yes! I love how the color palette is completely out shined by the wide array of different textured fabrics; they all give off a different effect, therefore rendering layered blacks to almost appear as different shades. This effect, paired with the impressively strategic use of metallics and the intense gathering in all the right places sends my mind into overdrive.

Yohji Yamamoto Y's Spring 2009

Another Y’s collection, another success. As usual, the silhouettes are grand, and while they’re often not as dramatic as YY’s, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a step down. Y’s is one of the few labels I have a hard time swallowing when someone refers to it as a diffusion label – because I think the aesthetic is so consistently strong and impressive that it really has it’s own legs to stand on without being constantly compared or downgraded by being referred to as diffusion.

At any rate, these clothes are gorgeous as usual. The dresses and skirts are so beautiful and the fabrics look incredible as well. Everything looks extremely comfortable and the fabrics, delicate or not, drape wonderfully. The trousers are all cut to perfection and I love the color palette for spring as well.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Hussein Chalayan Spring 2003

Another peer into the past, Chalayan’s S/S 00 showcase was something that will always be remembered and admired. The culmination of functionality, innovation, cheekiness and overall amazing design and execution was something special and truly unique. These words can ultimately be used to describe Chalayan himself, although I admit I get a bit lost in regards to him sometimes… so I suppose it’s crucial to take a look back from time to time. I feel he’s descended into being a designer who just makes very cool clothes now… which is fine, I suppose. However, I miss this aspect of him, the unapologetic and all-out artist who’s shows really got a point across, a point which was much more deeply rooted than the shock value of unusual clothing.

I digress, though, because there is only love for Chalayan in the end from me… I am just hopeful that he might come full circle one day, using his maturity and wisdom to add fuel to his old fire. His social and political commentary was so apparent but there was some fusion with nature and the human psyche that was so enchanting. There was this struggle between the adamant and ambivalence in his old work that I found so endearing and which kept me really looking forward to what was next.

Anyhow, I feel this collection sums him up, although I did have a hard time choosing between this and a couple of others from the same time frame. But I guess in the end, this is perhaps some of his most recognizable works – and for good reason. Amidst the craziness of his collections, one great thing is that you can find a ton of really humble clothing but still with subtle and beautiful details and this collection has a lot of that. The color palette is also insane… I always loved the bright yellow and reds, they throw a curve ball to the otherwise muted colors. From exaggerated to fitted, the silhouettes here are broad and distinct and there are some great shapes created throughout.

The top and bottom photos in here, above and below the collage, are the two sequences I chose to (try my best to) display. The inflatable red dress is so cool and I’m sure it was a lot neater to see in motion.

The first row of photos in this post is probably his most well known creation and the dress that was to be the piece that would set him into the ranks of being a great progressive mind in the realm of designers. This dress is comprised of everything from wonderfully unconventional materials such as fiberglass and metal, all the way to one of the most frivolous materials imaginable: tulle. The functionality is made quite obvious in the series of photos… and the message, well I guess like any great art, is left to the viewer to interpret.