Kinder Aggugini Spring Summer 2013 Review

Are dungarees the new peplum? Probably not (unless of course Lanvin do one in raw silk and smattered with jewels) but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them in a number of London shows. Kinder Aggugini’s version opened his nautical themed show with a playful print of birds, swordfish,stars, hearts and a ships wheel. There were brief dresses with deep side pockets, trim shorts paired with shirts that had contrasting plackets and perforated inserts. A secondary print continued the seaside trip with mermaids, turtles, clams, jellyfish, and octopus. Some of the looks toward the end were a little too America’s Cup yacht team however this is really trivial when you see the jackets. Aggugini’s tailoring is fucking good and his choice of fabric looked spot on. 

House of Holland Spring Summer 2013 Review

Above: Delicious

Below: Lauren Bacall is not impressed

Henry Holland’s spring 2013 collection had some very pedestrian looking clothes with little to no design. Not only were the prints ugly it’s like they gave him an excuse to design simple clothes. Even though most of the collection was shit there were a few really strong looks. The best was a sheer cropped blouse with a peter pan collar that had a matching skirt. It was both revealing and covered up at the same time (if that’s possible) making for a sexy, modern look. I don’t know why he didn’t investigate this idea more instead of making rubbish pants, shorts and dungarees. Overall it looked like he ran out of steam and his attempts at humour fell flat. What I initially thought was ‘Bitch’ printed on a t-shirt was actually ‘Bitchin’ but the ‘in’ was obscured by the models’ hair. I loved the 90's but I don't think this was a strong. If I remember correctly, grunge in the 90's was moody not boring. 

Dion Lee Spring Summer 2013 Review

Australian based designer Dion Lee’s star is slowly on the rise. From the get-go he’s drawn attention from editors for his remarkably cut, beautifully constructed and most importantly, original clothes-a feat for an Australian designer. I say it’s a feat because unfortunately I see a lot of Australian fashion ripped directly from the European runways and then these designers have the gall to pass it off as their own. I think these lazy aussie designers are quite grateful that they’re a season behind in the southern hemisphere as it gives them a lot of time to go on international buying trips and directly copy best selling items from reputable houses. Just to wrap this segue up the thing that probably gets to me the most is that many Australian designers have been doing this for so long that they actually believe that this is what fashion is and how it should be done. They’re nothing more than Zara with a higher price tag. But not all Australian designers are thieves  and Dion Lee along with designers such as Romance Was Born or shoe designer Phong Chi Lai are leading the way.
For spring Lee picked up on the transparency trend and started things out with some sharp dresses and pants with sheer inserts in white. This was contrasted with shots of bright orange and there was a beautifully minimal leather biker jacket.  Lee is a fabric geek and had shiny soundwave looking lines printed on dresses however this is where things got too tricky and he lost his way. Editorially some of these pieces will blow you away and will definitely appear in print but the looping and twisting became so intense that on some pieces it looked tortured. It was the restrained pieces that looked modern and easy to wear that will have legs and I think he shouldn’t be so afraid of control and simplicity. Many young designers in London this season are really being quite blunt with their collections that it’s like an air horn being blasted in your face. I think it’s takes true confidence to do away with bells and whistles and find a balance between artistic flourish and commercial viability. Dion Lee has shown us that he can meld the two effortlessly but I think he will be more successful when he learns to edit. 

Victoria Beckham Spring Summer 2013 Review

Victoria Beckham is out to prove she can design and run a successful brand. She’s doing that by presenting immaculately tailored clothes and this season is no exception. For spring Beckham introduced separates with silk shirts that were giving me 90’s Tom Ford Gucci flashbacks. Things started out causally with a series of loose fitting blouse/shirt/pant combos then moved on to more structured territory with sharply layered skirts and a beautifully cut boyfriend jacket in vermilion that skimmed the thigh. Beckham then showed her signature body hugging dresses, this time with sexy bra straps on show. All the shoes were flats. There was a derby shoe and a gladiator style. The outer-wear touches and the graphic cut on the final dress shows Beckham is slowly becoming more confident with her design skills. In previous collections all she ever talked about was the construction of her dresses and the thoughtfulness that went in to them which on its own is something to be admired but now that she’s got those solid foundations in place she’s giving herself room to start playing with design. Overall a strong collection.  

Prada Spring Summer 2013 Review

I was very excited to see the new Prada collection and I always am. I think that whether or not Miuccia Prada’s work is intellectual is besides the point because editors and journalists will always discus Prada’s work in an intellectual way. And I think the reason behind this is that each season you see so much commercial garbage spewed out on the runway that your brain switches off and you’re just looking at hemlines and dollar signs. When you see a Prada show on the other hand, you use your mind. I do however feel that at times with a show like Prada journalists use the show as an opportunity to express their own intellectual vanities. Sort of like ‘oh look how smart and clever I am, I picked out stripes as a way to discuss the current political climate.’ But like I said, shows of this calibre are far and few between so people really let rip their impressions and ideas of what a show represents. They’re what I’d describe as these ‘art gallery’ moments.

This season Miuccia Prada took a stark, romantic journey turning out mostly black dresses embellished with a very simple flower motif. There wasn’t a single pair of pants but there were shorts and even a knitted onesie. I think the lack of pants really reinforced that thread of femininity that ran through the collection. But it was balanced. She didn’t need to have flouncy, wispy clothes to get that feminine statement across because she knows many women don’t live in that type of world or want to where they’re restricted by the clothes that they wear. I think the shapes-60’s, boxy-and the fabric choices were modern and tough and gave great balance to the quite crude flower prints.

The shoes garnered a lot of attention and it wouldn’t be a Prada collection without great accessories which really put the icing on the cake. The Japanese inspiration in the collection came through most evidently in the geta-like sandals with metallic tabi socks.  I thought the bags were rather weak this season with the exception of the style that opened the show; a metal framed bag that looked like a little loop of fabric with a kiss lock fastening and tortoise shell chain handle.  

You Killed It. You're Killing Me

I've decided to take one look from a collection that is flawless and the other look is balls. First up is Eudon Choi. Choi is a Korean designer based in London. He trained in menswear in Korea and has designed for Twenty8Twelve and All Saints. This is his sixth collection.

Below: Flawless android goddess serving Meredith Vickers runway realness. Killing it.
Above: Wat?

Thakoon Spring Summer 2013 Review

Above: Beautiful, imaginative, striking. Below: No!!! Stop it. This is not fashion.

Thakoon Panichgul’s spring summer show was perplexing. It opened with a dreamy white strapless dress that had a print of a golden birdcage matched perfectly with the cut of the dress. The cage had birds, butterflies and flowers bursting from it. The first four looks featured this print on tops, jackets, and skirts but the rest of the collection looked like it had been designed by someone else and was derivative of so many designers.
 Instead of seeing originality I saw a pick n mix of popular looks from other designers such as the criss cross wrap top with midriff peekaboo. While not revolutionary, Prada did the same thing three years ago as well as Proenza Schouler last season. Same goes for the oversize pailettes on skirts (Prada, Christopher Kane, Stella McCartney). While a lot of these looks were pretty and will most likely sell I don’t feel that ¾ of this show is the work of a strong designer because I don’t see an independent voice. But based on those first four looks I don’t think Thakoon will be going out business any time soon. 

Below: Vibes from other designers. Clockwise from left: Christopher Kane, Prada, Prada, Balenciaga

Prabal Gurung Spring Summer 2013 Review

Above: Heaven. Below: Hell

What started out great at Prabal Gurung’s spring show-tailored suits with long, sheer, draped tops-quickly devolved into bad taste and poor judgement.
Overall the collection was fussy and lacked polish. I don’t know who his customer is. I don’t know who’s buying or wearing, say, a flounced layered dress with feathers or a predictable looking white dress with cut-out details. And the prints. I mean, fuck me with shards of glass the prints were bad. They were uninspiring, garish, and confusing. The worst offender was a matching blouse and pant with what appeared to be small blue flowers. I don’t know, digital prints like this have been done a thousand times and with more skill so why bother?
Prabal Gurung has some interesting ideas but I think the problem is that he has too many and crams them all into one show. This collection would’ve been much stronger had he left out the prints and the flounce and just focussed on layering. 

Jason Wu Spring Summer 2013 Review

After viewing this collection someone commented that he is in love. I’d like to counter that and say he’s in lust. It’s quite obvious-to me anyway-that Wu has been watching way too much hardcore gay porn. Think brawny leather daddies in harnesses trampling each other with their boots and fists. That sort of thing. But of course there’s always the balance of the hard and the soft which is just so typical of designers. He’s married hard leather with delicate lace, crystals, and silk. Carolyn Murphy opened the show and she killed it in a form-fitting leather dress with a lace panel right under her tits. There were snug, flirty dresses in leather and silk with beautifully pieced lace trims at the hem which really put Wu’s workmanship on display. His attention to fit and cut is really quite spectacular and I think some of his peers should take notes because I’m seeing a lot of talent in New York but the execution is garbage.  
Wu’s vision and brand DNA is so evident that it’s great to see him take some chances and push himself to express a smutty side to his personality. It’s dirty slick. 

Florabotanica: The Scent of Scandal

This coming September Balenciaga will release their new fragrance Florabotanica and it will be fronted by newly-minted cheater Kristen Stewart. If you’ve been hiding under a rock or perhaps just don’t care for celebrity garbage, Stewart has been recently photographed fooling around with director Rupert Sanders. Stewart quickly released a statement apologizing for what she’d done and also apologized to Robert Pattinson which is odd given up until this point she’d denied ever being in a relationship with him. Sanders, who’s married to ex-model Liberty Ross, followed suit and also released a statement apologizing to his wife and kids. It’s never a good time to have your dirty laundry aired to the world but Florabotanica is due for release in September and you have to wonder how poorly this will reflect on both Stewart and Balenciaga. Could this indiscretion cost her the campaign? Cast your mind back to 2005 when Kate Moss was photographed allegedly snorting lines of cocaine off a coffee table. The images spread like wildfire and Moss was quickly dropped by both Chanel and Burberry.

Balenciaga are aiming to broaden their market and cash in on a big name star like so many other brands do and Stewart is a good choice. I initially questioned if the Twilight star was appropriate considering arthouse ingénue Charlotte Gainsbourg was the face of their previous scent however Balenciaga head designer Nicholas Ghesquière says he met Stewart several years ago and describes her as a graceful and mysterious figure and that “she is the perfect embodiment of a certain idea of Balenciaga: that beauty that is both pure and uncontrollable.” Oh the irony.

Without a doubt, having her as the face is going to increase sales (an expected $40 million worldwide) or at the very least, create a strong point of interest in an oversaturated fragrance market. Catherine Walsh, senior vice president of American Fragrances for Coty Prestige hopes Florabotanica will double their fragrance business. Stewart as the face of Florabotanica not so much signals a new direction for the brand but rather aims to reach a wider market. And it’s not just in fragrance that they’re broadening their reach either. In under five years Balenciaga have skyrocketed from three stores to sixty, their latest opening on the Rue Saint-Honoré with up to seven more to be opened by the end of 2012. 

With new scents being released every week brands really need to pull out all the stops to ensure they get a best seller. Everything has to be striking. The bottle, the packaging, the advertising. It needs to pop. And getting a celebrity to front a fragrance adds another layer of interest. If you have a browse through popular social media sites you get the distinct impression that Stewart fans have never heard of Balenciaga or Nicholas Ghesquière (one fan referred to it as Kristen’s Florabotanica perfume) but it won’t stop them from buying the fragrance. One look at Twitter suggests packs of rabid KStew fans ready to fork over for the scent while others are putting it on their birthday/Christmas wish list because it is out of their price range. The 30ml eau de parfum spray alone is $65-A little pricey for those who may have bought the Immortal Twilight fragrance with a bonus shower gel for $20. No one ever said that luxury fashion isn’t aspirational and fragrance-along with sunglasses and handbags-is an entry level luxury goods item, the idea being that this will lay the ground work for a dedicated customer who will continue to buy and spend more.

So will this tarnish Balenciaga or Stewart? When Kate Moss was dumped by Chanel and Burberry it was only a matter of months before they picked her back up and she had one of her busiest campaign seasons of her career. In the case of Stewart it seems unlikely but only time will tell. Roll on September.