A Knight in Shining Dolce & Gabanna

D & G’s recent collection is otherworldly. In this case, so otherworldly that I would not hesitate to purchase every single item of their 72 looks [or steal, if the opportunity presents itself].
D & G is known for its elaborate detailing, classic Sicilian style, and extravagance. Though I could not imagine any Sicilian widow wearing some of their recent creations, they remain original, retail-friendly, and most importantly, though paradoxically, true works of art.
It is obvious that the crux of this collection is the concept of fairy tales. Though not the kid-friendly version – the darker, all-out D & G interpretation. The headpieces reference knights’ armor, the keys imply dark pathways and fateful dungeons, the deep red references blood and the famous tale of Red Riding Hood.
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Clothing, like armor, protects. Yet in a sense it also imprisons. This shoe depicts this, much like a gilded cage:

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This dress would not look out of place in a production of Midsummer Nights Dream. It is ethereal and delicate due to its beautiful transparent material, yet also blatantly sexy. I would not be surprised to find this piece in Queen Titania’s wardrobe!

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This coat is completely made out of fur. Its design would befit an older and more experienced Riding Hood. She has just skinned her wolf and is wearing his pelt as a prize, proudly, for the world to see. It is lavish, practical, but also slightly intimidating because of its saturated color:

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Notice how D & G play with the concept of a peplum.
There also seems to be a slight Russian element to the collection. The fur underscores this of course, but the plainer – though no less striking – coats, dresses, and skirts reference the Russia of Catherine the Great. Instead of princesses waiting for Prince Charming to arrive, they fearlessly take fate into their own hands and face their ennemies head-on. And face it, everybody will so be jealous of you wearing this clothing, that not turning your evil stepmother green with envy would be a miracle.

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These two dresses toy with the concepts of wilderness and childhood illustrations. At first, only the simple floral print catches your eye, and then the more you look, the more you see. Much like when you actually start thinking about a fairy tale and its deeper meaning, you discover its more disturbing message.

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The owl is so cute I want to cry! I’m so pathetic… but then again, if you don’t, you clearly have a heart of stone.
Remember, fairy tales were ultimately meant to scare young children. And this collection also scares any fashionista – it possesses the frightening power to immediately bankrupt even the most frugal of us.
Good luck resisting D & G’s charms. I know I can’t (sob).

xoxo,
Chiara

p.s. If you’ve noticed any humor and intelligence in this post, it comes from my contributor Victoria. I’m only slightly joking. ūüôā
Tell us what you think in the comments below! ‚̧

Salvatore Ferragamo: Classic with a Twist

Salvatore Ferragamo is one of¬†the iconic Italian brands. For this reason it is necessary that designer¬†Massimiliano Giornetti adheres to the brand’s established aesthetic and not stray too far from its core. Giornetti has attempted to innovate or update the classics in the past, but he was not always successful. For example, last season’s play on cut and proportion felt forced.

This time he has struck the right balance between innovation and tradition.

The capes and dresses are basic Ferragamo. And the shoes are impossible to resist!

Here is a great structural dress with a luxe leather lining. Sophistication is key. The top is classic, but rendered modern through its unusual material and structure.

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There was also a recurring theme of the revealing aspect of clothing. It doesn’t only reveal its wearer’s personal style, but also their underlying personality. Here, for example, the dress and coat are slit, thus revealing a surprising pattern and cut that would otherwise have been hidden.

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Clothing is power! And when it is understood, it is a force to be feared and admired. Giornetti understands this well.

There was also a sizable amount of animal print in the collection. I thought it was rather well done, even though I generally view the Ferragamo woman as being too sleek to wear such prints.

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Very luxe!

The collection ended with riskier pieces that had been dipped into metallic paint. Here is a good example:

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Am I the only one who thinks this skirt looks disconcertingly similar to the ones found on Proenza Schouler’s Spring 2014 runway? Nevertheless, it is still striking.

This is the collection’s final look:

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This is a truly beautiful piece. Notice the length – very trendy.

Giornetti has added depth to the Ferragamo brand. He doesn’t wish to be constrained by the past, and he has proven it with this collection.

xoxo,

Chiara

p.s. I have been doing reviews of collections most of the time because it is fashion season. But now that it is soon over (sob) I will be blogging about other fashion-related things as well. Are there anything specific topics you’d like me to post about? I’d love to hear from you! ‚̧

A Clean Slate for Mary Katrantzou

Mary Katrantzou is synonymous with prints. And not just any prints, but of the eye-popping, ridiculously intricate, attention mongering, digital print variety. It is Katrantzou’s signature, so I expected nothing less from her for the Fall 2014 season.

But some of her looks had no prints at all! 

[I’ll just let the shock sink in.]

This is, really, a true act of bravery. In the last seasons, Katrantzou came up with increasingly creative prints, so creative that it is more fitting to call them art. Who doesn’t remember her stamps, her zoomed-in shoe motif, her flowers, or any of her recent collections? And not only is she a master of this art, but her clothing is wearable taken one piece at a time.

This season, Katrantzou focused on the symbolic power of symbols, from the high (religious motifs) to the low (bathroom signs). Strung together, these created an intricate illusion of lace. 

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This is without doubt an editorial piece. But notice that while Katrantzou challenges convention, there is a slight Elizabethan era collar and structure to be found in the dress. Mixing the old with the new, and the high with the low.

The following pieces are extremely wearable and are sure to be a huge retail hit. The lack of print is disconcerting at first, but the structure and interesting use of materials are noticeable here as well. 

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I love the snake motif; it reinforces the clash between primal and urban instincts. Or is it really a blend and not a clash? A philosophical question to consider…

One of my favorites pieces:

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This whole collection is extremely covetable. I am not ashamed to say that I want to buy every single piece – the common fashionista’s dilemma.¬†

Without a doubt, Mary Katrantzou’s act of bravery will pay off. She has literally designed a clean slate for herself.

She has reminded us all us all that she is capable of much more than just prints.

She has reminded us that she is a designer to be reckoned with.

xoxo,

Chiara

p.s. What do you think of Katrantzou’s collection. Were you as surprised as I was? Tell me what you think in the comments below! ‚̧

 

Simone Rocha: Anne Boleyn Goes Punk (!)

Anne Boleyn was executed almost 500 years ago yet almost everyone still recognizes her name. She is a seductress – the woman who spurred Henry VIII to create a new religion just so he could marry her – yet also a figure of undeniable tragedy. After she failed to produce a male heir to the British throne she was executed and promptly replaced with another wife.
Simone Rocha’s collection captures the contradictions embedded in the character of Boleyn. She is feminine, sophisticated, and beautiful but also possesses a will of iron, ingenuity, and determination. It is her beauty that ensnares the King and ultimately leads to her downfall.
There is a certain aura of windsweptness (if that word exists) and barely contained beauty in Rocha’s collection. The hair is blown about the face but still tied back in what was once probably an elaborate hairdo. The show begins simply with black dresses reminiscent of the Elizabethan age. Here is a good example:

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Reserved yet alluring at once. Also very wearable and practical – the shoes are flats! Major trend alert.
But she can’t be too practical, she still has to seduce a king! Notice how the clothing is delicate and feminine while also possessing a certain character and structure:

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She decides what she reveals, nothing more. Control is key.
Then there is the plaid. It takes a daring woman to wear this:

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And the show culminates with an awe-inspiring array of dresses in an unforgettable shade of red.

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This is definitely an editorial piece. I suspect it will be toned down for retail.
All in all, this is a great collection. The Anne Boleyn theme is consistent throughout and establishes an emotional connection with the audience. Who does not desire seduction and power? But then we are forced to remember her tragic end…
Though I certainly don’t predict any tragedy for Simone Rocha! The future of her brand looks bright.

xoxo,
Chiara

p.s. I also loved Christopher Kane and Burberry this London season. Do you think I should review them? Tell me in the comments below! ‚̧

Goodbye Marc Jacobs… Hello MBMJ!

I have been a Marc by Marc Jacobs fan for years. And honestly, who isn’t? Jacobs perfectly captures the joie de vivre and daring of young women in the looks he creates. But it is past tense now – created. Some recent standouts include the red checkered prints of spring 2013 and the peacock motif of spring 2011.
But now Jacobs is being replaced by Luella Bartley with co-designer Kate Hillier… and the name is being replaced as well by MBMJ. This name-change is probably due to a desire to make the brand name trendier and also to distance the collections from Marc Jacobs.
(Side note: What is up with all the name changes lately? MBMJ, Saint Laurent…)
Anyway, I greeted this news with apprehension. Marc by Marc Jacobs collections have always been important for me because they include the most clothing items I can wear and can afford without running the risk of bankruptcy. For me, wearability and innovation are key concepts to the brand. Marc Jacobs has always provided these, but will Bartley and Hillier do the same?…
To be honest, I am disappointed with Bartley and Hillier’s first MBMJ collection.
Their angle was evident: girl power! The skirts were loose and below the knee. The pants were loose as well and bunched into boots. Combine this with blazers cinched in by very (too) wide black leather – or what seems like leather – belts. All of this done in simple, professional colors. Here is an example:

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This was interspersed with the occasional plaid and one army green suit. To my horror, there were logos. Lots of them. Marc by Marc Jacobs did not have to rely on logos in the past so this represents a step back financially and stylishly. Here is a model transformed into a walking advertisement:

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A Marc by Marc Jacobs girl has the confidence to wear what she likes. She does not have to assert her choices with logos. She does not hide her figure behind mannish suits or, ironically, skirts. She is proud of the woman she is and wears what she wants! She makes everything her own and wears it proudly. That is the true essence of girl power and what Bartley and Hillier failed to capture in their collection.
The last two or three looks were my favorite. They were the ones that came closest to representing the Marc by Marc Jacobs girl. Here is one:

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The skirt, stereotypically feminine, is roughened by sharp pleats and the grey color. The shoes are pointy, highlighting her determination. And she wears a casual, loose sweater because she never tries too hard. In other words, effortlessly cool and chic.
Nonetheless, this collection does include some very wearable shirts and sweaters that will probably appear in my closet. The socks will almost certainly prove a big retail hit. The bags as well.
I do believe that Bartley and Hillier are capable of replacing Marc Jacobs (as proved by the last looks). It is a hard task but they will manage. By next season they will have improved their creative vision for the brand.
Hats off to them! It is hard work to replace a man like Jacobs.

xoxo,
Chiara

p.s. I would love to know what you think! Tell me in the comments below. ‚̧

The Row NYFW Fall 2014

Quietude and downplayed luxury were key concepts at Ashley and Mary-Kate Olsen’s collection this week.

Although I doubt people would remain quiet for long if you wore this in Central Park:

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To be quiet honest, the two opening looks were a shock. They definitely represented a strong departure from the Olsen sisters’ sleek looks of the past. Though keep in mind, the above look is done all in cashmere, and knowing the Row, it must be the best.

To my relief, the later looks were more consistent with the Row’s established aesthetic. The later outfits were streamlined and mostly uni-colored. It is interesting that the loose flowing skirts, mostly ankle length, had a certain structural quality. This was emphasized by the exotic derby shoes that accompanied each look. They grounded the ensemble and added a certain aura of determination to the collection.

Here is a great example:

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The bags were simply superb! They are wonderfully crafted out of exotic materials in conservative, yet also unique shapes. Warning: their beauty might cause hyperventilation.

The Olsens mostly did skirts and dresses, but the few pants they did are likely to dot the fashion landscape in the coming months. They seem to be the feminine equivalent of what Thom Browne did to menswear. Notice the length:

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Overall, this collection is a resounding success. Most importantly, it is utterly wearable (except for the first two looks). The bits of fur added to some ensembles were a gentle reminder of The Row’s innate sense of luxe.

xoxo,

Chiara

p.s. Congratulations to the model that remained perfectly poised while being accosted at the Proenza Schouler show by a man streaking the catwalk wearing nothing except for a leopard print G-string! In case you are wondering, the man was soon removed by the police. Nobody knows why he did this, though I am wondering how he got into Proenza Schouler in the first place!