TWENTY DAYS IN NEW YORK CITY

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one must understand that it is equally as important to look back as it is to look ahead. there is a developmental path that is lit when comparing and contrasting mistakes of the past with awareness of the present. there is a continuity that is hidden through trials and struggles that bring about an inner strength. in this space, i have hidden behind beauty, in an effort to manifest that beauty into my real life. the life that seen me working in boring offices, checking fashion forums like a mad man to stay up on runway coverage. this life, that has so dramatically happened away from the sights of recognition has been one of dedication. dedication to an industry that impacts culture most thoroughly. this transition into new york city has lingered for the life of this blog. my first post was a write up about wanting an internship at IMG. i have not taken opportunities to speak on my romantic life, and likely never will in the eyes of the public. my moments of intimacy with individuals has bore struggles and lessons just the same, but the intimacy i share with you in this space is of certain grade. that internship at IMG? turned down because i couldn’t leave my then boyfriend.

there is this recurring theme of sacrifice in my life. it has showed it’s face in the cultivating of elements that have been demonstrated on this blog. so many moments of social life were sacrificed for the content that has been shared here, with you, my dear reader. many occasions where i hit people with the, “oh, i can’t- it’s show season”. through such sacrifice, has come defense of my commitment. this space has lived and thrived for a range of six years; seeing press from corners of milan with dolce and gabbana, to here in the states with icons like kanye west, while being recognized by industry underdogs like ryan leslie. the models featured have become friends of the site, and while the culture seeks change, the horizon is still a long road home. beginning with model identification, spiraling into runway and editorial coverage, soon cutting into more heavy pieces which challenge the cultural mindset; shown has been a truly organic set of range.

when looking at my transition into the city, it seemingly becomes mirrored by the steady structuring of my writing and content here. art imitating life? perhaps. much like the beginnings of the models; you first focus on the way it looks. but, like every great model knows, exterior is influenced by the inner. there has to be a feeling that escapes from that beauty that makes it’s ways to the eye. that is where and when fashion, beauty and art can live forever without expiration. when development, and awareness transcend. while these past twenty days in a new space have brought feelings of the familiar, there is a sense of new that i feel as well. in areas of love, i am still working. in fact, in many areas of my life i am seeking further development.

love brought me to this new transition; it was through encouragement of possibility that i was able to make this move. and it’s my tenacity, and memories of home that will prove triumphant for the next phase of my life here, in this city. i have remained slightly closed off, to maintain preservation. without baring too much, and being exploitive; my worst fear is to be forgotten. and i hope that, in whatever ways i’ve have crossed paths with you, that it has been an experience of beauty, information and emotion. twenty days in, and a few moments of promise. but mere moments are just the surface for what i have come to expect from life, as a whole. i understand that faith requires you to keep fighting, relentlessly. and i thank each and every one of you for standing by my side throughout that fight, to cheer me on and come to my aide on the sidelines.

career, love, finding a place that makes me feel safe- it’s all a process we participate in. i remain very hopeful in love, despite the challenges i’ve faced, through an understanding of what i am worth. i struggle just like you, but we keep going. my fighting spirit has lead me to my dream, and my work is being recognized for exactly what it is- valuable. so many changes, but i feel calm in my spirit. my senses seem to be at their most keen. do i expect that i might get thrown off track a bit in this process? absolutely. but i remain focused; with my sensibility of self being unbreakable. see, many people come to new york lost, looking for something. but i recognize that my roots at home, and the base of supporters that i have, remind me of the ways that i am found. i am not here in new york looking to find myself, i was never lost; i am here to accentuate who i am. to partake in opportunities with like-minded individuals who are worthy competitors and mentors of my big vision. a vision so great that even i cannot see where it ends, nor where it begins. there has been a vivid demonstration of manifestation stemming from the work that i have done here. and that work has lead me, and others around me, to realize that my imagination and capabilities as an artist are not to be fucked with. for all intended purposes, all of this reflection is voiced for you, my audience, who has at times silently supported; even in ways that you were not aware. he gave me the voice, you gave me the platform, and thus my vision and execution of such works have become amplified. beyond doubt exists a greater belief in self.

jeremy is currently a resident of new york city, ny
image shot by curtis bryant

SOUND VS. STYLE: AZEALIA BANKS

azealia banks

a static black backdrop with the hashag #BWET appears on her website as the landing page, leaving you nowhere else to turn. the road to this release for banks has been a long and winding road. after much turmoil though social media, thanks to her reckless mouth; i was beginning to doubt the release would even see the light of day. this day in age, there are many struggles in the music industry; and an artist being signed one day, only to be dropped from the roster the next is not a new concept. azealia banks has been an artist more richly developed in comparison to other respective females in the rap market. and while her musical presence seems all inclusive of house, rap, as well as R&B; what’s more engaging of her style is her presence over complicated production. we’ve already gotten acquainted with the dangerously animated rapper with her internationally acclaimed track, “212″. and with the release of this record came many expectations far and wide. performances at the house of fendi, and a gang of gaga-esque costumes; this journey for azealia, the artist, has been just that, a journey. complete with moments of fleeting as well as retreating emotions.

like many journeys for artists, banks’ own did not come without it’s share of disappointments, re-routing or simple doubt at times. it’s hard to pin marketability on artists nowadays, as the market seems to shift with increasing demands of new music, as artists are faced with the grappling struggle to produce for these accelerated demands, while not tarnishing the art of balancing major label interest with an indie style creative approach. azealia is a leader in more forms than one, and while her image has seen accusations of copycatting, one cannot argue that she is clearly representing many musical formalities that are at the root in new york city culture. from ballroom elements of voguing, to stuttering production that reminds us of our own evolution past the early 2000′s, there is a relentless energy that azealia contains as a young woman and artist. an vivid combination of trill, fashion and intelligent choices by voice, and sound compilation.

with women like nicki minaj on the scene, the rap market for females seems to be widening, but everything is not what is seems. with minaj’s dominance in a varied range of markets from fragrance to apparel; artists like banks seem to cater to the cooler demographic. unlike minaj, banks makes no attempts to appeal to a mass audience like nicki. in fact, her approach is a clear reminder of her independent roots. there is an unapologetic enigma that bleeds from the lyrics, that runs rampant on the production and slaughters the stage every time she is booked. explosive with energy, banks really represents a new and different grade of artistic approach. an artist who is able to make mistakes in the public eye, but to still contain a powerful and persistent approach to evolution in writing. layered vocals, and interesting choices liter her major label debut. and while i have had my doubts with the possibilities of this release, banks is no stranger demands and putting out content. mixtape after mixtape, she has been killing it; and raising the bar every step of the way.

her extensive projects on the mixtape circuit in just about every corner of the internet had so many of us fans wondering how much longer we’d have to wait until we’d hear the final, glossy and sparkly finished product. new york is the best way to describe the album. a varied set of influences that is so uniquely american. there is a international appeal that resonates with the endless cool of that london musical scene, but still- it’s accentuated by a true american spirit. it’s american like the internet. and this is the ground where azalea breaks most powerfully. whether a release on soundcloud, or a viral record that has surged the internet for several years, the album is a true trophy of achievement, not just for banks, but for us fans who have remained both dedicated and hopeful that her artistic expression would be seen on a larger platform. the expression? perfect. and most powerfully to true fans of banks’ music, for sure. you know i don’t take opportunities to make any marks of disapproval in my style vs. sound series; instead, i leave it for you to interpret. whether you love her or hate her, one must- absolutely must respect the hustle. to respect that hustle means to acknowledge the level of growth that azealia has displayed while remaining so beautifully true to her own sonic aesthetic. and this cover? flawless in such emblematic form. it’s genius, even the title, “broke with expensive taste” blends a mantra of my generation in a soft, yet violent way.

this is an installment of the sound vs. style music feature series
purchase #brokewithexpensivetaste via itunes

click here to view past artists featured

THE LIFE & LEGACY OF OSCAR DE LA RENTA

de la renta

the only thing more impactful than the life of oscar de la renta is that of his legacy. a representation of the american dream, de la renta was born in the dominican republic’s santo domingo. a classic tale of art into design, de la renta studied art in spain, which soon spun into an apprenticeship. during his development as a designer, de la renta was mentored by cristobal balenciaga, yes, of the balenciaga. this mentoring relationship soon led de la renta to an assisting gig at the house of lanvin, alongside antonio del castillo. castillo was spanish costume designer who, alongside pierre balmain, balenciaga and christian dior, was considered among the design elite. castillo helped to relaunch the house of lanvin, and with de la renta by his side, this helped drive that mission home. the classical appeal, and internationally influenced design sense of de la renta began to develop further through the cultivation of such relationships, in the glittering industry of fashion.

in the 60′s, during the vogue editor-in-chief tenure of the legendary diana vreeland; oscar went to seek her advice about career and take over. to which, vreeland suggested he segue into ready-to-wear. with de la renta’s background in assisting and being mentored by design legends in europe, the american market was his next big footing. a footing which would become his home for the next lifetime of his career. working with elizabeth arden, de la renta was able to solidify his place in fashion, and soon opened his own namesake label which was established in 1965. during his life in style, oscar was a first of many firsts. he was internationally known for dressing jacqueline kennedy, the ultimate style seal of approval in the world of high end society. he became the first dominican to ever design for a french fashion house, as the head of the haute couture atelier at the house of balmain from 1993-2002. no doubt, his development put him ahead, and his masterful skills of networking all helped to etch his name into fashion history. but while all of these developments did assist in making such marks of indelibility; the true sense of impact for the designer was his own namesake label’s rich sense of consistency. to his credit, de la renta has enjoyed 50 years in fashion.

with an arsenal of fashion and style accolades to his credit, the 82 year old designer is definitely amongst the iconic and heroic as representatives of beauty. with unstoppable forces of design in areas including bridal, ready-to-wear, accessories, fragrance and home collections- the name of de la renta, privately owned, will continue to flourish as the real meaning of what de la renta’s legacy will be. quite the shake up for fashion, one does have to wonder what will happen next for the house. no greater sense of loss can even begin to describe my own sentiments on recieving this news yesterday, but it is with a full heart backed by fact that i say to you, that oscar de la renta will always be an icon in the world of fashion. not from a mere sense of luxury, but for what he has allowed individuals of color to pursue in design.

visit oscardelarenta.com for the latest collections
by the empire label of american society

ACT OF CONTRITION: THE RETURN OF GALLIANO

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in the fashion industry, there are no guarantees. the now cliched line from the now sub-par reality tv show project runway states the truth, though rather in articulately. “one day you’re in, the next day you’re out.” in this statement alone, one would think it’s that simple. that there are no explanations, that there are no layers to peel back. all false. there are calculated moves that happen in fashion, and in many image driven industries. beyond that, there are some things that simply cannot be calculated. beyond publicity and closer to the backroom discussions of fashion politics and executive board meetings comes the real truths. those truths are almost as ruthless and unforgiving as a casting agent overlooking a model who missed her call time.

but as fashion becomes less about creativity, and more about the monetizing of style; what is there left to say of galliano. a celebrated return for an undoubtedly talented artist. an artist of design, of beauty and of vision. but with all things balanced, one has to question. does the root of such great design come a lacking formulation of structure? of beauty, is there not an equally sinister, ugly side? does that vision seem short sighted by way of lacking the ability to see ahead to the consequences of one’s actions. while fashion continues to push boundaries of color lines with model castings, does the inclusion of one figure seemingly push all these efforts three steps back instead of encouraging progression?

it was announced today that john galliano, previously ousted creative director of christian dior, is not set to take the helm at maison martin margiela. no doubt a qualified candidate through proven skill, if even only looking at his work at dior. but this move seemingly attempts to remove margiela from it’s own DNA of anonymity. for several years, many have questioned even the existence of an actual creative direction, that’s how severly the house was shrouded in mystery. galliano is the type of designer that demands all forms of drama, in press and in design. his succession into dior was orchestrated with the help of anna wintour. and while there has been a long cooling off period for the designer, is now the right time?

they say there is no better time than the present, which may be true. but they also say that some things take time- and in using such phrases to annotate circumstantial periods of career, celebrity and impactful works of art in the world, i’d say it’s a case-by-case type of thing. anti-semitism is almost an end all, be all. this is not a topic that we haven’t covered before. but with galliano’s announced return. the celebration seems tainted. it’s almost like a holding period of sorts. this opportunity is the equivalent of a house arrest, or probation- like a criminal, you kind of wait to monitor such progress but with limited access. all in all, i won’t take this as an opportunity to school you on the history of margiela, or the history of galliano. but i will cite this as an opportunity to set the marker. with his design debut for the house scheduled for january, this post will be one in a series which will catalog galliano’s steps from here, to the course in which notable events may lead.

explore the jeremydante.com archives
for past works on galliano

LIFE IN STYLE

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new york city is a terrain known for it’s dashing models. scattered amongst the crowd, that off-runway glamour. the tossled hair, or slightly undone men’s dress shirt with that fresh make-up. but there are real people there too, that are not fashionable, that don’t care about style. some maybe care too much about it. there’s a way that style is effortless. there is a certain air of casual-ity about real style. a way that is organic, thoroughly developed and strikingly individualized. these bouts of style change from person to person. a large aspect of style has a great deal to do with function. how to look good while living, and being able to function during day-to-day activities. in thinking of style every day and steadily as i grow, i’ve long channeled sentiments of awareness of self. in this, the idea of fashion seems so narrow.

i’ve worked to develop a style for myself, which began with a collection of references. this compilation of such references, some digital and some mental, started many years ago. i would sit with magazines and create collages, as well as save clippings, memorize promo art for musicians and think about stage performances. i think most great moments of capitalization in style start with a great reference. whether a film, or a song, a music video you’ve seen or an expertly angled street style image- which basically rules the internet in this age. to understand style, is to understand a personality, a person’s true sense of character. we see the beloved fable of cinderella; beautiful girl with potential becomes a vision realized but only with the help of a fairy godmother, who acts as a stylist. she ends up giving ol’ cindy her life, complete with a new attitude and glass kicks. these themes play out in many other aspects of film and/or television. shows like ‘sex and the city’, films like ‘the princess diaries’ or ‘the devil wears prada’ or even before that, ‘pretty woman’. perpetrating style in these ways gives off the idea that- it’s just an outfit. or it’s just a look, a change in hair color or a plucked brow. it’s about bringing out what’s already there, and pronouncing it. there are so many more complex ways to highlight someone’s inner qualities, but those inner workings need to exist before an exterior can be polished enough to drive that point home.

not to say that there aren’t exceptions to that type of pairing- inner and outer beauty. for the past few months, i’ve thought about inner beauty and myself. existing in a moment where there is an extended form of scrutiny, jealousy and even violent forms of rejection- exists me. in this overly stylized way, i feel as though I’m unfairly judged on the basis that i put so much into certain visual components of who i am. these components stretch far beyond the limitations of digital life and are blasted outside of the world we know as the internet. on several occasions, i’ve been told, “you’re real? i didn’t think you existed outside of the internet” or “it’s nice to meet you outside of the internet”. is there a certain intentional nature about the ways that i am closed off? absolutely. that closed off nature is often times seen as maintained exclusivity, but as an artist- it’s about preservation. there is an objective view that i am able to maintain existing outside of the worlds that i speak of. there is a lost nature that exists within those places, where darkness lurks and validation pends amidst expectations that thrive on unrealistic beauty in a real ass way. i know me. thus, all the beautiful exterior only becomes more necessary. the interior matches the exterior. it’s about an experience. i’ve been lucky enough to receive reminders from the most beautiful corners of emotion in the past few months. these have reminded me of my own value in a time where i began to lose focus. and even if these moments are a distant memory, not something that will remain, i intend to look back and be reminded of all the ways that i transcend exterior beauty and resonate more greatly from within.

there are a plethora of ways to showcase style, or individualization of taste, through aspects of social media. everything is image driven. there is a reason why this space is clean, or that the logo has certain spacing to evoke more modernity. there is a reason that my tumblr photos cascade from gray scaled selections to bold colors, and my instagram mimics the same visual association in palette. it’s all style. style is about making who you are visible through use of function and clothing- but not limited to just that. style is evoked in the way someone’s presence is memorable, unforgettable. the largest compliment, for me, is when someone loves what i’ve selected for them, from a styling perspective. they show gratitude with this epiphany of a discovery. it’s that, “why didn’t i think of that?” type of reaction. there is a way to scale it back, while raising the bar. whether those choices are seen in the option of using denim to evoke classicism, or opting for a long sleeve shirt as oppose to a short sleeve shirt to exaggerate lines and the toning of one’s arms- it’s all very calculated in a way that is minimal but poignant. in the last few months, i’ve thought about these concepts in my collaborative relationships, and really have generated an aroused sensibility of style in this new way that is refreshing, but in this familiar way. familiar enough to excite me and keep me there.

and for the reminders i’ve received, i’ve looked for ways to contribute greater senses of style. picking things that i felt would impact the situation in a way that will linger. as a life of style, you have to think- what will this legacy be? what will remain when all is said and done. people know me for my fragrance. they state that they know I’m in the building because they smell my scent. in this exists my hope for my legacy. to have a lingering beauty that is thorough enough to be unforgettable. to be remembered through phrases and faces. my own face, which has been emblazoned on just about every avenue where i am on the internet. there is an aptitude i’ve demonstrated through branding that i feel has a stronger, lingering impact on things. i always fear that i wasn’t enough. that it could’ve been stronger, louder, more vivid. but then I’m reminded, in these subtle ways, by the universe, through elements pieced together by god, that I’m doing okay. that i am memorable because I’m a good memory. i thought of him, as i picked his jean jacket, or his denim shirt, his heavy knit blue sweater or those sneakers, and that military duffle bag. how handsome he looks in his black long sleeve shirt. he expressed a love for the items as each was received. while i hoped that his love for the materials were mirrored in the ways he felt for me, much like style development, that too is a process. i hope to be remember like his now favorite jean jacket. the more you wear it, the better it looks. better when worn. transcendent, the heart i put into style is not to be trivialized or misunderstood. undervalued or discounted is not how i will be remembered because i stress quality in all the things i’ve done. from what i’ve said- all my text messages, the songs i’ve referenced, the songs i’ve played in my car, the glimmer from the blue interior lighting that cascades against my leather interior the nights we went to look at the stars.

there is a strange duality that i feel about style. where it’s like the lessons of style are also playing out as the lessons of my life. to scale it back, to retreat to simplicity. to keep clean, and to remove clutter. style reminds me to be thoughtful, and style to me is really a gift. there is a trust in style, and the ways that i’ve styled or accentuated people in the last few months can only come from a place of love. there is a marination process that i’ve had with both style development and in emotions. my emotions run just as deep as my imagination because that is what sources my hope for love. my love of self is seen in the ways i represent myself. that representation then seeps over into the ways that i interact with others, and the care that i show for those i love. that love for others in turn becomes an extension of who i am, connecting me to all who i choose to share energy with. i keep few in my mind, and even fewer in my heart. but when i keep you in my heart, forever you’ll stay. protected from all things impure. this love that i give is like denim, one of the most durable textiles to be used. it’s a classic textile that has no need to rely on trendy marketing, it’s tried and true. american roots with international influence. beautifully strong. blue, but worn with clean crop edges of white which give it both history and added beauty. dimension is seen here and even torn, it’s still chic. built to last and even be turned into something new through such destruction. some things last forever.

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my fascination with editorial

THE TOP SPRING 2015 WOMENSWEAR COLLECTIONS

in looking to compile a listing of the top five collections for each of the fashion capitals a bit of my attention began to stutter with the lack of what i seen from london. for that very reason, i decided to do a full scale report, as i did this season with couture. in this form of content management, all my opinions on the season as a whole are all contained in one go-to post. in no particular order, these were my top selections for the 2015 spring womenswear show season. a constant battle of those sophisticated and the sexy, the subtle and the powerful- this season’s report was narrowed to a tight ten collections. those collections are as follows:

versus versace SS15VERSUS VERSACE usually the power of the versace label is not seen in it’s sister collection, but this season- all the strength went to versus. designed this season by anthony vacarello, the versace woman was once more resurrected. there’s this on again, off again love that have for the house of versace. there is a certain characteristic that each fashion house contains, these women that they create. of the many fashion houses, there is no fashion house like that of versace. the versace woman is powerful, daring, dangerously sexy and unapologetic in her delivery of said message. vacarello brought his own aesthetic to the existing versace structuring of style in a way that was almost like a match made in heaven. a palette predominantly of black, with inclusion of white, some prints and gold- this was surprisingly sophisticated in this very sexy way. often times, designers push the envelope with hemlines and vacarello has definitely had his share of revealing cuts, but this collection was powerfully balanced in way that was so respectful of the versace brand history of the past and present. donatella has crafted the return of versus in a smart way that showcases young talent, while exposing an aspect of her fashion house to a new generation of consumers in a very young way. donatella’s managing of the house is remarkably strategic, as the label continues to remain relevant on the backs of rappers, and pop stars; an aspect of celebrity which the house of versace first utilized before many others, on a higher level. in compiling a top ten collection list, this had to be included.

opening ceremony SS15OPENING CEREMONY strong graphics, sleek lines and likely one of the most modern sets by the design duo of opening ceremony, thus far. there is a certain mathematical element that i felt from this collection, the use of geometric patterns, the balance of solids and print. there is a new american style that is progressive in it’s use of minimalism, which was a large part of this collection. and then there were these maximal elements that were blended together in this really inspired way. modesty in a way that is attractive to the baby boomer consumer, where the money is. but then there is still a youthful cool factor which draws in this developing customer, who is still building a career to finance such a wardrobe. smart. that’s how this collection felt, but in this super developed way that i haven’t always seen from opening ceremony. there is a development of design in this collection that brings the appeal of the label to a global scale. there is an air of internationality felt in this collection. in the collection imagery, was an interesting cast of actors, alongside some of our favorite girls like grace mahary, karlie kloss and bette adewole. menswear pieces were included in the set while an interesting balance of color was seen  as well. carol lim and humberto leon did an incredible job with this collection, even presented off-runway, one of strongest design sets this season. it’s always interesting to see how strongly collections develop after designers take on an international design endeavor, the work that the duo has done at kenzo is visibly influencing their work at opening ceremony.

victoria beckham SS15VICTORIA BECKHAM elongated silhouettes were the call of style this season at victoria beckham. interestingly enough her most reputable role in her career, aside from designer or footballer wife, was her gig as posh spice. during the reign of the pop group, victoria was known for her short hem lines and sleek, high end style. a woman who knows what women want, victoria has strongly created a presence as a serious fashion designer who has her finger on the pulse of whats next. this collection seemed to draw back from femininity. but even in drawing back, the collection still remained feminine enough to bring about the feel of victoria beckham. what i love most about the collection is it’s differentiation from all the body conscious designs that we’ve seen in her archives. streamlined in palette with soft tones and the standard of black with uses of maroon for contrast, as well as yellow and pink- the collection didn’t rely on any gimmicks or shock value of any form or fashion. again, there was a seriousness about the collection, a seriousness i have long loved of victoria beckham, in her public façade. i loved the outerwear, and really appreciate the continuity of cleanliness in the collections use of lines. there was also a good balance of heaviness and lightness, enough to transition your wardrobe from one season to the next. the collection didn’t lean too far left or right, and was done in this very particular way that felt soft and powerful in this very magical way. there is a true sense of development seen here and victoria beckham continues to surprise both critics and fashion consumers alike with her approach, and her undeniably genius presentation of design and style. the label and collection both feel very individual; the collections with each season, see beckham’s sensibility getting sharper.

gareth pugh SS15GARETH PUGH a clear cut standout amongst any grouping of style genre, the spring collection by gareth pugh is one of strength. i think all of the selections from this season represent strength. there is a subtlety and this balance that i look for, an all encompassing approach to style. the women in the collections are stern, and concentrated. the collection palettes are controlled, there is an emphasis placed on weight; whether lighten or heaviness. this collection from pugh, much like many others from the past really allow for both sides to be represented. there is an evolution from the strict goth, or conceptual approach to be represented. with spring, one would assume that a lightness would come into play. and the use of flowers in this collection helped to aide that direction even further. a range of looks that were presented allowed for the collection to cover a number of bases that will allow the collection to touch just about every corner of the market. there were those conceptual prices that allow the true pugh fans to be satisfied, while there were more functional pieces. of the functional looks, i loved the intricate construction elements of outerwear. shown in paris, the collection followed it’s normal presentation style debut. the collection images have no comparison to the presentation, but even as still images, you feel the creative energy of the collection. an inspiring youth of design, pugh continues to dominate as one of the most innovative designers in all of fashion, with no others serving as proper competition for what his mind manages to create.

alexander wang SS15 ALEXANDER WANG the biggest star on the new york fashion scene, since marc jacobs, alexander wang continues his strive of dominance this season. another powerful collection that blends well with his menswear aesthetic for the spring season, the wang collections always include an air of athleticism. bold shots of color seemed to communicate the seasonal climate of spring, and the intricacies of garment construction raised the bar that much more for wang. while there does appear to be some influence from the work wang has developed at the house of balenciaga, this collection seemed stronger of the two. overall, wang continues to display this remarkable sense for what is next. but he blends this approach with tried and true style elements that bring about a familiarity. it’s intelligent in this very american way. american in that, it’s a culmination of varied elements. there is a blending of high and low, even when looking at the bigger picture of wang as an empire line, including his works for T by alexander wang, and also baring in mind his coming collaboration with H&M, it’s very inspiring. in the same ways that supermodels display versatility in a number of markets, wang has seemed to become this super designer in a way. this feat could not have been possible in any other era other than today, with utilization of marketing and social media. wang represents a new class of designer, one that is aware of markets, street style and design dominance. and like any great designer, his collections convey that message very clearly. a true star in fashion.

tom ford SS15TOM FORD i’ve been on the fence with the tom ford designs of the past few seasons. since his return to womenswear i haven’t been as certain about what this would mean. being a huge fan of his work at the house of gucci, by default, i sort of expected a resurgence of such an aesthetic. for the models to appear smoldering, mostly clad in black, with this undeniable attitude of sexual prowess. but i didn’t get that. it was this really acquired taste of high glamour that was, for me, often times too over the top, or slightly camp. but this collection seemed to tap into that old era for ford. with saint laurent toting the rock star aesthetic to high heaven, it seems as though ford is making a statement in that same lane. i loved the collections sequencing, and obviously loved the darker palette notes. I’m not a huge fan  of metallics but understand the need to compete, especially with saint laurent. there was a very rock star feel about this collection as the looks progressed through to the close of the runway show. though the collection did bring about memories of ford’s gucci era, the collection also utilized more modernized cuts, that didn’t seem as flattering to me. there was a concentration of the bust of many of the collections dresses, that felt a little too provocative, and in some ways tasteless. i will say though, ford is a design legend, and i wouldn’t be surprised to see other collections follow suit in the seasons to come. all in all, the collection was one of the season’s best. mainly because i favor ford’s darker aesthetic. i fully anticipate a heavy campaign that’s just as dark.

louis vuitton SS15LOUIS VUITTON another of the most highly anticipated collections of the season, nicholas ghesquiere’s vuitton collection was among the most talked about. its always interesting when there is a shift in high fashion. it initiates this domino effect, and while there was a shake up all across the industry, the last move on the chess board was that of vuitton. ghesquiere debuted his collection for vuitton last march, representing design that was completely free from what he created at the house of balenciaga, where he served as creative director for 15 years. entering further into this new chapter at vuitton, ghesquiere replaced the iconic marc jacobs, who held an intensely successful run at the house for a period of 16 years. the aesthetic for this spring collection played up to the classical appeal of vuitton’s heritage. the power of vuitton is held in it’s accessories sales, which account for a large percentage of the total revenue at the label. with ghesquiere coming on board, you feel a greater focus on the clothes. the accessories will always be the focus, and there were new concepts introduced which were beautifully conceptualized. just the tip of the iceberg, images of the first ghesquiere campaign have also been seen. those fall campaign images exist in the same lane as this collection, there is an retro-future type of feel. a 70′s aesthetic of sorts. overall, the collection wasn’t moving as much as it was attractive. attractive in that, i want to see more, i am curious to see how things develop further. one collection is not enough, two isn’t enough. once ghesquiere has hit his stride with a few collections under his belt, then the judgement and critiques can come. this collection, was fair, though nothing completely unseen, you are starting to see developments of this new era.

balmain SS15BALMAIN there was a fluidity of femininity in the spring balmain collection this season in paris. there was a softer set of silhouettes which i loved and felt was much needed from the house. olivier rousteing has done a tremendous job at revitalizing the label and allowing it to appeal to a whole new generation since he took the helm in 2011. since his positioning at the label, there has been a strong willed focus on structure. a powerful shoulder, strict lines and striking use of female character. there was still the expected use of the structure, but the most beautiful pieces of the collection were soft, and romantic, but still in a powerful way. i am hoping to see more of this direction feed over into next season’s collection, as it was a nice change. there is a balance that is important to remember in design. you have to utilize concepts long enough to burn them into the brand DNA, but in the same token you need to abandon such concepts at the right time to be mindful of versatility. the wheel of fashion is always turning and it seems as though rousteing is very mindful of this. with use of celebrity faces, like rihanna, kim kardashian and the latest being kendall jenner- the balmain label is developing at a good pace in keeping with the modern times of social media and globalized glamour. bold use of color, and structure as one would expect, but again- the moments where you stopped to marvel over the softness were the best moments. diversity in casting, all the more reason to celebrate. a strong collection, and wonderful show of contrast in tone, silhouette and cast.

off-white c/o virgil abloh SS15OFF-WHITE C/O VIRGIL ABLOH one of the most interesting style evolutions of fashion currently is virgil abloh. this collection was one of the strongest standouts this season, for me. the use of print for the, ‘nebraska collection’ borrowed high fashion silhouettes and blended them with street wear-esque use of logos. logos seem to be the basis of abloh’s collections, and rightfully so considering his journey in design. from his pyrex vision, came off-white, which pushes the use of graphics and text to a whole other realm. the collection was genius, and i am actually way more excited about the prospect of seeing a runway show. baring in mind ablaut’s #beentrillboys DJ sets that happen all over the world, i can only imagine the runway soundtracks. the clothes? perfect. but these collections by virgil represent so much more. they take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. distinctively american, virgil has mastered the art of allure. as the creative director of kanye west, there is an all encompassing energy of true lifestyle; from sound to clothing- it’s all so powerful. leaps and bounds from his last collection, i love that the off-white collections are being seen as more serious. with the menswear and womenswear collections now rapidly developing, and buyers like barney’s already on board; what we are seeing here is the start of something major. of all the collections, this is my hands down favorite. riding the wave of minimalism in a way that was beautifully contrasted by high impact graphics- the off-white collections are not to be fucked with. this. is. lifestyle.

francesco scognamiglio SS15FRANCESCO SCOGNAMIGLIO at the close of my show season round up, i wanted to end with something romantic. and the francesco scognamiglio collection is just that. the scognamiglio collections often borrow elements from other labels, and this collection felt similar to some couture we’ve seen from givenchy. the use of sheer was no less beautiful, and the overall collection felt very spring, with use of florals. soft enough to resonate a feel of poetry, but powerful enough to understand the strength in subtlety, scognamiglio is one of my favorites out of milan. put on the map by his associations with madonna, scognamiglio dressed the international pop star on numerous occasions and has also dressed lady gaga. with the two pop stars in the mind, it goes without saying that scognamiglio has a flare for conceptualism. though this season seemed to put that ostentatiousness on the back burner, referring back to what i said about balance for versatility, i loved the softness of the palette and the gently nature in which these concepts were delivered. all in all, the set of collections that i chose for this season seem to venture to and from hardness and softness. there is a balance that i seek in compiling all of my rankings, and while many collections were presented, as time goes on, i find my own eye becoming refined. I’m less responsive to the less impactful, and find my viewpoint being reshaped in ways that see me take a longer look, from a greater distance. the runway is still an aspect of inspiration for me, on a higher playing field, but the globalization of this conversation of style has allowed for fewer labels to move beyond the noise and static of so many people vying for one spot.

view my selections for the top SS15 menswear collections
click image to view collection gallery

THE FALL 2014 COUTURE REPORT

 

each season, i question the relevance of couture. and though i’m one for the glamour, the concepts and the imagination- i also find great importance in wearability and everyday function. real women- that’s what fashion is really about. the couture collections begin with versace, and have since the italian fashion house made it’s way back to the runways of paris with atelier versace. fresh off the runway, the versace collection was inspired by the time period of 1947-1957. dark and appropriately as a fall collection, there were deep purples and use of leather in the collection. always a stunning cast at the house of versace, this season was no different. mariacarla bosocono opened the collection, as late 90′s supermodel stella tennant brought the collection to a close. there was a greater amount of restraint and modesty in this collection, which was nice. the versace collections from ready-to-wear to menswear have been more gimmicky in recent years. i can fuck with theatricality but the label has seemed to try to remain relevant in the mainstream with associations with rappers and especially musical fixtures like nicki minaj. these things do keep a label in the eyes of consumers at a range of levels within the market, but there is a certain grade of style that should be executed. i loved this atelier versace collection and really loved the modernized take on the 40′s and 50′s. donatella is really a master of feminine charm, and this collection was chic and refined with a female sense of mystique. that balance is necessary for their archives, and that almost crass aesthetic that they toss to the masses is definitely, regardless of how i feel about it, a part of the versace brand. it’s that in your face, more-is-more, maximalist approach. all things balanced, loved the concepts of this couture collection.

leaning to my mention of theatricality once more, i still cannot help but think of galliano during show season; especially at the house of dior. old habits die hard, i suppose, but when looking at the dior collections, there is a complete 360 that the house has done. admirable, in trying to refine their aesthetic and draw it back to the original code of the house, the new dior look relies on intricate details seen in construction. while there lacks a sense of drama, in obvious ways, the drama is filled into these collections at a different angle. that angle, from what i have seen and can foresee seems like it may become dulled if worn out for another season. the backdrop of the runway show, though stunning, seems too familiar in comparison to the last three seasons that raf has been at dior. couture is an especially important aspect of the house, and for a fall couture collection- the drama did seem a bit more turned up. there was use of fur, and greater attention to a range of silhouettes. simple dresses with flowing lines were accentuated properly with couture details- duh, that’s what this shit is all about. the white lacquered floors of the runway accented the clothes in a pure way. that’s what the work of raf simons has done for the house of dior- it’s cleaned it up. and though this beauty is visible, i wonder how much longer it will be before this classically sophisticated direction will be traded in for a more modernized take on things. obviously, ready-to-wear is just around the corner, and all eyes are usually on dior in paris, along with the other big labels, like givenchy and louis vuitton. but in the arena of haute couture, dior wins. and almost by default before vuitton does not produce couture, while the house of givenchy has made the conscious decision to opt out of the historically haute tradition.

the usual romanticism was seen at elie saab, again- another house that has no issues with dissing beauty in the droves- it seemed all like something that we’ve seen before. armani privé continued it’s lull in a way that really only makes you feel like it really is time for giorgio himself to retire and for new, young blood to remix the codes of the house. while i respect the legacy of the armani label immensely, i often don’t take the time to speak on what they are doing out of the sheer annoyance of what they are not doing. the progression of the label, in ways that are visible in each and every collection they present is heavily weighed down with stagnancy. it’s almost as if giorgio’s refusal to retire, or clear avoidance of such are all for show- to prove a point. while no valuable points, in the form of design, are even seen. it may be a long shot; but it’s all boring. and then they shoot these excellent advertising campaigns that make the clothes look better than how they were presented on the runway. with giorgio’s comments about the fashion calendar, and his gripes of non-attendance from editors during his shows- with all due respect, it seems as though it’s unnecessary. there is a lack of growth. fashion is a business, and it seems like armani’s point in not retiring is as dull as his collections. it is now beginning to come off as grumpy old man gripes. if there was a concern with the label and it’s relevance through style and design, a plan to re-energize the label would be put in place. speaking to what appeals to me as a fashion consumer and spectator, no one is really checking for armani in the facets of armani exchange, giorgio armani and yes, armani privé. as seen in the collection and mentioned in reviews, it was noticeable that shorter hemlines were intended to appeal to new, younger customers- but those attempts to entice will fall flat. the approach is old, dated and expired. it’s time for the armani label to rise back into relevance through new creative direction. or nah?

in lieu of my mention of what this new direction looks and feels like in these modern days of couture; and yes, you might think that modern and couture is touchy. considering the historical techniques of couture, i think it’s almost just as important if not more important to apply those techniques and weld them with undeniably innovative approaches to silhouette and character. fashion is really about an energy, the clothes can disguise this, accentuate it, balance it or kill it all together. alexandre vauthier has quickly become a master of modernization, and a viable competitor of what such competition looks like. then you have the margiela approach of intentional awkwardness or their fuck-with-the-psyche approach to dressing. the thing about this sense of modernity is that it can also read like a gimmick, as i did mention with the house of versace. modernization, when done the right way should not cheapen, but cool. it should add layers of content instead of stripping them away in a way that makes it more digestible to more people. couture is the unapologetic approach to design- we’re talking hundreds of hours on one garment, for one customer- it’s the lap of luxury that many fail to even touch, much less become aware of. giambattista valli seemed to almost marry the philosophy of design seen at margiela with what we seen at vauthier, as well as at dior. they borrowed the flowered girlies from dior, while fucking with the silhouettes in a way that reminded you of margiela in an intentionally psychological way. then there was the purple fur numbers that incorporated or gave vauthier a run for his money. this is the type of competition worth keeping score for. concepts are only as great as their interpreters and the giambattista valli collection housed and personalized his take on what all the other labels were doing, and have done. perfectly executed in my opinion.

collections that fell flat for me were schiaparelli. a label to watch more closely since they are attempting to revitalize the brand, but perhaps its only because i am not as familiar with the house and their codes. the collection was seemingly animal themed, which again lead me to my pet peeve, no pun intended; for collections that rely on gimmicks to sustain or gain greater traction. it’s difficult to make a way for yourself as a free standing fashion entity, but to be held to an existing legacy and to deal with the pressure of properly reintroducing that level of aesthetic to a set of future and present day consumers who almost always lack a sense of understanding and information must be a challenge. while i am holding out on forming a real opinion before a few seasons are under marco zanini’s belt, i will say- i am not a fan of such a design direction. modern, yes- not cheap. and these concepts felt that way to me. granted, construction could’ve been on-fucking-point, the visual was just not desirable to my eye that seeks and gravitates towards beauty. unnecessarily resorting to gimmicks as well, was viktor & rolf, with a fleet of red velvet looks. which i hated. understanding that the fashion design duo are more avant garde, this just wasn’t pretty, nor did it embody the attitude of couture. this could’ve been something really strong and great, but instead- if seemed like a joke.

the house of chanel is king, and alongside it was valentino as it’s queen equivalent. the juggernaut of a house, chanel took inspiration from architecture of le corbusier, while valentino referenced the 19th century. both collections contained a true sense of romanticism, beauty and regality that was unmatched by many others this couture season. a pleasant surprise was to see much more variation at valentino, and to see the ways that lagerfeld abandoned more modern ideas seen last season for couture, like sneakers. true range, growth and beautifully executed method of interpreting inspiration. both collections were standouts for me this season, beautiful and sparing in their own ways but balanced by all the other gimmicks that seemed to stumble onto the catwalks. overall, fall is where you bring the drama and that’s what these two did. while the other labels are still perfection in waiting, it’s all one big process. it’s not even about what collections do from season to season, it’s monitoring that progression and looking at things down to the detail, and from the bigger picture. with show season looming, we’ll get our big picture soon, then we can rest on the beauty, the cool and the elegance through the holidays to do it all over again, come january. welcome to SS15 show season.

visit style.com for complete coverage of the FW14 haute couture season
stay tuned for coverage of new york fashion week this september