The Proenza Schouler Spring 2013 Show

Specifically this dress:

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But also Look 1, and 22, and 29, and 32, and 34 AND 35 AND 36!!!!!!

It starts off.

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And you think you know what you’re in for, you think you know what’s happening, and the first several looks confirm this, there’s a clear vision, and you can see how the path is lain and how it winds, but you can’t. Oh no. You don’t.

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Magic.

Isabel Marant: Forwarding Fall Fashion

Isabel Marant is one of my always favorites: ohh-la-la French incarnate, uber-wearable, ultra-chic.

See what I mean? It's oh so French, oh so cool.

Her Fall 2010 line-up is no exception and highlights to finely-tuned elegance and STYLE some of the best of this fall’s “trends.”1 So here, without further ado, five of the hottest (read: most prevalent) trends for Fall as interpreted by Mlle. Marant.

Faux Fur

PETA must be so pleased that with all the furry on the catwalk, so much of it, though definitely not all of it,2 this time around is fake. The look though is extremely luxurious, sumptuous, and fantastic in the way of literal fantasy. You’ll find stripes not seen on beasts, colors only found in flora,3 and poufs of long-haired pretty.

Skinny jeans and a big ol' crazy fur coat: You need nothing more to be hip as a hellcat. The great thing about this trend is that it's oh-so-easy to find it in a thrift store.

Printed and/or Embellished Pants

Look, jeans and simple black slacks are never going to go out of fashion, but one of the coolest things going on right now on the runways is the reexamination of the pant. The whole harem thing might not appeal to most (as it’s essentially widening the thigh) but this one, I think, can be done to great aplomb.

It’s cool, it’s easy, it brings interest.

Here we've got the great Freja Beha Erichsen rocking the sleek slack in stupendous print. Also, bringing along the bad-ass and highlighting the next trend...

Leather

Another classic redone, leather was everywhere on the runway and if you’re going to get one new piece–or re-imagine any old favorite–this season, I’d suggest it be a bad-ass leather coat. Or splurge on those leather pants you’ve always not-so-secretly wanted.

Sasha Pivovarova (I love her name--so many V's) rocking the wild print and strong shoulder with THE BEST PAIR OF LEATHER PANTS I've ever seen. Covet.

Fall 2010 saw more than just a plethora of leather pants and coats (consistent favorite of rock stars and bikers and their wannabes), but Stella McCartney, Celine, Chloe, and Dior (to name a few) also sent down leather tops, dresses, and skirts.

This is another thrift-able trend. Truly though, I think these Marant pairs are the coolest ever. My birthday is in December, ahem.

Texturize

I’ve spoken of it before, and I will again, but the mix-and-match movement in prints is one of the coolest things happening in fashion and it’s showing up everywhere. In a similar way, we can see how monochromatic makes good with a conscious effort toward mix-it-up materials. Wool, silk, leather, brocade, cotton, linen, knits, sequins, lame: You can keep it sleek and still hold interest by playing around with texture and tone. Mix mattes and shine, sleek and soft, harsh and sheer.

It's all moody greys, but what could be easily dull and tired instead pops thanks to sparkle paired with brushed wool and easy cottons.

Shine On with Metallics and Sequins

Again, this is a trend we’re seeing everywhere right now. Again, this is something of which I have spoken highly in the past. Granted, like so many things in the Industry, metallics are come-again favorite. That doesn’t make the latest incarnations any less chic IMHO.

Yes. Please.

It’s important to KEEP IT SIMPLE, though. Unless you’re going ball gown, keep your gold or glitter down to one key piece, and mix up the rest.

1. I say “trends” with finger-quotes because, let’s face it, these are all modes that arise again and again and again and again. More than trends these are classics. As always, the trick is to play them in a new tune, with a new twist, to make them your own.
2. Seriously. Fur turned up but EVERYWHERE.
3. See Armani, Versace.

Mon Dieu Dior

The inimitable Karlie Kloss in the opening look, all luxe plush purple, all royal huff in puff.

So last week I talked about the other haute couture shows for Fall 2010, and now I get to talk about Dior, the best (in my rarely humble opinion) of the coming season’s line up: John Galliano blows everyone else out of the water with the creativity, execution, breadth and fullness, detail and luxury, and grandeur of this collection. 1

Model Kassia Struss struts in a voluminous, textured, tactile look. I love the pale pastels against the winter white and the holly berry pop of a great red shoe.

First off, let’s talk about the mood, because florals and brights are ubiquitous here, and that’s just not something you see in Fall very often. If ever. However, beyond the gorgeous open-toed heels, these clothes are strangely season-appropriate. That is, the fabrics are lush and thick and heavy.

Can I have this? I love yellow, and this is beautiful. The assymetry is perfectly balanced and organically amorphous, like some fabulous fall orchid, like a phoenix.

But the colors! The bright blossoms! It’s cannily magical and movingly beautiful, like seeing flowers in the snow. Remember when I talked about wearing head to toe gray just to stand out against the crazy color wheel bloom that is Berkeley in spring? This is like that, in reverse, and a million times better.

I love how evocative these clothes are: of springtime renewal and blossoms, and of cozy cold-weather warmth. I love this dress, that pink is creamy perfection.

The styling is incredible, as well, and works with the overall look and mood of the whole show. The make-up is dramatic feminine.

So, so pretty. I want to see someone get married in this.

The easter basket cellophane veils are à propos odd but, again, totally work. Do I recommend a DIY? Well, no, I think wrapping one’s head in plastic is generally a bad idea. But styling in a runway show is maybe the only (on person) element where theatricality is allowed to trump wearability completely. According to me.

This whole show is that Big Reminder you need when the weather is hard and cold, whether literally or figuratively: Spring and beauty will bloom out of the barren darkness. Shabam!

And can we talk for a second about the gloves? Y’all know how much I am loving the jewel-toned, leather, opera-length gloves. This is just one more fabulous, fantastic iteration. Please, sir, can I have another?

Everyone understands your hips aren't actually that big, but they WILL think your waist is that tiny. Haha! I love the mad, dreseed-by-a-five-year-old colors here. Also? I take back what I said before, I want to see someone get married in THIS dress.

1. “Who gives a fuck about an oxford comma?” I do.

This is an iris, yes?

Fall 2010 Couture: Top 10 Dresses

Let it be said, from the get go, that there is no Dior on this list because Dior KICKED IT OUT OF THE PARK this time around.

Everyone else? Kind of ehh, bleh, and really, this is couture? But Dior? Man, oh man. Dior did what couture is meant to do and you should look forward to a post extolling their awesomeness soon.

So yeah, all the other couture showings for fall were, to my mind, a bit of a let down. That is not to say that there were not beautiful, creative looks–because there were–but overall it all seemed rather ready-to-wear and not at all elevated enough for the distinction of haute couture.

These dresses are just run down in alphabetical order by designer. My absolute fave, I think, is Jarrar’s.

I was unimpressed by Alexis Mabille. I loved the trompe l’oeil booby bows, but not the crazy sleeves. I love the pants. Otherwise: meh.

But I do like this dress. Then again, maybe that's just because it reminds me a bit McQueen's last collection. Pretty, and interesting, just the same. I love the falling petals.

I mostly really like, actually, what Armani Prive put out this time. I think that it was a nice follow up to the Spring 2010 showing. That said, very little blew me away.

This was one that did. The color is lovely, if oft used, but the color blocking and silhouette are crazy, creative, and I'm not even sure what's going on here but I love it.

As you can see the silhouettes and styling are very upper crust 1970s. This, I dig.

I also dig this dress. I'm not sure how one sits in it. But this is couture. It all art and no craft, all fashion and no function. And I think the model looks amazing.

Bouchra Jarrar actually brought out a pretty stellar collection of art deco-reminiscent jackets, dresses, and coats.

But this little number was the standout to me. I love, love, love this dress. I want.

Chanel was so-so for me. I don’t know what it is, but Karl is just kind of bugging me lately. I hate the unflattering length on most of these dresses. It’s a cut that does no one any favors. Even the models come off stubby. Also, these sleeves, showing up everywhere in the collection, are awful: similarly unflattering and awkward. I know it’s Chanel and I know he’s La Lagerfeld, but, just, no.

That said, this dress highlights the best of the collection, for me. The ornate embroidery, the opulent colors, the BOOTS! and the interest of silhouette underline what should be done.

Christian Dior: Again, this was a spectacular show. It’ll be getting it’s own post soon.

Elie Saab showed well, with a long line up of lovely, well-crafted, if unimaginative fancy frocks.

I love everything about this dress: the color, the shape, the length. It hangs sweetly and with spunk, the detailing is dynamic, and, again, the color is grand.

That being said, his looks really were beautiful. I had a hard time picking my favorite.

Givenchy offered a tight collection of only ten looks. While the first few are oddly crotchtastic, the mood is elegant and gothic, the detailing divine, and the tone consistent.

This one was my favorite. Though really I recommend looking through them all. The gold ones were also quite breathtaking.

Jean Paul Gaultier was very true to himself, I felt. Playing up the drama and dramatizing the playful, though there wasn’t much here we hadn’t seen before. The palette was dark, the good old fall back for fall.

This I love. Is it leather or sheer plastic? Lovely, sexy dangerous, and just a touch of crazytown. The perfect Gaultier woman.

This one is also seriously killer. One of each, please.

For Valentino’s run, we got 60s mod in the LA hills: one part classic, one part frill. Not much here screamed couture to me. The materials often appeared stiff and I just don’t like that. I did love some of the shorter, Patty Boyd-ish dresses though.

This one was by far my favorite though, for the invisible color, the ballerina-in-a-cage construction, and the imagination of the look.

More to come soon on the couture shows, including Dior. For now though, I hope that you enjoyed my run down of the best dresses. Thank you and please come again.

Privé

It’s a Mixed Up, Mismatched, Hodge Podge, Humble Jumble, Helter Skelter, Wide, Wide, Wild World

Collages may be my favorite art form.

 

Berkeley-based, Etsy seller Elkemay makes original collages and prints. This one is called Fierce Spring and it costs $20.

 

Collage is certainly the only visual art in which I participate.1 (Well, that and maybe Getting Dressed. After all, I do try to throw a little artistry into that daily grind.)

And that is definitely one strong appeal for the art form: its accessibility in regard to participation (if not appreciation). It is, by definition, cutting and pasting. And unlike with painting, sculpture, et al., collage is an easy(ish) visual art for anyone creative. You don’t really need a good hand if you have a good eye.2

 

Oakland-based Etsy artist Hansart makes handmade, one-of-a-kind collage-style cards and prints from found materials. This one is from a set of three titled Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation, and all three collage pieces will run you $75.

 

Really though, ease is not the point. I am constantly and consistently compelled by art and fashion that incorporates collage because there is something  so exemplary of the Zeitgeist about collage. It’s so indicative of Our Times. (It’s also, I think, a really strong metaphor for identity, but that’s a whole other conversation.)

 

This is not to say that collage as an art form is something new. An exhibit showing now at the Met in New York, which I am so pissed to miss, is titled Playing With Pictures: The Art of Victorian Photocollage. Aparently this is how bored housewives used to bide their time and feed their creative spirits. Pretty damn cool.

 

After all, mes amis, this is the Information Age. We are context laden, lousy with allusions and inspirations. And Collages as a species (and with the capital C) seem to be manifestations of this awareness. The images and text used in a single piece can come from anywhere and are almost necessarily anachronistic. They absolutely, by necessity come from multiple sources.

As a concept collages are very Of the Now, is what I mean.

Other Players in the Zeitgeist that are similarly reference-heavy include:

  • Vampire Weekend (who I want to be annoyed by but instead, lately, I can’t stop listening to them).
  • The whole idea of Steam Punk anything.
  • “That’s so meta.”

So what does this have to do with fashion?

 

For the April 2010 issue of W Magazine, Bruce Weber photographed fashion icon Iris Apfel with models Dree Hemingway (granddaughter of Earnest), Guinevere Van Seenus, and Kirsten Owen. Styled by Camilla Nickerson.

 

Well, several things I think. One, fashion in general, and Getting Dressed specifically, can be thought of in similar terms as collage art: the layering of disparate elements, the assumed diversity of source materials, the varied references, all different one from the other, or evocatively similar.

 

Here the stunning Alex Wek mixes and matches for the Financial Times luxury mag, How to Spend It. It is ridiculous that such a thing exists but great photos.

 

Think about this: In only the last ten years, major and minor lines have explicitly referenced looks from the last 200 years. To say nothing of more subtle or oblique references. To say nothing of influences that come from art or film (or whathaveyou).

 

Sasha Pivovarova lounges for photog Craig McDean for the February issue of Interview.

 

And right now, specifically, the move to mix and match prints is pervasive. I mean, check out all this nonsense on the Glamourai blog.

 

We can thank designer Dries Van Noten, in large part, for this Mix It Up trend. Here Frida Gustavsson models a look for Spring/Summer 2010. Dries is stupendous. I love pretty much every single thing he does.

 

What this all means–the mishmash of prints and patterns and pieces, the amalgamation of cues and clues to any number of historical periods, physical locations, political movements, and/or specific peoples–is that our wardrobes are similarly chock-full of content, context, and connotations.

 

The editorial, titled Global Gathering, was styled by Damian Foxe and photographed by Andrew Yee.

 

It also means that, despite the fact that it sometimes seems there isn’t a creative idea left in the universe (the movie based off the musical based off the TV show named after the song, the endless stream of remakes), we have nothing but abundance to inspire us and no boundaries to hedge in how we play them off of each other. Regardless of the mediums in which we work.

And now, for a little added inspiration, see every painting at the MOMA in 2 minutes.

  1. Par exemple, I turned the big, North-facing wall of my small Bordeaux apartment into a collage/mural. It had to be ripped (and I do mean ripped) down before I moved out of that apartment (and kicked the “ex” from my expat life).
  2. I go to this Visionary Collage party every new year (early January) where everyone brings old magazines (and so on) and scissors and creates a piece about what they want for the coming 12 months. It’s awesome.

 

See, how awesome is Karlie in this drool-worthy Dries look?

 

Hansart wrote an amazing little story to go along with “Fashion Guide to Finnish Aviation.” You should totally check it out.

You also need to read the New York Times review of the Playing with Pictures exhibit and check out the accompanying slide show.

For more information on the inimitable Iris Apfel, check out this article from the Peabody Essex Museum or this one from The Boston Globe.

Finally, I urge you too to take a look at the awesomeness that is Dries Van Noten.

All runway images taken from Style.com. All editorial images taken from FashionGoneRogue.com.