Saturday, 17 October 2009

The see-through story continues: more sheer, transparency and lace

Above: Lesser-known designer Tim Soar played a clever card by showing his collection back-to-back with B Store on schedule at London Fashion Week. He used the chance to show many sheer items including this nylon trench.
Below: Louise Gray's colourful layered translucents at London showrooms in Paris. Her current collection is available at James Jeanette's store on Redchurch Street.

OK, so we all know that transparency, sheer fabrics and lace layers are going to be even bigger next summer. I was so excited about the use of these textures back at Graduate Fashion Week that I said it would be a future trend and dedicated a full post to it.

In actual fact it’s been bubbling under for a whole lot longer than that. It first came to my attention nearly two years ago when I was filming a fashion makeover show in India. The presenter chose a gorgeous layered dress with white sheer inner and black lace outer to dress up the awkward contributor. And even that was a high street knock-off inspired by earlier layered lace by Prada.

But I saw SO much of it again in London and Paris that I thought it was worth another look. Here’s my pick of the best examples of the next chapter in this ongoing trend which I've spotted on my travels, mainly taken from next summer’s collections.

Above: Over-laid lace panels at the Goldie SS10 show, off schedule London Fashion Week.
Below: There's a hole in my coat...Macedonian-born, Bali producing designer Marjan Pejowski's cool transparent trench. Just don't expect it to keep you dry!

When one of London's most directional brands puts themselves firmly nehind one trend you know it's hot: House of Holland's SS10 collection for Women (above) and men.

Above: Erdem's SS10 collection features these intricate overlaid lace numbers along side his trademark digital floral prints.

Below: It all started here...or at least she was there before. One of many of Madeleine Vionnet's amazing exploration in transparency on show at Paris' Musee des Arts Decoratifs till 31st January

On the slate...

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Ain't no party like a Westwood party... Westwood Vs Westwood/London Vs Paris

OK, so it may seem a little unfair to compare what was essentially a staff party bolted onto a small Parisian club night with a full-on rave in the generously sponsored Red Bull sorting office with free bar for hundreds of press, mates and blaggers (above), a little light-hearted competition is always fun in my book... So I thought it would be a good idea to compare the shots I took at the respective after-show parties that brand Vivienne Westwood threw this season following her Red Label and Gold Label shows in London and Paris respectively.

Who’s got more style? You decide…

You're SO cool London!

All photos taken at Vivienne Westwood Red Label after party, Red Bull space, September 20th

Above: the ever-creative Dan Lismore goes ethnic.
Below: Breakdance candy bar.

Above: London, Paris, New York...Berlin. This type androgynous look is hot everywhere right now.
Below: Performer Masumi Tipsy Saito in slinky 40s chic with slimline hat and fur shrug.

Above and Below (M from Bitching and Junkfood) : Hair you like London you don't have to be a floozy to like a good shag these days.

Above: A reveller in Comme des Garcons short culottes. Hot last season, bigger next...
Below: It's a Westwood party! Didn't they get the message? ManAboutWorld and another Galliano fan remind everyone that Westwood's not the only British designer to keep coming back to the man's skirt.

Tu est TROP chic Paris!

All photos taken at ChaCha club Friday 2nd October during the Vivinne Westwood Gold Label after show party.

Above: A Parisian party-goer toes the Westwood part line.
Below: an Italian friend sports his trademark intelectual thanks to much help from Comme.

Above: French guy funks it up with drop crotch pants and on trend double belting
Below: Sleek jerseys given some edge with a navy hat.

Above: Westwood intern Sharlene sports her maitre's tights and a vanity bag that gave me some serious envy.
Below: Vacationer from Oz, Mitch sports a contrasting plaid kilt and cream leggings. Inspired...

Above: Not a look you see everyday in Paris. Love the dressed down guard's jacket and navy hat (again...).
Below: Layers of black, studs and tassel shoulder detail. Tres now...

On the slate...Paris street fashion and more cool stuff from my walk around the showrooms...

Monday, 12 October 2009

Hussein Chalayan Spring Summer 2010

At 18 I left my small town of Matlock in Derbyshire and moved to Madrid. Madrid was all things that Matlock wasn't: clubbing all night and then all day in the underground after-hours clubs, afternoons spent in sun-drenched plazas drinking Mahou and endless journeys of discovery in contemporary art around the recently opened Reina Sofia Museum.

It was in the Reina Sofia that I first came across the slashed canvases of Lucio Fontana. The fascination was instant but it took me some time to realise that it was the suggestion of another world behind the slashing and stabbing of the canvases that intrigued me. For me, these incisions alluded to a land beyond the canvas that was just out of reach.

Above: Lucio Fontana, Concetto Spaziale, Attesse, (Spatial Concepts) 1965, courtesy Guggenheim Collection
Below: Photo of Lucio Fontana by Ugo Mulas

Hussein Chalayan's Spring Summer 2010 catwalk in Paris last week, entitled Dolce Far Niente (translated by himself as Doing Sweet F*** all) came in a year when Chalayan could hardly have been criticised for resting on his own laurels. Following last year's appointment to the Creative Director role at Puma, he had a hand in the curation of the first major retrospective of his work in the UK at the Design Museum earlier this year, took part in various associated events as well as countless other projects around the world for both his own brand and for his new position at Puma. During the three visits I made to the Design Museum exhibition, my jaw ended up on the floor on various occasions. I was particularly awestruck by the landmark moment the models turned the coffee room set into furniture in AW2000 collection, After Words and the amazing animatronics in his SS2007 collection One Hundred and Eleven, neither of which I'd seen on a big screen before. I was left wondering what a mind-blowing experience it must have been to witness these shows, which had made me think about fashion in a completely new way, in person...

Above: the austere surroundings of the Couvent des Cordeliers.
Below: the backstage area across the convent courtyard

So it was with much excitement that I arrived at the Couvent des Cordeliers in Paris last week for Chalayan's Spring Summer 2010 catwalk. Once inside I perched next to the band and noticed a handsome figure decked out in a dinner jacket, somewhat nervously standing at a lectern at the other side of the stage from me. It was Hussein, with rather more hair than usual. When the show started and as the models entered, he announced key points in the collection in French. I fear subtlety of meaning some of this was lost on me but in any case I loved the element of refined showmanship. Every season Hussein seems able to bring an element of show to his collection but always with originality and always imbuing it with cool in the most unpredictable ways.

Below: Hussein in a dress suit announces the looks

And so to the collection.

Where the work of Fontana intrigues me for the other worlds hinted through the incisions in the layers of paint and canvas, Hussein's new collection excited me through the subtle revelations of flesh offered by the repeated slashes, transparency and pointed layering. Having blogged my interest in transparency a few months ago and seen a lot of it on other catwalks over the last few weeks, it was great to see Hussein use it in a mature and highly original way. Here, the long sheer, feminine dresses were contrasted dramatically by unexpected gentlemen's tailoring-inspired details and surrealist hands gripping the fabric, twisting it from below, from the world beneath the dress.

As I kept watching I saw more evidence of hidden forces and private territories below the surface of the clothes. Many looks featured pointed bras which poked themselves to the surface of the sheer outer layers. Backs had cutaway panels, maxi length dresses were slashed at the waist and holes were cut in the hats for visors to drop-down with characteristic Chalayan techno-charm. I saw a world beneath the dresses, bodies that were looking to escape; but this was carried out with subtlety and suggestion which left me fascinated and wanting to know more about this force rather than being visually assaulted by the over exposure we saw on so many catwalks the week before in Milan.

Thanks for showing me this world Hussein: once again you have taught me to look at clothes in a new way.

See videos from all Hussein's show and a walk through the Design Museum exhibition on his official site.

And keep up-to-date with all things Chalayan from 3rd party collection reviews to sample sale news on his label's blog.

Find out more about Lucio Fontana.

On the slate...more to come from ManAboutParis and a Vivienne Westwood London Vs Paris party-off.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Transformer bags part 1: Benedetta Bruzziches' shows off her transformable box bag

I've been interested in transformable clothing since my mid 90s Gaultier obsession. This fascination has been re-kindled this year with new designers in both clothing and accessories using 2 or 3-in-1 designs to conceptually satisfy the demands of our recession-hit lifestyles. I'll be doing a full post on this soon but for now here's a fun video I shot yesterday with Italian designer Benedetta Bruzziches who showed her first leather accessories collection in Tranoi, Montaigne this week.

On the slate...back stage, in the clubs, on the catwalk and the street...ManAboutParis