Friday, February 28, 2014

Christian Dior Fall 2014 Paris Collections

Memo to Raf... Where on earth did you get the notion that women who can afford these clothes want to look like rump roasts in quilted dresses or that instead of using drapes Gone With the Wind style opted for granny’s old satin quilted coverlet? Maybe I need to ask if you have ever spoken to or listened to a woman while she was buying clothes. Didn’t you get the memo about platform shoes? It obviously keeps getting lost!!


Let’s get to it now... Fall 2014 by Raf Simons for Christian Dior is one more misstep in his checkered tenure at the revered house. At the onset, my mind was racing with the fact that Simons had retreated to the tailored aspect of house by deeply delving into its famed jackets and departing from the floating panels and even decided to add wearable dresses. Harsh insets, transparencies and techno fabrics that served as some selfish egotistical moment to force his imprimatur on the house were suddenly gone. WRONG! He just decided to decimate others parts of the legacy of Dior. A sleeveless reefer or elongated blazer or petal ½ sleeved blazer is cool but this was over kill, the colors were welcomed and then suddenly you were looking at a collection that was both Spring and Fall.


The inset lacing effect looks as cheap as free lunch or worse yet like some design school project and then there was the matter of those oddly places beaded flowers appliques to supposedly complement the sneaker lacing. Do ya think it might have worked better if instead of contrast lacing you used a monotone or that maybe the laces themselves resembled other than  if they were torn from a pair if Reeboks?


Moving right along there were all those quilted dresses which happen to have been quite lovely if you were looking for a fashionable way to stay warm this coming winter. I am sure there will be oodles of arcane high minded blah blah blah to supposedly justify these choices but … deaf ears here!!! continuing on this path now it the matter of the of the layered looking dresses which for a moment looked as if they might be quite fabulous but then again, Mr. Simons  seems to know how to turn these ideas against himself via various means of destruction.

Bottom line is simple, from the outside looking in these are not clothes that befit the legacy or reputation of Dior. Rumor hath it that the clothes are retailing... I don’t believe it for a second as all that “news” can be manipulated by the mother ship. Passing by the store on 57th street has become a major source of sadness as there is neither glamor nor mystique about these clothes. They look as sad as Stella Tennant standing hunched and pigeon toed with dirty hair dressed in some ungodly creation! Remember aspiration??  It has turned into “WHO wants to look like that!”

PS about those postage stamp style embroideries slapped onto shells and those supposedly fabulous and glam “gowns” well .. nighties … think again..Raf’s riff on Dior needs a whole lotta work!!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nina Ricci Fall 2014 .. Paris Collections

Well well well... in oceans of shapeless, me too clothes comes a collection. In the literal sense, that has clothes... yes folks... real clothes... Clothes to be worn... Clothes that don’t require a user manual and clothes that speak for themselves. Merci Peter Copping... oh and did I say they were actually pretty! Well most of them anyway.


Paris is barely 2 days in and so far, with rare exceptions there hasn’t been anything to screech about unless of course you screech about how ugly most of the clothes are that we have seen up to date. Mr. Copping offered up a variety of looks, another rarity, and some real live day clothes… imagine the possibilities. Then there is actually the fact that the collection is a continuation of the same themes he started with pre fall and 2 primaries among them is salable and wearable … the horror!!


I am sure it is as boring for you to read as it is for me to ramble on and on about all the don’ts we have seen so my advice is to see the slideshow and think about real life... not Anna and Grace’s version of real life depicted on some fashion rag’s pages but the kind you see on the street.. Well granted not in downtown Duluth or Fargo but in the more urbane and cosmopolitan cities.


Time to speak up and let me know what you think about Nina Ricci and the rest of what’s piling down the runways…

Balmain .. Paris Collections Fall 2014

Let’s be very clear here about my feelings on this collection; if one takes it as face value meaning as it was shown, the only sane reaction is WTF are you thinking? BUT if one takes a moment or 2 to digest what was shown, the only sane reaction is OMG it was incredible!

On the face to say that the collection is de trop is one of grossest understatements one can make but as has been said “holy crap on a cracker!” the incredible and almost inconceivable workmanship is the real start here but it cannot be ignored that Olivier Rousteing is a designer who designs. The fall collection is most definitely an extension of the pre fall collection and that alone makes him almost a genius considering that most consider it as 2 distinct seasons with 2 very distinct collections... duh!!! Pre-fall and fall!!!!

Besides all the over the top put togethers and combinations and unimaginable craft that has gone into these pieces, there is at heart a designer who needs to be harnessed to realize the full potential of his talents. He is unquestionably a young man who has a future if he can evolve and at some point restrain himself. Yes, some of the “outfits” are over layered and over worked but the beauty is in the dissection and not the total picture.

He is a master with leathers and shows amazing promise in “regular” cut and sew but his shining moment is the ability to conceive of the combinations that it requires creating a single style. Rarely can I say with any conviction that clothes command the price they sell for but here is the exceptions... you indeed get what you pay for!

Take a good long look at what talent looks like …..

PS ..below the knee doesn’t cut it here and the sensory  overload is almost overwhelming

Balenciaga .. Fall 2014 .. Paris Collections

Okay then! Try try again! or maybe The little train that could!

Knowing that the collection will be lauded and praised, it feels quite right to point out that this is just a hysterical or at least a comical notion. Another bit of humor will enter into the picture when the reviewer realizes that so much of what was shown is so ridiculous in terms of the house DNA and vocabulary. Mr. Wang’s interpretation of the Balenciaga DNA is akin to what Pig Latin is to the real language of Latin!

Anyone who has a notion of what the Master was all about will be able to speak of shape, construction, and coloration as well as purity of line and form. In some demented way, Mr. Wang sort of does the shape thing but hell... Zippers!!! And as decoration no less!!Why not ball fringe?  Balenciaga was known to make the most exquisite of ball gowns without so much as a zipper and Mr. Wang is his infinite wisdom uses zippers as decoration. Then there are the jarring shades of tobacco and deep orchid and citron and royal which under normal circumstances would work but c’mon. If one is to make a case for all of the above then per chance Wang got confused and started referencing Ghesquiere instead of Balenciaga. Can we talk about the chintzy idea of embossed leather to look like a sweater... it is a sad state of affairs.

My only conclusion here is that under the stewardship of Monsieur Wang, the revered name and house of Balenciaga has turned into contemporary sportswear brand at designer prices and has far more in common with Nicholas than with Cristobal! If I am to return to the wearable and salable concept, okay yes it is that but no need of the label, it could simply be called House of Wang!

Gareth Pugh .. Paris Collections .. Fall 2014

  From the very first collection he presented, he made a fan of me. Let it be known now that given my penchant for saleable wearable clothes, this was no easy task but it has been accomplished. The most striking part of his talent is that he is a designer who designs and does so unapologetically and as in your face as possible. Imagine, for this collection there was no theme!! That means there was no blah blah blah to accompany or justify the collection ... just clothes! What a concept!

Today it strikes me that there is more than just a passing feeling that Mr. Pugh has been influenced by the late Alexander McQueen. What I cannot seem to figure is if this is a good thing or a bad but I am nonetheless a great fan. With the use of the plastic or plastic bags one cannot help but be reminded of Gilles Deacon from last year; the real question is “does it matter?” then there is the case of the rectangular “scales!” Does one say they are 21st century Paco Rabanne?

As for the mirror or silver or reflective pieces, I am open to suggestion here as I am not sure what to make of them. Then of course, there are the “caveman skins” or pelts which were effective and slightly more wearable but only by the likes of Daphne Guinness and not many more but very reminiscent of Racquel Welsh 2000B.C.

The question remains as to why am I still so intrigued and enamored and the reply is the same... this kid has something and it has really yet to bare itself. I want to be around when it does.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Giorgio Armani Fall 2014 .. Milan Collections

Immediate reaction is that the overall look is a bit disappointing in terms of styling. This season the models look bit dishabille rather than the usual sharp polished urbane countenance. In recognition of that, one might say it makes sense given the overall relaxed and comme il faut qualities of the collection.

Make no mistake that this collection is a HUGE story of jackets; some new some old friends and all of them pure Armani. Whether in wools, cashmere, leather or fancy, the story of tailoring is front and center. One almost doesn’t notice what is being worn on the bottom even though mostly pants are shown. A couple of dresses are stand outs but again very simple, very toss it on and be done, no really accessories just good clothes. By and large this is not one of those collections that leaves you slack jawed and drooling but again it demonstrates that designers who do what they do best can deliver salable wearable collections that are not boring or pedestrian.

Please do not think that there were no clunkers here as there certainly were but all is forgiven when the overall result is as good as this. One other detriment, in my eyes, is the choice of that green shade which I find so abrasive and unappealing but then again, Mr. Armani can make me accept it much easier than most. I am a big fan of grey so you will hear no complaints about that and he uses a perfect cast of grey that is not warm but clean and cool to the eye.

If a grading system was to be put in place, I’d give it 85 out of 100 and be happy that Mr. Armani is an oasis of chic and sensibility in a sea of confusion.