Donatella Versace Frightens Me

Versace have teamed up with mega-retailer H and M and below is a behind the scenes look at the ad campaign. There's a giant Versace hamster wheel! Models! Gold! And Donatella. I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before but I need to bring it up again because it weirds me out: What is with Donatella's voice? It's like she's had some botched jaw reconstruction surgery and can no longer speak properly. And in the video they even subtitle her. At first you might think oh they subtitled her because of that thick Italian accent. No babes, you'd be wrong. It's all for the speech impediment.
So if anyone has any suggestions that could explain this I'd love to hear them. Answers on the back of a postcard yo'.

Jean Paul Gaultier Spring Summer 2012 Review

Was Gaultier’s spring collection youthful or did it just look that way when worn by 18 year old models? There were cute bunchy knickerbocker shorts, tops with wide cotton sleeves rolled up, tattoo tights, slouchy military jackets in peach and cobalt blue, giant bronze feather earrings curved into hoops and a naughty section of corsetry and underwear. There were dresses with snoods and head wraps that were reminiscent of the work of Valentina Schlee, an American designer from the 30’s and 40’s.
The models came out with little numbered cards just like they did in the old days. Gimmicky? Sure, but it’s JPG and he pulled it off. Watching the video, it looks like a real fashion show. It didn’t appear organised to a tee which was refreshing. Fashion shows are becoming too slick and generic these days but this show looked like maybe something from the 90’s. Karlie Kloss opened the show and you can see her waiting to walk out and there’s a bit of confusion until Gaultier gives her the okay to walk. It’s awesome and I recommend you watch the video. Emina Cunmulaj fucking nailed it on the runway and gets a special mention (skip to 0:46 of video two).

Celine Spring Summer 2012 Review

Phoebe Philo's spring collection was another direct statement to minimalism and modern women who don't fuck around and have better things to do than spend entire evenings planning the following day's outfit. Anna Dello Russo would be the perfect example of someone who is not the Celine woman.
Philo had her interpretation of the peplum that was echoed in the shape of the opening coats. The coats had pockets flaring outward with military pocket flaps. 
Most looks were accompanied by a wide belt and altered the silhouette depending on their placement. Some cinched the waist while others were slung low on trousers for an androgynous work look. Some critics are calling Philo out on the wide belts as a reference to Rei Kawakubo's spring 2011 collection which I'm not entirely sure about. Maybe. Otherwise this was a cool collection reinforcing Celine's lightning quick ascent to one of the top shows of the season. 

Left: Celine spring 2012. Right: Comme Des Garcons spring 2011. Copycat? Or is a wide belt just a wide belt?

Comme Des Garcons Spring Summer 2012 Review

 Above: My favourite look from the show

I think there were a lot of big ideas in Rei Kawakubo's spring Comme Des Garcons collection. Birth, death, tradition, feminism. These were things that I saw and aren't necessarily correct.
Giant cream puff interpretations of dresses with giant sleeves were shown throughout. Depending on what part of the world you live in would change your perception of their meaning. Were the giant sleeves a reference to Japanese kimono, funeral clothes or Western wedding gowns? The model's hands were bound with giant silk bows. Are women chained to outdated subservient roles? The giant Elizabethan hoops were like a form of imprisonment back in the day, stopping women from doing anything other than needlework by the fireplace. And those giant sleeves even in an un-bound form would still stop you from doing your normal daily activities and leave you house-bound.

Carven Spring Summer 2012 Review

 Ladies, this is what we call perfection. Are you looking at the flawless tailoring of both the jacket and the shorts? Look at that fucking sleeve insert. And the colour palette is making me weak at the knees.

Guillaume Henry has been head designer at Carven for a few seasons now and the buzz surrounding his work is deserved. His clothes are light, fun, peppy and French without being fussy. The colours were cool. Lots of cream, mustard, blue and some folksy prints.
There were modern lace inserts, a heavy black leather circle skirt which I'd happily give my right nut for and plenty of flirty dresses with cutouts. And the shoes had bells on them. I mean ring a ding ding. I want bells on everything.

Chalayan Spring Summer 2012 Review

So Hussein Chalayan goes under just Chalayan now. Why did he drop Hussein? More palatable to a Western market? It seems strange that after all these years he's decided to change it. I could probably Google it and find an explanation. Okay I just Googled it. Apparently it's "for the sake of brand identity and consumer ease". Umm okay, whatever. He's also doing a lower priced diffusion line called Grey Label aaaand he's doing pre-collections too so he's really shaping up his brand identity which is sensible.
This collection was in some ways a best-of. There were references to his past collections such as the Turkish embroideries, flight, and as always mind-blowing drape and pattern cutting. So many of his clothes are deceptively simple but once you get up close you'll have an aneurysm just trying to figure out how the fuck he made something.
The biggest challenge for avant garde designers is when they want to cross over into fully fledged wearable clothes. Sometimes it's difficult to meld out-there concepts with everyday clothes. Viktor & Rolf are a good example of designers who I think have had less successful results from making that jump but Chalayan is working well because the clothes don't look diluted.

Christian Dior Spring Summer 2012 Review

 One-shouldered dresses? Paging Anne Hathaway. Also, stop trying to make Miranda Kerr happen. She's not going to happen. 
Inappropriate use of formica benchtop scraps. I've seen barbecue pit tile mosaics with more personality.

It must be odd for Dior's current head designer Bill Gaytten. He's really just a caretaker for Dior right now until LVMH bosses find a replacement for John Galliano. He had his chance for his debut spring couture show which did not go over well with critics but it didn't matter what he showed because critics would've been harsh with whatever he'd shown. 
For spring Gaytten did a very restrained collection. No drag queen makeup or geometric objects wedged in a model's head. Just clothes really. The show opened with variations on the classic Bar jacket done in a black and white grid pattern and a lovely-enough cream leather. The necklines dipped low and wide which added a point of interest to an otherwise been there done that look. 
Gaytten added some geometric embroideries that looked better suited to a 60's patio. Then there was the eveningwear which was just so blah. I'm surprised. If Gaytten knows he hasn't got the job he should've gone balls-out crazy but I'd say nothing got sent down that runway without a bunch of men in suits with clipboards. Fuck Dior is sad. 

Isabel Marant Spring Summer 2012 Review

Isabel Marant's latest collection was a mixed bag. There were craftsy hand knit tops that (as a crude assumption) had a Peruvian feel to them. She mixed this with straight up American sportswear, something that was looked at by Marant only a couple of seasons ago. Those matchstick jeans that are a Marant staple were back, this time in red tie dye. I vom'd.
Model Dewi Driegen (who I've not seen on the catwalk for a few years now) made a comeback. Unfortunately she wore what is undoubtedly one of the ugliest patchwork dresses I've seen in recent memory. The patchwork frenzy continued on t-shirts, jeans and a parka. It's just like, stop it.
The knitwear was the strongest in the show and possibly the best this season. It was like they were made in Paris and then sent to a mountainous region of Vietnam or something to get jazzed up and sent back.
Even though there were some rather unfortunate looks in this show there was still fuckloads of stuff that would make even the most bitter, hardened critic be like oh fuck it, I need a Rajasthani embroidered vest. Isabel Marant falls neatly into that category of designers (such as Marni) who don't often push the envelope or do an about face each season but their clothes make you feel something. Even if it's just consumerist lust it's still something and a lot of designers would kill to have such a loyal fan base who return season after season and keep cash registers ticking over.

Maison Martin Margiela Spring Summer 2012 Review

What surprises me most about Maison Martin Margiela isn't the avant garde aspect-though fucking amazing-but the fact that seasons after the designer retired is that the design team keeps things chugging along. Spring 2012 was no exception and some people might strongly disagree with this statement but it's like he never left.
The first look, a silk dress in silver, appeared so loosely constructed that the model had to hold part of it for the sake of modesty. It was like she'd been kidnapped from her bed and had been forced to walk in a runway show. The first few looks explored this idea of being undone, haphazard, or rushed. There were straight skirts with fitted beige shell tops that had an upholstered look about them. The most interesting looks were the trio of outfits that were printed to look like Persian rugs. They were topped with clear plastic wraps as if ready to be put into a shipping container for export. There were shapeless white tops that fell a bit flat and a series of tailored suits closed the show. They were a little disappointing but one jacket in particular, a navy blue double breasted jacket with brass buttons was a knockout.

Lanvin Spring Summer 2012 Review

Each season is never terribly surprising. There's always an 80's vibe to his work. Big shoulders, flashy costume jewelry and bags, single-sleeved dresses. For spring Alber Elbaz went dark. He ditched the sparkly jewel tones and went for a palette of mostly black, taupe, white and grey. He hopped on the digital printing bandwagon and had snakes appear on shirts and pants.
I love that he still creates movement and space around the body. This is something he continues to push every season with varying results. The opening skirts were a sexy new look for Lanvin but there were still intentional folds of puckered fabric for an added touch of comfort. The waists on the skirts curved like the lip of an urn and looked beautiful. The built up shoulders of some dresses had both a strength and a softness to them. He wasn't trying to create a false or convincingly strong shoulder because when you look closely at it you can see it is spongy.

The most remarkable look was a black pencil skirt with a deceptively simple-looking draped top. The neckline looks like it is collapsing on itself, almost like a vase on a potters wheel falling apart.

About 25 More Shows to Review

Some of you may be over what has been considered a disappointing season but I'm trucking on with my reviews.  There have been some great clothes no doubt but there hasn't been a lot of fashion. Once I've got all the remaining reviews done I'm gonna do a best of/worst of list. And I totes wanna get a new camera so I can take inappropriate and embarrassing photos of myself.

Editors, journalists and A-list bloggers storm the streets of Paris after the Miu Miu show closed a month of  spring collections.

Haider Ackermann Spring Summer 2012 Review

 Oh how deshabille, how French, so Fifth Arrondissement. No! just sloppy lesbian clothes

I don’t like Haider Ackermann. I can understand why people like his work but I think he’s overrated. His  spring summer show opened with tailored day suits in silk. So practical. He draped one side of a jacket, elongating the lapel and then tucked the other side into the pants. They were a nice, un-fussy opening but then he got carried away with his draping and yeah it’s his thing, I get that, but whatever. Meh.
The problem with Haider Ackermann is that his clothes aren’t extremely avant garde so it’s considered just ready to wear but it’s too avant garde for 'normal' people to buy. I don’t think that makes a lot of sense. Actually, Lady Gaga wearing one of his dresses on the cover of Vogue is the perfect summation of his work. Slightly avant garde to suit Lady Gaga but wearable enough for Vogue.

Viktor and Rolf Spring Summer 2012 Review

 Okay ladies, srsly, look at that dress on the far left. How do you piece that together so seamlessly? Viktor and Rolf are witches. 

Viktor and Rolf chose dolls clothes as the inspiration for their latest collection. It worked well with their interests in proportion and shape despite being a little poorly received by critics.
Though it wasn’t their most avant garde collection there was a ton of stuff that was on-trend but still had that VnR touch without making them look like a bore. The wide, Barbie doll-sized belts were also at Céline and the brocade swirls were at Stella McCartney too. Some very simple cut A-line high-waisted skirts and dresses were like those at Miu Miu and the mid-riff exposing crop tops, well they showed up in a number of collections too. Whether or not crop tops will make a comeback is up to you.

There were a series of outfits that had cut-outs of baroque swirls. I cannot fathom how this was done because the construction is flawless. There’s not a single spot of puckering seam edges which can be quite common in this type of work but for Viktor and Rolf? Nothing. I can only presume these were laser cut but still, to piece these together with mesh inserts seamlessly is unreal. It honestly blew me away.

Cacharel Spring Summer 2012 Review

Cedric Chariler is no longer creative director at Cacharel and was replaced by Ling Liu and Dawei Sun. The opening looks were underwhelming and looked cheap. Things moved on briefly to a pale blue cotton shirt dress with a tie waist that looked easy and smart but this didn’t last long. They ticked all the right boxes for spring: pastels, florals, sheer elements, but it wasn’t strong. In a season with many new designers heading up established houses (Carol Lim and Humberto Leon at Kenzo and Clare Waight Keller at Chloé) Liu and Lim need to have a stronger vision because bland separates for day isn’t good enough.
Also, wouldn’t the knock-on effect of hiring two Chinese natives to head up a French house bring a lot of attention to the brand in China? You can see the China Daily headlines now. Chinese duo wow Paris fashion week. Designers wave the flag for China at Paris fashion week. With China's luxury sector booming it would be shrewd to have a Chinese designer at a French house. You have to wonder.

DW Kanye West Spring Summer 2012 Review

 Ugggh this is so mundane
 Ferosha. And what is up with those jeeeeans?!
Eniko Mihalik's tits wear dress by Kanye West

By now you’ve probably read a ton of reviews on Kanye West’s debut womenswear collection. My impression is that he thinks that by doing things (in what he believes to be) the right way will win approval from (what he believes to be) his peers. This is seemingly all he wants to do, to seek approval. Where is his interest in dressing women because I don’t see it in this collection?
Apparently the clothes were made by Central Saint Martins graduates in London. The inspiration was like, let’s take a Givenchy print but bead it like a Balmain dress and then cut it like a Céline jacket. Everything looked familiar and that always breeds contempt. A lot of fashion journalists are focussing on the major fit issues but honestly they were no shittier than Joseph Altuzarra’s (which were incredibly shit). There was an awful pair of Céline inspired colour blocked pants with zippers running down the front and back of the thigh. These pants were in desperate need of a waistband. This was paired with a white long sleeved top that for some reason appeared to have no buttons to close it. Tits in a blanket. And a black long sleeved mini dress with a very wide and very deep cut in the front was almost tits falling out of a blanket. That was probably the most offensive look in the collection and I don’t mean that in a pro-feminist kind of way. It was just so poorly designed that it should have been vetoed but I’m thinking a lot of other shit was culled before show day and he may have felt forced to throw it in to–ahem-flesh things out.
Another issue I have. A lot of reviewers are harping on about how there was too much fur and too much leather. Prada did fur last season and everyone chuckled and thought how marvellous and clever Miuccia Prada was to do so. So in Kanye’s defence, show as much fur as you want gurl. And for all my Kanye bashing you’d think I could consider that this was his debut collection and I should ease up on the guy. No. This isn’t baby's first step. This is a career and sitting front row at a handful of fashion shows for 6 years is not adequate training. Neither is picking leather swatches at Louis Vuitton for a line of sneakers.
Also he should not have shown in Paris because he doesn’t deserve to. Designers work for years before they show in Paris because it’s the tippy top, the big league. Did Alexander McQueen debut in Paris? Marc Jacobs? Vivienne Westwood? A showroom in London would’ve been more appropriate. And here’s an abbreviated transcript from the after party where West had a rant and begged for a chance.

Thank you for anybody that didn’t believe, because they motivated us to break our boundaries ... we don’t know what the reviews will be, we don’t know what they will say, but I got a chance to go to Italy and feel those fabrics....This is my first collection. Please be easy. Please give me a chance to grow. This is not some celebrity shit. I don’t fuck with celebrities. I fuck with the creatives in this room, the amazing people who spend every day of their life trying to make the world a more beautiful place.

 Other celebrities that have clothing lines such as the Olsen twins and Victoria Beckham faced the same criticism, scepticism and derision that West got. And to be fair, many fashion journalists were quite tame in their reviews (except for Eric Wilson of NYT). To do fashion you need to be incredibly focussed and determined and it is your sole career. You can’t be a rapper and a fashion designer and expect sparkling results. If he is truly committed to womenswear design-and I believe he is not-he would quit the music business. Currently this looks like a poorly conceived vanity project.

Balenciaga Spring Summer 2012 Review

I think you need to watch the vid on Youtube. 

The cut, the proportion. FLAWLESS (jsyk it’s my new favourite word. Deal with it) The bangles. They looked like a sectional-like slice from a sweatshirt cuff. Weeeeeird!!!! The wide shoulders with the tops tucked in to micro shorts. But the shorts didn’t look whorey like coochie cutters they were cut to float around the body. And that was the major takeaway from this collection. The last set of dresses were unbelievable. You need to watch the video because looking at the pictures and then looking at the dresses moving is so, so different (obviously. Fuck I'm retarded). This is real fashion. I think Ghesquiere’s last two collections have been a tad bumpy (I liked them but they were a bit flat) but this has restored my faith in hot French designers. Fuck I want his babies soooo badddd.