Thursday, February 26, 2015

Prada .. MFW ..fall 2015



And I quote ““Ugly is attractive, ugly is exciting. Maybe because it is newer. The investigation of ugliness is, to me, more interesting than the bourgeois idea of beauty. And why? Because ugly is human.”



Complimenti ... Well it is just another season for Mamamiuccia. She continues to uphold her rules and regulations of not wanting to make women look beautiful. This is something she does so well in fact she excels at it; in fact you might just say it is her strong suit as well as her modus operandi.



Nothing says feminine like a new collection of neoprene dresses, suits and jackets. At first one might think it was that 70s thing called bonded when a facing fabric was heat fused to a foam like backing which rendered the cloth absent of any draping possibilities.  Either way, the redemption here is that it certainly is warm as in heat containing let alone sweat inducing … so you better stock up on antiperspirant. Then of course there is the inherent quality of the fabric which gives it shape, its own shape not your shape so you can surely conceal that body you work so hard to achieve at the gym. Oh yes and there is another inherent quality of the fabric, when it hangs, it looks like someone is still in it

Visually, it reminded me of Delpozo which is not necessarily a compliment in this case since Delpozo achieves these looks thru expert tailoring and dressmaking and not from the use of neoprene. Mamamiuccia loves those awkward details/ornamentation like mink tabs, vertical bows and what appears to be melted plastic appliques. One can be absolutely sure there is some high minded arcane explanation to justify such quirks so alert the media!



We can zip on  over to the ostrich pieces which  must be in the upper end of a  4 digit price range and besides who wouldn’t want a slip dress made of those luxe skins to wear over some silly polo shirt. If she thinks this is the way to boost her lagging sales and goose up her demand, she might just have failed. On the plus side, the gloves were fabulous but the bags looks rather boring and maybe some of the shoes and boots will help but there is not much new there either.


cosa fare signorina??

PS.. one might say Mamamiuccia is the Balenciaga of ugly!

Philipp Plein fall 2015 MFW



Here is what Plein had to say when he showed his last men’s collection……."We are selling, this is the point. If I wasn't selling, then I wouldn't be here. I am not here to please the people of the press…I am a customer boy. I am a working-class hero. I am not here to make you guys happy; I am here to make the customer happy. They pay my bills. They make all this happen."



When a designer reaches this plateau of self-understanding and has the realization that the press really doesn’t matter in the general scheme of things, it is only then that he can truly push forward. It is an extremely rare moment of... Hubris? … Arrogance?? … Or is it just the simple reality that this designer speaks his mind with such candor. KUDOS!! to you for speaking the truth.


It has been said countless times here that press /media acknowledgements and acceptances do not sell clothes. Clothes sell clothes. Plein’s clothes appeal to his clientele and he has the empire to prove it. Success will come to those whose clothes sell and not to those who only get the nod from the so called media elite. It is the consumer who has the final word ... not this or that sunglassed editor or some no clue critic whose resume is either 20 minutes long or never worked a day in their lives in the trenches of fashion.



The bottom line here is that there is a choice for any writer or critic and that is ... do you simply offer a FACTUAL accounting of what you see or do you offer a supposedly unbiased educated assessment/opinion of what you have seen? For decades critics were a somewhat scholarly lot who based their articles on the history of fashion and offered their evaluations and now we have so called critics who are more interested in speaking of the venue, the front row and these misguided and delusional inspirations that bear no relation to a collection. HOLD ON TO THIS THOUGHT!



Here comes PP who says ... you know what .... this is what I do and this is who I am and I wanna have a good time doing it. I tip my hat to you Philipp Plein. The world of fashion could use a hard dose of reality so maybe you are the one to show them the way.

PS.. if you were hoping for a review .. not happening today… this is just a report and an assessment of a man with an unapologetic approach to fashion !

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gucci by Alessandro Michele Fall 2015



Alessandro Michele may have had a bit more time to prepare for this collection than he did for men’s but no matter. In a rare moment, let’s discuss the venue which to me resembled a chic lavatory or a new chic subway station. That’s all for the venue!


From the opening exits, one immediately knew something was not quite right as the clothes were far more pointed to Spring rather than Fall but then again it might be that wear it now thing but my guess is not. This is gonna have to be a free flowing assessment as it is difficult to summarize it or possibly, if summarized we get about 4 sentences.

Signor Michele has certainly changed who the ideal client is for this legendary brand. Apparently the client needs to be a very nerdy 20 something who loves scouring thrift stores via an elite shopping environment such as  a Gucci store. Then the lady or young woman needs to love wookie shoes (sic Chloe or Phoebe) or the Gucci version of a hairy mammoth slip on slide complete with horse bit. Oh yes and she definitely wears glasses, berets and has long straight hair.


In all my decades of experience, whether retail or wholesale, pleated skirts have never been a great idea as they show everything and are extremely hard to wear especially  those of  the sunburst knife  pleated variety. Then of course if the accordion pleating is not enough there is box pleating reminiscent of old parochial school girl uniforms. Of course this collection was brimming with pleats...did I mention that pleating doesn’t hold during the dry cleaning process. So maybe these are the throwaways.


Okay moving right along we get the gender bending “chintz” menopausal florals (been there, done that)  which look like they came off of Granny’s old sofa, unfortunately one could almost smell the mustiness. While on the subject of fabrications, let’s chit chat about the gratuitous sheer tulle or netting and then the pinky beige lace with no lining ...sounds fab doesn’t it?? One lonely applique sweater and I’m guessing a few pieces that were meant to be evening.


We could possibly talk about the silhouette if it wasn’t that there was none other than clothes hanging  on a body, some snug, some loose and some looking like they were about to fall off.. Most just looking like they were in need of a dressmaker. Then there were the Thom Brownish shrunken sleeves which certainly gave new meaning to bracelet length. Buried within the pile was a definite hippy 70s vibe which surely came from the furs and the loving hands at home accessories.  Nary a handbag in sight!

If one needs to sort out a high point it was in the tailoring which appeared in the asexual or more classic  suits or as coats. While the quality could be seen, the sharpness could not. One has to question where the military influence came into the collection but was evident in a few of the coats. How’d that happen??

Okay with all this being said, the first thing that comes to mind is “Good Luck With That!” it is clear that no one is guiding the ship one more time and that this heritage brand is going to circle the drain if they are not careful. Maybe  Michele will improve and clarify his vision in seasons to come and maybe not, but clearly this is not the way  one would have thought one’s ”coming out” would have been.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Burberry Prorsum by Christopher Bailey fall 2015



While Burberry is not a collection that usually ranks too high on my list of favorites, there are times when one must recognize facts. The facts are simply that Christopher Bailey delivered a collection that stands on its own and speaks to the customer who is enamored both by him and the brand.


After seeing countless London  and New York collections that are either totally unwearable, “me too” or abjectly absurd, Burberry Prorsum is a breath of fresh air. This is a riot of pattern, a cacophony of prints and a clangor of color... you get the idea... right? The references and influences are decidedly hippy, 60s and 70s filled with those India block prints as well as some of the more African inspired origins. There are mirrors, fringe galore, ponchos, whip stitching, bandana prints, patchworks and a folkloric bend that reminds one of Valentino. What seems to be happening is that leopard has become a signature of the collection with good reason as I am sure it translates to big numbers.



Brass tacks... no I’m not in love with this collection but it offers such Great Spirit and exuberance that it would be hard to ignore it. Bailey has carved his own path for the brand and it must be working. If you are wondering how all the slip dresses fit in to a fall collection... I haven’t a clue but as far as this once dowdy brand skewing younger... well it does that in spades. One must admit that the fringe got a little out of hand but as whole, this collection will provide HUGE inspiration for the likes of H&M and Zara.


It occurs to me that the accessories have grown exponentially and far beyond the Burberry plaid. As any knowledgeable fashionphile can attest, it is not always the clothes or really rarely is the apparel that drives the brand, so accessories are likely a huge propellant.


Rather than bitch and moan and pull it apart, it is much easier to sit back and say enjoy this for what it is... this is fashion …  pure and simple... right or wrong... Good or bad...

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Gareth Pugh ... fall 2015 ... London..



We have seen so many collections that can be considered “me too”  and “ so what”  that the mind boggles, let alone allows all of that “stuff” to just mentally blend together into one big bore. We have even seen designers who have offered their collections in all black  .…  2 of the 3 that come to  mind did it with great success and √©lan while one should never have been placed within this arena. The Wanger is not in the same caliber or class as Thom Browne or Gareth Pugh no matter what someone might think. The latter 2 are masters of their craft who outshine an ever growing fashion community that fosters ordinary talents rather than extraordinary talents.


Jumping off my soapbox here, the reason for this review is to examine Gareth Pugh and his collection for Fall 2015. Years ago when he presented his first collection, this young designer made an indelible impression in my overcrowded fashion centric mind. The reason for this was that it was clear this was a young man who actually designed. He was unfettered by any commercial aspects of fashion and he wasn’t interested in some absurd trend. You might be thinking “who is writing this?” as my wont is to discuss salability in so many of my reviews but here was a case where talent superseded any of those aspects.


In the evolution of Gareth Pugh we see he has indeed thought of selling these clothes and not just to rarefied clientele of those like Daphne Guinness and Michelle Harper. Don’t get me wrong, these are not clothes for Mrs. Stepford of Long Island or for the bar mitzvah mother from the North Shore. These clothes are those which remind us that fashion could and is considered an art. The collection is brooding, austere, stark, architectural, dramatic, and head and shoulder above what we have seen to date. Within the collection, in mind, there were references to Comme des Garcons, Rick Owens, McQueen, and even Balmain... yes…  Balmain! Look again!! In the end these are clothes for those who seriously collect fashion or have the means and the eye to stand out from the flock.


Having just completed a book about Charles James, it became apparent to me that Pugh, like McQueen, utilized techniques that Charles James had used which were taken from millinery design. The fabric molding which is a heat and cool process germane to hat blocking that achieves sculptural shapes is quite apparent multiple times within the collection.


Watching a designer like this evolve is one of the great joys of fashion let alone a raison d’etre for my reviews and writing. He restores the faith in me that not everyone of this younger generation does the blah blah blah routine. Gareth Pugh has his inspirations and references but it is the clothes that speak the loudest and not the background verbiage justifying the output.

The visuals are astounding and filled with high impact and a level of  creativity and ability that is rarely seen on runways anywhere. The overall visuals are arresting, to say the least, but in the end, it is the clothes you focus on and once again, might I remind you this is a business of selling clothes not moods and blah blah blah.