The collection was rooted in sportswear, and there was plenty to desire with shearling hoodies, suede tracksuits, leather utility shirts and parkas all coming in warm buttery shaded of vanilla, marigold and gingersnap. Bags were and large shopper-style or small and worn on belts around the waist or clipped to a larger tote. The enveloping, sporty cuts gave it a feeling of modernity but what really struck home was the integrity of the collection.
Here, pretty princess tulle dresses tied in big blooming bows behind the neck were armoured with voluminously draped strapless dresses or dense bustiers, fusing the fragile with the fierce like some woke take on Elizabeth I in a breastplate. “It’s the constant struggle between retaining femininity and being strong,” Mrs Prada said after the show. “The constant duality between what you have to be in order to be strong and able to protect yourself, and what we’ve inherited: the sweetness, the femininity.”
She presented the collection on the panoramically windowed floors of a building on the grounds of Fondazione Prada, the poppy and naïve artwork from her menswear show blown up in massive neon signs outside, lighting up the black evening skyline. A busy drone was capturing the whole affair to a remix of Heart of Glass, making Prada’s plastic tinsel dresses and rave printed nylon coats look rather futuristic. She said it was an image of “the freedom of women in the night”: how women can be “super sexy” in the evening, but are still expected to look “moderate” during the day. That is, if the working girl codes of the 1980s still apply.In the contrast between her masculine utilitarian shearling gilets and loud neon colours – and all the other obvious opposites that defined this collection – perhaps Mrs Prada wanted to hark back to a time when the women’s rights movement could exemplify the struggle in terms as simple as that.
Rome. 1980s. The rebellious and bourgeois style of My First Forty Years. Printed carves, soft chenille, thoughtful draping, and shimmering fabrics are presented in exaggerated shapes and volumes. Coup de théâtre, the hyperbole of the female wardrobe.
For its 2018/19 Autumn/Winter collection, Vivetta shuffles its cards and ventures into an aesthetic universe that is diametrically opposed to its creative parabola, making of it a subject that is exuberantly light and colourful. It explores the romanticism of the era with curiosity, yet without nostalgia, updating yesterday’s styles with an entirely modern and joyous look.
Beginning with prints: lips, hearts, surreal figures, the saccharine imagery is sharpened, glamourized, turned into pure entertainment. And the scarves, with their printed patterns advertising perfumes, a classic of the era, leap from the banal to the exceptional. Lastly, python prints are presented as an iridescent hologram.Female empowerment, a symbol of the decade. The fabrics of the great masculine tradition are illuminated with sorbet-like colours: overcheck and glen plaid shed the solemnity of English wool and are enhanced by striking details like lacquered, eye-shaped buttons. The jacket becomes a shirt and the shirt becomes a jacket: thanks to the tufting technique, the two worlds combine.
Not just evening wear, Vivetta’s new evolution focuses on daytime couture as well. With ribbons, ruches, and draping that hang on the body, like a little girl trying on her mother’s dress, changing lines, development, and proportions. Everything is short or very long with embroidery that enhances its delicacy. The hands, a central theme for Vivetta, create new woven garments while Swarovski crystals punctuate and underline designs and prints. Finally, sport re-establishes the power of casual: oversized, printed, and colourful down-filled garments are the season’s new outerwear.
Harmony: a composition of contrasts balancing different voices. An abstract floral motif plays together in a symphony with the houndstooth graphic. For F/W 2018/19 Luisa Beccaria pays tribute to the iconic style of Marianne Faithfull, the dreamlike world of Lewis Carroll, and Giovanni Boldini’s painterly aesthetics.Dandy style male fabrics charm the Luisa Beccaria woman, turning hyper feminine. She plays with embroidered wools as well as organdie, silk twill, velvet, lurex, and brocade.Her natural, effortless elegance, for the day is seen in suits with suede hemmed jackets and vest; in a midi dress with a liquid-like print resembling an abstract floral note; in a macramé lace with quasi geometric butterflies sewed on crepe. Polka dot blouses with pearl shaped buttons alternate with checked Shetland wool maxi skirts. The soft felt hat is the must of every outfit.Cloaks, cashmere sweatshirts and cardigans counterpoint light crystals and full sequin looks. Sashes and high belts emphasize the waist of soft and sensual silhouettes, alternating more structured shapes.On an evening note is when couture fabrics come in. A velvet shirt dress is crossed by silver, teal and blue lurex brush strokes. Winter flowers adorn a fil coupé embroidered tulle dress. Long organdie light dresses become 3D with applications and embroideries. A cape dress plays with textures and volumes.The chromatic palette descends from a research on non-colours and neutral tones: a thousand hues of greige, beige, grey. Then the blue, teal and peacock shades. Hints of red, blush pink and powder pink punctuate the collection.Among the accessories: suede, brocade and velvet ankle boots (from the collaboration with Racine Carrée), fabric purses, foulards and broche embroideries.
It’s been thirty years since Melanie Griffith starred in the exceptional 1980s film about a woman, who encounters the gender-related struggles in the workplace that were – hopefully – more of a reality back then than they are now. But as the Alberta Ferretti show on Wednesday evening in Milan illustrated, fashion has an innate need to reflect on the past to demonstrate the present. And so, Ferretti framed her collection in the voluminous shoulders, kick-arse boots and business-meaning breeches that exemplified the 1980s, occasionally dropping in on the late 1970s, too. “I wanted the woman to have a big personality. Don’t correct everything, but mix the proportions.
On a vague 1940s silhouette that bordered on the 50s (and sporadically every decade after) he contrasted that elegant feminine cut with masculine materials, evoking a sense of Americana through plaid, heavy gabardine, pony skin and prairie studding. Dell’Acqua said he was detecting “a new creativity” in this moment in time, no doubt sparked by the many socio-political movements taking place around the world. They all began in America over the last two years, the Home of the Brave where President Trump’s longing to “make America great again” refers to the post-war mentality, which, ironically, also paved the way for female twirlers in marching bands, a fusion of pageantry and military parades.
“Nature has not given us an untouchable body,” Michele argued, talking about the relationship between “what we are and what we want to become.” He alluded to that notion in typical Gucci outfits covered in nude transparent tulle chrysalises that looked as if they were about to be shed, and in various reptilian and alien motifs. But to be honest, at this stage in his wildly successful reign at Gucci there’s no need to force parallels between Michele’s theatrics and the clothes he fills them with. He is, by now, a master retailer: the wizard of retail, who simply wafts in, whooshes his cape and sprinkles magic potions all over the place. Those potions are his observations, like this one, which entirely backed up that notion: “I thought it’s a beautiful idea,” he said of all the transformation, “because fashion is not simply what you wear or an instrument to generate business. It’s something more. You are thinking I’m being obvious but this is my approach.”
In other words, if the Gucci empire he has built is sometimes accused of not changing - or moving on from Michele’s founding ideas - it’s because his success lies in simply expanding on that aesthetic, and using his shows as a platform for philosophical matters relating to these dynamic times in which we find ourselves.
As the show progressed and Old Hollywood eveningwear fused with Space Age glam, Marjan Jonkman materialised as an apparition of Marilyn Monroe, recalling the unattainable, unreal – alien – beauty ideals still deified sixty years after the star’s death. (Or assassination.) In a rebellious zeitgeist that’s never felt closer to the earth-shatteringly momentous events and ideas of the 1960s, Scott’s reference and wit were on point.
Jeremy Scott portrayed that idea in candy-coloured little skirt suits and above-the-knee coats with pillbox hats and wigs that spelled out Jackie O perfection, then allowed the cracks to appear in prints with meds motifs and fake prescription pill names, and models entirely covered in Technicolor paint. “How did Jackie get through the sadness? With meds? Or because she’s an alien?” Scott reflected, staying in conspiracy theorist character. “In my country, illegal aliens are a constant topic,” he continued, bringing his reference into current Trumpian affairs. “So what is really an alien? Are they blue, yellow, green, purple, pink? Or are they just like you and I? What’s really different?”
“I came across a sense of pride in the women walking on the runway, and at the same time not dressing as men even if there were pieces taken from the men’s wardrobe. There was a sense of sexiness and voluptuousness.” Talk about taking comfortable dressing to the max: Griffiths turned fringed blankets into bombastic full skirts, drawing on the subverted normative codes he swore by in the 1980s. “I experimented with all these shapes. And wore them,” he asserted. “You can’t conquer the world if you’re not feeling comfortable, so have to feel good in what you’re wearing. I never ask a model to wear anything that makes her feel uncomfortable.” His cast included everyone from Lara Stone and Doutzen Kroes to Kaia Gerber, Gigi Hadid and Halima Aden, who got her break walking for Max Mara. “We represent all types of women on the runway, because all types of women wear our clothes,” Griffiths said.
New York, NY – February 14, 2018 – German based fashion brand named for the designer himself, Marcel Ostertag, has returned for his fifth season as part of New York Fashion Week (NYFW) to unveil Autumn/Winter 2018. The collection, named ‘Opium’, walked the Spring Studios Runway (Gallery II) on Wednesday, February 14th, 2018.
Ostertag sends us on a blissful journey for all the senses with his new collection. The designer is on a journey where time and fashion unite and consumption and indulgence equate as one. Additionally, past and future meld with the here and now making vintage seem futuristic and classics seem edgy.
A self confessed “addict of fashion” and everything that goes with it, Marcel Ostertag celebrates his addiction with every piece of clothing he sends down the Runway. His strain of addiction leaves no detail un-obsessed. No material is left unfelt and he openly admits to “letting his fabrics run through his fingers” as a necessary part of his creative process. Here, you can simply feel that Ostertag does not regard fashion as a profession, but rather as his life’s calling.
Autumn/Winter ’18 began as an exploration of Yves Saint Laurent (YSL) in the ‘70’s, as Ostertag came across an editorial in a vintage magazine store. The glamorous parties of the era offered the perfect springboard to the collection that walked the runway this afternoon. “Opium”, the moniker for A/W 2018, pays homage to YSL´s lush layered scent.
Made in Germany, precious materials and elaborate details perfectly round off the modern silhouette. Painted poppy flowers, animal prints and striped patterns are perfectly fused by Marcel Ostertag into his classics, giving them a masterful revitalization. Highlighted fabrications include silk, cashmere, faux fur, sequined and pearl beaded chiffons. Silhouettes, while suggesting the past with 60’s and 70’s inspired wraps, go-go’s and mod-dresses of every sort have been updated by his deft approach to detail and styling to rest squarely in the here and now.
Key accessories featured are sporty belts with rose gold clasps and a new range of bags all made in partnership with Tamaris with whom Ostertag is now entering his third season of footwear design. All of the shoes are made of leather in burgundy, pastel pink, khaki, and navy with rose gold details and a range of plexi heels.
As always, there were lots of neat things to wear that will end up on wish lists in New York and beyond: low-slung Nineties skirts, a languid ketchup red silk dress, oversized navy ribbed sweaters layered two at a time, a V-neck over a roll-neck, and thrown over more silk. There were multiple updates on Tibi’s golden goose, the throw-it-on dress with the nifty detail - a drawstring, a ruched neck, a smattering of sequins - and some well-cut pairs of cargo trousers. At times it felt a little reliant on old ideas - pink and red is a little flat for autumn, having showed up on multiple catwalks over the last few seasons - but that won’t bother the Tibi heartland. Lots to like here.
There were orbital silver dresses crafted in Saturnian rings, lurex and lamé to make the heart grow fonder, and plexi-glass encrusted mosaic dresses that went rather well with Scott's collaboration du jour: Moon Boots. "I thought how fun and ridiculous skyscraper Moon Boots would be," he reflected, so the sky became his limit. It's a fact that troubling times breed creative exuberance, but another cliché is that of the escapism that naturally follows. After the political shockwaves fashion had to deal with last year it may have been the case then, but you'd like to think that the phase we're entering now as a creative industry is more constructive than escapist. "There's so much serious shit going on in the world, the last thing I wanna be is another one of them," Scott said, hitting the nail on the head. "The only thing I wanna do is bring a little bit of joy. A smile is contagious." To Scott, it's about changing mindsets, not escaping them.
At the men's shows in January, the designer presented a heavily fetishised collection for Moschino - where he also serves as creative director - in which he took bondage to its gimp-suited extreme. Observing a model in one such shiny black PVC suit backstage, his face fully covered in the mask, Scott smiled and asked, "Would you find him aggressive? I don't know, I find him quite cute." His show on Thursday evening in New York was the subversive take on that same upside-down notion. Behind all the pink fluff and poly-urethane was a slightly twisted sense of the perverse; an illustration, perhaps, of the volatile and monumental times in which we now find ourselves.
There were 1960s up-‘dos and ornamented bodies similar to Barbarella’s, but had Fonda made the trek to Brooklyn for the elaborate show, chances are the collection – rooted in snow sports – would have reminded her more of certain James Bond films. (Well, if 007 had had a penchant for gangster rap and Yeti boots.) It’s hard to think of that period of Fonda’s life without thinking of the political activism she engaged in. Watching Plein’s show – where a UFO that hovered over a space filled with artificial snow delivered Irina Shayk to a real robot, who then serenaded her with Frank Sinatra’s Fly Me to the Moon surrounded by Batman-style snowmobiles and Migos and friends rapping away – you wondered if Plein had detected a parallel between Space Age and our current zeitgeist. The 1960s was a time of socio-political upheaval and enough-is-enough movements that changed the world.
Wang’s collection painted a broad depiction of what the contemporary female executive looks like. She was authoritarian in a shiny black python coat, Amazonian in little black dresses with sunray zips, gladiatorial in a mink jumper with a leather back panel, and elegant in tuxedo dresses that evoked Yves Saint Laurent. Sometimes she seemed to be trekking to work in her gym clothes, albeit with mink trims and patent leather backpacks for the morning commute. “I wanted to have variety and the sense that she’s just as comfortable dressed up as she is dressed down,” Wang explained. “And also to knock down the stereotypes of power-dressing, which is really an individual approach; how she sees herself. Just because she’s tough doesn’t mean she can’t be playful. Just because she’s sensual doesn’t mean she can’t have strength. She's sexy but on her own terms. She is always in control. She dresses for herself. With all the power comes also the playfulness. I wanted it to feel like there was strength there and discipline but also the sense of wit.” He succeeded in ticking those boxes, although his praiseworthy points would have benefitted from an older cast than girls, who looked more like it was bring-your-daughter-to-work day.
It’s created a forum where Beckham can be a designer and a Spice Girl all at once, and make her brand benefit from it. The good humour and humility she has retained along the way has given her Teflon skin in this industry, which now considers her one of its own.
So when we all rejoiced as she posted several pictures from a reunion lunch with the Spice Girls the week before showing her autumn/winter 2018 collection in New York on Sunday morning, you couldn’t help but put things into perspective. “I’ve always designed clothes that, as a woman, I really want to wear or dream of wearing. I think it’s very honest,” she said in a preview. As part of the Spice Girls, Beckham brought Girl Power to the same generation of young women in the 1990s, who are now the thirty-somethings calling for change through revived women’s movements and second-wave feminism. The wardrobe she’s provided them with through the brand that defines her life after the Spice Girls actually represents the exact the same values. “When I first started it was about the empowerment of a woman and her silhouette,” as she noted. “It feels like an evolution of where I started with certain pieces: a nice neat shoulder, a nipped-in waist, and lots of layering. There’s a depth to this collection.”
With its intricate military-cut coats and strong sense of luxury, this season summed up what Beckham has been doing all along: an attractive uniform for women, who were tired of the circus of dressing. It had the uncomplicated values associated with her approach, and the influence of Céline, which Phoebe Philo – who quit in December – had just revamped when Beckham launched her label. Taking out the intimately opulent James Burden Mansion, Beckham went back to the salon show format she started out with in a small show for the core of the industry. More confident than ever, she wanted to bring her garments as close to the spectator as possible, close enough to hear the crackling of her leathers and the rustling of her beloved plissé. The latter appeared throughout, in soleil formations on skirts and dresses, while sumptuous – “buttery,” she called them – leathers appeared in outerwear and a clean-cut utilitarian dress.
The inspiration of Gemma Hoi Fall/Winter 2018 collection - “Time Traveller 1940s”, came from the uniforms of American female factory workers. The 1940s was the second era of feminist movement bloom after the 1920s, signifying female empowerment as an undying flame that rose again from the ashes. Denim, the most classical and symbolic fabric in American history, played a significant role in shaping female gender roles. Since its invention in 1873, the power of this fabric has shattered and transformed various times in its definition: working class, cowboys, sex, and universality, in the last 144 years. This is similar to how women continued to strive from household properties to become individual empowerments. Denim and Feminism both inherit the breaking of stereotypes, declaring themselves as ultimate forces that rebel against outdated tradition.
(Gemma Hoi New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 at Mercedes-Benz Manhattan)