Friday, March 27, 2009

Undercover SS09 "Grace" photo book

Out of respect, I don’t feel right scanning the entire book or even high-res of the individual photos. However, it is too precious not to share to some degree, so I selected a few of the photos/pages to post in here as a small preview for those interested.

Txell Miras Fall 2009

The criminally underrated (and very adorable) Ms. Miras is back with her winter collection and what a beauty it is! She’s been gravitating toward the more conceptual side of things as of late and upon seeing this collection, I am even more excited for the ride ahead. What is particularly exciting is that her style is delicious to begin with and she’s successfully managed to start incorporating entirely new concepts into her work – but meanwhile managing to keep every single, solitary bit of her essence. These are tested and true signs of a visionary and I only hope she’ll have all the success she deserves.

On to this collection itself, which is entitled – wait for it – “Framing”. Perhaps not the most imaginative name, but at least it’s certainly descriptive as nearly every garment either contains a frame or is, in itself, a frame for the wearer. The accessories mimic the theme, too, as the models donned hollow, square pendants.

The theme is particularly interesting because as far as I see it, framing can either be seen as protection or exploitation. The encased feeling of being isolated, protected from harm’s way, can make a frame a very safe thing. On the other hand, frames can also be largely exploitive – restricting and make capital of their subject.

I love the dresses with the strap(s) hanging; things like that are a dream for layering. The construction of her clothes is so good. She uses relatively delicate materials and manipulates them pretty hard – but all the while, the garments look so effortless. She doesn’t go crazy with combining textures but she is very good at using fabrics with enough differentiating qualities, so that they successfully add depth within her black-on-black looks.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Somarta Fall 2009

Tamae Hirokawa may have gained notoriety by being ‘the chosen one’ and having been taken under the personal tuition of master Issey Miyake, but she’s carving a place all her own in the fashion world. Decidedly toned down compared to the last few seasons, this collection makes perhaps an even more powerful impact, as it emanates strength and a distinct and mythical beauty.

Trading in a lot of the flair, she seems to have done some serious editing work – not that her clothes seemed to even need it – but the result is indeed gorgeous and gives her work more of a decadent feel overall; the colors, the fabrics, it’s all very rich in tone or texture. Her signature patterns are usually the focal point to a great degree but this season, you’re left to appreciate the sheer beauty of her pieces. I think the ability she has to combine textures so severely, without it looking messy or overbearing, is really special.

The accessories are amazing, but aren’t they always? Yes, but let’s do some redundant gushing anyways. The jaw guards are so, so stunning and I really hope they go to retail. The stockings are a familiar thing, but they look so fresh every time. As do the bodysuits, body stocking, gloves, et al.

While it wasn’t the focus of this collection, her signature pattern is still prevalent as ever and the approaches she took toward working it in this season is really admirable. For instance, the pattern is often on a sheer, light fabric, but we see garments here where she’s translated the pattern via embroidery on opaque pieces instead. She’s also got a design company, Soma Designs, which focus on applying her signature patterns onto products, installations, furniture and more. She was even invited last year by Toyota, to make-over their Compact IQ model.

There are so many more things to mention here but I know I have a tendency to ramble on insufferably about my favorite designers, so I will keep it short. I love the collection, I love her and I look forward to her future more with each passing creation she unleashes on the world.

The Shinmai Creators Project

The Shinmai Creator’s Project is sure to breathe a bit of new life into JFW, meanwhile giving some relatively up-and-coming designers some fantastic exposure. The organization is set to become an annual affair, after this year’s success and will be featuring five new designers and their work, at Japan Fashion Week each year.

The requirements were: that the designer’s experience does not yet exceed the time of 10 years and also, of course, they must have a strong interest in and passion toward Japanese design and manufacturing… and of course, recommendations from highly notable sources, such as professors at prestigious fashion academies. The winners were to show their designs in a special presentation at Japan Fashion Week, this year.

So, in the end, five winners were chosen out of a slew of designers – 52 brands, from 34 schools, in 17 countries, to be exact. On the selection committee were such reputable folks as Nobuyuki Ota (who is the now president of Issey Miyake Inc.), Valérie Toranian (Elle France’s editor in chief)and many more.

The brands/ designers chosen were Sachio Kawasaki (Japan), Nima by Nima Taherzadeh (Iran), Shida Tatsuya by Tatsuya Shida (Japan), aéthéré(e) by Ly-Ling Vilaysane & Adrien Escarvage (Switzerland, France) and Donna Sgro (Australia).

While I wasn’t in love with all of the designers’ work, the majority was definitely great. I wasn’t feeling Donna Sgro or Nima, so I am not going to post them up on here, because I’m just discriminatory like that.

However, I am really glad that these three, who’s work you can see below my rambling, are getting such exposure and they all definitely brought their A-game for JFW. I think they fit so well among the existing Japanese design aesthetic and hope they are invited to continue showing in the future. :)

aéthéré(e) F/W 09.10

I really like their work as it has a strong sense of ease, comfort and movement. In the same vein of Yohji, their plays on volume are really done well. Although this aesthetic, when pulled off correctly, can look mature – so it’s great how they’ve injected a lot of youth into the looks with the cuts and details. I like that the duo didn’t go flashy in any way; the collection is basically devoid of gimmicks and I respect that. The minimal pieces, styled in a heavy way, speaks a lovely message all on it’s own.

Sachio Kawasaki F/W 09.10

Kawasaki’s work is unique and filled with potential. Off the bat, the silhouettes are what immediately grabbed me, but the linear designs are really gorgeous as well. I like the structured silhouettes, coupled with the really fluid designs… he’s managed to create a really gorgeous effect with this. The execution of this is almost alarmingly good for someone with less than 10 years of accumulative design experience, but of course, that’s what makes it so exciting.

Shida Tatsuya F/W 09.10

If ever a designer belonged at JFW, it is this guy. In fact, it’s hard to believe he’s only showing as a guest, in comparison to most of the seasoned designers who show every season. The colors are used so well and give such an impact but you’ll find that things only get more impressive once you look beyond that. I am pretty blown away by a lot of the pieces; the whole aesthetic isn’t something we’ve never seen but the pieces themselves are divine. I mean… long, heavy, draped and bound fur skirts? Oh yes.

everlasting sprout Fall 2009

Everlasting sprout is always something to look forward to and this season continues in that tradition brilliantly. Muramatsu’s flair for combining rich, diverse textures is always so impressive and this season, the muted color palette he chose is so divine.

It’s impossible not to mention the knitwear straight away… it is absolutely stunning! The range of different knitting techniques is so impressive as well, but it’s how Muramatsu is so creative and unique with them that makes it really something special. There is even a color block knit dress, comprised of contrasting knit panels via different patterns and colors. The chunkier knits, which he builds upon the exterior of are really precious and give off a ‘blooming’ effect, meanwhile – as do all his knits – creating a sweet silhouette.

There isn’t much in the way of outerwear but that capelet is wonderful. I love the pattern and all of the different textures on the piece. Muramatsu is so, so good with the textures; he mixes fabrics so masterfully and while the combinations are often unlikely, the result is always stunning.

As far as styling and presentation goes… well, it’s never run of the mill when it comes to everlasting sprout… it’s always a dream, really. The thoughtful pairing, precision layering and the hair and makeup always tell the story of the designs perfectly. All in all, I love everything; the clothing, presentation and styling are all so poetic and whimsically beautiful.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Suzuki Takayuki Fall 2009

Simply put, Takayuki is one of the fastest rising stars at JFW, as far as I am concerned. He has been showing there for a couple of years now with his namesake line, and his work just keeps getting better with each season. Of course, I am always a huge fan of people who choose to do things a bit off the beaten path, and Takayuki is the perfect example.

Not only is he notoriously eco-conscious when it comes to his fabrics (he also has a separate line for organic-only garments), but he is a mastermind when it comes to the actual construction and detailing, as well. I love the dark and quirky beauty that his work emanates, particularly coupled with the fact that the fabrics themselves are very airy and ethereal – the combination is truly magical.

While his work is filled with atypical aspects, it’s never weird for weird’s sake or for show. The garments each make sense, and I love how much time has (clearly) been invested into the thought process behind them. The multi-layered and tiered pieces are gorgeous, and the jackets look to be cut to perfection as well.

Above all, however, it is the presentation that is really thrilling. Not only is it original, he really reinforces the sort of decrepit beauty that his work embodies. The garments act as a veritable gossamer to the cobweb feel of the individual installments. On top of the placement and composition – the way the clothes are brought to life, in a way, due to how they’re strewn and bound – the effect is really precious.

mintdesigns Fall 2009

Tokyo Fashion Week began on Monday and, as per usual, it was off to a refreshing start! Trading in an abundance of gorgeously eccentric rain gear from the Spring collection, mintdesigns is back with another great showing.

The stunning print/pattern work is often what sets this duo of designers apart, as well as the unusual but highly functional materials the pieces are comprised of. The patterns they create are so unique and fun, which is just an added bonus on top of the clothing itself.

There is always such an ease about mintdesigns; they are so effortless. Not only are the clothes fun and unique, they’re also a dream to wear as far as how they play out functionality-wise and how amazingly comfortable the garments are.

As always, the styling is sheer adorableness! Although it is hard to top their last season, which had the models wearing mini-skeletal structures as head pieces, amidst what were probably some of the best rain boots and umbrellas of all time… the headpieces this season are also great. Of course I love the chic sars mask look (who doesn’t?) and how it’s coupled with the veritable barb wire halo.

The shoes, which are vintage-inspired lace up boots with contrasting soles, are really good as well – I like how they’re so different than the million variations of the same type of boot that we’re seeing from most other designers.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Alexander McQueen Spring 2001

I haven’t done a retrospective entry in a while. I think the Hussein Chalayan one back in January was the last one… and before that I’d been steadily posting one older collection per month. So, time to get back on track, and what better to bring it back with some of Alexander McQueen’s early days in the spotlight?

My level of long-term fangirl-ism for McQueen is up there with my chronic cases of adoration for others, such as Yohji, Miyake, etc. But what sets McQueen apart to the special place in my heart all his own is, without a doubt, his earlier runway presentations and conceptual collections. The sheer panic I felt when he started releasing toned down, princess-y collections with standard presentations… as well as the joy I felt for F/W 09.10, are both direct results of just knowing the sheer power of McQueen’s creative drive. He’s always done things so much differently than others, and as you can see in the visuals accompanying this post – he’s had such an obvious impact on many designs we’re seeing today, from the new breed, so to speak.

I used to worry that if he didn’t return to his initial allure somehow or at least bring it back and incorporate it with the McQueen we’ve come to know today, that his early days would eventually be lost like a footprint after new snowfall… and that would be a tragic thing.

There are a ton of collections from about 10 years ago, give or take, which can show the magical essence of McQueen but there’s one that came to mind as most imperative: Spring 2001.

The presentation is everything McQueen encompasses; it’s dramatic, beautiful, a bit frightening, expressive and really embodies the lovely contradiction of severe fragility, which he’s always done so well. Everything from the psuedo-psych ward setting to the theatrics of the models, is completely awe-inspiring.

Enough about the presentation, because frankly, it speaks for itself. The clothing has to be mentioned as well. Looking at old McQueen collections, I find a lot of stimulation; they’re impressive, so far ahead of their time, so distinct. Also amusing a bit, as you can make sort of a game out of naming off the dresses which newer and more unoriginal designers have since ripped off. :p

The styling is another special element… the hospital headbands juxtaposed with the delicate and elegant dresses mimic the overall theme of a demented, tortured beauty. I love when designers create an entire concept – an entire world – around a collection… and of this, McQueen is undeniably one of the masters.

If you loved this and hadn’t seen it before, go ahead and check the rest of McQueen’s work from the late 1990’s until about Spring 2007. So inspiring.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Undercover Menswear Fall 2009

Sorry I have been MIA but of course, there is nothing better to return with than an Undercover menswear collection which is on par with his womenswear collection, for a change. Not only on par but they are cohesive with one another and this contains man-friendly versions of some of the best pieces from the womenswear collection, which is fabulous.

There are still notable differences between the collections, of course. For instance this one has a more standard look book style for the presentation. The shattered glass is lovely, by the way and I love it on the backdrop as the shards appear to be suspended. Also… despite the extreme cohesion with the womenswear pieces, this collection also contains prominent elements all it’s own such as the pieces paying homage to the great Joy Division – which is so fantastic, by the way!

I’m sure it goes without saying that the outerwear is fantastic… but it’s fantastic for so many reasons. Usually his menswear stuff has a more outdoors-y, backwoods feel… but not this season. This season, he’s come correct with a broad range of outerwear, from modest to more flamboyant, and it all looks delicious. The capes are so divine and I love that he’s done the gradients for men as well. It’s also great how he’s done a ton of functional jackets, and in addition, a bunch of more formally cut ones.

He’s definitely one of my favs when it comes to cutting a blazer – for both his mens and womens lines – and this collection has a ton of lovely ones. The detailing on them is also pretty breathtaking if you’re into that sort of thing… lots of contrasting panels and unusual fabric combos. Aside from the blazers there are a ton of other stand out pieces as well, such as gradient knit hoodies (!).

Accessories are amazing but not much different from the women’s so I wont babble too much about them. I was so glad to see he used the gloves here also, though… particularly the long ones because that is so hot for a guy. The backpacks though are really nice – but his bags are unconditionally amazing in every little way – so that’s also no surprise. The footwear is great; the range of styles shown is pretty impressive.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Limi Feu Fall 2009

Add another triumph to the list of great collections for the week, because Ms. Yamamoto has delivered another great one. Significantly toned down, styling-wise… I wonder if this isn’t a response to criticism of her work looking ‘too young’. Perhaps that is not the reason why the styling is so different, but the stripped-down result still makes the point either way: her clothes are well done, her skills are beyond her years and most importantly, women of all ages can wear her clothing and that there are copious styling possibilities.

She shows us that somehow, the vintage-inspired but ultimately simple hair and makeup works just as well – and makes just as much sense – as the Princess Leia headphones or her typically very heavily-layered styling did.

Another high point for me is the fact that this is much more reminiscent of her work from before making the transition to showing in Paris. This collection is less, what is widely seen as, simply Yamamoto… and instead is more Limi herself. The silhouettes are not as over the top, the asymmetry isn’t as severe… but the detailing is seemingly where she channeled most of her energy and amen to that, because I know these pieces will be an absolute dream upon purchasing.

I guess the first element of this collection for me to gush about would have to be her vests. I mean, who can make a waistcoat like this woman, really? I love how she illudes to other garments such as jackets and then uses a halter back so that they’re essentially backless. Her vests contradict themselves and I adore that. Some of her garments heavily contradict themselves and I love that.

The outerwear is pretty fantastic here as well; especially loving the jackets with the additional front panels, eluding to them being layered pieces. The knitwear is fabulous as well, down to the pockets and the piping. Some of the short tulle skirts are a little too tutu for comfort, if I’m being honest, but the longer ones, plus the tweed skirts more than make up for it. The boots are phenomenal, though. I love how they sort of ascend into a thigh high stocking, therefore rendering the boot able to be manipulated, which is fantastic.

Now, the styling may have been toned down but the clothing is as beautiful as ever. I like the difference in presentation as well as how she played around with different types of closures, straps, hardware, etc, also. It seems like she is trying to find herself to some degree and I think it’s translating very endearingly into her work. Whatever the motivation, though… I love her evolutionary process and her clothes are some of the most beloved in my entire closet. And the fact that the ride is essentially only beginning is absolutely tantalizing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Alexander McQueen Fall 2009

Whatever it was that reignited the fire under McQueen’s ass this season… let us be thankful for it. I used to look forward to his collections like a kid on Christmas morning and it was always so exciting. However, in the last handful of years, they’ve been on a slow decline… save for Spring 2007 which was amazing beyond belief.

To be honest, yesterday when I was rechecking the Paris schedule for today and tomorrow… for the first time ever, when I scanned by his name, I didn’t even know how to feel. It was sort of depressing, given how, a few years ago my anticipation level and faith in him were off the charts. Not to say spring’s collection was that bad because it wasn’t, but it lacked the severity and drama. It was sort of sitting midway on a seesaw, and this season could have either been really great… or an unfortunate return to the fairy princess madness and thankfully it was not the latter.

The presentation is of course fabulous. The Leigh Bowery references – the makeup as well as some of the design elements – are really great. He really took it and ran with it and gave us all back what we’ve been missing dearly. It’s wonderful to see some of that old rebellion, severity and twisted beauty get injected back into the veins his work.

There are so many amazing dresses and jackets in here that I don’t even know where to start. I am sure the images speak for themselves for the most part, but there is so much goodness going on that I have to mention a few of my favorite bits. First, I am loving how he has done some variations of his older designs by reworking and updating them. Perhaps it’s a big fuck you response to all of the people who were saying that Pugh had essentially replaced him… because there is graphic work going on like we haven’t seen in a long time from him. Or maybe that’s not why at all, but whatever the reason, I am grateful and I am loving it. ;)

As always, his textures are intimidatingly good and the garments are executed to perfection. Another one of the best parts, though, are the silhouettes. We’ve seen them before and they’ve been done astoundingly well then, too, but to see them via a long awaited return, of course, makes them look just that much better.

Undercover Fall 2009

Well, it’s about that time… that familiar time between frivolously enchanting collections, when Takahashi hits us with one of his collections that scream, “I can do beautiful more beautiful than most designers when I want to… and I can do an amazing and astoundingly functional winter outerwear-based collection better than anyone when I want to”. It may not be as precious, but the magic of Takahashi’s details and the sheer thought that goes into any of his collections is so admirable.

He is indeed the master of high end outerwear as not only are his designs intricate, sharp and amazing, the functionality is just beyond any expectations from a high-end fashion brand. For instance, he uses custom materials which actually deflect rain. The hoods on his jackets are often able to be manipulated due to bendable wire lining the brim, so that you can always fully shield your face. I bought one of the parkas from FW07, which was my favorite of his outerwear-based collections and it’s so impressive on every level that in some ways, I almost look forward to these collections as much as ones such as Guru Guru and Grace.

The fact that the show took place in a frigid Japanese forest says it all, really. These clothes are functional foremost and just happen to have the added bonus of being an aesthetic dream as well. The color palette narrated similarly to a fire igniting and then extinguishing.

I am in love with the gradients; he’s done them on so many different fabrics and even the bags (!!!), which is so good. I love the shoes also although, I will admit that they’re a bit too close for comfort to those flats that Marni did a few seasons back with the contrasting black strap. These ones are bound to be cooler, though, so who really cares? :p

The cloaks are so incredible and I love how they’re styled with the metal helmet type of headgear… which is also an amazing element of the show. There aren’t many dresses but the ones that do make an appearance are totally precious, cut-wise as well as the fabrics, and added a nice ethereal air to the collection.

Accessories, as always, are to die for… the bags, gloves and stockings are all great. The detailing within some of the accessories is so intricate and it’s those little things that make Takahashi so special. Even in an outerwear collection, no element is left behind… everything is thoughtful and perfect down to the last detail.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hartmann Nordenholz Fall 2009

I wasn’t sure what to expect from him this season but Nordenholz definitely brought something fresh and lovely to the table. It’s nice to see his great pleating skills, as always. The draping is fantastic as well and looks extra amazing ascending from the precision pleating. I love how in the photos where the clothing blends into the printed background, that the manipulated portions of the pieces are the bits that stand out due to the dimensions.

Some of the silhouettes are really interesting as well and I’m sure the garments move like a dream due to the construction and delicate fabrics. I adore the use of mauve, of all colors… paired with that perfect blue and the neutrals; an unlikely but perfect combination.

One thing that I really like about this as a whole is that while it’s heavy on the draping, it also includes some fantastic structured bits as well. The proportions are also great overall and I really enjoy the skirts in particular… great lengths and fabrics. The tanktops are also really nice; the cuts, as well as how the prints were done on them.

But the best part? The bag. I need to find a stockist for that thing because it must be mine. I will always be faithful to my O.G. Nightingale but I wouldn’t mind cheating on it once a week with that stunner. The shoes are perfect for the collection and pretty cute, generally speaking, as well.

Véronique branquinho Fall 2009

The ladies are owning Paris this season and Véronique’s collection is no exception. Possibly my favorite from her in a while; I am loving everything, even down to the shoes… and I never like her shoes. This season she seems to have pulled out all the stops and in all the right ways. There is a lot of obvious thought that’s gone in here and the result is a deliciously directional show.

Probably one of my favorite color palettes this season… all of the black and white, paired with the most perfect muted violet… pure beauty! I love all of the structured pieces and they’re so well done. The cuts are amazing and I love the fit of everything. There aren’t a ton of prints but the pieces which have prints are divine. The range of textures is also fantastic, considering how minimal the overall vibe is.

The knitwear is perfect; delicate pieces, topped off with braided detailing. I am also adoring the use of fur… there are so many great shows this season with covetable furs, though I’m sure the price tags will be nothing short of dream-shattering, for most of us. Aside from just the fur pieces, all of the outerwear is so good and I love the length of them.

I can’t go without mentioning the shoes, because usually they’re a matronly nightmare. They’re adorable this season, though. The range of them is nice and the details are fab. I am especially digging the sparkly ones.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Givenchy Fall 2009

After a few seasons of very busy and heavily trend-conscious collections, Tisci has seemed to strip away the heavily adorned garments and get back to his basics. I couldn’t be happier about this and while I didn’t hate the past few seasons, it was getting a little much. This season is so much better; I love how he has delivered a powerful and dramatic collection without all the unnecessary frills.

The collection looks very ‘now’, due to the Tisci detailing, but what I love the most is how he’s channeled Hubert Givenchy so well and the result is a beautiful thing. He’s done a wonderful job here at marrying vintage cuts with the contrasting elements such as the asymmetrical pieces, bead work and the use of fur.

Not only the use of fur… but the choices of furs he’s used for the designs are magnificent. Not only the fur but hair and feathers as well; the combined effect is something special. Check the video and the way the fur and feathers move – it’s so billowy and precious. I love the contrast of this with the structured pieces. The trousers, by the way, are amazing also and are cut to perfection.

The only thing I am not feeling is the lace interlude about midway through. I didn’t include any of them in the collage so I have to mention that they’re there. One even looks like a lace version of a Spring 2007 Christopher Kane dress… even down to the zipper. This section was odd, but thankfully brief, and the pros far outweigh the cons of this season anyway.

The casting of the majority of the models in the show is another thing that obviously can’t go unmentioned! Some really surprising faces turned up and I love the looks he paired each of them with; a really great element to the show.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Haider Ackermann Fall 2009

Well, it’s yet another brilliant offering from Mr. Ackermann this season. His clothes are always so sexy to me and this season is no exception. Not only is the color palette deep and gorgeous, it compliments his work so well; the rich tones vamp up the luxe factor a great deal. The way he does sexy is so decadent and comfortable in your own skin type of sexy – without venturing into vulgar or tacky territory.

The Ackermann girl is a strong one, and the medieval theme and detailing here only furthers that vibe. Also the juxtaposition of delicately draped pieces paired with such a ‘tough’ embellishment is really lovely. He is one of the best at gathering and draping but I am loving his progression… he still includes all the things we love him for but it’s obvious that he’s leveling up.

The footwear, like many other shows (not that I’m complaining!), consists of super serious over the knee boots, as well as some other various boots. I am obsessed with how he styles his shows… it’s so clean, so modest and just perfect looking. The hair slicked back and the lack of make up is what I adore because it really drives the point home that, as far as he is concerned, sexy is not synonymous with the words overdone or trashy. I love that, because as far as I am concerned (always have been and always will be)… modesty is beauty.

I can’t stop without mentioning his jackets, though. There is just something about the way he cuts them and the way they fit is total perfection. The materials he uses are always really good, the construction is of course out of this world, but it’s always the details that really seal the deal… just great.

Gareth Pugh Fall 2009 film screencaps

I forgot to post the video to the collection in my previous entry with the photos. Anyhow, I thought I’d make some screen caps to accompany the link. I love the video… perfect model and the editing shows off the clothes so well.

–> Gareth Pugh FW09 video <–


Yohji Yamamoto Fall 2009

Whenever Yohji sees red, we see sheer perfection.

Needless to say, this collection is simply magical, from beginning to end. Right off the back, we’re greeted with the usual: a bunch of understated but flawless, classic Yohji looks. The fabrics for this season are fab. Whenever he works with a more delicate fabric, not only are the details fantastic, but the result of how the garments look in motion is off-the-charts gorgeous.

Speaking of details, this season is no different in that he is, time and time again, one of the masters. In this collection in particular, off the bat I immediately fall in love with the raw, unhemmed edges on some of the pieces, the gathering, the overlapping panels of the jackets, surprise placement of pockets (!!!) and all the other fantastic details. But of course, when it comes to Yohji… the exterior details are only half the journey. A lot of why I admire him so much is that the clothing is so personal… what you see on the outside is only a small part of the story. For instance, his garments are often transformable; having extra buttons in odd places, so that you can readjust the entire garment, totally transforming the silhouette. It’s things like this that will always make him my favorite… because his works go above the call of duty and change the ideas of what clothing should be about.

Anyways I am going off on one here, so keeping with this actual collection… I’ll get back on track and mention the way certain pieces are dyed because it looks so stunning. I love when garments are dyed this way – trailing off to create a small gradient effect – and it’s such a good element to add to Yohji’s fluid designs. Also the styling of the show is impeccable as always… even coordinating the hair, which is also dyed in patches, with the clothing. The pale white faces only make the red and black color palette all the more stunning and the shoes are a perfect attribute as well.

Ok, let’s face it… anyone who knows me knows I am a Yohji freak, so, as usual… I don’t have any negative words, gripes, or comparisons to spew. NOT because I have a blind love for him and his work – but because he is a god amongst men and he is simply just that good.

Lanvin Fall 2009

Alber really hit it out of the ballpark with this collection. Sure, there is little to nothing here that we haven’t seen at one point or another from Lanvin… however, it so spectacular. A veritable culmination of the best of the brand, this collection screams Lanvin in all it’s glory and why Elbaz proves time again that he is the only man for the job.

Carrying over from his beautiful pre-fall collection, the overall theme is once again decadence. The over the top jewelry, luxurious fabrics and circa 1940’s Parisian styling updated for 2009 work so well together and make this collection a serious work of beauty. One of the best bits, however, is that amongst this rich vibe, there is a slight quirk about it all which gives it such a gorgeous feel overall.

Not only are the furs he chose of amazing quality, the placement of them and detailing of the pieces is so impressive. I love to see fantastic furs with the larger than life necklaces creating a way too done up sort of look – because when I reach the point in my life where I am actually living (my inevitable future since birth) as the scary old gypsy cat lady of the neighborhood… this is totally how I am going to dress. :p

I have to specifically mention the long, slender cut gowns, because that silhouette is so fantastic and you don’t see it much at all in today’s collections, which is unfortunate. Anyway this silhouette looks so amazing here. One of the long dresses is even made of velour – the inbred cousin of fabrics – and it, too, looks amazing. Basically, this collection is beautiful… from the fabrics, to the styling, to the inspiration, the jewelry… everything is lovely.

Comme des Garçons Fall 2009

Rei has come through this season like she hasn’t in a while. Revisiting her lighter side, this collection is so wonderfully whimsical, from the entire concept all the way down to the smallest of details. Not that there is ever a lack of thoughtfulness when it comes to her work, but this time she seems to be re-inspired and has come up with some fresh concepts and mixes them with her usual CdG magic.

I think that overall the collection gives off a strong impression of comfort and protection; from the blankets, to the concept of enveloped garments, to the militarily influenced pieces, etc. The fact that she chose tulle as the encasing fabric says a lot as it is a fabric which can be seen as both delicate as well as strong. I think it’s so precious that she’s used it to restrict much heavier layers underneath, creating a veritable cocoon.

The outerwear is fantastic; ranging from more practical, neutral pieces, to more detail-oriented pieces such as the jackets with the contrast piping. Not only is there a real differential in the materials but the range of different types of outerwear is also great. There are both translucent as well as opaque capes as well as a number of different type of jackets – including some to die for cropped ones – varying in cut and construction.

My favorite part, however, has got to be the multi-paneled skirts and dresses which are bound by a sheer layer of delicate fabric, restricting the layers underneath and subsequently creating very slender silhouettes. The concept is so beautiful and the way she’s pulled it off is actually really brilliant, especially how it encases every single thing, all the way down to the jewelry. Not only is the message powerful but it looks so, so gorgeous.

It’s one of my favorite collections from her in a while, without a doubt. She’s really gotten back to her roots here and the theme and execution of this is so enchanting.

Ann Demeulemeester Fall 2009

Bringing us one of the many glorious collections of the day was Ms. Demeulemeester, who has answered my prayers with this collection. The amount of jealously I felt when the men’s collection had pony hair boots and body-engulfing knits is indescribable… as is the amount of joy I felt when I laid eyes on this. Because as it turns out, she has not forgotten her ovary-clad brethren, aterall… and we, too, get a chance to partake in the heaven that must be wearing pony hair riding boots made by the mother of all equestrian boot makers.

I love the sex appeal that this collection gives off, with the super bondage inspired leather corsets as well as the binding going on with some of the pieces as well. I think that mixing overtly sexy with masculine pieces always looks good but here it is particularly appealing as Ann’s pieces are so distinct in their shape and construction.

The nature references are really beautiful as well and I think they were a great choice. Feather headpieces which looked sort of like antlers, paired with the structured feel of her clothes is a unique and lovely combination. I am really glad to see these kind of things going on and to see her moving right along, theme-wise, from season to season again in both of her lines.

I can’t not mention the detailing at least briefly. Once again, I have to mention the binding and restrictions on some of the pieces. I am a total sucker for it in general, and of course I liked it in her SS09 but I think it fits better here; the result is so stunning. Also the beading is gorgeous and I can’t wait to examine those pieces close up.

Junya Watanabe Fall 2009

Thank heavens for people like Junya for keeping the surprise element in fashion. I can’t say that I dont’ know what to expect from him to a certain degree, because that’s just not true… every show is always so obviously Junya but the materials he works with are just so drastically different from season to season that it is still exciting to look forward to. When he decides to go dark, the result is always pure enchantment. Just for his SS09 show we got crazy prints and deconstructed denim pieces and now only a few months later he’s back to black. Not just black, however… black puffa, which surely has to be one of the hardest materials to manipulate into a work of beauty, but low and behold, that’s exactly what he’s done here.

I think it goes without saying that I love the color palette. The way he has just one solitary white garment midway is just so precious and I adore the gold detailing later on in the show… not so much the chains (which admittedly are tacky) but the gold fabrics he incorporated. Adding these subtle gold tones made a big impact amongst the black. Speaking of the black – it’s certainly prominent but not at all overwhelming as it is broken up so well due to the difference in materials and techniques from piece to piece.

As far as the styling and all goes, it’s very typical Junya… which of course is a great thing. I adore how the exaggerated heads are changing from season to season but how they’re still there. The makeup by Kamo this time around though, is particularly amazing… I am really blown away by it. What they’ve done is used very heavy and very strategic shading – as done in paintings – to virtually transform the shape and depth of the face. The way that they’ve done each girl’s makeup different is so good as well as it appears they’re each getting a light shone on them from a different angle.

To sum it up, I love it. Each season, Junya is only further proving himself as a living legend at this point. Lately, I have basically been living in my fav piece from FW08 and I am looking forward very much to owning some of this collection as well.

TAO Comme des Garçons Fall 2009

Tao Kurihara is exactly what the CdG ‘universe’ has been needing. Rei and Junya are both amazing but they are who they are, and taking Tao in has proved to have been a great choice. While she’s heavy-handed with the CdG aesthetic, her look is all her own. She’s progressively been bringing out her playful, fantasy-like designs.

The collection for this season is the total lovechild of her SS07 and FW08… topped with a heavy dose of theatrics and classic CdG design techniques tweaked with what’s becoming her signature subtle-but-impactful flair. I love how she is getting more and more multi-dimensional with her detailing… it’s bringing an extra covetable angle to her work.

I am particularly obsessed with and immediately need to acquire the cinched trousers. The placement of them on the trouser is so perfect and gives off such great shape overall. All of the skirts are just beyond words, really. The ones which are tiered are also pleated and the combined effect is so gorgeous. The ruched skirts are of course incredible, too… Tao’s ruching skills are so unique as she always adds her unique touch to them and it shows. I love the gathered and twisted ones also. the way the fabric looks when it’s all bound up like that creates such a beautiful illusion.

While I personally love the styling of this show, I worry because when designers such as Tao, Rei, Bernhard Willhelm, etc, do such elaborate styling, that it deters a lot of people from noticing how genius the pieces are. I just hope the business won’t be a deterrent because this is so fantastic.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Bruno Pieters Fall 2009

Bruno Pieters just continuously kills it, season after season. Whether he’s doing sterile basics, sequined shorts or his signature geometric designs… the man seems to be able to do no wrong when it comes to his womenswear. He changes his look up quite frequently but his cuts, stitching and tailoring are so signature that no matter how different one collection is to the next, these elements will always scream Pieters. This season, though, is pretty much on track with last season in many ways and seems like a bit of an expansion on that aesthetic… which is lovely.

I love how flawless his clothing looks. The tailoring on his work is in a league of it’s own; it’s always constructed to absolute perfection. The textures and colors are so rich looking together and then combined with how structured the silhouettes are, it’s all a match made in heaven, really.

Bruno’s got such a unique flair for geometric designs; it never looks arts and crafts-y or like he is trying too hard. He does well by not incorporating accessories and also by going minimal on the styling… it definitely forces the eye to really appreciate his designs as they are – and as they are, they’re just perfect garments.

The way that he does the geometrical stitching patterns and builds upon the exterior of the pieces by creating lovely linear compositions within them give his work such a distinct sharpness that is all his own.

Sharon Wauchob Fall 2009

I have to give a huge THANK YOU to the amazing Ms. Wauchob for saving the day with frankly what is an impeccable collection. A beautiful collection from Sharon is no surprise, of course… but she really went all out this season, in every aspect. Her aesthetic is always dependably refreshing and she’s always bringing interesting techniques and other new things into the mix but always so consistent… without having to play it safe in any way.

Ok, first… two words: the fur. I almost died when the first fur looks emerged, because of the extreme luxuriousness and also the lack of modesty within them; they are big, decadent and completely transform the silhouette into some serious drama. The look with the grey fur was the perfect transition into the batch of purple looks, as well.

The rest of the collection is an absolute textural treat, as well. Not only is the whole collection a mashup of fur, leather, metallic and more – but the intermixing of the textures within the pieces is done so well. It’s not overboard but instead it looks to have all been very precisely designed.

Sharon is definitely one of the masters of gathering and draping and I think this collection reinforces that a great deal. Everything from very heavy outerwear all the way to slinky dresses – it all wears so well. The way the pieces hang on the body is just fabulous no matter the material she uses for them.

Since there is just so much to mention about this collection, I almost forgot to bring up how much I am dying over some of the trousers… simply perfect cuts and I love the detailing on them. I NEED the ones in the last row, 2nd pic in from the left. The gathered knee trousers that I have from her last fall collection have fast become some of my favorite trousers, so I definitely can’t wait to pick up a pair from this collection as well.

Today of all days, particularly after the sheer DISASTERS that were Balenciaga, Balmain (no surprise there, though, of course.. Balmain is such horrible shit), Anne-Valerie Hash and most others as well, this was particularly lovely to see. Bruno Pieters was amazing though and Rick Owens! will post pics ASAP :)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Rick Owens Fall 2009

There is so much beauty here that I barely know where to begin… although I guess the stunning color palette is as good a place to start as any. The opening barrage of heavy black looks progress to ascend into pale blue-ish grey pieces, leading the collection into an all-out galactic, evil, ice princess assault. The fact that muted neutrals are used as accentual colors here is also something worth mentioning. It is all so lovely, a true visual pleasure. Despite the lack of dark colors, his pieces still contain a lot of depth and richness.

Aside from the colors, I am absolutely dying over the cuts. Sure, there are a handful or two of cuts we have seen from Rick before… but instead of simply recycling the designs, he definitely tweaks and refines the outerwear, season by season. One of the things I’m actually the most enamored about here is how he has really got everything so perfect this time around. There are some obvious experiments but mostly everything just looks so refined and well polished – but still maintains the hard edge we know and love his work for. Just beautiful, really.

Owens has such an uncanny ability to rework the standard female silhouette – and I truly don’t think he is recognized enough for this talent. The way he deconstructs, and then completely rebuilds the silhouette and totally distorts the proportions… frankly, it’s nothing short of phenomenal. It’s like the materialistic equivalent of what the early cubists did for modern art and it truly surprises me this genius aspect of his design is often overlooked. It’s such a feat, really.

I often see people say Rick Owens is too same-y and it really gets me. I mean… I wonder if these people really believe this or if they’re just talking out of their asses sometime. There is a HUGE difference between being same-y and being a visionary who has the ability to carry over their distinct design aesthetic from season to season, meanwhile almost completely reworking and evolving the theme of each collection. He is truly the undisputed messiah of this… being able to be a complete chameleon but also maintain his sense of self. I think people mistake being same-y for the fact that his aesthetic is 100% irrefutable, no matter how much he shapes and shifts it.