Prints, please

How many prints is too many prints? Given that to most, a printed dress is scary enough, the answer is probably just one. However, fellow fun fabric connoisseurs/lovers of potentially bad taste – call it what you will – may agree that anything upwards of two clashing prints, and the day is looking good. Throw in some lurid colours for good measure and you are onto a winner, fashion friends.

Prints, please

The key is to have a classic foundation; pair a white-based Breton with a cropped dark tartan trouser, with flashes of red a yellow running through it, and you have a solid foundation to work with. Now we can start to have fun. On top of this, how about a crazy take on the perfecto with the black given new dimensions by a melange of green, orange and white? This is probably a good place to end, unless you also feel that the addition of possibly Nike‘s most offensive pair of shoes will add a certain je ne sais quoi. If nothing else, a jaunty juxtaposition of colour, print and texture will have you smiling all day long (as well as scaring and shocking Parisians, my current favourite game).

Nike Air

The aforementioned Nike trainers

Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter are all about prints, so now is the time to try, experiment and maybe even fail. That’s where the fun lies and that’s where your style lies. As Lucinda Chambers, British Vogue fashion director, said “You need to get to know yourself and what works for you; it’s all about trial and error“. Style shouldn’t be daunting, it’s a way to express your creativity, passion and energy. You should never be afraid to try new things, because yes, new ensembles may often crash and burn, but somewhere in there you’ll find what you love, what makes you comfortable and what makes you you. What’s the point in being part of the crowd and following someone else’s style? In the end, you won’t feel comfortable or confident, and that’s what you’ll portray to others. London is renowned as being the home of fearless fashion, which is why London will always be the best; it is the nurturing ground of the young and talented, and yes, more often than not you may look twice at someone in the street because their look is so totally alien and wrong, but when people are looking at you twice in the street, that’s when you know you’re doing something good.

If your own outfit inspires you to write, you must be doing something right…or very, very wrong. Either way, I’m happy with that.

Prada Spring/Summer 2011

Prada Spring/Summer 2011

Marc Jacobs resort 2013

Marc Jacobs Resort 2013

Susie Bubble & Other Stories

Susie Bubble & Other Stories

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Fashion full circle

Although fashion is always moving forward – think Alexander Wang’s innovative fabrics that change when heated  –  it always finds itself coming full circle to the same ideas and motifs. Season after season, designers return to their crutch of lace, leopard print and leather, and yes, they (sometimes) do new things with them, but inevitably the same ideas do crop up every fashion week merry-go-round.  Fashion is forward-thinking and reactive, but with pressure to design up to 10 collections a year for some of the biggest players, it is understandable that not everyone can be Wang (who designs upwards of eight collections a year, not counting his recently announced H&M collaboration).

Speak of fashion carousels and you can’t ignore Marc Jacobs’ last show for Louis Vuitton, which revisited his iconic sets, designs and silhouettes from his 16 year reign at the creative helm of the French brand, and never has a collection all in black had more panache. The pieces were, of course, widely shot by fashion publications around the world, their dark sequined allure lighting up the pages of magazines and shimmering sombrely on the red carpet. As with every collection, there were numerous inspirations behind it and a young Kate Moss shot by the one-and-only Corinne Day in 1990 has airs of the show’s feel.

Kate Moss Louis Vuitton Edie Campbell Marc Jacobs Corinne Day

The question is: is this an intentional reference or a classic example of fashion coming full circle? Did Marc pounce upon the insouciance of the picture, or just the general attitude of one of his many muses? And if the latter, then did Vogue Paris use the photograph as inspiration for its shoot with Edie Campbell? Probably, but even so, it is a coincidence, especially considering that when you put Kate Moss and Corinne Day together in a sentence, this is not the image that springs to mind. That’s nothing against the image, but rather a comment of the incredible work these two produced together. In the 24 years since Corinne incarnated Kate’s personality in black and white, fashion has come right back to this place again. Just look at her footwear as a classic example. The only difference: on a Nineties Kate Moss, Birkenstocks actually look vaguely good.

kate moss  corinne day

The Louis Verdict

Yesterday in Paris, a slice of fashion history happened: Ghesquière showed his first collection since leaving Balenciaga as creative director, stepping in to fill those prestigious shoes left by Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton. In the grand scheme of things, what with the Ukraine situation or announcement of a Kardashian-West wedding date, this may not seem the most important event of late to some (N.B. the Kimye reference is clearly a joke). However, with all the buzz going on, you wouldn’t have guessed it. Often touted as the designer of his generation, Ghesquière possesses an incredible talent and did a sterling job at Balenciaga, leaving the house with a near-perfect collection of modern silhouettes with a Cristobal signature. After a period of silence from him on the designing front, during which he conducted a very candid interview with System magazine, it was joyously announced that Nicolas Ghesquière was to pick up where Marc Jacobs was leaving off, at the creative helm of the jewel in LVMH’s crown: Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

Usually, when a designer takes over creative direction of a house, they have access to a wealth of history and deep archives, plummeting the depths to draw inspiration from the core fabric of the brand, as Wang did post-Ghesquière at Balenciaga, or Raf at Dior. For Nicolas though, he came to a semi-clean slate. Louis Vuitton is relatively young as a ready-to-wear label, with Marc Jacobs as his only predecessor since the late Nineties. Marc Jacobs did an unforgettable job at bringing the leather goods brands to the forefront of fashion, creating patent leather and presenting the most elaborate of shows, featuring lifts, elevators, carousels and more, none of which ever detracted from his beautiful collections.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

Wednesday’s show was a total break from that side of the brand, as Nicolas chose a stark, clean space to unveil his first steps. The blinds were lifted and natural light flooded into the room, echoing the new era. From the setting to the music, it was a very carefully thought out show on Ghesquière’s part, with Kelis singing “Oh come here, copycat! You’re my puppet, you know I love it!” as Freja Beha Erichsen stepped out in the first look. As a designer who has entire blogs dedicated to the fact that his Balenciaga designs are constantly being ripped off, it was a humourous and poignant song, including the apt lyrics “How do you keep it so fresh?”.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

As for the collection itself, the French designer kept the brand’s money makers in there: patent ankle boots, little bags, leather belts and the all-new mini trunk bag. He referenced some of Jacobs’ work, bringing a new high-waisted trouser silhouette out in patent leather. There was nothing there to shock or make a statement, instead he chose to quietly say, “I’m back, and these are clothes women want to wear.” And he was right. Ghesquière’s Vuitton girl is cool, laid back, modern and fresh. She wears a lot of leather and suede (of course, they are the brand’s key fabrics), in clean lines with a slight retro feel. The very fact that he chose Freja Beha Erichsen to open the show set the tone immediately. There is no model who can better encapsulate that oh-so-awful word, cool. But here the word wasn’t awful. This isn’t the cool girl in school who everyone pretends to like whilst secretly despising them and their awful attitude, this is the inherently cool girl who is laid back, lovely, effortless and has that edge that we crave. It was mirrored in the beauty look too, or fact that there wasn’t one. She hadn’t quite rolled out of bed, but the models were naturally beautiful, no threatening eye make-up, no unattainable hair. Therein lies the key word: attainable. The collection was a quiet success because we were left wanting to be her and knowing that we can be. It’s hard to be the Anthony Vaccarello sex bomb or Rodarte princess, but you can walk out the house a Vuitton girl, and that’s something to be happy about.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

There was no big finish to the show, no stand out piece to wrap it up, instead a collection of leather skirts, layered looks, Chelsea boots, polo necks (trend alert) and asymmetrical fabrics. At shows these days, designers create incredible fantasy worlds and stories and in some way it was refreshing to have just the clothes, and be shocked by simplicity, and not outrageousness. I’m all for innovation and creativity, but given the choice between the most incredible set for a disappointingly ugly collection and no set for a wearable collection, there’s a clear winner. Whilst some have been left a little disappointed, saying the collection was “nothing”, it’s hard to argue against a collection that is wearable, real and now. An understated start perhaps, but one that will no doubt go down a storm commercially.

Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2014-2015

See the show here.
Listen to Kelis here.

Images from Style.com.

Three Is A Trend: Pink Coats

MarcJacobsMarc Jacobs – NYFW

CarvenCarven – PFW

SimoneRochaSimone Rocha – LFW

Whilst we’re on the subject of coats, this Cédric Charlier blue number is wonderful:
CedricCharlierAs is this Acne beauty:

AcneIn conclusion, there have been some really excellent coats gracing the catwalks of New York, London, Milan and Paris. You can find some of the best, amongst many other amazing looks, here.

images from style.com