THE TOP FIVE RESORT 2014 COLLECTIONS
by Jeremy Danté
1. BALENCIAGA with alexander wang now in place, the real show begins. from the first stunning showing of balenciaga, to this resort collection- you see a thorough understanding of what the house of balenciaga is at the core. while i admit my own hesitation, i really am blown away at how seamless the transition from ghesquiere to wang has shown itself. while the aesthetic of this collection is wang in many forms, the fluid lines are completely balenciaga. and not just as a house, but as cristobal- who founded the house in 1914. even the backdrop for the collection is ultra modern and cool with the evident presence of wang. one aspect of look books that makes them feel a bit one dimension is the inability to see all angle of the pieces- but the multiple video screens alters that hindrance completely. genius! as the house of balenciaga carefully crafts a re-direction while under wang, it seems as though a fitting mind was cast. i will say though, keeping ghesquiere’s recent interviews about creative restraints at the house of baleciaga are still very much on my mind. that said, wang is of the new school where the demands of designing are understood. as fashion continues to spiral unward, it true creatives for a loop. as if executing your own vision isn’t pressure enough, whole industry’s and executives are holding onto your every word, ready to reject at a moments notice. with two collections under his belt and another on it’s way come september, wang appears to be getting into the groove rather nicely. i think it will be interesting to see how accessories are developed under wang, as the house has remained true to it’s fashion apparel direction more in the past several years. accessories are a powerful market in global retail and wang understands this all too well with his own namesake line which has all the fly girls fleeing to the marble. my top favorite for the resort 2014 season.
2. JASON WU in the crop of designers that were dubbed as the new asian, alexander wang along with jason wu continue to dominate through sophistication and modern vision. even during the resort pre-season, the wu label is still taking every effort to expand through variations of style that separate the major seasons from the pre. i love the vacation feel of this collection and even alongside other collections from this resort season, the design elements and choices made are completely fresh. it’s young and effortless- which is what resort is all about. stream lined and minimal where needed, wu understands his own design voice as well as his ability to balance the drama with the undercurrent. it has become stronger and stronger season by season, as he now defends what american fashion is- influenced. influenced in that, so many elements play a role. you see that there is no distinction as what is seen for other fashion capitals like paris or milan. american fashion has now evolved through the vision of designers like jason wu, and now what is represented is a full scope of design sensibility that is much more suited for the melting pot that is not only the new york fashion scene, but the american fashion scene. while there manages to be some stragglers within the new york fashion capital that show, wu is one designer that has take the challenge by the horns. dressing such powerful figures like michelle obama almost worked against him during the beginning stages, as his work started to feel one dimensional. that space of struggle is over, because now what is left is multi-dimension.
3. 3.1 PHILIP LIM the deconstruction of the female silhouette is becoming much more relaxed with each season, as seen in this collection. there appears to be a greater alliance of androgyny in high fashion, which will eventually segue into the mass market. even as a culture, the line of masculinity and femininity are completely blurred. people are seeming to grasp the concept of clothes being a mask. while this concept can serve for interesting choices or representation, there are always those few uses that fuck shit up. color blocked, sharp and forward in style nature- the collections that lim produces are some of my favorites in both menswear and womenswear all together. while i love drama, i think lim has an effortless ability to represent modernity and function in a way that allows high fashion to merge with function. this idea is absolutely important for our modern times- everything is a hybrid. precise and clean is what this collection is for me; it provides a strong visual that is pixel perfect for fashion editorial. this appears to be fashion of the future in my mind, which is why i’ve loved lim’s work. it’s progressive but not to the point where it isolates the present. well balanced, though im not one for metallics, i thought it was done in the right way here. as he took home the CFDA award for accessories this year, lim’s bags also made a slight cameo in the collection now appearing in backpack form, which allows his pashli bag greater dimension and versatility. much like wu and wang, lim too has been referred to as new asian, here in america on the fashion scene and these three have remained consistent through growth both in business and design.
4. BARBARA BUI now it may be that anais mali is the model in the collection look book, but hey- a great model can very well sell a collection to the masses. here, either anais or bui sold me. the selection of collections i’ve opted to write about are more aligned with my own personal taste level. i understand that these lines, silhouettes and looks aren’t suitable for all consumers, but still- the point of this space is to create and identify my taste level as jeremy dante. this collection did that for me. while some collections were minimal, they felt too minimal and were otherwise categorized as boring in my own mind. but here there was a thoughtful simplicity, in fact, these collections i’ve selected as my top five for the resort season share that level of simplicity. barbara bui’s first collection was shown in 1987, after bui decided that she would leave a literary education for the world of high fashion. along the lines of hybridity much like wu, wang or lim- bui often combines asian and western ideas. she cites her design philosophy as laid back elegance and this resort collection hosts those ideals perfectly. with her design philosophy also citing rock energy and ultra feminine sensitivity, this collection plays up to the idea of masculinity. the confidence, in your face type of energy that is often associated with masculinity. beyond anything, it’s smart design that is mindful of forward thinking and strong style. i love the variation of images throughout the look book, seeing as most labels stick with studio images. the bui label is a contender this season as one of the stronger collections.
5. THEYSKEN’S THEORY the design approach to olivier theysken’s style at theory is something i’ve been excited about for a while now. there is an understated presence that he holds with complete calm and control. what’s particularly powerful about his design approach is the concept of theme. i will always regard olivier’s time at nina ricci as a real coming out- his vision at that house was too much for them to handle. more often then probably even necessary, i mention his work at nina ricci because it was such a fantastical moment in fashion. to see that olivier’s work now exists with theory is interesting, because it almost feels subdued or restricted. this resort collection was created with the idea of essentials in mind. every look was intended to host some kind of essential and for the most part that was done. what i love about theysken’s theory is that it’s always a collection that i can come to and find greater things about. olivier is a very foward thinker when it comes to design and he’s often seeing something that’s much more theoretical of style. it’s intellectuality that allows his work to exist beyond simple design or style. though at the lower end of this pre-season’s list, i do feel that this collection is a true representation of where fashion is, as well as where it’s going. it’s strong but soft, masculine and feminine- quiet and loud. the one common resonance of all five collections in my mind is hybridity. while i’ve take time to stray away from runway in an effort to better dissect style as it relates to culture, one element that will tie everything together here is the evidence or influence of ideas merging. that merging is what makes up our culture, especially here in america. all five collections also represent america, whether it’s alexander wang coming from new york to conquer paris with balenciaga or lim and wu dressing new american females across the nation- all collections are american through their hybridity. this merge is the future, it’s where we are and a large piece of where we’re going.
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