Tuesday, September 30, 2008

paris spring/summer 2009 - maison martin margiela

celebrating twenty years in the business, fashions most infamously elusive figure presented a sort of "greatest hits" collection that served as a reminder on how important a designer margiela is. not content on just sending carbon copies of some of his most iconic designs, instead it was a revised re-issues of past hits. tweaked a little bit to adhere to today's taste. just like his other fellow belgians know as the antwerp six (margiela was an original member but left and was replaced by marina yee), there is a rigorous intellectual approach to his work. his work isn't just mere decoration on the body, it actually challenges popular understanding on how clothes react to the figure. take the now ubiquitous trend for exaggerated shoulders which he started two years ago. margiela has a vision that is so forward thinking without losing practicality that he inevitably becomes extremely influential. the days leading up to this presentation was filled with speculations amidst rumours that margiela will be retiring. causing a sort of panic to all the margiela devotees who depends on the designer for the intellectual elegance and exquisite tailoring he brings to their lives. lucky for the world margiela is not retiring and he not only presented one fo the best shows of the season, it also provided the biggest smiles during paris fashion week when he sent down two models dressed up as a giant cake to celebrate his two decades in fashion.

photo: style.com

paris spring/summer 2009 - yohji yamamoto

a yohji yamamoto show is such a serene meditation on beauty that it has the capacity to transport a viewer to nirvana. yamamoto never feels the need to provoke change season after season. he is so assured with his own aesthetic that he sticks to the things that he has explored ever since he debuted his collection in paris almost two decades ago. the simplicity of line and form that is a product of his japanese heritage always finds the correct appropriation with the complexity of what clothes mean in the western world. for this season, the trademark adrogynous sensibility was present, as well as the usual palette of black and white and of course deconstruction. yet despite the fact that this collection didn't break any new ground, it might possibly have been what made it so efficient. when consumers are weary on spending money, its nice for them to have the security to know that there are designers out there who they can still count on. no surprises, no gimmicks, just beautiful clothes. there is no worrying about the new trend or the new silhouette, or any of the next big thing. at yamamoto, an understated and intellectual elegance is guaranteed and that will never go out of style.

photo: style.com

Monday, September 29, 2008

paris spring/summer 2009 - balmain

pierre balmain's jolie madame of the fifties seems to have been reincarnated, under the direction of its current designer christophe decarnin into a full on, vamped up, sexed up rock goddess. its a far cry from monsieur balmain's matching glove and hat wearing socialites and aristocrats of days gone by. but just like how he dressed the duchess of windsor, the queen of belgium, and most notably queen sirikit of thailand, decarnin is dressing todays fashion royalty. championed by the likes of carrine roitfeld and emmanuelle alt at paris vogue, and the always influential kate moss, decarnin has rejuvenated the once slumberring house by injecting it with a healthy dose of sex, and rebelliousness. decarnin really is one of the the few designers who is marching to his own beat. a beat that was deafening this season when out of nowhere, and quite unexpectedly, he sent down one of the most opulent and exhuberant collections of spring/summer 2009. sergeant pepper jackets with frogging embroidered in crystals, ripped up jeans, the shortest and most salacious dresses that came heavily embellished or ripped into shreds. it provided a jolt that woke up all the weary observers after three non-stop weeks of shows. this aesthetic is not new to decarnin. he has referenced this type of woman for all his collections at balmain but what he brought new is a striking silhouette courtesy of an exaggerated shoulder that gently sloped and softened the angle. and also the blatant audacity of all the bling, and rips, and skin seemed quite unexpectedly welcome despite the heavy hood of the economy looming not far away. optimism was the word so wildly used to describe many of the collections this season, but none deserved it as much as balmain.

photo: style.com

paris spring/summer 2009 - gareth pugh

just like galliano, mcqueen, or westwood before him, london's current holder of the title "enfant terrible" has taken his latest collection to the center of the fashion universe and onto a much broader stage. perhaps because of his notoriety within the london fashion community, paris gives pugh a chance to show the world that he is worth more than shock tactics. because underneath the avant garde sensibility is a an earnest effort to build a brand that can be influential both idealogically and commercially. however that didn't mean that he was to abandon all the trademark showmanship and gothic/futuristic themes by crossing the pond. regardless how seriously fashion is taken in paris as a business, it also the place where ideas are just as important as sales figures. limiting his colour palette to black and white (more specifically and literally split in half into the front being white and the back black), pugh accentuated his already exagerrated shapes by how he divided the silhouette into two sharp parts when viewed from the profile. and with shapes taking influences from elizabethan, victorian, mixed in with sci-fi, pugh along with other parisian designers such as ghesquiere seems to be hell bent on taking fashion to the future. however as talented as pugh is, he still hasn't reached that level of maturity to percolate all those ideas and re-direct them into a tangible form that is truly mass marketable. although having singer roisin murphy decked out in one of his armor like dresses which was also sent down the runway might just provoke a second thought.

photo: style.com

Sunday, September 28, 2008

plastique 80

voque paris: october 2008
photographer: mert and marcus
creative director: carrine roitfeld
model: malgosia bela

god i love carrine roitfeld. and i love love love malgosia. to be honest, when she first came out i wasn't really feelin' her all that much. but through the years the less i see her on runway shows and the more i see her on ridonkculous editorials like this one, the more i get floored by her pictures. and the same with mert and marcus. they've kinda moved on with all the digital aspect they used to play around with in the beginning of their career but they've maintained that clean element u get from from graphic design. particularly the trends of graphic design in the early two thousands which is the time these two dudes basically exploded. anyways, back to malgosia and carrine, i think those two are the only people in the planet that doesn't make me throw up when i see the extremely played out eighties revival that has been dragging on for what seems like forever. i also really really liked the whole bombshell guy bourdain/franceso scavullo vibe going on with the make-up and the hair. oh my freaking lord, that hair is bananans. this is the reason why i buy vogue paris month after month, its kinda dirty and expensive at the same time.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

milan spring/summer 2009 - marni

the marni aesthetic has always played with the bounderies of good and bad taste. designer consuelo castiglioni has built an empire on that philosophy. just like her fellow country woman miuccia prada, castiglioni understands the psychology of combining intellectualism, eccentricity and naivete into a collection that tugs at the emotional responses of women. there really isn't a word to describe the whole marni aesthetic as anything else but being very "marni". its as if that word has developed its own meaning because of the strength and highly individual point of view of castiglioni and collaborator lucinda chambers. even though there are other designers out there who freely mixes prints and patterns like dries van noten, or christian lacroix, the marni look still very much stands capably on its own. for spring/summer 2009 castiglioni took marni to its most colourful. the trademark mixing of patterns and textures and ingenious colour combinations were present but was added by the use of decorations such as plastic paillettes, transparency as layering, and a more structured silhouette. but just like every other marni collection, individually the pieces presented are commercial blockbusters that are indetifiable with the brand even without the complete look it was presented with. it all has that quirky charm that intitially endeared all the marni devotees with the house in the first place.

photo: style.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

milan spring/summer 2009 - jil sander

of all the shows from new york, london, milan, and paris, the show raf simons presented for the house of jil sander is unarguably the most precise and complete exercise of taking an idea and developing it to its fullest potential. the control and surgical precision simons worked with fringe will be next season's lace to prada's fall. after being at the creative helm of the house for almost three years now and being criticized for sometimes being too clinical and too severe in his treatment of the jil sander aesthetic, this season found simons finding the perfect balance that has eluded him in the past. his approach of utilizing fringe in a vocabulary that was in sync with the spirit of minimalism seems to have been vaguely inspired by the twenties. of course fringe is synonymous to the roaring decade but as oppulent as that period was, it was in many ways the beginning of maximizing visual interest through the simplest of shapes and form. for this collection the base silhouette was uncomplicated and direct, but the use of fringing as panels or in some cases as a full dress over full body suits as exemplified by the first four exits demonstrates how simons can fully exploit its flexibility. it is that rigour to push an idea but at the same time do it in a way that was still within the essence of a house that does not bear his name all the while maintaining a familiarity to his own aesthetic, the sharp minimalist shapes of this collection bear a likeness to his menswear collection for his own label, is a testament to the talent simons possesses.

photo: style.com

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