Category: designers + collections

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
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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

THE TOP FIVE RESORT 2015 COLLECTIONS

the start of show season is usually guided by the pre-season collections, and this season was no different. clean lines are my choice aesthetic, thus that theme was recurring in my selections. whether it was classic 70’s re-invention, or greater modernization of new school leaders, these five were my absolute favorites from what was presented, off runway, before the start of the true chaos known as show season. acting as an appetizer of my runway coverage, this countdown was kept quaint with great intention. the selections themselves were kept smaller in scale, in an effort to not too heavily distract from other stronger collections which are seen in areas of both menswear and womenswear. this is just the tip of the iceberg.


halstonHALSTON
– as one of the great american originals in high fashion, the house of halston is no stranger to success. but at present day, the halston heritage collection is not as visible as it should be. i was pleased to see this resort collection and the modern approach, in classic halston form was served well. easily competitive with other new school labels, the halston brand has enjoyed it’s share of attempt to re-introduce and while this collection is nothing completely groundbreaking, the collection still shows promise. with creative director, marie mazelis at the helm, the label seems to show promise of a different grade. that said, there is still more to come. a successful runway show, for starters. a strong campaign, and even stronger collection that houses concepts that raise the bar of the 70’s fashion house in a way that is reflective of their history, and progressive enough to open doors of new opportunity. much like what we’ve seen at balenciaga or christian dior; the idea of re-establishing a house in a modern way without compromising it’s DNA is definitely possible. a controlled palette allowed the collection to remain unchained by too much trend, in order to tap into the houses roots. with show season around the corner, we’ll be able to see which ways halston, label, re-envisions it’s heritage. with so many disappointments in trying to revitalize the label, i am not willing to bet on their efforts, but can definitely appreciate a committed approach to re-birth. an applauded effort, but unsparingly, i am expecting to see much more development in the new show season, as well as in the following three years. with a campaign and strong direction- this shows potential.

jason wuJASON WU – the new school sophisticate, jason wu continues to dominate with unending chic- even in the pre-season. a strong collection of concepts that are mindful of past work, i am excited to see the ways that these looks are aligned with his new collection during new york fashion week. milky pastels ruled the color story for the collection and fashion seriousness was all over the models faces. jason wu has steadily marketed and improved his aesthetic in an interesting way. representing some of the greatest american talent on the scene currently, wu has moved with greater ease and stronger concepts season after season, and this pre-season, that approach was powerfully felt in delicate delivery. the broken crown molding on the backdrop of the collection images was interesting, and almost representative of wu’s modernized take on the classics. the collection was overtly sexual, and poses a certain energy that crosses boundaries of age. piece by piece or complete look, each wardrobe visual provided in this set was immaculately done. there was enough prowess to communicate strength, while there was also enough gentle coordination of what it takes, in our modern times, to be a lady. admirably so, i expect the same level of sophistication from wu’s collection come this show season, on the runways of new york fashion week. i love seeing the ways that he further remixes the classics in ways that allow you to appreciate what is protected, while being inspired by the ways that those elements have also become revitalized.

max maraMAX MARA – clean and crisp femininity are among the common themes that tie all of my selections this pre-season, together. the max mara collections all contain a certain cleanliness about them, which i love. often times, too clean can border boring- but that’s not the case with the mara label. there’s a way that italian labels do minimalism which seems to come from a pure place of contrast, as much of milan as a fashion scene has been built on maximal-ism. this pre-season, though simple and clean, the label opted to ornament their clean looks with more maximalist elements. resulting in a new, fresh approach that packs more power from look to look. the privately owned family label has done an excellent job at consistently competing with more of the new school labels who have adopted minimalist concepts. from pre-season, to show season, and through campaign season, max mara is one label that serves the classics in well rounded form, and feminine charm. loved the use of fur in this collection, and liked that i felt more personality, which is important for labels who are committed to the simplistic design approach. in palette, i loved the ways that the contrasting tones were combined with the soft greys that i have grown to associate with the label. while some of the styling seemed to be a bit forced, i definitely respect the slight alteration in direction. it’s ambitious enough for the pre-season, and hints at an even greater effort that waits in the wings for this show season. a great lead in for the spring show season.

muglerMUGLER – structural chic void of theatricality, but in a good way. the mugler label has seemingly been built on the basis of drama and exaggerated silhouettes. this pre-season collection beautifully ushers the mugler label into more modern design territory. there is a simplicity in this collection, and a very stripped manner in which beauty is shown. the debut collection by newly appointed creative director, david coma; the collection is beautifully conceptualized and sharply executed. the use of sheer, the strength seen in the use of shape or even lack thereof- there was nothing particularly mugler about this collection aside from that strength. there was a purity to this resort set, and the combined use of color and black and white images was done perfectly. as another collection of clean lines, this selection proves that the aesthetic of high fashion minimalism is only growing more popular with time. mostly black and white in palette, with notes of blood orange and cobalt blue, the collection proves to be a stunning entry for koma, whom is sure to lead the label into greater, more serious fashion avenues. nicola formichetti seemed to respect and align the direction of the label more closely with past work of thierry mugler; but this presented limited sense of new and revitalization in my mind. relying on celebrity cameos and overly aggressive characterization on the runway, that presence seemed to overwhelm the clothes, only further distracting from them. which is what makes all the simplicity of this collection that much more stunning. simplicity is the silence amidst noise, and in fashion- there is plenty of noise. any moment of solace is appreciated, and this here was pure.

lapointeSALLY LAPOINTE – graduating from goth aesthetics; sally lapointe is a design label which thrives on the brink of the new era in fashion. lighter, more feminine and progressive- the collection we see from lapointe is everything that sophistication is for the modern woman. true growth is seen here, and the lapointe label has a relationship with this site. as one of the first designer labels who has consistently remains in contact from season to season, regarding new collection, fashion show invites- the lapointe label is one that has been on this site’s radar for sometime. as the final selection for my resort collection round-up, i am truly proud of the growth that is visible in concept and execution. the use of fur in this collection was by far my favorite; the use of color was done so in a way that was very adult. that maturity was well balanced with a sleek set of design lines that felt unlike any other collection from lapointe, that we’ve seen in the past. that’s what fashion is all about, growth, and monitoring a certain type of evolution. super excited to see what ways lapointe has grown on the runways of new york fashion week this coming show season. i love the blurred lines of feminine and masculine, while femininity is leaned more toward in a subtle manner. perfect combination of appeal to the modern fashion market. clean lines, careful selection of color, and attention to detail in all the ways that draw you in. this is pre-season, next up? menswear.

visit style.com for full more 2015 resort collections
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FALL COLLECTIONS • TOP FIVE PARIS

PARIS – at the close of show season on the fashion calendar, it seems us fashion spectators, the models and editors alike are dizzied by all that has been shown at the three other fashion capitals. but when it’s time for paris, there’s a pause, a moment of silence. suddenly, all that chaos from capital to capital seems worth it, when all the effortlessly chic collections glide down the catwalk at some of the greatest fashion houses in the world. paris is a gem, and often looked to as the leader of high fashion, but this season was interesting. we seen a greater culmination of diversity across the board, and progress showed it’s face in runway casting. there was a throng of talent out of new york, while london banned together to secure a better creative future for it’s young, emerging designers and milan continued with exaggerated opulence and show stopping vibrance. paris, though vital, is just one piece of the luxury puzzle that makes up this unstoppable, evolutionary entity we know as high fashion. these are the top collections from the city of light. word up, let’s get it!

LOUIS VUITTON – the most publicized show of fashion week in paris, this season, was nicholas ghesquière’s debut for louis vuitton. to describe the collection in one word, i would choose- paced. ghesquière is a genius of many layers and many perspectives, equipped with an innovative method of translation. this season, there were injections of his own signature style seen in the collections silhouettes. his favorite girls were cast for the show, including ethiopian supermodel stunner, liya kebede. press was warded off until the end of the show, so that none of the collections themes or aesthetics were revealed before their scheduled debut. collection inspiration was posted at style.com, as photographs by juergen teller aided to convey this message in a visual format, outside of the show. there was a gentle nod to modernity, but a powerful grasp of the house of vuitton’s eternal code of french luggage aristocracy. was it jaw dropping? no. was it horrible? not at all. but was it everything that we expected it to be from a fantastical let’s-pretend-this-is-like-what-transformed-balenciaga view point? no. i respect that pace controlled this collection, so as to not rupture the existing brand identity elements of the biggest luxury handbags label in the world. a greater attention was focused upon the clothes in the collection. it was much more accessible than what we’ve seen from vuitton in the past. a staggering 90% of revenue generation at the house is racked in through handbag and accessories sales alone. vuitton’s mission in bringing ghesquière on board is to revitalize the house as a full scale fashion and lifestyle label. fragrances are said to be in the works, and elements of the luggage legacy of the label were included on design of the collection bags. while not the most powerful collection of the season, it was very precise. there is an intention in design that was felt in the story, the choice of color and the adherence to classicism as it relates to the louis vuitton. exciting new horizons, for sure.

BALMAIN – strong is the aesthetic represented at balmain, season after season. olivier rousteing have represented a savvy of youthful appeal bringing industry characters like rihanna into the houses DNA. this savvy has brought about a whole new feel of concentration to the label who elevates what ready-to-wear means in the fashion retail market. the strong shoulders, the razor sharp silhouettes were all present. there always seems to be a military feel to the house of balmain through construction. this season, that feel was elevated. details were dizzingly chic, as every seam was covered in gold hardware- it was truly a sight for gods. again, balmain continues to drive themselves to another playing field, escaping the dreary categories occupied by their luxury contemporaries. one of my favorite collections this season, and my favorite in paris this season; this collection was everything that i envision the balmain woman to be. inspired by the jungle, there was a collage of construction elements that kept the collection thrilling from start to finish. a cool set of enriched greens set to sleek leathers were presented as the model casting represented the new wave of diversity which only torched the already fire hot runway. it was all very striking, in a way that made you want to be those women on the runway. that is what fashion and design should do- inspire you to embody the spirit felt in the clothes. a new kind of woman was seen here in this collection, and unapologetically, in a very rihanna type of way; all likely intentional. strongest collection in paris this season.

GIVENCHY – romantically growing season by season, what was seen at givenchy this season could only be described as interesting. i always love to align fashion collections at labels while contrasting womenswear and menswear. this season’s womenswear collection by givenchy was feminine to the core. the menswear collection? all very masculine. i think the lines have been blurred at the house of givenchy for a while now. androgyny was the name of the game, and has been for many, many seasons at the house. tisci has mastered the fine art of blurring the lines culturally, sexually and artistically. in this luxurious manner, the collection graduated from vague categorization into something more typically feminine, but in a new way that only tisci could produce. always spot on in vision, there was a greater amount of subtlety to this collection. casting at givenchy is always a sight to see. new faces walk alongside known faces and stars are made. this season, a surprise casting for kendall jenner of elite models paris had the reality tv star little sister walking alongside supermodel joan smalls and icons mariacarla boscono and stella tennant. walking near the close of the show, i would not at all be surprised if kendall were to book the campaign for the collection which she debuted as an exclusive for in paris. not bad consdering this is her debut season on the catwalk, internationally.

BALENCIAGA – after ghesquière vacated the house of balenciaga, i had little hope that anyone could fill his place. through a twist of fate and surprise move, alexander wang was appointed as creative director and silenced critics with his debut collection which merged his street sensibility to the spanish houses own creative DNA seamlessly. as important as debut collection may be, so is the importance of pace. it seems to me, conceptually, that wang is losing steam. this collection felt like he referenced archives, but nothing too far back in the history of the house, it looked like he sourced inspiration to closely to the more recent works of ghesquière himself. this collection fell flat for me, as have the following collections that were showed after wang’s debut after his installation at the label. overall, balenciaga is a label with a rich history in innovation and forward thinking. i have long doubted that wang would be able to carry this torch to new heights. while his first collection held a great deal of promise, those potentials seems to be wearing thin. from palette to silhouette, this looked like a failed attempt at carrying over what was done more recently at the label. there is no identifiable element of wang in these clothes. this set was not individualized from past works in a way that felt new or necessary to what women of the future will and want to wear.

CHANEL – the house of chanel continues to remain supreme on the luxury sector. dominating retail sales in all avenues from fragrance, to accessories, footwear and apparel. that level of accessibility and functional luxury was brought to new heights as production for the FW14 collection staged a full scale chanel themed grocery store. this meant chain linked shopping baskets and flavored bottles of juice. there was a reliability that was so incredibly charming about it. gimmicky, maybe. well played. absolutely. another show which featured kendall jenner to our dismay, along side joan smalls and rising superstar, grace mahary. all the girls were out to stroll for chanel groceries in paris. leggings and exaggerrated silhouettes were seen throughout as the signature tweed was re-worked in jumpsuits and oversized knits. while the clothes fared more masculine than feminine, the collection was strong. conceptually from set to garment- chanel took the cake as the show to see and be seen at. this season paris had is share of lulls from the usually strong contenders. but the big names and brightest stars were included in this five piece listing. chanel will always kill on all levels, even their production of a show changes what we now envision for fashion runway shows to be. true artistry, season after season at the hand, heart and mind of the incomparable karl lagerfeld.

visit style.com for full PFW collection coverage
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FALL COLLECTIONS • TOP FIVE LONDON

LONDON – the underdog of the fashion capitals, london has seen it’s share of highs and it’s many lows. recovering from one of those lows in the last few years, the fashion capital is quickly looking to maintain that track record. of the five collections i’ve selected from london this season, burberry remains the crown jewel of london. they have made the largest effort in aiding the re-centering around of british fashion with their return to the UK in 2009. london, unlike new york, represents a certain liberation of style. london is the home of punk rock, home of the mod and has long lead the influence of fashion movements while not always being properly credited for doing so. london continues to drive headlines, as the british fashion council (BFC) continues their own efforts in creating programs that help keep design inspiration and financial backing thriving in their home turf. with the collections that were presented, each held an aspect of progress visible in runway casting. london is and will always be a leader in style. as a fashion capital, the british represent the freedom of fashion and have long been a platform for true artistry. that reign will surely thrive into 2014.

burberryBURBERRY – print stormed just about every major runway show in new york. it’s interesting when you’re viewing collections, and begin to view which trends will rule in the next year. this season, burberry took a hands-on approach to print. in what appeared as hand printed graphics, the collection seemed as if it was formed by several scarves. the classic trench coat is a staple for the british label and that staple was presented but in a subtle, softer, much more feminine way. the handpainted print continued onto the collections footwear, handbags and scarves accompanied every look that strolled the catwalk, including the few menswear looks which also encompassed the printed theme. i was surprised that the collection felt so light, in textile, for a fall collection. there was inclusion of rich floral sheers while injects of the label’s usual sherling fur and suede jackets were presented as well. deep tones of maroon and emeral green were seen, as pastels were seemingly carried over from the label’s spring collection. overall, the collection presented strong concepts in an unexpected way. the runway casting was strong with campaign model malaika firth walking the runway alongside burberry favorite jourdan dunn. burberry has been wildly successful from concept to execution, and this pattern shows no clear signs of slowing down. love to see, as large a label as burberry, is embracing diversity and leading as a glowing example. standing ovation to the talented, christopher bailey.

TOPSHOP UNIQUE – in the context of british style, topshop has raised the bar for fast fashion retailers like the swedish owned H&M, and the japanese founded uniqlo. topshop remains in a class all their own. unlike their fast fashion contemporaries, topshop stages a fashion show among the high brow show season collections which continues to set them apart in a striking manner. an arsenal of blue set the collection off right, as those tones soon cooled to a wave of greys. color was major aspect of the collection, while styling did it’s part in allowing the clothes to bring about a greater feel of livelihood. yellow palette injections were seen on the runway, but the collection didn’t feel as seasoned as other labels showing this season. the model casting was stellar, but the collection felt a bit retail. while topshop understands how to stay a cut above the rest in their fast fashion market, im not sure that this collection was at the same level of other high end labels which occupied the runways at london fashion week. with london making every attempt to hold onto their reign, topshop definitely lends it’s prowess. a strong collection at retail, likely, but not as powerful a contender in alignment with fashion in london, in producing key elements of trend, focusing on bringing abouts new aspects of designs and challenging the pre-existing with how women are viewed by the clothes that they choose to buy. good, though not great, topshop definitely lends it’s contribution to london.

TOM FORD – it’s interesting the ways that tom ford can create a collection of standards, in a basic palette and be able to execute on a higher playing field. maybe it’s the fact that tom has earned his place in high fashion. perhaps it’s the fact that we’ve developed an expectation that has been proven years before a tom ford namesake collection even touched a runway. on the runway this season, ford played to nothing but standards. the palette was kept strictly in black and white with a few punches of red for contrast. sleek lines, reptile skin and use of fur were seen in the collection that is sure to be a hit at retail. while standards were presented, there were very few moments that seemed to push womenswear forward. the sequined jerseys that referenced jay-z “tom ford” record had people talking, but in my mind- it lacked a special element of surprise. void of print, which seems to be a popular trend for the FW14 show season, ford seemingly continues to create only what he wishes, having no concern for promoting trends or pushing the boundaries of design. is tom ford a design genius? yes. has he developed a proven track record? yes. was any of that genius or proven track record carried off into this collection? no. tom ford is the kind of designer that is functioning at a different level than others. there is a heavier expectation for his work and his method of dealing with that pressure is seemingly to ignore it. to create past that pressure and give something unexpected. i understand that ideology, but wonder how long until the novelty of that approach wears off.

PETER PILOTTO – in what appears to be the routine route for designers looking for greater visibility, peter pilotto has joined the ranks of designers that have partnered with american super retailer, target. while peter pilotto has seemingly scratched the surface of what it takes to win on the luxury sector, greater visibility is always the key for designers. pilotto has quickly become known for his digitized prints, and that signature was well represented this show season in london. modernized through cut and kept sleek from look to look, the collection was one of the strongest in london. speaking in terms of trend, pilotto’s signature use of print has positioned him with greater relevance this season. diversity in model casting was represented as well, which only accentuated the wide ranged palette of pilotto’s fall collection even further. i really loved the collaged effect of the print that was chosen for the collection, but was in love with the use of graphics that were used which allows mountainous regions to become plastered across the outerwear of the collection, towards the middle of the collection. overall, the collection felt like it grasped onto the range of concepts while not slipping off of cohesion. the looks were both thoughtful and visually stunning. while pilotto’s entrance into target stores didn’t seem as well received as say, philip lim, he is definitely on the pathway to gaining major notoriety outside the confines of london’s fashion scene. though i’m not sure how successful this move will be for securing the future of peter pilotto as a major brand, visibility is visibility. a strong collection, for sure, with interesting reinterpretation of florals.

MARY KATRANTZOU – another designer known for her prints, mary katrantzou has been a design name to look out for. this season however, she seemed to scale things back. the simplicity of making such moves was done in all the right ways. use of print was seemingly isolated, and some designs were entirely void of print. you could feel that a bar has been raised in this collection in comparison to katrantzou’s past work, there is a steady elevation of creativity. katrantzou is one of the standouts in all of london, and her collection was definitely the strongest showing this season. whether printed or not, each look was done in a stunning way. there were embroidered aspects of design with selected forms of encrusting as well, there were cut outs and patchwork which all seemed to bring about a sense of elegance in a smart way. it’s important for younger, newer or emerging designers to flex conceptually during show season because taking those risks set them apart. that’s exactly what mary katrantzou did for herself this season. aside from raising the bar on the competition, she seemingly competed with herself; taking what she has become known for and flipping the script. a risk well taken for the fall, i loved the exaggerated lines in the collection and the serious, deep tones in the collection palette. this collection was my favorite collection presented in london for the FW14 show season. strong concepts, with even stronger execution.

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FALL COLLECTIONS • TOP FIVE NEW YORK

NEW YORK – the game has been changed, and what new york city represents for our nation of american’s is very, very special. during men’s fashion week in milan this past january, it seems more and more common that american menswear labels are joining the ranks of new york fashion week to present their latest collections. selecting my favorite five collections from each of the fashion capitals this show season, these are my absolute favorites of the fall/winter 2014 season, straight out of new york city. new america thrives beautifully.

PUBLIC SCHOOL – a rapidly developing style duo out of new york city has quickly become one to watch. this season, they continue to promote and actively create a visual signature. distinctively american in their use of blending the sophisticated and the street. predominantly a menswear label, the collection this season entered into the realm of womenswear. heavy where needed but also effortless, the collection has a strong identity in comparison to the throngs of labels that are showing every season in new york. i find that public school is very modern in this interestingly classic, very new york city type of way. following their CFDA fashion fund victory last year, all eyes are on this label. the collection presented headwear and focused on layered richness. sneakered and wisely tailored, it was interesting to see the designers touch upon a perspective of womenswear. the lines have gradually become more and more blurred between men and women in fashion. women’s lines are becoming stronger and yet more relaxed, shilouettes have widened. all the while menswear collections have borrowed some of the creative ideals that often keep womenswear a cut above the rest in the world of fashion. and even beyond that, the developing visual signature was not once shifted, or off-center. overall, the runway show from concept to model was strong. i do feel that a greater sense of development needs to happen. i don’t feel that the collection was completely independent in thought, as much of the large brimmed hats reminded me of saint laurent. it’s tricky when inspiration is sourced from the street. the street is inspired by a number of elements which include other design houses. it’s important for design labels like public school to create the trends, not to follow them. in palette, the collection is also very one note, there seems to lack a true sense of versatility there. relevant of now? yes. there is clear potential here, but in order to reach past that plateau will take some time. i loved the outerwear and feel that a range of must-haves or style essentials were provided in this strong showing.

coachCOACH – stuart vevers steps in as the executive creative director at american fashion brand, coach. this collection proves a lot. it represents vevers understanding of coach in the present, while being mindful of the past in order to set up the label in having an even stronger future. print seems to be the element of fancy for fall 2014, as we’ve seen it sprayed across many collections from menswear in milan to what has been strolling the catwalk during this first leg of show season, at new york fashion week. in the market of american fashion, many are transplants. coach has been a long standing entity on the scene. past creative director, reed krakoff worked steadfastly to allow for the label to see it’s greater creative potential, which can be a blessing and a curse for new director vevers. while the brand has been set up for success, it’s track record under krakoff can apply greater pressure in the present to continue that path to greatness. what i felt in the collection, in just viewing the clothes was the potential to appeal to an even younger, cooler market but to appeal to that demographic is a more relevant way. the clothes felt competitive of proenza, while flexing a bit on brands like prada. coach is more widely regarded as an accessories brand; with millions of american women buying their bags across the nation every day. this collection seemed to take the focus off of accessories a bit and create full looks. to be present in the sense of showcasing and promoting trends and further developing ways to expand the brand’s appeal across the board. successful, even at this early a stage in the game; i am definitely going to keep my eyes on this label. i admired the ways that they respected the DNA of the brand. the incredible footwear and beautiful use of leather, fur and suede celebrated the idea of coach as an emblem of american iconicism. as a leading leather goods company, i would love to see coach become a stronger fashion force in apparel as they clearly have the consumer audience to win. in aligning themselves to compete with brands like j.crew, the company being founded in 1941 means they stand to create a stronger sense of identification by priding themselves on the construction of that legacy, even with just their handbags. a strong collection, and an impressive first showing for vevers.

VERA WANG – an interesting label associated more closely in my mind with bridal, vera wang is actually a gangsta in fashion. she has had a long, enduring career which began during her years as an editor at american vogue. her sprawling career as a fashion designer has allowed her a larger platform, in which she culivates beauty and makes women’s dreams come true. but this season, vera murdered the runways of new york fashion week, presenting an interesting fall collection that was sprayed with florals and entracing bouts of sheer. it was almost like a feminine response to all that saint laurent, hipster, emo bullshit that has been trending lately. i was incredibly impressed by the design quality. labels on today’s scene busy themselves with re-interpreting existing trends, but this season vera presented a different type of female. you felt that vera wang signature of elegance, but here we seen a greater style commentary that said, “this is new york, as we see it”. beautifully conceptualized and imaginatively executed, this collection was easily one of my favorites this season. i love that balance of agelessness, while a sense of cool is still felt. that cool can easily feel forced when the execution of certain design components is put together in a way that feels inauthentic. consumers feel that and here that cool factor was communicated clearly. there was this upper east side snob shit combined with this east village ease to this collection. a perfect marriage of street sensibility that was all very new york. the long length gloves, the bugs that were sprinkled through the collection. the plaids were super classic, but done in an alternative music type of way. which i love, love, loved. the palette was everything i live for, in tone and there was a greater sense of function that didn’t lack style or prettiness. a little touch of glitter, sheer florals, fur, leather- everything ill of the fall season was put into this collection in a unbreakably consistent type of way. through to the final collections looks, the sheers that closed out the collection were almost valentino. functional while sophisticated- everything to love about womenswear was provided in this collection. every girl should buy or duplicate what vera presented.

OPENING CEREMONY – the minds behind the reinvention of kenzo are the same minds that have allowed opening ceremony to have a cemented place on the american fashion scene, in new york city. outfitting the cool kids, this label brings about a greater feel of style libertation. this collection felt much more poised, more refined in comparison to other collections, and reveals an entrance into the fashion big leagues. already successful on the scene with a well received consumer base, what i love about new york is the merging of the street onto the runway. this stye marriage was ever present in the collections this season, and the collections i gravitated toward all encompass that sensibility perfectly. a leader in that whole movement, humberto leon and carol lim have evolved incredibly quickly. their creative role at kenzo seems to have aligned with the ways they approach their first partnership at opening ceremony. similar to vera wang, the lines in this collection; and every collection i selected this season, have this studious feel. i love that look of school girl, i love the idea of uniformity as consistency. print is usually a trend that is presented for the spring, but for the fall of 2014-15, print will be on everything. lines were kept tight and clean in the collection that felt weighted in the right ways. deep forest greens reminded me of pine trees, and quilted leathers added dimension and greater depth within the collection. i loved the use of blue, but could’ve done without the palette cameos of pink throughout. off all the concepts provided, there was a strong identity. quite literally, some of the collection pieces were differentiated by their use of what appeared to be a finger print. i took those elements of mindfulness with a true sense of inspiration. you see that the brands work at kenzo influences some of what is presented in this collection, but it’s all done in a way that is greatly identifiable to that of opening ceremony’s distinct DNA. one of the coolest collections presented in new york.

edunEDUN – playing to my love of neutrally centered palettes, edun presented an incredibly chic fall collection that was comparative to parisienne levels of taste. as a fashion label with a greater purpose, edun was created to generate greater opportunities of manufacturing in regions of africa. that theme of africa is often incorporated in the collections, while diversity is often represented in their model castings. this season, that aesthetic was upgraded as the label continues to develop as a major competitor adopting chic cleanliness that gives brands like celine a run for their money. soft, feminine, sporty and luxe- the collections warm palette was void of print, which was seen galloping down every show’s catwalk during new york fashion week. edun as a label has developed a strong signature in their use of weaving, this season seen that signature develop in a smarter, more significant format that was less obvious than in season’s past. i loved the knitwear tremendously, and appreciate the label holding tight to their signatures while not ignoring the importance of expanding that sensibility through design. this collection, though tame, was one of my favorites for it’s subtle gesture of awareness aimed at trend. one of my favorite labels to watch, evolutionarily, this collection sees greater potential being exercised. all five collections represent that beautiful merger of suit and sport, luxury and function. a stunning showing from all five have position new york in an even stronger position as a leader in world style. a strong showing for new york as a fashion leader this season.

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THE SPRING 2014 COUTURE REPORT

PARIS – with menswear coming to a close, we meet the immediate start of haute couture collections. at present day, the world of couture seems to be as expected as ready-to-wear. though much more exclusive, collections are presented in similar format, and inspiration of such seem to run through other facets of big fashion brands these days. in adopting a new format of runway coverage, i aim to sustain energy while balancing the need to bring about dialogue of these important fashion collections. the couture report is a report generated that includes five of the best the haute couture collections of the season. these collections protect an aspect of fashion history, as protected by the chambre syndicale de la haute couture. headquartered at 100 rue du faubourg saint honoré, in paris since 1935, the association dates back as far as 1868. made up of couturiers and designers of womenswear, the chambre aims to preserve paris’ position as the world capital of fashion design. in the process of such preservation,  designers are expected to follow guidelines in order to participate in this exclusive presentation of runway collections. established are calendars for each of the show weeks, which optimize scheduling for both venues and shows. hosted in january and july, approximately 30 haute couture shows are presented. such presentations are aligned with the fashion calendar, which accomodates 150 ready-to-wear women’s collections that are shown outside of haute couture. invitations for the couture collections are managed by the fédération française de la couture, which follows an accrediation process and tracks attendance. press and buyer information/welcome kiosks are set up during couture shows to give access to 800 buyers, 2000 journalists, 400 photographers and other fashion professionals. these kiosks allow for digital, print and audiovisual information about the shows to be disseminated to those in attendance. the fédération also aims to facilitate growth of new and emerging brands, while defending intellectual property rights, develop training and education programs and to resolve collective problems, while providing assistand and advice to members. of the season, these five collections are my selections for best couture showings this spring. through concept, detail and execution, as well as influence and discussion; these are my picks. in recounting the history, guidelines and activities of couture, my desire is to remind you, in case you’ve forgotten. when you see them bitches in valour on the street with juicy on their ass, understand how to separate that from this. make no mistake, this is couture.

VALENTINO – of my most loved labels, valentino has consistently produced designs, collections and campaigns that remain in the vein of all that i love of beauty and elegance. inspired by the protagonist roles of famed operas, the collection was thoroughy inspired and meticulously produced. comprised of 55 looks, the collection held a wealth of range in palette and detail. holding true to their brand DNA that, the house continues to defend their heritage in the world of haute couture. theatrical minimalism was presented while wondrous intricacies proved that the collection was among the most complexly inspired and thoughtfully designed. with the fast pace of high fashion rapidly building greater momentum each season, some of the collections that were presented as couture had that ready-to-wear feel. that feel communicating a sense of rapid release, or quick turn over in the connectivity of design. even in the moments of minimal, streamlined design- you felt the difference. you felt the care in the construction when viewing the collection and seeing it’s movement down the intimately staged runway show. my favorite collection of the SS14 couture season, was valentino. i always feel inspired by their merging of classic and progressive aesthetics. this inspiration is felt through not only their couture collections, but all they have done in recent years. from recovering from creative directing flaws, lacking marketing and a clear voice on the high fashion scene. they are owed the respect of being able to sustain as a viable fashion label, and iconic couture house. i applaud maria grazia chiuri and pierpaolo piccioli. completely stunning from the first look, to the last.

GIAMBATTISTA VALLI – beauty was in full bloom this season, as floral danced across the runways of paris. no collection felt as much of a representation of spring than giambiattista valli’s SS14 couture collection this season. usually a flair of the dramatics are seen by valli, but this collection was much more spring than any of his others- if only for the hemlines. short designs were seen this season, which are not as expected as one would think for a fashion collection. couture rides that line of differentiation from ready-to-wear collections. when i review couture, i look for that difference. i like the idea of transcendence with all things haute. that’s what you feel when you see a giambattista collection. you get that sense of wonder, that emotion of fantasy. this collection seemed a bit more tame than other collections by valli, for couture in seasons past. that said, it was no less beautiful. i loved the contrast of colors, and the modernity that was expressed in the creation of couture separates. it was young, while remaining mindful to the art of couture. loved the use of hardware, and though i could draw comparability to the likes of christian dior by raf simons, i won’t. this collection was far more interesting, as oppose to dior’s reliance of mundane minimalism. it was pretty, in an alluring way. not pretty as the sub-par little sister of beautiful. it was light, well constructed and imaginative. i loved the controlled aspects of drama that were injected in thoughtful ways.

3ATELIER VERSACE – power has long been the inspiration and founding presence of the house of versace. over the past five seasons, the house has returned to the haute couture runways, proving themselves to be strong contenders of the art form. grace jones was the female icon that inspired this seasons couture collection, as donatella described her as ‘power goddess’. the musical icons presence was felt in the clothes, and portrayed in her signature hooded look. maria borges of women model management, was the only black model cast for the show and she closed on the runway. strange as it may sound, there wasn’t enough color, representing a woman of color despite the fact that she inspired the collection. yes, there were versace elements and the embodiment of jones was vividly presented, but the casting proved to lack the true essence of her power. that power being the fact that she is black. grace jones has been widely regarded as an icon for women, but a large component of her influence is recognized by the fact that she afforded women of color the opportunity to be seen as true artists, commanding of power in undeniable ways. versace’s visibility, especially in modern day media is largely to credit for it’s lyrical reference by black artists, most commonly in the rap genre. the unease that i feel in seeing un-pigmented bodies strolling the runway to represent what cannot be faked or unrealistically reproduced is both jarring and unsettling to me. great inspiration- yes. execution? i find it puzzling, but more so, i find it annoying. represent the artist, and recognize what aspects of reality have aided her proclamation of that power. duplicate that through proper utilization of said reality.

CHANEL – in the last several months, i’ve discussed the merging of suit and sport. since that time, i’ve consistently highlighted and documented collections that support that theory. in areas of menswear, and womenswear- i’ve remained vigilant in observing various elements from magazine covers, to the silhouettes within pre-season collections. chanel haute couture goes on to further lends themselves in show of support of my theory even further. chanel is king with their crown being lagerfeld, himself. this season, they threw versatility high into the sky with their couture collection. opening the show was model it girl, cara delevingne, strutting rhythmically with a metallic accented eye onto the runway that was described by karl as, ”an ice palace, a nightclub from another planet.” the future? i completely agree. the collection began rather tame, taking casual looks and elevating them with couture detailing. a focus on silhouettes brought the eye to the torso, which was narrowed by hidden corsets that were only visible as the models walked away from the front row and back up the two-way stair case. the models walked the show with the greatest of ease, slightly galloping to the runway beat down the stairs in, and what could be more chic; chanel couture sneakers! there was no greater element to support my theory of suit and sport than the couture sneaker this season. as the collection progressed, the looks evolved smartly into formal looks that leaned more heavily into the essence of couture through to the end. the collection held a palette of iced tones, lending the idea that karl understands the vein of consistent and well executed vision. one of the strongest collections this season, and a tried and true mark of defense for chanel being held in regard as the greatest fashion house in fashion history. knee pads as well, the sport theme was in full effect and lagerfeld continues to prove why he is, very much so, the crown atop the head of chanel as king.

CHRISTIAN DIOR – dior has since been altered in aesthetics since raf simons has stepped in as the replacement for john galliano. though the discussion of galliano is now stale, the conversation of the brands transformation is not. i’ve been watching the collections, recognizing improvements and being mindful that change is a process. simons’ approach to design is very psychological. it’s almost as if it’s overanalyzed design, in my opinion. im all about clean lines, thorough inspiration and design abstraction. this couture collection’s strong suit was cut. whether it was strategic placement of cut-outs, or the shortened hemlines that brought about a spring feel- the only cut i noticed severely enough was couture. the collection seemed to lack design intricacy that is most commonly associated with couture, as an art form. here, i felt none of that in these clothes. though psychological and interesting in design, there seemed to lack a defining line between these clothes and that of ready-to-wear. the clothes were more closely aligned with simons’ aesthetic with jil sander, i felt, and didn’t particularly resonate with the brand DNA of christian dior. silhouette was destroyed, and widened in a way that seemed to deface the signature of dior in design. aside from the casting of grace mahary, a model who also appeared for both chanel and valentino on the couture runways this season, the collection was otherwise boring and seemed to lack beauty. simplicity is key, and overindulgence can be vulgar, but here there was no balance of theatricality, and no stretching of the imagination in a way that felt exciting. though not the worst collection of the season, i find it necessary to contrast ideas of excitement with those of wonder in curiosity. as historic as the dior label has been in fashion, i have a greater expectation than what was delivered here. for me, it’s simply not enough.

visit style.com for complete coverage of the SS14 haute couture season
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