brisbane fashion festival: maiocchi

(images via fashionising)

maiocchi’s festive and dazzling s/s 2012 collection, presented at brisbane fashion week, had all the verve and spirit that captures my attention immediately and holds it.  a little reminiscent of the designs we’d recently seen out of berlin—lena hoschek’s vintage flavour and rena lange’s colour and prints, the smiling models and simply upbeat designs instantly helped win it a place as one of my event favourites. 

in an undated interview with the site beauty and lace, designer deanne mayocchi explained that “Maiocchi was once described as Barbie meets geisha, which I thought was very fitting description of Maiocchi, and also of my personal style as I love 50’s styles and Japanese prints and handcrafts.”  she also relates on her own site that “(o)ften simple in their cut, Maiocchi garments are personalized with precious little handmade details, quirky touches, textures and trims.” 

unfortunately, i wasn’t able to find as much information about the collection as i would have liked, but the sydney morning herald included a brief mention of the label in a synopsis article, opining that it was a “picnic and Cadillac ready collection.”  a borderline-kitschy calico floral print (as below) factored strongly in the show, while stripes, bits of lace, colour-blocking, and sailor details also cropped up as embellishment in a colourful range defined by its heavy presence of red, white, black, and blue. 

‘fifties girl at a boating party’ was the predominant idea for theme that played in my head whilst checking out the short collection, which was strong in the dress area (swingy a-line silhouettes being most common), although a couple of blouses, pair of wide-legged sailor’s trousers, and coordinating a-line skirt also sashayed down the runway (further exploration of the range on the brand’s website confirms the strength of the fifties silhouette, with full-skirted sleeveless favoured and polka dots, culottes, gingham, and prim little denim dresses also getting play). 

although the images have by now been removed (damn these websites!), opt actually wrote about the brand a year ago, and while i liked it, i also opined that cute celebrities would have to go about looking cute in the clothes for it to really go anywhere (unfortunately, the way it has to be for most labels; however, i do like actress zooey deschanel, and think she could be quite fetching in any number of these items).  i’m ready to revise my opinion a bit, and say that maiocchi’s clothes are successful with or without the press and acclaim to prove it, and fully appreciate the old-world romanticism and prettiness in a day where so much fashion is about how much skin one can show. 

stockholm fashion week: rützou

(images via elle)

having long previously exhibited in copenhagen (the label is danish, after all; see s/s 2011 & a/w 2011), rützou opted to take their fortunes to stockholm, perhaps figuring with all the money one has to rake in just to survive there, they’d no doubt be better-placed to afford the clothes than in other cities.  oh, and rodeo quotes designer susanne rützou as saying (trans.) it was “now time for something new,” and that, with about 40 shops in sweden stocking her wares, she wanted to amp up the label’s presence in the country. 

of the inspiration for the s/s 2012 range, damernas comments that the collection was composed of (trans.) “classic romantic elements,” whilst noting that touch of the finefinelady-bohemian in the “ethno-inspired necklaces of feathers.”  rodeo also makes a nice comparison of some of the differences in types of scandinavian fashion, writing (trans.) “Danish fashion and Swedish fashion often differ. [as an] (e)xaggeration, Danish fashion is softer and more bohemian, while Swedish fashion is often more serious and more pared down. Rutzous spring collection for 2012 is probably the epitome of Danish fashion for many. It is silky, blond, female and portable.”  

interestingly, the rützou spring collection seemed to vacillate between the traditional elegance the label has in the past embraced, and something a little younger and more daring (perhaps as part of the changes, ms. rützou is going in for a dewier audience?), with plenty of the seventies feel we’ve been seeing (especially out of australia) of late.  thus, embellishments like lace and feathers, leather cuffs and sandals, layered chains, peasant styling, floral prints, abstract paisleys, stripes, art patterns, colour-blocking, glam disco shine, and occasional lovely victoriana elements (those music festival-types do love their retro elements, after all) danced across the runway in an unexpected burst from this heretofore restrained label. 

the colour palette at once embraced the earthiness and the studio 54 crowd, descending from soft shades of creamy eggshell, heather gray, pale yellow, peach, and sandy buff into equally lively hues of brilliant chartreuse, hot pink, aubergine, and teal.  and while dresses were unabashedly the focus, with draped and flowing kaftan-inspired numbers in all varieties of shade and length, as well as several peasant numbers (and a lovely ivory high-necked affair with scores of little shanked nineteenth-century governess-esque buttons), ms. rützou didn’t skimp on pieces of any sort (indeed, the range was nearly 60 exits long).  comfy shorts, high-waisted trousers, menswear shirts, tailored blazers, and fluid blouses (to match the dresses), all managed to score time on the runway. 

liking it well enough, rodeo nevertheless embraced the brighter hues, opining that (trans.) “(w)ithout this extra the collection had seemed fairly harmless on the verge of boring.”  in some ways i do understand their perspective, as the show was much too long, with many of the dresses feeling like something we’d seen prior (and we had, considering how many streamed down the catwalk), but it would be hard to condemn ms. rützou completely, not the least because you know once on the girl, any number of these items would suddenly glimmer & transform into something magical.  thus, while i wish she’d have shortened the presentation, if not the works themselves (let them discover something new once in the shop), there was enough here to keep most of us happy and looking good all through the spring, and i can feel smug, for if you’re not into the hippie, the victorian looks of the range especially really shined. 

updated: with new images

bafw: maria vazquez

(images via bafw)

echoing the particularly festive colour infusion we’ve recently seen from juana de arco, the s/s 2012 presentation of maria vazquez closed out buenos aires fashion week (leaving us disconsolate, i know).  homegirl seemed to take this position on the show schedule for the honour it was and ended things with one of the trippier runway experiences we’ve had of late, with giant, psychedelic-striped mushrooms adorning the catwalk and established argentine model romina lanaro (below) doing the final strut in a flowing bumble bee-striped dress

when interviewed about the collection by the bafw site, the designer noted urban and evening styles in particular as having inspired her.  while ms. vazquez tossed out phrases such as (trans. ) “young and sexy,” “relaxed and cool clothes,” “avant-garde”, and “shocking colour,” the site paperblog made a correlation with the prada s/s 2011 range, commenting that the palette was quite similar (and although i’ll grudgingly agree on that point, as well as the stripes and tropical feel, i’m not necessarily sure this show particularly owes ms. prada anything; after all, should every colourful presentation owe her some debt?  many fashionies, it would seem, would have it that way.  but i digress once again). 

anyway, as much as the aforementioned juana de arco catwalk, ms. vazquez’s was filled with the as many shades as an enthusiastic toddler with a new box of crayons can put to the wall before the babysitter rushes out of the restroom and slaps her into oblivion.  acid lemon, tangerine, black, barbie pink, aqua, and white were the dominant hues, while stripes, florals, ombre, embroidery, tucks, pleats, and patchwork served as some of the many embellishments (see good additional shots at the lady posh & globedia). 

vive la moda casual informs us that the collection materials included pima cotton, silk, denim, linen, and jersey.  flirty minidresses and patchworked maxi dresses were the strongholds of the show, although a couple of jumpsuits, pretty blouses, skintight minis, and skinny or seventies-style flowing trousers also featured, and ms. vazquez seemed to revel in the hipster territory of ‘where ugly meets cool,’ giving her girls monstrous platform peep-toe booties (and the occasional pair of cat-eyed glasses) that fitted this notion indeed. 

at its worst, the show veered into just plain too artsy-crafty territory, appearing more like a student designer’s experimental project than the closing works in the bafw event (arguably that flowery bee dress, below).  but more often (thankfully), ms. vazquez’s designs were delightful, providing the right balance of impishness and current trend (so the fashionies can breathe that collective sigh they were holding in).  to be sure, not everyone could pull these pieces off, but for the outlandishly-inclined, they’re looking pretty good for a summer day spent strolling about the mushroom fields, no?

(watch a short collection video here)

copenhagen fashion week: avia of scandinavia

(images via cfw)

also rather new to the copenhagen fashion scene is lovely label avia of scandinavia, which was launched in 2010 by designer elsa adams, who has essentially been gearing up to the task her entire life.  according to her bio page, ms. adams has drawn from experiences of growing up with a tailor mum, ballet dancing for many years, and the history and stylistic inspiration from tales of her father’s native trinidad & tobago and her grandmother’s russia. 

although ms. adams’ s/s 2012 range retained that scandinavian quality of a bare palette, choosing shades of white, olive gray, pearly gray, black, cream, and pewter (with an occasional flash of red in a bead, or pinky-coral in the last two looks) for her nearly 40-look range, she then strictly departed from the perceived norms of the region, going in for a more thoroughly danish feminine aesthetic, filled with plenty of lace, beading, chunky statement necklaces, sheer layers, bows, and draping. 

reminding me more than a little of established copenhagen label by malene birger’s signature effeminate quality dosed with equal measures of vintage sophistication and refined adventure, avia of scandinavia offered up a range full of beautiful dresses for evening, slouchy draped trousers, prim blouses, shorter-and-edgier frocks, sweet little cardigans, and jersey skirts.  however, a little more adventurous than ms. birger tends to be, though there was plenty here for the most conservative of classic-leaning ladies, ms. adams filled her range with good humour and spliced those offerings with much more casual pieces (sometimes even daring) that we read all the more mildly for their stately, slick presentation. 

and it was this which made the show so great.  although there were plenty of ideas that might be seen as shocking, ms. adams inserted them so blithely, pairing them with prettypretty jewelry and in her neutral palette that we might have paged through the looks several times before the “what!?” ever registered on our radars.  that said, for those of us inclined to liking something in the annals of fashion history, there were plenty of glimmering, lacy twenties-esque dresses to make even the most rigid smile at her understanding.  i’ve said it before—yes, we’ve seen a lot of new designers this cfw—but with varying results, so we’re lucky to have such a good one now before us.  let’s hope ms. adams continues on in this vein, for i think, at present, she has proffered some of the best challenges from a newcomer we’ve as yet seen this week. 

(watch a short collection video here)