THE TOP SPRING 2015 WOMENSWEAR COLLECTIONS
by Jeremy Danté
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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