Monday, February 28, 2011

Dolce and Gabbana A/W11 - Milan Fashion Week

Dolce and Gabbana

As Arizona Muse walked the runway looking like the only female member of the 'Rat Pack' in a double breasted black jacquard jacket, cropped matching trousers, crisp white shirt, flat hat and a pair of shiny black lace-up loafers, it was very apparent that for this seasons Dolce and Gabbana show, we would be treated to an array of bold masculine looks versus sexy feminine looks because before Muse hit the end of the runway, Swanepoel was on it in a body sculpting star print midi dress that was inlay with lace panels. So it continued, a foray of boy -vs- girl, a battle of the sexes. 

There was something so exciting about this, but in a topic so current and often left unexplored in fashion, why not push the boundaries even further. Ideas of having the models walk hand in hand down the runway (one in tux, one in dress) surely would have pushed not only fashion boundaries but it would have explored the topical issue of social constructions on gender and no doubt would have had the fashion world talking. An opportunity missed.

Nevertheless the clothes were beautiful. The sleeveless tuxedo jackets were cut to perfection, the fur collars adding an edge. The two oversize jackets in pastel yellow and pink were bold but fun. The backless shirt with neck straps and braces was perfect! 

After the disappointment of D&G, Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana can leave Milan happy in the fact that they have put on a show and produced a clear theme for A/W 2011.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Salvatore Ferragamo AW11 - Milan Fashion Week

Salvatore Ferragamo

Not for the first time at Milan Fashion Week have we seen an established house produce a collection that so obviously portrayed a mix of light femininity with bold masculinity. This was a very overt take on a trend that looks to be building momentum, one which will please the women with a classy, androgynous dress sense.

Massimilliano Giornetti produced a series of pinstripe, (jumpsuit  with matching blazer and overcoat shown below) houndstooth and check all in suiting fabrics and played them against ultra-light sheer silks, animal print and furs. The autumnal colour palette of black, white and grey produced a strong photo negative monochromatic effect but it felt like it needed an injection of colour; just one.

The cut of the fabrics although perfect was reminiscent of Yves Saint Laurents iconic tailoring and shape. Giornetti did however sex up the collection with a few pieces of leather and dresses cut down as far as the naval. 

Time to get out the houndstooth and pinstripe that probably occupies a space in a vacuum packed storage bag under your bed!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Jil Sander A/W 11 - Milan Fashion Week

Jil Sander

The sterile sound of winter winds echoed throughout the hall at Raf Simons latest outing for Jil Sander. Simons is a designer who knows how to perfect the minimalism trend without the clothes becoming too mundane. Here was no different, he opened the show with a padded box jacket and pleated stirrup pants that clung tightly to a pair of black patent wedges absolutely perfectly. It was luxe ski-wear meets couture. The clothes are simple in theory and colour but upon close inspection they look pretty luxurious.

A series of padded voluminous looks followed, precision engineered but streamlined to perfection, it appeared as if the clothes were contradicting themselves, again playing with the masculinity factor which has become popular for AW11.

Sigrid Agrens' monochrome look of black skirt and white heavy duty long sleeve top was accompanied by protective headgear with a coloured whirlwind pattern. Day to Night ski wear has never been so luxurious.

Then came oversize luxe, belted coat dresses, a series of rich couture inspired Van Gogh florals, followed by the 'haute' ski padded silks - functional and beautiful.

A truely signature collection for Jil Sander and Simons has shown yet again that his innate ability to structurally streamline a garment to the body is priceless.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Friday, February 25, 2011

LFW - Be there or be square!

Well my first London Fashion Week as a London resident is over and my god has it been mental. I'm nearly sure most of my time was spent on transport trying to get from one place to another but Somerset House really did serve up a treat this time round, there was plenty of exhibitions and design showrooms to keep you occupied whilst waiting for the runway shows to 'bring it to life'. London always shows the most underground and ecclectic mix of designers of all the fashion weeks, so naturally you are going to have a lot of mixed reviews and this season is no different.

Christopher Kane experimented with new materials that made us reminisce our primary school days when we had pencil cases filled with liquid glitter. Bailey brought the wow factor yet again at Burberry. Howell brought back the classic British simplicity that has been missing for so many years. Erdem showed an intriguing dark side. Saunders showed that there is plenty of exciting young talent pushing the ever expanding fashion boundaries. There was no set trend and no set material but instead it was about mix'n'match, heavy leathers mixed with knitwear, soft cottons and heavy furs, chiffons and latex - one thing is certain, mixed media reigns and this time - anything goes!

The dark colours that normally rule the roost for A/W have been given a kick with electric tones of neon and brights, of course there was some minimalism, there always is, but this season the designers showed depth and brought some of Londons' inherent eccentricity to the forefront of fashion and onto the catwalk.

The curtains have barely fallen on LFW (in fact i'm nearly certain there are still a few parties going on amongst the young London it crowd) and already the models are 'strutting their stuff' in Milan for major fashion houses such as Prada, Fendi, Gucci and Dolce and Gabbana. What I wouldn't give to be there! Bliss...

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

LFW - Erdem


If ever there was a designer that made trans-seasonal clothes it is Erdem Moralioglu. He says himself that the Erdem woman is one who "cares little about seasons", so why would this collection be any different. One thing is for sure, he has done with this collection what he has been treathening to do for a really long time, experimenting with the dark side and creating a series of looks that were almost haunting in parts. It was like the moon exploding in the night sky and causing havoc in the outer galaxy.

One by one the models appeared in midnight blue and navy hues that were splashed with colour in abstract patterns and shapes, no doubt the influence of his muse who "was an artist's wife who flies off the handle, tears apart her partners' canvases, and remakes them as pieces of clothing. The clothes told of this dark and compelling story in every way. The models walked to sombre music with tousled hair and dark make-up. Then the fabric lightened and an array of silk and sheer materials spattered with the same impressionist paint prints made it seem like maybe there was light at the end of the tunnel.

There was great range in that Erdem provided trouser suits, floor length skirts and dresses, short dresses, coats and knitwear while keeping with the dark theme, even the splashes of red and orange made it seem like she might have been to hell and back.

All in all a great collection from Erdem!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

London Fashion Week Day 4: Marios Schwab

10:45 Marios Schwab

I have waited all week to see my favourite designer take to the runway with his collection. I sat in anticipation, feet nervously tapping the ground, willing it to be the best so far or at very least my favoutite collection. What is so good about Marios Schwab you might ask? Just take a look at todays show. He hit the ground running when he opened with a blood red leather dress, simple in shape and form, exciting in length, functional, wearable and hardcore. It was clear that this collection was going to have a rough edge to it as soon as the electro drum and bass soundtrack kicked in!

One after the other the models appeared looking hard with sleek top-knots in their hair and subtle make-up, ready to have a "hell of a good time". Hell being the operative word because the next few pieces were in an intriguing, temptress red (a colour that Betty Jackson and Antonio Berardi used earlier in the week). One of which was wool with leather sleeves and strap detail, just a gorgeous dress. Then were different variations of sexy dresses with belts precariously positioned so they almost looked like bondage straps. This was fashion forward, young and refreshing. Whats more is that there was something for everyone with various lengths and embellishments, but every piece was as "seductive" as the next said Schwab.

Schwabs backround in architecture is always a telling factor and today was no different. Disconnected sleeves and Y-shaped panelling looked sleek and sultry from far away yet really romantic from up close. Simplicity existed in a cream button high neck blouse and red leather trousers, perfectly cut. A navy silk shirt paired with an offset skirt and leather gloves, tres chic! Warm winter looks consisted of a puffed and skirted nylon parka in rich burgundy brown that brought images of mulled wine to mind. Comforting but with a slight kick!

Then a change of direction for evening wear with pearl details lending a softer side to the collection. They were scalloped into the dresses in exactly the right place to highlight the female form. On the neckline and on the waist. The outline of each pearl embellishment was sculpted in a way that reminded me of his Austrian sewing skills past. There was a jumpsuit amongst the dresses to mix it up a little but it still had an opulent evening wear feel with the rows of asymmetric pearls. The colour palette was cohesive and showed great depth - mustards, burgundys, nudes and blacks completed a show that was both exciting to watch and one which will cement Schwab as one of the finest new age mastercraftsmen!

In every sense of the word this collection was a reverse scenario of Good Girl Gone Bad, a progression from hard to soft no doubt a reflection of the fact that Schwab went back to his roots and took influence from Austrian architect Alfred Loos.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang x

Monday, February 21, 2011

LFW: Margaret Howell

Margaret Howell is one of the longest established British designers showing at this years LFW. Her gaberdine raincoats, herringbone jackets and leather loafers are coveted items among fashion heads. This year Howell was under pressure from other designers as the "British Heritage" look (one which is synonomous with her label) became the must have look of the season. This is her territory though and she set out to prove it.

The show was perhaps more androgynous than usual, although not in the form of eccentric englishness that it usually portrays, this was a more laid back, austere approach. The clothes are undoubtedely designed both intelligently and for intelligent women. She experimented with new lengths and with great success too. The below knee chiffon skirts and ankle hugging trousers were quite simply perfect.

The thick leather-belted knits cinched above the waist line made even me want to wear it - this was a great collection from Howell and when you take in the fact that the models walked to music that sounded remarkably like a piece from Schindlers List  - it makes it all the more interesting!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

This one is for you Linda, argyle knit, cropped trouser suit and dusty pink brogues - yes please!!!

LFW: Antonio Berardi

Berardi knows women. Fact! Of all his traits, perhaps his strongest is that he knows how to make women feel sexy and this show proved just that. A series of dresses in an array of fabrics, some that hugged the body in his tailored to perfection body sculpting way for which he is most popular but most noteworthy in this collection was a brave attempt to move away from that with cropped wool trousers and layering pieces such as embellished boyfriend jackets. The idea was to ensure he still provided the client with that feeling of "uberluxury" - a word Berardi himself used after the show. This really was a case of going back to your roots for Berardi. The smart trouser and dresses here wouldn't look out of place if you were sitting on the terraza of a Sicilian restaurant.

What Berardi perfected with this collection was a day to evening ideal. Throw on a cream car coat over a multi pleated mini skirt and add a chic crisp white blouse and you are all set. I wasn't a major fan of the lime green or shocking red as colours but as a collection - it flowed effortlessly.

What he didn't perfect however is something which has faultered him in the past, his shoes. The multi strapped Mary Janes did nothing but halter the models who moved apprehensively down the runway. (as if each step might be their last). A distraction that no doubt Berardi could have done without.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

Images courtesy of

Saturday, February 19, 2011

London Fashion Week: Day 2 - Wake Up Little Suzie

11am - Betty Jackson

For a Saturday morning where the heavens opened and the temperature dropped, Somerset House, the venue for the majority of shows at LFW, was awash with celebrities, journalists, designers, bloggers, photographers and everyday fashionistas.

Jackson, an established British designer knows exactly how to put on a conclusive show and this one was no different. It started as it would finish, like the 'Red Sea'. The models swept slowly, somewhat Moses like down the runway (although some rather annoyingly stopped half way) in stiff cottons, floral printed silks and shearling in an array of colours, primarily the poppy red that took centre stage. Then came a change of pace and a lightening of mood from Jackson, with a purple high gloss rain parka, not the strongest of looks in the collection, but nevertheless functional, given it was afterall an A/W collection.

The white tights, chunky white and black wedge platforms and the backcombed, teased hair all gave nod to a grunge china girl look that Jackson said was "inspired by Patti Smith and the Chelsea Hotel in NY"

All in all, another very strong outing for Jackson and when the models reappeared once more is was to the beat of 'Wake Up Little Suzie' and it had me rocking in my seat!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

Thursday, February 17, 2011

New York Fashion Week - 3.1 Philip Lim

3.1 Philip Lim

If my sisters knew that the 3.1 Philip Lim offering this time around was better than his past collections in theory alone, they would have eagerly checked out his NY collection already. (Isn't that right Mand?)

Philip Lim is a modern designer for modern women, the facts are simple, he designs what women want - practical, wearable, day to night clothes that scream luxury and make her fall in love at first sight. Fabric aside, his aesthetic is so pleasing on the eye that I could have watched the same show over and over.

His theme this time around, he said was "Girls on Bikes". Low and behold - that's exactly what we got . An urban reformation of cropped pants and utilitarian jackets, in leather and heavy cotton fabrics. It had the kind of loose edgy feel that could become glamorous with a simple flick of the hair or an intense stare.

A royal blue jumpsuit that wouldn't look out of place on a peddler along the banks of an Amsterdam canal was not only functional but became durable too when Lim decided it should have tan leather sleeves. The shape and cut is both modern and effortless, the colour-blocked panels complimenting the female form wherever possible. Pleats that unfold in motion gave nod to Iseey Miyakes' "Pleats Please" collection. There was texture in abundance in the form of fur waistbands. Too much for you? Yes, me too.

All in all - a great outing for one of my favourite designers of recent years.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

New York Fashion Week - Rodarte


Rodarte is always a show which attracts a huge amount of attention at NY fashion week. It has a loyal following among A-list celebs and the front row at this outing was no different. The first outfit to hit the runway was an ankle grazing prairie coat which set the theme perfectly for the remainder of the show. It was a chic little house on the prairie affair. Wheatprinted hems on floor lenght silk dresses perhaps the most obvious garment that gave notification of the houses' intentions to create an all american prairie look. This was followed by heavy knits in fresh neutral tones which were parted at the waist to give an "Oh I just threw this on, country girl feel".

The models wouldn't have looked out of place if they were running through fields of barley or cotton. Even the leather and ponyskin was detailed with geometric print that reminded me of picnic blanket. It truely was a step in the organic direction for Rodarte, whose normal aesthetic is draped glam.

There was however a flash of ruby red at the end, that might have looked out of place had the designers' Kate and Laura Mulleavy not said afterward that "We couldn't go to Nebraska and Kansas and not do a Wizard of Oz reference."

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

New York Fashion Week - Alexandre Herchcovitch

New York Fashion Week always brings out the industries glitterati and the front row is always jam-packed with Hollywood faces that support the brand and receive lots of free clothes in return. I have decided to select some of the shows that caught my eye regardless of the label name or the designers position and power within the industry.

Alexandre Herchcovitch

Alexandre brought a welcomed youthful approach to a New York fashion week that has been wrought with thoughts of what another designer might opt to send down the runway.

A magmafied sea of blacks, greys and browns with pops of neon yellows that rippled like waves down the side of a mountain, were undoubtedly taken from the designers study of volcano processes and effectively too. The result was a brilliantly gothic show that climaxed when the models appeared one after the other in an array of elasticated straight jackets with arms pinned tightly to their sides, impractical - yes, impactful - absolutely!

Other features on this exciting outing for Herchcovitch included bi-cep hi latex gloves, that for me offered a different approach to other designers slashed, loose to the wrist open arm gloves which we have seen in abundance in NY thus far.

For somebody who admittedly I hadn't heard of before last night, this show was a real eye-opener. It is no wonder Herchcovitch has such a loyal following on the underground, edgy NY scene. One of my favourites so far!

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Louis Vuitton Rollercoaster Ride

Some people are afraid of their lives to take a ride on some of the modern day rollercoasters. However I don't know anybody in their right mind that would refuse a token to hop on board the new Louis Vuitton rollercoaster that they have installed in their Flagship Maison Store on New Bond Street. The window installation was a genius idea, a brilliant representation of the brand that has become synonomous with total luxury and more recently elegance of the highest order. The golden rollercoaster weaves and winds its way through ceilings, floors and walls to showcase some of the product from the latest Louis Vuitton Collection. The carnival theme is continued with two strategically placed ferris wheels which move ever so slowly around (think of the London Eye) highlighting the latest collection of handbags and shoes. The mannequins placed throughtout the whirlwind display are dressed in head designer Marc Jacobs' Cruise Collection looks for the brand which include a knee length 'A-line' 60's botton down dress in white canvas with a cream leather trim.

It would have been so easy for this rather large shiny gold rollercoaster to take precedence had the clothes and accessories not being so amazing. The 'Bisten' hardsided luggage bag with brass gold fittings and hard leather handle is probably my favourite of the collection. Even though I'm not normally a huge fan of the overworked branding of the logo, I love this piece of luggage!

Have a look.

Kiss Kiss Bang Bang xx

* Some images courtesy of Fashion Foie Gras