Jacquemus Spring 2016 Ready-to-Wear

There's something undoubtedly childish about Jacquemus. The simple, imperfect shapes, bright, primary colors, and collaged fabrics are redolent to the silly cartoons in my French One textbook. (Except, perhaps, the skirts aren't so short in my French textbook.) The absurdity in the deconstruction adds a childlike feel to the whole collection, which makes for an interesting paradox when combined with the, shall we say, sparser looks. Never one to shy away from nudity, Jacquemus did seem to remember shirts this time, allowing merely a nip-slip here and there, which felt a bit too safe compared to last fall's clear nudity. To bring that infantile theme to a full circle, what better silhouette to end the show with than the circle? White, bandaged circle dresses had an element of artfulness on the six-foot-something matchstick models, but I doubt the result will be the same for the average consumer. The models clad in deconstructed suits stood in a circle facing the audience for the finale, looking like a cult of rebellious children who sneaked into Mummy and Daddy's closet to cut up their clothes and create their own masterpieces. And if the childlike theme wasn't drilled in enough already, Simon Porte himself stepped out at the end of the show with his seven year old cousin, Jean. (Oh, and a magnificent white horse; the stuff of childhood dreams.)





















Photos via Vogue Runway.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2016 Ready-to-Wear

The runway was once a sacred place. Once, in a time unknown to me and most others of fashion today, the runway was hushed, models slowly made their way through the seats of editors, critics, and buyers, in addition to a small group of photographers. This was before everyone in the audience became a photographer, capturing and sharing every detail, of every second, of every show before the  even official photos made it out. Everyone today is a photographer, and, just recently, that includes the models.

In a backstage interview for Vogue, Steffano Gabbana explained the technology aspect of the show as a "need to look at the new generation." But selfies on the runway isn't the "new generation." No rookie, no new designer would dare do such a thing. This isn't a sign of modernity, it's a call for attention and a desperate attempt to stay current with a time that's already left them. Dolce & Gabbana has become the definition of Italy in fashion; their goal should be to keep that Italia Is Love theme central and focus on bringing the boot shaped country into the clothes. That's probably what irked me most about the whole shebang: all the buzz was solely focused on the selfies down the runway and not on the clothes, where it should be. An Instagram blow-up of model selfies does not make up for a lack of new clothes. 

While it's true that no one could ever question Dolce & Gabbana's love and loyalty towards Italy, as it is, quite literally, spelled out in each one of their collections, the actual images of Italy evoke little thought other than touristy photos that belong on Pinterest travel boards, not on "high fashion" dresses. The clothes may be beautiful, but the method used to get there is nothing short of lazy. A more tasteful way of bringing Italy to clothes would been by using fabric and cut, similar to Valentino's Mirabilia Romae couture collection this past season, which evoked a perfect image of Rome to all who viewed, with little literal imagery. Now, I understand this is not couture, but surely some aspects of quality could be present? Is that too much to ask for? I'm exaggerating here; the clothes weren't completely lacking in quality, it was only taste that seemed to be missing. The ornamentation that I love Dolce & Gabbana for was most certainly present, but, on the other hand, it's been present for the past eight seasons or so, and therefore didn't exactly make for intricate surprise. 

When a tasteless publicity stunt such as this usually happens, I normally just dismiss it as vulgar deterioration of fashion, but, in this case, I'm getting so worked up because I happen to like Dolce & Gabbana. Dolce was one of the first "high fashion" brands I recognized and reviewed, and it holds a special place in my (fashion) heart. This show represents a greater deterioration of both fashion houses and fashion itself. Brands should try to be modern, but they shouldn't throw in faux-modernities in an effort to avert the attention from the clothes.



















Photos via Vogue Runway.

Elegance

A young Yves Saint Laurent once said, "Elegance is a dress too dazzling to dare to wear twice." His vision of elegance describes a woman aware of her sartorial masterpieces, and also how very easily they could turn into clichés, or worse, style scandals pointed out by the ever-hawk-eyed Paris Match. There are many words that describe Saint Laurent's designs before elegant, though most of them were, indeed, "too dazzling to dare to wear twice." 

In a recent debate with Mimma Viglezio for ShowStudio, my favorite fashion historian and most honored opinion Colin McDowell, stated that chic, somewhat of a buzzword filling in for the old-fashioned "elegance" at the moment, is a subtler illusion, "without any one item leaping out at you." He credits a woman with elegance with always looking nice, but no one quite knowing why. I, however, believe that both of them are partially correct, and therefore, I daresay, also partially incorrect. In my mind, elegance is awarded to women who have self-awareness, aren't obvious with their fashion choices, but also know when it's their time to "dazzle." I think Saint Laurent’s quote puts too much focus on the dress, and with too little on the woman wearing it; where the elegance truly comes from. Colin, on the other hand, relates elegance as a very understated quality, while true elegance is having a certain amount of self-respect and importance to put in an effort. Both fashion geniuses, although from very different levels, points of view, and times in history, understand what real elegance looks like and what it takes. At the end of the day, elegance is just another branch of beauty, and beauty can only be present where surety and confidence are. 


Lou Lou de la Falaise, an iconic Saint Laurent muse. 
Photo found on Pinterest.


Prada Spring 2016 Ready-to-Wear

Prada's very name is almost synonymous with fashion, the only ones possibly better known being Chanel and Dior. (Why, Prada held the title role in fashion-outsiders’ main, fictional, window into the fashion industry: The Devil Wears Prada, of course.) Prada hasn’t undergone any personality crisis, any change of hearts, or any major change at all really, unlike Chanel or Dior or even Gucci. Prada always has a look of uniformity, structured and solid, standing apart from the abstract conceptual designs that go in and out of fashion, but always with an alien-ish edge putting it not quite at the convention of a uniform. It’s like an outsider’s take on our own uniforms; the structure and style all there but done in clashing colors and fabrics, challenging convention without looking totally abstract. 

Therein lies the beauty and genius of Prada. She manages to question the traditional sense of professionalism, by creating clothes made up of just that; structure and tweeds, but layered in a jigsaw collage. With Prada, there’s always an aspect that pushes it out of the realm of the office. Last season, it was the uncomfortable color combinations and proportions, but the Prada-property of this season wasn’t as eye-catching. In fact, it could easily be missed if one sees only snippets of the collection from their phone. A slight sheerness in some of the pieces provided a completely new and thoughtful level to the clothes, strange for something that would seem, quite literally, transparent. The geometric knits lent a fun air to the collection, right in place with the mismatched tweeds that brought a certain disorder. Prada is all about taking the outline of tradition but not coloring correctly inside the lines.   

























Photos via Vogue Runway.