PFW

I’m in complete denial about the A/W fashion season being over. The runway fashion, the street style; I’ve been watching with awe for the last four weeks as the best Autumn/Winter collections have been showcased in front of our eyes. The last port of call was Paris – the city of love – and the fashion capital made us fall in love with fashion all over again.

paris fashion week

After some mixed collections in London and Milan, Paris went back to the more wearable winter colours. Balenciaga – with Alexander Wang at the helm – combined darker and heavier fabrics like wool and leather with bright prints and colours such as purple, orange and blue, all very stylish but sensible. We’re still waiting to evaluate Raf Simons’ performance at Christian Dior but his A/W collection was beautiful. This new Dior is so much simpler than it was under John Galliano with none of the theatrics but this runway collection was clean and desirable – mostly black with splashes of colour: perfect for winter.

paris fashion week

The theme of dark colours with splashes of colour was continued throughout other designer showcases such as Stella McCartney. Her collection was a workingwoman’s dream – suits, dresses and knitwear perfect for the office, nights out and pieces that can be worn from day to day. Paris Fashion Week this season was built on the foundation durability and wearable items and most of the designers fit this brief. Saint Laurent had all the makings of a stylish teenage girl’s wardrobe – angsty and unpredictable. With a whopping amount of looks, Slimane’s models donned black eyeliner, frowns and Wednesday Addams-style pinafores and collars. I want pretty much everything in this collection – my wallet is crying at this stage.

parish fashion week

In a different move, Karl Lagerfeld created a supermarket at Chanel’s runway collection. Instead of the dark hues in a lot of other catwalk shows, Chanel showcased some bright, colourful patterns and colours. Everyone from Cara Delevingne to Joan Smalls partook in the grocery shopping wearing candy shades and futuristic looking dresses. Valentino went a little more geometric and graphic with their patterns, using lots of bright red, pinks and greens to make a desirable collection for every occasion. A personal favourite are the Peter Pan collared shift dresses – chic yet easy to wear. Sarah Burton added that little bit of drama into the Alexander McQueen show, using splashes of monochrome, navy and purple to make a theatrical but beautiful catwalk collection, paired with some pretty random cornrows.

parish fashion week

It’s been a mixed bag of a fashion week season. There has been a clashing combination of colours, cuts and fabric – it seems as though there is confusion between seasons. Nonetheless, our favourite designers came up trumps with some fantastic designs and surprisingly wearable outfits. It’s been a fantastic Fashion Week season for models like Kendall Jenner, who – on her debut Fashion Week season – made friends with Anna Wintour, modelled for brands from Chanel to Giles and got her name out there in the fashion world as fellow model Cara Delevingne did the few seasons before that.

paris fashion week

I’m already looking forward to seeing the S/S15 collections – it feels strange to be talking about winter clothes when it hasn’t even hit springtime yet. Until then, check out all the catwalks and the street style and see how you can update your wardrobe for next season! I’ve already started!

This article was first seen on lovetabii.com.

Photos c/o vogue.co.uk, astairwaytofashion.com

Until next time,

Keep styling,

Em

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Is Fashion Now All About The Shock Factor?

THE FASHION industry is that intersection where the subtle meets the extreme and the innovative meets the downright crazy. Each season, designers have to come up with new ways to stay on top of the game, making their collections and catwalk shows as theatrical as possible, ensuring their show sticks in your mind. But when does the crazy become too crazy?

There has been uproar in the fashion industry the last six months over the infamous brand Yves Saint Laurent. A fashion house that has been at the forefront of the industry, YSL was taken over by a new creative director last year called Hedi Slimane to shake things up, and by god he did. When taking over a company that is so established, it is usually a risk changing anything but Slimane went one step further and changed the brand name to Saint Laurent, a move that had many critics speechless.

Since his time in the newly named Saint Laurent, Slimane has pushed the boat out on a number of projects. For the new menswear line, he chose a very unlikely candidate to front the campaign – Marilyn Manson. As part of the latest series of ads being debuted this month – titled the Music Project – Manson and other musicians such as Courtney Love will be featured in a move that is set to ‘cement the ties with the music industry’. But why?

The fashion industry loves a challenge. It loves having something to analyse and ponder about. But did Slimane push it a bit too far? With only a year in charge of one of the biggest fashion houses on the planet, he has altered everything he can about its original form, including its name. When John Galliano took the helm at Christian Dior all those years ago, he made it his own but he still stayed respectful and truthful to its original designer, who made the line as successful as it was. So why can’t Slimane do this?

Of course, he is not the first designer to try the shock factor to get the critics talking. Back in 2012, Tom Ford edited an issue of Vogue Paris and used young girls in his Cadeaux editorial, including 10-year-old Thylane Blondeau. Many were up in arms about the way these young girls were posing and the make-up and clothing they had on. This led to a huge controversy about the use of young models and led in part to the setting up of the Vogue Health Initiative.

In a piece entitled, “Why Tom Ford was right to photograph vamped up six-year-olds,” Libby Banks of MyDaily UK wrote: “Ford has created a dialogue about the fashion industry’s attitude to age; in an industry where teenage models are encouraged to have the physique of a small child in order to promote women’s clothing, surely the next ‘logical’ step is to use a small child to model grownup fashion. It’s meant to be absurd and offensive.”

It appears that the fashion industry has bowed down to this shock factor need. No collection or show is enough without the prospect of it blowing you out of your seat and that means a bleak future for some in the industry. It will be interesting to see how critics react when the Music Project is unveiled later this month and for Slimane’s sake, hope it doesn’t go down like a lead balloon!

The Designer Highlights of Spring/Summer 2013

It’s been such a long winter in Ireland that everyone is getting a bit sick of the cold weather, the frostbitten hands and the sneezing all over the shop! I’m always so looking forward to the winter, I love wrapping up in warm coats, scarves and hats but there comes a time when even a person like me who is allergic to sunlight has to take a step back and think, ‘My god, I just want to wear a light jacket for once’! So for all those people who are missing the presence of a bit of warmth and want to change up their wardrobe a little bit, here is what we should be wearing this Spring/Summer 2013 season all the way from the major catwalks.

We got a huge mixture of everything for the S/S 2013 shows, from graphics to floral print, pastels to neon and everything in between. It was a season of change, with Hedi Slimane at the helm of the newly named YSL and Raf Simons taking over from Bill Gaytten at Dior (does anyone else miss Galliano?). Even Jil Sander returned to the fashion house she had started in 1973 much to the surprise of many. Throughout all this upheaval, our favourite designers managed to create some show-stopping creations, astound us with their visual displays and reminded us all why we are in this game called fashion.

As always the fun began in New York City and we saw influential people like Anna Wintour and André Leon Tally enjoying the spoils of fashion’s most prominent designers, who didn’t disappoint. Carolina Herrera’s show, a favourite with the fashion elite championed ‘lightness and fluidity’, which reflected beautifully in the cuts and hues of the clothing. There was an Alice in Wonderland-style vibe throughout the runway show, using a powder blues and creams as a running theme. Collared blouses and A-line skirts were the order of the day modelled by up-and-coming stars like Cara Delevigne and the sleeve style on the jackets and cinched waists created a school-girl aura, a look not usually championed by Herrera. The subtle colours continued throughout the show on tea dresses and maxi-skirts. Karlie Kloss finished the show in a three-quarter-length sleeve cream dress with intricate beading on the edges, closing this young but elegant collection with a bang.

Marc Jacobs used a psychedelic style in his collection for this season with the use of horizontal stripes in many different colours from monochrome to candy-red. Every piece had simplicity, like it had been stripped back to basics and started again. Crop tops with shorts were a big part of the show and the midi-trend continued with the use of knee-length skirts. There was the odd ruffled collar and scalloped hem and the psychedelic mood changed from stripes to houndstooth to leopard print, a true sign that prints will be all in this season in all shapes and forms. All the accessories were petite and ‘cute’, something that ran parallel to the sixties theme, a tribute to the days of Twiggy and simplicity.

Tom Ford, the man of the moment thanks to his new Diet Coke campaign, continued the sixties vibe into his show with teased beehives and biker boots. His mixture of glossy biker jackets with upturned collars, buckles and leather this was truly a nod to the days of mod, an era that made James Dean comfortable and makes women to this day feel sexy and in control which is exactly how these clothes are meant to feel. The mixture of black, cobalt and metallic shades made for a contrast made in heaven and the utilitarian feel that moved throughout the show made Ford’s show an uproarious success and will have the Swinging Sixties swing all the way into 2013.

Next was London. Home of the most articulate and grungy designers on the planet and home to muses from Edie Sedgwick to Princess Diana. Here is where we see the use of florals and pastels, showing our European and American counterparts how it’s done in London. Emilia Wickstead told the press she had championed a Truman Capote society woman vibe, slick, polished and most importantly, desirable. Her outfits that would stand out on the set of programmes like The Hour create a marriage of youth and polish and bring it together to output a late 50s aura. The neat, simple hair and the chic Manolo Blahnik shoes made the elegant tailoring complete and the models shows an iron-willed but effortless demeanour in the clothing. There were plunging necklines in demure dresses and full skirts in sherbet shades, combinations that screamed Sunday best but also independent woman.

Mary Katrantzou, although sticking to some of her exquisite printing, had a different style this season. The prints she usually uses have such an intricate and old oriental quality about them and these new styles that Katrantzou uses was a nod to her flourishing style, a more modern approach to printing. The use of money, flowers and postage stamps was a surprising change on styles like shirts and bootleg trousers. Her colours that usually stick to a scheme were fresher, white mixed with metallic blues and blacks. The designers showcased A-line dresses, trousers and blazers mixed with bowling-style shirts. Her oriental-inspired vase shaped skirts haven’t made their usual appearance at Fashion Week for this season but it could be the breath of fresh air that Katrantzou needed for her new collection.

A print overload was had at the Erdem catwalk show. Again with the sherbet shades, we got an eyeful of lemon yellow, oranges and pinks, all adorning pretty, ladylike dresses – an Erdem speciality. Erdem really broke out of his comfort zone with the use of snakeskin and the continued use of textiles, texture and applique. The show was saturated with femininity from demure fitted dresses to umbrella shaped skirts, to pencil skirts. The use of lace and crochet with sheer fabrics and pastels was a signature Erdem move but the show moved forward and made changes that no fashion editor could have expected.

Milan was next on the agenda, the home to high and expensive fashion. The standards are high and the prices are even higher but the Italian fashion capital always comes up with the goods and this season was no different. The monochrome and Oriental trends were ever present in Miuccia Prada’s catwalk show. The silhouettes were boxy and angular from the silk jackets to wraps to Judo-style jackets. The jackets that opened the show were black with a single white flower that looked like it had been spray-painted on with stiff pleated skirts. The flower motif crept into each look that turned the catwalk from the fur coats to the clutch bags, always in either red or white. The shows were golden booties with ribbon details, giving a very delicate feel to the outfits. The mixture of monochrome with pastels was very heavy and has people in two minds about the collection but Prada’s show has triumphed with the critics again who think the use of monochrome in the S/S13 collection works against the sweet colours that after two weeks of fashion shows can start to get a bit sickly.

Jil Sander has returned to the helm of her own ship after Raf Simons moved to Dior and this collection was bound to cause a lot of interest. The modern clean lines has everyone talking and her use of colours like burgundy and navy were a welcome difference to the pastels and patterns of every other collection. The collection was about lines and shapes more than colours and the shirts and jackets had a stiffness and structure about them. The jumpers had graphic lines on the shoulders and sleeves and everything was cinched and tapered – because that’s what Jil Sander does. The contrast between the square cuts and the round necklines was a smart one and Sander returned with style to the fashion elite where she can rightfully take her place. This collection was astounding, not just because of the clothing but the difference between now and last season, under the wing of Raf Simons.

Frida Giannini, the designer who kicked off Milan Fashion Week, opened with a bright pink bombshell in the form of a streamlined trouser suit showing that Gucci was too in a sweet mood. However, the design house was packing a punch and instead of following the crowd, Gucci used expressive jewel colours in their collection. Turquoise, pink and yellow all played a huge part in the show and it said no to the summer pastel unspoken rule. There were double-breasted jackets and shift dresses with patterns and Giannini put a lot of focus on back detailing in this new collection, creating high necklines with plunging backs. We saw beading and encrusted necklines and snakeskin to boot, showing that Gucci likes to give the fashion groupies of the world a lot of options.

It was time to go and enjoy the romantic fashion in the city of love and our last port of call: Paris Fashion Week. Amazing designers have hailed from this city and the beauty that has been created in design houses like Chanel and YSL cannot be beaten. Alexander McQueen by Sarah Burton took our breath away as per usual and she has proved yet again why she is the best. There was an erotic feel to the show and Burton described the collection as being about the ‘worker bees’. This led to honeycomb style mesh being used to make pencil skirts and sharp jackets with a beekeeper style hat. Crinoline was the buzzword in this show and we saw extravagant and indescribable corseted gowns that belonged in a Russian society novel. Thick gold belts were wrapped round the waists of the models and the corsets/crinoline style dictated how well the jackets tapered on the waist. Unbelievable isn’t strong enough a word: Burton, you did McQueen proud.

Chanel, a favourite amongst the fashion society, was as always lady-like and fantastic. Lagerfeld used pearls galore in this show-stopping catwalk, on wrists and necklines and clothing, like pollen that had just rested on their clothes. It was one of the simplest shows that Chanel has ever done and that, in itself, is a statement. Lagerfeld showed that the house of Chanel didn’t need fresh blood; it was still the king of the jungle in the fashion world. We saw little cropped jackets, a Chanel favourite but with bell sleeves for a modern twist. There were strapless column dresses with sequin flowers, sequined jackets and huge hats with see-through brims. The wind theme that ran throughout the show was a breath of fresh air both for the brand and the audience and the entire collection was calm, collected and a total classic from Karl Lagerfeld.

Last but certainly not least, the show that everyone has been talking about: Louis Vuitton. The use of neon and graphic print was genius and set this show apart from the rest. Escalators played a huge part in this ingenious designs and created drama. Marc Jacobs focused on stripes for his own show but when it came to Vuitton, Jacobs was seeing squares: plenty of them. The sixties style was evident yet again and the models donned beehives and kitten heels to strut their checkerboard creations down the runway. Pencil skirts and maxi-skirts both played a part with demure jackets and crop tops, a staple in Jacobs’ own show. The designs themselves were simple and elegant but the use of the checkerboard pattern and the sixties theme made this show one to remember.

The designers over Fashion Week gave us a few clear messages: graphic patterns like stripes and squares will be all over the high street this season and don’t be afraid to steer clear of the failsafe pastels and try something a bit bolder or darker. Flowers are all in as a usual spring staple but with a twist and make sure you channel that 50s/60s vibe to your hearts content! Keep styling, Em x