London Fashion Week is not normally my favorite fashion week out of the big four. My favorite show always tends to be Topshop, which, as a fast-fashion retailer, is not expected. I think there have been some major losses to London Fashion Week, the same way that New York has experienced an exodus this season, especially with Tom Ford choosing to return to America. His was a show that you could count on for glitz and glamour. Regardless of the losses, there were still a few great shows. Here are my favorite looks!
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.
As life has gotten in the way once again, I’m going to keep this post about London rather brief. Honestly, I have struggled to keep up to date with fashion week this season. We are just about to begin Paris today and the only shows that I’ve seen from Milan have been via Instagram. I really need to sit down and just catch up but I keep finding other things to do. I guess I knew I was going to be busy living in New York (it is the city that never sleeps) but I don’t think I realised quite how busy I would be. I’m not complaining though, life is so much more fun now.
I feel like the whole see-now, buy-now concept has taken over from the actual clothes at fashion week. Most of the hype I’ve seen has been around this idea instead of the actual fashion, but perhaps that is because we are at a rather stagnant period right now. I’m not sure if anything too crazy has been shown throughout fashion month yet but I definitely haven’t heard about anything too out there.
Anyway, see some picks from London below:
Since its inception only a few years ago, I have wondered about the Vogue Fashion Festival. Is it just another money maker trying to trick the public into thinking that they’re going to a fashion show (a la The Clothes Show: Live) or is it something actually worth going to? In the past they’ve secured some fantastic people to be the subject of interviews such as John Galliano so I have always been intrigued. This year, I bought tickets.
I actually think the festival seems to be in its best format yet. You buy a ticket to the specific event you want to see (a talk, a masterclass, a panel etc.) and this ticket gains you access to the entire festival for the day as well as the event you’ve paid for.
I went ahead and bought a ticket to Grace Coddington because I have adored her for years and years. In fact, she is one of the people who make fashion the magical place that it is through her wonderful editorials over the years. Now that she has stepped down from doing Vogue full time I assume she has more time and freedom to participate in events like this. Her session will be led by Lucinda Chambers, Fashion Director of British Vogue, who was formerly Grace’s assistant in days long gone by. I am particularly excited for this talk. I also bought a ticket for the Vetements talk (not featuring Demna but led by Suzy Menkes), you know, in the spirit of learning and whatnot. Then for the Sunday I bought a ticket to see Dolce & Gabbana, led by Alexandra Shulman. I know that’s quite a few but I thought “when in London”, because it isn’t like I’m there very often. Some other key speakers are Alessandro Michele of Gucci (closing the festival on the Sunday), Kim Kardashian (I’m pretty sure her talk sold out quickly), and Alexa Chung and her gang of cool friends – and I’m not going to lie, I kind of like her now. The Future of Fashion series she has been doing on British Vogue’s YouTube channel is incredible.
Anyway, I shall return with an update after I’ve attended to let you know if it was any good/if I’d go back in the future. There are still tickets left to many of the events if you are interested!
I think I touched on this before, but I often don’t understand London fashion. Maybe understand is the wrong word, perhaps I don’t connect with it. You see, my favourite designers all show elsewhere and there’s only a few brands that show in London that I genuinely get excited to see each season. It’s funny because London is a city that I love so much. I visit at least once a year and I never feel out of place yet when it comes to London Fashion Week I feel out of my depth. I feel like I don’t understand the concepts behind a lot of the designs and sometimes I don’t even understand why they made the runway.
London has always been the most “creative” city in terms of design. It is also, historically, the city that supports emerging designers the most with shows like Fashion East and Central Saint Martins supporting young designers who have either just graduated or are just starting their own brands. A few brands have long-standing relationships with the city, Burberry for example, and some truly British brands through and through still show there. Unfortunately Tom Ford, usually one of the highlights of the week, is showing elsewhere – that puts a bit of a damper on things as this is the second season in a row that this has happened.
This is a designer that I usually enjoy in London. I first noticed her a few seasons ago and I think her aesthetic is something that I can relate to. I would wear her clothes. There was a basic colour palette (black, white, camel, red, and khaki) which are all colours that I wear, apart from red. However, this was a really nice shade and the satin made it look expensive. I found there to be a lot of functional clothes in this collection that could be worn by real people, not just models: for example, the double breasted suits, the camel overcoat, jumpers, cut-out bandeau tops, and long skirts. There wasn’t anything crazy or out-there, which works for me, but it was a solid collection that I think will be commercially viable. She only has a few stockists at the moment but they’re big ones – Net-a-porter and Matches Fashion. I feel like this collection could maybe draw in a few more.
I think that Joseph is a discreet brand. They don’t go in-your-face with advertising or gimmicky clothes but just focus on making nice clothes. In my local Harvey Nichols, the Joseph concession seems to be the most frequented and likely one of the most popular. I think the reasons for this are the price point – higher than diffusion lines like T by Alexander Wang and MICHAEL Michael Kors, but lower than the likes of Alexander McQueen and Rick Owens (both are also stocked in the same store) – and also the fact that the clothes fit easily into a working woman’s wardrobe. Think about it, to afford designer clothes you probably need to work and if you need to work, you need work-appropriate clothes – that’s what Joseph provides, but not in a boring way. This collection was more edgy than workwear with high slits, fun twists, and slightly oversized proportions, much of which I think will be simplified for retail. Overall, a strong collection from a consistent brand. I don’t think they need to rely on runway shows for sales.
Burberry is a classic British brand. I adored the show in Los Angeles which re-showcased the FW15 collection and although I didn’t like this one as much, I still liked it a lot more than other shows I’ve seen in London this time around. Burberry always puts on quite a production and I’d say it is the show to be at in London. The focus of this collection seemed to be less on the classic trench coat (and different variations of it) and more on sheer dresses. For coats, duffles seemed to rule. There were lots of gauzy panels and intricate mesh and lace details that all created a different look for each dress. It seemed like a continuation of the LA show in the sense that there were a few dresses of similar shapes – for example, this one from London and this one from LA. Perhaps that continuation is good as it makes a strong and consistent brand image, something that Burberry has worked hard to ensure is intact after the chav-association of the 90s.
And the rest…
Emilia Wickstead produced another collection of pretty pastels, something I don’t love but I think works for the brand. I imagine that this dress will have a red carpet appearance.
How cool is the print on this top at Jean-Pierre Brazanga? I feel like I can see the silhouette of a woman in it. I also really love this entire outfit. It incorporates colour in a way that I could probably manage (I mainly wear black and neutrals).
Roksanda continued with the colourblocking that she is known for this season, however it seemed softer than usual in this skirt, I think due to the fabric choice.
Topshop Unique is a show that I usually enjoy in London because the creative director, Kate Phelan of Vogue, is so good. I really like her overall aesthetic, both for Vogue and Topshop. My favourite look is this blue silky shirt, and I also liked the pale pink embroidered dress that was second from last, although it did remind me a lot of Dolce & Gabbana SS15.
How many of you have been to visit the Alexander McQueen “Savage Beauty” exhibition at the V&A? I visited in the middle of May and it was jam packed. I queued to get in, unexpectedly considering the exhibition had been open for over 2 months. When the exhibition was at the Met in New York, it was the most visited exhibition in the museum’s history and the most popular fashion exhibition in history; I suspect the result will be similar at the V&A.
Now everybody loves Alexander McQueen. In fashion, it’s almost blasphemous to say you don’t. He has an appeal which reaches beyond fashion to the masses. Everybody knows who Alexander McQueen was, or at least they’ve heard the name. There’s even calls for his face to be on the £20 note (although somehow I think he’d hate that). He really is a national treasure.
The first “Savage Beauty” exhibition was shown in New York back in 2011, a little over a year after McQueen’s death, and I think, from what I’ve read, the exhibition shown in London is pretty much the same. It is split up into sections such as “Romantic Naturalism” and “Romantic Exoticism”, and features pieces from all of his collections, starting from his graduate collection at CSM. You even got to see the Kate Moss hologram in real life, and it was maybe my favourite thing from the exhibition.
Unfortunately, I can’t include any photos (I didn’t even try to take any) because they’re pretty strict about that in the V&A. I really hate that, you should always be allowed to take photos. Really, the only way to see the exhibition is to visit yourself. I can tell you that everything I wanted to, and expected to, see was there. The Sarabande dress with the flowers; my favourite pieces from the Plato’s Atlantis collection; loads from Voss, The Widows of Culloden, and It’s Only a Game. Also, the exhibition shop was great too.
My only complaint was how busy it was inside the exhibition (and the aforementioned photo ban). Most time slots were sold out all day, but I thought by 5pm when I went it would be quieter. The volume of people going in at each time wasn’t the problem, more so the volume of people leaving (read: not enough people left). I get that people want to stay and take their time, absorbing everything around them, but there was one room with high ceilings and the walls were filled with dresses, headpieces, and accessories. In the centre of the room was a raised platform with the spray-painted dress that Shalom Harlow wore and there’s a bench all around the base of the platform. I think for optimum viewing of the pieces, you needed to sit down and look up, but of course it was so busy and some people sat there for ages (at least 15 minutes, which doesn’t sound like much but is a long time in the context). Also, I wish I could’ve gotten a better look at the Shalom Harlow dress without practically sitting on someone’s lap.
If you get the chance, definitely go and see the exhibition. It’s really worth a visit, especially because it’s not often you get the chance to see McQueen’s body of work in its almost entirety.
The exhibition runs at the V&A in London until 2nd August 2015. Tickets can be bought here.
PS – I just did a Google Image search for the photos and linked them via url, I think this means the source can be traced.
Now that fashion month has been over for a while, I’ve had time to reflect on everything and really form opinions. You know, taking a second look at things with fresh eyes really helps. Often something that I loved first time around doesn’t move me upon a second glance, and on the contrary, the opposite can happen and something that I hated, I now love, or like at least. So I’ve decided to do this the easy way, and the way that I’m guessing most of you would prefer, and keep it short and sweet. I figure there’s no point in rehashing out the stuff that I, and many other people, have already said, so this is probably going to be in list form. I’m doing 4 categories of “bests” with 4 picks in each of them, hence the title of this post. And just so you know, if I’m picking the best out of each four fashion weeks, Milan was hands-down my favourite. But that was no surprise.
BEST SHOW IN EACH CITY
Since when I’m doing my reviews, I pick out 5 shows that I like the best, it is easy to narrow down from that five into just one. What I did find was that I couldn’t actually remember any shows from London. When I was brainstorming this post, I wrote Altuzarra for New York and MaxMara for Milan, but nothing for London. I actually had to go back and look at my own post. That’s not so good and I think confirms that London’s fashion just doesn’t stick in my mind. That’s not to say that they are short of talented designers, because that’s not true, they just don’t stay in my brain the same way designers from the other cities did. Anyhow, I’m veering off topic.
- NEW YORK – Altuzarra, but Jason Wu comes a very close second
- LONDON – Tom Ford (is this cheating?)
- MILAN – MaxMara
- PARIS – Givenchy
Making New Year’s resolutions is a tradition for people all around the world; breaking them is one too. Every year the same few are made by the millions: lose weight, eat healthier, spend less time on social media. And, obviously, every year they are broken – not just broken but completely forgotten and disregarded by about the 10th of January. I am no stranger to this concept and that is why this year I am writing them on here, as more of a visual record and proof that I have actually made them so that when I forget, I can look at this post. I don’t even recall what my resolution was last year, perhaps exercise more?, because I did nothing about it and made no effort to keep it up. This year, I’m not even going to bother with the common bullshit ones because, let’s face it, I’m not going to join a gym and I’m not a fan of all this clean living, vegetable juices crap: I’m all about the sugar. Instead of making resolutions, I’m going to make goals: things that I want to achieve, be it material or mental, that I feel would make me a happier/better person. And yes, I probably won’t stick to anything that I have posted here so please don’t hold it against me. This is merely an inspirational post, a way of me putting my thoughts to paper.. or internet? Let us begin.
- Stop buying so much online – This is obvious. Online shopping doesn’t feel like real shopping. As you click away and add things to your virtual shopping trolley, the cost could be in Simolean (the currency of The Sims, duuuuuuhhh) for all you care as no paper money is handed over and until the parcel arrives at your door, none of it seems existent. That is until you check your bank statement and realise you spent yet another £60 on crap that you don’t need. With emails coming in daily from various websites enticing you with deals, it is nearly impossible to ignore them and not be sucked in by the perceived great discounts. But really, you’re not saving any money if you don’t need to spend it in the first place. Just click unsubscribe… you can do it.
- Say “yes” more often – This is also obvious. It applies to so many situations but in this case I’m thinking more socially. Even if it’s 9pm and I’m already in my pyjamas, if I get invited out I plan to go. This year in particular will be tough with all of my friends going to university and moving away to various parts of the country, therefore until then I need to make it my mission to see them all as much as possible. That way, when they actually move away, we’ll still have a strong friendship that can survive the distance, however long that is.
- Relax – I am such an uptight person. I am always on the edge and am always thinking about a million different things. I feel like my brain is overflowing with ideas of things I need to do, say, buy, write, and so much more. Even on my day off I am never really switched off. I genuinely have no idea how to. I feel like life is going at such a fast pace yet I feel entirely stuck in the same spot and that I am waiting forever for anything to happen. I need to just realise that at this age, there’s not really much that I can do hence why I need to relax a little bit. I’m unsure how I will do so as I seem to always have myriad worries and so much on my mind. Maybe to get it all out I should start writing things down? Or to relax take a long, hot bath? Meditate? I haven’t quite figured it out yet.
- Take a real holiday – Whenever I go abroad, I am always doing something. Last summer I went to Paris for a week and did a whistle-stop tour of all of the main attractions in just under 2 days and worked for 4. Earlier that year, when I went to London I had a packed itinerary and practically every trip I’ve taken before that has been filled with plans and things that must be done instead of just taking a real holiday. By a real holiday I mean one that provides me with time to relax, maybe lie down by the pool for a while, sightsee at a slow pace, not trying to fit in every single thing to do in that place in a short period of time, having a long lie in the morning even though that could be considered a waste of a day. My dream destination would be somewhere in the south of France, perhaps Nice or Cannes?, or somewhere in Italy (a place that I have always wanted to go). I just need to find somebody to go with and the time to actually do it.
- Buy one nice thing – I want 2015 to be the year where I treat myself to something. I’m working now and although I’m trying to save up as much money as possible to go to college in the States, I feel that I should save up separate money to treat myself to something nice. Whether that be a pair of shoes (Ferragamo or Saint Laurent? Classic styles, of course), a bag (Prada would be the dream or this brilliant Givenchy bag which is also totally over-budget, or even this tote which is more of my price range), or even a really beautiful piece of ready-to-wear (probably Dolce & Gabbana as their brand is my ultimate aesthetic) – I’d say you should look at my Polyvore for a clearer indication of items that I like. If I save up around £1000 to treat myself to something I know I will love for years to come, perhaps it would be worth the monetary cost: especially knowing that I had saved up to buy it myself.
There are so many more things that I want to do, things that I want to achieve, before the year is out but I feel like sharing them would perhaps jinx them. I know that the next few months ahead will be pretty challenging and risky (very much make-or-break), but hopefully by the summer I will have a clearer idea of what is going on. I suppose that is what life is all about, taking risks. If we didn’t, how would we ever learn?
So here is to hoping that 2015 is the best year yet. Hopefully it is the year that everything changes for the better. I don’t expect to be sitting front row at Chanel any time soon or rubbing shoulders with Riccardo Tisci (who is probably my favourite person on Instagram at the moment) but I do hope for more realistic things. I hope that fashion continues to inspire and bring joy to me and others; I hope that my favourite designers continue to produce exquisite collections and that I discover some new ones along the way; finally, I hope for self-improvement in many fields (mainly my writing though as it still not up to scratch). May 2015 be a good year for me and, more importantly, a good year for all of you!