Bright hues, head-to-toe? Check. Stripes and dots? Check. Outside the fall runways in Milan, the streets were literally exploding with spring color—greens and oranges, yellows and pinks—as seen on the city’s most fashionable, who are clearly having having fun as they bid farewell to winter with looks that mixed and matched and played with patterns. Phil Oh, the intrepid photographer behind the Street Peeperblog, was there to catch it all.
In focusing on the pump, an iconic Salvatore Ferragamo silhouette, the house ended up creating a fall collection that heralds the return of the alpha female. The pointed heel begat a knee-length pencil skirt, which worked well with a fitted jacket, which was strong in a menswear pinstripe, then pull the hair back in a slick updo and voila, Sharon Stone in Basic Instinct, Melanie Griffith circa Bonfire of the Vanities, or any other Brian De Palma heroine—all of which were references for creative director Massimiliano Giornetti. “The eighties really was the moment when the woman was like superwoman,” he said two nights before the show. “It’s about that kind of woman who was rich but at the same time chic and never vulgar.”
However, Giornetti’s rendition isn’t quote so literal. He’s included contemporary proportions like the cropped trouser and not-quite-so-serious accessories such as a python-and-houndstooth-printed clutch.
Photographed by Emily Weiss (Diane Kendal and Aymeline Valade, top); Olivier Claisse/firstVIEW (bottom, from left: Kendal’s work on the runway at Proenza Schouler, Thakoon, and Alexander Wang)
Makeup artist Diane Kendal whipped up looks for eight shows in New York last week—everything from tribal-influenced crimson eyes at Thakoon to statement brows at Alexander Wang. The one constant at all her shows: the incredible quality of the models’ skin, especially noticeable on the nearly bare faces at Reed Krakoff and Proenza Schouler. Kendal has long been known for her contoured, less-is-more approach to complexions. Continue reading to find out how she does it, step by step.
Every season, Versace finishes with Donatella’s vision, but it always starts with Gianni’s. What she’ll show for fall on Friday—to a sound track including a never-before-heard Prince song called “Hot Chocolate”—is no different. “I was looking at an early collection inspired by military uniforms,” Donatella Versace said Thursday afternoon at the house’s Via Gesu atelier as she was finalizing the looks. “The only thing I am not sure of yet is whether to show more pants—or skirts.” Both (cargo pant–pocketed lean trousers with a slightly cropped finish and box-pleated skirts to above-the-knee) looked equally great, worn with strict, narrow-waisted army coats and jackets—though instead of insignia buttons, her gilt fastenings come with the iconic Medusa head. In place of prints, she has been thinking about how to use flowers in a different way, with a recurring tulip motif: “It’s optimistic—a rose is too dramatic,” Versace said, laughing. And the strong color comes through in the accessories, from the laced ankle boots to the military brooches and squashy, sizeable bags (including the house’s first quilted one). “I’d do smaller styles,” she said, breaking into a laugh again, “but I’d end up carrying two.”
“Everyone has a favorite era,” says Charlotte Dellal, “and mine is the Old Hollywood glamour of the forties and fifties.” Not that the raven-haired shoe designer needed to spell it out. Dressed in a black Wolford fit-and-flare frock, Victoria Grant for Charlotte Olympia beret and Tessa wedge-slippers from her new collection (shoes resembling house slippers but raised on a platform and wittily embellished with cat’s ears and whiskers). Dellal wears the period well.
“I looked at Agatha Christie’s novels,” she says of the decadent postwar feeling she captured for Fall. “And Arlena Marshall, a character from Evil Under the Sun, was my pinup.” Along with exhibiting her footwear in a luxe dining room at Mark’s Club (a private member’s club in London’s Mayfair) where friends Edie Campbell, Josephine de la Baume, and Margo Stilley stopped by to support, Dellal put together a short film, shot in soft-focus. Models took supporting roles to fanciful black wedges decorated with porcelain Pierrots; pumps in paisley prints interspersed with Clue-style daggers and candlesticks; and sumptuous vermilion platforms with porcelain leopards (replicas of Bruce‚ her in-store statue) and dandy-style scarves that wrap elegantly around ankles.” She’s very glamorous, so of course she’s the victim,” says Dellal of her fictional muse. “There you go, I’ve ruined it for you—but I won’t tell you who did it!”
Every time the words “British heritage” come up in fashion, we’re normally in for nothing more than a meander around Miss Marple and a millionth-generation rehash of punk. But now, in this season of tweed and tartan, Aran and Argyle, there’s a passion for everything authentically Made in Britain pulsing through London fashion and beyond.
The phrase “day to night” has become overused. Let’s face it, wearing the same dress morning through evening is not so revolutionary. What does feel new, to Alberta Ferretti at least, is the idea of occasion-appropriate clothes. What a woman wears to the office should look—and, perhaps more importantly, feel—different from what she wears for cocktails and what she wears for dinner. It’s maybe a more expensive way to dress, but with her fall collection, Ferretti is giving women with means the option.
For the most part, her silhouette stays the same throughout: a structured single-breasted coat with a tunic and slim pants (a refrain we’ve heard many times this season) or just the coat paired with over-the-knee boots. Before six o’clock, the ensemble should be worn in gray flannel. Afterwards, sequins, embroidery, velvet, fur, and geometric prints come out to play. As for the designer’s signature flounce, it will be represented on the runway, just not as prominently.
This is all very in the vein of how Ferretti herself dresses, as evidenced by the all-black turtleneck, sleeveless tunic, and slim-pant ensemble she worked in the day before her show. And for her, like many other women, what she puts on is as much physical as it is psychological. It’s not just about costume changes (though that part is appealing), it’s about, to employ another overused phrase, living in the now. “I change the dress because I change my mood and the situation,” she said. “For me it’s very important to cancel out the work part of the day and [afterwards] go in a new direction.”
Photo: Martin Zahringer/Courtesy of Craig Lawrence
“Like a circle in a spiral, like a wheel within a wheel….” Craig Lawrence is not exactly singing, more talking me through the lyrics of the Dusty Springfield song “The Windmills of Your Mind” that prompted his circular-theme collection for fall. “It came on in the studio one day, so I decided to go with the idea,” he shrugs nonchalantly. To say the results turn traditional knitwear conventions on their head would be an understatement. But Lawrence has never done anything else. Even during his tenure as knitwear maestro for Gareth Pugh (while still a fledgling student at Central Saint Martin’s), Lawrence has diligently pushed past the boundaries of his knitting machine.
The silhouette came from the construction itself,” continues the five-time New Gen award-winner of his painstaking stop-turn-start technique that formed spiral after spiral in varying sizes until he’d achieved long, languid, ladder-stitched dresses, high-waist pants, full skirts, and chain-mail boleros in sumptuous metallic Kyototex yarns. But his meticulous efforts paid off, as this decadent vision of high-octane eveningwear (inspired in shape by the contents of his grandmother’s discarded seventies closet) is steadily breaking the cycle of knitwear purely for day or club, and moving it confidently into the luxury arena.
Emma Hill, urban fox? Hanging that sobriquet on Mulberry’s creative director is impossible to resist now that she’s applying all things reynard to the spirit—and the hardware—of a brand that sells in cities around the globe. At Claridge’s in London, where the company will show its fall collection Sunday, Hill and her team were working on the final edit. They were giving little away, save the foxy theme and the Englishness of it all. Hill laughed that it was inspired by “watching Fantastic Mr. Fox with my son, Hudson—I don’t get to see much film noir these days!”
So there’s much that is country in this collection: poacher jackets, quilted leathers, duffel coats, brogues, and so on. What might not catch the eye in the show, however, is the riveting, thoroughgoing micro-detail Hill gets down to when she’s got a branding idea for Mulberry. Some of the studs she’s had made this season come in the form of miniature fox heads.
Amber, Jonathan Saunders’ Staffordshire Bull Terrier answered the door at his studio today. Inside, her master was at work on finishing his collection, which is based around his search for “A sophisticated, thirties-forties elegance.” On his pinboard were images from the painter Euan Uglow, thirties erotic photography, and Lalique glass. All these strains go into a collection that, at first look, seems to be a sensitive rendition of ideas about a stricter, closer-to-the-body, below-knee silhouette, but with a softer flutter in some of the hemlines. How they will look in motion remains to be seen: not entirely retro, that’s certain. Paired with some of the velvet slippers’ implanted satin bows (a feminised Christian Louboutin version of the chosen footwear of many a young dandy this season), a new proportion and attitude could make its way along Saunders’ runway.
Louise Gray, London’s most playful renegade New Generation designer, has been inundated with letters and e-mails from tweenagers and even younger girl-fans who’ve found out where she works, and are clamoring to go to her show on saturday. “One of them was nine years old!” she says with a laugh. “I had to call her dad to make sure it was okay. He said he’d love for her to go!” What makes Gray a girl-magnet is her cheerfully spontaneous, arty, always colorful creativity—as you can see here from the nutty cartoons of her new collection, “Up Your Look,” that she drew for us. It’s endearing fashion to make you smile, though never so cutesy as to be completely junior. Testament to that are the images plastered on her wall: pictures of the tartan-wearing Bay City Rollers, Scottish teen idols of the seventies, and street pictures from New York in the eighties—and lots and lots of dots. In other words, she’s been early onto trends which are also circulating in the upper atmosphere of fashion, but she’s led the way there completely by her own instinct. The spots, which she was messing around with last summer in the form of flourescent stationery stickers, are now turning up translated into prints—and dabbed all over jazzy boots by Pollini, which have to be seen to be believed.