Friday, May 29, 2015

Oscar de la Renta resort 2016 by Peter Copping

Ladylike… √ … Suits … √ … Urbane … √ … Gowns …
Ode to Oscar … √ … Prints … √ …Youthful … √ … Cocktail dresses …
Colorful …√ … Embroideries … √ … Modern … … Tasteful …
Feminine … Ruffles … √ … DNA … √ … Chic …

One would think that with all these areas covered in one way or another that the collection would have been a knock out. On a scale of 1 to 10 I would say 8 and maybe even 7.5. There were several factors that were truly out of character for the brand, the most prominent and reoccurring is that that the collection lacked the polish, finish and superb presentation that we have become so accustomed to over the years. You know … a few pulling and puckering seams and some hems too long and assorted fit issues.

Peter Copping is more than respectful of the brand’s DNA as well as its vocabulary but it was disappointing that the some of the pieces appeared to be ill fitting and in some cases possibly even not living up the standard of manufacture that has become a trademark of the house. Some pieces seemed not to fit; some pieces seemed to lack the impeccable finish and sharpness that has always been present every season. Could it be that it was a bit too “comme il faut?”

The clothes themselves were more than passable  and in some instances amazingly outstanding in their beauty and conception but then on the flip side there were some that looked frumpy and not quite in keeping with the M O of the brand. Amazing were the Balenciaga inspired gown and cocktail dresses with the fitted front and trapeze back, the hi-lo hems and 2 short dresses of teal and marigold with lace appliqués.  Then there was a red ruffled suit and a print sun dress that appeared to have been sort of just of thrown on and photographed. There was an element of slick raffiné that seemed to be absent in the overall presentation... it was going 9/10 of a mile and not the full distance.

It was brought to my attention that the collection had a very “Anna” influence which is not entirely a bad thing as no matter what one’s feelings may be about her she has in her own way redefined what a working wardrobe can look like. In particular those little “shruggy” like cardigans and abbreviated suit jackets as well as the prints themselves that “she” seems to be so fond of!

The take away here is that there is plenty to satisfy the cult of Oscar and that there were no huge boners that can be pointed to and the so called commercial aspect of the collection has not been lost while still retaining the essence of the brand. Mr. Copping is no doubt treading lightly and not ruffling any feathers which is great and I think in due time, the collection will bounce back to where it once was when Oscar was still designing and that will be the ultimate reward for Copping. The time has yet to come and may never come that Copping exerts full creative control………. And by the way ... sounds good to me!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Burberry Prorsum resort 2016

While not being a huge fan of Christopher Bailey, but in an effort to give credit where credit is due, he has delivered some amazing collections. What is bothersome to me, besides him being very over rated, is that the collections bear no continuity other than the ubiquitous trench coat. It might be said that it is the last shred of the original DNA of the brand other than the plaid.

Resort 2016 plays right into what has become the M O for the brand and so many other heritage brands and that is simply presenting collections of clothes ... nondescript unidentifiable clothes whose only purpose is to fill the racks for that particular season. There is no more instant recognition here as there has been no effort from the brand’s design team to develop one.

Yes, the clothes are pretty, as well they should be considering the prices. Yes the animal prints have become somewhat of a signature but they could be attributed to anyone. What is most outstanding is that Bailey has truly massaged the trench coat in the most beautiful and skilled ways. This season, without doubt, the heavy lace trenches are just sublime as well as one “hairy” animal print version … wearable? ... well who knows and who cares.. they are exquisite. All the simple shaped silhouettes show off the incredible fabrications, combinations and permutations of lace in its many forms. What evades me is that other than models who are paid to wear these clothes or the gals who are given these clothes ... who is buying them and where are they wearing them?

What one must credit Bailey, Bravo and Ahrendts with the company developing a HUGE accessory business and that alone might be what supports the marquee category, let alone resuscitated the sleepy brand. In essence, Burberry will always be about trench coat and plaid no matter what comes down that runway season after season. It saddens me that these  great “blue blood”  brands lose sight of who and why they become iconic, yes, yes I am aware that times change and brands must evolve to survive but why always take the easiest path and that is to ignore the history and create a new visual vocabulary which unfortunately  is no longer brand specific.

Yes, the collection is appealing to a very narrow audience, the accessories are very commercial and yet I say so what?

Monday, May 18, 2015

meet Georgine Ratelband of GEORGINE..

Her name is Georgine Ratelband... and not coincidentally the name of her brand is Georgine. From the very first moment I saw her collection about 18 months ago, there was no question in my mind that she was one to watch and so I watched and I waited.

Several weeks ago I had the pleasure of meeting her in her living/working space and it solidified my gut feelings about her brand even after not being over the moon about her last collection. The brand is in its nascent stages and she is one of those designers who seem to be lucky enough to take her time and plot her trajectory as well her eventual full-fledged entry into the world of international fashion.

At any rate, there is something about what she creates that evokes thoughts in me of Helmut Newton and Chris von Wangenheim and the heady days when fashion really was fashion and photographers told stories with their images while designers designed clothes for women to wear and oh yeah, fashion magazines were bibles for readers and followers of fashion. She possesses sophistication and a sense of style that belies her young age and it very much exposes itself on the runway.

Without any question, there is a big 70s influence and a bit of film noir here but without any doubt, she manages to massage those influences into present day creations. There is nothing that smarts of looking dated or of the literal translation school that so many designers think is okay. Georgine is about chic and soigné and not about trendoid, in other words there is a polish here and a developing signature. In a sense one might say there is something Halstonesque about what she does and maybe there is something that reminds me of how Michael Kors started but not in his present iteration.

After my visit, we decided that she should speak for herself and so she has right here. It is my pleasure to provide a chat with the eponymous designer while she speaks of her life and brand. Please meet her .. and remember … “I told you so !”

1-How did you get involved in fashion?  What drove you?

As a child I was always naturally inclined to put an emphasis on style and attention to detail. I was always creating; whether that was painting, drawing, re-organizing my room, making scrapbooks or dressing my Barbie’s.  I kind of made my own personal world of self-expressionism and I did it all for myself. When it came time to selecting a career, I wasn’t really good at math so I decided to invest in a creative career.  Ha!

2- You have successfully mined the 70’s in your collections... any reason why you chose that decade and will you continue?

The 70’s are an amazing era as they represent so many things. I am always enamored by the women of that time. They loved to dress up and have fun! I love powerful, strong, sexy and sophisticated women. But it is very important for me to translate that seventies feeling into something that is modern and speaks to women of today.

3-where do you see yourself and your brand in 5 years? If you had a wish list what would be on it?
-       Expand our wholesale business and see GEORGINE in luxury multi-brand boutiques and department stores such as Bergdorf, Barneys, Kirna Zabete, Capitol, etc.
-       Build a dynamic and energetic team -  Being featured in major publications monthly - CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund - Get another puppy

4-if you could invite 5 people to dinner ... anyone at all... who would be there and why?
Marlene Dietrich for a million reasons … Diana Vreeland for her attention to detail and inspirational words … Carlyne Cerf de Dudzeele … Eleanor Roosevelt for being such a powerful and prestigious woman … Andre Leon Talley – need I say more?

5-what are you r feeling about fashion as a business at the present time? How do you think it could be improved?

The fashion industry is huge and filled with some of the most interesting, influential and passionate individuals.   It is interesting to see how the industry is changing due to the e-commerce. Besides building a brand and an image as a designer today you also have to think about how your clothes will look online. Majority of customers are shopping more online and the world is becoming very small. that said, I think that as everything is so fast paced, a personal and old world touch is appreciated and goes a long way which is what our private clients relate to.

6- who or what are your style/fashion icons or mentors?  And why?

All my friends who I think have great style. They are all different ages, different body sizes, and different backgrounds.  They are people with character and it is all about individuality. All of them combine the perfect balance of individual style.  It is women that have jobs, kids…  I look at them as my muses.

7-if you could choose to collaboration with any designer, past or present, who would you select and why?

 I would love to collaborate with Karl Lagerfeld. He is such a genius and would love to spend time with him to see how his mind works plus I take it he has a good sense of humor!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dior .. resort 2016

Hard as it may be to believe, each season my mindset leans towards optimistic when it comes to Dior. Each season hoping against hope that Raf or those in the true seat of power will find a way to reclaim what was once the glory of this brand.

This season there was only a GLIMMER of hope in that someone, in their infinite wisdom made a statement with the “bar” but sadly they forgot to tell Raf that in “returning to the architecture of Dior, that meant the jackets had to fit.. OOPSY! If only Raffy could focus on the what the DNA really was and not what HE thinks it is let alone his preoccupation with HIS own blah blah blah , he might just deliver a collection worthy of the name.

Rather than rip this excuse for fashion to shreds, it is simpler to say that Dior gets sadder and sadder each season. Did anyone think that “borrowing” the hard metal and large link chain from 80’s Prada would go unnoticed? Did anyone think that those shoes will make women squeal in pain not to mention make their feet look huge? Maybe it is just a case of does anyone think at all?

What did come to mind is that the collection looks like Claire McCardell dropped acid, went to work for John Meyer of Norwich and then sped off to Biba for a dose of 60s flower power dressing and wound up in Forever 21. WTF happened and who cares about the location albeit fabulous, it surely didn’t make the clothes look any better despite Raffy’s concerns with the visuals of it all.