Tag: dior

Fashion Flashback: Christian Dior Spring 2000 Couture

I just finished reading “Gods & Kings”, Dana Thomas’ book profiling two of the most prolific designers of the past quarter century, Alexander McQueen and John Galliano. Often touted as rivals, the two designers experienced growth and fame at the same time, with their careers on an almost parallel path, before everything went south. McQueen famously died in 2010 and not so long afterwards Galliano was fired from his position at Christian Dior after being filmed on a drunken, anti-Semitic outburst in a Parisian bar. McQueen is widely revered. His creativity is said to be unmatched and where Galliano often made costumey pieces that were nothing like what was actually sold in stores, McQueen was said to make ultra-creative and artistic pieces that clients could actually see themselves wearing. Both men had similarly tortured private lives and similarly profiled public lives.

This collection is one of Galliano’s most controversial. It was even the inspiration for Mugatu’s collection entitled Derelicte in Zoolander. Basically, Galliano took inspiration from the homeless population of Paris and repackaged what he had observed from the underprivileged on the streets of the city and the banks of the Seine, where he used to go jogging, as haute couture. He was also inspired by images taken by photographer Diane Arbus of mentally ill patients. Rightly so, he received intense criticism for this move. However, 17 years later we are still talking about the collection. This New York Times article, written back in 2000 when the collection was debuted, explains the whole situation well and features quotes from Galliano who failed to see anything wrong with his actions. From what I have read about Galliano, a lack of accountability seems to be a common thing for him which is sad as it can overshadow his artistry. Regardless of the intention of this collection and the initial reaction, it has secured an important place in fashion history and that is something to remember.

 

Why Do People Think That Fashion is Frivolous?

As I discussed in a previous post, I went to a talk about sexuality in fashion that turned out to be a little bit more focused on sexuality in general. However, I’d like to bring it back to fashion as I think it is an equally interesting issue. I thought about more than sexuality but about gender. Men and women, and our differences. More specifically, I’m thinking about the dominance of female fashion and the trivialisation of it. When did fashion become thought of as frivolous? Was it when women got involved?

Fashion, like most businesses, is a male dominated world. In fact, merely a few hundred years ago fashion was more important for men. They wore high heels and elaborate outfits (just think of old paintings of kings and the get ups that they wore), and red heels were associated with a position of power. I found a parallel between this and the infamous Christian Louboutin red bottoms, and the level of luxury which they connote. They convey status, exactly how the red heels used to back in the time of Louis XIV. Male fashion is making a return in a major way, especially because more and more famous men, especially musicians, are embracing a strong look and are willing to experiment more. However, when you think of people working in fashion, going to fashion school, you think women.

There was a historical shift at some point in time between men and women and who had to dress up. At some point, male fashion dropped out of the psyche and utilitarian clothes became the norm. But maybe it was always like that in the lower classes who typically weren’t painted in portraits? When we look at history we almost always hear about the upper class and royalty. In the past hundred years or so, female fashion has triumphed. Look at a photography book and the changing styles of womenswear is always exciting. From the straight waisted dresses of the flappers, playing down the female form and creating a boyish figure, to the wasp waists of Dior’s New Look and everything that has come since then, the major changes in female fashion always relate to the body. We either look super feminine, with emphasised curves, or young and waif-like with no hips or waists. Fashion doesn’t often have inbetweens, especially not groundbreaking, memorable looks. It is all about extremes, whether that is hem lengths or silhouettes. And who decides on these changes? More often than not it is men.

Dior’s New Look (1947)

Even though fashion is typically associated with females, the people in the positions of power are typically male. Dior got its first female designer in Maria Grazia Chiuri, before that it was all men. Chanel is headed by a man. Calvin Klein, a man. Almost all of the biggest fashion houses, especially the historical ones, are headed by men who design clothes that doesn’t even work for their bodies. They design clothes for women, to be worn by women, to make women look good. However, there is a very different treatment of the female body by homosexual men than heterosexual men, and the large majority of male fashion designers are homosexual. The straight male designers can be counted on one hand – Rick Owens, Christophe Lemaire, Christian Louboutin and a few others.

Mr Louboutin has stated that he doesn’t care if his shoes hurt to walk in, as long as they make the wearer look good. I think a female designer wouldn’t have the same attitude. Women designing for women often make a point of creating clothes that they know others could feel comfortable in, and look good. It is possible to do both but sometimes males don’t understand the female body in the same way. This may be a rather ridiculous example but I was watching an old series of Project Runway a few days ago and one of the designers didn’t know how to create a look for a woman with D cup breasts. Women would understand that.

Josephine Baker in a typical flapper look (1920s)

The homosexual male designer’s relationship with the female form is often different than a heterosexual male designer’s. They look at it with adoration rather than lust. They often idealise it too. That is not to say that they cannot partake in the objectification of women though. They can still create ultra sexualised looks. I personally think, as long as their is no ill intent, that this is ok. It is important that people remember that runway fashion is fantasy, not real life. I am aware of this but I know that others are not. Often people don’t understand that what they are seeing is an ideal to aspire to, not an order to replicate. Honestly, even the models don’t look like that on a daily basis.

The point that I wanted to explore was the seemingly frivolous nature of fashion. I don’t think it is fair that people have to constantly justify the validity of fashion as a career, as an industry. It is more than clothes when it comes down to it. It is a business that employs millions of people worldwide. It is a large portion of many counties economies – imports and exports are important. It is an industry that makes billions per year.

Jennifer Aniston in a slip dress (1990s)

Was fashion always thought of as frivolous it is this a new thing? Was it always just women playing dress up or was it previously thought of something else? All throughout WW2, British Vogue was published, never missing an issue, as a way to keep up morale in the country. That is significant. In a time of great struggle and pain, fashion helped to keep people going. Sometimes you need a distraction.

However, for people like me and many others, fashion is not just a distraction. In fact, it is my life. I don’t know any other world because it has always been my primary interest since I was a young child. I’d almost say I’ve been known as the one who “likes fashion”, but sometimes that is just reduced to “likes clothes”, and I don’t think it is fair to have to justify the industry as more than clothes and shopping, because when you think about it, the fashion industry has so many complex issues just like other industries that are perceived to hold more weight intellectually.

Another issue that I think is important, and related, is that if fashion is thought of as for women and gay men, what happens to all the straight men who are interested? I often wonder if there are any young straight men, who would like to be involved in fashion (either work in it or go to fashion school) but are too afraid to jump in for fear of being called gay or stupid? After all, people consistently make jokes about fashion schools being filled of girls and gay men. What about all the straight male designers that want to design for men? Or even that want to design for women? Virgil Abloh is straight. The Gvasalia brothers are straight.

Grace Jones in shoulder pads (1980s)

I think sexuality is perhaps the most complex of issues relating to the fashion industry and I have really just scratched the surface of this issue, mostly relating to the difference between the male and female treatment of the female body. It goes much deeper than that. I want to explore that further too. There are subcultures that shouldn’t be ignored yet I haven’t even touched on that today.

I also think that a major problem relating to the public perception of fashion and its frivolity is that women are the main focus. That’s what it boils down to. It is like people almost don’t want women to succeed and have an area to thrive in. It has to be diminished, to be lessened, when really it is as valid a business as banking, for example, and being a fashion buyer is just as important as being in procurement for a construction company. All roles are essential, all industries are essential, and all of the sectors are important, regardless of what people may think fashion is like.

Couture Highlights – Fall 2016

Couture week has come and gone once again, and this time around I had actually completely forgotten about it. I feel like we just had fashion week (the past few months have flown by, seriously) so when I began seeing images of models walking the Fendi show at the Trevi Fountain all over Instagram I realised that I was missing something. Now that I’m finally catching up on everything it is all over. I missed all the fun.

Instead of doing a super drawn out post, I’m going to keep this one short. I’ll just say a few lines about each show. I’m probably going to stick to my usual format come fashion week in September but for now I think that less will be more, especially since couture is (sadly) less important than ready-to-wear in the broader sense. Anyway, read my thoughts below:

Chanel – The set was awesome and I loved the concept of bringing the atelier to the people. The whole focus of haute couture should be on the workmanship and the great human effort that goes into creating these pieces. That being said, I did find the collection slightly boring. The clothes weren’t extraoridinary and I really didn’t like the make up look. However, I really loved this dress and this suit.

Elie Saab – It was pretty as usual but everything about the show has lost its impact on me, unfortunately. I feel like I have seen a million of the beautiful embellished/embroidered gowns in the past so that when I see one now it is not as breathtaking as it may have once been. A boring position to be in, I know. Maybe if I actually seen one in person I’d have more to say. I did love this first look with the over the top jewels and the velvet. Very eighties in the best way possible. However, the second look I’ve inserted below reminded me a little too much of the vintage Dior look that Rihanna wore a few months ago but in a different colour – linked.

Maison Margiela – I loved the beauty at this show. Also, I know pretty probably wasn’t the point of the entire show but I loved this particular look, mainly because it looks like she was frolicking in a fountain.

Jean Paul Gaultier – I am obsessed with this dress. Imagine it in a paler colour for a wedding.

Vetements – Not technically couture but still on the schedule, Vetements presented yet another buzzy collection. There were some really low key looks that were just styled well, and I think that may be the crux of their brand – it’s all down to the styling. The look below was nice and easy to recreate. 

Fendi – The most breathtaking, stand-out locations to stage a fashion show, perhaps in my lifetime. If they were looking to be the most Instagrammed show of the week, I think they hands down won. Who could blame the attendees? The images were incredible.

Dior – Actually nice, wearable clothes but not worth couture standards. I know that brands find it elegant to do day wear in couture but is it worth paying those prices for rather simple clothing? Or if you have money for couture do you really not care? I’m interested to see how things change under the new creative director. I miss Raf.

Pretty but slightly Zara/Mango?

Ulyana Sergeenko – There were a few really nice pieces but found the streetwear influence a little off. It didn’t seem in line with the brand. The y reminded me of the off-white polo necks. The Vetements effect is real y’all. I did really love this coat though (third photo down).

Guo Pei – I found this spectacular.  It took me back to the late 80s/early 90s, before minimalism, when the supermodels still reigned supreme. It was a nice feeling. To me, this dress (below) could’ve easily been Gianfranco Ferre for Dior, or even Galliano in his Egyptian themed collection, it just gave me that kind of feels!

Versace – This didn’t look like Versace initially. I see what Donatella meant about the focus on draping. The first look reminded me of Ulyana Sergeenko a little bit. 

Alexandre Vaulthier – This was actually my favourite collection of the entire season. There are very few pieces that I don’t like. 

Armani Prive – I really liked this dress. The velvet looks sumptuous. 

Met Gala 2016

I was super excited for the Met Gala this year, mainly because I’ll actually get to see the exhibition for the first time ever! From the previews I’ve seen, the Chanel bridal look with the immense train is a stand out piece, along with some newer offerings from brands like Dior (under Raf Simons) and Prada. I’m excited to see it and explore the differences between handmade, laborious pieces and technologically created. I’m sure it will be marvellous.

An invite to the Met Gala is one of the most coveted in fashion. Nowadays I feel that celebrities attend just to attend, not because they have anything to do with fashion. Next year I hope that they trim the guest list slightly to people who have an impact on/interest in/some stake in the fashion industry but given the increased commercialisation of the event I doubt this will happen. Perhaps it is a good thing given that it is a fundraiser for the museum itself. I wonder if any of the celebrities in attendance actually donate anything to the Costume Institute, other than their presence on the red carpet?

I have to say, this is the event of the year where you can get off with taking the biggest risks in terms of fashion, not somewhere you would need to water it down. In my opinion, a lot of people could’ve pushed the theme a little further than they did, have fun with it instead of wearing straight off the runway dresses, but overall I think it was a good red carpet, although not as good as last year.

Since Manus x Machina (hand vs machine literally; man vs machine in simpler terms) is the title of the exhibition, I expected lots of silver, robotic, slightly futuristic looks and we got plenty of them. The element of the theme that I was most looking forward to was a fully technology created outfit, perhaps some 3D printing. I had hoped for some Chalayan (a true boundary pusher) or even Iris van Herpen. As far as I’m aware, neither of the designers were represented. Instead there was a helluva lot of Balmain and Louis Vuitton. I did like cool uses of texture (embellished latex on Beyonce, for example) and also the celebrities who totally switched up their look for the occasion (Zendaya’s hair looked amazing and also Kim Kardashian really suited lighter eyebrows).

In a dream world, I would’ve attended the opening wearing vintage couture, perhaps Galliano’s Dior (see above Fall 2006 looks), as something to represent the manus section of the exhibition. In a society increasingly reliant on technology (e.g. think of the havoc caused when emails go down in the office), I’d like to think man could come out on top. Or you could do a combination, how about a machine made dress hand-embellished? The clash of the two techniques and the way in which we will adapt to suit is important. And as the sub-title of the exhibition says, we are in the age of technology. However, I am obsessed with couture and the craft behind it. Let’s hope it is an art that never dies.

My best dressed

Amber Heard in Ralph Lauren Collection
Lupita Nyong’o in Calvin Klein
Lady Gaga in Versace (PS – I wish she had taken this even further)
Kendall Jenner in Versace
Kate Upton in Topshop
Alexa Chung in Thakoon
Beyonce in Givenchy
Anna Ewers in Jason Wu
Aja Naomi King in Prabal Gurung

And the best look of the entire evening…

Bella Hadid in Givenchy

 

All images from E! Online and Elle Magazine

Paris Fashion Week Highlights – Fall 2016

I love Paris. I love the mix of designers you get here plus the historic houses which continue to create. There were a couple of houses without set designers this season (Dior and Lanvin mainly, both with varying results) and another couple where designers who recently started their appointment are still finding their feet and giving the brand their own personal touch. Let me start this off by saying that I’m not going to discuss either Vetements or Balenciaga in any detail. I am not interested. I used to be such a Balenciaga fan under both Ghesquiere and Wang but for now I am done with the brand. I’ll wait to see the clothes actually on the streets before I say anything else.

Besides the aforementioned, there were many shows that I liked. This season I’ve found myself picking out a few pieces from each collection or a handful of looks that I think are strong/something I’d buy/super cool instead of looking at entire collections overall. I’m not sure if this is good or bad. For the whole season there has probably been less than 10 shows that I’ve thought of as the entire collection instead of just a few looks that I like. 

Givenchy

Honestly, I adore Riccardo Tisci. If you know anything about me, you’ll hopefully know that. Every season he makes clothes that I would want to buy and wear. For the most part, our aesthetics align. This season there was a bunch of different prints including snakeskin and leopard. I’ve actually seen a lot of leopard print coats over the past couple of seasons and I’ve been wanting one for a good few months. This show made me realise that come fall I will need one. (My favourite is still the Alexander Wang pre-fall one, however.) The collection was actually very cohesive. Inspired by Egypt, Tisci made a beautiful collection without being too literal in his references. I cannot wait to see how the ads are styled!

Christian Dior

This is the first ready-to-wear collection produced by the in-house design team since Raf Simons’ departure. The couture collection was panned but I think this one deserves a little more praise. I actually thought it stayed very true to the brand’s core principals and original designs. That is also a reason that people aren’t liking the collection (too safe). However, I thought there were a lot of beautiful pieces with a classic Dior silhouette. Realistically, the Dior customer is hella rich and not gaudy. These kind of clothes appeal to her, even if they don’t push the boat out creatively. My favourite looks were the fur-lapelled coat worn by Kendall Jenner and the dusky lavender coat of a similar style.

Chanel

I have a method of looking at a Chanel collection. The first step is to look over all of the thumbnails on Vogue Runway and open the ones that catch my eye in a new tab. The next step is to look through the entire gallery and zoom in on pieces. If I still like them, I’ll open the tab again. Usually this leaves me with a zillion tabs open so small that my browser is about to crash. If I have doubles, I know that I like the look. It sounds like a tedious process but I’ve found that it’s the only way I can actually observe a Chanel collection because there’s always so much going on. Doing it this way means that I find pieces that I might gloss over if just giving it a once over; only occasionally do I actually watch the show in motion. This season I found the set was pared back but the clothes were not. There were cool uses of tweed (a bomber-type jacket for one), lots of pearls (a Chanel staple), and also many accessories which I thought were fantastic such as hats and mini bags. The Boy bag has to be the most popular Chanel style at the moment so it only makes sense that there were many imaginings of it on the runway. The floaty black dress with the gold embellishments towards the end was my favourite piece in the entire collection and one that I’d like to see in the campaign images.

And the rest…

This shearling cape at Maison Margiela was a fun twist on a classic aviator jacket.

I don’t think anyone was really ready to see another Lanvin show yet. I found it very 80s and many of the looks made me think of what American socialites would buy from the Parisian couture shows back then. I actually liked this dress even though it was slightly like a bed sheet. Also, this fur coat was cool.

These two looks (i & ii) at Dries Van Noten were very nice and I’d actually have styled them together with the coat open. It may have taken away from the impact on the runway but I can imagine that this is how people would actually wear it. There could’ve been a great supermodel-style runway moment where they took off the coat and swung it over their shoulders.

At Guy Laroche I liked this embroidered jacket.

You can count on Chloe for lightweight, flowy dresses. I feel like these can be worn in any season (with tights in the winter and bare legged in the summer). This time around I particularly liked this mustard offering with soft ruffles.

I used to be such an Olivier Rousteing fangirl but I’ve started to tire of Balmain. I think overexposure has done it. Looks are becoming so repetitive as well. However, there were still quite a few pieces that I liked (just not enough to make the show a favourite) such as this beautiful navy blouse with ruffles and this embellished top and skirt.

I’m slightly late on the whole patterned bomber jacket trend but I really like this one at Emanuel Ungaro. Given that they’re being shown on the catwalk again this season, I think it is a trend that is here to stay. I’ve seen a cool one at Zara that I like and if that fails I think I’ll look to a vintage store.

I really liked the colour palette at Akris, so warm and definitely autumn appropriate. Also, you can get a dress with a similar print to this one at Mango just now for £49.99 (if you’re interested in a runway-esque look for less).

The proportions of this coat at Acne Studios is cool. I also like the boots that it is paired with. I’m currently loving a lighter sole paired with black boots.

I am obsessed with this check dress at Isabel Marant. I’ll be interested to see how much this retails for because I want to buy it.

I liked the Rick Owens show a lot more this season than normal. The clothes were oversized and flowy but not so big that they drowned the models. Plus, the show was less gimmicky. See the full collection here.

I want to wear this entire look from Paco Rabanne. 

Valentino was so pretty but I’m sick to death of the shitty casting.

Fashion Flashback: Christian Dior Spring 2010

I’m beyond obsessed with this show and I’ll put that down to the model line-up. By 2009 the Russian wave was nearing its end and this is one of the last shows where my favourite models all walked together. The show was opened by Karlie Kloss who was merely a baby at the time but had confidence that one can only dream of, followed by Abbey Lee, Frida Gustavsson, Natasha Poly, Sasha Pivovarova and a whole host more. (Yes, I am aware that many of the girls listed aren’t Russian there.) I just think that the mid 2000s to around 2010 was a true high period in terms of top models. So many of my favourites belong to this era, and sadly many have quit modelling now (either part-time now or all together). It is odd because they are all still so young – I don’t think any of them have hit 30 yet – but in modelling terms they are old news. They have been replaced with one of the worst model trends of late, celebrity models & kids of rich people. Ah well, it all comes and goes in cycles.

The show was theatrical but the clothes weren’t. For that reason, it is one of my favourite Galliano collections. I cannot lie and say I am overly fond of his work because a lot of the time I just don’t get it. I cannot be a pseudo-intellectual and pretend that I see depth in fashion all the time because a lot of the time I just don’t. Don’t get me wrong, I adore the theatrical element of fashion – the glamour, the fun, the extravagance – but most of the time I’d prefer simpler clothes that I can actually envision somebody wearing. I think in terms of sales and wearability instead of pure creativity, however dull that may make me.

I love the lingerie-esque pieces, especially the little lace trimmed satin French knickers that peeked out from underneath coats and skirts, the lightweight chiffon fabrics that feel so perfect for the Spring/Summer season, and the cute reworkings of trench coats. Plus, the Old Hollywood, Lauren Bacall waves that I could never manage to achieve and the soft red lips that bring a retro mood over the entire collection. I love it, the entire vibe. That’s really all I can say. If I ever stumble across Sasha P’s dress on eBay or the likes it is mine!

Grace Coddington, Designer Departures, Excessive Clear Outs

Departure seems to be a common theme in life at the moment: we have left one year behind and are now into the next (the best year yet, I have prophesied); I am turning 18 and therefore finally leaving behind the label of being a child (still a young person but no longer a child); and best of all, I am leaving one country behind and moving onto the next – America, New York specifically. (Yes, I know America is not the official name of the USA but it is much easier to type and pretty much everybody refers to it as that.) This year may be rather tumultuous but I am prepared because it is everything that I have wanted for a very long time finally coming to a head. I don’t want to get overly excited and start imagining scenarios that will never come to fruition but it is nice to dream. I am moving to New York to go to college in approximately 7 months. I cannot think of anything more exciting. That is one departure that I will not be sad about.

Someone else who has left their position in life (work, life, it all rolls into one) and is moving onto the next is Raf Simons. This news is very 2015 but since the Pre-Fall images for Dior have been released, it has been back on my mind. (I really like the new in-house designed collection by the way.) I started to really appreciate Raf’s work for Dior only after I watched Dior and I, the documentary profiling the lead-up to his first couture collection, made in only 6 weeks. His departure has been reduced to the overkill of the fashion schedule in the press – 4 ready to wear and 2 couture collections a year is insane. The fact that fashion is going at a rate that was before unimaginable is indisputable. Technology is marvellous yet dangerous. In the time after Raf announced his departure, Alber Elbaz was fired from Lanvin (to much shock and dismay) and rumours have flown around regarding Hedi Slimane leaving Saint Laurent. I cannot imagine the latter to be true, given that sales are soaring and the brand is perhaps in the best place it has been in a decade (at least, but I don’t know official numbers). For the most part, public perception is positive. Yes, many members of the fashion press are not fans of Hedi for Saint Laurent – Alexander Fury has been vocal about his disdain many a times before – but I think he has done well to create such a strong brand in a short time period. Hedi leaving seems like a bizarre move and I think it would be a decision made by Hedi himself rather than the folks at Saint Laurent – he is a cash cow. I do hope the rumours are proven to be false although I have heard speculation that the next show, which will be held in Los Angeles, is his swan song. Quite frankly, it is a departure that I would be sad about.

Another exit which I think has been overstated by people is Grace Coddington leaving her position as Creative Director of Vogue to become Creative Director at Large. People are reading the headlines saying she is leaving and thinking it means the worst – retirement, no more Grace, no more fantasy – but if you actually read into the articles it is clear to see that Grace will still be very much a part of Vogue, and so she should be. She will retain an office and contribute 4 editorials per year (that means her work is in a third of the issues a year, still a fairly high proportion). On top of this, she is free to explore other projects. That means we could see even more of her work. She could style fashion advertising, she could work with designers, she can do whatever she damn pleases. To summarise, Grace is going but she won’t be gone, so don’t be too upset about it.

Something that I am upset about is my hastiness with clear-outs, also known as great pieces of clothing departing from my wardrobe. As I am moving in the summer, as I said before a gazillion times, I am trying to downsize everything I own. I go through every single item in my wardrobe at least once a month so that by the summer I will hopefully be able to fit all of my possessions worth taking with me in 2 rather large suitcases. It sounds unachievable but it has to be done. If I want to cheat, I could probably leave some stuff behind and take it back with me when I go home after Christmas. Anyway, not the point. In my ruthlessness I have disposed of items which I now regret. Lying in bed last night, mentally planning my outfit for work the next day, I decided on black skinny pants, my black boots (devilishly soft leather ankle boots with a chunky heel that I can walk for miles in from Hobbs, in the sale!), a black top of sorts (that can be figured out in the morning easily as almost every top I own is black), and this fantastic Prince of Wales check blazer from Ralph Lauren. It was an eBay steal. Perfectly fitting with slight padding at the shoulders and a fantastic double breasted shape – so eighties, I know. I got up and began looking through my wardrobe to lay out my outfit for the following morning to then discover that the blazer was gone. As ridiculous as it sounds, I was devastated. I then remembered that I had given it to the local charity shop only a few months earlier, deeming it too Working Girl and deciding that I would never, ever wear it again. Yet now I want it. I intend to go to said charity shop this weekend and buy it back if I can, however I fully expect to be told it is long gone. Even if it didn’t sell in my shop it will be in a random distribution centre somewhere and then sent to a store in a random little town where some lucky sod will buy it and love it and probably not be stupid enough to chuck it out in a mad-clearing frenzy. As if one thing wasn’t enough, I then thought about another one of my clear-out casulaties. A wonderful blouse that I got in the Zara sale a couple of years ago. The print was very Chloe, yet at the time I was at school and almost exclusively wore crop-tops and high waisted jeans (it’s much easier just to fit in, ok) and didn’t have enough forward-thinking skills to realise that it would be a damn good top to have for work. Oh well. It is also gone, a loooooong time ago. Some surburban mother is probably wearing it right now thinking it was such a bargain – “Only £2.89 for this Zara top in Barnardo’s, what a steal!” she will say, “It looks so much more expensive than that” her friend will reply. Goddammit. In the future, I plan to NOT throw things out that I could possibly ever wear again. I also made the mistake of throwing out my sheepskin aviator jacket only for them to make a killing on fashion blogs this winter. FORWARD PLANNING, my new motto.

So far, 2016 has been a year of changes, especially in fashion. But departures always mean leaving one thing behind and going onto the next, hopefully bigger and better. Many designers who have left their roles are proceeding to focus on different projects – Alex Wang left Balenciaga to focus on growing his own brand (god, I really can’t call him Alex like we are friends) and Raf is reportedly focusing on his line – so often leaving things behind is a positive. I can’t help but think of the negatives in situations but often things work out just as they are supposed to. That’s what I hope happens this year, everything turns out just as it was meant to. So far, so good.

15 Looks Nicki Minaj Should Wear From The Spring 2016 Collections

Nicki Minaj is a queen. I truly mean that. I feel like she’s someone whose popularity is continuing to soar and I’m so happy about that. Something that I think has boosted her fame is her image overhaul which began around the time she joined American Idol. She stopped wearing the colourful wigs, wild make-up, and out-there outfits, and toned her look down – natural hair, more “normal” make-up, and a mix of high-end designer and fast-fashion clothes. To put it simply, she had a make-under. Whilst I do miss her old sense of style (it was so fun), I think she looks amazing now. For example, the VMA dress was a killer.

I find it fun to try and predict what Nicki is going to wear next, especially because she attends a few fashion shows nowadays and actually works with a brilliant stylist, Rushka Bergman, to create her red-carpet/event looks. There are a few designers who she clearly favours: the Alexanders (Wang & McQueen), namely. I’ll choose looks from designers I know she likes and also ones which I think she would like to be introduced to. I’m going to pick 15 different designers and select looks from their shows which I think she should wear (yes, I’m totally cheating with this post title). When I did this before, I actually got a couple looks spot-on that she wore. I wonder if the same will happen this time.

Also, on the topic of Nicki, read this NY Times profile – it’s amazing.

Jeremy Scott

Nicki used to wear a lot of Jeremy Scott back in the days when she used to dress more kooky and she still does wear a lot of his designs for Moschino. I think she would look great in this checkerboard cardigan, mixed and matched with this printed bikini. I think this would work great for a music video.

Givenchy

Another brand that Nicki seems to be rather fond of, Givenchy is a show which she actually attended in New York (wearing the designer head-to-toe, naturally). There were quite a few looks which stood out to me and I think would work, depending on the occasion. The first would be the dress which Joan Smalls wore – the black gown with the full skirt and fur – which I think would only be appropriate for a grand red carpet event (Oscars, Grammys, Met Gala) but I’m not sure there’s anything coming up soon that this would suit. The cross-over top and skirt combination that Pooja Mor wore would work well for a more casual event, however it isn’t often that you see Nicki in that type of neckline. Finally, I think that the feathered jacket with the bejewelled top and trousers would look insane. Nicki doesn’t often wear trousers to events but I think this could look great. Conversely, the trousers could easily be swapped out for a black pencil skirt. I’d go for Stuart Weitzman’s Nudist shoes in black with all of these looks.

Zac Posen

I’m not sure that Nicki has even worn a lot of Zac Posen but I wish she would – a ball gown would look fabulous. However, the look that I am going to suggest is the black bandeau strapless dress with the full skirt and slight tiers. I think this would look amazing if she had her hair down in a centre-part, a dark red or wine lip, and pointed black suede heels (Manolo Blahnik or Jimmy Choo perhaps).

Burberry

There’s three different looks that I think could work from the Burberry show. The first is the long dress with the full skirt and sheer panels. I think Nicki would wear this firstly because it has transparent sections and therefore it would show off her insane body, and secondly because she has favoured a fuller skirt in the past. I’d also like to see her wear this black coat with gold details. I think this would work for a casual look (perhaps paired with some items from Fashion Nova, a store that she seems to love nowadays). Finally, I think this short taupe dress would work well. As I said before, she used to wear full skirts quite often and this one reminds me of Alexander McQueen dresses which she has been seen wearing before. I think the details on this are so pretty too.

Moschino

As I said before, Nicki likes Moschino. I think it’s a bit of a throwback to the wild outfits she wore when she was first blowing up. I think she’d buy these two t-shirt dresses because they’re both rather funny (the second being a Chanel-logo parody, another brand she’s fond of), maybe the boots, and also this coat. The coat reminded me of the one she wore for a Casio event in New York back in 2012.

Monique Lhuillier

The only time I can remember Nicki wearing Monique Lhuillier before was at the AMAs a few years ago when she wore the bright yellow gown – it was quite a moment. This look I’ve chosen is more casual than a full-on gown. On the runway it is styled with a white top underneath but I propose we remove that and just have the floral crop-top and skirt instead. This is a look that I really really really want to see her in because I can just imagine it looking so brilliant.

Christian Dior

Now that we know that this is Raf’s final collection for Dior, I feel that Nicki needs to wear something from the collection. I mean, who knows what the next collection will be like or who the hell will be designing it? Maybe the floral set was an omen that I missed – taking it full circle. I chose this simple jacket-dress, reminiscent of the infamous Bar Jacket. Hey, you’ve got to try the classics at least once right? Pair it with some tough looking boots and all will be good. I’m thinking something by Saint Laurent or Giuseppe Zanotti.

Balenciaga

Since I didn’t include any mainline Alexander Wang in this list, I thought I’d better include something from his swan song for Balenciaga. I see that next season will be one of change – will Nicki even wear Balenciaga if it isn’t designed by Wang? I opted for this white look with the shaping around the breasts, because I can only imagine that it would look better on someone with fuller breasts than the model – no offence intended, I’m in the small group too. Louis Vuitton

I went for this pink biker jacket from Nicolas’ latest collection. It reminded me of when Nicki used to be like Barbie. If only she’d go for one of the old Barbie necklaces with it. That would make my life. I can imagine her wearing this casually, perhaps shopping, flying, or the likes (I don’t know how she spends her downtime).

Alexander McQueen

Instead of going for one of the flowery, floaty looks from this show I propose something a little different – my favourite look in fact. Jeans and a top. I can see her going for this entire look to be honest. To make it perfect, I’d like black hair in a bun with a fringe, but that may be too much to ask!

Versace

I loved this season’s Versace. Raquel Zimmerman opened it by stomping down the runway in this khaki blazer which I’d love to see Nicki in. I also really like this dress which Gigi Hadid wore but I fear that it might be too associated with her already for someone else to wear it and nobody really wants a “who wore it better?” moment, so I think Natasha Poly’s could be a close alternative.

Oscar de la Renta

This dress was just so pretty that I couldn’t not include it on this list. I can imagine this with a centre-parted wavy hairstyle and matching lipstick. I know Nicki used to favour Oscar so maybe its time she wore something from the brand again.

Altuzarra

My favourite New York designer’s clothes have never been worn by Nicki as far as I know. That should change. I went for this exotic skin coat because I feel like it is her down to a tee – glamorous and luxurious and so fucking expensive. This would be a great introduction to the brand’s clothing.

Anthony Vaccarello

This dress may be pushing the limits a little in terms of how risque Nicki is willing to dress. However, if she’ll push the boundaries this far I’d be impressed. I loved Vaccarello’s show and this was one of my favourite dresses from it.

Ashish

The first thing I’ll say about this is that I suggest hiking the skirt up over the belly button to make it high waisted. I think that would look better (more flattering) and also show less unnecessary stomach. This is one of the looks that I think she’s least likely to wear, but I’ll include it anyway. Oh, and change the shoes too.

So there’s 15 different designers, a few more looks. You’ll probably have noticed that there’s a few major brands who I’ve left out – Balmain, Alexander Wang, and Chanel are just a few – and the reason for this was rather simple: I couldn’t see any looks that I’d put her in. I can guarantee that she’ll wear quite a few pieces from Balmain (she always does), maybe something from T by Alexander Wang or a custom modified runway piece (I couldn’t see any straight-off-the-runway that I’d put her in), and she’ll buy a few bags and maybe shoes from Chanel.

Is there a glaringly obvious look you think I’ve missed? Let me know. Apart from that, I’m fairly confident in my choices. I hope she wears at least one. Ruskha, it’s over to you now.

Raf Simons by Cathy Horyn

Like the rest of you, I was rather devastated when I heard that Raf was leaving Dior. I had only recently come around to him at the brand and ever since I was enjoying looking back at his past work and loving the present. The announcement came a few weeks ago now, he cited “personal reasons”, and speculation about the relentless pace of the industry has been flying around ever since.

Fall 2012 Couture
Fall 2012 Couture

I was upset to find out that Raf had left. My jaw literally dropped when I got the email blast from every newsletter I’m signed up to because I just wasn’t expecting it. How could you leave Dior? The same thing happened when I realised that Alber Elbaz had been dismissed from Lanvin. It was too much drama in one week. However, in retrospect, Raf’s departure is actually less surprising. If you’ve seen the documentary Dior and I, you will see him struggling with the 8-week time frame which he is given to produce his debut couture collection. Since then, it has only gotten quicker. 6 shows a year. You’d think that would be 2 months on each collection, but he said it has been even less. In the interview, he said the time scale was three to five weeks. How is that even possible? How would one continue to come up with fresh ideas and develop them so quickly? I just don’t understand how it would work. What if you get creative block? Won’t you just get burned out? Maybe that’s what Raf realised – it is not sustainable. Preserve your creativity and work at a slower pace. What is next for Raf, we don’t know. However, I can only hope he is back in womenswear soon. Maybe this time he can do it on his own terms.

Spring 2016. Full circle?
Spring 2016. Full circle?

Finally, a thorough interview on the subject with Cathy Horyn has been released. Read it on Business of Fashion – here. However, this is not the full piece. To read this you need to buy the AW15 edition of System magazine which usually retails for around £10. I’d like to get my hands on it but I can never find it in newsagents around me. Sometimes they have it at the airport or in a bookshop though.

Paris Fashion Week Highlights – Spring 2016

Can you believe that fashion month is over? I feel like it has gone simultaneously too fast and too slow. There’s some shows which I’ve been desperate to see for weeks and now that I’ve finally seen them I feel relieved. On the other hand, everything is a blur. I remember New York, I remember a few shows in Milan, I don’t remember London at all, and now we have Paris.

I’ve learned a couple of things this fashion month:

  1. The insta-girls don’t bother me. I don’t care that they’re only being used for their social media following. If they look good in the clothes that’s all that matters. I now follow Gigi Hadid and enjoy looking at her posts, even if they do give me extreme hair envy. I like her sister too.
  2. I am open to colour. I know that sounds really ridiculous, but for the past at least two years I’ve stuck to a palette of neutrals. That sounds so boring but I just did. For a while it was literally just black and denim. Now that I’m seeing some beautiful shades of pink and orange on the runways I want to wear them myself – take this beautiful watermelon at Alexis Mabille as a perfect example. I suppose you’ve got to look more vibrant in the summertime!
  3. Ruffles are destined to stay.
  4. Alexander Wang seems like oodles of fun. His final walk (or should I say hop-skip-and-jump) at Balenciaga was so playful and funny. I love when people are genuinely excited to do what they do.
  5. And finally, Paris is always a good idea. (But we knew that already, right?)

VIONNET

Vionnet is a historic house is often forgotten about when you think of the big names – Dior, Lanvin, Jean Patou, Chanel – and the reason for this is that they haven’t had a “big name” designer at the helm. That is until now, as Hussein Chalayan has been added to the team. He already designed their demi-couture as of the beginning of 2014, but now he also works on the ready-to-wear. The house itself has been bought by different owners a few times over the years. Madame Vionnet is the designer who was famed for the bias cut, a new body-clinging shape, that changed fashion in the 1920s, and that John Galliano reintroduced in the 90s. I think this collection was perhaps prettier than any that Elie Saab has ever done. There was a good mix of floaty and form-fitting gowns, and the show was full of red carpet looks that I cannot wait to see come awards season. There were some looks where I thought “that could be Balmain” or “that could be Saab”, but all of them had a slight edge which separated them from other designers. Soft and ethereal sum it up.

CHANEL

Of course this is a predictable entry on my list, but how could you fail to include it? Just when I thought Raf had the best set of fashion month at Dior, Karl did the airport terminal. Now an airport is perhaps my least favourite place to be – I only like duty free shopping and that’s all – but Karl made the mundane interesting. I thought it was funny how this was the second to last day of fashion month and flying home was probably the first thing on everybody’s mind – Karl, you tease! As always, there were a gazillion looks, many of which were repetitive, but you know that’s what the Chanel customer wants – a version which will suit her (and you have to remember that the customers are of all ages). I felt a bit overwhelmed when I first seen the collection because there was just so much, so many patterns, so many different fabrics but when I looked at each outfit individually I found elements which I really liked (not in every look but often there was a nice top with ugly trousers and vice versa). I really look forward to the Chanel pre-fall show and the film which will accompany it.

CHRISTIAN DIOR

Watching Dior and I gave me a real appreciation for Raf Simons that I didn’t really have before. Ever since, I’ve enjoyed seeing his collections. The set of this show was similar to his original couture set (the walls of flowers), except he took it a step further and built the entire dome out of it – I seen the most incredible gif-set on Tumblr of the set getting made up. I enjoyed seeing lots of simple daywear and, of course, beautifully tailored jackets, most with a nipped in waist reminiscent of the bar jacket but softer. There were some interesting, almost bubbled shoulders on jumpers and tops and sweet scalloped hems. Nothing revolutionary, no, but does all fashion need to change the world or should it simply clothe us?

And the rest…

I loved the rings and hoops on the skirts and dresses at Anthony Vaccarello. They somehow managed to avoid looking Pretty Woman-esque. The show got progressively better as it went on. The looks with the jeans were the best, in my opinion, and Camille Hurel looked insanely stunning wearing them. As terrible as it sounds, I hope Zara copy this collection.

This season’s collection was the first Galliano for Maison Margiela that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed. I know there’s only been a few but I didn’t adore the rest. I liked the little touches of leopard print on the collars and there was a beautiful bodice on this navy top (it reminds me of something from medieval times, but in a wearable manner). The commercial pieces seemed to be at the start of the show with it becoming progressively less sellable, more collectors items by the end.

I find it quite sad that Kim Kardashian’s lack of attendance at Balmain was so widely commented on – she does not make the show. Once again, another collection by Olivier full of the silhouettes that he is working hard to make his own. You can tell when something is Balmain now, thanks to the huge social media presence of the brand on celebrities. I loved the cross over tops that have been prominent for the past couple of seasons, like this one or this one. The ruffled skirts were a little too flamenco for my liking. Judging by the hype around Balmain as a brand, the H&M collaboration will be a fast sell-out.

Mary Kate and Ashley certainly have a clear vision of their woman at The Row. I really do like the brand but I sometimes feel that there’s just too much fabric and the model is drowning in it. However, I loved these two looks – x, and the suit on the left, y.

The water-soluble paper dresses at Chalayan were insane. He knows how to create a memorable moment. This is one that will go down in history, just like his table dress from 2000. The moment is best enjoyed in video. A lot of the collection was rather nice too (lots of wearable pieces) but I think this just took the entire focus.

I thought this outfit at Paco Rabanne was cool. The trousers are marbled so subtly that upon first glance you might not even notice.

Alexander Fury best described Celine in his review for The Independent. He said it was “utility” in the sense that Philo was interested in making clothes that had a function in daily life. I don’t think I can say it any better because that’s exactly what it was. I adore this coat with the randomly placed buttons and also this jacket (I don’t think the full runway look would work in real life.

Martin Grant had great minimalist, clean shapes but there were some interesting twists. For example, the piping on this coat, the brushstroke/animal print pattern on this skirt, and the glittery feathers on this coat. I can imagine a lot of this collection will be in Harvey Nichols come spring.

I liked the ruffles on this one dress at Lanvin. I think they were done in a way that didn’t make them seem uber-girly, if that’s possible.

The fur stoles at Miu Miu are something I hope catch on, but maybe for the cold weather until April as opposed to in a summer collection (if they haven’t already). I hope to find an emerald green one soon.

Sarah Burton’s Alexander McQueen has never been my favourite show in Paris, but I did like quite a few looks from this collection. For one, I loved the jeans – something that you’d never expect in her show. Paired with the denim wedges and this insane top, this was my favourite look.

The scuba look of this skirt and top combo at Nina Ricci reminded me of the deceptive double-faced jersey at Prada last season, as did the colour. However, I liked the look and I think the top would be a good one to have in your wardrobe as it could be dressed up or down.

I really loved the exaggerated full skirts at Maison Rabih Kayrouz, with my favourite looks being this beautiful black dress (seriously black-tie party worthy, not that I’m invited to events like that) and this strappier but not dissimilar dress.

The Hermes collection was almost exactly how I’d like to dress. I think the review on style.com says more about it than I ever could.