SPRING MENSWEAR: BURBERRY PRORSUM

LONDON – gradually, i have approached show season with hesitation. in seasons past i have approached collection reviews thinking in a way that would demand my content to be produced like a machine. in the process of this mechanical demands i put on myself, i would often experience burn out. these days, i am much more selective with collections i speak about & feel that certain labels have a connection to the structure which has created the framework of what my site has become. i feel as though recent content has been much more personal for me, burberry being a label i tend to associate- due to the fact that we, yes i do mean you & i, were among the first news outlet in history to live stream the burberry fashion show live from london. this season, burberry took me aback. i have loved the past few collections from them in both menswear & womenswear, this season caused me to look with new eyes. i generally regard christopher bailey as a design genius. he understands where burberry falls in terms of brand heritage & understands how best the brand can evolve in order to usher in a new era. this new era allows the dominance of the british label to expand each season & this spring, bailey allows thought to become even more elevated. while i felt the collection lacked cohesion, i did notice an attempt to contrast. from high to low, the collection was one of extremes. the saturated, dulled tones to the hyper-electric outerwear- it certainly kept you alert, wondering what would come onto the catwalk next. though thrilling, it was odd. it was the kind of failed expectation that made me want to close the collection & wait for next season.

while i enjoyed the aspects of high & low throughout, i felt that nothing went together. the order & styling in which the collection was sequenced didn’t make sense- it was all over the place. the metallic pieces are sure to be a hit at retail & the earth tones were beautifully done but those horrid prints seemed to resemble bacteria. the dulled tones only looked more dull matched with the metallic footwear. while consumers don’t typically aim to rock full runway looks, the collection will no doubt sell as many burberry collections of recent day. the use of metallic, though beautiful singularly, seems extra or in some areas unnecessary- it totally disrupts cohesion among the other pieces. the expected genius of bailey was seemingly wasted here, the attempts at innovation  fell flat, not because they were in fact flat but because other elements that were over the top blurred the greatness of the collections own subtlety. overall, the familiar military influence, which is rooted in burberry’s own heritage was present, but the collection lacked a storyline. which is what i look for during show seasons- the best collections tell a story & this season, i had trouble following along. [source]

SPRING MENSWEAR: VALENTINO

ITALY – i have said many times before & this season is no different, i have a special place in my heart for the house of valentino. when looking at collections, i envision whether or not i would actually wear the pieces being shown. certain collections, im more selective about what i like- others i love in their entirety. the spring 2013 menswear collection from valentino is one of those ‘i love’, completely & entirely.  since maria grazia chiuri & pier paolo piccioli took the helm at the label, i have been watching. i gave them a chance within my own taste level, not holding them to the standard in which the valentino legacy was built. i allowed myself to understand where this new direction would lead, what level of taste was looking to be served up on the runways from couture to womenswear & now with what we see being served for menswear. thus far, though i have been aware of criticism the label has faced, i still love each collection every season. challenging my own understanding of style, brand heritage & the evolution of aged legacy- valentino as a label is one that never disappoints me. though the collection kept things simple, it’s that simplicity that i seek amidst all of the chaos of more experimental labels in fashion. through greater simplicity, i feel like the true foundation of style can be felt on a greater wavelength. it’s more authentic when stripped.

through belief that couture is a culture, the valentino label looked for ways to bring that same level of craftsmanship to their menswear endeavors. which is exactly what i love about runway- what we see in images or videos is not even a thought when you see, feel & wear the clothes. the value of style cannot be properly felt in looking at simple photographs or even when looking at the collections in motion. which is exactly why i have such an intense need to articulate things- so that you feel them rather than just ‘seeing’ them. which is what it’s all about for me during show season. look after look, from the multilayer concepts with color blocking, i was floored at how intensely i was impacted by clothes that appear so simply. the fact that the label is looking for ways to introduce couture style craftsmanship is completely necessary at this stage in the game.  in amping up for london men’s collections, i heard a statistic that said menswear is growing at twice the rate of womenswear- which is exciting. not only for us dudes, but the fact that our development as a culture is evident with the knowledge of this statistic. it shows that we, as people have advanced to a new stage in the game that is much more aware & concerned with style. aspects of grooming, showcasing of design, sales of cosmetics- it’s all evidence that we are taking greater measures to look good, to present better. i love that, amidst the intention to promote a higher level of craftsmanship, the clothes still appear as wearable- they’re just constructed better. the choice in textile is more refined, but it doesn’t come off as pretentious. the intent is so high fashion, but the clothes aren’t off-putting- like many high fashion collections can be. overall, it’s a high end approach without the ‘im better than you’ complex. cohesive from start to finish, i will say- this is my favorite collection this season, thus far. [source]