Italian-Belgian designer Anthony Vaccarello has come a long way in a short time. After opening his brand in 2009 and gaining international attention, Vaccarello designed capsule collections for Versus Versace before being appointed the Creative Director of Saint Laurent Paris in 2016. Considering that his start in fashion was in 2007 when he began working at Fendi under Karl Lagerfeld, Vaccarello’s trajectory from student to master, leading one of the world’s top esteemed fashion houses, was very sharp and accelerated. The FW11 collection is Vaccarello’s third, and continued to solidify his aesthetic which can be characterized in three words: black, slinky, and sexy.
It’s amazing to see his evolution into the Creative Director of Saint Laurent, where his aesthetic is unwavering. Yes, there may be a little more sparkle and color now, but he is still definitely designing for the same woman. The eponymous line has been put on hold since the Fall 2016 season, when rumors of his impending appointment at Saint Laurent were still swirling. If you take a look back at that collection, it is obvious that his ideas aligned directly with where the Saint Laurent brand was heading. So far, he has proven himself to be a fantastic match.
I’m headed back to Scotland for a little while this month so I thought it was fitting to feature a Scottish-inspired collection. Back in 2004, Marc Jacobs and his team took a trip to the Highlands to seek inspiration and look around the royal estate of Balmoral where the Queen spends her summers. The end result was a tartan-infused collection in the most luxe way possible.
Opened by Lily Cole, a model known for her lily-white skin (pun intended) and fiery red hair, the show had around 50 looks of real grown-up women’s clothes. This Louis Vuitton was definitely not intended for teenagers. It’s funny that fashion has made such a shift in the past decade because almost every brand seems to cater to a set of young people (aged 18-30) who often don’t have the spending power to match the price tags on the garments. Instead of focusing on the core group of women who are in an older age bracket (who will actually buy the garments instead of demanding PR samples or compensation for wearing the clothes), brands focus on kids and social media. Ten years ago, this was not the case. Clothes were made for grown-ups with real lives. People who wore pencil skirts to work. People who need cocktail dresses for various events. I guess the shift towards informality in society is also reflected in the casualness of our clothes nowadays.
Out of this show, my favorite looks were the tight black dress with the sheer netting detail on the shoulders and the little wrist-length gloves and the black suit jacket (very Chanel) with the velvet-looking pedal pushers. The collection even featured one of the fur stoles like what Kanye wore in a post from last month (but in brown, not grey). I hope you get the gist of the collection from the images I’ve added!
This Dolce & Gabbana is around about the time of my favorite Dolce & Gabbana. In fact, it used to be my favorite brand. I was obsessed with the pretty dresses with the florals. They were so womanly. For a young teenager, the Dolce & Gabbana woman was exactly what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up. She seemed like such a woman. Sophisticated, glamorous, beautiful, motherly – simply everything. She didn’t seem like a kid in any way. She seemed like a grown up who wore heels and had their life together. At that time, I couldn’t even imagine myself in that position nor did I really know how an adult functioned. Since becoming an adult myself, I realize that most of us don’t fit into this tightly edited resemblance of a woman nor is it as desirable to me anymore. Regardless, they did a good job of conveying this through their advertising too – the Italian Dream.
I think Dolce & Gabbana have been overshadowed in recent years by poor press. Social media mishaps, plus some real media faux-pas too (the IVF comments for one) have detracted from the brand and it’s glamorous image. Frequently dressing and speaking out in support of Melania Trump also hasn’t helped them in the fashion industry which tends to skew liberal in its politics. Politics and personal opinions aside, this SS11 collection is gorgeous and full of wedding-worthy dresses that I can definitely appreciate. The beauty looks are, well, beautiful, and I love the hoop earrings.
This is one of the most iconic Alexander McQueen collections due to the finale dress. Made with real flowers that rotted off during the show, the dress was meant to represent the idea that beauty decays and is not forever. This particular piece has been analyzed time and time again by fashion scholars, museum exhibitions (Savage Beauty, for example), and die hard fashion kids on Tumblr. However, the rest of the collection is just as extraordinary. Overwhelmingly pretty and romantic, the collection is a standout from the designer and in my top three favorite shows of his.
I feel like we just don’t see runway shows like this anymore. Clothing is much more commercialized nowadays with things ready to be worn straight off the runway and on Instagram. You can’t imagine people wearing McQueen’s designs for likes, because they weren’t that kind of pieces. People often debate whether fashion is an art form and with McQueen’s designs it is easy to argue that it is. He created beautiful, intricate, museum-worthy pieces that were not made just to be sent to retailers to sell on the shop floor. If you see McQueen in Barneys it won’t look identical to the runway pieces because they make modifications to make the collection more sellable and wearable for the everyday customer. I’m so curious as to what this collection will have looked like in the stores because you know the big gowns will have been changed, but I wonder by how much.
I have a post coming up about the various fashion businesses of the Kardashian-Jenner klan. This post would be incomplete without a mention of Kanye West. In that spirit, I thought I would throw it back to his first Adidas Originals collection, back in February 2015 for Yeezy Season 1. It’s hard to believe that this was only two and a half years ago, given that it seems like the Yeezy hype has been going on forever. With social media and so much happening every week, it’s easy to think that things were years ago when really they were recently. That’s what has happened with this collection in my mind.
I remember the outrage when this collection was shown. Nobody could believe that Kanye West dared to call this fashion. They couldn’t fathom the fact that he had disrupted the New York Fashion Week schedule. They didn’t understand the format of his show, like a performance art piece instead of a runway. And most importantly, they couldn’t believe that the pieces he put out were to be considered clothes. The full body stockings, for example, were particularly controversial. I’ve taken to interpret the bodystockings as creating a blank canvas with whatever piece worn on top of it to be the one highlighted. Take the green crop top worn by Amina Blue as an example. That is what we are meant to focus on, with the rest of her body being deemed invisible.
The Yeezy line has evolved ever so subtly. It is becoming more and more organized each season. I think Kanye’s vision is becoming clearer. Some things in the collections are overpriced, ridiculous, and laughable whereas other items are genuinely nice, wearable, and fair. I like the outerwear mainly. I hate the shoes. The Fall 2017 presentation was the best yet, with the best format also. I’m interested to see what direction Kanye takes things in for the Spring 2018 season. What can he do next?
Continuing on the same vein as last month, I’m showing the Balmain collection from the next season. I just wanted to stay on the same brand because I have noticed something interesting about Balmain recently, and please correct me if I’m wrong. Looking at last month’s Met Gala, I don’t recall a single celebrity being dressed by the brand. That was surprising to me because for the past two or three years Balmain has been a constant presence on the red carpet at events of all calibers. Previously they have dressed Kim Kardashian and Kylie Jenner for the Met Gala but this year Jenner wore Versace and Kardashian wore Vivienne Westwood. Furthermore, I have actually noticed less of Balmain on social media. It doesn’t seem to be as buzzy a brand nowadays, with Saint Laurent overtaking for the embellished pieces (I’d say). Is Balmainia over? What happened to Olivier Rousteing’s legion of famous friends and fans?
I think the lack of interest in Balmain at the moment is because their styles have been ripped off by fast-fashion brands too frequently for people to want to spend that much money on them now. Look at the off-the-shoulder bodycon dress that Kylie Jenner wore. It retailed for over $100 yet you can buy a near identical copy for $25 online, plus you can get it in just a shirt or in a jumpsuit. Moreover, the expensive embellished pieces seem almost wasteful now as they make so much of an impact that they’ll never be worn more than once. This is fine if it’s just celebrities wearing them on the red carpet but if it is actual customers purchasing the items it seems silly in a way. I could be wrong about all of this because this is just based off of my observations.
In terms of the SS09 collection, I think Christophe Decarnin was at the top of his game. The pieces are every rock chick’s dream. They are super glam but in the coolest way possible. The colors are great. There is a perfect mix between distressed elements and formality. 9 years later, these styles still feel fresh and would not look out of place on the catwalk nowadays. I’m obsessed with the green dress worn by Natasha Poly with the huge shoulder pads and glittering gems. Plus, I’m a sucker for Madonna so I dig the soundtrack of the show. I like how the models all have multiple looks and how the casting is so great (all of my mid-2000s faves in one place). Honestly, there is not too many things I can fault.
Christophe Decarnin’s Balmain is to 2008 what Anthony Vaccarello’s Saint Laurent is to 2017. By that I mean they cater to a very similar customer. The wildly glamourous, slighly rock’n’roll party girl who still shops at Saint Laurent probably moved there after Decarnin departed from Balmain. First fed by Hedi Slimane’s rock chick look, the glamour that this girl lives for is still there but in a more retro, 80s way with Vaccarello. I love all three designers. They all create such cool pieces that I’d just love to wear.
For this collection, I seen a lot of embellishments and I got serious rock’n’roll vibes which is always welcome. I’ve found myself becoming increasingly inspired by rock bands like the Rolling Stones and Blondie. I think the key to longevity in the music business (besides good music, of course) is creating an iconic look. Both of the aforementioned bands have done that. I’d have hair like Debbie Harry if I could work out how to stop it from snapping off. Honestly, I can’t believe this collection is nearly ten years old because I know that if it had been marched down the runway this past season it would’ve gotten a lot of love. I’m surprised that the cool girls of Instagram (Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner etc.) haven’t started wearing mid 2000s Balmain yet. I don’t think Decarnin necessarily gets the credit he deserves for the trends that he started and for the revival of the Balmain brand overall.
Normally when composing these posts I start with a show that I want to feature in mind and then work to find a video and images to accompany it. This time I came across this show on YouTube, just randomly, and it spurred a whole tangent of discussion (can it be called discussion if its just with oneself?) so I thought it was worthy of a feature.
I was struck by how “old” these clothes looked. By that I mean these clothes are not made for teenagers, or even women in their twenties. They’re for consumers aged thirty plus, I’d say. This is what is of great interest to me because it’s different from the approach most brands are taking nowadays. Let me put it to you this way: a sixteen year old girl from Kansas likes a Louis Vuitton picture on Instagram, she may be obsessed with an outfit from the show, she may repost a picture. Is she buying it? No. However, a forty-five year old woman might see a picture of a look from a show on social media (because yes, it isn’t just used by Millennials regardless of the stereotype) and actually head to the store to try it on and maybe even buy. Why is it that despite the two consumers seeing the item on the same source only one leads to a potential sale? It all comes down to money. Teenagers, and even most millennials, aren’t often in a position to be spending money on luxury items, and if they are it tends to be accessories, shoes, and, increasingly so, streetwear. Gen X and above are. I understand that brands are targeting millennials because they are going to be the next generation of consumers to really keep the brands going, but I do think it’s important not to overlook your key demographic because they can be the ones keeping the company afloat.
Now this actual collection was loosely inspired by the 1940s, seen in the skirt suits and silhouettes. However, what stood out to me was all of the patterned pieces. Perhaps in 2004, we were all a lot more accepting of colors and prints. Nowadays, with minimalism thoroughly ingrained into our brains and way of dress, prints can seem too much, even though maximalism is making it’s way back. I feel like nowadays the focus is more on solid colors and also textures (perhaps a metallic yarn woven into a knit) instead of pretty florals, but I could be wrong. Also, I really liked the runway. The lights were cool but not at all distracting. I think it would’ve been fun to attend a fashion show, even ten years ago, before camera phones took over and every moment was documented. I’m not the biggest Marc Jacobs fan but I did like a lot of his work for Louis Vuitton.
PS – Apologies for the low quality images. I haven’t come across HQs yet.
I’ve been really terrible at blogging for the entire month of February. I have a zillion drafts saved with various titles about events that happened throughout the month, yet I have no desire to write about them now because it’s just too late. Like, aren’t we all over New York Fashion Week? Hasn’t the shock of Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy departure worn off? I feel like instead of typing out my thoughts on these events, I’ve discussed them in person, either with my friends or in school. That being said, I’ve kept a long-running note on my Macbook with various observations that I’ve made throughout fashion month so instead of breaking my posts up by city, I’m just going to put it all in one post in a rambling post. I hope you enjoy!
Ok, so the exciting thing about New York Fashion Week was the fact that Raf Simons was back. Even though he had only been gone for such a small period of time, it seemed like an eternity in fashion when everything moves so quickly and a few seasons feels like 4 years. I personally liked his debut ready-to-wear collection for Calvin Klein, especially the transparent plastic over the trench coats (reminded me of the Doom Generation which I was obsessed with when I was fifteen) and the heavy focus on outerwear. However, I can see that the #mycalvins will be a thing of the past and that sucks but the Moonlight cast underwear ads are incredible so we’re all good. Alexander Wang was another show that I really liked, especially these two looks (a and b), and the venue was cool. The long leather coats at The Row were super cool. I loved this suit at Jason Wu. A theme I noticed throughout NYFW was grey blazers, in some form of check. This made me mad at myself because I used to own the most perfect vintage Ralph Lauren one a few years ago but I gave it to charity because I rarely wore it. Big mistake. I normally love Area’s lookbooks but they moved to a show format this season which was kind of sad actually but it does show growth for the brand. I’m obsessed with this coat from Proenza Schouler. Anything that combines vinyl-looking leather and fur/shearing, I’m onboard with. Narciso Rodriguez’s collection was very much how I wish I dressed on a day-to-day basis.
By the time London Fashion Week rolled around, I was in LA. During that time I barely touched my phone for social media or email purposes. I just used the Maps app for directions.
I didn’t like the runway at Gucci because I think it was too distracting for the actual showgoers, plus there were too many looks. The standout ones were a, b, and c – I’m so happy about the return of snakeskin boots. The colors at Max Mara were perfect. Honestly everything about that show just looked so good. The styling was sublime. I was so into the red boots at Fendi. I want a pair already, it was an instant sale (if only I could afford them). This coat at Prada is to die for. The dry-cleaning theme at Moschino was hilarious, they even put a wire hanger in the model’s hair.
This dress at Jacquemus is so beautiful, it reminded me of vintage Chanel with a twist. This brand has the best IG. I love the new Saint Laurent, even if it’s just 80s redone. I’m so desperate for a pair of the logo earrings. From this collection I loved the sparkling mini dresses (a and b), the latter of the pair being a better version of the one I wore on New Years. Surprisingly I found myself liking a lot of looks at Off-White. I say surprisingly because although I like Virgil Abloh and admire his work ethic, I have never been the biggest fan of his clothes. However, this collection was interesting to me, even though it was entitled “Nothing New” I thought it was different for him. I want to wear this look, but I also like a, b, and c. This coat at Mugler was 80s power shoulders to the max and I thought it was so fun. Balenciaga was actually interesting to me. Normally I’m not a big fan of Demna Gvasalia but this collection was great, particularly a, b, and c. It was sad to see a Givenchy collection without Riccardo Tisci (I wasn’t ready for his departure to be a real thing) but I do like how they directly referenced pieces from his tenure. It was a nice tribute. Louis Vuitton rented out the Louvre for the show and honestly this is an instance where the design standard matched the location. I loved it. In particular, a and b.
Let me start this off by saying I’m so into the runway. It’s like a meadow. So interesting. The length of the catwalk is covered entirely in violet flowers, making it perhaps a dangerous but nevertheless beautiful sight. From what I recall, no models fell which is a feat in itself.
Stefano’s tenure at YSL isn’t discussed too much nowadays. I think this is because of the extreme rebranding done by Hedi Slimane (most obviously, renaming the line). Now that Hedi has departed and Anthony Vaccarello is holding down the fort, I feel like Stefano’s contributions will be looked over even more. As a kid, when I seen celebrities wearing YSL, it was Stefano’s designs. I actually liked him, although I did prefer Hedi. It’s just cool to think that the tulip skirt silhouette that was so popular for a few years in the noughties was reintroduced by him. The effect that individual designers have on fashion is not often noticeable until a few years later, unless they are producing a shift of seismic proportions a la Demna Gvasalia.