Tuesday, September 22, 2009

The British are coming (actually, they've been and gone...)

Front row at Burberry

Alexa Chung and Agyness Deyn at Burberry's afterparty

Looks from the Burberry Spring 2010 collection

Julien Macdonald finale

I know it's a bit late to be posting on London Fashion Week seeing as though we're already up to Paris, but London's always so fashion-forward that even the lengthiest of delays can't make this week seem old. The week just gone celebrated 25 years of fashion week in London, and what a week it was! London's Br-It girls Alexa Chung, Peaches Geldof and Hermione Granger's alter-ego Emma Watson were out in force for the week, where the London-cool was translated both on and off catwalk.

Actor-turned-designer Sienna Miller showcased her second collection for label Twenty-8-Twelve with sister Savannah, while Aussie Duo Sass & Bide also showed for the tenth time in the 25 year history of the major event. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the pair's latest showing, with the collection emanating that British cool factor but seeming to rely too heavily upon inspiration from past collections. One particular look- a plain grey tank and denim cutoffs weren't particularly inspiring; but the beading detail of other garments added a much needed element to the show. The highlights of the duo's latest showing included their modern take on gathering which has become their trademark of late, and glimpses of cutouts; a trend that won't be disappearing anytime soon.

An interesting take on glamorous sportswear was seen at Julien Macdonald, where the British maestro paired gauzy fabrics with jersey to create a mermaid slash scuba-inspired collection. After taking the plunge the designer recreated that feeling in a collection: "I felt so good in the suit, I thought, why wouldn't a woman want to feel that way in her clothes?" If scuba was the theme then tight was the motto, with of-the-season body con dresses featuring cut outs and cobwebbing in a palette of building block colours. Sheer panelling helped to give an updated edge to some of the overtly repetitive trends of the season, making Macdonald's minimalist pairings a highlight of London.

Among the atypically quirky shows such as Vivienne Westwoods's Red Label and Christopher Kane, without which London wouldn't be the same, was headline act Burberry. There was definitely no question when it came to the premier show, with the quintessential British brand, headed by Christopher Bailey, ensuring London went out with a bang. An afterparty DJ'd by retired models Alexa Chung and fellow Briton Agyness Deyn (already?), helped along with Brighton outfit The Kooks and attended by fash-pack co-founder Vicky B didn't hurt Burberry's new-found cool factor. The label's latest poster child Emma Watson, previous muse of Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld had the prime seat in the house, upstaging fellow fashionistas Victoria, Gwyneth and Mary-Kate. On-runway also gave us something new to talk about, with the laid back country tailoring of seasons past banished by Burberry-gone-short: draped minis teamed with the updated (read: shortened) version of their iconic trench. With a palette of creamy pastel-ly goodness with a hint of metallic, Bailey was a man with a mission, proving why Burberry is back: and better than ever.
Photos: Zimbio

Spring Fever hits Bryant Park

The buzz surrounding the month of September isn't just from the bees outside. It's been a busy month in the fashion world of late, with the major fashion capitals hosting their latest round of fashion weeks. Mother of all fashion festivals- Mercedes Benz Fashion Week- kicked fashion season into gear in New York two weeks ago, and ever since there’s been a non-stop fashionable whirlwind of runway shows and exhibitions.

New Yorkers proved why they've kept their "fashion capital of the world" tag, where the designers weren't the only ones showing off their fashion credentials. The fash-pack was out in force, with actors, socialites, on- and off-duty models, fashion-kids, stylists and, of course, The Anna Wintours of the world arriving at the Bryant Park tents in droves for their favourite week of the year. If the dresses didn't wow, the front row more than made up for it.

Celebrity Stylist Rachel Zoe with Elle's Joe Zee and model/actress Milla Jovovich

French Vogue's Carine Roitfeld

Aussie actress Rose Byrne was spotted front row at Calvin Klein, with a neat little posse of fellow screen stars including Kerry Washington, Eva Mendes and Thandie Newton. Even tennis player Serena Williams took time out from abusing officials to catch a few shows with model slash wannabe Oprah, Tyra "Bankable" Banks. Gossip Girls Blake, Vanessa and Taylor were also spotted sitting front row at Dianne Von Furstenburg, Rag & Bone and Erin Wasson x RVCA. With the designers madly congregating their celebrity clientele it seems to make it in this industry all one needs is an A-list front row. Good clothes can't hurt either.

Front Row at Calvin Klein

Gossip Girl's Blake Lively at DvF

Familiar faces were seen strutting their stuff on the catwalk too, with local favourites Chanel Iman, Jourdan Dunn and Karlie Kloss on high rotation after wrapping up the European fashion season. Other in-demand girls to walk for the likes of All-American (all stars?) Zac Posen, Tommy Hilfiger and Michael Kors were Natasha Poly, Sasha Pivovarova, Lily Donaldson and Aussie model of the moment Abbey Lee Kershaw.

Natasha Poly for Michael Kors

Abbey Lee for Isaac Mizrahi

In terms of trends, New York did what it does best; forecast. There was definite carry-through from the power-loving fall ‘09 season, especially with draped jersey, cut-outs and bondage style straps done Rodarte-esque. Tommy Hilfiger kept true to his famed All-American style with his Beachside Romp collection retaining its classic simplicity, but injected with youthful glamour and modernism. This was achieved through sharp tailoring offset by more slouchy, free flowing pieces, (nautically) knotted up with a crisp colour palette. This sure was a running trend for the week, with similar casual yet sexy tailoring at Rag & Bone and Christian Siriano (one of the rare gems unearthed by Heidi Klum’s Project Runway).

Casual cool at Tommy Hilfiger

Other refreshing shows were Isaac Mizrahi, were we saw the mixing of deconstructed masculine silhouettes with understated fifties glamour. The eighties revival is still going strong, with an almost harlot-like rock chick theme at Jill Stuart, featuring mesh filled cut-outs, hardware embellishments and the obligatory of-the-minute spandex body con. Balenciaga-inspired draped dresses were also a standout at Rachel Roy, while the draping and strong ‘80s power suit was reinvented at Donna Karen. Tribal warrior met hippie lover at print- and accessory-heavy DvF, with the adventurous designer proving, like many others, although the economy might still be lagging, fashion definitely is not.

Pictures from Zimbio

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Springing into Fashion Week, or month

Models at the Opening Night at Melbourne's GPO (Zimbio)

Yet another fashion week is upon us! This time it's Melbourne's Spring Fashion Week, which was officially opened yesterday in Melbourne's newly renovated GPO. Australian model export Jessica Hart was unveiled as the face of the weekly fest in front of Melbourne's trendiest at the Official Launch Party Sunday night. Already setting themselves apart from the rest with an interesting choice of location for a spring fashion week- an underground gallery on Flinders Lane.

Jessica Hart, Ambassador of Melbourne's Spring Fashion Week, at the Launch Party (Zimbio)

A collection of featured designers' gowns at the Launch Party (Zimbio)

The week promises to showcase the "exceptional talent" from both local and national designers, in four evening parades. With interactive millinery workshops, lunchtime fashion shows and street parades, the week is targeted at offering the latest spring fashions to Melbourne's fashion foodies. With the rhetoric being largely similar to the previous fashion weeks/shows/festivals, I'm wondering if Melbourne's time in the spotlight will prove just why it is heralded as the nation's Fashion Capital...