MFW

Milan Fashion Week always seems the most high fashion of the fashion week season. From the street style to the frow to the runway, this city really is the European fashion capital from head-to-toe. As expected, the high-end design houses of Milan such as Prada, Gucci and Versace gave us something that New York and London didn’t: couture mixed with wearable designs.

milan fashion week

Gucci gave us a bright and airy collection that seemed a little out of place for A/W but was lovely all the same. The designs were displayed in a number of pastel and subtle shades in a move that is usually reserved for springtime collections. The cuts and designs were simple and elegant, providing us with aspirations for a gorgeous wardrobe. Prada seemed to do exactly the opposite – veering towards fabrics, colours and patterns that were heavier and darker. Furs, silks and wools were displayed in deep reds, navy and black and Miuccia Prada made sure we were set for the inevitable cool winter.

milan fashion week

Emporio Armani went back to basics and focused on the suit and the little black dress. There was an emphasis on tailoring and modernising the basic suit – making it durable and wearable for the modern woman, although there was a slight hint of Charlie Chaplin surrounding some of the suits. There were some beautiful tailored dresses that Audrey Hepburn would be proud of and the entire collection screamed class and elegance – another win for Giorgio Armani.

milan fashion week

Like Gucci, Versace played around with colour but used much darker and richer tones. The turquoises, reds, yellows and monochrome shades were emphasised on evening wear and party dresses, mixing silk and lace in a rock-chick way that only Donatella Versace can muster up. Roberto Cavalli was also all about the drama and did everything with just a touch of fur. The collection was full of electric tones – deep blues, reds and raven black. There was just a touch of theatrics about the collection, which is why we all adore Cavalli’s work, and this season, he didn’t disappoint.

milan fashion weekDolce & Gabbana was easily my favourite show of Milan Fashion Week. Not only did the two designers have some beautiful couture designs, but also they added that little bit of fun and divilment to the collection with animal cartoons and sketches. Using deep colours, designs and fabrics, the geniuses behind Dolce & Gabbana created a collection that every woman can wear and would be proud to have in their wardrobe. The fun and flirty styles and patterns made this a very easy collection to re-create at home, and best of all it looks warm and comfortable. Pretty much ideal for the Irish winters, right?

milan fashion week

This Milan Fashion Week didn’t disappoint – it very rarely does. All designers involved seemed to up their game and present us with collections that were both ready-to-wear and extremely high fashion. The use of colours and fabrics made us look forward to getting back into those winter woollies again without having to compromise our fashion sense. Next is Paris Fashion Week…who else is looking forward to that gorgeous French fashion?

This article was first published on lovetabii.com.

Until next time,

Keep Styling,

Em

x

Photos c/o vogue.co.uk, fabsugar.co.uk, fabfashionfix.com

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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

What you’ll be wearing for Spring/Summer 2012!

I love springtime, don’t you? It’s my favourite season of all, the crisp warm air (if you’re not living inIreland, of course!), the chance to finally pull the wedges out of the back of the wardrobe again and of course, the fashion.

Fashionistas across the globe flocked to their city of choice, or all four if they were lucky, to watch some of the most famous models and the most talented designers in the industry showcase their new collections.

New York Fashion Week was first on the agenda, as always. From September 8-16, a plethora of stars and fashion junkies flooded the Big Apple to see what styles we’ll be relying on next season. Jason Wu was first on the agenda and he definitely turned this season’s trends on its head. With so many designers sticking to a safe black, next spring will be full of colour. Getting rid of the drab and earthy colours, Wu used chartreuse and pink sleeveless dresses with crafted pants in black, grey and white. He also used a monochrome floral print, which he created in collaboration with KAWS, the artist. Wu created beautiful contrasts with his very articulated waistlines with full flowing skirts and it’s safe to say his collection for next season is both on-trend and wearable, he made even a windbreaker look fashionable. But the real surprise was with his eveningwear collection creating dresses fitted to the waist with flowing tiered skirts. Wu wowed the star-studded audience with the rich jewel-coloured creations sweeping along the white tiled runway.

Sporting her post-childbirth slender frame, Victoria Beckham was back on form. Although she took a different slant on her collection last season, having some slightly roomier dresses perhaps inspired by her own needs, but her eye for detail and luxury were second to none and next season is no different. The sleek frames of her collections always make her shows a hard act to follow but this season she out-did herself. Her use of corsets and colour blocking created dresses so sharp, you could get a cut just looking at them. The pieces were very versatile and could transcend from office to cocktail party with no problem whatsoever. Sticking to her usual demure colours, a lot of pieces were shown in navy and sable but there were little eye-catching splashes of bright colour to make the concept more interesting. She also experimented with sportswear and her use of Stephen Jones designed baseball caps with Christian Louboutin’s was new and inspired. This collection shows Beckham has shown love, attention and curiosity for the human form and has created a line that is both understated but elegant.

The iconic Vera Wang never fails to disappoint and the ‘Alice in Wonderland’ inspired line, sher created this season, although very 2010, was brought right back into the forefront of American fashion. Although creating something completely different, she’s stuck to the idea of the jaw-dropping dresses, bridal gowns and the general fairytale-like musings her beautiful designs so idiosyncratic. Some of the looks had a sporty but Victorian look (if that makes any sense!) and began at the start of the show as pristine white which moved slowly through a kaleidoscope of colour and abstract beauty. There were hoods and drawstrings on jackets and with short shorts added a very athletic edge to an otherwise feminine design with frills and gossamer. There was a little indication back to the fetish-trend of Autumn/Winter 2011 with corsets and bodices but mostly the collection was a mixture of ethereality and tailoring, which combined the two in one. Although the overall experience had its quirks, such as the melody of an antique music box aiding the models down the catwalk, the majority of the clothes are original but very wearable.

With New Yorkall fashioned out, it was time for London Fashion Week to shine from September 16-21. And by god, it sure did. With their big attitudes, Australian accents and love for fashion, Sass and Bide certainly brightened up our spirits when there was otherwise quite dull and dreary weather outside. Held in the glass atrium of the Royal Opera House, they brought some of that Aussie sunshine with their fiery collection. There were bright orange tunics and tribal style shorts and dresses that looked like rubber, embellished with neon yellow. Heidi Middleton and Sarah Jane Clarke, the creators of the company wanted to contradict our ideas of fashion by mixing geometric designs with draping polka dots, or their trademark matte black shimmer with metallics.

Expect to be seeing the duo’s gorgeous design work a lot more around Londonin the spring! Jonathan Saunders, fashions cool kid, had a certain triumph at his show, for the second season running, was labelled ‘Show of the Week’ before Day Two even finished. The audience were awash with his paisley and multicolour designs from Autumn/Winter 2011 and he didn’t disappoint for next season. His first dress on the runway caused a stir, as although it was sleeveless and beautifully tailored, it was very demure and refined, sexy in a very classical way. He created silky PJ tops and bottoms with prints and polka dots, and summer coats in bright colours. Saunders breaks all the rules with fashion, and gets away with it so well; you have to love him for it. His collection was teamed with multicoloured Louboutin platform espadrilles and the longing for summer has started with all of us looking at his collection. His models had just a flick of Amy Winehouse eyeliner and messy ponytails, and this whole essence of cool just oozes through what is going to be a fabulous season.

Mary Katrantzou was always a star on the rise when she starred in London Fashion Weeks in the past and this season was no different. With a catwalk covered in yellow, pink and red carnations, the anticipation of a bright colourful show was upon us before it even started. Her exquisite cocktail dresses featured every possible print one could want on one piece of fabric and left trails of chiffon, one would think it were chaos but it was beautiful chaos. Mismatched prints were the order of the day and she exaggerated them even more by using pearls, contrasting jewels and iridescent colour to muscle her way to the front of the pack to create a feast of colour. Katrantzou used the same print on everything from sweatshirts and knit dress, to leggings and trouser suits.  But the best moment of all, was when her signature cocktail dress made an appearance, the stiffened, sculpted Ming vase-esque dress that makes it all worth it, and that moment where everyone thinks to themselves, ‘this is why we love fashion’. Her finale dress made of tin cans and metal flowers was the stuff of legends. It truly defines the pride and love of women designers, especially British ones and it seemed worthy of a museum as well as a catwalk. All we can say to that is ’Bravo, Mary!’

Then it was onto possibly the most fashionable and expensive capital in the world for Milan Fashion Week. The streets are paved like a catwalk for some of the most stunningly beautiful people from around the globe, and more appeared for the most popular week of their year. Raf Simons created a beautiful line of pure simplicity for Jil Sander for next season that would be perfect for the beautifulMilan spring weather, and makes us wish our dull British weather was just the same! He started with white linen collarless dresses layered over each other to create fewer translucencies, some buttoned up to the top and others had little brooches as the back. The structure of the outfits was very sharp and tailored. He then brought paisley back into his designs on the very demure shapes, which had shredded surfaces. He has created very wearable outfits, shorts with blazers and dresses with low backs. Simons, like Beckham at New York Fashion Week, used Stephen Jones hats with a Fifties feel to them. He created mesh tube dresses and punctured leather jackets and shorts. 50 Cent was caterwauling about sweetshops as the models strutted down the catwalk with attitude and Picasso’s face was put on the front of knitted sweaters which were teamed with tailored trousers in blue and white gingham. The last dresses were a showstopper and a return to dazzling white, with a strapless dress with a full white skirt worth of a bride and a row of ballooning cotton floor-length dresses.

Nina Ricci, a line that wouldn’t be in the forefront of fashion except for their infamous and beautifully designed ‘Catwoman’ ads, made a splash at this year’s Fashion Week. A design label who hasn’t tried to be an iconic fashion house, but only want to make beautifully designed and quality clothing, Peter Copping has been trying the make the line into a household name. The collection this season was a great success and was very commercial. There was a definite mixture of decades and fabrics and also a couple of things clashed, it was full of inspiration. There were bra tops with full Fifties skirts, pencil skirts and ruched satin dresses, brocade princess coats and cocktail dresses. Everything was playful, just like their ad campaigns and there was a plethora of chiffon, short sleeved leather jackets and prints that felt both vintage and new, inspired by the Russian artist Zina de Plagny. The more modern fabrics followed after with wool coat dresses, lace cardigans and dresses embroidered with silk flowers and gold leaves. There was a brawl between sexy dresses and romantic dresses in reds, lilac and navy and there were wicker birdcage hats which brought the Forties back to the table. He mightn’t be trying to make a fashion icon from the house but he’s certainly having fun.

The Sunrise Birds show from Missoni was very serene and calm compared to the Dolce and Gabbana show ahead of it but it was by no means less fun. The key next summer is free spirit, charming and spontaneous. In a different twist to Emilio Pucci’s gypsy-inspired clothing, Margharita Missoni went with a more Spanish/flamenco style twist with frills on everything, necklines, hips, edges, they were everywhere. There were copious amounts of blue hues at every end off the spectrum. There were knits in bright yellows that hung loosely on the bias. There was a vague cowboy/western theme as well, with tassels and handkerchief hems layered many at a time. There colours reflected the party girl illusion Missoni wanted to create, using eye-watering colours, magentas, limes, oranges and greens. The shoes and bags weren’t outshone though, with the shoes mad with heels of plexiglass and plastic flowers, and of course the accessories were huge! If you’re a free spirit or a hippie chick at heart, watch this space, Missoni inspired designs will be EVERYWHERE next season!

Paris Fashion Week was last on the agenda, but anything but least! Miu Miu took a teenage vampire theme on board this season which immensely excited the audience. It was Twilight meets Little red Riding Hood as the models strolled down the catwalk in capes, little dresses and red eyeshadow. The whole line was very girly, a theme that went on during the week but this radiated innocence with cloaks tied with ribbon.It was almost like a little girl dressing up n her mother’s clothes, with grey A-line skirts, pointed velvet mules and short handled handbags. Miu Miu also had a sexier side this season. There were purple A-line dresses cut low to show a contrasting blue bra, there were beautiful lace dresses accompanied by satin coats in pink and blue with a gathering of smocking around the shoulders. We were also treated to a collection of coats and dresses sewn in a patchwork form that summed up the pyjama trend from the week.  Miuccia Prada certainly proved that even after a month of fashion shows, she could still breathe some fresh air and life into her collection.

All eyes were on Alexander McQueen this season as it’s the first collection Sarah Burton had done since the Royal Wedding, and only the third since she took over from her mentor and friend, Lee McQueen. But she didn’t let the pressure get to her and she put on a beautiful display. She manages to use his trademarks in he designs but give it a certain lightness. There was exquisite corseting, tailoring, the lace facial coverings, everything screamed Alexander McQueen, yet there was a certain softness about it that Burton has brought to the table. The show began with nude skirt suits that had gold tassel hemlines and exaggerated shoulders. From there, it blended into lavender, with froths of chiffon, the pale pinks and corals having an odd effect on the way we saw the models against the creepy lace masks. Then there were tight silhouettes, created with swathes of nude material and leather, and bodies with trains of mother of pearl, as others had shells growing up the body. The aquatic theme was very strong throughout the show and created a beautiful world that we could be part of. Every show that has been run since McQueen’s death had been a celebration of talent thanks to Burton and that doesn’t look likely to change soon.

There was bound to be a frenzy around the Dior show this season with it being the first show since John Galliano’s shameful departure from the design house. There was less than enthusiastic clapping at the beginning of the show but Bill Gaytten, Galliano’s former right-hand-man and in lieu of an official announcement will be the new creative director, showed us what he could do. The eveningwear was very light and frothy, perhaps in keeping of the aquatic/prince theme that has been running through fashion weeks around the world for the Spring/Summer 2012 season. It was very easy to imagine all the looks on the red carpet, but could it have been played too safe? It seemed so, as with only a few lights around the catwalk, his show was a far cry from the theatrical productions that Galliano used to host.  The collection seemed very plain and grown up, with full skirts and ‘boat-necked’ collars, with collarless jackets; this is nothing to write home to mother about. There were full tweed coats and leather Stephen Jones hats (popular man!) but there was no fun and liberties taken with the Fifties glamour. There was a strong use of leather, but not in the fetish way that Galliano himself and used for the Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. The eveningwear was its one saving grace, again yards of chiffon, giving a very romantic, ethereal quality to the catwalk. Overall, although Gaytten’s designs were beautiful, they were nothing compared to the larger than life Galliano.

Well I don’t know about you but all that fashion has just about tired me out! It’s barely autumn yet, although you’d never know by the weather, and I’m already planning and craving my spring wardrobe. I’ll be in Budapest for the spring and am hoping that the beautiful spring months will reach that far before too long, until then I’ll be wearing my fur coat and boots! The collections for the coming season have given us something to really think about, although the world can sometimes be against us, there is always beauty in fashion and art, and the creators love for it, as we’ve clearly seen over the past four weeks. I hope you’re as excited as I am for the spring months and are already thinking of outfit choices in your heads! 🙂