amsterdam fashion week: irotsuya by hanna siwecki

(images via peter stigter)

another participant in the generation 12 show, hanna siwecki’s irotsuya label was perhaps the most wearable of the five designers.  as the site frusko explains of ms. siwecki, she “graduated in fashion design (BA) at the University of Applied Science Pforzheim in Germany. Afterwards she graduated for the fashion masters at the ArtEZ in the Netherlands.” 

the designer explained to the blog fashion & art, “The current generation has grown up with the internet, integrating it into their lives until their online profiles develop into something bigger than their actual selves. This is the basic idea behind the network collection: The clothes are oversized and describe a space that is bigger than a single person.”

“The image of a network is directly translated onto the print. Loose drapery symbolizes the casual, easygoing attitude of bloggers, while the Plexiglas fragments on several of my garments — which evolved from the network print — symbolize how we put the image we create of ourselves together in a very subjective way. This piece in particular represents the relationship between the person (body) and the reflection (blog/profile) of itself to its surroundings (the internet community).” 

coloured in shades of tangerine, black, teal, aqua, and white, the geometric motifs of the aforementioned network print added interest, while the layers and draping felt especially timely for the season.  v-necks, maxi dresses, and shorter cocktail numbers were some of the consistent threads in the short range, with the cracked glass-like network motif sometimes doubling as an accessory (and which was especially charming). 

i liked irotsuya’s juxtaposition of wearable pieces that seemed like suitable cocktail attire with a certain streetwear inflection fused with a more thoughtful idea; indeed, so many designers at present seem to believe that artful and commercial are entirely exclusive of one another and that in order to be a true creative in the medium, one must challenge all our present ideas of such.  but this need not be so, as some like ms. siwecki prove so well, and i think perhaps this is the true way to the future of fashion.  at least i hope so and that, with that, we’ll see more of irotsuya’s work in the coming seasons. 

(see the final walk-through video here)

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miami swim fashion week: aqua di lara

(images via mbfwms)

montreal-based label aqua di lara was at once in touch with the rest of the kids at miami swim fashion week with a certain measure of retro glam in the s/s 2012 collection, yet all the same distinctive, thanks to a slightly more reserved and less-revealing silhouette served alongside some particularly fetching prints. 

like l*space by monica wise, the site stylewise remarks that designer reyhan sofraci drew inspiration for the range from “her many travels and diverse cultural background,” while the international business times notes that (like many of the labels we’ve seen thus far), the 1970s were a creative source for the collection’s many vibrant prints. 

the presentation’s colour palette was especially diverse, with shades of bubblegum, gold, indigo, black, silver, purple, and aqua.  prints included almost psychedelic seascapes, what the ibt terms as “textured reptilian skins mixed with shiny weaves,” the lively pattern (below) the site ms. fabulous dubs “rainbow stripe,” and some sixties-seventies geometrics that rather spoke of the emilio pucci archives. 

as ms. fabulous explains, ms. sofraci “took elements of designer sportswear and incorporated them into swimwear” for the show.  meanwhile, other key ideas included colour-blocking (something of a minitrend this msfw), and embellishments included swarovski crystal-studded pieces, cut-outs, metal hardware trims, asymmetrical elements and one-shouldered items (again, a burgeoning trend), and corset detailing. 

although bikinis were, of course, strong, aqua di lara didn’t shy from the one-piece, as many have been inclined to this season, nor giving a little extra material in the sexier designs; indeed, none of the suits were particularly revealing, even when they were so, helping to keep the vintage idea alive.  resortwear was quite charming, too and included rompers, billowing kaftans, robes, and short cover-ups, most of which retained enough elegance to take the whole look straight to the dining room come cocktail hour. 

in the end, though ms. sofraci didn’t shy from sensual appeal, she didn’t as actively pursue it as, say cia marítima or beach bunny swimwear, instead opting for something a little more elegant and refined—along the lines of the sonia vera swimwear show.  her girls certainly aren’t afraid to show skin, but they’re a sort of glamorous beach queen, channeling old movie stars or finefine ladies of the past, and the difference feels pronounced.  despite seventies-esque notions being so hot at present, there was something classic and timeless in the aqua di lara spring show. 

(check out the catwalk highlights video here)

amsterdam fashion week: piotrek panszczyk

(images via peter stigter)

another of the new kids on the block this amsterdam fashion week, piotrek panszczyk’s s/s 2012 range immediately evoked alexander wang’s f/w 2010 ‘wall street’ collection with its examination, deconstruction, and sexification of the classic pinstripe suit, that mundane business attire we every day see men trotting down our streets to work complacently clad in (and perhaps unknowing of how daring a few slits might suddenly transform these seemingly dull outfits). 

according to the dutch site parool, the collection was an (trans.) “ode to the craft,” though in a piece written by the netherlands foundation for visual arts, design and architecture, this is clarified a little further.  as they explain, “his focus now is on capturing and sculpting fluidity…The slightly bulky and oversized (sic) shapes are based on the research of Robert Morris (ed note: presumably the american artist) (sic) his felt works combined with an (sic) extensive research on tailoring in the beginning of the ‘90’s and late ‘80’s.” 

the colour palette was predictably limited, with shades of white, navy, black, and indigo comprising the whole of the show.  pinstripes, thicker stripes created by fabric panels, and a quiet wallpaper-like floral print were the only embellishments (save those generous slashes), while materials included toile, cotton, and near-tissue weight summery wools. 

interestingly enough, though we’d seen something similar a year and a half previous (i will add that mr. wang’s designs were much more blatantly sensualized), mr. panszczyk’s collection felt more relevant and timely; perhaps this was because we’re currently in the throes of a passionate revision of the nineties and minimalism, while the pitch was never released last year until phoebe philo’s celine collection for f/w 2010 (her paris show scheduled a month later than mr. wang’s new york one). 

still, though, my reaction to mr. panszczyk’s presentation was a bit mixed.  i’ll acknowledge he does appear to be quite talented, and at best, he produced smart revisions on classic items, with some clever choices (such as the vest, second from top) among the mix.  at worst, however, the pieces seemed little more than shreds of fabric bound together (as third from top), grappling for attention thanks to an unexpected glimpse of cleavage or other bit of skin.  if he reigned in the deconstruction, just a little (and more on the level with the wang show), though, i think everything would be all right. 

(see the catwalk video here)

miami swim fashion week: lisa blue

(images via mbfwms)

if at first australian label lisa blue’s spring 2012 collection presented at miami swim fashion week felt a little variegated in theme—with tribal motifs one moment and angels the next—nearly leading me to feel a bit frustrated in my understanding of the show, i was nevertheless pleased with designer lisa burke’s attempts to address many times of customer within a single presentation. 

a backstage video interview with the designer on her inspiration also helped explain the various show themes.  firstly, as ms. burke noted, she has long been a proponent of saving the whales, and themes to this effect usually appear in her work.  this collection, titled ‘call of the whale’ included the requisite reference, but through very different means.  their section, called ‘glactic stories,’ was an almost futuristic moment, in which the designer drew from ancient mythology telling stories of whales emerging from the star systems.

in the tribal subgroup, ms. burke explained to the sydney morning herald that she drew ideas from the work of aboriginal artist rosie miller.  “I bought a stunning painting from Rosie with shells and from that I’ve created three different prints,” she said, adding that ” I paid for the painting, I paid to use the painting and we produced flyers about Rosie and her art that we will put in every single showbag in Miami” (as part of her quest to support the aboriginal people, she also brought model tamara flanagan, fourth from bottom, with her from australia to walk the show). 

meanwhile, the third subgroup, ‘divinity,’ the designer responded to positive feedback from her collection a year ago with its angel motifs, and included various romantic-era notions and prints drawn from paintings, going for an aesthetic that was sweeter, more vintage, and less daring than the other sections, the extra material displaying the mural-like artworks. 

thus, the collection itself was highly stylized, with the designer noting that, at various points, the collection included metallic panels, cut-outs, studs, and a print of a john waterhouse painting, while nbc points out peacock feather motifs and a jean luc bozzoli painting print. additionally, polka dots, colour-blocking, whale motifs, slightly abstract oceanic prints, and ruching graced the catwalk.  embellishments on the models were heavy as well, with feathers, facial glitter or tribal paint, fringe, bangles, cuffs, and necklaces. 

the show’s colour palette was quite varied as well, ranging from aqua, coral, purple, black, maroon, ballerina pink, and cobalt to metallic shades of gunmetal, silver, and gold.  “It’s like an explosion of color,” ms. burke commented to nbc.  and though particularly revealing bikinis and monokinis were of course on order, one-piece suits and high-waisted (as below) two-piece numbers were also liberally sprinkled throughout, a move which lead vainstyle to proclaim that the show “(b)y far, this collection encompassed some of the best designs and models for the entire [week]…Overall, the collection exceeded expectations this year while bringing new, stylish, inspiring trends to the swim world.” 

after better understanding where the designer was coming from, having received concise explanations as to her creative sources, i was able to thus better appreciate the range itself.  to be sure, i’m not convinced it all quite fit together, but perhaps with swim the goal isn’t the same as a ‘regular’ runway collection—that is to say, a designer doesn’t expect really any customers to buy more than a couple of looks from any single show (as contrasted with, say, a versace show, in which a client might purchase a whole collection, as a wardrobe for a season).  and for that, it’s probably smart to appeal to several types of girl.  i personally, for example, liked the ‘divinty’ section the best, though i’d expect many to better appreciate the tribal suits. 

what was perhaps most appealing (and ms. burke seems to understand this) is the idea of looking good with a conscience.  indeed, many don’t like to ‘wear their good deeds on their sleeve’ as it were, but lisa blue’s designs keep in touch with the flavours of the moment, ensuring the pieces blend in with the season’s trends and that no one has to.  i’ll be frank and state that i (like, probably most) put my fashion before my morality and want something that looks good, but regardless, the idea of supporting the whales or aboriginal people does stir me and for many, this may be the deciding factor between lisa blue’s collection and another piece.  i only wish that more designers worked this way, so we can feel smug as we shop, that we’re helping the rest of the world (and not necessarily wearing t-shirts emblazoned with green slogans for it, either). 

(watch the final runway walk-through video here)