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

x

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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

One To Watch: Chloe Moretz

Of all the up and coming actresses at the moment, 15-year-old Chloe Moretz is certainly one to watch on the fashion scene. The young award-winning actress has starred in movies like 500 Days of Summer, Kick-Ass, Hugo, Hick and the forthcoming Tim Burton movie Dark Shadows with Johnny Depp and her style is second to none. She’s only 15 and her recent red carpet looks are amazing. Keep your eyes on this fashionista cos she’ll be the biggest youngster in fashion since Dakota Fanning!

Wearing blue Stella McCartney at the premiere of Dark Shadows in LA

Wearing Alexander McQueen for the European premiere of Dark Shadows

Wearing a beautiful floral Dolce and Gabbana dress for the Hick premiere

Wearing Christopher Kane to the Letterman Show

While working at Northfoto, I’ve come to realise how quickly these stars style is evolving every day by looking through the site and I’ll be updating this ‘One To Watch’ segment quite often, I think, as well as the odd ‘What Were They Thinking’ and ‘Old Favourites’ pieces from time to time!

Keep styling, Em x

The crippling effect of genius…

LOOKING at a fashion designer’s life, it seems like the most wonderful existence in the world. To have the recognition you want, thousands of parties, millions of fans, to be an artist of the best kind, to have every single person in the world affect by the work you do and when you walk down the street, you can see your influence everywhere.

But what happens when the pressure gets too much? When you’re held on a pedestal and suddenly dropped from grace like a stone in water for one mistake, one design. Across the fashion world, it is apparent that the crippling genius behind some of the world’s most beautiful art form can get too heavy for one to bear. In the last year and half alone, there have been two prime examples of this, John Galliano and the formidable Alexander McQueen.

John Galliano, the prince of fashion as it were, has always been an inspiration to other designers. But after his close friend Steven Robinson died of a drug overdose in 2007, Galliano’s life seemed to fall apart bit by bit. In a Parisian cafe in February of this year, a drunken Galliano was recorded ranting at a group of people and making anti-Semitic slurs, including ‘I love Hitler’. The video went viral and sent shockwaves through the start of Paris Fashion Week. An anti-Semitic outburst like this can cost you up to six months in prison in France and Galliano was sacked from Dior immediately. Many people, including Dior spokesperson Natalie Portman expressed outrage at the comments, and Portman boycotted wearing his designs at the Oscars as well as resigning from Miss Dior. His team put it down to severe pressure, stating, “He was put under impossible pressure, not only by the demands made by Dior, but also what he demanded of himself”. On September 8, the verdict for  over €5000 of a fine was issued from the French courts but its minute to the dignity he has lost and the credibility he has taken from Dior.

Being the fashion house behind Kate Middleton’s wedding dress, Alexander wasn’t actually alive to see how his protégé Sarah Burton created one of the most famous dresses of our time under his name. The British designer who worked for Givenchy and Gucci before creating his own brand was found dead in his home, aged a tender forty years. Three years after his close friend Isabella Blow and only days after his mother died, the inquest found that he committed suicide. McQueen’s psychiatrist stated that, “He certainly felt very pressured by his work, but it was a double-edged sword. He felt it was the only area of his life where he felt he had achieved something…usually after a show he felt a huge come-down. He felt isolated; it gave him a huge low”.

 

To be so famous and to have that much pressure placed on their shoulders was too much for two of the most amazing and talented designers that have ever lived and its consequences were disastrous. It becomes clear to us that no job is without its stress, especially when the world is your critic and the magic that was created by these marvellous men is something to be treasured and basked in, not torn to shreds.

Breaking it down: What the designers want you wearing this season

 So, since the summer has been so terrible and sluggish, all those gorgeous pairs of shorts, sun-dresses and sandals have been hidden in the back of the wardrobe like the mongrels left at the animal shelter. But instead of focusing on the negative of those poor espadrilles just crying out to be worn, let’s focus on the positives and look at the fact that we can start the painful, gruelling shopping trips (can you sense the sarcasm?) to build up an utterly FABULOUS winter wardrobe.

The Autumn/Winter collections for 2011 have a real twist to them, mixing everything from forties glamour to fetish leather and just about everything in between. The most popular design houses in the world created looks this season that, again, were very idiosyncratic and eye-catching, certainly causing a stir (almost as much as the Galliano controversy!). They also stretched styles, using some of the trends we bought for the non-existent spring/summer season and making them transcend into winter so the extravagant purchases made around February that we regretted so much can be passed off as worthwhile expenses, business expenses if you will!

All eyes were on two shows that are always one to remember, Alexander McQueen and Christian Dior. Since McQueens untimely death a year before, everyone was nervous to see what Sarah Burton could create to honour his one year anniversary. She did not disappoint but it was a bittersweet occasion. Vogue’s writers said, ‘Imagine if you can, wearing your best friends clothes a year after they’d died in celebration of all that they meant to you’. And Burton had some very big shoes to fill. Freja Beha Erichsen opened the awe-inspiring show with a bang, sporting feathers, tweed, white makeup and a silver metallic skull-cap, a feature that adorned every model in the show. The looks came thick and fast, bringing new and fresh ideas to the table. They were reminiscent of ‘Black Swan’, showing both the dark and bright side of fashion, and maybe life as well, showing Burton’s mourning of her boss, and more importantly, friend of 16 years. There were so many different trends thrown onto the catwalk, velvet, tweed, studs, chains, white fur, buckles, and although to the ear, they sound horrific, it all just seemed to work. All the outfits were worn with fabulous shoes, including lace up boots, which is sure to be a major trend over the next season. Some of the outfits seemed to be designed for the depths of the Arctic, which on reflection, may be the best idea with the winters we’ve experienced over the last couple of years! Quite a lot of the collection had a very regal touch to it and in the run up to the royal wedding, a lot of the audience were on the hunt for the Middleton wedding gown, asking as every model walked the runway, would Kate wear this? A couple of pieces were a little softer in lilac and almost mosaic like prints but they still had an edge to them, keeping McQueen’s influence very much alive. The silhouettes were very moulded and structured, creating pieces that women would be proud to wear, every time they wore them.


Christian Dior’s show also seemed to harvest that ‘end of an era vibe to it. Sidney Toledano, the CEO of Dior began with a speech, citing, its a ‘terrible and wrenching ordeal for us all’. And while everyone looked on to say how hard Galliano could have worked to gain our forgiveness, hit and miss is the only way to describe it. There was an almost confused aspect to the show, like Galliano couldn’t decide what colours and textures to use so decided to use all of them instead. There were loads of colours and a little red riding-esque vibe with plums, navys, velvets, ribbons, capes, hats and fur. They also had John Lennon sunglasses, dusty pink cardigans, sheer dresses and chiffon, biker boots and tweed jackets. The models had long flowing hair and carried Dior handbags, both of which clashed with each other and most of the items they were modelling. Suddenly the evening wear came out and everything went a bit…haywire. A green dress reminiscent of the 80s, albeit not in a good way, was paraded down the catwalk. Our eyes were bashed by a collection of velvet off the shoulder numbers, lace and sheer velvet trousers and sheer dresses. There was a barrage of colour, from peach to ice blue. Fabulous dresses were on offer, of course, its Dior, there is bound to be, but the misses were real misses. A couple of the dresses made the models look pregnant, the sheer dresses looked slutty rather than sexy and chic and one looked a little two much like a toilet roll dolly for my liking. Galliano, although creating beauty and art year upon year, had lost a bit of his magic. The event was a quite sombre one, not only because of the happenings of the few days previous but because the plea for forgiveness we wanted wasn’t there, we hadn’t been enthralled and enchanted as we had been the season before.


The rest of the shows weren’t as dreary however, some even had a dynamic change. Chanel had a whole new edge this season. There was a postapocalyptic sense to the clothes, almost like armour, us women fighting and defending ourselves, as Carrie Bradshaw from Sex and the City once said, ‘maybe we’re the white knights and we have to save ourselves’. Boiler suits and biker boots were on the agenda for the models, strutting along a wooden boardwalk across smoking piles of lava and dry ice. Most of the clothes were red and black, even the tweed suits, almost like a Hells Angels version of a tweed suits, a far cry from the pastel hue from last season. The models had minimal makeup, letting the clothes do all the talking, and they certainly did!

Mary Katrantzou, a designer I’ve said to watch for the last couple of years, really outdid herself this year with her beautifully immaculate designs. Her use of structure and prints makes her designs unique and special, relating to the Qing dynasty, making her dresses look more like works of art. She brought in new designs this season like cardigans, jackets, tunics and silk trousers in beautiful rich colours like reds, creams, champagnes, golds and lilacs. The models hairstyles were slicked back, like the Chanel models, to emphasise the beauty of the clothing.

Erdems mismatched prints created big waves at Fashion Week and will continue to next season. His fitted shift dresses are causing a big stir, especially the one that looks like Monet’s Waterlilies, with splashes of navy and scarlet. They added different styles to the agenda this season, chiffon blouses buttoned up to the neck, printed trench coats, mismatched stilettos and ankle boots. The designer has added his own little sense of rebellion into the creations, showing glam rock trouser suits and sleeveless tweed turtleneck tops for a different twist on other designers. He also tied in beautiful evening wear, floor-length silk column skirts, toga style chiffon evening dresses and velvet dresses. His designs had a vaguely cosmic feel, like looking into the solar system. He had very delicate cuts, well-fitting and likes to shake his pieces up, mixing black lace with burgundy, creating pieces that are mismatched but yet…just perfect.


Yves Saint Laurent had a very modern sexy attitude this season and focussed a lot on tailoring. The look was very feminine and forties glamour, with frock coats, tunic dresses and feathers worn into a purple tweed skirt suit. The black suits had white fur collars and even the playsuits were tweed. A lot of the evening wear was made from white silk crepe, from ruffle collared backless dresses to trompe l’oeil bustiers. There was plenty of variety from leather and PVC to tweed and there are so many trends to pull from Yves Saint Laurent this season.

Last, but certainly not least, Marc Jacobs. The space was Barbie pink, the line up included Leighton Meester, Sophia Coppola and Whoopi Goldberg…it was bound to be impressive. His collection this season was more about the intricate craftwork than anything else, as his models sashayed along the runway wearing polyester shirts and chunky wedged brogues. His designs started off covered in latex coins created scale-like patterns on the dresses and skirts. Next, the fabrics with polka dots were vaguely dominatrix and the use of applique and lace was beautiful. Both real and fake fur jackets were used, included an extraordinary gorilla-sleeved jacket that was a true show-stopper. The line was completely different to his spring collection, with medieval shapes and PVC skirts, tweed also being a major feature in the show.

All in all, the autumn/winter 2011 collection has had a complete overhaul since the spring/summer collection of this year, the use of tweed, forties glamour and fetish leather was beautiful in creating individual stunning pieces of not just fashion, but walking art as well. So you may as well start planning now, because the awesome new season is going to arrive a lot sooner than you expect!